Written by TheBigN
This is what I’d like to say a “philosophical exercise” based on some RL events. But it’s really just me asking a bunch of questions, so take it as you see it, I guess. 😛
So last weekend, I went to the Sakura Matsuri, an event near the end of the National Cherry Blossom Festival (yes redundant, I know :P), which was sort of an “all about Japan” festival. It was predicated by the Cherry Blossom Parade, which was entertaining save for the blocks of minutes between some groups because of performances in other areas and what not. But oh well. Being who I am, with an anime blog and all, I checked out everything the festival had to offer, but spent most of my time looking a section focused on anime, manga and popular music in Japan called “J-Pop Land”. There were a couple of stands for various stores and events (remember a Katsucon prereg table, and I need to look at my schedule for next year, since it seems a good a time as any to go to a con), and a main stage where some artists placed.
It was on that stage that a cosplay contest was held, which made sense since I did see a lot of cosplayers spread out around various areas of the event. A lot of the cosplay was good (the ones that stick in my mind were a Nanoha cosplay, as well as an awesome Princess Peach and Mario), and the people who one deserved it, IMO. But it was the presence that some of them placed on the stage that bothered me for some reason. Whether if it was someone singing on stage, or saying something “goofy”, etc., I either facepalmed or turned away from the, and though to me it looked like some of the people in the crowd enjoyed the contestants being themselves, it was still discomforting to me.
It was then that I started to wonder, “why am I caring so much about how the cosplayers act on stage”? This was important especially when I don’t know any of the cosplayers involved, nor should they really care about how I felt. Was I embarrassed for them, or for myself? Or better yet, why did I feel embarrassed in the first place? Who the hell did I think I was, anyway, and why did I feel important enough to feel how I did? Looking back at this moment a couple of days ago, I see what I did there, however brief, as elitist, hypocritical, and wholly unnecessary. And I know that it hasn’t been the first time I felt that way, either; I felt that way when I looked at posts on forums or comments on blogs that remind me of some of the more negative posts at places like Gaia, for example.
This is the situation that I saw and keep seeing myself in: that as an anime fan, we somehow represented anime culture by extension. But who are we representing to exactly? People who aren’t into anime, or who couldn’t care less about it. At the same time, why do we have to represent in the first place? Why am I placing this burden on myself, and why do I feel that other people feel the same way that I do? I think for me, the answer lied in a want for this culture to be accepted more than it already has been, and a worry that a group of “bad eggs” who tend to act outside of societal norms would “ruin” things for the rest of us. So, how would things be ruined, and why do I feel that anime isn’t accepted enough in the mainstream? Or to place it more squarely on myself, what would it mean for me, as someone who doesn’t wear his anime-loving heart on his sleeve for everyone to see? Why am I so negative about a culture I belong to?
These shortsighted and superficial questions just keep coming, and I have no answers because I can’t see these questions as justifiable ones. Nor could I see any solution that I could come up with at the moment being nothing more than a “validation” of the snobbish attitude that I have, and I want to try and minimize that influence ASAP. I know I’m not the only one that has these sorts of thoughts, and these can have a major role in our enjoyment of the medium itself.
When looking at how hard some people are slamming shows like Kanokon, or the fervor behind the Kodomo no Jikan situation last year, I wonder if those concepts rear their head again. I can understand why people complain about things like less than stellar animation, lack of a good plot, etc., but the majority of complaints have been about the titillation in the viewer’s face, which I think is silly (and so does Owen). I wonder what’s really “wrong” with Kanokon‘s blatant fanservice, since it’s hard to find a show that’s willing to be so truthful about that. Is the problem because of the fanservice being out in the open, and if so, why does that matter so much? Is part of the reason the same worries and fears that relate to the ones that I hold for some of the “less self-controlled” members of the anime fandom, or relate to why people were so adamant about KnJ coming to the US? It’s definitely more than just that, but I wonder how much of a factor these apprehensive thoughts do come into play, if at all.
Either way, at least I’m telling myself try to stop worrying and to stop getting embarrassed over how zealous fans can be. Especially because I can’t say that I’m not obsessed myself, seeing how I have an anime blog and all. :3