It’s no secret that the anime industry is slowly changing as producers try to find new revenue streams. International licensing, movies and live events have been a growing source of revenue, but one powerful producer still believes in home video.
Sho Tanaka is a producer for Kadokawa and has helped with series like Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, and No Game No Life. In an interview with Anime Hack, Tanaka commented that home video is still the industry’s backbone despite falling sales over the past decade.
Tanaka views foreign distribution and live events as an experiment that can help companies recover from a loss. He notes that while certain anime may fail to create a buzz in Japan, they can still turn a profit due to international fans. Production committees do follow these numbers, and domestic flops can be seen as international successes due to the money they bring in.
However, Tanaka doubled-down on his support for home video, asserting that they are of chief importance. He said he personally relies on home video sales as opposed to foreign distribution and live events, and believes the industry’s revenue still revolves around home video – despite data showing otherwise.
Additionally, Tanaka relayed that he unimpressed by the output of anime in 2017 – despite industry figures in and out of Japan claiming it to be a “good harvest” year. Tanaka lamented the lack of original stories and felt that too many sequels were just rehashes of past success. He did take time to praise Made in Abyss, which was produced by Kadokawa without his involvement.