This is partly due to improved accessibility. Anime episodes are available on Crunchyroll and Funimation hours after they are broadcast in Japan. Many famous shows, like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” are available to stream on Netflix, which produces its own original anime, as well as other major streaming platforms such as HBO Max and Hulu. Fans look forward to seeing films like “Mugen Train” or “Promare,” which will be released in 2019.
The online buzz surrounding “Mugen Train” was palpable, particularly given that it was the largest in-person anime event since the pandemic began. Even if it’s via memes about people shouting out random TikTok or fandom-related words, TikTok posts leading up to and following the film’s release provide an insight into the anticipation.
Finally, “Mugen Train’s” popularity makes sense: it was a continuation of a successful, critically acclaimed series, and it was a big event for fans at a time when people are beginning to feel more relaxed going to the movies. It’s also a testament to anime’s wider status in American pop culture: “Mugen Train” is a smash international success, but it’s also making waves in the United States.