Who exactly are anime fans? What are their demographic profiles, their ethnic/racial/national backgrounds, their income and education levels? How do anime fans view themselves – how are anime fans viewed by non-fans, and by fans of other media or activities? How are anime fans’ personal choices and preferences correlated to their beliefs or behaviors?
Finding concrete answers to these kinds of questions is challenging. Interview-based approaches such as the one Brent Allison uses in his “Interviews with adolescent anime fans” chapter in The Japanification of Children’s Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki present some answers, but these probably cannot be generalized in any meaningful way, while the results of any surveys that anime companies may conduct are proprietary and not open to the public.
Given this, the work of the International Anime Research Project, a team of scholars led by Prof. Stephen Reysen (Texas A&M University-Commerce) is particularly worth highlighting. The Project uses the survey method to gather information about various aspects of anime culture to both develop a thorough understanding of anime fandom and to build the groundwork for comparing anime fandom with other types of fandom, such as furries, sport, and science fiction. Right now, and through Friday, September 8, responses to the current 2017 Anime Survey, which specifically focuses on “attitudes and opinions regarding engagement with the fandom, perceptions of the fandom, identification with anime, perception of favorite character, and well-being”.
The Project began their work, focused on several distinct groups or communities of fans, in 2014. Since then, its members have presented papers based on the three rounds of the survey at a number of major academic conferences and published related articles across several recent issues of the open-access peer-reviewed journal The Phoenix Papers. In particular, they have used the results of the surveys as the basis for papers such as An examination of anime fan stereotypes, Not all fantasies are created equal: Fantasy sport fans’ perceptions of furry, brony, and anime fans, and Routes to fandom discovery and expression of fan identity in furry, anime, and fantasy sport fans.
The 2017 Anime Survey has been reviewed by and received ethics clearance through the Texas A&M University-Commerce Institutional Review Board. All survey participants will be eligible to participate in a drawing for a chance to receive a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate.