Here’s a blog post which is mainly just disjointed theorism that I don’t think I can actually prove or disprove, it’s just from my own experience. Basically, I’m just rambling. Which is going to begin a probably never-again used mini-series of posts of mine – Random Ramblings? It’s not a particularly creative name, but I think it gets the point across, so I’ll roll with it.
So…you might wonder. What exactly does MyAnimeList.net do to an anime fan?
And yes, part of the reason i’m making this post is….lol, I don’t even know anymore. I just want to update with something, rather than nothing. I could do series reviews-but eh, I feel like Stringed is doing a good enough job of that already, so I should focus on various other random things. But this is like, a good idea and stuff, so I’m going to write about it, and you will like it. Hopefully.
Anyways, to bring you to the main point. Keep in mind that, aside from the factual things I’ve mentioned, this might not hold true for everyone, but they’re just general trends I’ve noticed.
MyAnimeList.net, if you don’t know, is a site that documents one’s anime-watching habits. There’s other sites that do this too, but I don’t use any of them and I don’t really think they have quite the same effect anyways, but MyAnimeList is generally the most prevalent and the most commonly used of all of these sites, and by the looks of things, pretty much everyone who considers themselves an anime fan will have one by some point not too far off in the future, unless of course they’re dead-set against it.
However, MyAnimeList does not offer only offer listings of what you’ve watched-with several sections to denote whether you are currently watching a show, completed it, have it on-hold, or dropped it, but the site itself has other sections as well, such as a manga list, a profile where you can be left comments, forums, and clubs created for just about anything that anyone on the site would want. In fact, MyAnimeList is much like a cross between a traditional site that would merely list one’s anime-watching habits and a facebook-and it’s that extra aspect of MyAnimeList that both makes it so popular, and has an interesting effect on people’s anime-watching habits, for many reasons.
Have any of you ever heard the old adage about powerlevels? Save for Goku, whose powerlevel is equal to or greater than 9000, (well, according to Vegeta, at least) powerlevels are quite comparable, and since there’s a lot of anime out there, there’s a lot of variation. And people like to compare their powerlevels with other people, much in the way that Xbox Live players do. However, now, with MyAnimeList, there’s a way to do something similar to this. Only, instead of being related to video games, this is related to anime-and how much you’ve watched, what you’ve watched, and what you thought of what you watched.
This has both positive and negative effects in several ways. While some people can use this as a gauge to honestly judge what they’ve watched, and to see what others have seen in comparison, there are many other people who will go directly to their friends’ profiles and despair that they don’t have absolutely flawless compatibility with them. (Although…oddly, because I didn’t think our taste in anime was really that similar, Stringed and I don’t have that problem at all. Lol amazingly high compatibility get?) So, their taste in anime will end up either changing in a dramatically fast period or time, or they will watch more anime, and otherwise, end up watching so much in a period of time, that many things can occur.
Even if people don’t suddenly wonder about their friends’ anime-watching-habits, they start to notice themselves migrating over to other, relatively-anonymous people’s lists (there actually is a ‘Random List’ button somewhere on the site, I can’t remember exactly where, I think it might be under one of the search pages, but I really don’t care to look.) Even so, though, there are a lot of people on the site, and a lot of people who you can compare yourselves to, so eventually, one day when you’re really bored, you just start profile-surfing and randomly end up at a profile of someone who you have massively high or low compatibility with, and you end up either laughing at their poor taste if you have unusually low compatibility with them, or you’re like “oh, snap.” or something equivalent if you have a higher compatibility with them.
Now, this can be good or bad. Typically, sites like MyAnimeList have lots of recommendations and similar shows that you can look up, so ultimately, upon joining a site like MyAnimeList, you realize the brunt of shows that are out there, waiting for you to just sit and watch, and then you watch them. You watch a lot of these shows, and ultimately, you end up spending 2+ hours of your day watching anime, when you should have probably started on that paper or done your laundry or something else that’s moderately productive.
Now, this can be good or bad-but it’s probably pretty bad for the anime industry. I’m not saying just in America, I’m just saying throughout the world, even in Japan, now. You might think that the shows are showed on TV, but in many ways, things like second seasons are largely dependent on DVD sales. While there are many people who watch anime legally, there are also many, many more people who do not. With a site like MyAnimeList, where you feel compelled to watch as much anime as you possibly can because you’re simply exposed to it, you tend to care less about legality. And if you haven’t noticed, the anime industry hasn’t been doing as well lately, and normally entertainment isn’t affected by recessions, so basically to America: you don’t really have a good excuse. I think it’s fine if you live in some deadbeat place and don’t want to pay $329012321 in import fees, however, even then, I think you should still buy something. Something is always better than nothing.
Not to say that all of the series on MAL are necessarily licensed, however, so despite debatable legality, there’s less of a negative impact on the localization of anime. Furthermore, by noticing trends in shows that are popular among a (generally, at least, I’ve seen quite a few people from foreign countries on the site) english-speaking community, companies will get a better idea of what shows to license because of the number of people who view certain shows and their overall thoughts. While this was also possible in the past, MAL is a more consolidated place to do so-and that’s why the site has over 200,000 members.
But, you might wonder then-what’s the point of MyAnimeList? When you think about it, though, sites like MAL are catered towards a different crowd than sites such as Gaia Online, which generally seem to be a socializing crowd for people who passively have watched a little bit of anime and want to spend a whole bunch of money on getting some silly-looking avatar while trying to gain prominence in the forums. Instead, MAL was created to cater to the people who have more than just a passing interest in the culture associated with anime and manga-and even to the people who have watched so much anime, they wouldn’t even be able to keep track of it unless they had a site like MAL (or of course a word document/pen and paper, but MAL is a bit easier, and it sets it up to look neat, so what’s not to like?)
Even though it probably encourages piracy in several ways, I still see sites like MAL as being a positive influence on the anime and manga community, rather than a negative one. It encourages people with similar tastes and helps them discover anime/manga that they may have never even heard of, and it brings together anime/manga fans from across the world, while at the same time not being too forum-focused, and hence focusing less on silly things that many people don’t want to bother with, such as postcount, items, and prominence. There are even clubs where people can post just about anything-and although those are generally forum-based, they are not always based on forums. Furthermore, the structure of MAL as a psuedo-friend-networking site allows for a generally unique experience that you can’t really find on any other site on the internet. Say what you want about it being stupid, but I think that MAL is awesome-and that’s the end of my random rambling-at least for now.
Tune in next time-it’s not going to be a random rambling, but instead, I think I might review an anime! I’m keeping it a secret what one it is (even from Owari, but she could probably guess anyways. Hmm.)