Pointless Debate #27: Multi Fandom

The inspiration for this post, the intersections of fandom.

I’ll start by saying that I was inspired by the first episode of Space Bros into writing this post. Actually, it was more a case of the opening few minutes in how milestones were marked. The older brother Mutta was born in the aftermath of the Agony of Doha, when the Japan conceded an equalizer to Iraq in the final 1994 World Cup qualifier. Hibito was born as Hideo Nomo was putting the finishing touches on his first no hitter in Major League Baseball. The day their lives changed was on the same date as the 2006 World Cup final.

I was just impressed that milestones in their lives were marked by sporting events. It’s just something people who are really into something do. There was an episode of This American Life in which one of the interviewees uses Penn State football to remember dates and more. In my own experience, those same dates in order I was an annoying 10 year old who was vaguely excited about the World Cup coming to my country the next summer, I was watching a cut-in on the no-hitter and I was in a cramped room live blogging the World Cup final while IMing one of my former college roommates. The temperature in that room was near 40 C, but I shall spare any additional details. Even in that, you can tell that there’s more detail as I was more emotionally involved in what was happening and where I was.

The attention to detail that went into this opening segment was impressive. They even nailed the facial hair Ellis Burks was sporting that season.

I’ll just continue on with sports fandom a bit. I like to think of the time between games as a non-fiction narrative. Fans talk to each other about their teams, creating a level of expectation for the next game or for an entire season. For generations this has gone on, and it has only been enhanced by the emergence of newer and more interactive sources of media.

I was such a big fan of Madoka that I didn't even realize that there was stuff after the end credits in the final episode until 2 weeks ago.

I always wonder if people feel the same while watching their favorite shows. As an example, do people remember what they were doing right before the final 2 episodes of Madoka aired? I can’t seem to think of any sort of marker in watching anime, apart from maybe January 3, 2009, though that was more relevant to writing now.

And finally I can use this in a relevant post.

That has had me thinking that perhaps I’m just not enough of a fan. I may have seen many series over the years, but maybe I don’t know enough about what I’m watching. I sometimes feel this blog lacks enthusiasm because I’m not solely dedicated to the media I write about. Then again, I was enough of a fan to actually put my thoughts out in long form so that must count for something.

Actually what I’m really interested in is finding out what other interests people out there have apart from anime and manga. Do you feel as passionate about that and contribute to that community as often as you do in this part of the internet? Am I being too serious about this topic as well?

12 thoughts on “Pointless Debate #27: Multi Fandom

  1. I’m with you – I can’t really mark milestones via anime. But maybe it has less to do with degree of fandom and more to do with availability. Although we can watch anime very shortly after it airs in Japan, we’re still not matched up at the exactly the same time – and there’s certainly something for watching an event live.

    We’re also not absorbed in anime culture in every aspect of our lives. For instance, here in the U.S., I get up and turn on the TV and ESPN is available; I got to my car and turn on sports radio; I go to work and (this is the one that matches anime) can read a few sports articles; I go to get my oil changed, and I can read a Sports Illustrated or read the sports section in the newspaper; and when I relax at night, I can watch a basketball game.

    And so, I often mark my events in my life by sports, and I certainly remember back to years and specific dates of all sorts of events by sports (ex. “Hmm…what year was I in 8th grade? Oh yeah! That was when Montana was in KC! Must’ve been ’94-’95 time frame.”).

    But I do think I have a couple of anime moments, though mostly they have less of a national/international/community aspect to them and more of a personal one. For instance, I remember watching the finale to Mawaru Penguindrum on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day-ish, and really felt a combination of emotions from both. And less specific, I feel this connotation of seasons (ex. heat of summer) that I associate with certain series.

    Thanks for the great post – I really enjoyed thinking about this question!

    • I guess being in North America, there are aspects of sports that are unavoidable to anyone with access to media at all. People gravitate to it, which is why you can find it airing on TVs or magazines devoted to the subject everywhere. Even the video games are amongst the biggest sellers every year.

      There was one moment I did leave out in the post. Watching Gundam 0080 in the week before Christmas is an interesting experience on it’s own. Though the first time i watched it was probably over a spring break when I was in school.

  2. I only have one anime related moment that I really remember what was going on.

    LotGH when THAT happened. My bf had just happened to come home at that very moment when I was bawling. He was quite confused XD

    I remember lots of hockey playoff moments though. My fondest was when the Avs won the cup in 2000/2001. I was snuggled up all cosy like on the couch and my dad in the chair. It was a great series and seeing Ray Bourque finally lift the cup brough tears to my eyes.

    • There are just so many THAT moments in LoGH, but I’m guessing you’re referring to episode 82. That scene was so remarkably done. As for Bourque finally getting to raise the cup, if it weren’t for the Bruins being so badly run he could have done so earlier. Not that leaves Toronto as the benchmark badly run team in the league. I also remember staying up late in 1994 to watch the Rangers game 7 triumphs against the Devils, then Canucks. Those were good times.

  3. I hate to say but most moments that I remember where not marked with anime, such as I was at work at Toys R Us when the 9-11 happened. That just reminded me that I was at Toys R Us when they were pursuing OJ Simpson, too. Anyway,the one time that qnime did have a defining moment was when my Mom passed away. I pulled out some of my favorite anime at the time and watched it o ff and om for several days. Peacemaker Kurogane, Gungrave, and Cowboy Bebop were a few that gave me solace at that time.

    • I just remember on the OJ Simpson day that baseball was on strike and the World Cup was in full swing. I may have been playing pickup basketball as a kid then. The 9-11 story I can remember that day from about 7:30am through 5pm. It was just one of those days anyone who experienced it will remember. I guess I just don’t have that kind of emotional tie to anything. Maybe if people met future spouses they would remember what movie was playing.

  4. I have many interests, but am currently more active with my anime fandom than most others. I really never have been very interested in sports, so I generally lack all awareness of what sport is even in season. I can only name a few teams, and have no idea who any of the players are.

    I have been very interested in music in the past, going to many shows, spending lots of money and time in used record stores, and generally listening to music of all sorts. I also used to spend a fair amount of time playing guitar. I rarely spend that much time on music anymore. Maybe I should say that I often spend my music time double-up on anime fandom.

    As to marking time, I think I understand why big sporting events can be useful. Many people share the experience. In other words, people can have a common reference with a fellow fan by referencing a particularly vivid game, such as a traumatic world cup match (the Agony). It doesn’t matter if you were not in the same room, or even the same country, since these events sometimes are shared experiences that span the globe. As I said, I’m not really a sports fan, but I do think that is pretty cool.

    • That’s true, I think shared experience does play a role in making something more memorable than just a single person watching a show at their own place and time of their choosing.

      • Yeah, that is why I like to go to movie premiere every now and then. It is a bit more interesting to be a part of the big event — rather than watching it whenever.

      • With movie premiers there are some movies that I think are well attended and make lots of money because they are seen as events, like Transformers for instance. However, I can see that most of them deserve to have that kind of following,

  5. I don’t believe that you’re any less passionate about anime simply because you do not mark your life events by special moments in shows. Instead, this is a great note about how different watching anime is from watching sports. Even when you watch sports alone, the draw of sports is that the players on the field are representative of a larger group. A poignant moment in sports thus becomes a shared moment in time, giving it at least a feel of historical significance, and occasionally some truly relevant cultural value. There is a high amount of social significance in this because you share this moment with a group, be it a general fandom or that of one of the participating teams.

    That’s not to say that anime has no cultural, social, or historical value. It is part of a culture, if not quite a true subculture itself. However the way that we consume anime, and its disconnect from a real time viewing requirement, makes its landmark events less apt for measuring your life’s milestones. What good would it be for me to associate life events with, let’s say… [spoiler] Nagisa’s death in After Story? Pointless, because I didn’t watch that until 2009. Anime outside of Japan is unique in this respect because we typically are not watching a broadcast, so there is a greater disconnect from time. You can see shades of this in the calls to bring back Toonami, where the nostalgia brought on from seeing Tom reminded people of the nights when they were first introduced to this genre.

    Anime is also missing much of the social aspect. Even if you watch with friends and participate in the culture (as we are now), there is not as much significance as a live event. You certainly aren’t as likely to be able to gather round the water cooler come Monday and say, “So did you catch the ending of Penguindrum?” I should point out that this is also true of most television, except on the rare occurrence that something happens in a show where the initial broadcast becomes an anticipated event for a large portion of society. A non-live event tends to have a disconnect from time, and thus becomes a less meaningful marker. The smaller the group watching at the same time the less cultural impact the timing has.

    I think you should flip this around, though. Rather than measure your life by anime events, try to think of a poignant event and see what memories it stirs. For instance, I can clearly picture the room I was in the first time I watched the end of Cowboy Bebop. Also, think of the attachments and significance you’ve assigned to various aspects of anime. When you assess the attachments you’ve made in your life to anime I think you can begin to measure your passion, but I wouldn’t worry if you don’t use it as a measure of time.

    • That’s a very excellent comment. The social aspect of anime is primarily limited to chatter online, but I think more popular TV does allow that water cooler chatter. It usually has to do more with reality shows these days, though being in a pool for one makes it easier to talk about.

      As far as Cowboy Bebop, I think it would have been March 2002 in a ridiculously cramped dorm room in college, with my roommate commenting that the ending seemed rather obvious. I guess that makes me a fan then.

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