I have been a fan of anime and its related media forms since 1997, when a friend of mine gave me a copy of Dragonball Z "Dead Zone," itself a third generation recording of a badly subtitled movie. Back then, I thought this was the most incredible thing I had ever seen, and wanted more. Since then I have followed it with fervor, choosing series based on interest, merits and, above all, story. I have given several talks about anime and games as a form of modern mythology, have studied the reasons for anime subculture becoming mainstream, and now am devoting my time and energy to those few who travel across the country to associate with their fellows at conventions. Since the beginning of 2009, I have been to 7 such conventions, and I have two more planned this year.
My motives are simple: I study anime fan culture as an anthropologist, a fan myself and a scholar. I feel, and know, that there is more to being an "otaku" (this will hopefully be the only time I use this word, unless people do not mind my throwing it around) than sitting around watching TV and playing games. This is an evolving culture, a media culture and above all, a fan generated and supported culture. It holds a depth that may not seem obvious on the surface, but inside is as intricate and developed as any other fan culture. And I feel that it has been mislabeled and misaligned.
So there it is, my mission statement. I hope that my ramblings and lectures open some eyes and garner some debate, or at least thought. I know they have for me.