Anime Vice News

How has Anime Fandom Changed Since the 90's?

Tom and Matt dig up a 1998 issue of TOON Magazine and see how many of its predictions about anime in America proved true.

metalsnakezeroon Nov. 7, 2014 at 1:11 p.m.

Back then Anime was strange and interesting when people was seeing it in the America. They were pushing boundaries, paced different, and was targeting different people. However, the industry was starting to suffer with how easy it became to get raw video of a series and licenses weren't making anything due to it. As we seen from the years companies came and want under but those who were able to stay found ways to get people to keep watching. Anime still were around so it was all about getting them to watch the right way as Crunchyroll open up to streaming video and soon everyone was doing it. I think it is now is the best time to be a fan of anime.

Kino88on Nov. 7, 2014 at 2:01 p.m.
great stuff, those were good times,
Vapovile moderator on Nov. 9, 2014 at 1:39 a.m.

Well I myself wasn't watching anime in 1998(being 4 at the time), but I have seen quite the change in how anime is seen since my early Toonami, and even earlier Yugioh and Pokemon days. In my experience, people back then usually fell into two camps; the younger people(myself included) would be really into Toonami shows like Dragon Ball Z, and would watch it everyday after school on TV. The older fans I saw were typically into Studio Ghibli works primarily, but watched some of the more mature stuff that wasn't shown on Toonami. This was all before I even knew the Internet existed. At least where I lived, most people I talked to knew who Goku was, and thought anime in general was pretty cool.

Nowadays, nobody has to wait for a re-run to see an episode you missed, you could literally watch the entire show in any order, anytime you want on a streaming site! Plus with the advent of the Internet and wikis, we now know what particular episodes are complete filler, and have the ability to skip over them. Public perception, however, I think has changed drastically since then. Again, just my experience, but people I see generally think anime fan are either watching shows for little children and need to grow up(a perception that might have come around due to most animated shows and movies in the States being aimed at kids. Yes Disney, I am looking at you.), or think that they are creeps who watch hentai all day. So in general...I think anime has become a much more niche market here in the states.

But I will say one thing though; there hasn't been a more perfect time to become an anime fan. No matter what someone may be into, you could point them to a show or genre that might interest them. Is someone you know really into mind games? Show them Death Note or No Game No Life. Are they into boxing? Show them Ippo. Are they into Nightmare Before Christmas? Show them Soul Eater. No matter what someone is into, there is a show out there that can help ease them into the fandom. That's my thoughts on how things have changed :).

CapeBarneson Nov. 9, 2014 at 2:43 p.m.

Ah yes, the late 1990s. (More details later).

And Nikaku is still around at SJ JapanTown :)

takashichea moderator on Nov. 10, 2014 at 1:46 p.m.

The anime fandom has become more ingrained in the internet and social media rather than TV. At one point, anime did get mainstream during the Toonami/Fox Kids/ days where everyone had somewhat access to TV. Now, it's become more hidden or niche because anime hasn't done anything public news worthy. Video games are more mainstream because of outrageous events that correlated violence and feminism issues with video games. Anime and its fandom hasn't done much negatively or positively to get that exposure.

With the rise of the internet and social media, anime is more immersed and fused. Our definition of anime gets challenged as more western countries are making anime styled shows: Code Lyoko (Canada) and Korra and RWBY (America). The lines what is anime is blurring between style and origin. Folks argue what is anime as much as what is better: dub or sub or manga vs anime.

I feel anime like any other media is diverse but segregated. Well, you do have anime fans who enjoy video games and comic books. For most fans and professional artists, staff, writers etc, they are more contained within their media of interest. You hardly seen comic people talking about anime and its influences. They find it foreign. Same for anime. In Japan, folks might not like how western companies are branding their products as anime. It's pushing the boundaries of uniqueness. Does making the definition of anime broad take away its cultural uniqueness of anime?

Anime is changing and it's different from back then. It's more invisible and niche because of how we consume anime with rising usage of the internet and social media over TV and declining of sales for manga and anime outside of Japan due to piracy. Anime has more issues with piracy than other media: comics and video games. If we want to be more mainstream, we got to open our arms and do something crazy.

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