This post is a direct continuation of ‘When did your anime fandom truly begin?’ in which I talked about the time when anime fandom truly began. After I wrote that post, it occurred to me that I was also discussing about the nature of ‘anime fan’ as well. What I wrote could be used to identify a person who was an anime fan.
So now I’m writing this post based on the information from the previous one. This time, I will try to propose a set of criteria to help me (and other people) identify a true anime fan. It’s of course not easy to do so. Anime fandom, like everything else involving human, has a wide range of possible features and diversity.
My criteria for identification and classification of anime fan are as followed.
Here’s the rationale for my criteria.
- First Item represents awareness and independence
- Second item represents quantity and diversity
- Third item represents duration and consistency
- Fourth item represents application and inspiration
All four items in combination represent ‘passion’ which defines being anime fan.
The strength of this definition is that you can be confident that the person meeting all four criteria is not just a brief enthusiast that will drop out of anime after a few months. So you can save the space in your facebook anime friend list and not make a mistake by talking too deeply into anime and end up as a weird person in your friend’s eyes. The criteria also include potential or growing anime fans whom you may be interested in further encouraging him/her deeper into anime fandom.
But be warned that anime fandom is a dynamic event. The criteria only capture the person at only one point in time and re-evaluation is warranted especially for those initially classified as ‘possible’ and ‘probable’ anime fans. Another issue that is probably up for debate is the number of shows a person must have watched. Setting the bar too high will unfairly exclude many anime fans and setting the bar too low will include too many people who only watch a few shows (which is a very likely scenario since anime has become more widely available these years).
Now, I’ll give you some possible scenarios using these proposed criteria (the names of the subjects in these scenarios are fictional-any resemblance to any real person is purely coincidental).
Scenario 1: Yii believes she is the most avid anime fan. She has been watching dozens of anime series of varying genres per year for 3 years now. She maintains her own anime blog which talks about anime she has watched and she frequently participate in her local anime conventions. Using Canne’s criteria, is Yii an anime fan?
Answer: without any question, Yii is a definite anime fan because she fulfilled all 4 criteria.
Scenario 2: Kluxx has many friends who are anime fans. She hates being alone so she always accompanies her friends to anime clubs and watches every anime her friends watch. She occasionally contributes in her friends’ anime blogs. When she is alone at home, Kluxx loves listening to R&B music and even writes songs by herself. Using Canne’s criteria, is Kluxx an anime fan?
Answer: No, she is excluded because she does not fulfill the first criterion on being independent in watching anime (which by the way is the most important thing).
Scenario 3: Valenz has just discovered the brilliance of the media called ‘anime’ a couple of months ago. His love is fierce and burns brighter than the sun. He watches anime all night and day and by now, has devoured 50 series. He also reads a number of anime blogs but remains silent so far. Using Canne’s criteria, is Valenz an anime fan?
Answer: No one dares question Valenz’s love of anime. But he still needs to prove that he can carry his love pass the ‘anime honeymoon period’. Using Canne’s criteria, he now only fulfills the first two items and is classified as ‘possible’ anime fan. He will possibly become a definite fan afterwards.
Scenario 4: Gloe claims he is the number one anime fan in the world. He has watched anime every week for more than five years. After intense interrogation, it is revealed that the anime he has been watching was Bleach which has been running for like 110 years. He does cosplay as Ichigo more than once and owns every figures of Rukia ever sold on Earth. Using Canne’s criteria, is Gloe an anime fan?
Answer: He is definitely Bleach fan but unfortunately, he is not yet a definite anime fan. The only thing he lacks was diversity in anime watching. In Gloe’s case, he is identified as ‘Probable’ anime fan.
Scenario 5: Baka-rapper has been a prominent anime blogger and a respected figure in anime community for several years. He has watched all kinds of anime and in numbers beyond count. But for the past two years he suffered an accident and he has to stay in rehab center. As a result, he has not watched a single show or updated his blog in two years. Using Canne’s criteria, is Baka-rapper an anime fan?
Answer: If it was two years ago, Baka-rapper undoubtedly fulfilled all 4 items. But now, since he has to take a break from anime watching, he cannot be identified as an anime fan. This scenario showcases the limitations of the criteria. In Baka-rapper’s case, he must be re-evaluated after he has recovered from the injury.
Why am I making all these criteria? You may ask. The answer is simple; it’s for fun. I love exploring and observing people and events. Plus, I’ve heard too many people claiming to be the most avid anime fans only to be found dead in the water a few months later. But the most important reason is probably to establish some commonly accepted standard definition of anime fandom. And having a standard definition will facilitate further exploration and discussion (by either me or other writers) on the subject in the future.
Being a lonely anime fan in the world full of non-anime fans, I have no way to experiment the criteria with real-life person. In the end, these criteria are still not validated and are subject to further revision. Your expert comments and suggestions will be most welcomed.
Note: your opinion will be taken into consideration upon future criteria revision. I’ve also invited some experts to give their opinion on this.