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Nikkei Entertainment Highlights Tokyo Revengers, Uma Musume, Evangelion As 2021's Biggest Hits

posted on by Kim Morrissy
Pony Canyon producer Hirofumi Itо̄ shared the factors behind Tokyo Revengers' success

Nikkei Entertainment's January 2022 issue highlights the biggest buzz generators across Japanese film, television, streaming, music, books, and games in 2021. The Tokyo Revengers anime ranked in as the top-watched streaming program for both male and female audiences during the latter half of the year, while Uma Musume Pretty Derby was the top-grossing game app and Evangelion: 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time was the top-grossing film.

The three titles were also the winners of the Yahoo! Japan Search Awards in the anime, film, and game categories, which is determined by the number of searches for a particular term compared to the year before.

Nikkei Entertainment interviewed Pony Canyon producer Hirofumi Itо̄, who broke down some of the factors behind Tokyo Revengers' success in particular. He said that, being a story about Japanese delinquents, it was atypical for a late-night anime, but the producers also figured that this kind of subject matter does well in the rental business. With this in mind, they focused on the streaming market with the assumption that it had the potential to be a hit like Shinjuku Swan or Ushijima the Loan Shark.

When it came to promoting the anime, the team focused on marketing to youths and bringing out the teen rebellion vibe. Internally, the staff had a photo of a bunch of youths crowded around a convenience store—a common image associated with delinquents in Japan. Not only did they try to get the series on as many streaming platforms as possible, they also decided which TV stations to broadcast the anime in based on which prefectures gave off the impression of having a lot of juvenile delinquents. Using the popular male rock band Official HiGE DANdism for the opening theme was also a deliberate move to encourage word of mouth among people who don't normally watch anime.

Itо̄ cited TikTok as an important element in the anime's success. Mikey's iconic "Anyone scared?" line became an internet meme; according to Itо̄, this prompted a lot of young people to start watching the anime and even get their parents to watch too. Itо̄ further cited the live-action film adaptation as a factor; although COVID-19 interfered with the film's original release schedule, it ended up releasing at the same time the anime was on air, and the popularity of the two adaptations complemented each other.

Nikkei Entertainment also highlighted Jujutsu Kaisen as the year's top-selling manga, commenting on the success of its television anime adaptation.

Source: Nikkei Entertainment January 2022 Issue

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