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Anime Discussion: Is Anime Finally Becoming Mainstream In The West?

 

01-25-15 01:22 AM
relinquish022 is Offline
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If you're a fan of anime,or even if you're not,i'm sure you all know by now that anime (At least in the west) is a very odd and niche hobby.Now i must admit,as a long time anime fan,i was not to open about my hobby to other people,even people i trusted.I never used to where any of my anime shirts in public,never used to whistle anime openings,and just tried to keep quiet about it.And to be honest,to an extent..I still am.I do not feel shameful for enjoying anime,but as it stands,not many people in my life has much interest in it.I only can count 1 friend on hand,who actually enjoys the medium.And even he is a rookie in the genre,that i just recently recruited into our lovely little pass time.

Now while many people know of anime,those who watch it are very few.Still,as someone who tries to give discussion on these boards,and spark some conversation about a show or character,or whatever,i constantly keep asking myself the question.

" Is anime finally becoming mainstream in the west? And also,should it?"

You see,those do sound like pretty simple questions,but not as simple as some may think.Anyhow,the first way to figure out if anime can be mainstream in the west,is to figure out why it isn't already.For those who don't know,animation is simply not regarded as a way of telling a mature story in the west.Constantly being shackled to the word "Cartoon." Now tell me,what cartoon is popular in the west,to the point where a huge chunk of people watch it?





*Sigh* Let me rephrase that."Now tell me,what cartoon is popular in the west,to the point where a huge chunk of people watch it? That is still airing!"



...Fine,that can work.Onto the point.If you look at nearly every single mainstream show and movie in the west,you will notice that 95% of them are aimed at a mature audience.Breaking Bad,Dexter,Game Of Thrones.These babies right here are way off from the child friendly zone.For anime to ever be mainstream in the west,i believe that it is this audience that we need to target.I honestly believe that this is what will get anime mainstream in the west.All we need to do is aim at the highest percentage.And what makes the biggest amount of money,based on sales? Mature shows.

But once again,the problem with the western audience is that they see nearly every form of animation,is not good enough to tell a mature story.It will be regarded as a cartoon.Bound to be a child friendly show,or an adult comedy.And to be honest,you can't really blame them.It's basically ingrained into the culture at this point.

Still,i find the notion to be very hilarious,and sad at the time.When i look at the critically alclaimed shows in our genre,i see things that can be compared to mainstream shows in the west.

Black Lagoon and Jormungand being our Breaking Bad.
The Fate series being our Game Of Thrones.
Evangelion..Possibly being our Walking Dead..Come on,you can kind of see it working.It sure as sin is not Highschool Of The Dead...

Anime has proven time and time again that it can tell a mature story.And has some of the most mature animation out there.However,it also has to fight its own childish image that it has gained in the west.This all goes back to the 90's-mid 2000 era.When Pokemon,Yu-Gi-Oh,DBZ,and Sailor Moon ruled the freaking world.And also lets not forget about one of the biggest things,that stops anime from becoming mainstream in the west.

FAN SERVICE BABY! This is the biggest image that anime has to deal with.I said it before,and i will say it again.


"Anime is f*cking crazy!" It is very,very crazy.Even in some of those more toned down things we have here,anime still has a bunch of moe K-On clone fan service blobs.Along with stuff that will make people look at you funny,if you even bother trying to explain the plot to them.This is of course part of the reason we love it,but humans are..Not very logical.If we see downsides in something that is already a bit iffy,even if it has alot of benifits,we will tunnel vision,and focus all of our attention on the negatives,and pretend the positives do not even exist.And the problem is to the west,this is all they see!

All they look at when they think of anime is a league of unsociable neckbeard nerds.Watching some high school fetish show.The public image for anime,is not exactly..Great.It's very similar to what hardcore gamers,or star trek fans had to deal with many years ago.And what another niche fanbase,such as Bronies have to deal with right now.

For anime to even try becoming mainstream,it needs to be unbound by this image that the public has of it.Even one of my inspirations for doing these,Totalbiscut,says that he dislikes anime for this exact reason.Kind of ironic if you think about it.And to be frank,i'm not sure if anime can break away from this image.Unless we get extremely lucky,and have another Attack On Titan-like,break out of another anime,or have a anime movie get very popular in theaters,we will not get anywhere.

I think we need to look at anime as a whole.And i hate to tell you guys,but as much as we may think that there are anime for all ages out there,in reality,its still mostly aimed at teenagers.Its rare for anime not to take place in highschool,or have highschool aged characters as there protagonist.Fan service is more loud and proud then ever.And of course the genre that is still the most popular,is the shonen genre.And even though it may be my favorite genre in anime,i can't deny that it is hurting the chances of anime getting mainstream.Even in terms of movies,theres not much we have that can top what hollywood can throw out.Sure,the Eva films are good.And Akira,in my opinion is brilliant.But it still can't top something like the Lord of the rings trilogies.

And as it stands,anime currently cannot break out of its current image.Its just not mature enough.There is still to many stories that rely on highschool.There's just not enough anime that can appeal to a mature audience.And one huge show like Attack On Titan,will only make a small dent,that's not even the equivalent of 1/4th of a fraction.It cannot change mass opinion alone.I hate to say it,but anime is not ready yet.Still,its not like it ever will be.

So let me ask you guys again,do you even want anime to become mainstream? I mean,i would have never done these threads,if it was more popular,and i had friends to talk about it with.But just think about if for a second,the effect of making something mainstream,is not completely positive.Just look at gaming and what popularity did to it.We saw that the popularity spike,did not mean we would get more creative things.NO! not even close.We now see companies funding the same gritty and realistic war shooter,every.Single.Year! While more of the unique stuff,comes from the little guys.And there are still some amazing games coming out. (Gotta get my Hearthstone fix!)

Still,right now..We are just small club.A cult.A very niche fan base,within an already niche part of nerd culture.And yes,it is cool knowing that our strange little hobby has now exploded in popularity,and is now at the foot of the masses throne,bowing its head and begging for some recognition.But you must admit,if this happens,we may lose the uniqueness we shared when this was just some small thing.That a few people like you appreciated.

Yes,anime is filled with very weird stuff that throws people off,but its those things that we all enjoy in some way.As much as i complain about the cliches in anime on occasion,if it were to go away,i would freaking crave it.

I need my hollow slaying soul reapers! That oddly fight other Soul Reapers alot more,than cleansing the hollows...


My insane Yanderes!


My Kaneki Ken finger cracking awesomeness! (Fun Fact: Do not try this at home,it hurts!)


And while it may be great that we are finally in the spot light,is it really worth it to water down all of these tropes that drew us here in the first place?
I mean...

sop281 : What would happen if awesome Tsundere's like Makise Kurisu stopped existing,to fit the audiences on the west?
Eniitan : How would you feel if series like Sailor Moon were nonexistent,because they don't do so well in the west?
Koda : Even though we both like Fairy Tail,how would you feel if other series in the shonen genre were gutted,because they are aimed at teenagers? And that's not what we need to aim for,if we want to become mainstream.

And finally,what do you guys think? Do you want anime to become mainstream,and if you do or don't,why? Well,this is it for me,see you guys later.*Waves*

Oh yeah,February is coming up soon.That's called the month of love,right? I can think of alot of different things to write about...
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(edited by relinquish022 on 01-25-15 04:31 PM)     Post Rating: 2   Liked By: F. Starr, thecrzyguy,

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01-25-15 03:16 PM
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I am not an anime fan like you man BUT I've read a lot about anime history lol (Ufff,your post sure was long ) but still, my answer is:

I won't mind it IF it became mainstream in the west.

Why? Well, sure it has been more popular than it ever has been, and there are some pretty big genre directors whose movies have clear anime influences (a good example in this case would be the strong influence from Mamory Oshii's Ghost in the Shell to the Wachowskis Brothers The Matrix. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa of Production I.G stated that since Ghost in the Shell had gained recognition in America, the Wachowskis used it as a ''promotional tool'') but aside from the occasional global phenomenon (I'm gonna mention Pokémon here, since that is the anime I'm most familiar with ) it's still very much a niche fan base, within an already niche part of nerd culture (like you said)

However, thanks to the work of Studio Ghibli, (Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke etc) anime has indeed earned a lot of respect in the west. I wouldn't called it ''popularity'', but more like something along the lines of acknowledgement and general acceptance. Films like Akira, (btw I still haven't watched that movie  BUT I will someday soon) and the work of Hayao Miyazaki, have had an enormous affect on how the western mainstream views anime.

Akira and Miyazaki films prove that there's more to anime than just fan service, moe and shows based around cool card games aimed at seven-year-olds (I'm looking at you Yu-Gi-Oh! ) Miyazaki (from what I've heard) proved that anime is an art form, and a ''home'' for mature, thoughtful storytelling: as Akira did before Miyazaki.

Anime studios seem to have shifted their focus as to how they should be making shows and Studio Ghibli is going through some tough times at the moment (Miyazaki is officially retired) but I can tell you anime is not about to become mainstream through film. You mentioned Attack on Titan,didn't you? Well, I agree with you about that anime not being enough to change mass opinion alone. That show has caught on immensely with western audiences and has definitely been providing anime with more respect and popularity than any other non-Ghibli production.

I think more mature, dark, and (why not?) edgy shows like AoT have a good shot at making anime mainstream in the west, whether otakus like it or not. Anime is not likely to earn any new fans through new films. I also agree with you on anime having proved time and again that it can tell a mature story as well as having some of the most mature animation out there. Berserk and Evangelion could get rid of the idea of anime being childish. The Kara no Kyoukai movies would be perfect as well since (from what I've seen) they are really bloody and smart.

Hmm...Actually, if a series on the level of Kara no Kyoukai would be taken seriously then, just maybe the image of anime would change. However, since adults are less likely to adopt at new things I doubt anime will be taken seriously by anyone over 20 anytime soon. There is a problem: Disney is the one defining the standard for animation in the west. As you know, for most westerners an animated movie is characterized as being targeted specifically to the 'the family segment'' with a simple unoffensive plot and clear distinctions between good and evil.

Another issue is that when people watch an anime for the first time, is the quality of the animation. Once again, Disney has had a severe impact on the way people see things in the west. Disney is far superior on the technical level. Do you remember you replied to my thread about SAO being a good anime to watch or not?

Well, I'm going to use SAO in order to prove you that Disney is way better than some of the best animation Japan has to offer today: Apparently, an episode of SAO has a budget of less than $300.000 and Disney spent a cool $260.000.000 on Tangled 0.0.

No wonder there is a slight difference. Disney is the Microsoft of animation and their influence on the market is impossible to ignore.

Like I said, unless there is more animes like AoT then I doubt anime will become mainstream in the west. 
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(edited by cless alvein on 01-27-15 04:02 PM)    

01-25-15 03:46 PM
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That's....that's a very good question. I wouldn't be really happy with that. But, its really up to them to decided if it is good and if it will make a good impact on the population there. Sailor Moon I don't think would be everywhere to be known so much. But to be in places that people would watch. Sailor Moon was a popular anime still is in a way today. I stand by saying this because that is how I feel.
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01-25-15 07:56 PM
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I'm not crazy into anime or anything. It kinda died on me in the past year or so. However, the answer to your question (of course in my opinion) is no. I do not believe it has become mainstream.

First, let's start with the definition of mainstream - the ideas, attitudes, or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional; the dominant trend in opinion, fashion, or the arts.

Now, this may not apply to everywhere, because of course a lot of places are different but I live in Eastern Ontario, Canada and I can easily say that the definition of mainstream does not anyway apply to anime where I live. Anime is in no way a normal thing that people watch where I live. For something to become normal I think it would have to become to the point where if you ask them if they've seen the latest episode in "X" then they would have probably seen it. But anyways, I don't think it has become mainstream.

Should it be mainstream? I don't really know. I can't really think of any benefits or draw backs of it.

If you have any questions about anything I said or if I didn't explain anything clearly enough feel free to ask!
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I don't believe anime going mainstream in the west will change much for anime since it's made in Japan. If they have the same work ethic as the Japanese video game creators then they don't really care much about the outside worlds culture.

I'd enjoy having more people to talk to anime about since I'm not very good at not saying, or even singing for that matter, what's on my mind. I actually introduced my friend to anime when we were around 10 and naruto was on Toonami on Cartoon Network. Ever since then he's been watching anime nonstop every day. I usually can't even introduce him to a new anime because he's usually seen it already.

Anyway, I doubt Japan would sell out because of people in the west getting hooked on something. Look how long it took them to make a western styled RPG "Demon / Dark Souls" but you don't see everyone in Japan making tons of Western RPGs now even after Dark souls was such a success. In my opinion, it will just make things more interesting when you meet more people who love to watch anime just like you or I do.
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01-26-15 04:19 AM
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MoblinGardens : I want to ask you a question:When you said"the definition of mainstream - the ideas,attitudes,or activities that are regarded as normal or conventional;the dominant trend in opinion, fashion, or the arts"you meant to say that mainstream equals popularity,right?(sorry if I stated the obvious but I just had to ask lol)
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(edited by cless alvein on 01-26-15 04:20 AM)    

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cless alvein : Yep, that's essentially what mainstream is and don't worry about it, any question is worth something
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01-26-15 01:45 PM
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MoblinGardens : I apologize once again,dude.For some reason I can't explain,I felt like I needed to ask you that question even though I knew the answer alreadybut you got a good point though:any question is worth something
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Let's put it this way. Anime will only become as mainstream as people will allow it. Allow me to explain.
Nowadays, the most popular and most watched anime include those such as Naruto, SOA, Attack on Titan, etc.  However, western popularity rarely, if ever, extends beyond these popular titles.  This is, of course, a problem, as it presents anime as a childish and violent source of entertainment in the uneducated adult American eye.  Because of this, less people are willing to look further than the few standbys that exist, and as a result limit the spread and popularity of anime into mainstream culture.
And I'd prefer to keep it that way.
The more mainstream anime becomes, the faster it will get fazed out, and the less serious people will take it considering the fact that said anime will consist of a roster filled with the Narutos and the SOAs.  Don't even try to deny it, these are actually closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top.  So no, I don't believe that the "good" anime will reach mainstream success, and quite frankly, that's where I want to keep it.  Besides, most people are too lazy to deal with subtitles in the first place, so a lack of mainstream success would limit the number of bad words English dubs out there.
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01-29-15 02:20 AM
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I'd be fine if anime didn't become mainstream. If it did I'd feel like there would be too many crappy anime and only a few decent to moderately great anime. Although anime is rather popular at my school, I know a good amount of people here that watch anime. The families of a few friends of mine actually all watch it.

On a side note, the Kaneki  Ken finger cracking doesn't hurt after you've been doing it for a while. (It's not like I've been doing it, nor have been told that I'm going to get arthritis if I keep doing it)
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Hmm... now, I like anime, but i'm not as an otaku as you, I watch action anime, and not a lot of others.

However, I really do like it. Some anime got really mainstream in the late nineties in the west (The west being northern europe, Netherlands, UK, etc. And the USA) With Pokemon and Dragon Ball, of course other then those not a lot of more anime-type anime have gotten mainstream attention, Death note perhaps.

But, should it? That's a different discussion. The west handles every type of animation ''Children, but it could be fun for the older people'' So if they would see nudity in anime, heck they already take so much time censoring One piece and Dragon Ball Kai..


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