“Anime Is a Global Medium Now”: Netflix Anime Head, Kohei Obara, on the Streamer’s Thriving Anime Titles

“Anime Is a Global Medium Now”: Netflix Anime Head, Kohei Obara, on the Streamer’s Thriving Anime Titles

Netflix made its first splash in anime with Blame! in 2017 two years after the platform was launched in Japan.  Also, it contributed to making anime the “global medium”. At the AnimeJapan convocation, Kohei Obara, Netflix’s creative director of anime disclosed the streamer’s plan to release 40 new titles. 

Kohei Obara talks about views on anime

In Japan, it’s always been very big. But the popularity has been rising on a global basis quite a lot as well,” says Obara. The numbers don’t lie. In 2021 almost 222 million subscribers watched anime. There has also been a 20 percent increase in anime watchers on Netflix. Devilman Crybaby, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, and The Way of the Househusband brought in huge streaming numbers. All these titles resonated well with both the Japanese and international audiences.

The way anime titles resonate is quite diverse and unique in a way, where you never know what will hit,” he expressed. 

Apart from these titles, Crunchyroll’s Jujutsu Kaisen 0 and Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train also had incredible achievements outside Japan. Especially after the latter earned a blockbuster status after earning $454.7 million worldwide. 

However, he isn’t sure whether the influx of international capital can lead to increased output. Citing the small size of the industry, he added, “It’s not like we can have twice or three times more of them instantly, just because the money is there.” Obara worked with Disney, and Tori Animation studio before working for the steamer.

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More anime series across diverse categories on Netflix

We have about 40 titles to be announced and released this year as originals, but we’re trying to diversify the programming by getting into, say, lean-back content, romantic dramas, and things that are different from what we’ve usually been pursuing,” said Obara to The Hollywood Reporter. 

The streamer plans to bring back new seasons of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure STONE OCEAN and Ghost in the Shell: SAC:2045. Also in the pipeline are Tetsurō Araki’s movie, Bubble, and Studio Colorido’s Drifting Home

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