Book: Anime, Religion and Spirituality
Chapter: Power Within: The Fan’s Embrace of Profane and Sacred Worlds in Anime
Some anime aficionados can rightly be called ‘devotees’ as they manifest a deep, almost religious, devotion to anime in various ways. They seek to make personal connections with events and characters of anime stories through visits to anime conventions, the performance activity cosplay (‘costume play’), and travel to cities, towns and natural sites in Japan that are featured in anime. It is clear that these fan phenomena are not unique to anime or only observable in Japan, as over the last twenty years there has been a small but growing body of scholarship produced that deals with both Western fan behaviours and the possible religio-spiritual motivations and benefits of these individual and communal activities. This chapter will draw upon these studies, particular those focused on the fan community attached to Gene Roddenberry’s cult American television and film series Star Trek (debuted 1965), to establish a framework for interpreting anime fandom, in addition to specific studies of anime aficionados.
The purpose of this chapter is to investigate the intense, almost religious, nature of anime aficionados’ close relationship to the object of their devotion, anime.