Recently I read a review about a laid-back, chill anime Super Cub written by AK here. Though I have not personally seen the show, the cute, laid-back girl does pleasant things. Not being my cup of tea doesn’t mean I’m entirely ignorant. One of my good friends is an avid biker and had often sung the praises of Super Cub, being a rather good scope into what the laid-back biker goes through daily. Be it with the bike itself or the community one finds themselves in.
After I read the review and reflected on my friends’ comments, a thought occurred to me. When we collectively look at the broad strokes anime culture portrays, we can genuinely see how vast the fanbase spans. Now, this isn’t new. Anime fans that fell in love with the over-the-top narratives, adorable characters, or often complex and slightly weird delivery and stuck with it weren’t isolated to anime culture.
Because I sure as hell wasn’t.
Some context, I grew up in a southern area of the United States, specifically a region that was one of the birthplaces of American Stock Car Racing, better known as NASCAR. My father lived and breathed auto racing; therefore, I was around it all my young life. So cars have always been a significant interest in my life; oddly enough, they have been equally relevant in anime. Speed Racer was aired in 1967. The ever-so-famous Initial D was circulating when I was only 4 years old in 1998. Then you sprinkle in the history of Itasha there has always been this weird but endearing partnership with cars and anime.
A lot of the same can be said about sports anime. Some of the highest trending series year after year are often sport related. The soccer series Blue Lock is currently airing and doing quite well. Volleyball juggernaut Haikyuu!! Brought a lot of acclaim over its seasons, and Yuri On Ice got figure skating front and center with a cute, enthusiastic romance. These all exist within a world of boxing, skating, baseball, basketball, and everything in between. Showing this weird but endearing mutual interest of mangaka, readers, and sports again.
Nevertheless, it hasn’t stopped there. The content sphere has only become more obscure, delving deep into niche worlds that I had never even heard of, all while keeping it under the manga umbrella. The most recent example is AKANE-BANASHI, an adorable series about a daughter’s admiration for her father’s rakugo, a type of Japanese storytelling. As these things go, her father is quickly ejected from this world, leading Akane to take on this world of single acting on her own to avenge her father. So this series is teaching me what rakugo even is and showing me the subtleties, the true talent that goes into this culturally relevant but dated acting.
Acting, music, writing, and even manga are well-represented. Death Note’s creator Ohba, Tsugumi Bakuman, is a brilliant show of this. As we go forward, we can only expect more series and hobbies to intertwine, showing just how broad the fanbase of the anime medium actually is. We are far beyond when it was considered some weird fad that passed and is quickly becoming a legitimate platform globally. This is even more compounded by the rise of Korean and Chinese webcomics. We are living through a brilliant time in anime culture, something I will never be able to contextualize within the confines of this blog. We as a community have much more in common than a lot realize, and I kind of get it.
Who would have thought the guy who praises Oreimo as one of the greatest anime of all time is a massive Formula 1 fan, a follower of division one NCAA basketball, an avid reader of novels, and a massive fan of a broad catalog of music? Maybe a lot of people, because I am sure (not most), but a good portion of the community is somewhat like me, and we just have to look at the crafted series to see that.
I have recently finished Dress Up Darling and will write about it soon. What’s more than that, I’m excited to write about it because it, much like Oreimo, is just a look at Otaku Culture, and boy, how that window has changed.
As always, thanks for the read!
One thought on “Reflecting On Otaku Culture”
Thanks for the mention! You make an interesting post about “conflicting interests” in the way some people see them. I’m not much of a sports fan, but for as much as the “typical nerd” isn’t, there’s certainly a lot of sports anime out there. The diversity of styles and subjects in anime is so great now that nobody really has any excuse to keep saying it’s all the same (not that it ever was, really.) There’s something for everyone in this medium.
I also look forward to your opinions about Dress-Up Darling. That’s a series I wouldn’t have imagined myself watching years ago, but times and people change and I liked it a lot.
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