12 Days of Anime: The Zambian Anime Community

•December 17, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Anime is a globally revered medium, its huge in Europe with countries like France even co-producing some anime, it’s obviously massive in North America and Australia as they have vibrant industries and communities and ofcourse its big in Asia. We very rarely, if at all read about the anime industry or culture in Africa. I will attempt to rectify this by highlighting what the anime fandom is like in Zambia in 2018.

I had the pleasure of interviewing about a dozen Zambian anime fans in order to have a clear picture of where the fandom currently is and where its possibly headed. In order to understand what anime culture is now it’s important to find out how it all started.

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A Budding Fandom

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12 Days of Anime: A Neo Genesis of Evangelion

•December 16, 2018 • Leave a Comment

This article is not a review of Neon Genesis Evangelion, it’s a 20+ year old show that is so ubiquitous in popular culture that you would be hard pressed not to have come across it already. And if you haven’t yet seen the show by now it means you made a conscious decision not to for whatever reason. So this is my last ditch attempt to gently persuade a new audience or an audience that has ignored the show upto this point, to give the show a chance one last time. How? By expressing how Neon Genesis Evangelion personally impacted my life and made me the anime fan that I am today.

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12 Days of Anime: Contemporary Dating Culture and Why Love is Hard For Otaku

•December 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I often lament at the various rituals that my more affluent and socially adept mutual and colleagues have to go through in order to find a date and keep a long lasting relationship in 2018 (modern times). Tinder, texting rules and even how to approach the opposite sex all have acute unwritten rules that we apparently are all supposed to be aware of. Some of these rituals in my opinion are kind of outdated considering how progressive most of daily culture is becoming these days but I often tell my current GF that if by some chance I happened to be single again I wouldn’t be able to navigate this cultural maze that has been created.

So, what has this got to do with anime you say? Well I happen to enjoy the romance genre in films and anime but I’ve never really found many with characters or scenarios I can relate to. WotAkoi just so happens to be one of the few anime, nay media that has relatable characters dealing with scenarios that more often than not got me to say “mood!” more than a few times. It also tackles how Otaku get to navigate love life and relationships in these contemporary times. Continue reading ’12 Days of Anime: Contemporary Dating Culture and Why Love is Hard For Otaku’

What To Take Note of From E3 2018

•June 13, 2018 • 2 Comments

If you have been on social media this weekend you must have come across the term E3, The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is currently underway and all the main Press Conferences took place over the weekend. E3 is gamings biggest weekend filled with brand new game announcements and industry defining moments, Here are the main highlights or talking points to take from this years conference. Continue reading ‘What To Take Note of From E3 2018’

My Favourite Anime: In This Corner of The Anisphere

•May 14, 2018 • 6 Comments

I have a very dated list of my favourite anime of all time that needs updating, but I like to keep it that way so I can look back at what I considered my favourites and what stuck with me then. Its like a time capsule that I can reopen whenever I have internet access, its great.

Over the years my tastes have changed im less angsty, im a little bit older, ive experienced more life I suppose and new anime has been released. The first anime to topple Evangelion off of my personal list of favourite anime was Satoshi Kons’ masterpiece, Millenium Actress which I first saw in 2016. The direction, shot composition, character arc, themes and narrative blew me away, never had I seen any film marry all of these elements to such perfection all for the sole purpose of conveying a singular theme. Millenium Actress remained my number one anime but one I found and to be honest still find hard to recommend partially because “I feel they wont get it” Lame! I know, but I realise the reasons I enjoy that film are very subjective things that not many people pay attention to or particularly enjoy. The Nihilistic theme of the movie is not something that I believe many people will resonate with either (even though the 20 somethings on twitter might suggest otherwise) However, if you can stomach none linear story telling, a personal narrative about the journey of life and the meaning of life and the most astonishing Cinematography ive ever seen then Millenium Actress might just be up your alley.

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Connecting Loved Ones Through Space and Time

•April 13, 2018 • 1 Comment

This Winter anime season has given us two anime classics and frontrunners for anime of the year that will take some serious effort to overthrow. Both A Place Further Than The Universe and Violet Evergarden have been nothing short of stellar. The most fascinating attribute that both of these shows have is the core theme and way in which it is represented.

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Both Violet Evergarden and Yorimoi (A Place Further Than The Universe) have protagonists that are seeking a loved one who may have deceased. This quest to find this person and relay messages to them atleast one last time is what drives their sense of adventure and passion throughout the entirety of the show. Both Protagonists are socially awkward due to their circumstances and fight through all of this to attain their goal.

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Anime GateKeeping: Your Power Level Is Too Low

•March 6, 2018 • 1 Comment

This year has been a rather interesting one for the anime fandom. We have seen the merger of Crunchyroll and Funimation, Netflix doubling down on their acquisition of anime and even Amazon getting in on the anime TV business (to varying degrees of success) These changes have led to the easy legal access of nearly all the currently ongoing anime TV shows in the west. It also didn’t hurt that the anime movies released in the past few years have been smash hits that have had small but successful cinema runs in many countries worldwide. So, with easy access to a formerly niche medium comes the inevitable new and curious consumers. This is a great thing, in the past, people curious about anime had to either go to special events to see it or trade bootleg VHS tapes. For someone like me who lives in a 3rd world country with horrendous internet speeds and exorbitant data prices, anime was something that only the truly dedicated consumers actively pursued. Region locking still doesn’t help, but that’s slowly getting better over time.

The difficult barriers that anime consumers of old had to go through in order to have access as well as the generally negative stereotype that the nerd culture garnered led to most fans huddling into their little corner and enjoying it in their own safe space. IRC chat channels, internet forums, social media and anime conventions were the places that anime fans could come together to enjoy and celebrate their medium of choice. It was wonderful, it was fun and it was attractive, naturally these new subcultures formed from these communities such as cosplaying and even blogging led new consumers to the medium.

Short history lesson over, lets fast forward to the present day where legal anime is either a theatre away or a simple click away and the attitude towards new consumers can sometimes be…. undesirable. The need to test new anime fans in order to allow them or to validate them as ‘legitimate’ is something that I have seen permeate various nerd culture communities over the years. Most notably gaming, we are all aware of the ‘gamer girl’ label which thankfully over time has been eradicated. These days we have to deal with the ‘casual gamer’ label which quite honestly is ridiculous and does nothing for the medium or the community.

Gatekeeping came into the spotlight very recently when Black Panther star Micheal B Jordan highlighted his interest in the medium, ofcourse a bunch of internet trolls and gatekeepers had to ‘test’ his legitimacy.  Another example would be how a few days ago Kim K West tweeted about her interest in the medium as well, that garnered the same gatekeeping reaction.To an extent,  I understand where some of these fans are coming from but that doesn’t justify it and its quite honestly wrong and doesn’t do the community any good at all. We have seen this have detrimental effects before for example the Fighting Game Community has had this problem for a while now. If one doesn’t know what an ‘FADC’ is then why are they even trying to participate? The FGC has garnered a reputation as being for elitists only and unwelcoming to newcomers when this is far from the truth. The vocal rotten eggs have partially ruined the image of this thriving community.

These days most of the events I help organise are both meant to celebrate the deeper intricacies of our weird nerdy fandom but also to introduce curious newcomers as well. The success of Super Hero movies should be a shining example of how successfully accommodating newbies and normies into our world can only be better for everyone. Its now totally normal to say you’re a fan of Thor and there is a good chance most people will have an idea of what you’re talking about. Wouldn’t it be great if that was the case with anime too?

At the end of the day whether willingly or not, our little subcultures are not so little anymore and thats a great thing because it means we can get to see more of it legally and more often. I also feel its nice to know that a few years from now anime might be incorporated into the mainstream popular culture enough for it not to be ‘weird’ anymore. The content wont suffer or change infact I think it will get better and more diverse if Devilman Crybaby, Violet Evergarden and Girls Last Tour are anything to go by.