Witnessing the horror that is the turmoil in the anime industry today, I came to a realisation about myself: my reason for watching anime seems to have changed. Having very little to concern myself with in my personal life at the moment (I mean that I have no inner turmoils, not that I’m a blank sack of potatoes), I realised that I’m watching anime to escape from anime.
With a DVD in hand – and I’ve got literally hundreds of them unwatched – I have a hermetically sealed universe: a pact between myself and the series, divorced from any outside influence. For twenty minutes at a time, I don’t have to worry about the fact that Geneon died in the US, and that people are killing each other over “dorama” on the internet (and the fact that they get a cheap thrill simply from the act of typing “dorama”). I’m living for the moment with my DVDs, feeling free to cry, yell, or shake my fists at whatever developments throw themselves at me. Obviously the internet has been fairly indispensable in the development of my direction, but I feel a disenfranchisement that cannot attach myself to it for too long. I like interacting with other anime people, but only to a degree. Going to a convention is rather akin to going to a horror show, except I’m not the one kicking people and performing “Singin’ in the Rain”. I think that the second my brain imploded, beyond all of the shouts of “yaoi power!”, was when I was in Melbourne for Manifest, either ’04 or ’05, and a fat girl in a costume asked to get by me by saying “sumimasen”. These are not my people. These are not people at all.
The reasons I don’t watch fansubs right now are transparently simple: discounting the fact that I really prefer having something tangible to show for my efforts, my computer presently isn’t strong (or conveniently located) enough to warrant the effort, and all of my favourite shows when I was on the circuit appeared to be the ones that would receive the least attention from the fansubbers. For example, Angel Heart has been over for more than a year but the subs are only up to episode 42. I like having an entire series on DVD to devour at my own arbitrary pace rather than someone else’s.
I loved being part of the “blogosphere”, much as I hated that word – and now it looks like it’s been overtaken by 4chan, and a common language has been murdered by bastardisations like “weeaboo”, “copypasta” and that ilk. These are concepts that remove the need for independent thought and encourage a hive mind of unpleasantness; scientific research has proven that people who use “lulz” in all seriousness are more likely to make me cry at the state of humanity – and also to threaten people with planted child pornography, ignoring the fact that they would have to have obtained it in the first place.
I know for a fact that there’s still a lot of good stuff going on, but even as I’ve emerged from yet another personal shell, I’ve regressed back to a man, a DVD and a TV when it comes to anime. I’ll share my results with you, don’t get me wrong – I know that some readers like the past, too! – and I’ll try, oh Lord, I’ll try … to participate a bit outside of my bunker, too.
So I’ve got no answers to the current quandary. Depressing though it may be that a good ship like Geneon has sunk (this site was started on Pioneer, dangit), I can only take comfort in the knowledge that I have my DVDs, and they sure as heck can’t be taken from me. That being said, I either expect a fire, flood, or DVD plague to hit my house. I’ll continue to report back to you from the battlefield that is paid-for anime, and I hope you’ll either start, continue or resume reading. Over the Summer, I will learn discipline in writing, and you will learn … love. Or double your money back.
Come sail away with me, you guys.
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