Welcome to the American Experiences Finale! Please welcome our guests, Dochaus and sotyfan16. They will share their experiences and outlook on anime culture in their hometowns! Sotyfan16 is from Illinois while DocHaus is from Washington D.C. Interview questions were written by Takashichea. Check out the American Experiences Part 1 and 2 if you missed it.
- How did you got into anime?
DocHaus: I think Pokemon and/or Digimon was the gateway drug back when I was in elementary school. Then, I went into Cowboy Bebop, Big O, some Gundam series and a bunch of other shows through Toonami and Adult Swim, then I tapered off for some years, until a few internet friends told me about Code Geass and dragged me back into this world. The biggest enabler is from the UK by the way (I don't mean Damswedon in this case), screw that guy for getting me back in.
Sotyfan16: Like most fans in my generation, I watched Pokemon and Digimon along with the original Toonami block of Sailor Moon,Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo, and DBZ. During high school, I forgot all about the shows. It wasn't until my Freshman year of college that a friend of mine from high school got me seriously into anime (before then I didn't even know it was called "anime" or that it wasn't made in the US) with Please Teacher/Twins and Hellsing.
- How did you view anime and fans who love anime?
DocHaus: Anime is an interesting medium in that you can portray some wild and crazy shit that would be either expensive with loads of CG or impossible to do in real life. Having said that, it still has the same pitfalls of regular TV in that at least 90% of what you find will be boring and/or outright terrible.
Sotyfan16: I'm still as passionate as ever about anime and the joy I get from the variety of shows getting made. Anime fans are an interesting group as some are very set in their ways of likes/dislikes. More often than not, when I talk to female fans I find them to be more emotionally unstable.
- Relating to an article (Why is Anime Invisible in Britain) I found, did you think anime can make it back to mainstream? Feel free to talk about censorship.
DocHaus: Some of it might be attributed to censorship and old people at old networks taking issue with the content, but a big problem with bringing anime to western audiences is the costs of licensing it and that makes it difficult to make a profit after everyone has taken their cut. Maybe the new Little Witch Academia Kickstarter can provide a potential model for funding/distributing anime online, but we have yet to see that take off. Also, some anime is just difficult to translate with many references to Japanese culture that don't work so well here in the states for those who haven't looked those references up.
Sotyfan16: I don't think anime was ever mainstream in the US. While I was watching Cartoon Network, everyone else was watching ESPN. I greatly dislike censorship. It's one of the reasons I don't listen to the radio anymore. But I realize TV will most always be censored so if anime can air on tv it is better than not being aired at all. As long as boxsets are released uncut/uncensored/etc. then I am happy.
- Have you been to an anime convention? How was it?
DocHaus: Anime cons attract some of the craziest fans. Some of them are interesting, others are insane with the time and effort put into their costumes, others need to learn how to shower. At some cons you can run into some famous voice actors or artists, and you can also catch viewings of shows or movies or games you might not have seen otherwise. There's also usually a room or two set aside where you can buy out-of-print manga or anime DVDs for cheap, I've acquired several box sets that way.
Just make sure you have plenty of water and/or snacks with you, and if you don't live nearby, find someone to room with at a hotel. If you are at a large convention like Otakon, make sure to get in line early because otherwise you may be locked out of certain panels. Also, be sociable, because that's half the fun of a convention.
Sotyfan16: Yes. I cannot remember the name of it (though I still have the badge somewhere) but it was in 2009, I think, and in St. Louis (which holds 2 small (<10,000 attendees) cons each year). It was fun to see the booths where you could buy art, hard-to-find items, and snacks (I picked up some boxes of Pocky). The panels were kind of impromptu but it was fun expressing different ideas with strangers. I believe the voice actor for Solid Snake was there the day I went.
- What is your buying experience like for anime and manga? Do you do it publicly or online?
DocHaus: Mostly online, considering these days bookstores are shutting down, old-fashioned comic shops don't carry much manga, and anime DVDs/blurays are difficult to find on store shelves with only a handful of exceptions.
Sotyfan16: I buy my anime and manga almost exclusively online. The closest bookstore and places for anime are 45 minutes away. But if I am at a store that has volumes I've had trouble finding then I will pay the retail price (or if they have a deal). Being in a small area, online is the easiest option and the price discounts make me feel better considering how I feel anime is overpriced.
- What are your views on Japanese culture?
DocHaus: Interesting comparisons with the West considering how it evolved in seclusion from them, from the stories of the Sengoku era to their own version of the Mandate of Heaven bestowed upon an Emperor to the many kami mentioned in Shinto legends. I'd still go with the Greek pantheon though, those gods were badass.
Sotyfan16: I love the culture. I want to learn more about it. The main thing I don't like is citizens cannot own weapons. Being a gun enthusiast, the law keeps me from considering a move there at some point.
- Is anime popular in America?
DocHaus: In one word: yes.
In more words: it's getting more popular, judging by the way the various fandoms have expanded, but not quite "mainstream" popular yet. Due to the internet breaking down barriers to entry through both legal and less-than-legal channels, it's much easier to view and share views with others, but also that much easier to skim it and move on. I've gotten a few folks hooked on great shows like Ghost in the Shell and Cowboy Bebop, but it's difficult to convince them to go any further lest they catch the weeaboo by accident.
Sotyfan16: No. In the cities the popularity is more prevalent but I think the overall answer is "no". But I do feel the fandom is growing thanks to the greater emphasis on streaming and availability. The Con experience is another large factor. The time of the nerd, geek, and otaku have not yet come.
- What anime should have aired in America, mainstream TV or online?
DocHaus: Baccano! (though if you count the barely-shown "Funimation Channel" it already did). Also Tiger & Bunny and Panty & Stocking. I still hold out hope that those latter two will eventually find their way to the new Toonami.
Sotyfan16: You can find just about any anime online so the option is moot. I'd just honestly like to see series from Sentai Filmworks/Section 23 aired on TV. Every anime that has aired on TV in the US has been from every other company (FUNimation, Bandai, Viz Media, etc.). Numerous quality shows are passed by for the sake of the small viewership.
About the Authors
|Sotyfan16 loves to review and talk about anime, manga, and other otaku things. You can find me on YouTube,Spill, AnimeVice , and MyAnimeList. Follow him @Sotyfan16|
|DocHaus is a writer and reader, Nerd and DC-sports Fan. If what I post or RT here is true, we're probably all doomed. lover of movies, games, and anime. Follow him @Doktor Haus|