Klaraflame
From Here to There to Japan One Day

Accessibility

I recently read a post on Cynthe Love’s Blog called The Stigma With Anime, which has inspired me to write this post. In my own experience, some people think I’m a bit weird for watching “those crazy cartoons” or “backwards comic books.” I would say my own personal love affair of Japanimation began nearly a decade ago when the Pokemon craze was in full swing and grasped the world. When my peers had grown out of the Pokemon fad, I still liked it and bought into it but I wasn’t satisfied with it. I didn’t know at the time what anime or manga was, I just thought Pokemon was just a cool cartoon. My desperation for anime at the time was that I used to set a video every Friday for a series called Shinzo, as it finished before I came home from school.

Luckily enough with the installation of satellite TV, my perception of anime was greatly improved. Fox Kids had the series Escaflowne, whilst Cartoon Network had Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop late at night. Unfortunately as the youngest in the family, I rarely ever got the time to watch the late night anime as I was about twelve at the time, so I had to make do with the time I could watch anime.

After eventually sussing out the TV schedule, Cartoon Network started to show Tenchi Muyo at six in the morning, every morning, what did I do? I bet you’re thinking “No, she didn’t..”, but “Yes, I did.” Every morning before school for a year I got up at six and I ate my breakfast of Coco Pops in front of the television with a fleecy blanket. I didn’t know any better, plus I didn’t know anyone else who liked anime or manga.

It’s very difficult to try and explain the appeal of anime to someone who doesn’t know and probably doesn’t even care. In my own circle of friends I even managed to “convert” some of them, but otherwise they wouldn’t have ever had true appreciation for anime or manga.

The problem is accessibility.

I felt like a rental store by loaning out some of the best anime’s I owned like Cowboy Bebop’s Movie, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, to some of my open minded friends. It’s like an underground community, you have to be “introduced” into liking it because there simply is not enough coverage in mainstream TV. Although the channel Anime Central is trying it’s best, it’s getting extremely repetitive. It used to have an plethora of different anime’s but it’s reduced to constantly repeating Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, for at least the last six months.

Diversity has to be introduced into the Japanimation community. It has to become introduced into the mainstream community, so embedded that the stigma to which Cynthe refers to is eventually eroded away.

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5 Responses to “Accessibility”

  1. In 20 years the generation will change, and people will be more open-minded to anime because kids will have parents who grew up on anime.

  2. @Kitsune It’s true that in about twenty years or so people will be more open-minded about anime, but the industry will be a lot smaller judging by the looks of things. Tokyopop’s cut backs from releasing around 450+ volumes a year down to under 300. A.D.V. Films suspending four series indefinitely. Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse.

  3. This might be the case, but I think the industry will change the situation in the next few years. Here is an interesting discussion on some of the problems the industry faces:

    http://celestialkitsune.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/anime-expo-2008-industry-roundtable-fansubs-the-death-of-anime/

  4. I live in a country where anime and manga have hardly been heard of, let alone recognised as words- and like you, some of my favourite childhood cartoons were anime too- though I didn’t know it at the time, since they were dubbed. I got deeper into them only about six or seven years ago, when a friend on a Buffy message board recommended Fruits Basket to me- but I still can’t really talk to real-life people about liking them, since the reaction is inevitably ‘you watch cartoons? What a weirdo.’.
    Of all the people I know, only one of my friends is into anime, manga and kdramas- but the more open-minded ones have loved some things that I’ve told them about (like most of the Studio Ghibli catalogue. But there are still people who let their prejudices do the talking). It’s still very much on the down-low, though.

    I’ve gone on for a while, I suspect this post is going to touch a chord with a fair few people..

  5. […] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by bineteri on 2008-08-22 Accessibility https://klaraflame.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/accessibility/ – bookmarked by 5 members originally […]


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