The Anime Industry

not this shit again


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 NarutoBleach, 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 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

5 Comments on “The Anime Industry”

  1. hhmobius says:

    omgwwwwwww you’re back
    oh wait you posted in December didn’t see that

    I didn’t get to read Frog-kun’s original post, looks like he replaced it after getting a tongue-lashing from you oldfags.

    • flomu says:

      Yeah, I didn’t mean for that to happen… oooops. Reminds me of how some losers keep deleting their old blogs and stuff.

      Honestly I just wanted an excuse to put the top picture into a post.

  2. zas says:

    great blog. I think non-japanese otakus used te be more casual than hardcore compering to japan otakus. But still you can get otakus from both side. But I guess its a bit sad anime industry forget about foreign otakus, hope that can be change in future.

  3. jstorming says:

    Perhaps my standards for thoughtful posts are shamefully low-brow. Since froggykun has replaced his sprawling spiel with a succinct, cut-and-dry paragraph outlining his ideas, not much I can say since it’s been ages since I’ve read the original post. I thought I understood where he was going with things (the trend of making anime more insular and otaku-pandering being a negative thing for casual fans like myself) but I will agree that after reading your rant that the ambiguous definitions of otaku and casual fan do complicate the issue. I don’t nearly know any where close to enough about anime (or having even watched nearly enough) to make any grandiose claim about the anime industry as a whole but I admire froggykun for being plucky enough to try.

    • flomu says:

      Omo’s comment and froggykun’s response really highlight what went wrong with all of this. I, like Omo, felt that froggykun’s original post was just off somehow. It sounded far too ignorant and simplistic. Whereas Omo opted for his short and sweet comment, I decided to write something longer and focused on an example of what I felt froggykun had missed.
      But froggykun clearly took it the wrong way… instead of responding, he shut up. I would have liked him to keep up what he had and refine his arguments based on my post, omo’s comment, etc.

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