23 CommentsAnime Analysis, Editorials / By Scamp /

The phenomenal amount of porn for Touhou and Hetalia

I know this is going to sound really weird, but I’m fascinated by what anime gets featured the most in ero-doujins. When comiket rolls around, I’m far more interested in the stats for fanmade material than the actual stuff itself. Looking at the latest comiket stats (I’ve lost the link I’m afraid) it was instantly clear that two franchises were dwarfing the rest in terms of the amount of ero-doujins being made: Touhou and Hetalia. And when I saw dwarfed, I really mean it. I wish I still had that stats page but it’s something like Hetalia and Touhou doijins combined make up over 40% of the doujins there. When you look at how both series spread in their popularity, it’s noticeably similar. Touhou is nothing more than a surprisingly addictive bullet-dodging game and Hetalia is just some guys fairly badly drawn but very witty webcomic. Neither of which were ever going to spread through marketing and yet they both gained huge following. Why? Because the fans drove the popularity.

Touhou’s fandom isn’t really about the games itself. It’s about the huge amount of spin-off material created by the fans. In fact, as proven by these posts trying to encourage people to actually go back and play the games, a lot of people who got into Touhou fandom actually have very little time for the games. In short, Touhou became viral. People were, and still are, drawing a huge amount of fanart for Touhou. It’s no longer about fanart of something you like. It’s become fanart of fanart of fanart of fanart of fanart of fanart of fanart of some game you’re never going to play. Fans are the people who drive this franchise, who fill in the gaps and develop the characters.

Hetalia is slightly different in that it has been picked up by a professional company and marketed to death, but when you consider its base came from some obscure webcomic in some dark corner of the internet, it’s phenomenal that it even got noticed in the first place. The fan reaction and hyping were what drew companies attention to this webcomic in the first place. In case you didn’t realise, Hetalia fandom is huge. Hetalia fans don’t necessarily coincide with other anime fans, which is why it’s size isn’t readily apparent. It is a  fandom unto itself. In fact, the banning of Hetalia off television stations thanks to some touchy Korean protesters only served to unite the fandom and drive it even further underground.

Both franchises popularity are driven by fans and continued success is driven by fans. They have both become viral and, even without outside interference, will continue to spawn new material and new fans simply by the magnitude of their output. These two franchises dominance of the comiket doujin market is a symbol of this. There’s also the added bonus that their casts are nearly all single sex of hot guys/cute girls (actually I’ve never found the Touhou girls particularly attractive. They’re all a bunch of lolis and I’d much prefer these doujin artists to make Full Metal Panic doujins but I guess that’s just me).

Short and simple, it’s viral marketing. Start small and let the fans do the work. It’s a marketer’s dream.

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23 Comments

  1. Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never thought the Touhou girls were all very cute either (except Koakuma.) I do understand the wanting to draw them though, after the responses I received on that one post I made.

    Hetalia~! One of the best series of late to get a plethora of yaoi pairings. :d It’s not wonder it has fangirls. o/
    And aside from that, the comics are amusing.

  2. Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Fffft. The Hetalia craze took me totally by surprise. Before it became really popular, I managed to catch a few comics — I found them amusing, but I didn’t really get into it (at least not back then). A few months later and WOOSH everyone I knew was talking about it, drawing it, writing about it — the works.

    Hetalia also has the upside of a very catchy theme song (and an iteration for quite a number of characters already).

  3. Posted March 30, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    There’s even a lot of Hetalia fandom with no interest in the webcomic or anime. Since it’s just countries given a human form, you don’t really have to read the webcomic or watch the anime, I suppose.

  4. Posted March 30, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Janette. Hetalia allows people to feel patriotic without even having to invest in the series itself (unless you’re dissatisfied with how a particular country is portrayed).

  5. Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    I also agree with Janette. I’m friends with two sorta Big Name Fans in the Hetalia fandom and one of them stopped watching the anime a while back and the other only watched enough to get an idea of how the characters were portrayed.

    The fandom is probably more important and interesting than the comics and anime for a lot of the fandom simply because it goes places that the anime and comic can’t.

    As for Touhou… I suppose I don’t particularly think the characters are cute, but the character designs are cool and look like a whole lot of fun to draw so that may be how it started.

  6. Freya
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    History gives doujin artists a lot to work with when it comes to Hetalia.
    I’ve learned quite a bit from reading Hetalia doujins. Plus the fact that there are few canon pairings in Hetalia, but plenty in History.
    The comic itself is light hearted and almost completely comedic, but many fans like to portray the characters in a much darker sense, and the more horrific parts in history. I’ve seen some pretty hardcore fanart. It isn’t so much the comic itself that attracts so many fans, but the idea of personified nations, IMO.

  7. Posted March 31, 2010 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Sobbu Hetalia isn’t badly drawn anymore…in my opinion. But I am completely biased toward the author to the point where him uploading a picture with his thumb in it excites me. :I

    …from some obscure web­comic in some dark corner of the inter­net…
    I’d say something but I should keep my biased mouth shut.

    I also have to agree with the comments above. That’s the reason Hetalia got super popular compared to his other two webcomics. (They’re about the representation of Japanese prefectures, but have almost nothing to do with history from what I have seen.)

  8. Posted March 31, 2010 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    i’ve never heard of touhou. oh well. *continues living under rock*

    that germany pic is…wow. *dies* it’s amusing how massive and explosive the fandom for hetalia has gotten. what’s even more amusing is that, really? some people are hardcore fans without even having read or watched it? haha, now that IS viral.

    doujin and fandom stats also amuse me. especially when shounen anime that aren’t particularly aimed at females rank highest in yaoi doujins sometimes, like prince of tennis, some gundam series, and probably code geass.

  9. ateos
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    scamp do you realize that there are more comments for hetalia than touhou here…., solo una observación.

  10. Posted March 31, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    That’s the strangest fanart drawing of Germany I’ve ever seen.

    You know, I actually love Himaruya’s art style. The reason: he draws each character (country) with such affection. Just look at his simple black-and-white line drawings of the characters – he makes each character likable and endearing. Each has his good and bad points, silly moments, poignant expressions. Each is so human.

    As for the representation at Comiket… yikes, I had no idea Hetalia had taken over to that extent. 0_0

  11. Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    For those of you surprised over that Hetalia fanart up there, you haven’t seen Hetalia fanarts.

    Derp.

  12. Scamp
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    That’s why comments are amazing. What you lot said about how many people don’t actually watch the anime make it even closer to the Touhou fandom then I realised. I remember reading once someone saying one reason they loved Hetalia was because anything that happened in history is automatically canon but I never realised how big it was. Ah Hetalia, the scope of your fandom continues to amaze me

    @mefloraine

    Yeah maybe it’s just me but I’ve never found Shrine Maidens hot. It’s a big ugly looking dress. Give me figure hugging catsuits plz!

    @miken-chan

    The anime obviously helped phenomenaly in its popularity but I’d heard of it long before that happened, which is why I was interested when I heard it was getting an anime all those months ago. I wonder what caused the explosion of interest

    @gw_kimmy

    Most of my favourite series get jumped upon by yaoi fangirls. Death Note, Code Geass, Durarara, Samurai Champloo. I just have a liking for homoerotic anime I guess

    @ateos

    It’s because this is the first time I’ve written about Touhou and about 1/5 of my posts are Hetalia related

    @Jan Suzukawa

    While Hetalia has by far the strongest foothold in the yaoi market, it still pales in comparison to the Touhou domination. Touhou doijins swamp comiket and probably have more than double the amount of Hetalia doujins, and that’s saying a lot

    @Kiseki

    I’ve seen some Hetalia fanart that I’d rather unsee…

  13. Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    There’s also the fact that the personified countries actually kinda make sense too so unless you’re Korea there’s no reason to argue against it =9 It’s what always made me feel that the webcomic > anime, since it does more explaining on the events being satirized.

    In contrast, Touhou’s popularity comes from the fact there is little personality detail about the girls. They’re rather generic shells that artists and doujin writers can use as they please to add bits and details without being out-of-char.

  14. Posted March 31, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I remember when first joining Pixiv (for hetalia *cough*), the ヘタリア tag was right behind Vocaloid. That was some time in the summer last year, and now the number of entries for Hetalia is almost double the amount of the ones for Vocaloid. While Touhou is still wayy ahead by more than double the amount Hetalia has, it’s slowly catching up…

    On an unrelated note, the Pokemon tag was not 6th when I last remembered it…

  15. Moe
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    The touhou characters aren’t all lolis. Most aren’t, fans just flanderize them to be.

  16. luffyluffy
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    … I already have that picture of Germany in my computer… It’s actually the backround for my MAL list.. How Ironic!

  17. Posted April 1, 2010 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    I have nothing to add except that I love that it is described as a “phenomenal” amount of porn. Excellent word choice. xD

  18. Humanity_Cat
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Yup~ Kiseki’s first reply on this post pretty much summed up what I was going to say. Historical=cannon in Hetalia. Plus I think people just like making up some crazy pairings….
    *cough* Anyway, other than the point that I have no idea what Touhou is(yes, I do live in my own bubble, why do you ask?), a lot of shows/animes/movies/whatever are fueled by the fans. I would have never even heard of Hetalia if I hadn’t seen fanart on dA. And that was before the giant fanart boom on deviantArt.

    Interesting plot….Large fandom. If you have those two boxes checked off, you’re good to go.

  19. Soka
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    As an anime fan and a Hetalia fan, I have to say that, looking at that pic, Touhou success isn’t that surprising. A game full of generic lolis with more than probable subtext and ‘pwetty dollish dresses’? What’s surprising is that it wasn’t virally marketed to start with! I was in Japan four months ago, and EVERYTHING was about generic lollis in pwetty dresses; anything that held even a distant similarity to that formula=INSTANT SUCCESS OMGAWD. The japanese are crossing an “oh, do I love moe or what” phase now, and it cna be easily sene by what animes have more success
    In contrast, Hetalia’s old, less than pretty drawings gaining popularity is more surprising. With time, the author has improved greatly, but there’s no denying that those first fatty mishappen Italy and Germany were hardly bishonen material, no matter how endearingXD

    • lst
      Posted June 14, 2010 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      I beg to differ. In my opinion, Touhou isn’t popular just because of “generic lolis in pretty dresses”, the original girls’ drawings from the games aren’t even that pretty.

      I believe a great deal of Touhou’s popularity comes from its open-endedness; the games give just a bit of backstory and character development, and the rest is up to the fans to make. The games’ creaor, ZUN, even encourages derivative fan works. Combine that liberty with nice music, a giant cast of female characters from which there’s at least one you’ll probably relate to, and there you have it: thousands of remix CDs, doujin games, animations, doujinshis, and of course, hentai doujins, loads of it. And the fanbase grows and fuels itself, and it goes on and on…

      The games are quite fun too, if you’re into bullet hell shooters.

  20. Posted September 28, 2010 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Doujinshi =/= porn

    http://zepy.momotato.com/2008/06/01/common-misconceptions-regarding-comic-market/

    From C78, I saw a lot more non-H than H-doujins being sold.

    About popularity of the characters, I think ZUN can be attributed to creating very distinct and colorful character designs. And, for Japanese who are more familiar with Japanese mythology, many of the Touhou characters’ backstories are very easily recognized.

  21. Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Very funny cartoons, I like them

  22. derp derp
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    well i have to agree with you i am not only a big time hetalia fan but big time touhou fan my self i was into touhou and all ways wanted to play it but the fandom basically is touhou the games of course are pretty fun all it needs is good music and basic personality people can get in to and a genric good idea people like and there you got big fandom i generially am fan of both touhou and hetalia

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