Based on a number of factors, from columns in anime magazines to forum posts, from knowing people both online to talking offline, I realize that when it comes to understand the larger trends at work in something we might call “anime fandom,” all I know is that I know nothing.

There may have been a time when those willing to discuss anime are the ones driving the industry, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. That’s just how it is: the casual will always outnumber the hardcore, and there’s nothing wrong with this. I have a relative who reads manga and watches anime with some frequency, but I doubt I would ever see him discuss it on a forum or go to an anime chatroom. When you go to a con, what you’re seeing are those who are dedicated enough to make the trip, and it’s not even necessarily a dedication to anime so much as it is to the trip and the event itself.

To understand what anime fandom as a whole is like is probably the key to success for anime companies in the US, so I’m not going to even pretend to answer when many others with more information have probably tried. This is more a personal reminder that as much as I study and discuss and enjoy anime and its fandom in one or two or even a thousand directions, there’s still infinite angles.


8 thoughts on “Otacrates

  1. I wonder what it takes to be a “hardcore anime fan” though?

    Having lots of merchandise, and being able to flaunt it or at least show it to other people?
    Having anime-related hobbies like drawing and such?
    Watching niche shows that only a few people watch?
    Or simply watching every show you can get your hands on, grabbing any media you can see, and relating anime to your daily life? (See the Genshiken crew.)

    Don’t know for sure, but… the definition seems pretty broad…


  2. I like this post. It’s a fundamental concept that I share with many others but sometimes I take it for granted. Sometimes some people don’t understand this and I jump this logic gap.


  3. This is more a personal reminder that as much as I study and discuss and enjoy anime and its fandom in one or two or even a thousand directions, there’s still infinite angles.

    I hope you also look at it in terms of there’s an infinite amount more of interesting things to learn. :3

    You continuously manage to hit me good with these observations, since while I have some of them, I tend to keep them at the back of my mind and forget about them. Your posts help keep me grounded, so to speak. :P


  4. It is a good observation.

    Too many of the companies that have visited conventions (usually only AX and SDCC) and extrapolated from that snapshot, leading to those (seemingly) quarterly pushed puff pieces in various home video and retail trade magazines about how ‘hot’ anime was, how HUGE the market had become, millons, no BILLIONS of Dollars spent, even more WAITING to be spent.

    The Japanese falling for the lie harder than anyone, but they’ve been doing that since the 1980 SDCC, if I recall rightly.

    And the cold truth is for all the bodies at AX, only maybe 5% of that crowd were buying the DVDs…


  5. tl;dr: WE DON’T KNOW SHIT

    I don’t know shit, you don’t know shit.

    All I know is that very few would have the moral integrity to buy stuff, and the rest would try to justify not buying under various reasons that don’t hold water when exposed.

    The truth is, we’ve become a selfish lot. Entitlement culture and whatnot.

    I hate to admit it, but even I can’t claim to be hardcore enough to fit the definition, assuming there is a definition. And I’m not exactly considering myself hardcore.


  6. I feel one of the main problems is with any large problem people usually only see the small world around them and assume that this represents everything. When an individual makes this mistake it’s human nature. Most of us are not crazy/dedicated enough to take the time to get a bigger picture. We do the best we can with our experiences are try to extrapolate the rest.

    You have released the Zen state where you have enough perspective to realize you lack of perspective. I feel that is the first step to any true understanding.

    I feel companies on the other hand have the time and money to have a broader perspective than you or I but maybe I am just giving their marketing departments more credit than they deserve.

    I am currently working on a little project on my blog to interview people with their otaku experiences and try to gain a greater insight into the greater whole of anime fandom. I never expect to see a complete picture just a broader one.


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