Hey Scamp, do you have a MAL account? I’m curious as to what these new “youtube generation” fans are into these days.
I had always seen myself as the latest generations of anime fans. Not an incorrect assumption either. I only started watching anime mid-2007. The Youtube Generation was symbolised by the ever-present and easy access of every and any anime thanks to the rampant presence of illegal streams, normally on Youtube (in fact, you could look at the progress of the Youtube generation through which streaming sites they used. Youtube to Veoh to Megavideo to what next?) You could also call it the MAL generation in how the focus changed from a small amount of anime being precious to focusing on consuming as much anime as possible. But, more importantly for the purpose of this post, it was the latest generation. This meant that everything that is, always was. A description of a show remained the same. Fan opinion of certain anime remained the same, because that’s what they were always like in my memory of fandom. However it appears the next generation has arrived.
The realisation only dawned on me yesterday but the signs had been there already. Azumanga Daoih being considered a classic? I mean, it’s not like I was around when that aired but certainly I had never seen anyone refer to it as a classic before. Or seeing Hellsing mentioned as a newer anime fan as something old and ugly looking. I suppose it is 9 years old now and I guess looks a little bit dated compared to the most recent anime, but really?
It goes beyond just certain anime aging in the eyes of fandom. Other anime are being spoken about in different ways. When people discuss the long-running shounens, nobody seems to list Inuyasha anymore, far more often referred to as a show with crazy fangirls. Elfen Lied was one of the most opinion-splitting anime and would prompt rage discussions between admirers and haters. Now bring it up in conversation and you’re far more likely to get intelligent discussion, or at the very least some mentioning of the shock factor of the first 10 minutes. When listing out the all-time great anime, I just don’t see the Kenshin Trust and Betrayal OVA mentioned anymore . It’s not like people have stopped liking it as much. Conversely I see Galactic Heroes talked about far more often. I used to believe that there was a certain amount of contempt reserved for Samurai Champloo but now it appears to be remembered more fondly.
It’s hard to talk with any sort of full authority here because sometimes your mind can be warped by what only a few comments say, but fan opinion has certainly changed. I am no longer the latest generation of anime fans. Everything I believed to be true is no longer so. There is a new generation with a different perception to everything I once held. This doesn’t mean I’m disenchanted or anything like that. It was just a shock when I had realised what had happened.
When I mentioned this dramatic change in my identity as an anime fan on twitter, I got responses that essentially said ‘been there, done that’. I’m sure that many of you reading this post have been any fans longer than me, long since having passed this stage in anime fandom and all I’m doing is making you feel old. But screw you guys. This is a big deal for me.