Watching anime in 2019 isn't just normal, it's wildly addicting. Yes, and today there are a number of people whose face will be distorted if they are offered to watch this or that title. But compared to how it was 10 years ago, the current state of the anime fandom, not only in our country, but throughout the world, is radically different. But the anime itself has changed over time. And there are two points here. The first is that anime has become popular absolutely cool. And secondly, the fact that the anime itself has changed is a problem that is not so easy to see.
How it all began
In principle, in the West and here in Eastern Europe, anime entered the culture in almost the same way, but with the difference that this phenomenon reached us later, after the collapse of the USSR. The domestic fandom grew on many other titles than the western one. Although it is worth noting that in the Soviet Union there were cases when children [well, of course, drawn means for children] were shown anime. A striking example of the "Flying Ghost Ship" shown on Soviet screens in 1969.
But if we put the west as a counterbalance, where already in the 80s they played "Akira" and "Gundam", then this is not such an achievement. But there were similar moments in the development of these anime cultures, because what is it, that in our country they played "Sailor Moon" in 1996 and "Pokemon" in 2000. And just these two series became almost a revelation for many future domestic anime people. The community began to grow in the 2000s, anime was hard to come by, so titles came to the country one by one. There were several new animes that everyone watched and discussed. So these pictures added to the must-see list, which was published by the first anime sites.
You couldn't call yourself anime if you haven't watched one or another classic. It was such a secret initiation ceremony. "Bleach", "Naruto", "Fullmetal Alchemist", "Akira", "Tough Teacher Onizuka", "One Piece", "Elven Song" - all these and many other titles were included there. And with more anime appearing, the number of must-see titles you have to watch to get into the crowd has grown.
Such a fan environment was at one time, both in the west and in the east. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that today the division into real and not real fans [true otaku and casual] does not have such an important role, and more and more disappears.
Perhaps you know why things were like this. The community was small and disliked. Finding a like-minded person in such a hostile environment is as difficult as finding the anime itself. Fans were limited in their choice, as previously there was no way to quickly translate or make subtitles for everything. Because of this heavy approach, people only chose cool anime and wasted their time on it.
Being an anime fan used to mean being in a certain club, which was removed from others and many did not like. He had his own traditions, inner humor and a feeling that his members receive something exclusive, not available to other subcultures. What happened today?
In general, anime has remained true to its traditions, but the approach to it has changed. Largely due to the fact that seasonal anime has become fashionable. It has become more difficult to be part of the community, in order to stay in the subject you need to constantly watch new titles and track trends that are discussed in the party. It's become a habit, and the strangest thing is that the show is no longer running 3 fucking days after it came out! You have to constantly watch the trending anime of the current season in order to actively discuss it. It all turned into one endless cycle that has been going on for the past few years.
Whereas before there were must-watch starting points for the newbie, they knew exactly what was appropriate. Now, jumping headlong into the brown pool of the seasonal anime in the hope of finding nuggets, they risk turning the first experience into a negative one. It seems that if the first three episodes are fire, then the whole anime is like that. This is often not the case.
And as for me, it's rather unfortunate that we started watching anime in order to discuss it and be in the subject, and not to find good pictures. It's also difficult, because there are just an awful lot of titles coming out. You go to a Shikimori-style service and your eyes run wild with what's coming out this season. You don't even know what to grab onto, and the most popular onings are thrown into account, which have high marks and are discussed. And if you want to watch what you missed in the last season or the season before last, then it is better to immediately send these dozens of titles through the vein than try to cover them by viewing.
No matter how it sounds, the current approach made us even more constrained than when we only watched what we could. All of this brings us to a simple question. In a time of oversaturation of content, video blogging, streaming services from large corporations, and the rapid development of geek culture, how will anime stand out? And the answer is nothing.
I came to the conclusion that anime is just a commodity when my best friend told me that sometimes he watches anime at 1.5 speed to watch it faster, and so many do. I felt like Mike Tyson had punched me in the face, realizing that we began to treat entertainment as work or some kind of load that needs to be processed quickly.
The world has changed
And this is no longer a problem of anime, but of the modern world, where clip thinking reigns, and attention is our most important resource. It's just a giant media industry fighting for it, offering us more than we can absorb. And in this huge stream, even good TV shows are likely to be washed away by the wave of new content released every day.
Now that anime has gone mainstream, its exclusivity is gone. It's not bad, but at the same time, the feeling that you are part of something special disappears. First of all, the concept of anime fan has changed. You can only watch anime or shonen furs, watch just a couple of titles a month, do cosplay, read only manga, or absorb new series at 1.5 speed - and you will still be an anime fan. Whether you watched the classics or not is not important. And in an era when you know that celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Radcliffe and Keanu Reeves share your interests, it's not the series that matters, but the huge anime culture itself. There are now too many members to fit into one description.
And like in any other industry, in order not to watch and not play everything, the fandom will only watch what stands out the most.
To summarize, I do not want to say that this is not a reflection on the topic of "it was better before", but rather the realization that anime has changed in the sense that it is no longer special, and the fandom is not the small community that it was .
The Topic of Article: How the anime changed.