Ask John: How Popular is Outlaw Star in Japan?

Question:
Is Outlaw Star a popular show in Japan?

Answer:
Outlaw Star no longer has much significant fan following in Japan. The series was broadcast on late night Japanese television back in 1998 and earned average ratings for its time-slot, which means that its ratings were only half of those drawn by anime TV series broadcast in “prime time” early evening time-slots and only a tenth of the ratings of popular family programs like Detective Conan and Crayon Shin-chan. The series was popular enough to earn some support from the popular fantasy anime centered Dragon Magazine and get some soundtrack CD releases and a short manga series, but wasn’t successful enough to draw any significant long-time support. Like most anime TV series, Outlaw Star was mildly popular in Japan while it was still on air, but as soon as it ended, most Japanese fans forgot about it and moved on to the next new show. Perhaps the most telling indicator of the popularity of Outlaw Star in Japan is the fact that Takehiko Itoh, the creator of Outlaw Star, has stated that plans for more Outlaw Star animation are on indefinite hold while he and the other staff from the TV series work on other projects, a sure sign that there’s not enough demand for more Outlaw Star in Japan to warrant the production of any new animation.

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