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Recording Otaku History (And The Growth of The Western Anime Community)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a (cleaner) copy and paste free write of my thoughts of the evolution and history of the Western anime fandom taken from my Facebook page Yuki The Snowman. As such, I was shooting from the hip; so it is unstructured and lacks research and sources to a few statements. 

While out-of-state at a friends’ house catching up on old times, we were disusing plans on attending an up and coming anime convention in their area next year named Dokidokon.  During the discussion, they mentioned how cool it would be for us to report on the convention, it’s growth, and recording the events as they unfold at the con.  With glee, they stated that it would be exciting to take record of what we witness there.  Further into the talk, it was mentioned that we’re living in perhaps the best time period for otaku history in the West and how it is important for us bloggers, vloggers, and content creators to record such events in history.

I started to ponder.

While my friends and I enjoy attacking the otaku culture with venomous scorn, taking cheap shots against anime fans whenever the chance presents itself, and mock the culture for its many faults, we still hold onto our great appreciation for how far the anime medium and fandom has come. This is especially true given how Western otaku culture and conventions came up from (to my knowledge, mind you) the underground college anime clubs and conventions of the 70s and 80s to the massive juggernaut in which we are a part of today where the modern anime community is an indescribable melting pot of distinctive demographic coming together to celebrate our love for anime.

For those who might be too young to remember, it wasn’t that long ago when Western anime culture and fans where pushed into the darkest corners of the pop culture world.  We were treated as unwelcomed outcasts by – and please note – most (meaning not all for those who are from the remedial side of the education game) nerds and geeks from different sets of  the pop culture  world (film, comic books, gamers, sci-fi, etcs.).

In the past, Anime (in the West) didn’t have that unbreakable grip that it has on the Western pop culture world today.  Thus, us fans were mocked and alienated by outsides (both normies and, ironically, non-otaku nerds who too where shunned for their love for comics, games, etc.) for enjoying something that most people didn’t get. Maybe it was due to  xenophobia, lack of understanding, or the pure pride of the ignorant who didn’t want to study  why people like and watch anime, but anime fans were treated like some weird nerds who were too much in love with some whacky Japanese cartoons.

Sure, you had timeless hits such as AKIRA, Ninja Scroll, and Ghost in the Shell making noise in America; planting seeds and paving the path for what we are witnessing today when it comes to the Western Otaku culture, but they didn’t have the weight to help put anime in that sweet postion that we call mainstream appeal  (Dragon Ball Z would take that honor and run with it in the mid-90s despite what the anti-entry-level anime elitists may want to argue to deal with the fact their favorite obscure anime didn’t get the job done but that’s another topic for another day).

 

Time went on. The influence of anime in the West grew stronger.  Its popularity increased with shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokémon.  Television networks such as Time Warner, The Sci-Fi Network, Tech TV and Freeform created program blocks dedicated to anime (Toonami, Anime Unleashed, and Made in Japan) in order to carter to the blooming Western anime fanbase.  Online bulletin board systems (BBS) and websites revolving around anime culture sprung up on the dial-up internet side of the game.  Magazines dedicated to anime such as Anierica  were  sent out to the mailbox of the American anime fan.  Video stores started carrying anime that never aired on TV in America.

It was inevitable that anime in the West would become a huge deal.

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Today, you can go on your favorite streaming website (legal and illegal) and pull up almost any anime from the past or present. Popular or obscure.  Modern or classic.  If you can think of an anime, there’s a good chance that you will find it online. No more wasting time and gas money traveling miles to a nearby video store in hopes you can get your anime fix.   No longer do we need to call up a certain  BBS to communicate with fellow fans of a peculiar anime and wait two-to-eight hours for a response.

With the advent of modern day technology and social media, we can instantly chat it up with fellow anime fans moments after an episode finished airing. Best of all, fans can communicate and interact with voice actors, creators, production studios, and distributors through websites such as Facebook and twitter – something that was once only possible at annual major conventions and snail mail.

History is being made.

 

As content creators, we must take advantage of this era of Western anime history. We must take part and note of the trends and the happenings of the fandom  – despite the fact if we love or loathe such trends and happenings. Remember: future generations of anime fans will be curious on how their favorite shows and beloved parts of the culture became to be.  They will research the roots of their favorites and find connects to the past (that is currently our present).  There needs to be a record of what is going on today in the world of anime: both in the East and here in the West.

Keeping record will perverse what is happening currently. It will prevent experiences from being lost to time and history.  Just imagine if nobody recorded the famous viral video of the Filipino female prisoners performing the Hare Hare Yukai dance from The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or most recent, the ever popular live-action versions  Chikatto Chika Chika dance from episode 3 of Kaguya-Sama: Love is War!! by energetic otakus cosplay as Chika herself.

It would be utterly depressing.

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The Swarthy Nerd Podcast: A Black nerd empowerment podcast where Black nerds (well, all nerds, but Black first and foremost) can get together and talk freely about nerd culture while also acknowledging systematic white supremacy and racism in the nerd and Eastern otaku fandoms. Every Tuesday join @superlostfan108 and @weebtrashyuki the founders of http://www.swarthynerd.com for there very informative podcast talking about all things nerdy. No desperate boot licking self hating negus who were never accepted by Black norimes for being too weird for  their love of anime and comic books by the Black community allowed. Go drink bleach.

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Nerd Culture 2

Are Nerds Trendsetters? (Freewrite)

Yuki’s Note: This is unorganized and I probably got a few things wrong about nerd culture in the mainstream.  Whoops. 

I love scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing ads from companies such as Sugoi Shirts and Kaomoji.  Seeing their flamboyant Japanese street fashion inspired clothing makes me smile at the expense of my wallet.  But who cares as long as it could make me look good. I just wanna rock a fuckin’ shirt with an anime girl with a censor bar across her eyes in public!  It just makes me feel good about myself and feeds my ever growing ego. But man, who would imagine vendors online selling stylish and fashionable weeaboo shirts on Facebook?

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Nerds have come a long way since the darker days of our passion when we were shamed for simply enjoying our nerd culture.  If I were to wear my weeaboo attire 20 years ago, people would mock me.  Today? People (for the most part) tend to mind their business.  Shit, just the other day,  when I  went to my local head shop the store clerk saw my shirt and we started talking about Fate series for a few minutes (he thought my sunglasses were something based off Fate).  It was a lovely chat until he said that Rin was the worse girl in the Fate series and that Saber was the best.

I ain’t never going back to that headshop.

Anyway, you wanted to catch a superhero movie in full cosplay back in 1996 and you were over the age of 13?  You got roasted!  Now it’s the norm for people to cosplay as their favorite Marvel or DC superhero at opening night. If there was a nerd in a TV show, they were the laughing stock loser who never get the woman.  They never got anywhere.  But shows such as Silicon Valley has ended the stereotype that nerds are losers and that their hobbies won’t get them anywhere.  I gotta say, this is the golden era of the nerd.

Everything that I’ve mentioned above now leads me to this question: Are nerds trendsetters?

The obvious question is yes, of course.  In fact, I even answered the question my self.  So leave my page.  I want to say that, but I do enjoy going deeper with my theories and exploring them. We (well, I) have come up with the conclusion that nerds are trendsetters.  But why?  Why are us nerds trendsetters, and how can we take advantage of this before the inevitable nerd bubble breaks and we’re back to being shoved into lockers and having our lunch money stolen by the jocks (well, you weak nerds are getting shoved into the lockers, I’m knocking anyone out who tries to do that to me).

This is my theory:

People were tired of the old shit and wanted something new.   Everyone and their moms love reality TV, watching sports, drinking at the local bar, what have you.  Meanwhile, the nerds were in the background; creating and working on their passion. We spent our time inside, communicating with our peers, showcasing our talent online.  As time went on and technology advance bringing the advent of social media people were started to take notice of the group they once shunned away: The Nerd.

Social media lead the way for nerds to showcase their creative talent (although we’ve been doing this shit years and years  before that came along through online forums, blogs, etc.) As more people gain access to the internet, the more nerds were given exposure.  Yes, there were TV channels such as the Sci-Fi Channel, Tech TV, and g4, but they were only viewed by their niche target market.

Now?  Well, I mean they’re still being watched by their niche market, but the normies are getting into them as well.   Oh and g4 is dead.  So perhaps that doesn’t count.  Shows that were once for nerds with cahs (meaning they could afford internet and cable packages) are available through streaming services such as Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix, etc..   The video game industry makes more than the movie industry.   Anime is…catching up.  It still has a some catching up to do, but with anime (slowly) creeping into the mainstream, I say it won’t be long until anime in the West is treated like film.

It’s funny to think about how nerds are shaping things up.  We’re like rockstars (almost).  Seriously.  Go on YouTube right now and you see that some of the top YouTubers are people talking about video games or streaming themselves playing games.  Two decades ago folks would scream at nerds that playing games isn’t a real career.   Today? Playing video games and screaming at a game for hours on end is considered a real job. Of course, you have those normies who think that isn’t a real career, but they’re just mad that they’re slaving away at some corporate or labor gig they hate while the nerds they used to bully are making hunder of thousands of dollars playing video games.

So, to anwser my own question: Yes. Nerds are trendsetters.

 

anime 0

What TO Do At Cons DJkillzone Feat. Yuki The Snowman (Collab Video)

Audio collab between my boy DJ Killzown Jones and myself.  With the convention season well into the summer, DJkillzown and I figure we will be nice and give nice audio guide on TO do at cons.

This is the follow up to our previous video, “What NOT To Do At Conventions”

TOPICS INCLUDE:
Attending Panels
Meet Guests
Cosplay/Fandom Meets
Dealers Room
Networking
Cosplaying

DJ Killzown Jones’s social media accounts:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwO0lojnveRjDrVyJyl167A
https://www.facebook.com/Killzown314/?ref=br_rs

anime 0

Nerd Gatekeeping, Quizzing, and Understanding.

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We nerds are goofy.  You’d think that from experiencing rejection and exclusion  by non-nerds, we would be welcoming of our fellow nerds nerds.  But nah, we’re not.  Some indulge in repeating the same exclusion and rejection cycle they faced in the past to other nerds.  Elitist nerds will play the gate keeping game; allowing certain “real” nerds in their circle.

Others will quiz people who they deem fake; asking questions and checking if a person is knowledgeable to their personal level.  This essay will explore gate keeping, quizzing, and understanding the causality of such acts.

Gatekeeping is common, yet old practice, existing before the social media and nerd culture boom.  Gatekeeping is the act of not allowing certain people into the community; fearing that they’re fake, attention seeking fans (nerds blessed with good looks are often accused of being fake), or casual fans who don’t appreciate the source material.

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Example: Some Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) fans believe you’re not a real fan of the SMT series if you started out on Persona, or haven’t branched out to other games of the franchise.  Some hardcore SMT fans have belittle, mock, and excluded the newcomers; judging them for not starting or being interested with the archaic (but fun) early games such as SMT 2 or Megami Tensei.

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Elitists feel that to be a real fan, you must have outlandish amount of experience and knowledge before joining their ranks.  It’s really just their insecurities speaking.  They’re afraid of the inclusive.

But hey! What’s a great way to cope with your insecurities?  Showcasing your superior, yet unimportant knowledge by quizzing folks!  Elitists quiz others on topics that only the truly hardcore (virgin) nerd knows.  They’ll ask things like “Who was Akira Toriyama’s first editor”, or “What comic issue did Raven (Teen Titans) debut”?  It’s a test to prove you’re worthy to call yourself a real fan.   Honestly, it’s stupid and it makes you come off as an asshole.

You know some useless nerd trivial.  Congratulations.  Nobody is trying to play your quiz game. Nigga you ain’t Alex Trebek.

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It’s articles like these that make me an borderline alcoholic.

 

When compared to their male counterparts, female nerds are more likely to be subjected to quizzing.  These beta ass males can’t believe that women have nerdy hobbies and interests, so they gotta drill them to see if they’re not “fake”.

Oh, you’re a pretty girl at a comic book shop who takes care of her personal hygiene, rock a My Hero Academia snapback, and wear a Captain America shirt because you’re a legit fan of the comics before the movies because your dad passed down his Captain America comics to you?  If you’re a real Captain America fan, then name the main staff who worked on the June ’97 issue of Captain America!

Can’t answer?  You must be a fake nerd girl.  Girls don’t read comics!

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I mean, I get that these dudes are (probably) still mad about being bullied and rejected for being nerds by girls back in their high and middle school days, but let that shit go.  Don’t become the bully  fucking with a chick just because she’s a nerd and you assume she’s not a real fan. Go get help or something bruh.

While I do not agree with the gatekeeping, nerd checks, and quizzing, I can somewhat understand why they do such actions.   Nerds were/are ridiculed, bullied, and mock for their hobbies for decades.  Prior to the recent nerd boom, nerds weren’t accepted by the mainstream.  Having nerdy interests was considered weird; nobody wanted to fuck with you.  People were on  that “Oh I’m a nerd!” game,  only to play the real nerds and hurt them for being nerdy.

When you’ve been bullied and teased for your hobbies, you tend to be defensive.   It’s a shame that people are like this, but it happens.

Maybe if these elitists weren’t so hurt. Not saying what they’re doing is right though.

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We nerds are goofy.  You’d think we would be more welcoming of other nerds to our circle.  Sadly, with elitism, quizzing, and “nerd checking”, this isn’t the case in our community.  Quizzing and nerd checking may leave out some and expose “fake” nerds, but is it worth making newcomers feel excluded?

I can understand why the elitist do this due to ill experiences, however, you got to let go of the past.  Past experiences shouldn’t’ determine that everyone on that fake shit based off assumptions.

I would say it’s possible to end this but that would require humanity to end as well.

IMAGE SOURCES:
http://thomwade.tumblr.com

http://www.not-literally.com/2013/12/11/the-problem-with-true-fans/

https://www.wattpad.com/story/61718884-make-the-school-nerd-tears-fall

https://www.facebook.com/playarealsmtgame/