Long ago when the Internet was still young (or around 2004 for me), I remember when it was nearly almost impossible for me to keep up with the seasonal anime grind without the aid of fansubs. Fast-forward to today and it is a wildly different scene with so many options ranging from VOD (Video on demand) services like Hulu and Netflix to traditional cable trying to get in on the action. Hey, it is nice to have so many options, right? That is what I would like to say if everything wasn’t so fragmented. With Crunchyroll, Funimation (the latter two entering into a partnership), Daisuki, Netflix, Hulu, and now even Amazon competing for not only your time but money as well…..seasonal anime streaming has become more complicated. Has this newfound convenience been more of a blessing or curse?
The days are getting shorter, nights of rest longer, and weather a little more chillier. Without a doubt, the fall season is certainly here and more specifically, the month of October. Usually being counted as the harbinger – calm before the storm if you will before the holiday season and impeding end of the year, it’s also a month in the U.S where Halloween is celebrated, a night where kids dress up in all manner of costumes as they go door-to-door to solicit for candy. Also being an occasion that commonly synonymous with the supernatural and occult (even though it has more roots in Catholicism and old harvest festivals), it has got me thinking a lot about the aspect of horror and how that interpretation differs in other regions of the world. Not being a fan of horror games, movies, and anything gory, I admit that I do like the idea and especially the interpretation that I have gleaned from most Japanese media. And if you couldn’t guess, my experience is closely linked to that of anime and manga, yet can say the analysis is somewhat more interesting.
Looking back over the past twenty-something years and coming face-to-face with the reality of today, the world really has changed thanks to the presence of technology. With the internet playing its role in the process of globalization and bringing people closer together (or separating them even more) – the transference of new ideas, means of communication, and even practices have never been more varied and as a result, seen a Renaissances in everything from commerce to user-generated content like blogs and even social platforms like Twitter coming into existence. For the hobbyist in me that enjoys anime, manga, and video games, being able to discover new and unusual titles has also never been easier, but also having the ability to find others carrying the same interest all over the world and interact with them if I so choose is also a cool perk. However, as the world does become closer and even personal taste align to a certain degree, the once obscure subcultures and niches are now presented with a wider audience, an opportunity that either leads to growth or relegated to be nothing more than a passing mention. For it is the majority – the mainstream that I speak of: a group with greatest untapped potential, yet also the one that is the most difficult to break into. What does it mean for anime to cross into the mainstream?
With the 10 episode of Hanayamata, everything seems to going swimmingly for Naru and the group as they are entered in the Hanairo Festival, Machi coalesces into the group, and the girls getting newfound motivation – including Naru coming up with a motif for their outfits. Picking flowers that each represent their own unique personalities, the choices are interesting ones – albeit, I was quite confounded by a few. Of course, taking a small portion of time to look up and learn about these flowers, they definitely do speak a language of their own, despite the meanings that people have bestowed to them. In Japanese, this would be called “Hanakotoba” or the language of flowers commonly known as floriography.
Ever once and awhile, from the usual known faces that visit my blog, I am also charmed and delighted to see new ones that comment. Most are fellow newbie bloggers while others are just plain commentators with the same love for all things anime, manga, and otherwise. And yes, they do in fact return. Thinking about this closely has lead me to question: Why or what is purpose for commenting? While it does seem to lend an interactive hand between the producer of content and the audience consuming it, I am sure their is much more to it than meets the eye.
It goes without saying that Hotarubi no Mori e is a phenomenal film (In my opinion anyway. I highly recommend it.) that emphasizes the intangible aspect of friendship through both physical distance as well as emotional distance. That being said, the film really does seem to get to the grindstone so speak and the deeper nature of friendships that also contain some very peculiar elements germane not only to humanity, but all life itself.