I learned how to send a lot of money to Japan.
This is the tenth of my entries into 2017’s rendition of the 12 Days of Anime aniblogger project. For more about the project, read appropriant’s introductory post. Please also check out the spreadsheet containing the work of all the bloggers participating!
Fandom is More
2017 saw me finish my importing of the nine Japanese Macross Delta Blu-ray volumes, completing my first-ever foray into the legendary fan action knowing as “buying the blu-rays.” Well, I say that, but really it was really not something so glamorous as that. The actual process went something like this: Every month or so, I would remember that the release date for the next volume of Delta was coming up, rush over Amazon.jp, place a preorder, and then wait a short period of time for the volume to appear at my home via the excellent services of DHL.
Upon receiving each BD volume, I would pop them open, flip through the booklet of production art, Japanese interviews I didn’t have enough Japanese language skills to read, and other items, and then put the volume’s disc into my BD player to watch an episode or whatever special feature caught my eye. Then I’d replace everything inside the packaging and slot it into the (extremely pretty) Blu-ray boxes that came with the Amazon LE version of the release.
In short—it was a lot like buying a Blu-ray domestically, at least in terms of the how it felt. But of course, it was more than that. Right? After all, “buy the Blu-rays” is a common saying around the anime fandom. Everyone does it, because it is an activity that justifies the frequent piracy we engage in and because it supports to Japanese industry in a direct way that far outstrips anything we could do through any international companies. Right? To “buy the BDs” is to be a true anime fan. Right?
Well, I think all of that elitist mentality that hovers around the exoticness of importing consumer goods from another country is rather foolish. Even if buying the Blu-rays is indeed something that helps support the Japanese anime industry (as it certainly is), the elevation of this one particular fan activity above others is something that ought to end. In the end, “Buying the BDs” is merely one form of fandom, and in the case of Macross Delta for me, it was a particular way I chose to support a show I cared about (and to give myself the satisfaction of giving a sort of metaphorical finger to Harmony Gold at the same time).
This is how I choose to think about importing as a fandom action. Instead of assigning it some disproportionately outsized sense of industry-impacting import, it is rather a personal movement, a gesture from me as a fan of Macross Delta to Shoji Kawamori, the seiyuu, the animators, the producers, and everyone else who made Macross Delta (and Walkure) what they are to me. It is one point among actions I take—enjoying fanart, singing along to the songs, writing blog posts—as a fan, one way of expressing my appreciation for something that means something to me. Fandom is more than consumerism, and to reduce it to such is to do a disservice to ourselves as fans. We’re more than our money, and so are the things we love.