Trying to look at groups of people based solely on TV ratings and DVD sales can be a frustrating exercise indeed. For example I could say that the general public in Japan likes animation that is nostalgic and/or child friendly based on rankings like this, or I could say those who actually buy the product like samurai and moe anime based on this. However, that would be as much of a logical fallacy as saying American men who buy beer like football and objectifying women based on a bunch of adverts. That doesn’t stop them from being made, though.
In a brief conversation with Twitter, the topic of Japan’s efforts to promote anime in an attempt to expand its “soft power” came up and this response got me thinking. Could this be the answer I was looking for in all of this?
The otaku making stuff for other otaku point could make sense logically. The idea of members of a niche subculture making something that caters to other members which reinforces the subculture and sets it further away from mainstream seems reasonable. I happen to be further separated from this by being part of a separate mainstream culture in another country thousands of miles away, which is just a really elaborate way of saying the material is becoming more inpenetrable because it is made for a selected group.
There’s really no way I can see this trend reversing anytime soon, and I am completely powerless to do something about it. There’s really no point in raging over the fact I can’t get an ever increasing percentage of what I am watching anyway. So I remain pretty much limited to asking myself why I like or dislike something constantly or trying to come up with ideas on why something gets made or if something like Saimoe is indicative of the future of character design?
Is it a pointless exercise? Most likely, but I can still have a go at criticizing the passive wish fulfillment in Sora no Otoshimono even if I do laugh at some of the silliness and it is well executed overall. I might not give the highly academic analysis of what I am watching (apart from my few years old idea of a look at snow removal in anime based on Kanon) but I can at least continue the constant introspection that has become a part of my experience watching anime.
It appears I have come from this at the wrong angle in asking why I decide not to finish 30-ish% of what I initially start. Maybe I should just start with why I like to watch anime in the first place over a lot of other activities I could be enjoying?