If you look here and here, you can see the decade in animation at a glance. Granted, in the beginning the industry was in a healthier state than it is now. But there seems to have been a lot more shows that were capable of luring people into our sordid little hobby. Nowadays studios look like they’ve given up on those.
Every season there’s less and less for the non-fans, less stuff to show your friends, to convert people with. No I’m not saying there’s no variety. There’s still plenty of that. Just tell us what variety of otaku you are, and boy have the last few seasons got just the show for you.
In the west we love taking the edge off our animation for the quote unquote average joe. Swords but no blood, sex but no nudity, Scotland but no Scottish accents. It seems that anime has flipped that around and now even shows that have pretensions toward broad appeal need a bit of otaku spice to ruin it for everyone else. The flagship Jump title is about making manga. PRINCESS JELLYFISH is a cute romantic comedy where the main character lives in a house full of NEETs. The main character of KIMI NI TODOKE is basically a child in arrested development who needs to be pulled back into her own age group by her supernaturally understanding friends. What a potent fantasy. Wait, who would fantasise about that again?
Being a geek, I like shows made by geeks for geeks. But in recent years the audience identification character has gone from underdog to undertrodden. He or she better not have a job or have held hands with the opposite sex before because then they might as well be an alien from outer space to the audience. No, we need someone who’s gonna make us feel good about ourselves, and that character is getting more and more unlikely every year. Pretty soon the main character of every other show is going to be a misanthrope pushing forty, in other words, unidentifiable and downright poisonous to a non-otaku audience. But if you’ve ever read my writing, I’m not one to talk.
The otaku subculture grew up years ago. Now we’re showing our age. But at some point the little underground bunker we made got big enough to become self-sustaining. Now we don’t need that outside world no more. Let’s go down there and stay down there, no point waiting for the disaster. It’s already here, and it is our lives.