Often we find bloggers blogging over trips to Japan. While some bloggers don’t overdo it, some bloggers seem to speak of it like the greatest achievement in their lives. Some go there purely as a holiday, or a visit. Some migrate, or some even go there , buy loads of anime merchandise and return. Most of these people do that because aside from being a fan of anime, they seem to either be weeaboos, or feel that Japanese culture is better than theirs. Everyone seems so happy in anime. The world is peaceful, the days at school are spent with great fun, and the show is great. Weeaboos too, if you’ve read my previous post. Not to say they are some sort of scourge to humanity, but everything has reasons.
However, I find that all of that stems from one major cause.
Anime is a Dream Machine. What is a dream machine? The term was used by Newsweek in an article about Walt Disney, and the exact paragraph containing said term is publicized by the book, “The Transnational Media Corporation: Global Messages and Free Market Competition.”
What is the Walt Disney Co. but a dream machine, a teller and seller of fairy tales? And at the heart of every Disney saga are some of life’smost basic themes: friendship, family and the struggle for independence. The Little Mermaid defies her father for love. Simba the lion cub flees home, finds friendly refuge amid the wilderness and overcomes an evil uncle to assume his rightful place as king. Always, the young hero breaks away,triumphs over great dangers and returns to the fold.All is forgiven, there’s always a happy ending….
Disney fulfills what the audience wants to see- and that’s their primary aim. To show a happy ending. Similarly,anime is the same. Every slice-of-life show ends in happiness. As such, people think Japan is a happy place. Well, no. Japan is just like wherever you may stay right now -it’s harsh, it’s cruel, it’s reality. Not one country exists perpetually in happiness. Students in Japan don’t skip to school, play games all day and be happy and cheery all year around. They face the same kind of stress that our students face as well. In the end, what are they? Students. Just like us. No difference, aside from race. As such Japan is just like your own country. Anime just exaggerates things.Anime was targeted at the Japanese,not other countries. Who wouldn’t like to be comforted by the idea that everyone is happy and there are no problems in life?
Same goes for Visual Novels, or rather,H-games. Given that most of their players probably have very bad social relationships, who wouldn’t open up to the idea of a harem of ‘beautiful’ women being in love with you- all at once? As such, Japanese media, in the fields of anime and gaming, seem to give fulfill the person’s wants, giving them sensations they had never felt before.
That said, Anime brings these kind of associations to watchers from the outside as well, who get influenced to the point of interest and obsession. Some call these people interested in Japanese Culture. Others call them weeaboos. Whatever the case may be, most of the time anime is one of the major spark points that led to such an interest to begin with. As a result of anime, these people get interested in Japanese culture, as though it’s superior to theirs. Now here’s where I start to wonder. If anime was made in another country, say Korea, would they honestly get into Korean culture? Why just reside in Asia? If our anime was made in a country like Tokelau or Kiribati? Would they get into their respective cultures?
As bizarre this might seem, the answer is probably yes. Anime makes the creator’s country seem superior to the others. It’s a common sentiment carried about by all kinds of media alike. Japan has its xenophobic , patriotic anime. America likes to film patriotic films as well. It’s all a matter of the message being carried across, but people who don’t understand take them at face value. This, my friends, is what truly leads to Weeabooism. A misled person, hyped by what seems to be the best place in the world, indulges in its culture to the extent where it feels like drugged happiness. It’s almost as though they think that by indulging in their culture, they become that race.
Well, no. So the next time you meet an adamant Pocky addict, remind him/her that Japan isn’t the only country in the world – or their lives, as a matter of fact.
EDIT: Today is also Carillus’s birthday. Rejoice.