The Anime IndustryPosted: January 15, 2014 | |
Re: THE ANIME INDUSTRY IS DYING by Frog-kun
Frog-kun has written a post with a highly sensationalized title that aims to prove how and why the anime industry is dying. Too bad it’s written in such a sloppy manner, with all sorts of ideas thrown haphazardly into a pile of rant. I’m particularly interested in the opinions of jstorming, who commented:
A well-articulated post!
I don’t see anything well articulated here.
But I don’t want to keep on bashing Frog-kun. Instead, I want to focus on one portion of his post, where he talks about filthy casuals:
It’s ironic that anime, which has become such a massive global icon in recent years, is at its core an isolationist industry that is resistant to change. Anime hit its peak level of interest in the mid-2000′s – academics, anthropologists and anyone with an interest in modern Japan expected anime would help pave the way towards better international relations. But that hasn’t strictly happened. When the international anime fandom received its biggest boom with the popularity of Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Inuyasha etc. the non-Japanese fans were uninterested in otaku subculture or the Japanese culture in general and were only interested in creating their own subcultures through anime. This is where the huge proliferation of fanfiction and other online anime fan communities during this time came from. Yet as much as these fans loved and interacted with anime, they weren’t otaku in the sense of the word as it is generally understood today.
And that’s where part of the current problems in the industry lie. Anime was finally gaining widespread acceptance as a storytelling medium, rather than being known for its tentacle rape. No sane publicist was going to acknowledge the darker side of otaku culture – the part which draws so much from bizarre hentai fetishes and which is so often sexist and exploitative. Because most anime fans pick and choose which parts of the anime culture to accept and which to reject – because while during the anime boom otaku culture was conveniently put aside – the international fans invested more into anime without fully understanding what they were getting. It’s this misunderstanding which has fuelled the backlash from otaku themselves and has ultimately caused the industry to become so inward-looking.
Frog-kun makes a lot of assumptions here. First, he presents quite the elitist attitude towards the label “otaku,” claiming that people who write fanfiction of Naruto and other, more popular anime cannot be labeled as otaku. What, then, defines an otaku? The fat, sweaty white man at the bottom of fuckthisgayearth.com? Or somebody obsessed with the more niche/shunned circles of anime culture?
The problem here is that Frog-kun compares Japanese otaku culture to American casual anime culture. He claims that international fans are not really otaku, but instead just casual watchers who do not relate to the otaku culture of Japan. But, then, what is Frog-kun? Is he a casual anime fan or an otaku? That Frog-kun comes off as an expert in defining the word “otaku” shows otaku culture is alive and well in the English-speaking community. Furthermore, just as there are more casual anime fans in America and Singapore and wherever, there are also casual anime fans in Japan.
It’s ridiculous to be comparing 2ch with Naruto fanfiction writers, and then link that to what the Japanese anime industry is doing. How does any of this impact the actual industry? It doesn’t! If anything, the anime industry tries to balance the needs of the hardcore otaku and the mainstream fans in Japan. The international fanbase doesn’t even come into the picture, and if it did, it wouldn’t be much different than the Japanese fanbase. In both the East and the West, there are casual fans and hardcore fans, and there are anime being produced to satisfy the needs of both.
tl;dr Crappy post about an even crappier post