A New Anime Renaissance Has Begun in North America

Ever since the premiere of Astro Boy on NBC in 1963, anime has appeared in the North American mainstream in spurts. From the arrival of Speed Racer in the United States in 1967 and Akira's U.S. premiere in 1989, to the global domination of Pokemon and the success of Cartoon Network's Toonami animation block in the late '90s, anime and anime-influenced cartoons have traditionally grabbed hold of the public consciousness stateside for measurable stretches of time.

This was truly was a banner year for anime's arrival in the American mainstream, and next year is looking to be even bigger. This year saw the ending of Dragon Ball Super's original Japanese airing, with the series' English dub scheduled to run into next year. That will be accompanied by the animated sequel film, Dragon Ball Super: Broly. And that's to say nothing of the series' protagonist, Goku, receiving a balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The revived Toonami extended its programming block to a full seven hours recently, with the latest Naruto series Boruto: Naruto Next Generations premiering this past September. Netflix has continued to expand its own anime offering, with Devilman Crybaby premiering this past January to widespread critical acclaim.

RELATED: Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Best Viewing (and Reading) Order

This year also saw an explosion in North American-produced animated series heavily influenced by anime. Netflix this year released the debut season of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, the last four seasons of Voltron: Legendary Defender and Season 2 of Castlevania. Even Star Wars is getting in on the anime-inspired action with its latest animated series, Star Wars Resistance, and a series of shorts aimed at retelling the franchise's history in Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventure. Anime is unavoidably a growing part of American pop culture, and next year looks to see that growth reach even higher heights.

Recently, Netflix announced that they were handling the American streaming premieres of classic anime series Ultraman and Neon Genesis Evangelion in spring 2019. Days later, Adult Swim announced they were entering a partnership with anime streaming site Crunchyroll to create Blade Runner: Black Lotus, an anime series set in between the 1982 original film and Blade Runner: 2049, helmed by Cowboy Bebop director Shinichiro Watanabe and slated to air sometime next year. Fresh off the news Castlevania would be renewed for a third season, executive producer Adi Shankar announced he was developing an anime adaptation of the popular video game franchise Devil May Cry.

NEXT PAGE: Anime Goes Live-Action in 2019 and Beyond

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