It's no secret to fans that the scope of the anime industry has undergone massive changes over the last few years. As anime becomes more readily available through legal streaming services, it's getting harder for an anime to put its best foot forward for physical releases. It used to be that a physical release of an anime would be the only way a fan can watch through their favorite series, and those who are behind the scenes have definitely noticed a shift in how fans are watching. In a recent interview with Monsters and Critics, High School DxD producer Satoshi Motonaga opened up about how this change has affected the anime.
With the shift to streaming services, Motonaga reveals that this has had an impact on the sale of the series as each new season of High School DxD has seen less of a return on physical sales. But he also noted that this isn't a problem exclusive to the mega popular ecchi action series.
As Motonaga explained, "I think this phenomenon is not limited to Highschool DxD. It kind of changed the anime industry as a whole. Traditionally, about 80 percent of revenue came from Blu-Ray and DVD sales, but with the shift in infrastructure — streaming websites and SVOD services — it really kind of fragmented the market so I'm really feeling the impact of that shift right now."
But Motonaga has a strategy for this shift in sales figures as he believes the main draw of the physical releases can still be the series' uncensored content, "I think as a fundamental concept a lot of what we do in this anime can't be aired or broadcast on TV. It's kind of a necessity that we shift a lot of that content and it adds a kind of bonus to the fans and the uncensored Blu-Ray/DVD release, which is why that has accounted for 80 percent of our sales. I think that is kind of a big draw to this genre itself."
The anime has also done well outside of Japan, especially with the new season of the series, "Our impression is certainly that this title is a very strong title outside of Japan. I think the sexy [ecchi] genre is kind of shrinking in the Japanese market. Not that we are specifically making this for the foreign market, it just naturally seems to resonate really well. There's always going to be a core fanbase but sales-wise I think it's safe to say the Western markets are becoming a lot stronger in terms of this type of content."
But while the market for High School DxD might be shifting, Motonaga is still holding out hope for more of the anime in the future. When it be a new season or even a feature film, fans would certainly love to see the series and its fan service again someday.
Originally conceived as a light novel series written by Ichiei Ishibumi with illustrations by Miyama-Zero for Fujimi Shobo's Dragon Magazine in 2008, High School DxD follows a boy named Issei Hyodo who is best known for his perverted ways. After being asked on a date, the boy is killed when the girl turns out to be a fallen angel. Issei is revived by a busty classmate of his named Rias who is a devil herself, and she contracts the boy to become her new pet as she reincarnated him into a devil during his resurrection. The series is currently four seasons total, and the full run can be found streaming on Crunchyroll and FunimationNOW.