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Today a friend of mine proclaimed that around 70% of the world's cartoon animation entertainment consists of anime. So according to his statement, for every 3 non anime animation series, at least 7 anime series should exist.

After looking through his proclaimed source wikipedia I could only find out that about 70% of DVD sales are made by anime, which sounds reasonable, but does not back up his 3 to 7 cartoon to anime series ratio at all.

Now I know that anime is well-known, even around the world. But claiming that around 2/3 of all cartoon animation series is anime sounds a bit of an overkill to me.

This however made me wonder, what is the ratio of non anime cartoon series to cartoon series, or how much do anime series (roughly) make up of animation entertainment series overall?

Although the first few animes were already observed as far back as 1907, anime really launched around 1960 after/during Astro Boy, and as new series are made just about everyday for both anime and non-anime alike, I would propose a time limit of 1960 till 2015.

TL;DR What is the ratio of anime series versus non anime series?

  • did you ask your friend to source his figure? Also, what kind of units are we talking here? – ton.yeung Apr 6 '16 at 21:32
  • @ton.yeung He claimed wikipedia. All I managed to find on there was DVD market, contributing nearly 70% of total sales which does not seem to refer to anime in the animation industry as a whole at all – Dimitri mx Apr 6 '16 at 21:35
  • You want to know if anime makes up animation from the beginning of the existence of moving pictures up to now? Considering old Warner Bros. and Disney characters are still remembered today, I highly doubt the history of animation is made up of mostly anime. – Frosteeze Apr 6 '16 at 21:37
  • so his claim is valid, if the unit of measure is money made on dvds. What kind of unit are you thinking of? – ton.yeung Apr 6 '16 at 21:37
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    Then I'm confused. The question states that friend a says 70% of cartoons are anime. You then said that he cited the sales figures as his basis for the 70%. You can then infer that he could have left out the words sales from his statement, which becomes "70% of cartoon sales are anime". If this is not the intended unit, what is? Number of Series? Number of Hours? Also, like Frosteeze said, in what time frame? 2015? Last decade? Beginning of time? – ton.yeung Apr 6 '16 at 21:53
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Counting by "number of series" is rather silly. It has its uses (e.g. it can help answer the question "does Japan produce a wider variety of animated television shows than the rest of the world?"), but it is not a particularly good metric for answering the question "does Japan produce more animated television shows than the rest of the world?".

Anyway, I deem this claim implausible. IMDB lists 1937 TV series tagged with "Animation" from the US from 1960-2015. It lists 2265 TV series with the same search terms from Japan. We get another 557 titles from France; 171 from Germany; and so forth.

While IMDB is probably systematically biased in favor of having more complete data on US shows than Japanese shows, and also does some weird things like listing "Kimba the White Lion" as a US show, I do not think that the numbers we're looking at support the claim that Japan produces 70% of the world's animation by series count. (I would agree that Japan probably does produce at least a plurality of the world's animation by series count, but series count is a lousy metric, so.)

Incidentally, there's also a very nice whitepaper by the MLIT that I happened upon that doesn't answer this exact question but otherwise has very nice data about the anime industry.

  • furthermore, what about shows that were produced in multiple countries? i know the children shows Die Biene Maja (Maja the Honey Bee) which is a japanese-german coproduction, giving it the style of an anime. is it an anime then? or is it a normal cartoon from germany? – Armin Apr 7 '16 at 7:04
  • Very interesting paper, all though a bit hard to read with my limited Japanese. – Dimitri mx Apr 7 '16 at 18:48

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