Welcome to the American Experiences Part 1: Toonami Toons on a Weekday Afternoon! Please welcome our guests, MetalSnakeZeroand Acura Max. They will share their experiences and outlook on anime culture in their hometowns! MetalSnakeZero is from New York while Acura Max is from Pennsylvania. Interview questions were written by Takashichea. Check out the UK Experiences Part 1: Closet Nerd Theorem if you missed it.
Taka: How did you got into anime?
Acura: When I was younger, I watched a lot of TV, and it just so happened that Toonami was something that come on after school. So I watched that. It also helped that all my classmates and some of my family had watched anime. However, they have all stopped watching anime since.
Taka: How did you view anime and fans who love anime?
MSZ: When I first saw anime, they had a different feel to them that wasn't in cartoons. I was watching on American stations like Cartoon Network and Nick. It was obvious that they were a beast of their own. Over the years, I learn what made a good and bad anime show and took note of the way they were made, styles, and deeper meanings to them. Fans are complex. They are ones that are willing to watch anything, the ones that are flexible with what they watch, and the ones that obsess over everything. Americans saw anime on TV since the internet wasn't around yet. Because VHS tapes were limited, the TV was the easiest thing. Then, the internet started to become more powerful and uploading anime was easy. This led for a few years where fans are watching anime for free and not willing to buy. As a result, the anime industry is losing money. Now with legal streaming sites getting licenses, sales are going up slowly because the fans are making it happen. The point is that anime fans do care about this unique media. They were blinded when downloading anime for free was doing more harm than good. However, once you convince us to help, we will.
Acura: Well, I think anime is awesome (duh! That's why I'm on this website). I like anime because it's something different, and I'm open to new experiences. The anime fans are great. What more needs to be said? There are quite a few things. For one thing, anime fans are passionate about their hobby; some would say that it's even a lifestyle. This passion is best seen in an anime convention where people gather together to celebrate what they love. You get a sense of their community out there and that's never a bad thing to have. Though there are some people who let their passions blind them. A good example of this is how some anime fans are turned off to all media that isn't of Japanese origin and accuse others of hating anime to be ignorant. To me, this makes them sound like hypocrites, and they become become no different than the people who hate all anime on principle. Fine, the anime community is not perfect, but no community ever is.
Taka: 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.
MSZ: Anime is somewhat going mainstream with the return to Toonami. However, it is far from being completely mainstream. Many aspects of anime is made for a different audience and becoming mainstream would mean losing a part of what made it unique. Obviously, censorship really hurts a show. In my case, it is the fact that I was being lied to. That my little kid mind couldn't understand what a rice ball was or that a character's Japanese name needed to be Americanized. It was just silly, and it prevented me from opening my world view.
Acura: In my opinion, sometimes censorship is needed. Sure, censoring culture is always bad, but what about gore and sexuality. You guys have to remember that some series are shown as Saturday morning cartoons. That means that children as young as 4 years old could be watching. I'm pretty sure no one wants their young child to see Vegeta blasting Cell in half or to see Android 16's head rolling on the ground.
Taka: Have you ever been to an anime convention? How was it?
MSZ: I live in New York so the closest con I can go to is Comic Con/ Anime Fes. It was great to be around people of similar interest all in one huge place. It was also nice to meet the people who were bringing over the shows I love and the voices of the characters.
Acura: I haven't been to one.
Taka: What is your buying experiences like for anime and manga? Do you do it publicly or online?
MSZ: I don't buy a lot of anime since they are very costly. The way I buy Blu-ray/DVD of shows is that I must really love the series to own a physical copy. This goes with buying figures. I don't buy manga since I have a friend whom I can borrow from and I usually glance at them at B&N. I shop at both at an anime store and online, depending on which has the item I'm looking for.
Acura: I used to buy manga and subscribe to Shonen Jump. Now, I do neither of those things.
Taka: What are your views on Japanese culture?
MSZ: Japan is complex. I like the way they like nature, ideas, food, technology, landscape, and people. However, they have many downsides such as certain behaviors like being publicly standing out is a no no, certain government controls, falling birth rates, and many other problems. Still Japan, like many other cultures, is interesting.
Acura: Well, I like anime. So I have a positive view of the culture. I think the culture might be romanticized. I think people believe that the Japanese people are all anime lovers and do crazy, weird things all the time.
Taka: Is anime popular in America?
MSZ: It sure is. It is a niche media, so you'll need to look in specific places to find its influence but popularity can be found.
Acura: I think it's a niche market, but it does have an audience.
Taka: What anime should have aired in America, mainstream TV or online?
MSZ: Many shows are already being shown online every season so that is a given. As in mainstream TV, it would need to be a high profile show like Madoka Magica, Bleach, and Fullmetal Alchemist to catch interest from viewers that casually watch anime on TV. Secondly, they need to be more flexible with time slots like not only broadcasting it at late nights.
Acura: Perhaps Fairy Tail. I can't think of anything that would be suitable for children's television.
About the Authors
|MetalSnakeZero is a New Yorker with a love for video games, anime, and tech. Look out for my updates on these topics. Follow him @MetalSnakeZero|
|Acura Max is a lover of movies, games, and anime. I'm also a moderator on Screened.|