In the aftermath of the big Nintendo rejection last week, we’ve seen video game fans run the gamut, from hopeful expression, to burning anger, to a renewed drive to get a positive response from the monolithic corporation. Operation Rainfall has already evolved, from a letter writing campaign to a social media phenomenon, and now to an unexplored frontier in the expression of fan-based effort. It’s incredible and heartening to see this movement as it expands and grows, as devoted video gamers band together in order to achieve real change in the video games industry.
At the moment, Operation: Rainfall is discussing how they can successfully lobby Nintendo, how they can sell an audience, much like a publisher would approach a gaming license in the industry. Fans, with little business experience, are banding together to compile their own market data and create a presentable report that would hopefully entice a board of shareholders to finally put out the three titles they’re seeking. The effort is simply unheard of in any fan initiative to date, as this group is attempting to tear through the red tape through the darkness to achieve what it desires.
In comparison, the anime industry is wide open. Industry insiders are approachable, fan feedback is welcomed, and questions are often answered on the spot. Many members in high positions are life-long fans that are passionate about the medium. As a result, they tend to enjoy keeping the line open and dialogue flowing among their customers. We don’t need to have the three-day campaign-a-thons to get a simple “yes” or “no” answer from Viz, Section 23, or NIS America. We don’t need to make concerted multi-format campaigns to ask for the next small title, nor are we expected to do some song and dance to keep good anime flowing into the west.
Unfortunately, this luxury breeds a new type of problem.
Anime fans, in particular, are among the most awesome and fun people I’ve had the experience of knowing. However, for some reason or another, there is that small sector that exists, where nothing is good enough. They take every business decision as a sleight, and every license as a threat to their access to fansubs.
I’m not going to single folks out, nor am I going to sit here and lambast people who, frankly, don’t give a rat’s butt about what I have to say. However, I find it messed up that there are fans that exist that will whine, bitch, and attempt to start boycotts over the fact that NIS America or Section23 won’t dub certain titles. Still, I shouldn’t be shocked. This small group is composed of individuals that act like they’re being personally insulted, despite repeated, clear explanations that dubbing is expensive, and certain shows simply don’t receive such treatments due to the costs and risks associated with releasing dubbed anime on super-niche titles. This group’s mindset seems to think that companies should “let” other companies have licenses and titles, and throw hissy fits when their organization of choice doesn’t get it (for example, many are already reporting that Section23 should have “let FUNimation have ef“) . And, unfortunately, this group is quick to place blame on extraordinary circumstances, such as when many pointed fingers at FUNimation when the Fractale Streams were pulled.
I can’t explain this group in great detail, but it does make me genuinely curious. It’s a toxic element that seems to rise, no matter what hobby and what interest. However, its very existence seems to be an anomaly grown out of an “us vs. them” mentality, and can do little more than frustrate. These are the type that can cut a movement down at its knees. However, the biggest fear is that this group can grow large enough to completely overtake the normal, adjusted folks in a hobby. In a sense, they can become the “new normal” for a group.
I hope that this subset doesn’t manage to completely derail Operation: Rainfall – they’ve done much already, though they are at an critical point. Angry naysayers are pretty much rightly expected after Nintendo’s non-answer, but they have to remain somewhat upbeat as they hope to persevere.