Completely and utterly dead. Wellll……almost.
These are a few choice words I can use in answer to the question in the title. Is it the same everywhere else too??
Being an otaku in India is a baaaaaaaaaaaadd idea.
Especially now that Animax has pretty much disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle. There are literally no channels which show anime. Except of course, those children’s channel shows like Doraemon or Shinchan. Ughh.
However after the release of Attack on Titan, anime-viewing in India witnessed a teeeeny upsurge, and people finally began to appreciate it. I’ve seen a few people talk about Death Note (however, when someone I knew called it a ‘serial’ I wasn’t sure how to react) and Dragon Ball Z and Naruto. But that’s about it, where I live.
Appreciation for anime and manga in India remains in its infancy, meaning that most people who claim to love anime probably have watched around 5, and those are probably the ones that are the most mainstream ones, like Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, Attack on Titan, etc. They proceed to call themselves ‘otakus’ and talk about how amazing anime is, before forgetting about it and moving on to Friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I like American TV Shows. I love Sherlock. I love Big Bang Theory. I try to watch both anime and American TV shows, and as a college student, I just want to mention what the general perspective towards anime is where I live:
1. American Shows are classy; Anime, not so much.
Lots of people have placed anime in some sort of stigma. Most often, when I mention that I watch anime, the reaction is ‘You still watch all those childish shows?’ But when you say that you’re watching Sherlock or How I Met Your Mother, the discussion immediately shifts to how amazing the show is, discussing certain episodes, or laughing at gags.
2. Anime is either childish or pornography.
As I mentioned before, most people place anime under shows for children, and no matter how much you try to change their minds giving examples of Attack On Titan or Fullmetal Alchemist, people refuse to change their mind. Show them some dystopian anime like Shinsekai Yori, which also covers moral issues while also discussing more taboo subjects like sexual attraction and homosexuality. Watch how long it takes before one of your favorite anime is branded as hentai. Not that it is bad, but it doesn’t exactly help the popularity status. The most annoying thing thing about this is that these same people go on to watch Game of Thrones and have no problem with incest. Hypocrites.
3. We’re all Wannabe-Weeaboos.
The people of any fandom is bad, but I feel that the anime /manga category is the worst. People try implementing Japanese words into daily use[guilty…guilty;)] and posting about how amazing anime is on social media, but end up looking like idiots. Honestly…..I use kawaii!! and baka! in my daily language. When others call us out on our strange obsession with anime, we react like cornered animals. Which is even funnier as people then feel that we are worse than they thought we were and literally nope the hell outta there. It’s true, and it’s rampant and I’ve had more than one friend ask me why anime-watchers are so defensive when it came to discussions about the media. But come on…don’t blame us….having to constantly hear our fandom as childish or hentai makes us defensive, ne??
4. It’s a cartoon, and hence beneath my level.
This is definitely the most common shit I hear. As long as it’s animated, it’s impossible to watch. No matter what the idea is, no matter what topics it discusses, you will always hear ‘but it is animated!!’ or ‘Those are little kids stuff’ or usually ‘grow up Shreya’. According to those eejits, it is animated therefore nor worth my time. Several people have told me outright that they would never watch an anime mainly because they think they they wouldn’t be able to take something animated seriously. That sucks, because, as Pixar or Dreamworks show, some of the greatest content can be animated.
5. Being a female otaku is a crime.
You are a girl?? And you like anime??? How could you?? or just yesterday.….don’t forget you are a 19 year old girl, Shreya. You shouldn’t be watching all those bad stuff…..I mean like what?? How do both those things even have a relation?? *sigh* This is literally the state of a female manga/anime fan. Since you rarely get boys around you who at least know what anime is, you can actually forget about finding a girl who loves anime. While discussing DBZ or Naruto with a boy is not all that bad, who am I supposed to discuss and share my excitement for the shoujo or romance manga?? Boys won’t watch stuff like Fruits Basket or Kimi No Todoke or Toradora! or Hana Yori Dango or read manga like Horimiya. Its like I have all this excitement or squeal-y fits dues to the kawaii moments but no one to share it with. Thank god for Tumblr. And anime forums.
5. Mainstream dominates.
While this is true for any media, if you look at American TV shows, the most discussed in general are Game of Thrones, Friends, Sherlock, Flash, etc. All of these shows have great production value, incredible stories, and impeccable acting – in other words, they are pretty much the pinnacle of American story telling. One is comedic, another about a fantasy world filled with betrayal and sex, another about solving crimes, and the last tying in with the DC superhero world.
On the other hand, the most discussed anime are Naruto, One Piece, DBZ and Attack on Titan. Notice a trend? All of them are about a determined, generally stupid main character who needs to work hard to achieve his goal. Indeed, their settings are different, with Attack on Titan having a revolutionary new idea, but their premise is the same, and that makes people think that most anime is basically rehashing of the same idea.
This makes me feel sad, because anime is a media which has a lot to offer, and I don’t understand why people would simply refuse everything it has just because of certain prejudices and assumptions. The fact is, the anime community that everyone sees (and somewhat fears) may represent the largest part of the fanbase. People write off anime as mindless entertainment without watching the hauntingly beautiful Wolf Children or Howl’s Moving Castle or Spirited Away or Garden Of Words or…..the disturbing Aku no Hana or Serial Experiments Lain, the thrilling Cowboy Bebop, the exciting Haikyuu!! and the amazing Fullmetal Alchemist or mesmerizing Inuyasha.
I’ve watched some truly great shows, read even more amazing manga and sure, I’ve had to wade through whole lot of crappy material to get to them. But those shows have made experiences that I can’t forget about. I remember crying while watching Hotarubi no Mori E and Fullmetal Alchemist because of the raw emotions that those shows exposed me to. I remember grinning like an idiot while watching Inuyasha and Kagome’s banter in Inuyasha, and I know no other medium can give me those sorts of experiences again. That’s why I love anime, and that’s why I continue to watch it even when people are saying that it’s childish and other ishhh like that. Because it is amazing, GODDAMMIT!
These problems are present all around the world, and there isn’t a real problem with anime in India (except for no Animax…Ugh!!!Why you do this Indian Television??). As long as you have Tumblr and Pinterest and the manga and anime websites, you’re good to go. Just be ready to be judged by most of the people around you.
Your very own cyber-baka,