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Posts Tagged ‘Fans’

If you were alive and in elementary school in 1997, chances are that you were a part of the Pokemon craze.  You watched the show, played the Game Boy, and collected the cards.  Heck, you (like me) probably knew the PokeRap by heart.  Even to this day, a good majority of you can and will recite the theme song at the drop of a dime.  And we all know the basic gist of the story.  10 year old Ash Ketchum sets out on a journey to catch all (originally) 150 (or 151 if you count Mew) and become a Pokemon master with his partner, Pikachu.  On the way he finds and travels with some friends (Misty and Brock…also Tracy for some time until Brock returns) and continues battling and catching pokemon in hopes of becoming said Pokemon master.

 

This is another one of those ongoing, never ending series.  Obviously Nintendo knows what they’re doing.  Pokemon is one of their largest and most popular franchises and when something makes money, chances are that the franchise won’t come to an end until it fails to create a profit.  Now I’ve already done the rundown on the issues of having an ongoing series in this post.  So I’ll do my best not to reiterate anything that’s already be stated there.  But Pokemon comes with it’s own host of issues.  And the fans have their own host of issue as well.  For now, I’ll start with the fans…

 

There’s an understandable lure that nostalgia has on our memories.  Try thinking about something you loved as a child but haven’t seen in years.  And look at a newer variation of it that has a new host of characters, settings, and challenges.  Perhaps even a completely different art style.  Somehow the newer version doesn’t look nearly as good in your eyes because you had such a strong love for the older version.  This is the appeal of the first generation of Pokemon to fans of the series.  The more Pokemon designs they created the more they dislike the designs of future generations.  Gen. 2 was still fairly decent.  Gen. 3 was okay.  Gen. 4 was bad.  And Gen. 5 was despised.  By time the generation for the Black and White games came out, fans had convinced themselves that the older designs were tons better than the new ones.  That Nintendo needs to stop creating pokemon designs because the new ones are absolutely terrible.  They’ve convinced themselves that Gen. 1 was the best because all the designs were based off of real animals and/or mythical beasts.  This logic fails miserably.  Because nostalgia seemed to block out such Pokemon like Grimer, Muk, Ditto, Magnemite, Magneton, and Porygon.  All creatures based off of immobile, non-living objects and all from the first generation (by non-living I mean non-organic, flesh and blood beings).  What’s the difference between a magnet creature or toxic waste creature and a gear or garbage creature?  Or even an ice cream one?

 

As for the series, the problem it has is repetition.  Constant repetition.  Nothing completely new has happened in the story in years.  Every time Ash ventures to a new region, he drops all the Pokemon he had except Pikachu, obtains a new starter Pokemon, and sets out to gather all the gym badges and fight whatever leagues there are.  All the while Jessie and James continue to try to steal Pikachu nearly every episode and fail every time.  If you started from episode one, you know the basic story for every season following.  Story is important.  While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a small bit of repetition in a story, when the entire story repeats itself that is a story failure that should have been fixed in the pre-production phase.  Or the alternative is to just end the series.  Once you find that there is nothing new you can do with your story, that’s a sign that the project should end.  Let the series end with a bang rather than drag it out until you’ve wrung everything you could from it.  Because at a certain point, the audience will slowly fall away.

 

But in the end, it just comes down to money.  For all the faults it has as a television series, Pokemon is brilliant when it comes to merchandising.  All the creatures they can make toys and stuffed animals off of, all the games they can make, all the shirt and product designs…it’s a cash cow.  And Nintendo’s out to milk Pokemon for all they can get.  In the meantime, I’ll continue to be a fan and attempt to “catch ’em all”.  How about you?

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There’s something that I notice at anime conventions and it’s that there is a silent disrespect and hatred for the furry fandom.  It seems some “otaku” place themselves on a pedestal over furs.  I understand that at an anime convention it is conventional for people to cosplay as anime characters.  So furs that dress up as pokemon or digimon or any other creatures related to an anime series are generally left alone.  But there’s a silent double standard in the anime fandom and it’s that you can costume as any character, anime related or otherwise, but god forbid you fursuit as your personal character!  Or god forbid you sell “furry”/anthropomorphic art in artist alley.  People will talk about them behind their backs as if somehow they are greater than the other person.  And this isn’t just limited to the furry fandom.  Anime fans get their fair share of hatred.  Anime in America is thought of as a fad that will disappear in time.  People who like anime are thought of as immature or “wannabe Japanese” people.  God forbid a person shows a genuine interest in the language or culture as well as likes anime.  They will be thought of as a “weaboo”.  And what about sci-fi and comic book fans?  Their like of cosplaying as their favorite characters at conventions is always fodder for late night comedians to poke fun at.  They’re thought of as the 40 year old, overweight virgins who will never get a girl because of his “insane” interest in Star Wars or Superman.  Yet there still seems to be a ranking system of fandoms within fandoms.

 

But does no one ever notice how fandoms always overlap?  Anime fans have their conventions.  Furries have theirs.  Heck, there’s even a convention for Power Rangers fans.  And comic book fans have Comic-con and other variations like C2E2.  And sci-fi fans have their conventions.  For every fandom you can think of, there is a convention for it somewhere in the world.  But for the purposes of this entry, I’ll only be focusing in on connecting anime, comics, tokusatsu and furry.

 

There’s one thing that all these fandoms have in common and it’s that they’re more alike than their fans would like to believe.  I’m a new fan of Japanese tokusatsu and an old fan of anime and furry.  Japanese tokusatsu and anime are easily connectible as they’re both forms of media that come from the same country.  Not to mention series like the Super Sentai series and Kamen Rider can sometimes read like a live action anime.  But where does furry fit into the scenario?  Very easily.  In the furry fandom, many anime series tend to be very well loved because critters are the focal point of a few popular series.  Pokemon, Digimon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Wolf’s Rain are four of the most popular.  Animal and/or shapeshifting characters from other series are equally as popular.  Ein from Cowboy Bebop, Mokona from just about everything that CLAMP has made, or some two of my personal favorites, Spinel Sun and Keroberos from Cardcaptor Sakura.  As for furry-type characters in tokusatsu, you’ve got anything from Godzilla to the more animalistic yummies in Kamen Rider OOO (IE: the bird type yummies created by “lost” Ankh).

 

What about a connection between American comics and Japanese comics (manga)?  At it’s simplest, comics and manga are both stories told through image and text.  Nothing more, nothing less.  People seem to think of anime and manga as a genre of it’s own without realizing that just like American comics and animation, Japanese media is separated into genres such as shounen (meant for boys), shoujo (meant for girls), action, horror, comedy, “mahou shoujo” (magical girl), psychological thriller, and so on and so forth.  There’s a good chance that if you have a genre/subject that you like in American comics, there’s a manga out there that you might enjoy as well.

 

I don’t have to do a rundown of every detail of every fandom to show the constant overlap between them.  My point’s been made just fine.  People have different interests and sometimes those interests collide.  But if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that we’re a part of the fandom(s) because we have similar interests to others and we want and need to have people in our lives to share that interest with.  We come together, cosplay and support one another in our endeavors because it’s fun.  And in the end that’s all it ever needs to be is fun.  There doesn’t need to be any ranking or comparing ourselves to one another.  We don’t need to shun a person expressing being a furry at an anime convention or being an anime fan at a sci-fi convention or a comic book fan at a furry convention.  Because when you get right down to it, that person also shares your interest.  Or else they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

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