With the internet boom at its peak and the Information Superhighway at its best, it’s far from shocking that cultures from distant lands would mix. Our very own India is a colossal melting pot of culture. We, Indians, have been influenced by more than just Western interests. East Asian countries captured the hearts of thousands of Indians way before Gangnam Style; they did it through anime.
Even though everyone’s favourite childhood cartoons happen to be popular anime (Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Shin Chan and the like), anime fans happen to be somewhat a rare species in India. Without further ado, here are the 10 struggles of being an anime fan in India.
1. Finding fellow fans
Having someone to fangirl/fanboy with is a not just a luxury, it is a necessity. In a country of over 1 billion there must be someone who watches the same stuff. Finding an anime fan in India is like finding a Honey Singh fan in North Korea – one chance in a million. Literally.
2. Introducing friends to anime
Once your quest to find a bosom buddy has gone down the drain you decide to turn to your existing friends and “gently persuade” them to start watching too. You try to sway them with every genre and frequently show them clips from your favourite shows. You’re willing to use all sorts of tactics and gimmicks to call them over to the Dark-o Side-o.
3. “It’s more than just Pokémon!”
A good sum of people have the gross misunderstanding that anime is limited to just Dragon Ball, Pokemon and Beyblade. What they don’t know is that there are more than enough anime series to last you a lifetime and satisfy all age groups – from the moment you’re born to the moment you take your last breath.
4. Lack of merchandise
Like any other exuberant fan we too would love to have numerous little keepsakes from our favourite series (just so it’s a little easier to pretend that the fictional world exists). But where, in all of the Indian Subcontinent, do we find them?
5. High online shopping costs
After a failed attempt at finding a local retailer our next response is automatic: online shopping. If, by some stroke of luck, we do find a site that actually ships the item of our dreams, the overall cost is enough to smack us back to reality.
6. Slow Wi-Fi
Now I know that this particular problem is a little annoying for everybody. But for anime streamers like me this is more than just a little annoying. Waiting for 2 hours for a 24 minute video to buffer? How would one not go insane?
7. Watching anime when parents are around
We all have experienced the impeccable synchrony that our parents have to that one lesbian love scene in a movie about dancing ballerinas. All those fanservice scenes scattered throughout the show combined with a door without a lock has trained us in the art of Unagi.
8. Finding time to watch your favourite series
After finishing work or college and completing all your chores and more than a few tasks given by your mom, dad, uncle, aunty, bhau and grandma’s third brother’s son’s daughter, do you finally get a little bit of free time where you try and squeeze in as many episodes as you can.
9. No one gets your witty references
Throughout the day you see your friends high-fiving each other over Harry Potter and Game of Thrones references while nobody even notices the kind of absolutely awesome and hilarious references that you make. Talk about unfair!
10. Being a BL or GL fan
Last but most definitely not the least. Boys Love or Girls Love is still somewhat of a taboo topic in India. Especially with our parents. How would you even begin to explain your wallpaper to them where two absolutely ‘normal’ characters are gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes?
The anime revolution, when it reaches India, will realize that there is a strong loyal fan-base already around! Till then, tell me about the struggles you face as an Indian Otaku.