Controversy in the Pokemon anime fandom; what can be done about it
by, 15th July 2013 at 03:39 PM (331 Views)
One of the things I think about often that concerns me is the mixed opinions of various anime subjects. These topics range from popularity and roles of main characters, to quality and issues with the dub, to the general direction and long-term appeal of the show. Now for good reasons, I’m not going to go into great detail about all these aspects. Instead I want to take a crack at addressing the very nature of the controversies in question. My hope is that influential members of the forum will find my opinion valuable.
First of all, why are these topics controversial in the first place? Partly because of human nature; we all have different visions, ideals, and logic. History has long proven, there are times when we simply do not and will not agree on things. The other half is the nature of the fandom, any fandom really; most major changes to any given long-running show will be met with both praise and harsh criticism.
Avoiding a large discussion on Misty in particular, I have a comment here by ShadowDeeps from an old blog;
Basically, we can expand that to include virtually any aspect with has gained positive attention and has been severely altered or removed.”I find that it's more a part of fandom and characters rather than being exclusive for any one character. No matter what change comes of the anime, some fans simply prefer to cling to older characters and things as long as they have access to such, no matter how desperate. I feel it's the nature of the fanbase in question.
By and large, sometimes connections and attachments to characters can be pensive and profound enough that fans may not be objective about their characters if longevity is prevalent, though I haven't quite found that to be the case in Pokémon fandom thus far. That's not to say I'm attempting to vituperate or make facetious light of any one fan on this forum or just any one fan - I rather respect the fans by contrast. But it's not exactly something that will just change at anyone's caprice, will, or annoyance - the fans are the fans.
That said, I myself rather like Misty as well and find her intensely interesting. I can live without her in the anime, to be honest, but I was still quite run through by her visceral departure as well. And with that said, I don't think Misty's absence is the only reason why people think everything is shoddy post-Johto (and furthermore, many find the Johto series itself to be the worst of the whole anime) - I just think that general dullness and lack of effort on many accounts (especially the Pokémon.... at least, for me) comes to mind.
But yeah, I don't think that such "desperation" or devotion is exclusive to any one character. Something rather similar - or even larger - would probably happen if James, Jessie, Meowth, Ash, and Pikachu left the show (which is something a good many, making the inclusion of myself, would be very put off by, despite that the former three characters aren't wholly liked by all fans). If characters can be popular or, rather, appraised enough among fans or a certain fanbase, then the resulting reaction to their leave, especially if taken permanently, will be rather vitriolic (I say that kindly and with no offense in intention).
I simply see it as such.”
In another similar blog, nickstr had this to say about the fandom;That being said, Pokemon’s anime fandom is far from being completely hostile, and many positives can be found in the right places. But nonetheless, this is the basic root of the most prominent and persistent issues. Its not having a problem with Pokemon anime that is the problem; its where it is shared and how it is reacted to. Expectations form and are broken, likewise assumptions are made and then questioned. When I see these events play out, I ask;“If you think there is a middle ground ANYWHERE in Pokemon's fandom you are blind. As a whole this group is heavily fragmented and people in the opposing sides are continuously arguing with each other. Its this way because of the drastic and sweeping changes that have occurred over the years along with the fact that everyone can't agree on what has happened.”
Why was the flow of the conversation changed?
Why is this person using such a firm tone?
Why is this assumption being made?
Why is this person reacting defensively?
The best solution is to discourage the human nature to clash ideals. Not just with rules, but human examples must be set in place to create long term expectations of what is acceptable behavior. Furthermore, all things need to have a sufficient and accessible outlet, lest the topic wind up in the wrong place and drag the wrong people into it. And now for me to apply another quote to anime, this time from evkl’s blog about site content here;
So in terms of anime, I believe those who seek content should be given it. Arguments discourage the sharing of content related to the debated topic, and causes fans and friends to leave. Therefore, sufficient outlets for positive discussion must be provided."Why is this “content” aspect so important? Every major site has a forum and each forum has its own personality. People will go where their friends are and where they feel welcome. It is very hard for a site to change its culture, so unless a site closes up shop completely people will not change forums, unless their friends make a mass exodus. And all the data is basically available everywhere. Sure, some sites are more thorough on one dimension of information, but the differences are fairly small for the casual fans. So differentiating on content is critical.
Two things will drive the fandom going forward. First, I believe we will see a recognition that we are a social fandom. People like other people, and sites will continue to build in ways that emphasize interaction. Additionally, we will see content-driven competition. The fandom has reached the critical mass of age and experience where people can write informed commentaries on issues that are relevant and thought-provoking for a very large portion of the fandom. If these trends hold, it will be an exciting next couple of years as we head into Generation V and beyond. Our fandom will not be flummoxed; our path over the next few years is clear. Fans will follow the content. And sites will give it to them."
Topic in the wrong thread at the wrong time? Do more than just ending it; Separate two sides if necessary, but provide incentive to post elsewhere without driving people from the forum.
So people want to talk about old characters return? Then let them, but show them an acceptable outlet rather than simply close a devolving thread.
For the record, considering the variable state of the anime I’d say the company could use little more communication and fans should be a little more proactive. But it’s a problem when nobody wants to act for fear of criticism right around the corner. So does someone wants to start a fan movement for some Pokemon related cause? Provide a way, not a barrier. Wrongful human behavior can be corrected, even culture can be changed over time. But fighting head on the nature of the fandom is a battle where everybody loses.
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