Fandom and Why You Should Participate

A visual metaphor for a fandom...I think.

[I’m writing this as an aniblogger, so I’ll tend to lean towards this fandom segment. I apologize for not focusing on the rest, I’ve only experience with this segment. On the flip side, I think this post can be seen in the context of non-anime related hobbies. Well, I hope you learn something from this as I did. =)]

The anime’s story was fast-paced yet well written, the animation was fluid and free from noticeable flaws, the soundtrack trumpeted glories and grieved for tragedies. All your favourite seiyuu were in it along with a visionary production team lovingly crafting the story.

Now, imagine having to bottle in all your emotions and thoughts about this godly series. Imagine not being able to share them with anyone-ever.

That, my friends, is what you’ve likely experienced if you have not discovered the many joys (and occasional pains) of being active in the anime fandom. What’s a fandom? A fandom, as Wikipedia puts it, is:

…a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.

Before I go into what makes the anime fandom worthwhile, I’d like to talk about how I got here first.

A Brief Recap

Until a few months ago, I was mostly alone when it came to anime. Although I had many friends who were into anime, they viewed it as more of a casual hobby and nothing more. The different and niche shows I looked forward to didn’t really help either. On top of that, I was (and still am, to an extent) a bit of a socially awkward person, but I digress.

The warmth and bond you share with a fellow enthusiast, be it a friend or a total stranger, was absent. Slowly, I began to see anime as more of a chore and less of a hobby. It didn’t stop me from watching, but I enjoyed anime far less than when I first started out.

One fine day, the aniblogging community caught my attention and I started to investigate. Now, a few months later, I’m glad I started participating in the aniblogging sphere. Why?

Why You Should Participate 

For one, it was possible for me to share and actually get responses to my opinions. I felt like my opinions mattered and contributed to the discussion. Since I didn’t want to be left out of current discussions, I started watching anime regularly again too. Not just for the sake of talking only, mind you, there were gems worth watching.

Anyway, in the anime fandom, I find that participation not only gives you a chance to share your views on anime, it works the other way round as well. With an exchange of ideas, our views and perspectives become more diverse and whole, leading to a better appreciation of an anime. We may even find out that we missed something that should have been obvious after discussing about an anime.

Besides that, putting effort into a  fandom apparently maintains or even strengthens one’s interest in it. To me, watching anime is a passive action and although enjoyable, it feels kind of empty and unsatisfying without any kind of (meaningful) input. That’s where fandom comes into play-it’s a place for you to express and discuss your love or hate of something, requiring you to be active. Blogging, commenting, sharing and discussing are just some of the activities that enable you to actively participate. It’s kinda like Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”. It’s hard to get, but in a nutshell-the more (actively) involved you get in a hobby or interest, the more joy and fulfillment you’ll get out of it.

Side effects of fandom may include warm fuzzy feelings and other assorted benefits.

Speaking of reasons, wouldn’t meeting more friends while enjoying anime be an awesome bonus as well? People make up communities in the first place, so making friends is just a small step away.  They’re probably miles away and might lead completely different lives from yours, but I feel that the important thing is that you have a common ground with them.  I’ve only made casual (but friendly) acquaintances so far, but who knows? Maybe someday that can grow into friendship. It takes time, don’t you think?

Unfortunately, it’s not all flowers and sunshine when it comes to the anime fandom. There are parts of it that are quite fanatic and narrow-minded when it comes to anime. I won’t say much since I haven’t had the luck to run into them yet, but it’s best to just ignore them. Every group will always have their bad apples though, so it doesn’t mean you should lump everyone together and discredit the rest right away.

Just to let you know, I’m new to this, so I’ve not met anything else negative about fandom yet. But overall, a fandom is a great place to be and participate in and the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Trust me, you’ll definitely find more reasons to love anime than before once you jump into the fandom.

Closing Remarks

Before I end this post, I’d like to apologize again for not writing about other fandom segments. I also want to say sorry for my scatter-brained style of writing and my lack of experience. On a more positive note, however, I’d like to thank everyone that inspired me to join the fandom and write this post you see today (along with anyone who has read it this far).

And so, I bid you sayonara with these tips I’ve learned from experience. Feel free to chime in if you have tips or experiences you’d like to share or add to the skinny lists below, my ears are always open! Until next time, goodbye. =)

You won't believe how hard it was to find even remotely related pics...

A Quick (and General) Guide on Joining the Anime Fandom

1) Seek and you shall find– Snoop around, keep your eyes and ears open for any community (online or IRL) that shares the same interests as you. News sites and forums are usually better for this.

2) Lurk/Observe– You may not be able to find a fandom community you’ll feel comfortable with so fast, so take your time in observing the communities that you do discover. Note how they go about things and what to avoid when you head to the next step.

3) Dip Your Toes In– Once you think you’ve found the one, try participating with little baby steps first. Talk about what the author/creator said, enquire about the author/creator’s opinions on something-just get the ball rolling.

4) Have fun– Self explanatory.

General Tips

1) Be polite-You may not agree with what somebody else says, but it won’t hurt you to be civil in rebutting his opinion.

2) Write/Type Properly– The occasional typo or misstep is okay, just try your best to make your sentences readable.

3) Be open-minded– It leaves you open to new ideas and perspectives of looking at things and enriches your mind. Plus, a mind’s like a parachute-it only works when it’s open.

4) Enjoy it– A fandom should be fun. If otherwise, then I think you should take a short hiatus or break.

5) Walk Away From Trollers and Fanatics– No point in arguing with someone if it ruins your love of something. If you feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, leave.

Dangers

1) Obsession– I admit, I’ve sometimes been guilty of this, even with non-anime related stuff, but I digress. Point is, don’t let fandom control you to the point where you do nothing but participate in it all day.

2) Fanaticism– When all is said and done, a hobby isn’t going to determine the fate of the world, so avoid acting like it does.

Places to Start

Metanorn– An aniblog with a diverse but friendly group of writers. They mostly post episodics on anime, but they dabble occasionally in manga and editorials. A good place to lurk (and comment) before joining the fandom.

Random Curiosity – An aniblog I discovered recently. I don’t know much about it, but they also do  nice episodics along with manga chapter reviews.

Uh…that’s it, for now at least.

Sources: Wikipedia

What do you think about fandoms? Are they worth joining? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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