Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest Published: April 11th, 2018
Today we have an article from Anime Herald to deal with. Apparently, Aniplex of America’s panel at Anime Boston on March 31st, 2018 was “disgraceful”. Why am I covering this? Well I did say mainstream outlets would start nitpicking everything that is “wrong” with our hobby didn’t I. Now it seems anime-focused outlets are joining in on the action too. I think it is important to cover these articles as the scenario against geeks and nerds is framed over time so we have a good idea of how we came to where we are and what we can expect ahead.
When the article starts, it criticises the panel and how it was handled, making the argument that it was unprofessional. That’s okay, everyone has their opinions and it those seem this particular presentation would leave people with mixed feelings depending on whether or not you prefer a more friendly or professional approach to panels. Then things get ugly. The author criticises the marketing pitch made for Eromanga Sensei where the presenter said “It’s a great show! You just have to look past the (coughs) questionable stuff!” to which the article responds “Note that, if you have to beg people to look past some genuinely ugly things in a show, it’s probably not worth their time.” completely ignoring that this was obviously a joke and not meant as actual pleading with the customers to buy the title; although, I suspect the writer knows this and chose to ignore the facts to suit her article’s agenda.
Then we come to where the real whining begins. Here is an excerpt from the article:
But anyway, it was at this moment that someone three rows behind me decided to yell “INCEST IS WINCEST!”, again, leading to a not-insignificant amount of laughter from the crowd. The host did nothing to shut it down, did nothing to really address that we had a creeper in our midst. They just smiled and continued.
Apparently, enjoying a comedy about incest is enough to be considered a “creeper” now and also, the host of the panel somehow has a moral imperative to stop their attendees from actually having harmless fun and enjoying the products actually being advertised. Because nothing makes a great sales pitch like “Yeah, we’re selling you this, but have some shame and don’t tell anyone you actually like this stuff.” This attitude is amazing from someone who started the article by saying:
Before we begin, I’d like to note that this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been covering industry panels since 2003. I’ve seen some strange stuff over the years, and I’ve grown a fairly thick skin, meaning a lot rolls off my back. Don’t call me a “snowflake,” and don’t say “I need to grow a sense of humor.” I’m pretty well versed in the art of letting things slide.
Someone saying “I have a thick skin but…” should always be considered a red flag.
Then the host moved on to Owarimonogatari and decided to call for “Waifu wars” among the attendees. Regardless of how you feel about the quality of the pitch, it is normal for the host to try and reach the intended audience and this type of fan banter is pretty normal among the community too. And lets face it, would anyone have even raised a complaint if this had been a show targeted at girls asking for them to choose the best guy? Anyways, the crowd seemed to respond and were participating. People we’re actually enjoying themselves. This is when the article’s writer decided to leave the panel altogether in a silent fit with a severe case of being offended. Honestly, it might have been for the best. When everyone is enjoying themselves and one element insists on a no-fun policy, that person leaving is usually best for everyone involved.
Back to the article, its at this point, when she left, that she writes:
At that point, I was done. Without a word, I shut my laptop, rolled my eyes, and walked right the hell out. I might have missed something during this, but I didn’t give a rat’s butt at the moment. I’m here to work, not to deal with some industry rep elevating some of the very worst elements of our fandom from behind a table.
Basically, advertising products you’re selling and trying to appeal to its actual audience is “Elevating the worst elements of our fandom”. I did say it didn’t I? That these people are not here just to complain but that they actually consider elements of our fandom “problematic” and will actively attempt to damage or remove them. Well here we are and with this statement the author of this piece pretty much says that these types of series should not be marketed to their potential audience, that said audience should not be acknowledged and kept on a tight leash and pretty much stopped short of asking for the product itself to simply not be made anymore (But lets face it, this is where they are going with this). Just in case you misunderstand what the article thinks of the harmless fun the audience was having, here’s the follow up:
I refuse to help to normalize this crap. I refuse to allow disgusting behaviors to fester and boil with the tacit wink and nod from one of the industry’s biggest players.
Behavior control ladies and gentlemen. This is what they are after and I said so from the start. Establishing acceptable and unacceptable behavior so as to control the hobby.
In the past I had said conventions would become more professional and corporate minded as the mainstream push continues and that this would be a loss for the fanbase. The article on the other hand, makes the case that panels should basically be advertising slideshows:
All of the imploring, the ignoring, the winks and nods, they shouldn’t be happening from your position as a corporate representative. This juvenile behavior should not be normal within this context… and yet, here we are today.
I warned people about anime becoming mainstream, that with it new “expectations” would follow and we would no longer be allowed to be ourselves. Again, from the article:
Anime is huge business nowadays. Netflix and Amazon fight for our dollars, and organizations like Sony Pictures TV are buying into players like Funimation for mega-bucks. Adult Swim is bankrolling shows like FLCL: Progressive and FLCL: Alternative, and we’re seeing more and more money flowing into the industry from the west.
Heck, Crunchyroll alone has more than a million paying subscribers, and contributed $100 million in royalties to the industry.
At this point, you need to step back, and realize that the anime world is composed of more than just the folks who share “best grill” memes, and the people who proclaim “It’s OK because the characters are fictional!”
Basically anime is mainstream now, so don’t you dare actually try to market a niche show to a niche audience or worst yet, actually acknowledging that audience.
Again, if you want to know what these “people” think of non-mainstream otaku:
You’re not being the cool host when you pander to these elements. You’re not being “the hip host” for endorsing some of the fandom’s most objectionable mindsets. You’re just helping to spread this disease that’s been growing beneath the surface for decades.
Got that? Disease! That’s what you are to them. But the reality is we were all part of this fandom (Fans of all series and both genders) and have been for a long time and we all got along. Its them, the “mainstream” establishment who have decided we simply can’t get along anymore. The reality is, they are the infection that is trying to force itself into our hobby and they are the disease. Make no mistake, new fans of all types are welcomed and it doesn’t matter what type of anime you enjoy (popular, niche, artsy… whatever suits you) but if you are an agent of a politically minded group who seeks to “reinvent” the hobby and the fans, then please go spread the “word” somewhere else. Much like at that convention, we’ll all have a better time once you’re gone; and hopefully, the door won’t hit you on your way out.
For further reading on this trend:
Source: Article Image: Aniplex USA’s Twitter