The Waiting Game

Evangelion-3.0-Asuka-ShinjiAnd with apocalyptic inevitability, Evangelion 3.33 is delayed in the UK. Fans must now wait several more months to see the world end on their TVs, although the hiatus is liable to allow for more cinema screenings, of what is, after all, a cinema film.

Identifying as a fan brings a sense of active entitlement. You love your favourite shows so much that you wear them on your chest and your pencil case. Their logos decorate your desktop. But that’s not enough, you want to get up inside the gubbins and see how they’re made. You want Making Ofs and interviews, and advance news of what will happen. Modern media encourages this; it practically demands it, and we can all agree that this is what fans sign up for.

But does it really have to be so quick? Any artistic achievement in localisation is becoming almost impossible. Simulcasts and lightning-fast schedules have turned translation and dubbing into desperate triage. This whiplash turnaround, supposedly, is designed to thwart pirates. But the pirates are serving a market of viewers who want everything yesterday.

I guarantee you, if you made watching anime your lifelong career, you would never have the time to see it all. So take it easy. Smell the flowers. Delve in the backlists for shows you might have missed. I’m shocked at the number of self-proclaimed otaku, clutching the latest 13-episode flash-in-the-pan fanbait, who have never seen Akira, or Cowboy Bebop, or as a bunch of big-name podcast pundits recently confessed, Voices of a Distant Star.

I wonder what these people think they are fans of. Presumably it’s That Thing That’s On Right Now, and they get angry because someone in a London office has to change an entirely notional date on a spreadsheet. But if you do really need it that much, that soon, maybe you need help. Let’s make this five-month gap an Anime Spring, when everyone can try something that’s new to them even if it’s old to Amazon. The delay has bought you five months to do something else. So pick something you’ve never seen and give it a whirl. And write in to NEO to say what you’ve found.

Jonathan Clements is the author of Anime: A History. This article first appeared in NEO #121, 2014.

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