According to Leah Holmes in “Anime in the UK: The History, Cultural Context, and Evolution of UK Anime Fandom – MPhil Thesis,” organized anime fandom in the UK is relatively young. The spark originated in the early ’90s with the first recorded anime screening program at a convention and the success of Ōtomo Katsuhiro’s Akira in 1988. There was also the success of the launch of Manga Video.
Before, British people thought of anime as stereotypes such as “for kids” or “not safe for kids.” As said by RadioTimes:
“Japanese anime movies and TV shows have been sliding into the mainstream in the UK over the last few years. Having first arrived in the mid-80s with Studio Ghibli movies like My Neighbour Totoro, anime has attracted a dedicated British audience for decades – but until recently it was a decidedly niche interest. Now something is changing.”
2016 movie phenomenon Your Name made waves with a proper release in UK cinemas. And because British people love cinemas, their exposure to anime increased. After that, anime gained traction in the UK. New and legal ways of watching anime also helped more shows and movies to become popular.
Pro tip: Professional translation for subtitling or dubbing anime series is essential for anime popularity. A professional anime translator helps anime producers ensure that English subtitles and dubbing are accurate so anime episodes are more enjoyable for anime fans.
To the UK audience, anime’s fresh storytelling, unique ideas, and exciting visuals are captivating. Because anime is an art form with many applications rooted in a deep and rich history, many have found it a refreshing form of entertainment. People are also beginning to have an eye on Japanese culture. To UK anime lovers, anime isn’t “childish” but actually involves serious topics and relatable characters.
The introduction to eccentric tropes and visuals in anime fascinates young generations. Though there’s still much work to further its popularity in the UK, anime is already making its way into the culture.