Just over half a decade ago when LINE was created, everyone would want to be in a part of the sticker design community and anime industry was relatively quick in getting a spot. This has been long considered an underrated method of merchandising since the first wave of reception was mostly poor.
If you still don’t know what I’m talking about, allow me to give you a short course on what’s going on and why am I still writing about an online messaging app for my anime blog post!
It is fundamentally the same as your most favorite online messaging app (given that it isn’t already LINE). There are however a few characteristics which settled LINE as fan’s favorite and in some extreme cases, the anime industry’s primary choice of possible brand placement when it comes to the category of online messaging applications.
1 — Its Origin
LINE is created by the Japanese themselves. Though I do not actually have to say more about the app’s popularity within the country, the remaining points will further enlighten the fact that when it comes to online social life in general and not just instant messaging, there is indeed no other application coming close to LINE for the Japanese people.
2 — Its Design
LINE was definitely first designed to be a direct-message type of communication application in order to conform with technological evolution, which at that very time was the sudden emergence of smartphones. The application later went through countless trials and errors so that it could adapt to the ever-changing lifestyles of its target demographic, which we now know all too well—are anywhere from early teenagers to late adults.
Now, the most important part of this point is how LINE managed to add other ‘social’ features into the application; they are exactly the same things/same utilities you can find on most popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The application finds very little trouble fitting into the social networking ecosystem despite clearly being a messaging app before a true profile & timeline type socializing base whereas the most popular ones went the other way around from profile & timeline based socializing network to later have direct messaging utility added.
Not that it matters much because just like how Facebook was a decade behind LINE when it came to messaging utilities; LINE is behind everyone else when it comes to social networking necessities other than direct messaging. The proof is still valid today as Twitter takes over Japan as the most popular social networking platform for the Japanese.
Sorry Facebook, but you simply do not have enough kawaii.
The Japanese could have easily stick with Twitter and chat via its DM feature, but the next point comes off as a clear deal-breaker for them.
3 — Its Creative Presentation
For anyone who has familiarized themselves with LINE, seeing a huge amount of stickers would no longer freak them out as they would simply be treated as extra chunk of words in black pixels. This is also the part that we begin to witness inside anime more often than ever! Hooray!
If you think that Facebook is being revolutionary with the use of stickers then I humbly welcome you aboard on the 2000-late ship. LINE has this massive foundation of stickers creation to the point that a community has formed, eventually becoming a business for many individuals and companies.
You can legitimately make profit as a sticker and/or theme designer. Better yet, LINE is not keeping the fine details to themselves as many little things are laid out on the mat for you to read, given that you actually care about becoming an artist to make a living.
4 — Its Potential for Business Partners (i.e anime production committees)
Creators receive 50% of sticker and theme revenue (after deduction of the 30% fee charged by Apple, Google, etc.).
It does not look like a sexy figure for you, who would most likely be working solo. But take this moment to think about what it would actually mean for the anime production team which can easily influence millions of people in a short time span, better yet in multitudes when anime series actually have incredible reception?
That’s right, let us take this chance to scout through some of the already existing merchandises in a form of LINE themes and stickers, from many anime titles in the past.
First up we have Toei Animation participating in the creation of official theme for Sailor Moon. I happen to just screen shot those of Jupiter because I know of a certain someone who would never bat eyes on her.
And yes, because I now live in Thailand, all prices are in Thai Baht (THB). Let me tell you that the price shown on most sticker set is equivalent to just under US$1.
That is correct, less than a dollar! Give me a good reason as to why you wouldn’t want to chat to your friends with your absolute favorite stickers for show?!
Unless of course, that reason being you do not use LINE.
Oh and Jupiter’s theme is $3. She is either that valuable or maybe Toei is just ripping their fans off.
Assuming that a million people have bought this theme, Toei would easily make just above a million dollars. And even then, guess what — Jupiter is not the only sailor, yo!
Back to stickers…
Next up we have official stickers from various anime shows. There are seriously too many so I will just have to show a few:
Shirobako volume 3 (yes, there are three volumes for this show).
AHO-GIRL — Get some of this stupidity (haha).
Gabriel Dropout — I would buy this just for Satania, really.
Little Witch Academia
And here are some of the other titles I could not be bothered to accompany them with screen shots:
- Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works
- Bleach (English version)
- Sword Art Online
- The Idolm@ster
- Haruhi Suzumiya
Stickers Business Today
The same old practice of selling anime stickers is obviously alive and well, having seen Animegataris kicking it back to life this year. I am not sure if another show has done it old style so please do tell me if you can find them because that is basically a proof of growth in the business side for LINE.
You would be surprised on how not even Tsuki ga Kirei has official stickers within the app despite having heavily featured it. I’m happy to tell you that the second show in 2017 to have shown off LINE’s capability in both inside and outside the world of anime, has indeed make a unique move in merchandising.
Come Just Because! and its line-up of official stickers used by the characters within the show — not your typical stickers for anime.
Designed by FOA/Just Because! production committee, these stickers are up for sale so that even you can chat like your favorite guy/girl. And yes, each set is of the exact same price: just little near a (US) dollar.
Please do not get me wrong here. I am not affiliated with these guys; I just want to share my experience of having witnessed this movement with you!
Now IF you are active on LINE and are also interested in having stickers of your waifu, feel free to purchase them and actually contribute to the commercial success of this show. Both you and Just Because! team are clearly profiting.
To my late surprise, Ena does not have her personal sticker set despite easily being the most active on the phone. Though I’m damn sure that even the committee knows how much having Ena’s sticker set on sale would impact their profit.
It all becomes more convenient for us anime fans to discover anything and everything anime related—the things we all live for. Someone has to start it; and in this case somebody has to restart what is already a thing in the past. Hopefully bigger social networking platforms like Facebook can catch up onto the growth in anime industry as clearly nobody wants to be left behind in opportunities for profit. Make it an even bigger business where both consumers and producers can be happy giving and taking.
At least right now, we have LINE, a Japanese subsidiary-made application, leading the move. I honestly cannot wait to see what other possibilities social networking utilities can lead us to when it comes to anime.
Thank you for reading and have a good one. ^_^
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