Here we look into the things we do that makes us fans, hardcore fans. Yes we’ve heard of the extreme things the Japanese otaku do, but since I don’t think they’re my readers I’m not as interested in tales about those lovable elevens. I’m more interested in us, fans outside Japan participating in this anime and manga world. How do we find ourselves changing? Have you ever surprised yourself with doing something that you never thought you’d ever do? I did, and now I don’t know what I’m capable of doing.
Over the past week there have been a number of good posts on anime blogging (omisyth’s, lelangir’s part 1 and part 2), which I personally consider to be advanced fan/otaku behavior. It takes, I believe a deep appreciation for the subject, as well as hard work and guts to crank out an anime blog (what I say to myself to justify why it took me so long to make one). At the same time Ibrevis, the metaphorical midwife of We Remember Love was writing about the very nature of the anime fan over at OH, and at East Anyhow. Read both if you haven’t already.
She asked the question of what makes a fan hardcore, but doesn’t answer it. It’s a question that intimidates me as well, but I’ll see what I can come up with.
This may not be the best analogy, but bear with me. First, an excerpt from my favorite novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera (which just happens to read like an epic blog post; the tl;dr kind that I fancy):
Men who pursue a multitude of women fit neatly into two categories. Some seek their own subjective and unchanging dream of a woman in all women. Others are prompted by a desire to possess the endless variety of the objective female world.
The obsession of the former is lyrical: what they seek in women is themselves, their ideal, and since an ideal is by definition something that cannot be found, they are disappointed again and again. The disappointment that propels them from woman to woman gives their inconsistency a kind of romantic excuse, so that many women are touched by their unbridled philandering.
The obsession of the latter is epic, and women see nothing the least bit touching in it: the man projects no substantive ideal on women, and since everything interests him, nothing can disappoint him. This inability to be disappointed has something scandalous about it. The obsession of the epic womanizer strikes people as lacking in redemption (redemption by disappointment).
Because the lyrical womanizer always runs afer the same type of woman, we even fail to notice when he exchanges one mistress for another. His friends perpetually cause misunderstandings by mixing up his lovers and calling them by the same name.
In pursuit of knowledge, epic womanizers [...] turn away from conventional feminine beauty, of which they quickly tire, and inevitably end up as curiosity collectors. They are aware of this and a little ashamed of it, and to avoid causing their friends embarrassment, they refrain from appearing in public with their mistresses.
Beyond the male fans who call female character X as mai waifu, I see possibility in the categorization. Not so much as to shoehorn them onto general fan behavior, but as an opening for a (relaxed) binary taxonomy. I see two somewhat distinct fan behaviors that can be present in a fan in varying degrees. The first one is the amassing behavior (the consumption and collection), and the expressing or expressive behavior (the production and action related to the hobby).
Let me be clear that I don’t think that there are individuals who only demonstrate one of the behaviors; and the expressing behavior is contingent to some form of consumption of the subject anyway.
An example of amassing behavior is that of the completist: Regardless of the quality of the experience the episodes or shows provide them, these individuals will consume all media related to a franchise (or its equivalent). Mechafetish listens to a Gundam Radio series (RAW with his limited understanding of what’s actually happening; it doesn’t even have pictures!), so why? Completist compulsion from obsessive tendecies powered by a devotion to Gundam. [@ Biankita, I'm looking at you as well!]
An example of expressive behavior is that of the cosplayer: It’s not enough to watch anime. There’s got to be some kind of way to participate in an exchange. There’s got to be some way to demonstrate one’s love for a character or show. One does this by identifying with that character, then by portraying that identity in costume.
While amassing behaviors are easy enough to identify, and to identify with, it is the expressive behaviors that can inspire strong feelings, from awe to disgust. My personal extreme is my ability to sign my name as CHAR (include ‘Char’ in my signature). Why would anyone do this? I can’t say. But it felt cool. That ghostlightning, he is CHAR. What is your personal extreme?
Here’s are people doing their expressive thing:
The above photos were taken in the HERO TV Anime Convention last Saturday, November 22 in Pasig City. I just wanted to take a peek and see the contemporary Filipino anime fans up-close for the first time, but the Waifu tagged along and led me to the promised land of WIN. Because finally, on-SALE, is the 2nd series of CM’s Macross Collection figurines, which means… LIN MINMEI AWESOMENESS!
In an ocean of expressive behaviors during the HERO CON, I was able to amass in an awesome way. I leave you with a bonus pic:
Back on topic, these are the questions that I’m really interested in:
- What/How have you been amassing anime and anime related things?
- What was the most expressive thing you did as an otaku/anime fan?