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Why Western Folklore has yet to Captivate the Anime World?

(Last Updated On: March 15, 2023)

Have you noticed that anime series based on East Asian folklore and mythology, featuring creatures like yokai and kami, have been taking the anime world by storm lately? From the legendary Inuyasha to the captivating The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague, these anime have amassed an enormous fan following, piquing the curiosity of viewers about the rich culture and traditions of East Asia. But what about Western folklore? Despite the plethora of myths and legends from the West, anime inspired by them often fail to garner as much attention as their Eastern counterparts.

It’s fascinating to ponder why anime enthusiasts seem to have a lukewarm response to Western folklore-based anime. The likes of The Seven Deadly Sins and Burn The Witch, though they possess impressive action-packed sequences and captivating storylines, haven’t made as much of a lasting impact compared to anime series featuring East Asian supernatural entities like Jujutsu Kaisen and Bleach. But why is that?

Perhaps it’s because the allure of Eastern myths and legends has always held a certain exoticism and mystery for Western audiences, whereas Western folklore is more familiar to viewers. However, it’s important to recognize that Western folklore is just as captivating and has an immense wealth of supernatural beings and stories waiting to be explored. From the terrifying werewolves of European folklore to the mischievous fairies of Celtic mythology, there is an incredible array of material for anime creators to draw upon.

It’s time to push for more anime series that delve into the fascinating world of Western folklore. Not only would it introduce viewers to a different cultural perspective, but it would also be a fresh take on a genre that has been dominated by East Asian folklore. Who knows what kind of captivating stories and characters can be brought to life through the lens of anime? The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to the creators and fans alike to embrace and celebrate the diversity of folklore and mythology from all around the world.

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East Asian Folklore: A Captivating Experience for Audiences through Familiarity and Exposure.

Anime is more than just a form of entertainment; it’s a thriving industry that generates revenue through manga, merchandise, and special events. To ensure their success, anime studios carefully research the latest trends and interests, particularly those that resonate with Japanese viewers. It’s no wonder that shows like Inuyasha and Jujutsu Kaisen have captured the hearts of Japanese fans, as they draw inspiration from the rich and diverse folklore of their own country.

For instance, take the first season of Demon Slayer, where Tanjiro Kamado and his companions are pitted against a family of demonic spiders. The mother spider’s character design is based on the jorogumo, a well-known yokai from Japanese mythology. Jorogumo is a demon spider that can shape-shift into a seductive woman and lure men into her grasp. Similarly, in Jujutsu Kaisen, we see the concept of tsukumogami, which are objects that have taken on a spirit or entity. In the series, these objects become possessed by malevolent spiritual energy, wreaking havoc on humanity.

One possible reason why shows like Demon Slayer and Jujutsu Kaisen are so popular among Japanese viewers is that they tap into the deep-seated cultural knowledge and familiarity with folklore that has been passed down from generation to generation. This creates a powerful sense of nostalgia and connection to their cultural roots, making it all the more engaging and enjoyable to watch.

On the other hand, a series like The Seven Deadly Sins may be more challenging for viewers who aren’t familiar with the stories that inspired it. The show incorporates literary tropes from Arthurian Romance and features a group of knights representing the seven deadly sins in Christianity. However, for those who do have a background in these stories, The Seven Deadly Sins can be a thrilling and captivating experience that brings these age-old tales to life in a whole new way.

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Why doesn’t the enchantment of Western folklore find its way into anime despite its popularity?

In the world of anime, shonen series based on Western folklore are often revered for their exhilarating action scenes and clever use of fan service and comedy. However, when it comes to the genres of romance and slice of life, such as The Ancient Magus’ Bride and Sugar Apple Fairy Tale, they tend to be overlooked.

But why is that? It could be argued that these series suffer from not delving deeply enough into the fantastical world-building that inhabits these stories. Take The Ancient Magus’ Bride, for example. This series boasts a plethora of complex supporting characters, each of whom deserves their own side story. But in just a few episodes, it’s impossible to fully explore the intricate world and its characters, leaving storylines unresolved and potentially impacting viewer interest.

Despite this, Western folklore-inspired anime should not be disregarded. They have the potential to introduce audiences to fascinating Western lore and myths, often overlooked in mainstream media. For instance, Sugar Apple Fairy Tale showcases supernatural entities such as the fairy Shalle Fen Shalle, while Kamigami no Asobi features divine beings inspired by popular mythological gods and spirits, like Hades and Thor.

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Furthermore, these series offer a cultural exchange of knowledge, where viewers can learn about Western folklore and mythology. Just as foreign viewers get excited when learning about Japanese folklore while watching series like Demon Slayer, Western fans can also experience the thrill of discovering new and intriguing stories from other cultures.


In conclusion, while Western folklore anime may not have the same level of popularity as shonen series, it should be acknowledged as a sub-genre that can inspire curiosity and broaden cultural horizons. So, don’t overlook these hidden gems that offer a unique and exciting journey into the world of Western mythology.

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Arjun Arya
You have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don't leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.
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