Anime is probably the most popular and varied of all the popular forms of media entertainment. Anime has grown into its own culture and in many ways stands as a mirror to our modern society. Each anime is presented and marketed to a very specific age group and when it is viewed by these demographic it becomes something that they can relate to. Many of the fans of anime often look at the same subject matter as those who are not the target audience, this then leads to some interesting points of conversation between them.
One of the things that has become apparent to me as an anime fan is the difference between fans and critics. Of course there are similarities between the two, but their differences are much more important.
A critic is one who has a strong opinion about a subject. They often argue and debate with others. The very fact that you read their articles and thoughts on a subject makes you an extension of their opinions. Criticism is one of the most common characteristics of the critic. And because of this they are seen as a neutral observer and sometimes even a source of criticism.
A fan is usually seen as a true enthusiast of a group of products or entertainment that they are able to come up with their own thoughts about. In other words they are often accused of being a “fan” rather than a critic. As you would expect this also means that they are often seen as a “fan”.
The difference between these two types of people is one of the biggest draws for me in anime viewers and critics. My opinion on certain anime does not mean that I am not an anime viewer at all. It simply means that I have an opinion and don’t claim to be an expert.
Otaku are the passionate fans of anime. They want everything about the anime they like, and the anime that they hate, explained. I could never claim to understand all the aspects of anime, I don’t know the first thing about it. But I can ask questions and make observations based on my knowledge of the subject.
On the other hand I do identify as an otaku. I love anime, but I’m not sure I fully understand it or can explain it to anyone else. I know certain aspects of it and can provide information to those that want it.
Fans on the other hand, have no real opinions on anime. They want to see the anime, but don’t want to discuss it with others because they feel that it will hurt their fantasy or their view of the anime.
Some may consider this polarizing as well as curious, but it’s something that I’ve observed in both of these groups of anime watchers and critics. How can they feel part of the same fandom? This may be a defining characteristic of the anime industry. Because if fans are encouraged to separate themselves from the people who talk about anime, it will surely lead to a flourishing industry.
But the fact that anime fans are less inclined to offer opinions and more inclined to argue or debate about an anime topic should be one of the most telling things about this type of market. People will choose to spend their time arguing about the anime instead of spending it watching it.
From a marketing standpoint I do agree that it will be good for anime to encourage people to talk about their favorite anime in the hope that they will be able to set up some sort of bond with others who are not necessarily anime fans but are interested in talking about it. I believe this would be a huge boost to the sales of anime.
One last thing to consider is the fact that the anime watcher is an actual person, who has an opinion on an anime show. If you can’t get along withan anime viewer, why should you try to build a business relationship with one? Because ultimately it will hurt the anime industry and you.