The Reduction of Localization of Anime on American Television over Four Decades

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: The Reduction of Localization of Anime on American Television over Four Decades
Stream: Media History
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Rae Suter, Shizuoka University, Japan


The importation of anime into the United States began in earnest in the 1980s, although a few titles were imported before that time. One aspect of this anime boom in the US that has not been explored fully is the process of localizing anime for American audiences, and gradual reduction of that process. Early anime was heavily edited and reworked to adapt to what the US distributors and producers thought the audience would accept. An extreme example of this editing is when two anime shows, Space Pirate Captain Harlock and Queen Millenia, were combined into a single anime show, Captain Harlock and the Queen of 1000 Years. Over four decades in the study, localization of anime has dropped significantly, to where localization of most shows has been minimized to only the necessary translation of the works. This study aims to determine the process of which anime has become less localized by analyzing the timeline of the anime imported into the US, especially for American television. Specifically, the study has looked at titles, English producers and translators, distributors, broadcasters, target audiences, adaptations, and character names from 125 anime television shows that were either on broadcast or cable in the US from 1963 to 2003.

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