everything you need to know about anime in 2015

New York's Anime Research Group gives i-D its annual trend report.

by i-D Staff and Alice Newell-Hanson
27 May 2015, 7:55pm

They meet after hours in restaurants, cinemas and bars. They are artists, writers, and designers. (One of them could be sitting next to you right now.) They are… anime superfans! Founded in 2011 in the Brooklyn apartment of LA-born artist Michelle Ceja, Anime Research Group is a loose-knit group of diehard fans of Japanese comic books, animated movies and TV shows. While members come and go, the group's unifying spirit of not only fandom but also academic rigor remains. Their goal: to spread their love for anime while also investigating the genre with a seriousness it doesn't often attract.

The Creators Project: Julie Watai's Manga-Inspired Photography

Crucial to this mission is a series of monthly screenings in New York, which provide a public platform for the full spectrum of anime's weird and wonderful subgenres. (The next screening, of the 2004 cult classic Mind Game, will be this Friday, May 29.) Also on the group's agenda: developing a moe character to represent their brand, working on anime OST mixes, writing essays about their research and finalizing plans for a party in New York to celebrate akihabara otaku culture (essentially: anime nerd culture).

Ahead of this week's screening, and to celebrate the group's third anniversary, its members present us with their official 2015 Anime Trend Report: a roundup of everything that's on the up in anime right now.

J-Pop Groups
A new wave of animes follow the adventures of real-life J-Pop idols. AKB0048, below, is based on the Japanese mega group AKB48, which has 140 members and its own themed cafe in Tokyo.

Sports manga have been around since the mid-1940s, but new additions to the genre include animes about swimmingcycling and the hyper competitive world of professional ping-pong (like Ping-Pong, below).

Food has always been lusciously represented in anime, but since last winter it's been trending harder than ever. A new anime, Food Wars, takes the dining experience to NSFW levels.

Otome games
More and more anime are taking their plots from "otome games" — video games with romantic storylines and male leads that range from boy bands to vampires. Anime based on "BL games," like Dramatical Murder, below, feature boy-on-boy <3.

Anime about anime
Anime about characters who strive to be in the manga industry (mangaka) are on the rise. Meta!

Promotional anime
In a bid to improve its public image, the Japan Self-Defense Forces (essentially the Japanese military) recently put out a cutesy 20-minute anime. See also this short anime sponsored by the Japan Agriculture Organization to promote the sale of Japanese domestic meat. It's not subtitled but you get the point...

VICE: The Japanese Military Is Getting Offensively Cute

Watch 'Mind Game' on Friday, June 29 at 8PM, at the Davenport Theatre, 354 West 45th Street.


Text Alice Newell Hanson and Anime Research Group (Michelle Ceja, Cameron Cook, Lauren Albert, Elliott Wright, Johann Diedrick, Fei Liu, Aaron Kolfage and Amina Olivero)
Still from AKB0048

michelle ceja
anime research group