🔖 3 min read

I had to do a second take when I walked past my local cinema a few weeks ago. Outside the Vue cinema chain were the familiar posters for up and coming movies. But one of them, featuring an orange-haired anime character, gave me whiplash. The poster was for Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle, the latest film in the ultra-popular sports anime/manga series. I’d seen anime movies advertised in UK cinemas before and had even gone to a few myself. But as someone who grew up when anime was a genuinely niche subculture it’s still something I have to pinch myself about. 

It’s important to take a step back and realise what an achievement this poster is. Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle requires the viewer to have sat through 4 seasons of anime to get the context. Very high quality anime for sure, but that’s a huge time investment. Yet such is the global reach and passion for the Haikyuu series that there are thousands of international fans who fit that exactly criteria. Fans who are also happy to support the film release financially to enjoy it on the big screen.

Haikyuu Anime

Haikyuu: Faster Faster

According to a report from DataHorizzon Research, “The anime market size was valued at USD 25.8 Billion in 2022 and is expected to have USD 62.7 Billion by 2032 with a CAGR of 9.4%.” It points to globalisation, the success of merchandising and the proliferation of content through streaming services as part of this trend. Driven by the massive boost in accessibility via the internet, the anime industry has roughly doubled in size over the last 10 years. A truly eye-popping achievement. The interest in Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle is a perfect example of these trends. Yes 4 seasons of Haikyuu is a lot to watch, but with instant access to the series through streaming services the anime is readily available in good quality anywhere you like. Easy to stumble upon, binge watch and share with friends. Being an anime fan no longer requires complex file-sharing or fansubbing: anime is selectable right there next to episodes of The Office and the latest Hollywood romcom. A far cry from my teenage days hunting down grainy fan translations on obscure Angelfire websites.

Globalised Success

Just a few years ago the idea of an anime movie opening in a UK cinema would be eyebrow raising. For decades, outside artistic outliers like Akira, kids shows like Pokemon and maybe the odd Studio Ghibli film, anime movies (especially those that tied-in with anime series) were the realm of enthusiasts. Weird and confusing to the mainstream. A decade ago the anime industry was roughly half the size it is now, with most of the interesting, unique cool events and physical releases confined only to Japan and a couple of large American anime conventions. You’d never get to watch the latest anime film at your local cinema. No comfy chairs and popcorn for you. Not so anymore- Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle is a truly global affair. Having already grossed ¥2.23 billion during its opening weekend in Japan, screenings have now taken place in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to name a few.

The anime industry has managed to engage an entire new generation with its high quality and easy access. Yes it has challenges like any industry, but Anime has broken out from its previous subculture niche to become just…pop culture. When it comes to global reach and cultural cache Haikyuu!! The Dumpster Battle exemplifies this truly Japanese success story.

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About Sam Barker

Sam L Barker is a business professional with years of experience working in software and technology. He is also a freelance writer focusing on the areas of Japanese culture, music, tech and business. He used to live in Tokyo and loves night walks through the city.