Character birthdays : who cares?

http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2010/11/27/yuis-birthday-prompts-otaku-hysteria/

So as you all (don’t) know, today is supposedly Yui’s birthday. Happy birthday and whatnot. But looking down upon that post, I start to wonder after looking at one after another creepy, obsessive photo of their celebrations:

Why celebrate a fictional character’s birthday?


If you’ve read one of my previous posts, I discussed why we, as fully rational (for the most part) human beings , relate to fictional characters. Now, is it the same for this case? Perhaps not.

After all, their birthdays are just random dates without much significance whatsoever. Some birthdays are even made up after the original source had been released for a while. For example, Ayanami Rei‘s birthday is supposedly based on her seiyuu, Hayashibara Megumi. (Both are born on 30 March.) Doesn’t this illustrate the point that birthdays are kind of …meaningless in anime? Any random date can suddenly be decided to be a character’s birthday, and brings no impact nor influence upon the story itself.

Of course, I can’t say I had not been guilty of this as well. I only recall doing this because I wanted something quirky to celebrate post number 100, but it ….kind of creeps everyone out instead. But these photos are different. They seem to go irrational : treating them as real people, even going to the extent of buying cake and shutting out their social circles. While I know I have been keeping my tiny social circle intact, I can’t help but wonder whether these otaku are capable of the same feat.

Which was when I realized the reason behind the celebrations. They’re otaku. These birthdays may seem meaningless to everyone outside, but to them, they’re symbols of joy. They represent a day to celebrate their favourite character, and as far as it goes, fandom can get irrational. (Google search jamie_marsters / The Bloody Board. Alternatively, check number 5.)

Similar to why we relate to fictional characters, at time we get irrational, we treat them like they exist, almost as though we wished they did. I can imagine the joy these people receive if they know someone who’s exactly similar to the character they adore.

It’s a form of celebrating their fandom, not a form of displaying their ‘creepiness’. Their photos serve as remembrance, and for other fans, a symbol of their ever-growing fandom. It makes them happy – who cares about how others think – but there are always sites out there that run them to the ground, lambasting them for being ‘creepy’ and ‘hysteric’.  It’s all just another form of celebrating their love for the series and the character, which seems delusional, yet they continue on, for it makes them feel happy. And when they see others do the same, they feel like they’re part of a community – doesn’t that make everyone in this ‘community’ happier? It’s just like blogging – it’s a method of keeping our fandoms intact, making sure they don’t degenerate over time, keeping our passion strong and thriving , and at the same time, finding like-minded individuals, giving us joy and perhaps, even fulfillment as bloggers.

….but the way I see it, I can’t help but wonder : who cares? I mean, these characters are immortal …

….perhaps at least until 2012.

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27 Responses to Character birthdays : who cares?

  1. Ming Xuan says:

    Not essentially so. Since they are a work of our imagination, as long as they are completely forgotten, they could be considered to cease to exist.

    But anyway, I don’t celebrate any days relating to anime or whatnots as of yet, can’t say for my future, probably because I can’t be bothered to and I never remembered anybody’s birthday…that is until someone posted on facebook.

  2. flyzice says:

    I never thought of celebrating a character’s birthday, even if it is my favorite. I don’t even know when’s Konata’s birthday…

    The picture above…whoever that is must really, really crazy about Yui.

    • Valence says:

      And there’s tons of people like this too. I only remembered their birthdays like the day before, or the week before, when people start posting about it.

  3. anon says:

    Why celebrate real life birthdays at all ? Besides the fact that you’re about 1 year closer to your own death that is.

    Why give significance to a day you and other billions of people are born ? Not to mention it might not be the same day depending on what calendar you’re using, and then there are leap years, which further underlines the insignificance of any 24 hours in the orbital period.

    Humans assign arbitrary sentimental values to the most mundane things. It is completely unnecessary.

    But isn’t that exactly how people waste their free time every day ? Doing unnecessary things.

    • Valence says:

      People think it’s a way to celebrate another year of their own existence. Meaning they avoided being crushed, killed, burned to death, eliminated, vaporized and what other methods of death may come their way. True, it’s a day shared by millions , or billions of people around the world, but to these people they think it’s ‘special’.

      Besides, we’re all irrational to a degree. We do these things out of instinct, out of convention without pausing to try and understand : why?

      But it’s good that we all are irrational to an extent. If we were completely rational, society would be really, really, cold and boring. Irrationality brings some warmth to this world, whether wanted or not.

  4. Azure Hoshizora says:

    I only remember Kagami and Tsukasa’s birthdays, lol. And maybe Hinagiku’s too, but don’t recall buying a cake and celebrating like that (since I only remember after the day is over…)
    Then again, I don’t even celebrate my own birthday. Birthdays are just an excuse to eat cake and get presents…
    Celebrating a characters birthday is probably a sign of loneliness; or incredibly obsessed?

  5. Sebz says:

    Real-life or not, the people observe birthdays to make the celebrant feel “extra” special, regardless of goodwill or malicious intent.

    Unnecessary yes, but come on, we all do unnecessary things in other aspects, don’t we?

    Btw, I’m gonna hang around for a while. This definitely isn’t one of those generic anime blogs I see in AnimeNano. And for adding your own opinion to a linked article, another plus :D

    • Valence says:

      Thanks :D I can always appreciate new readers :D

      We do indeed celebrate birthdays to feel ‘special’ , like surviving another year becoming some sort of achievement, and we reward ourselves, and others for doing so. We might even use it as an excuse to well, relax and have fun!

      We don’t really need a reason to have fun, do we? But a birthday , something accepted by society, serves to be the best reason.

  6. Shance says:

    People only remember birthdays of moeblob anime characters.

    Trufax.

  7. Maserbeam says:

    Don’t think I’ve ever taken time out of my day to celebrate a character’s birthday. I don’t doubt I would, but I’d have to pick a memorable character that’s managed to affect me in a significant way, like being in a super awesome anime I highly respect.

    Like Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop or Yoshika Miyafuji from Strike Witches. (I’m quasi serious about Yoshika. Maybe half.)

    • Valence says:

      I just take the ones I really like, days before it happens, and just live through the day the same way. Not really much ‘celebration’ on my part either. . .

  8. Canne says:

    After a lengthy meditation on the first photo of Yui’s strawberry birthday cake. It occurred to me that almost all the dolls and figures participating the party were copies of Yui herself! Celebrating fictional character’s birthday is perfectly fine for me but having dozens of your own clones attending your party kind of creeps me out >_<

    • Valence says:

      There’s a Ui there too ~

      Could you imagine attending a surprise birthday party where all your friends and family dressed up -and looked like- you, plastering your house with pictures of yourself and various other related objects? I would be freaked out, in a bad way.

  9. Yi says:

    I don’t know if most people who celebrate Yui’s birthday are completely serious about it. Most of the time, it seems almost like a light-hearted inside joke between fans or a way to show off your fandom.

    • Valence says:

      Yes, indeed, but to outsiders they immediately think it’s creepy. It’s a way to boast your moe passion, but when people overdo it, others develop weird thoughts.

  10. alucard13mm says:

    lol i dont know about celebrating a character’s birthday. i dont really see the point XD.. i dont think i know ANY birthdays of ANY characters. the best way to celebrate their birthday is to go and get hammered on some liquor lol. I’m just thinking how people hoard items of 1 character, if they are hoarding one.. they must be hoarding for other characters too. frankly, i try to spread out my spending on different character items. seems too obsessive @_@.. i imagine someone keeping a closet full of items for a single character.

    • Valence says:

      I have like clones of Rei in my room but I don’t actually celebrate her birthday or worship her or something like that, and I try to keep it from becoming obsessive (by my standards).

  11. hikikomori1969 says:

    If you have an excuse to have fun why not, I bet these people probably want to do something like this any their just using the birthday as excuse. It’s more interesting (in a way ) to see people umm collections in one day.

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