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Survey uncovers surprising details about anime's rise in American pop culture

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A new survey conducted by Polygon has shed light on the rising prominence of anime in American popular culture.

Unveiling anime's reach: The entertainment website surveyed over 4,000 U.S. adults to uncover the growing influence of anime and its presence permeating various facets of American entertainment. Released on Jan. 22, the comprehensive analysis highlights the genre's power to resonate with audiences across demographics.

Generational dynamics: The survey shows that only 3% of Boomers engage with anime weekly but a staggering 42% of Gen Z participants actively indulge in the genre regularly. The findings indicate how anime has surpassed established cultural touchstones like the NFL among younger audiences.

Diverse audience: It further notes the diversity of its fanbase, mirroring a broader representation of ethnicities and sexual orientations within the American population. African Americans constitute 17% of the anime fan audience, surpassing their representation in the general population, while 27% of anime fans identify as LGBTQ+.

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Asian Americans, who comprise 10% of the surveyed audience, are more pronounced among Gen Z (13% are Asians) and continue with Boomers (10%), surprisingly exceeding that of Gen X (8%). This could be attributed to factors like early exposure to anime during childhood for Boomers or shared cultural connections across generations.

Emotional connections: The survey also unveils the profound emotional resonance anime holds for its viewers. Nearly two-thirds of Gen Z anime enthusiasts express a stronger emotional connection with anime than with traditional media, citing the rich storylines and character depth as key factors. The poll notes that 44% of anime fans admit to having had a crush on an anime character at some point.

Cultural Impact: General viewers say they mainly consume anime from mainstream platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Prime Video, with Crunchyroll and Funimation also making significant strides despite their smaller user bases. Among Gen Z viewers, Crunchyroll emerges as the second most popular platform.

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Over half of Gen Z anime fans acknowledge its impact on their daily habits, ranging from fashion choices to social interactions. Such influence echoes cultural significance previously attributed to iconic shows like "Friends."

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