Over the past few days, I’ve been following the exploits of Operation: Rainfall. Operation: Rainfall is a fan activism campaign was formed with the express purpose of persuading Nintendo of America to localize three Wii titles. In particular, the campaign would roll out in three major phases: a physical letter writing drive, a phone-in campaign, and an online component that revolved around posting on Nintendo’s Facebook wall and replying to the company’s Twitter feed, as well as encouraging pre-orders of Xenoblade through Amazon.
…I know it sounds like I’m going off on one of those “gaming posts” again, but bear with me.
This whole drive, this desperate plea for attention from a gaming giant, got me to thinking. As an anime fan, we have it pretty easy. Due to the size of our hobby, and the close-knit nature of anime fans in general, we’ve managed to build a community that allows for a great amount of access to those in the industry. Folks like Justin Rojas and Adam Sheehan from FUNimation, and Shawne “Dark Lord” Kleckner are available and incredibly active on social media, blogs, and forums. They can often be found chatting with fans, engaging in debates, and simply asking their customers what they’re into at the moment. When a title does well, we find out quickly. When a title bombs at retail, we tend to find out (albeit far less quickly) through outlets like the ANNCast.
While the arrangement isn’t perfect, I can’t help but smile a little about our situation, when I realize just what hell the gamers have to go through for some things. Are there things I’d fix? Absolutely. But that’s another story for another day. I genuinely fear the possibility that the anime industry could turn into this cold, corporate structure that the Operation Rainfall folks are fighting against. The very idea that we lose that lifeline to those in the industry, that ability to communicate with those who bring us the content we love is something that should terrify any anime fan. To lose our voice, would be to lose what makes this community so special, and so vibrant.
So, I can’t help but watch as Operation: Rainfall unfolds with an intense fervor. I can’t help but cheer on their efforts, and pray that their voices do eventually reach those that make the decisions. And, most of all, I’m proud of these folks, for fighting for something we fans have long taken for granted – the ability to be heard, and respected whether you’re on the inside looking out, or the outside looking in. It’s our Purple Cow, and it’s a luxury that I am thankful to have as an anime fan, each and every day.