Living in a Virtual Reality: Anime and Manga Fandom

Living in a Virtual Reality: Anime and Manga Fandom

Chengyan Zeng (University of New Haven, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3220-0.ch013


Anime (animated films) and manga (comic books), fans are easily misunderstood and can even face prejudice. In fact, they are usually not as people see them. As one of the many anime and manga fans, I would like to show people what the real world of the anime and manga fan is like. As the fan population grows, the market increases, so this chapter will also act as a guide for those who are interested in this market. This chapter aims to introduce readers to the world of anime and manga fandom and to its fans, in particular. It will present and explain specific terms such as weeaboo, otaku, waifu, husbando, fujoshi, and critic. This chapter will also describe the different characters of anime and manga fans and explain how these characters can affect marketing. Finally, this chapter will look at the current market size of anime and manga fandom and explore how the culture is used in marketing.
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What Is Anime And Manga Fandom?

Why We Need to Know About Fandom

Today, it is normal to see people standing in line waiting for a new product or to meet a celebrity. Or we see groups of people dressed in ‘strange’ cosplay outfits, communicating and hanging out together. Or, on the internet, we can find many virtual communities discussing anime and using words that are not familiar to us. We can easily identify all of these people as fans of something or someone.

Fans and fandom are daily words in modern life. A fan can be described as an enthusiastic follower of something or someone, including films, books, games, celebrities, anime and manga.

Thanks to the internet, fans can now communicate with each other everywhere at any time. The frequency of interactions between fans significantly increases the number and variety of fans’ activities. Because of the internet, fans can communicate faster and with an increasing number of other fans. Before the internet, fans had limited ways to ‘meet’ each other: letters, phones and meeting in real locations. This limited the number of people that could meet, which in turn limited the speed at which fandom could spread. The internet and social media have solved these problems. Fans can now meet and talk to each other in virtual rooms, like Twitter, Facebook and blogs. They can talk to thousands of other fans at once and get feedback in a second. Also, they can attract many new fans at an unbelievable speed.

Being a fan means being a member of a fandom, or subculture. As fandoms spread increasingly faster, fans groups are becoming stronger and larger and fandom is becoming ever more powerful in our daily lives. From a business point of view, fandoms are now a qualified consumer target group and one of the most engaged subcultures in the digital and social space (Netzer, 2016). In other words, fans have become loyal consumers in many industries, such as Apple fans. Having a deep understanding of this kind of consumer target group would help companies to succeed in their markets. One of the best ways to ‘make friends’ with fandoms is to learn about them.

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