The Impact Of Globalization On Yuri And Fan Activism
|Title:||The Impact Of Globalization On Yuri And Fan Activism|
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The Impact Of Globalization On Yuri And Fan Activism is an essay by Yaritza Hernandez.
- Defining Yuri
- Influences on Yuri
- A Brief Historical Background
- Globalization of Yuri Anime and Manga
- Fan Activism
The advent of globalization has not only altered the course in which major economies conduct themselves but has also changed consumers’ behaviors in relation to global products. Among these, Japanese anime and manga are some of the most popular media circulating throughout the globe today. Under the umbrellas of anime and manga, a subcategory that has been largely overlooked is yuri, which refers to the genre dealing with love between women. Works that fall under the genre are often hard to define since they are not, for example, always aimed for a specific audience like the more successful yaoi, which is largely targeted to a female audience. Yuri is hardly, if ever, discussed beyond mention as parallel to yaoi.
A significant feature of yuri anime and manga is interactivity. The production of manga “involves a number of social actors impinging on the content produced by manga artists and writers such as publishers, editors, assistants, commercial planners and readers.” The production of anime is a larger and more complex process that involves diverse parties where “the production and particular dynamics of the team often determine the direction, quality and/or presentation of the finished product.” While, ultimately, the major players in both industries have the last say in which anime or manga get approved for release and licensing, the role of the creators and the fans of such products should not be taken for granted. Sometimes the fans themselves become part of the production side. This slip may occur because of fans’ devotion to anime and manga along with the desire to take their hobby and make it into a career that is of potential economic benefit.
Fan input into industry decisions is probably greater than the fans themselves realize but, for fans outside of Japan, the impact on the Japanese industry is best expressed through the decisions made by the respective local industries. Despite the fact that fans of yuri anime and manga outside of Japan seldom approach the Japanese sources of their media, they can heavily influence local decisions by appealing to networks and distributors. An example is the SOS campaign, which began in 1996, when Sailor Moon was cancelled due to low ratings. A strong effort to get the show back on the air emerged, and online petitions, e-mail campaigns, banners, web rings, and the like were some of the methods used to petition to a variety of networks and companies. The demand by consumers for more yuri anime and manga outside of Japan necessitates the expansion of the yuri market supply throughout the world despite the overall downward trend in manga publication and anime DVD sales domestically.
Interactivity and interdependency between the creators and readers/audiences of yuri covers an array of fan activities ranging from publishing dōjinshi, creating websites, subtitling, and attending large social events like conventions. Other pursuits now include fansubs, scanlations, fan fiction and fan parodies through a variety of media. Such fan activities are possible due to the availability of cheap and high-quantity printing and publishing, easy access to Internet-based communication and electronically transmitted visual materials. The three main ways yuri fans interact with yuri anime and manga and form social networks online are through the Yuricon website along with ALC Publishing, fansubs and scanlations. These are the modes that have the most impact on the worldwide spread of yuri works through the Internet.
There are at least a dozen websites today that offer scanlations of yuri manga, including scanlations of the content serialized in magazines Comic Yuri Hime and Comic Yuri Hime S. Some were originally virtual spaces for fans of yuri to get together as a community and share information then shifted to posting scanlations. Others have sprung up with the sole intent to offer scanlations to the Internet community. The yuri scanlation community is another global space that has caught the attention of many, supporters and detractors included. For Aoi Hana there is one scanlation group known as Lililicious that has translated manga chapters into English. Further scanlations are not necessary because of websites that link scanlations from original sources, like OneManga.com and MangaFox.com. It is hard to say whether scanlations will take the same route fansubs did with Crunchyroll, but it is an industry that is growing in all corners of the world despite decreased sales in the Japanese market.