Note that this article is part of a series of articles about the Anime industry in 2021. Due to the size of the report, I have decided to split them into several sections. You can find the rest here:
This is just a slightly more detailed coverage of the report, plus additional information and analyses from myself. However, if you seek to obtain further information, feel free to help yourself to the report right here. Note that it is only available in Japanese. Or check out the Association of Japanese Animations (AJA) here for a summary of the industry made on yearly basis.
When looking at the numbers, please note that the figures may differ from the prior years since they are constantly updated (on a yearly basis).
Theatrical Animation Recovered After the Corona Slump It Faced in 2020
The size of the theatrical animation market in Japan grew 8.66% from 55.40 billion yen (≈416.74 million USD), after numerical revision, to hit its third best since 2000, at 60.20 billion yen (≈452.84 million USD), taking up 37.18% of the total box office revenue in 2021 (slightly less than 38.7% in 2020). The market succumbed to a fall in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the closure of theatres nationwide as the government of Japan had to issue state of emergency measures to combat the spread of the virus (see The Japan Times; The Guardian). Although the theatrical space has somewhat reopened to a certain extent in 2021, there were still restrictions in place until October 2021 which prevented the sector from performing to its optimum capacity. The market was at its best in 2019, being worth 69.20 billion yen (≈520.54 million USD) while its second best was in the year 2016, at 66.30 billion yen (≈498.73 million USD). Both years actually saw the releases of Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no Na wa. and Tenki no Ko, the two of which top their own respective box office charts for the year, Kimi no Na wa. at 23.56 billion yen (≈177.23 million USD) whereas Tenki no Ko was 14.06 billion yen (≈105.76 million USD).
The performance of Anime-related titles are not to be scoffed at here. Among those in the Top 20 box office performers, eleven out of the twenty spots are filled by Anime releases, leaving the rest as non-Anime titles. Those eleven titles had all earned more than 1 billion yen (≈7.52 million USD) in box office revenue. As for 2021, the Anime box office chart was topped by Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time at 10.28 billion yen (≈77.33 million USD), though had Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie released earlier, it may have had been the one to place 1st. The film grossed 13.25 billion yen (≈99.68 million USD) as of the end of March 2022 with its latest figure seeing the film earning 13.8 billion yen (≈103.81 million USD) in its entirety as of the end of June 2022 (see Jujutsu Kaisen 0‘s as of March 2022 performance here and latest here). Seeing that the leftover was earned in 2022, the report did not count the remaining, and as such, only the initial 5.8 billion yen (≈43.63 million USD) it earned in 2021 was considered. Nevertheless, the report still concluded that the film had performed really well within the short span of time. Back to Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, its performance here is nearly two times more than what it did with Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo’s 5.3 billion yen (≈39.87 million USD) and Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance’s 4.0 billion yen (≈30.09 million USD), making it the highest grossing of a Evangelion‘s film to date. Other big earners include Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet at 7.65 billion yen (≈57.56 million USD) and Mamoru Hosoda’s Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime (or Belle) became the third best-selling film for the year at 6.6 billion yen (≈49.66 million USD). Other titles did splendidly as well. Kidou Senshi Gundam: Senkou no Hathaway for instance is the first Gundam film since Senshi Gundam: Gyakushuu no Char (or Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack) to have earned more than 1 billion yen (≈7.52 million USD) at the box office. Boku no Hero Academia the Movie: World Heroes’ Mission which is the 5th best-selling film in 2021 did way better than its last two films, which is nearly doubled than that of Futari no Hero and Heroes:Rising (see Toho FY2022 Q2 report).
Top 11 Anime Films in Japan in 2021:
|Rank||Title||Box Office (Billion ¥)||Distributor|
|1||Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time||10.28||Toho / Toei / Khara|
|2||Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet||7.65||Toho|
|3||Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime||6.60||Toho|
|4||Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie||5.80||Toho|
|5||Boku no Hero Academia the Movie: World Heroes’ Mission||3.39||Toho|
|6||Kidou Senshi Gundam: Senkou no Hathaway||2.23||Shochiku|
|7||Gintama: The Final||1.90||WB|
|8||Crayon Shin-chan Movie: Mystery Meki! Hana no Tenkasu Gakuen||1.77||Toho|
|9||Sword Art Online: Progressive Movie – Hoshi Naki Yoru no Aria||1.43||Aniplex*|
|10||Sumikko Gurashi Movie: Aoi Tsukiyo no Mahou no Ko||1.26||Asmik Ace|
|11||Detective Conan: The Scarlet Alibi||1.24||Toho|
*Note that in the report (page 50), AJA listed Sword Art Online: Progressive Movie – Hoshi Naki Yoru no Aria as distributed by Toho, but according to its Wiki pages here and here, Aniplex was the sole distributor.
When it comes to distributor, Toho took the largest portion of the pie accounting to 47% of total Anime box office earned for the year while the Toho, Toei and Khara joint venture (in the releasing of Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time) were second at 17%. Then, the Toho and Aniplex tie-up settled for 3rd at 13% (refer to chart).
Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time (left) was highest grossing Anime film in 2021 followed by Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet (middle) and Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime (right)
As for overseas Anime film, Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen was the biggest earner, having said to have earned 49,505,008 USD while Boku no Hero Academia the Movie: World Heroes’ Mission was the second biggest at 12,271,658 USD. In China, Stand By Me Doraemon 2 topped the list at 3.98 billion yen (≈29.94 million USD) whereas Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet came in 2nd at 3.46 billion yen (≈26.03 million USD). Hello World and Pokemon Movie: Koko were 3rd and 4th respectively.
Top 2 Anime Film Overseas in 2021
|Rank||Titles||Box Office ($)|
|1||Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen||49,505,008|
|2||Boku no Hero Academia the Movie: World Heroes’ Mission||12,271,658|
Top 4 Anime Films in China in 2021
|Rank||Titles||Box Office (Billion ¥)|
|1||Stand By Me Doraemon 2||3.98|
|2||Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet||3.46|
|4||Pokemon Movie: Koko||0.82|
All in all, when it comes to Anime theatrical works, in terms of box office revenue, Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen is still the best among the best having earned 40.43 billion yen (≈304.18 million USD), overtaking Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi’s 31.68 billion yen (≈238.34 million USD), becoming not just the highest grossing Anime film to date in Japan, but for its entire domestic film industry.
Top 50 Anime films of All-time in Japan:
|Rank||Title||Box Office (Billion ¥)||Release Dates|
|1||Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen||40.43||16 Oct 2020|
|2||Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi||31.68||20 Jul 2001|
|3||Kimi no Na wa.||25.17||26 Aug 2016|
|4||Mononoke Hime||20.18||12 Jul 1997|
|5||Howl no Ugoku Shiro||19.60||20 Nov 2004|
|6||One Piece Film: Red||18.73||6 Aug 2022|
|7||Gake no Ue no Ponyo||15.50||19 Jul 2008|
|8||Tenki no Ko||14.23||19 Jul 2019|
|9||Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie||13.80||24 Dec 2021|
|10||Kaze Tachinu||12.02||20 Jul 2013|
|11||Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time||10.28||8 Mar 2021|
|12||Detective Conan Movie: Halloween no Hanayome||9.88||12 Apr 2019|
|13||Detective Conan Movie: The Fist of Blue Sapphire||9.37||12 Apr 2019|
|14||Suzume no Tojimari||9.34||11 Nov 2022|
|15||Karigurashi no Arrietty||9.25||17 Jul 2010|
|16||Detective Conan Movie: Zero the Enforcer||9.18||13 Apr 2018|
|17||Stand By Me Doraemon||8.38||8 Aug 2014|
|18||Ged Senki||7.84||29 Jul 2006|
|19||Youkai Watch Movie: Tanjou no Himitsu da Nyan!||7.80||20 Dec 2014|
|20||Detective Conan Movie: The Scarlet Bullet||7.65||16 Apr 2021|
|21||Pokemon Movie: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu / Pikachu no Natsuyasumi||7.24||18 Jul 1998|
|22||Detective Conan Movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter||6.89||15 Apr 2017|
|23||One Piece Film: Z||6.87||15 Dec 2012|
|24||Ryuu to Sobakasu no Hime||6.60||16 Jul 2021|
|25||Neko no Ongaeshi||6.48||20 Jul 2002|
|26||Pokemon Movie: Maboroshi no Pokemon Lugia Bakutan||6.40||17 Jul 1999|
|27||Detective Conan Movie: The Darkest Nightmare||6.33||16 Apr 2016|
|28||Bakemono no Ko||5.85||11 Jul 2015|
|29||One Piece Movie: Stampede||5.55||9 Aug 2019|
|30||Youkai Watch Movie: Enma Daiou to Itsutsu no Monogatari da Nyan!||5.53||19 Dec 2015|
|31||Kurenai no Buta||5.40||18 Jul 1992|
|32||Doraemon Movie: Nobita no Takarajima||5.37||3 Mar 2018|
|33||Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo||5.30||17 Nov 2012|
|34||One Piece Film: Gold||5.18||23 Jul 2016|
|35||Pokemon Movie: Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai||5.02||15 Jul 2007|
|35||Doraemon Movie: Nobita no Getsumen Tansaki||5.02||1 Mar 2019|
|37||Pokemon Movie: Kesshoutou no Teiou Entei||4.85||8 Jul 2000|
|38||Pokemon Movie: Giratina to Sora no Hanataba Sheimi||4.80||19 Jul 2008|
|38||One Piece Film: Strong World||4.80||12 Dec 2009|
|40||Pokemon Movie: Arceus Choukoku no Jikuu e||4.67||18 Jul 2009|
|41||Pokemon Movie: Nanayo no Negaiboshi Jirachi||4.50||19 Jul 2003|
|42||Detective Conan Movie: The Hellfire Sunflowers||4.48||18 Apr 2015|
|43||Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko||4.47||13 Jun 1994|
|44||Coquelicot-zaka kara||4.46||16 Jul 2011|
|45||Doraemon Movie: Nobita no Nankyoku Kachikochi Daibouken||4.43||4 Mar 2017|
|46||Pokemon Movie: Rekkuu no Houmonsha Deoxys||4.38||17 Jul 2004|
|47||Pokemon Movie Black: Victini to Shiroki Eiyuu Reshiram||4.33||16 Jul 2011|
|48||Majo no Takkyuubin||4.30||29 Jul 1989|
|48||Pokemon Movie: Mew to Hadou no Yuusha Lucario||4.30||16 Jul 2005|
|50||Lupin III vs. Detective Conan: The Movie||4.26||7 Dec 2013|
When it comes to number of studio appearance on the Top 50 Anime film in Japan of all time (in terms of box office revenue) Studio Ghibli tops the list at 12 appearances with 24% of the share with its best film ever being of course, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. OLM has the second most appearances at 11, 22% of the share with Youkai Watch Movie: Tanjou no Himitsu da Nyan! leading its list of movies here at 7.8 billion yen (≈58.68 million USD). TMS Entertainment whose popular works are mainly with the Detective Conan film series comes in 3rd at 8 appearances, accounting for 16% of the share. The studio’s best film here is Detective Conan Movie: Halloween no Hanayome at 9.88 billion yen (≈74.33 million USD). Interestingly enough, both MAPPA and ufotable only have one each and despite the very few turnout, both studios are high up on the list with ufotable’s Kimetsu no Yaiba Movie: Mugen Ressha-hen at record high while Jujutsu Kaisen 0 Movie sits in at Number 9 (refer to the chart here for the full breakdown).
Note that the number of appearances corresponds to the Top 3 studios but the share in terms of total box office revenue are different. Here, Studio Ghibli earned the most at 141.18 billion yen (≈1.06 billion USD) for all of its 12 films combined on the Top 50, putting its share at a high 30.80%. OLM is right behind at 59.49 billion yen (≈447.55 million USD), 12.98% of the share while TMS Entertainment is at 58.04 billion yen (≈436.64 million USD), accounting for 12.66% of the share. As for the rest, CoMix Wave Films with 3 appearances mainly for its films: Kimi no Na wa., Tenki no Ko and Suzume no Tojimari is 4th at 48.74 billion yen (≈366.68 million USD), 10.63% of the share. Toei Animation is 5th at 41.13 billion yen (≈309.43 million USD) mostly due to its One Piece films, taking up 8.97% of the share. Then, we have ufotable at Number 6 and MAPPA at Number 9 (refer to the chart here for the full breakdown).
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Anime Box Office Revenue Trend
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