Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Anime Encourages Creativity Among Fans

Fans are a unique breed of Homo sapiens. Once something in media catches their hearts – whether it be an anime, a manga, a video game, TV show, or a celebrity, they become living, breathing parts of its universe. When they meet individuals who share their interests, they create a thriving community known as a "fandom."

Fandoms can be seen in many different forms in the anime universe. A good example of these are the various cosplay communities, which exist in every corner of the glove. There are two specific communities that have received both high praises and criticisms, particularly from manga and anime producers and distributors. These are the fanfic and fanart communities.

Fanfic artists and fan artists are ordinary people who, inspired by their favorite anime, pay tribute to it by writing stories and drawing pictures based within the universe of said anime. While most fanfics and fanarts are fairly simple, you also stumble upon rare gems – fanfics that are exceptionally written and whose plots even surpass that of the original's and fanarts that are visually stunning that they could qualify as masterpieces. On the Internet, there are thousands of sites hosting fanfics and fanarts, and they are truly a joy to explore. A number of prominent authors – Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, just to name two – have visited such sites and even gave encouragement to these budding talents.

Sadly, many publishers and other media companies have sought to squash fanfic writers and fan artists with the full force of intellectual property laws. However, fanfics and fanarts continue to flourish, and whether the powers that be want to admit it or not, these writers and artists actually help promote an anime or manga by generating greater interest among the public. After all, if an anime could inspire these talented individuals to write these exceptional stories and draw these fantastic arts, then it really must be THAT good.

Fanfics and fanarts have become steppingstones for writers and artists to go original. In Japan, a number of artists who have done fan manga (known as "doujinshi") have gone on to become legitimate manga artists. Good examples are artists who belong to the shounen ai/Boy's Love genre. Mangakas (manga artists) like Kazuma Kodaka, Youka Nitta and Naono Bohra had done doujinshis of Slam Dunk, Naruto and Prince of Tennis, just to name a few. Even anime director Mahiro Maeda recognizes the talents of these artists. Former doujinshikas (doujinshi artists) banded together to come up with "Gankutsuou Comic Anthology" in tribute to Gankutsuou (Known in Asia and India as The Count of Monte Cristo). Mahiro Maeda himself wrote an introduction to the compilation.

This said, how could such a well-spring of talent remain unexplored?

Now, Animax is finally tapping into this pool of talent with the first ever "Animax Awards Pan-Asian Animation Competition". This time, they have expanded the area of competition to include entries from select countries in Asia.

If you are a writer or an artist, here is your opportunity to fulfill your dream of seeing your story come alive as an anime. For contest details, visit Don't let this once in a lifetime opportunity pass you by! Send your entry in now!

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