Only in another world

I recall how one Reddit user said that the real reason why they turned to Japan isn’t just due to anime but also escapism (especially when they admitted to having a bad life). I’d say it’s a combination of both curiosity and escapism. Disappointments happen and it’s soul-crushing (this happened to me before). That doesn’t mean it’s entirely bad.

Just because a country has downsides doesn’t mean it’s entirely bad. Though that involves a much more rounded idea of it and frankly I did return after going through disappointment. It’s not entirely good nor bad as much as anything has its ups and downs. They can get worse or better.

But they’re not worthless as much as anything can have both good and bad sides really.

In search of Dune in the post-anime world

Whilst this might be wishful thinking (to be honest), should anime ever come to an end people will inevitably look to substitutes. In fact this is where some franchises like Dune might become relevant. In the sense that in the Dune stories, mentats (or highly intelligent humans) have come to replace machines (given those were banned).

Logically, if anime were to collapse some anime fans will inevitably turn to Western animation and science fiction as viable options. The logical next step is to have those new Dune fans recreate scenes from Dune movies and telly whenever they go to any country with deserts in it. (This is where Australia, India and China have an advantage at least within the Pacific region.)

Again the same can be said of Mexico, America and almost any African and West Asian country. Whilst Japan more or less satiated the imaginations of anime fans, with Dune some of those former anime fans would make pilgrimages out of any country that has deserts. Whether if this gets romanticised’s up to anybody’s guess but as the planet Arrakis doesn’t exist, any desert could easily be a Tatooine/Arrakis* surrogate.

*Star Wars is highly influenced by Dune, especially at various points or another. There was even a kind of anti-robot revolt in the Clone Wars productions and some of the Star Wars staff admitted this (one of them also wrote Dune stories).

Manchild Media

Like I said, the Japanese do know what a manchild is and they call those ‘big friends‘. It seems if you believe Japanese media, the biggest (domestic) manchild-favourite brands like Love Live, Pretty Cure, Aikatsu, Sailor Moon and Pokemon. (I’d argue that before Bronies, there were already male fans of Kim Possible, She-Ra and Power Puff Girls which were also popular with young girls.)

If you go further back, this would in all likelihood include Minky Momo and Creamy Mami. These two were also unfortunately popular around the time of the lolicon boom, which the latter included sexualised depictions of children. (It’s not that children are entirely sexless but that to avoid being considered child porn it’s best left to sexologists, nonfiction and anecdotal reports.)

That’s not to say I condone Brony behaviour but should some fans sexualise Aikatsu characters (in which Aikatsu itself is intentionally aimed at children during prime time) they might as well be doing similar things and be essentially the same. (Although Pretty Cure might be a better answer in terms of sheer popularity.)

Animation after anime

Given anime’s possible demise (should a mangaka ever announce it), I have a feeling that both corporations and fans would have to turn to something else to get their fix. In fact, Western science fiction might become the new anime. In the sense of satiating fan appetites enough and in the case with Dune, relatable. (In the sense where characters are made to survive in a world that banned something and fight for something else.)

That could be my tasted being projected but I do think the John Carter stories might have a good chance of subtituting for anime. It’s got a lot of things anime fans might like and since the JC stories involve nudity, if anime’s no longer around then some anime fans would have no other choice but to turn to Barsoom. There are already attempts at adapting John Carter.

Just as there were animated adaptations of science fiction. Not just HG Wells’s stories (Time Machine and Island of Dr Moreau) as well as Frankenstein but also A Scanner Darkly. This makes me really think if anime fans can’t get their fix from anime anymore now that it’s gone, adapting Western sci-fi for animation’s the next best thing really.

Distortions

Though this isn’t always the case and there are even some anime fans who have a more grounded view of Japan (as well as people who’ve been to Germany and are even aware of its problems), I guess if somebody were to point out a dark side that they don’t seem aware of (or rather don’t want to hear at all) it’s not going to be nice and flattering. That doesn’t mean Japan and Germany are bad if they have serious flaws.

Same with any other country as I think it’s not that they’re good or bad but that the good and bad sides coexist with one another wherever you go. Sometimes they may even have the same problem. This is like pointing out that dog poisoning’s a big deal in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands. Or that Japanese parents, like their Western counterparts, don’t always allow their children to watch (certain) anime.

It’s like if you tend to think of Japan in terms of anime, this is half true. But as in whilst some of it’s true, not all Japanese necessarily like anime nor have the time to (given Japan’s workaholic culture and cram schools, this makes it harder to watch anime without missing an episode really). Because of that, it’s pretty easy to frame Japan strongly in relation to anime.

Not so much with stray dogs where in non-Japanese media it gets a faint mention and I have only one book that talks about this. I guess if you frame countries in terms of romanticism (travel or not), it can be hard to see the fallible side. That doesn’t mean Japan and Germany are bad but that any country (including those two) will have a good side coexisting with the bad side anyways.

Concerned Japanese parents

I actually get the impression that even Japanese parents won’t allow their children to watch more violent anime from going to Japanese language websites and some direct them to cleaner productions. (Actually this also encompasses Western productions.) There’s a good argument to saying that Japanese people are only human. Sometimes in the most disappointing sense of the word but that can be applied to anything and anybody.

(This would be like saying not all Germans like dogs, furthered by the fact that dog poisoning is a big deal in Germany.)

So it’s not even a Western thing that some parents won’t allow people to watch more violent or sexualised anime as even the Japanese do the same or similar. Not to mention watching late night anime’s also a geek thing over there too. I have a relative who met a Japanese person and the former admitted to watching Haruhi Suzumiya with the latter being horrified by this. Again Japanese (and German) people are only human.

Sometimes very much so in the disappointing sense of the word.

Blond, odd and unapproachable

I still get the impression of blond hair as represented in anime (and possibly anything made in Asia and Africa assuming if anime is made for a Japanese audience though Africans and other Asians share similar stereotypes) as so othered that whilst not necessarily always good or bad, it’s so different as to be almost alien if it weren’t for that many Asians and Africans were never blond in their childhoods.

So far the biggest point of reference for blond hair in general’s almost always due to foreigners, fashionable characters, delinquents and albinism that whilst not always the case, I do get the impression of blond characters (whether if this includes both light brown/dark blond and white hair) as practically much likelier to be othered than in Western media. Again not always the case.

But given the media (anime included) can shape people’s perceptions and biases, whilst some can give a fetish (foot fetish, blond fetish, whatever), sometimes it can give some people bad impressions of others. That’s not the right word for it but it doesn’t help that some anime depict blondes as fiery-tempered, shady or delinquent that it makes some people think those women are unapproachable.

Or in the case with blonde tsundere characters, hard to please and impress at first.

(This also goes for people who do encounter delinquents, fashionable people, Westerners and even those with albinism in the flesh.) Not always the case but I suspect if it weren’t for foreigners, the other three biggest reference for blond haired anime characters are fashionable people (though this also overlaps with Westerners in the sense of stereotyping Western people as rich and fashionable), delinquents and albinism.

Some schools don’t alloy kids to dye/bleach their hair but some with naturally lighter hair are suspected of such that a pupil got mad at a school for thinking she bleached her hair. This would be just as bad for those with albinism, where such an odd look would easily make them targets of gossip, mockery and the like. If it sounds odd, keep in mind most Japanese (actually most Asian and African) people were never blond in their youths.

Most of them don’t have blond hair either (whether if both white and light brown hair also counts as blond) so it seems if it weren’t for foreigners, the biggest points of reference for blond hair are fashionable people, people who simply have naturally lighter hair (albinos included), delinquents and possibly those who bleached their hair by accident.

There’s another Japanese source where I recall why some people dye their hair lighter’s to look different. So for whatever reason and circumstance, blond/light hair isn’t necessarily unattractive but so different as to attract both good and bad attention.

(Keep in mind there are people who do bleach their hair as part of their corporate image and some bleach it to ward off unwanted male attention.)