As open as I am about my anime and manga hobby, I too understand that it really isn’t appropriate to wear the colors of one’s hobby so proudly as if it ultimately defines one’s person and character. I’m a very intense fan of Lakers Basketball, and of playing tennis recreationally, but it doesn’t make sense for me to wear Purple and Gold most of the time (if at all), or wear tennis apparel away from the tennis court (apart from the very comfortable Adidas clima-cool shirts during hot days).
In a similar vein, I never really felt the need to wear anime and manga t-shirts to express my love for my hobby — although my love for anime and manga runs very deep, my love for mecha anime drills under ground and straight through the planet, and my love for Macross kicks reason to a super dimensional curb. However, I don’t think love as a fan is as simple as consumption and the display of such. Anyone with money can do that.
The interesting thing to do is to go out in the open and be detectable by people who you permit to detect you: that is, people whose power levels match yours or exceed it. To do this, you need to learn to work the details.
As much as I like buying merchandise like plastic models and figurines, these are stuff for the home. And as much as I like the idea of cosplay, and I have done so myself (at least one Halloween), this is obviously too blatant a display and identifies me so loudly that the people I might be interested in to meet may shy away from.
Phone charms are lame (unless you’re a teenage girl), and Simon’s core drill makes for a terrible pendant in real life (maybe it’s okay when you’re 14, not so much when you’re turning 34). How can you demonstrate your high power-levels, remember love for your favorite works, and keep it invisible to both the weak and the ignorant? Some creativity is necessary, it should go without saying.
I live in the tropics, and it’s summer right now. Flip-flops are not only acceptable as casual wear, they’re really preferred. My friend who is part of the Havaianas distribution machine in the Philippines tricked out this pair of flip-flops for me in Skull Leader colors. What is Skull Leader?
It’s the signature piloted mecha of the Macross franchise (Roy Focker), and my obsession as a young boy in the ’80s. I would only be able to buy original merchandise of it nearing the end of the ’00s, but I have since been doing so with a vengeance.
Now, would anyone but an old-school Macross fan recognize this? Probably not, and that’s really the point. I don’t really walk around looking for casual anime fans or people from different fandoms; usually I already have something to do when I go out. But to meet a fellow Macross fan while walking around in the mall or something, I’d stop for a chat no problem.
It’s not just all about Macross too. For two years now I have been signing my name, in all the contracts, cheques, correspondence, and memoranda with I deal with ‘Char’ right in the middle of the signature. It’s a thing of beauty, really. No one can really distinguish my longhand “n” from my cursive “r” without really looking out for it and even then the difference is negligible (my middle name is “Chan”). So yeah, that ghostlightning, HE IS CHAR.
There’s more. I too, am quite an intense Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad fan. I felt like I was Koyuki himself back in high school, and I had my own ‘Ray’ who taught me how to play. Remembering love for Beck is prohibitively expensive, if I would really buy the guitars. But since I can’t and won’t (at least right now) I had my shoes tricked out:
Now that isn’t Yui’s ‘Gitah’ from K-ON!, that’s Ryuuske’s legendary “Lucille.” I had these made before K-ON! aired, but I wouldn’t mind Yui’s Les Paul Custom, and Sawako’s Flying V on another pair of Chuck Taylors.
There you have it: some ideas on how to manifest your charging heart of love for your specific fandom, beyond general anime and manga, without scaring people away or making the people uncomfortable when they’re with you. Either you’re considerate of how most people can’t handle your fanboy(girl) power, or perhaps you have a Shameful Otaku Secret, it’s all good.
How about you guys? Done anything like this? Plan to? Dish it out!
I mentioned that I really don’t go about looking for casual anime fans to chat up. This is mainly because I’m usually twice their age, and that I have a bunch of people to watch shows with and talk shop with. For things outside the usual titles I watch or read, I meet these guys or have them over at my house.
I’ve had Choudenji Machine Voltes V stationery sets on my office desk, assorted mecha anime posters, and a Rurouni Kenshin wall scroll in my office at some point. My wife sybilant wears anime t-shirts on casual fridays, has all sorts of figurines on her desk, and has Aria desktop wallpapers. Mai Waifu is GAR.
Collectively, we’ve played Escaflowne, Kare Kano, and Beck: MCS songs during our wedding reception.
I insist that our daughter grow up a Lakers fan, she and I really get along and I will raise her GAINAX.
A thought-provoking post on fan behavior among other fans; they really do suppress their power levels (Saturnity 09/26/2009)
Some reflection on fan behavior, and some theorizing as well (it’s just me ->)
Who do you watch anime with? [->]
First time here at We Remember Love? Try this.