The Day After

As I write this Japan is still experiencing the effect of aftershocks and bracing themselves for possible additional damage due top more tsunamis and their crisis with the nuclear reactor. But just like the fact the sun also rises the Japanese people will recover and things will go back to normal. That which is lost will be mourned, things that are broken will be fixed, and the maybe even some light will be shed on existing problems so they can be improved upon. It might seem trivial faced with such current events but I still think questions about the entertainment industry are relevant. My question is what sort and long-term impact will this tragedy have on the Japanese entertainment industry that we are fans of.

The first question that comes to my mind is will we see an increase in apocalyptic anime. I remember an essay in Mechademia that proposed the idea that there is so much apocalyptic anime produced due to the fact that Japan is no stranger to disasters as it is regularly hit with earthquakes and tsunami as well as being the only nation to suffer an atomic attack. While there is still apocalyptic anime being made it is no longer as prevalent as it has been in the past. This leads to the question will this tragedy reawaken the Japanese fascination with the end of the world or will it cause such material to be too painful to produce. My other major question is if moe will be effected by recent events. In many ways moe can be seen as a form of escapism in which the viewer takes shelter in a gentle world. Will recent events make otaku retreat further into a land of dreams and ataraxia or will this prompt a desire for entertainment that reflects the nations current hardships?

My theory is that we will see a short time resurgence in the moe boom. Right now I think otaku want to retreat further into their comfortable world while such anxiety is looming over them. But in a few years I am guessing that when everything has gone back to normal and the damage is cleared away we will see the greater effects of this tragedy has on the creators who have lived through it. I wonder if after they have had time to fully process the dame done to the country and then come to an understanding we shall see more works in the pipe that are influenced by recent events but that will take at least 2 years to really appear.

But I am hardly an expert on the Japanese mindset and socioeconomics. For that reason I am curious what you, the readers thoughts on this are considering the different backgrounds and experiences of our readers. What do you think will be the impact of the earthquake of March 11th 2011 on the overall output creative output of Japan?


8 thoughts on “The Day After

  1. Marina says:

    Aha, I like your musings on how this recent disaster will affect the animators and fans’ mindsets, and thus, anime itself. I would hope that we get more of an increase in the apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, and disaster anime since I usually find those to be very involved and absorbing. I already feel like there’s too much moe for the sake of moe anime out there, so would not like there being more of it in the upcoming seasons.

    • reversethieves says:

      Well if is going to take some time for this to really hit the industry. I am sure that shows coming out are in the pipe for easily up to 2 years in advance. Manga MIGHT have a smaller gestation time. So the ideas spewing forth from today might not be realized for years. I think in 15 years we will be able to clearly look back on the events of the March 11th and see the effects 10 years back with the powers of 20/20 hindsight. But sometimes we all try to play Hari Seldon to varying degrees of success. This is my attempt.

      I am curious if you have any thoughts on what the effect of such a horrible but monumental events will be.

      – Hisui

  2. MikeyDPirate says:

    Interesting. While I do agree that either we get more apocalyptic animes but due to the recently actions where episodes of Pokemon have been ‘postpone’ from air (along with another anime serires (that popular new magical girl one)) I don’t think we will see any apocalyptic animes any time within the year or so. Studios and stations will be a bit wary of producing anything like that within the year unless it already been made. We may see a bit less of these shows in the Summer or Fall season as Japan slowly begins to repair itself.

    Here is a kind of serious idea: What if we combine the two (Moe and Apocalyptic) into one series? It can be apocalyptic to reflect what has been going on but moe to help with that escapism that people want to do? The best of both worlds. haha

    • reversethieves says:

      I think the problem is the closest you are going to get is something like So Ra No Wo To. Moe’s main appeal is to be safe and soothing as an escape from worries and the pressures of modern Japan. Apocalyptic is all about worries and the pressures of barely holding on to what little is left. I suppose one could borrow from the others aesthetics but they are diametrically opposed in spirit. I guess a very clever person could use that juxtaposition to create something ala Higurashi but that would more more of the exception rather than the rule. Unless weirdness like Puella Magi Madoka Magica catches on.

      BTW this is all just my theory. I could be completely and utterly wrong.

      – Hisui

  3. Balloon Thief says:

    Intellectually musing about the future. I’m in.

    I see what you are saying about apocalyptic anime having a sort of mini boom in the next five years and how moe might also get a resurgence as well. When people are in a disaster like this, they want to either confront the truth(apocalyptic) or run away(moe). I personally see it leaning more towards happier story lines than brutal honesty but I guess thats more up to the people creating the anime.

    What I think would be interesting and hard to pull off is a slice of life story based upon this centering around different characters each episode. This could almost be thought of as a memorial to the incident. Yes this would be very easy to mess up by over dramatizing and spicing it up. If it is sincere though, it could be a great success.

    In the end though I don’t think it will force an extreme change in the anime industry. People get used to the common denominator. This may be negative but people always seem to eventually accept and forget about these events. For example 9/11 isn’t that big of a deal after 10 years to the majority of people.

  4. Maur says:

    Hmmm, as far as what will be produced, I have no idea, your guesses are probably accurate. What I’ve been wondering is how this will affect the industry as Japan’s economy is impacted. Anime/Manga have already been relapsing and I fear this might apply some extra pressure to incur even further shuttering if not collapse?

    • reversethieves says:

      Everything is so up in the air that I can’t see this being a good thing for any companies who were on the borderline between life and death. I hope this does not hurt the Japanese entertainment too badly but considering all the delays and cancellations it does seem that it is only going to get worse before it gets better in the industry. I can’t see a collapse but a few imprints of manga and some of the smaller anime companies might fade away in the next year without a doubt.

      – Hisui

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