A lot of people say a lot of different things in terms of what defines anime or manga. I don’t know who is right, wrong, if even they are in conflict or if the varying definitions are incongruent. What I do know is that anime and manga are broad brushes that describes a lot of things. Once we throw games in the mix, it actually…gets no more crazy than it already was.
The gaming community is a good way to look at it. In reality there are a large number of different types of games. What’s more is that video games have long since reached the mainstream in the utmost sense, especially in the past few years when casual gaming tied up with the gadgets everyone wanted, on the social networking platform everyone was on. It’s gotten to the point where everyone knows what Angry Birds is, and really, why is this? I don’t know, besides that the game ties into a variety of devices.
All I’m trying to say is, say, someone like me, who doesn’t really play much in terms of marquee titles, is very different than my bros who play Halo and CoD and what not, which are all too different than a blogger on hiatus or one who’s not. Are we even gamers? By some stretch of the definition, sure. We might all watch anime at some point in our lives, too. Or read manga. But we are not similar in our inclinations at a fine grain resolution, to say the least.
I see this, painfully so, when it comes to manga in America. The general marketing concept behind it has not evolved beyond TokyoPop’s brand of “Woah this crap comes from Japan! It’s like, girls read this thing! We call it manga! UNCE UNCE UNCE!” Which is fine, if the calendar says 1989 or something like that. But in 2011 terms this is woefully insufficient, especially since Japan is thoroughly involved with this little localization scene. Especially now that the internet is a major player, and the path everyone is taking to get to the next level.
The sad thing is, even posh and classic manga publisher like Vertical can’t get stuff lifted off the ground in this way. It’s like selling mushrooms, to use an analogy: $500/lb truffle can be marketed in the same way as your $2/lb white buttons, simply because they share some biological similarities in their life cycles? I mean, yeah, you’re a mushroom dealer. And not even the illicit ones. So, again, just because you read/sell/buy/review/follow manga, what does it mean? What does Drops of God has anything to do with Bleach? Nothing, I propose.
I mean, compare this with, say, Marvel or DC’s catalogs–there’s this kind of fracture for attention that is just unimaginable and unseen with these American publishers. It’s not to say those DC or Marvel don’t have diverse offerings, but they really aren’t concerned with just the wide range of topics, forms, modes, and concepts that all of manga has to offer. Which, is to say, manga covers basically everything under the sun.
And naturally, this extends to the fanbase. Just because I may have an anime blog, it doesn’t mean it’s the same sort of blog as any particular breed of anime blog. Anime is a lot more niche than manga, relatively speaking, so I think the relative success of marketing based on that product identity in the west is much better as a result. Ultimately when I go to an anime con, most people overlap in their anime consumption experience, as far as what makes them fans. I cannot say the same thing for manga, at least, not as confidently. But to not just contradict myself, I probably cannot well-identify with majority of American con-goers either, just because I am well-above the average age. Maybe. Honestly, I don’t really know.
Which is why things like this happens, I suppose. Learn to offkai amirite? It’s more serious than that: Learn to realize your hobbies is actually (slightly) different than mine? Do we need to create/import vocabulary for this to happen? Is your illustrated pornography different than mine? How different is too different? Or are they really the same and some people (at the con) are just old and some other (characters) are too old? Do you belong better at a JumpMangaAdaptationCon than a LatestLateNightTVAnimeCon? Or maybe go straight to 4ChanCon? Do plot-driven drivel get you going farther than the House the Artfag built? Or do you require the services of both? Neither? All these things can strongly dictate what we enjoy, what we experience, and how we enjoy yourselves, together. I don’t know why we would want to confuse them. Let’s spell it out.