Throughout the past few years I’ve been slowly seeing a change in the perception of how anime watchers are viewed. Of course, we’re still viewed in a similar way by some non-anime watchers as we were before, but you can’t deny that it’s now being more accepted (and almost praised I guess?) by mainstream media. With celebrities like Megan THEE Stallion and Michael B. Jordan (even Kim Kardashian on one occasion) and various influencers, it’s kind of no wonder as to how anime’s becoming even more loved by the general public.
However, the real question is whether it’s becoming more mainstream because the general public actually likes it, or because people are jumping on the bandwagon?
I’m not claiming that there’s anyone out there pretending to like anime for the sake of attention and clout, but we all know that most people tend to get on top of a trend for various reasons. A person could get into it for the aesthetic, because their friends are into it, or just general “FOMO” which is the fear of missing out. While this can sound like a dumb reason to be interested in something like anime, “FOMO” is actually a very common occurrence in people and it can influence them to make certain decisions. Even something like watching/being interested in anime. You may have felt it yourself at one point in your life, where maybe your friends or your siblings were getting into some sort of trend that was going on during that month, and even though you genuinely feel that you wouldn’t really care about said trend you still come around to ask your friends/siblings about it out of curiosity just so you won’t be left out of the loop.
For example, when I was in sixth grade I had a friend who loved this manga series she borrowed from her teacher called “Alice in the Land of Hearts”. She suggested it to me but in an egotistical moment I quickly refused and told her “I don’t like anime! It’s stupid and all the characters look the same.”
Ah, the irony.
Anyway, after a few of our other friends read a few volumes of the series they would often have discussions about the plot while I would silently watch and try to follow along (even though I claimed not to like it). In a way I started to feel as if my friends were having some sort of fun without me, and if most of the people in your circle are interested in a certain thing it sort of spreads like a disease. If you’re wondering, yes I finally cracked and decided to read the “Alice in the Land of Hearts” series. I think I was getting into the second volume before I lost track and decided not to continue with the series. It was also starting to bore me.
My point is, this is a real example of FOMO and how it can easily affect a person. If that one friend of mine hadn’t decided to get into that manga series, I probably wouldn’t have even considered reading it because of my preconceived perception about anime. Was there ever a series you started out of fear of missing out? Let me know!
In this day and age, what with the easy access we all have to websites and social media platforms, it’s even easier to be exposed to so many trends happening around the world. Now you can see millions of people following a new makeup or clothing trend, even a new meme, so who’s to say that’s not happening right now with anime?
Before the age of influencers, the common stereotypical image that people had of a person that loved anime was, in all honestly, an overweight guy that probably drew fanart and Naruto ran through the hallway. Even now it’s still somehow hard for people to believe that an attractive person, or even just a girl, genuinely likes anime. In general, someone that likes anime wasn’t really “accepted” or taken seriously. Now with the internet at our disposal we’re constantly following all kinds of public figures, and if you’re someone who likes anime you’re most likely following influencers and companies that have something to do with anime just to keep yourself in the loop of the latest news and content (see? FOMO). Thus you’re also exposed to more trends that are coming along the way.
Of course, we have to factor in that because of the internet it can also just seem like anime is becoming more of a trend. Plus, I personally believe that most people that claim not to like anime would still watch and enjoy series like Pokémon, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto and so on. I hope I’ve made sense throughout this post! I feel like there might be a few points I forgot to touch up on but please let me know what you think!
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