Author: Gabriel Persechino-Forest     Published: June 23rd, 2018

Acceptance vs. Mainstream

Since I wrote my series of 5 articles I have been accused of gatekeeping and elitism for not wanting the medium to become mainstream in spite of my insistence that I welcome new fans and that the anime community has also done so throughout its history. That is because to many, being mainstream is equal to being for everyone, being welcoming. Likewise, they mistake the culture and circles of niche hobbies as exclusive. This is understandable as the established culture and closeness of the community within such hobbies can be intimidating and one’s lack of familiarity can be mistaken for elitism by the community itself while in fact all it means is that it will take a little longer for you to familiarise yourself with the community, which is happy to welcome you.

As for mainstream, one has to understand that there is a stark difference between popularity and mainstream status. Whether stated or not, anything that becomes mainstream is expected to adapt itself to mainstream culture, that is what it really means to become mainstream: You lose your community’s identity to convert to mainstream standards which robs said medium of its unique cultural traits. Meanwhile becoming popular merely means that the amount of people interested in the medium as it currently is keeps increasing and the community is growing.

But I think that Shoko Nakagawa (Japanese pop star, actress, illustrator and TV personality) better conveyed what I mean when she said:

Shoko Nakagawa

I knew I was an otaku from a very early age…

At the time, the world wasn’t so accepting of me voicing my love for anime and manga, but now I’m happy to say that Japan and the rest of the world have embraced otaku culture and people are encouraged to share their passion.

One thing I find really interesting about this country is that you’ll see anime and manga titles as top trends on social media almost every day and there’s so much excitement about sharing otaku culture.

Otaku are really, really focused on what they like and I think it’s a wonderful way of living…

I think this perfectly illustrates the difference. Otaku want to share their hobby and community and allow others to appreciate what only their medium can offer. They love the medium and are passionate about it and want others to get to enjoy the unique aspects of this medium that they won’t get anywhere else; something which is not possible if the medium is changed and forced to adapt to a new code of ethics, conduct and culture. Doing so would simply make it the same as everything else that’s available and remove the very uniqueness that first drew people towards anime.

The mainstream media on the other hand wants anime to become mainstream; time and time again they have made articles talking about this fact and have accompanied those with articles talking about all that is “Problematic” with the medium, attacking the fanbase and accusing it of sexism, talking constantly about how anime “Isn’t just for geeks anymore” and so on… They don’t want to share anime, they want to change and mold it.

For reference on the media’s continued attempts to make anime mainstream, see these articles.

Source: Article Image: Kotaku


Political Correctness Gone Berserk

It seems that as time passes this system of social censorship known as political correctness gets worse and worse. Kirin Beverage posted an ad recently (Afternoon Tea Girl) depicting four different girls that might enjoy their drinks. While the ad was comical and not meant to be taken seriously, the perpetually offended couldn’t quite accept it. And so they did what they do best, the only thing they can do, they whined and cried and yelled until they got the makers of the ad to apologise.

Kirin Beverage Girls Ad

Shinichiro Watababe (Coyboy Bebop director) decided to reveal that he always keeps diversity in mind when creating his series and did so especially with Samurai Champloo, which he feared would be “Nationalistic” due to the samurai aspect:

Shinichiro Watanabe

I paid a lot of attention to skin color…

Also to using multiple languages. Lots of times when you watch anime, the characters have white skin — all the characters in fantasy stories all have white skin, which I never liked. I wanted to have lots of characters in Bebop without the white skin, and if people weren’t used to that, well, maybe it would even make them think a little bit about it. The same was true for languages. I wanted to have lines muttered in multiple languages, but that would have been just too difficult…

The anime does deal with samurai, and in the back of my mind I always worried it would be seen as nationalistic…

That is why I made one of the main characters someone from the Ryukyus, and put in the bit about a person training in China, and had foreign characters appear. If you watch the anime, it’s clear that i has nothing to do with it. It is not an anime designed to ‘protect Japan’s unique traditions and culture.’ National borders have always been arbitrarily drawn by people, and in ancient times there was a lot of exchange of people and culture with the continent.

While I agree about borders being arbitrary and irrelevant, I have to question why it is somehow problematic to appreciate a country’s unique culture and traditions. Then again, he talks of those who want to “Protect” it, whatever that means.

Anime UK News ran a review of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and somehow felt the need to bring Trump into it. Can’t even have reviews anymore without it being politicised. I can’t even fathom how Trump relates to a series that came out long before he ever was president.

Ian Wolf of Anime UK News

There is also a Mexican War in 2020 and a Second Korean War in 2024 – and the rate Trump is going, those may well happen.

Others seem to miss the point of bringing politics into everything and took to the forum to point out how pointless the comment was.

Anime News Network also had an answerman a little while ago that pretty much admitted that America has a major issue with sex and yet a major boner for extreme violence. Within the article, the author expresses his personal view on fanservice, which is fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion and tastes, and then adds the following:

Originally posted by Justin Sevakis

I draw the line when there isn’t anything else in the show – rote, extremely familiar genre stories and power fantasies where the obvious #1 (and #2 and #3 and #4) reason for its existence is endless fanservice? These are a bit more common each season and they’re very much not for me – and this is not an uncommon perspective (also, once you’ve dated for a while, it becomes a little clearer how unrelatable the poorer-written anime “romances” really are.) So you hear a lot of complaining about it.

The problem I have with this is that these series are obviously made for an audience that actually enjoys them and since more are made, there’s definitely an audience. When people don’t like sports they simply don’t watch sports series so I’m puzzled as to why people who don’t like sexually oriented series have to complain about their existence instead of, you know, avoiding them. I also can’t understand the line about the romance being unrelatable; these series are usually comedies designed to be absurd and the sex is the central focus, the romance is a pretext for comedy and sexual scenarios to occur and even most fans usually find the “Serious” romantic parts of these series more boring then the rest of the show. Given that absurd comedy and sex are the point, I fail to see how baldly written romances, often times intentionally, are a problem. Ultimately, sex has always been treated differently and it is being singled out not because a few people don’t want to watch it, but because a group of people have a political agenda that is anti-sex and repressive towards any that would openly enjoy it. Being afraid of sex but embracing violence seems like an unhealthy combo to me.

On the western side, SJWs complained about Avengers: Infinity War. You might wonder what could cause the offended brigade to lose it in a movie essentially designed with them in mind but then you have to remember that they have no life if they don’t have something to complain about. So apparently, Marvel girls don’t put their hair in a bun when they fight, which is obviously sexist. The fact that many Marvel male characters also have long hair in battle wasn’t relevant apparently, nor was the fact that they are now insane enough to start looking for micro-aggressive, cis-gendered, patriarchal offences secretly delivered through skilfully designed haircuts. The funniest part is the article’s title makes it sound like even they know that at this point, they are either just full of shit or batshit insane: Superheroes Don’t Wear Ponytails, and Yes, It’s Sexist.


AnimeGate Archive