And so I’ve taken this opportunity to reinvigorate my personal blog. It’s taken me 3 months, so hey…again.
Not exactly the way I had wanted though, but my family are already telling me how stir crazy I’m becoming in this apartment of mine. And as someone in their mid-30s, my mindset as an anime fan could be seen by some as different than those who are fresh out of high school or college. Other things are a factor too; I’m not really a part of the UK fan community or con scene anymore, and I often find a lot of…other things more enjoyable than what the latest episode of ‘insert-anime-here’ will bring.
So, where do you want me to start?
Our countries’ government sound-byte-of-choice right now is one that kind of sucks; the old one told us to stay home, in order to protect our NHS and save lives. And while our government is far from the most popular one, I personally don’t think that now is the time to argue over political partisans. This COVID-19 pandemic is something that is life-altering, regardless of whether we are directly affected by it or not, and it has shown us how much we as a generation take for granted. Because so many things in our everyday life have been either restricted or shut down entirely almost instantly, I believe that it’s kind of brought out some things in us that some of us aren’t exactly proud of. Now we’ve had some pandemics/epidemics in the past, and so I suppose it is only when it directly affects us as a species when it hits us the most.
Due to government policies of us staying indoors as much as possible (and only leaving our homes for food, health reasons or essential work), many businesses and industries have been affected, with the anime industry being among them. This pandemic had started more or less around the beginning of the Spring 2020 anime season, and as of time of writing, a lot of shows and movies planned for the Spring have either been delayed or postponed until further notice, purely due to the fact that anime studio workers are unable to show up to work, and have to do all their animation/production/promotion work from home, meaning it’ll take them longer to put episodes together. Some shows have even been delayed until the Summer or even the Fall seasons when, hopefully, things will have calmed down.
And what about us, as anime fans, who are stuck indoors? Well, one would think that, even with the tragedy of people dying, staying indoors and watching the shows we love is something we would dearly want. But this isn’t necessarily the case for all of us. Even for those of us who pride ourselves on the fact that we are the anti-social hikikomori type, human contact is still a part of human nature. We can’t be in physical contact with friends, family and loved ones, we can’t go shopping in stores like we normally do, we can only leave our homes for essential reasons…and we also have no idea how long any of this will last.
Maybe, further on in the future, we’ll have this thing under control across the globe, we as a human race can interact with each other once again, and our lives can get back to whatever they were before. My 2020 nerd life has been affected, in that my planned trip to Dragoncon in Atlanta in September has had to be called off, for both my sake and the sake of my best friends living in the US. I’ve also had to take a long look at my plans for the seasonal anime column I write for The OASG, in that I’m just going to have to wait and see if animation studios will even air their shows this season, or delay them until a future season.
Perhaps I will take this opportunity to get my mind in the right mindset, and just rely on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Twitch, Mixer, and all the other streaming services I’m a part of, since I know simply keeping the TV on with it tuned in to round-the-clock news coverage of the pandemic will only depress me even more. Perhaps I will also take this opportunity to write more in this blog; saying that though, I have said that many many times, and I only end up doing the complete opposite. I mean, I did move into this apartment to live alone for a reason, and now that we have to stay home for a good reason, I’m complaining? However, it is this same new lifestyle that has made me reflect on what kind of fan I am now, compared to what I was a few years ago, a year ago, or even as early as 6 months ago.
I can turn on Netflix or Crunchyroll or whatever right now and select a show to watch, a show that I know I’d enjoy or one that interests me the most…so why don’t I? It isn’t because I don’t have time; I have all the time in the world now thanks to this pandemic. I’ve been into this otaku lifestyle for over 20 years now, and as a person in my mid-30s, I suppose I have the opportunity to think back a lot now…but I think all that nostalgia will be for another post.
This is meant to be an anime blog, right? And yeah, I’m pretty sure that this malaise happens to a lot of people. So perhaps all of this self-isolation has made us become a very different kind of anime fan – one that makes us think a lot about the things we like about anime, and what makes us want to keep on coming back to it, and what drives us to tune in to the next episode of…whatever.
I really would like to hear some of your opinions on this. If you feel some kind of anime malaise as well, I’m curious to know how this self-isolation has made you a different kind of fan or not. We are, after all, in this together…and when this is all over, and one day it will be, what will the anime fan community be like? And how will we, as either hardcore otaku or just casual fans, see things in this little bubble of ours?
Thoughts on a postcard…