When it comes to entertainment, the pandemic had us all sinking our teeth into a fresh slice of escapism, whether it was through hundreds of mindless hours on TikTok, our own little island in Animal Crossing, or an unhealthy dose of The Office. With people seeking out the next best watch, anime as a genre promptly came into view with its extensive catalog of stories and new shows coming every month. For anime-lovers all over the world, the genre has always provided a plethora of realms to live in. From demon-infested mountain landscapes to high-school hallways, there are thousands of timelines and dimensions for every viewer. Unlike some US-based cartoons which often only lean strictly into adult or kids audiences, anime offers plenty of titles for audiences of all ages in subgenres like horror, gore, and thrillers. Not to mention the endless amount of subgenres, spin-offs, movies, animation styles, and bonus content to catch up on after you finish your favorite series.
Like most recent cultural ebbs and flows, TikTok has also had a huge hand in putting anime on people’s screens. TikTok’s For You Page algorithm has broken down walls for many communities as a means for cultural discovery and exploration and anime is no different. The #anime has been viewed over 438 billion times. Under the hashtag, you can find millions of fans flexing immaculate cosplays, trying on new merch, and acting out their favorite scenes. The social media platform has also come to house a number of fandoms and act as a tool for the communities to connect, further carving out space for anime in popular culture. One popular trend from earlier this year had creative fans drawing themselves into popular shows or next to their favorite characters.