I bet you guys didn’t expect another post so soon huh?
Manga and anime have really become huge around the world, especially in the past four years. We have amazing conventions, online communities and creators and the entire medium is becoming much more accessible to the regular person. How has this humongous change happened? That we’ve gone from being the hidden underbelly of the internet to a thriving community(albeit with our own toxic parts)? The answer lies in charisma, or more specifically, charismatic personalities.
Us otaku can be quite hardcore when it comes to our relevant fandoms, and while I do not subscribe to the idea of vehemently opposing anybody who does not like what I like, and who does not appreciate and value the same things I do, the internet, often the main medium of communication between these kinds of people, brings out the worst of the tribal, ‘us versus them’ instincts. For many years, the internet was, and in many ways still is, rife with extreme representations of the anime and manga community. While many of us may have found refuge in nice online forums, there were likely more who encountered the worst we can offer.
The internet used to be seen as something mostly shady people use, for whatever nefarious purposes they could think off. Charisma changes all of this. It is often the case that you see the worst parts of any thing that is present online first, entirely because of the rule of exceptions, things that are different stand out more, and many times, the nice, underlying community is forgotten while only the extreme examples are remembered.
These things take time to change, and as the internet got more popular and integral to our lives, so did the wider, nicer community of us weebfolk come to light. Exposure is a very nice thing to have, especially if one wants to stay away from the rule of exceptions. As connectivity increased, so did exposure, of both the normal otaku community to the world, as well as of anime and manga to the regular person. This has led to the massive boom in popularity that the otaku community has experienced in the past few years.
Exposure comes in many forms, and connectivity too, has it’s variations, but the website primarily responsible for putting the otaku community in the public purview is Youtube. Even though in present times, Youtube has become kind of a harrowing place to start off in as a content creator, in the early days, the spirit of the website was that anybody could do anything they wanted and loved and show it to the world. Many people who liked manga and anime capitalized on the growing popularity of Youtube. Now most channels who started off back in the days of early Youtube are dead, and the only ones that survived were the ones that had that one thing I said earlier, charisma.
I don’t watch many anitubers, partly because I don’t like watching people explain stuff to me that I already know and partly because a lot of anitubers don’t fit my tastes. The ones I do watch have their own unique features. Let me explain.
I like The Anime Man because he talks about his own experiences and tells us about anime and manga from his own perspective. He also does other fun stuff which not many other anitubers do. That is expected from a channel that started off as a blog about anime. I like Lost Pause because of Noble’s personality. The ever radiant king of happiness and laughter who spouts ill-timed one-liners is one of the most charismatic personalities I’ve seen. He also doesn’t talk about anime and manga per se, but does more meme stuff, quirky stuff, information videos, some video formats unique to him, and is very involved with his community. You wouldn’t guess from his current material that he started off his career as a Visual Novel/Eroge let’s player.
I watch Nux Taku sometimes, because of his personality and also because even though he does exactly what I said I don’t like, explain stuff I already know, he does it in a fun and unique way, which doesn’t seem like someone explaining something to me, but rather me getting an insight into the brain of a seemingly crazy person. A personal favorite of mine is his ‘Biggest Flexes in Anime’ series.
Sometimes I watch CDawgVa, for the funny voice acting shit, but also the more professional kind of voice acting videos(as professional as Connor gets).
The last anituber I watch is Mother’s Basement. He does all the things I don’t like, analyses, explanations, etc, but if you watch one of his videos, it’s much more than that. Geoff’s sweet and relaxing voice takes you on a journey through his explanations, analyses, theories and more. His analyses are not mere observations and explanations, they are experiences laid out in a proper format, much like what I try to do on this website. Let yourself be enthralled by his voice for a little and you’ll learn about anime in a way you’ve never experienced before.
That was quite a long explanation for someone who doesn’t like this kind of stuff, but it was necessary to emphasize the point I was trying to make, all of these creators have charisma. They possess the ability to provide a unique experience other creators can’t, and that’s why they succeeded.
Knowing and understanding this is important, because through these charismatic beacons of light is how many unknowing people got introduced to anime and manga and concepts like weebs and otaku.
There is one other major factor that has played a huge role in the rise of manga and anime, and that is a sense of belonging, one which many people can agree is one of the biggest factors to their continued interest in otaku culture and which I’ll be talking about in the next and final part of this series.
Farewell for now my dear readers, we shall meet again soon enough, next time, we talk about the uniqueness of manga and anime as medium, and the good and bad components of our communities.