When we think of anime and all of its tropes, we already find them normal because we have been exposed to them time and time again, however, most other people would think of them as just Asian cartoons for kids or if they were to defer to Google images to find out, they would be treated with either ton of moeblob anime girls or borderline hentai. However, now this is beginning to change, with access to the internet now on our fingertips and streaming services such as Netflix getting rights to stream more anime, more people than ever are getting introduced to our little community. On the surface this may seem like a good thing, but what are the consequences that would come with this?
As we all know, anime can be very diverse, with some going for a darker more serious tone such, as Death Note or Ergo Proxy, focussing on psychological elements and mystery and philosophical ideas, while others, such as K-On, which takes a light-hearted comedy route about girls in a music club, some anime even talk about topics such as terrorism, like Code Geass (personal favourite) and Guilty Crown or Terror in Resonance. As we can tell there are a lot of anime for many different tastes but what does this have to do with anime becoming mainstream? Well if we look at what happened with gaming, we can see that today game developer companies tend to focus on fighting games and FPS games most of the time be it a space shooter, futuristic shooter or a world war shooter, they are, more often than not shooters, and the trend keeps growing as we see franchises such as Star Wars adopt the same approach to gaming. Comparing this to the scenario of anime, we are already seeing similarities, less anime that come out these days have the more serious darker themes and instead quite a lot of them are slice of life romance anime PR shonen anime, not that there’s anything wrong with them, but we no longer have as much diversity of content we once had, in my opinion, this is due to the increasing otaku community, as studios notice that one type of story gets more attention and thus more money, they will inevitably give priority to adopting those, while the ones that may become more obscure or not get any attention, are swept aside. Not to say however, that we have no diversity, almost every couple of seasons we get an anime that will completely blow our mind, like we got with Seido for example, an anime with an original plot and interesting concept and characters, though they are slowly becoming rare, while now we still have a couple of great anime every year, if anime were to become mainstream entertainment, then we would have to be prepared for this possible lack of diversity of content.
However, referring again to gaming, as the mainstream games start getting boring to the consumers developers will eventually diversify their content, with more original IPs such as Horizon Zero Dawn was or even Nier: Automata both of which were a breath of fresh air to gamers as they were different from the same old they always get, again not to say these types of games had ceased to exist until now, but with the FPS genre becoming overused people now look to other types of games, and the same can be said for the possible future of mainstream anime, as we keep getting the usual “trapped inside a video game” or slice of life series all the time, we will eventually come to see more Death Notes and Ergo Proxy’s coming out at a better budget than ever.
On the flip side, the anime community thrives mostly online on anime forums and YouTube, not so much in the real life, though with a possible coming of the age of mainstream anime, we can expect this to change drastically as more and more people would watch the same shows as you, our friends would be watching anime and heck even some parents may give in to the mainstream as was the case with gaming. This would allow our community to expand as it never did before and at a faster rate than ever before. The mere idea of having someone else outside our online forums to talk to about our favourite anime of the season blows my mind. However, this could also mean that the community may get worse, allow me to explain, as we know the community tends to have a certain consensus on what anime are good and which are not (mostly for the not so good ones) and everyone who thinks otherwise will be shunned, as is the case with the console wars, for example. This could be made worse when extended to a bigger audience or it may die down completely, who knows.
So would it be OK for anime to become mainstream? Well that’s not really a question that can be answered in the first place, there are pros and cons, in my opinion, I would like it to stay as it is, I rather pride myself in being the local weeb, this makes me different more unique, anime is something that makes up who I am, to have it become mainstream would mean for everyone to be the same as me.
But hey those are only my opinions! Please leave a comment whether you agree with me or not and your reasons for it. For more on Anime, Movies, Gaming etc, follow us on Twitter and stay tuned for more!