Otaku Diaries Part 9: Anime in the year 21XX.

Anime has been a part of my life for this long; I can’t imagine not being entranced by anime.

Speculating on the future can be very tricky and the more complex the system you are trying to predict the harder it becomes to be accurate as anyone who understands chaos theory and the butterfly effect will attest. But as anime fans we continually try to speculate on the future of our hobby. What shows will come out next season, what trends will become prominent, what fads will fade away, what will get licensed outside of Japan, who will be voice actors on what shows, and a multitude of other topics are constantly a part of otaku conversations. We may be wrong and we may be right in varying amounts but we are always trying to see if we can guess where this crazy train called anime and manga is going.

In an surprising turn of events everyone said they’d more than likely still be watching anime in 10 years.  . . . well, I should hope so! This is the OTAKU Dairies afterall. But beyond the initial response, I found something interesting and possibly (unintentionally) pessimistic. A number of fans responded in the conditional form of  “yes, . . . if there are still good shows.” or something similar to that effect. At first it seems like an obvious response, but at the same time it makes me think “what makes you unsure there will be good shows?” However, it must be said that many more people said plainly “yes,” “absolutely,” and “why wouldn’t I?” And then there were a few in the affirmative but with a theory that they would be a more casual fan in the distant future. So while the short answer was a resounding aye, the things ticking below the surface were still diverse.

Even if I get married, have kids, move, get a new job, or the such there will always be room in my life for anime.

I suppose that anyone willing to fill out a survey this long is in it to win it. Therefore everyone seeing themselves watching anime in the future should be unsurprising. I see this hesitancy to say anything without caveat being partially to do with the chicken little syndrome that tends to be a part of anime culture. There is always someone going around saying that anime as we know it is dying forever. Compounded with a weak economy and some turmoil in anime production companies in the present, it can be easy to make people wonder in 10 years down the line will they still be making shows that will interest them. F0r most people taking the survey there will always be something from them to watch but I understand where this fear comes from.

The people who are kids now don’t really seem to be growing up into fans like me over time. They seem to just grow out of it entirely, replaced by new kids just like they were.

Once the current recession passes and they figure out how to [make] money out of online distribution, I think the industry will stabilize at a level where there’s still plenty of good stuff being produced.

I think fandom will continue for all of eternity . . . there will always be a new generation to pick [up] where the last one left off. It may be possible that the “older” anime fans will dwindle but there will be people like me to pick up for them.

The advent of a generation that is internet savvy will only lead to more access to anime with less appreciation for it.

It will be a little less the “in thing to do” that it seems to be now, and fall back into the hands of the fans who loved and supported it from day one.

Asking what the future of anime fandom is is a very broad question to put to people because it partially depends on where you think anime fandom currently is; whether it is health or not or what that even means; and how you yourself fit into the whole scheme of things. I actually learned a lot from the answers in this section. One sentiment that really got me thinking was this theory that the gap between older fans and newer fans would continue go widen, age-wise. There was a prevalent idea that young fans are coming into anime fandom and then instead of becoming older fans they are becoming non-fans; they stick with it for a while but drop out soon after college. So while I didn’t myself think of this, I really found myself following the logic behind it and was able to apply it to what I’ve seen and experienced.

As long as acceptable strategies are found for legal distribution for new series shortly after their broadcast in Japan, fandom might contract for some time but never lose its appeal. Maybe.

. . . then in fifty years our fandom will die of old age like sci-fi fandom is about to do.

I think there’s going to be a point where things all balance out. The moe fans will have stuff to watch, and the not-moe fans will have plenty to chew on, too.

Some of the short term fans who liked it because it was trendy are starting to drop off from what I’ve seen, and the popularity is starting to diminish slightly.

. . . a majority of these young fans will eventually grow to become financially independent and upwardly mobile adults who will have children of their own creating a generation of people that are more receptive to anime and more likely to disseminate anime throughout the culture.

An important question is how long do most people stay in any hobby when push comes to shove.  All hobbies will have fans who come in and leave due to a wide variety of factors. Is the ebb and flow of anime fans any different than fans of stamp collection, basketball, or even American comics? I can’t say what if any the difference is but I would be curious to see the numbers. As long as there is a steady stream of new fans there will always be some people who stick around to mature and expand their tastes. Opinions on the future of anime fandom ranged in optimism. There were predictions of everything from growth to utter collapse. Most of the participants felt that the bubble of anime and manga had burst and that there was still some normalization in the market to take place. Everyone seem to agree that anime adapting to online distribution was the key. How effective that would be and how quickly and effectively it could be profitable was a major point of contention. Most participants agree that the casual viewers would ebb and flow but there would always be a dedicated fans base that always carry the torch.

Continue reading


Otaku Diaries Part 8: Friends don’t let friends watch Akikan!

I still have a few friends that I knew before I was heavily into anime, but they are few and far between. Most of the people I consider my friends I did meet, in one way or another, through this medium.

Thomas Wolfe said “The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.” As an anime fan that is also a lonely person I think on that quote and wonder how alone am I in feeling alone? Is the otaku by nature a lonely beast? How much do anime fans have friends? How often do they watch anime with others? Do anime fans still go out there and try to recruit everyone they meet to get the word out about these amazing Japanese cartoons? Is there still reason to do that? I don’t think this will answer all of my questions but I do think we shed some much needed light onto how social the average otaku is.

Several days often go by wherein I don’t actually vocally speak at all. Before, back when I didn’t use instant messaging, I more or less had zero interaction with anyone.

I talk to my forum friends at least once a day. I feel that they are close acquaintances that I would get a long with if I met them in real life.

Ah, camaraderie. It was one of the first reasons I came to love the Internet in my youth. The ability to find like-minded individuals with your hobbies from all over the world and you didn’t even have to leave your room was a rather enticing prospect. And it certainly made many times less lonely or even expanded my knowledge. It also had the greater effect of making me appreciate when I could have those people or conversations face to face or watch that anime with another. Ideally you get to participate in both experiences because they both have positive attributes. I think anime fans want to be social for the most part, atleast social within a circle of people who they feel think like they do, and with the combination of technology and real life meetings, there is an outlet for it.

Continue reading

Otaku Diaries Part 7: Finding that special person to watch Whisper of the Heart with.

Anime factors in because I would like to be able to share things I love with a person I’ll share my life with.

We start off the new year with what everyone is really reading the otaku diaries for: dirty sex secrets.  Who is doing what to whom and if farm animals are involved. Well, actually, that is no where near what this part is about. This is mostly a look at the romantic relationships or lack thereof of the various participants. Like it or not there is a stereotype that otaku are mainly lonely, dateless losers who know more about how to win hearts in visual novels than they ever will about talking to a member of the opposite sex. But the survey found a wide variety of people answered from hardcore 2D girl proponents to those who were happily married to love em and leave em Lotharios. The only commonality most people had was that their stories were always extremely emotionally involving.

The answers in this section may be the most varied of them all. Our group of participants ran the gamut from new to the dating scene to downtrodden, rejection of dating to belief in true love, and still much more inbetween. And what resulted were answers that certainly are very personal but still they will resonate, some views more than others, but very much every type of person can be seen here. Heck, this may be the portion of the survey that goes to show most how much fandom is a mix of many different types of people.

Obviously an interest in anime would be a big plus, or even just someone who would be willing to be introduced to my interest, and in return I’d be interested in hers.

My ideal mate would be someone I would want to be friends with, not just lovers. Sexual compatibility would be necessary. I’d like a good sense of humor, too. Looks are not really important. God, that sounds so fake and self-effacing, the kind of thing you’d expect in a personal ad, but in all honesty I’d probably settle for anything with two X chromosomes and a heartbeat.

A young cute girl who’s totally accepting of all my flaws and willing to take care of me.

I was amused that no one said that they would not date another otaku. For all the posturing that some people put on their surveys I think everyone wanted someone to share their hobbies with. I think it is the clearest sign that the otaku who hate otaku idea is merely a defensive mechanism. 70 percent of the participants had a strong preference for dating someone who also liked anime and only 30 mentioned that it did not factor into who they would date but they always said that they would date another otaku if they liked other things about them. Other fans might occasionally annoy us but in the end we want to be with someone who understands that aspect of our lives.

In considering dating though I would give more weight to “long-term” versus “short-term”; perhaps I am merely naive on such matters, but I wouldn’t consider a “short-term” liaison a relationship in this sense. For various reasons, I’m far more interested in mutual respect than mutual lust.

I don’t consider “dating” at all. It is an entirely abhorrent concept and one that exists in American movies and TV shows. No one actually does that bullshit in real life, do they?

I would really have liked to see, concretely because we certainly had some more indepth answers, whether the people who listed anime fandom as unimportant had mostly dated non-fans. No one in this section seemed to be adverse to dating a fellow fan which is interesting because of some of the answers given in the section about the word “otaku.” Though there were no answers, or questions to answer, about how deep their mates love of anime should run. Perhaps some wouldn’t want to date another engrossed like themselves, just open to it. While others made it quite clear they wanted to share this passion, for good and ill, because it was such a huge part of their lives that there was no getting around it.

Continue reading