For years it was believed that anime (and a bunch of other stuff) were the purview of geeks or nerds and cool kids were cool kids, but can we still say that this is the same?
Do cool kids watch anime? And if they do…why?
I think it’s important to look at anime and geek culture’s past. Back in the day, geeks (forgive me nazis as i might use this interchangeably with nerds) were unable to have a social life due to what they engaged in (gaming, comics, anime) but then the landscape of social life and interaction has changed tremendously.
What caused this?
Social media came and destroyed our lives (i’m kidding). Now people can have online friends and relationships without looking weird. A lot of my favourite people in my life currently have come from social media and this means different people with different backgrounds and mindsets which has also seeped into society making the lines between jocks and nerds super blurry.
There’s also the fact that mainstream Hollywood ran out of stories and so faced comics and anime for stories now which has brought the stories out to the mainstream and guess what? Mainstream likes it!
How does this work for anime? Well anime has been gotten heavy attention in recent times with certain titles taking the world by storm with Attack on Titan, Yuri on Ice and One Punch Man being recent examples of what i call ‘Viral Anime’ and due to this more and more people are now open to watching anime.
Just like i am of the opinion that Iron Man caused a serious revolution in terms of how things geek is perceived today (I honestly think Robert Downey Jnr. playing the role of a geek cos let’s face it Tony Stark was a huge geek, really started making girls pay more attention to geeks more. It gave a new face to geeks, so no one thinks huge glasses and acne anymore, but sexy looks beneath a carefree look and attitude), i also feel Naruto changed the landscape for anime.
Suddenly people could relate to anime (in Nigeria at least) Naruto was the gateway anime for so many people it’s a bit insane.
Then you have stuff like Netflix and Anime strike via Amazon coming into the fray to give more of a mainstream feel to anime. So anime is no longer the sole purview of geeks anymore.
You can watch anime and have a social life, you can go to otaku conventions and dress as a character and be seen as cool instead of dorky, cosplay is as popular as ever and things are changing. How do geeks feel about this? I think it’s two-fold: There are geeks who are quite fine with change and can settle into the new world order and there are those who feel like their only refuge has been taken away from them and therefore anime watchers sometimes try to segregate themselves from society so as to feel that they still belong.
I guess we should all get along, the world is evolving and there are blurs everywhere: Gender roles, sexuality, religion, so it’s only natural that the lines for social class would also blur.