~A Fantasy All Too Affected by Reality~

I’d like to talk today about a topic that doesn’t pop up too often on Ogiue Maniax, something that in the eyes of a number of otaku is about as far from anime fandom as you can get: sports.

Well not exactly. Recently I’ve noticed that in addition to rooting for the players they like or the teams from their hometowns, people have been watching sports a new way, the fantasy sports way.

Fantasy sports are basically online games where you build teams based on real life athletes and try to win as many games as possible in a given season. It’s kind of like an RPG, only your characters’ stats are influenced by the players’ performances in real life. If the star of your fantasy team gets injured in a real game, he’s off your roster as well.

The result is that you have people who keep up with sports not only so they can cheer for their team, but because they want to see how the events of the real world will affect their chances of winning their own game. It creates this extra agenda that while similar to just plain old betting and gambling on sports games, is actually more involved as the fantasy sports enthusiast has some level of control over his own team. If an athlete is injured, it’s up to the player to choose who to substitute. It’s an attempt to control the chaos in a way that reminds me of mahjong.

Is this really a bad way of watching sports? I don’t really think so, especially if that’s not the only reason they watch, but it does provide an interesting new dimension to the art of spectating. It’s also probably the closest thing a lot of sports fans will ever get to activities like writing fanfics and drawing fanart. The attitude and mindset of someone who watches sports with his fantasy team in mind is similar to that of an otaku watching an episode of an anime series with the intent of using whatever they find in that episode to fuel their fan works . Just as one might anticipate the latest episode of Bleach to have some fancy new outfits to inform their cosplay, so too do fantasy sports players tune in to the Nets vs the Jazz.

“Tune in.” Do people still say that?

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4 thoughts on “~A Fantasy All Too Affected by Reality~

  1. This is what I hate about this hobby the most. In the end, some people don’t watch anime for the sake of anime alone, they watch anime for the sake of cosplay, for the sake of making AMVs, fansubbing, blogging, fanfiction etc. You can say that it’s all part of the fandom, but fandom isn’t anime. Such people need to reexamine why they even watch anime.

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  2. I’ve seen this comparison before, but never with quite as much depth. Really, I suppose this shows that there’s a difference between being a “fan” and being part of a “fandom.” Fantasy sports moves into the latter realm rather quickly.

    Cheers.

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  3. Fantasy sports are alot of fun for a sport you like. It can keep you interested even if your particular team is doing poorly (I’m a Met’s fan, it happens often). It really exploded with the advent of readily available internet and free services like yahoo fantasy sports in the late 1990s. I guess it is kind of like fandom, but I need to think how it connects to anime fandom. Seem very different superficially at least. It is very stat based.

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    • In that case, you might want to consider those anime which lend themselves to stats, like Gundam or Fate/Stay Night, where numbers and letter grades are given for this and that attribute.

      The direct correlation between those shows and sports however come in the form of internet RPGs where people take out their favorite robots/whatever and use them to compete by upgrading/customizing. I know of at least two online games like that, though I don’t know remember/know their URLs, and if I recall correctly they tended to have more of a roleplaying aspect to them (you describe through both story and statistics what your next move will be).

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