I still think comparing romance novels to superheroes bears weight in that there’s little competition in the same fields as these three hold a near monopoly/duopoly over the market. There are or were superhero publications published by other publishers such as Image and Dark Horse but not too many of these survived in the long run, that’s without being bought by either DC or Marvel. This is likely true for romance.
Harlequin in fact bought some of its competitors (most notably Silhouette and Kimani). Recall how DC bought Charlton, Wildstorm (from Image) and that it was a merger between National Publications and Action Comics. For another matter, Marvel bought Malibu. There might be horror, crime, fantasy and science fiction publishers that did the same, just not to my knowledge.
That’s not to say there’s nary their equivalent of Harlequin or DC and Marvel. The closest would be Tor but there are several more doing the same or similar like Penguin, Gollancz and the like as far as I know. Maybe even the Oxford University Press for classics (romance included). If a publisher has a near-monopoly on the market, the market will be associated with it.
Same with a duopoly.
In light of anime having an impending demise (not helped by that even a mangaka might say things that’ll make anime fans uncomfortable), on one hand you have global animation and comics industries taking over Japan’s very own and some of them may even be highly inspired by or adapt Western literature. On the other hand, you have anime fans possibly turning to other media as viable substitutes.
Some of them may even gravitate to rather unlikely genres. This could’ve happened before to some extent as Evangelion was said to influence crime fiction in Japan. But with anime gone, I have a feeling you’d be getting more crime fiction with anime-traits and references. As odd as it sounds, this is also possibly why I think database consumption can easily survive outside of Japanese anime.
Though that would mean an entirely different approach to writing crime fiction where characters seem anime-ish at first. But then that’s what you get with anime being dead, some viable alternatives can be unlikely at first. Even if they’re doable.
I still think moe can survive outside of anime should anime die. But I have a feeling post-anime moe might be more of a thing in genres and stories that don’t rely on worldbuilding a lot to begin with. Something like crime fiction and romance novels. These are the very genres that needn’t worldbuilding to begin with and thus it would be that easy to dump anime characters into it.
Database consumption in its truest form especially when it comes to interchangeable characters and if/when characters are valued for having certain traits. Memetics is kind of moe in a way. Considering if anime dies, memes based on it will survive and thrive elsewhere.
Should anybody ever associate Mickey Mouse with Killer Queen and Donald Duck with Magician’s Red in an actual published DC Comic, it’ll be popularised enough to prove my point right. (Moreso if JJBA’s own author starts doing other things altogether whilst admitting anime’s own demise’s due to sexualising kids.)
Moe can survive outside of anime but when anime dies, it’s going to thrive in memes, certain superhero and Disney media and crime fiction and romance novels in general.
Like I said, anime might not be around forever (even a mangaka might agree with me) and alternatives might come out. Hiroki Azuma said about database consumption as the tendency to categorise and fetishise/favour certain things, treating characters as interchangeable due to having shared traits. Grand narratives might be best illustrated by worldbuilding.
As in the tendency to create a believable environment for characters to thrive in and where characters are used to move the themes and plot in that story. Grand narrative franchises might include Star Wars, Dune, Lord of the Rings, Warhammer 40k and Dungeons and Dragons. This isn’t always the case as you can be moe to characters from grand narratives.
But it’s harder to not be moe when it comes to franchises that don’t have much of or rely on creating plausible worlds to begin with. Again not always the case but I have a feeling that the most moe franchises/brands are any one of those Mills and Boons novels, crime novels and superheroes. (Especially when it comes to being handed down to entirely different authors, differing portrayals in other media and reboots.)
Again not always the case but I think stories that don’t involve much worldbuilding are bound to be moe in some way or another.
I sometimes think crime fiction has a much better chance of being the next anime, especially now that anime focuses a lot on moe and crime fiction’s never that big on worldbuilding so it’s easier to transport anime characters into crime fiction. There’s even crime anime like Detective Conan. Not that it wouldn’t be any less misogynistic.
But I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of anime style characters in crime fiction. Especially when it comes to the way women and sex are portrayed, I have a feeling that we’re going to see a lot of those characters in crime fiction as a viable alternative. Actually it goes either way as having anime characters around in crime novels brings new life.
And crime fiction’s one of the more decent alternatives to anime now that anime’s dead.
I even said that post-anime might be characterised as looking up to anything Western as a viable alternative given anime’s demise. If something like Dune or Starship Troopers were to get an animated adaptiation in this situation, they’d be considered post-anime. Oddly enough, crime fiction’s a possibly alternative.
But also the best breeding ground for post-anime moe as Western science fiction and fantasy (though not always the case) are still stuck up on worldbuilding/grand narratives. Moe involves a strong infatuation with certain traits, almost as if these may also include fetishes. Likewise crime fiction’s historically no stranger to sexualised imagery.
Especially when it comes to pulp crime fiction as well as the use of rather misogynistic tropes like dead women. I have a feeling that moe girls might become an alternative to dead women in crime fiction even if it’s just as sexist. (Rao help if crime fiction has a lot of sexualised women characters.)
It seems given the lack of worldbuilding in crime fiction, we’d get more recognisably anime female characters there. Especially when it comes to character databasing where traits can be fetishised and reassembled in any manner and characters are treated as interchangeable fetishes.
I have a feeling that if/when anime dies, inevitably some anime fans will turn to alternatives to fill in the gap just as industries respond in advance. One of the more unexpected ones is crime fiction and if it sounds odd, there are already crime fiction anime such as Detective Conan. (Considering that Detective Conan’s originally aimed at children and still is in the Philippines and Japan, that’s comparable to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.)
This might lead to a new phase in crime fiction that involves of a lot of expermentation as well as introduction of both anime references and anime stereotypes. Science fiction did experience something similar before. There’s something like the New Wave of science fiction that downplayed either scientific accuracy or hard science in favour of soft sciences, tripping/psychedelia (most notably any one of Philip K Dick’s stories and Dune) and literary experimentation.
I guess crime fiction’s equivalent to Dune and New Wave Science Fiction in general, especially given anime’s possible demise, might involve more anime influences and possibly a growing de-emphasis on crime scenes in favour of human relationships. (Romantic suspense and the like does exist but not when anime’s gone, that’s when alternatives exist.) Dune’s a revolutionary work of science fiction.
Not only is it one of the earliest new wave and soft science fiction stories (robots barely appear in Dune and there’s not much sapient lifeforms there too) but also influenced Star Wars and Warhammer 40k. I suspect the crime fiction equivalent may’ve yet to come but given anime’s demise the crime fiction version of Dune would be something that’s heavily influenced by anime.
Rao help if Dune also gets its very own post-anime adaptation since I have a feeling that post-anime might look up to Western science fiction as an alternative now that anime’s dead or dying. (That’s if a mangaka were to say it at all.)