Anime; an industry with a rising popularity inside and outside its roots in Japan,
a vehicle of escapism for children and adults alike,
ranging with different intensities, either taken in casually, a hobby or an obsession.
As a media form that is openly misogynistic and consumeristic, it presents difficulties for a fan (derogatively and/or rejoicingly an otaku) who has grown up with it and often looks to it as a wonderland for daydreaming and escape; the latent desire to becoming the king of your own world.
“…otaku meant an increasing number of sullen youth who’d voluntarily taken leave of reality.”
Looking into Takashi Murakami’s work; My Lonesome Cowboy, 3-Meter Girl & other works sculpted by figurine company Bome, I acknowledge the Anime industry’s prolific domination of the male eye for the male eye. The huge figures takes a play on the merchandise that otakus themselves collect while also cruelly reflecting back the culture that they worship.
My process involved translating myself into a 2-dimensional form; namely “ABいい” (pronounced Abbey). “いい” translates to good from Japanese. It is a character that initially aims to be understood in a less complex manner by inhabiting a flat world. Through ABいい, I explore different sides of fandom and connotations of owning such objects. It seeks to question the real world in which it was placed in. Over time I let the character take on its own persona.
Bringing elements of this 2-dimensional world into the 3-dimensional; surrounding oneself with memorabilia & merchandise,
what happens when a fantasy and its extensions breed a tug-of-war between comfort and discomfort?
Within the room, ABいい morphs through varying levels of awareness; frustration, happiness, acceptance, rejection, cooperation. Easily reproduced and hyper-processed, DIY or readily purchased, one wonders if this character itself is worthy enough of being worshipped or even enjoys being worshipped. Gender of the room’s owner is also in question. Perhaps this is not just a criticism on the negative perception of otaku but a challenge to the evolving subculture in which many are attempting to discard antagonism.
Overall it examines a schizophrenic consumption of Anime; celebrated or criticized and the finding of my identity in relation to otaku subculture.