Idol Otaku Outspent Anime & Manga Fans Last Year

There’s no question that Japan’s entertainment industry revolves around otaku pandering, but what is an otaku?


In the West, the label describes hardcore anime fans, but it’s very different in Japan. Instead, otaku describes hardcore hobbyists and everyone wants their money! Every year the Yano Research Institue publishes a report detailing otaku spending-power broken into 21 categories.

There’s a lot of crossover appeal and we’ll explain how that can affect the anime you consume. First, let’s look at the findings:

One Piece

21. Vocaloid – 4,906 yen ($44) per otaku

20. Boys’ love – 12,943 yen ($117) per otaku

19. Light novels – 13,200 yen ($126) per otaku

18. Pro wrestling – 15,608 yen ($142) per otaku

17. Eroge – 15,729 yen ($143) – per otaku

16. Dating-sims – 16,975 yen ($154) per otaku

15. Dolls – 17,870 yen ($163) per otaku

14. Anime – 20,308 yen ($184) per otaku

13. Manga – 20,541 yen ($187) per otaku

12. Cosplay – 25,296 yen ($230) per otaku

11. Dojinshi – 25,396 yen ($231) per otaku

10. Plastic models – 28,871 yen ($263) per otaku

9. Seiyuu (includes drama CDs / autograph sessions) – 30,720 yen ($279) per otaku

8. Military (includes airsoft replicas and uniforms) – 34,965 yen ($318) per otaku

7. Adult videos – 36,203 yen ($329) per otaku

6. Trading card games – 45,386 yen ($413) per otaku

5. Online games – 45,869 yen ($417) per otaku

4. Pre-assembled figures (includes Figma and PVCs) – 47,548 yen ($433) per otaku

3. Model trains – 63,854 yen ($581) per otaku

2. Cosplay services (includes maid cafes) – 68,114 yen ($620) per otaku

1. Idols – 103,543 yen ($942) per otaku


Love Live! School Idol Project

Each category is broken down on the type of hobby a typical otaku buys. The “anime” category refers to home video sets, movie tickets, and prescription fees. An anime otaku can also spend money on manga, cosplay, and figures, but it’s separated out to present a better visual on what they are willing to spend.

Production committees love synergy, so they invest in all of the above sectors to bring in maximum profits — it’s why there is a growing trend in anime-themed maid cafes and idol anime. That money is pooled together to fund a variety of projects!

So the next time you complain how idols or dumb pop-up cafes are ruining your favorite anime, just now that money is going to fund some of your favorite shows.

VIAHuffington Post Japan
SOURCEYano Research Institute
Aaron Magulick
Aaron Magulick has been a fan of anime ever since being exposed to it in the late '90s. A fan of nearly all genres, he is not afraid to explore the creepier side of the industry.
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