When Gianni Sirgy sat down next to a classmate named Jeremy during 8th grade in Orange County, California, the last thing he expected was to launch a business with him four years later. After bonding over a love of cinematography, the boys grew to surpass 2,400,000 followers on TikTok and are now sharing their mission with the world: normalizing the consumption of anime in everyday media through their hilarious TikTok page, TheAnimeMen.
Most of us can recall the first time we truly connected with a stranger on a personal level, usually over a shared passion project. TheAnimeMen formed in various classrooms throughout middle school and high school bonding over TV shows, video games, and movies. The initial lineup includes Gianni Sirgy, Jeremy Yu, Ethan Chambers, Kaide Ward, Sam Giraud, and Aidan Santana, and the friends took a leap of faith at the end of their high school careers and turned to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and community.
When high school senior, Jeremy Yu, embarked on a personal journey towards weight loss through daily walks, Gianni Sirgy stood in solidarity next to his friend. During Yu’s workouts, the boys began to film lip syncing videos in attempts to get their friends to laugh and, soon after that decision, TheAnimeMen became a reality. Although the boys started the project under humble conditions, it became clear that they all had a passion for not only anime, but film making. Getting more people to join in on the shenanigans during Sirgy and Yu’s walks, the videos became more elaborate and intentional, clearly showcasing creative and innovative filming skills. Their passion for the subject and charismatic personalities generated a loyal following of like minded individuals, all of whom found humor in the boy’s anime commentary. Today, they have reached a striking 2.5 million followers on TikTok, accompanied by over 140M likes from all their videos combined.
Where most content creators are desperate for views and followers, TheAnimeMen come from a place of sincerity. Unlike many influencers we see across the digital landscapes, Their goals were never fame and fortune, but something more genuine. TheAnimeMen wielded their diversity as a friend group to empower the art of anime and amplify the community that supports them. The boys have never feared wearing elaborate costumes in public or hiding what they love. Put elegantly by Sirgy himself, “Things are only awkward if you make it awkward,” and confidence has never been a problem with these boys. There is no road they are not willing to travel for the sake of anime. The videos they make are authentic and their comedy never feels forced because the bond and love the group shares is evident. More than anything, their humor comes naturally. Because of this ability to authentically express themselves and their devotion to anime, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sony Music Entertainment Japan uses The Anime Men’s platform to popularize the consumption of anime music.
What started as a group of friends trying to find humor in the little things transformed into a creative project viewed all across the globe. Now on a mission to normalize the culture behind Japanese cartoons, TheAnimeMen are making significant strides to push anime into new audiences. Backed by the creative prowess of each individual, the group shows that there are no bounds on who should and shouldn’t love anime. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is passion and originality. Their modest start in the industry has allowed them to grow in ways they never thought possible, which is entirely propelled by their commitment to what they love most.