Pokémon

Godzilla – I Choose You!

Like many children of the 1990’s I started my mornings with a healthy diet of Pokémon, Sailor Moon and Hamtaro. Never did it occur to my five-year-old self that this simple morning ritual was the beginning of my life-long love for not only anime and manga, but the Japanese language and its culture.

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Me, a real-life anime

My adoration of Japanese popular culture made watching Godzilla an interesting experience. Viewing this cult-classic made me reflect on how I, a white, Australian female view and understand Japan.

First and foremost, I initially found Godzilla (the actual monster) to be a bit of a joke. Now I’m pretty accepting when it comes to mythical creatures. I’d give my right arm for Pokémon to be real. But honestly, how the heck was I meant to take that lumpy cross-eyed lizard seriously? I knew Godzilla was a pop-culture phenomenon – I’ve even stayed in a hotel in Shinjuku where Godzilla is literally climbing out of the roof.

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Hotel Gracery, Shinjuku (Hornyak n.d.)

But what I didn’t realise was that Godzilla was so much more than just an ugly puppet – it was actually a parable for the horrific Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings that devastated Japan in 1945. In fact, a character in Godzilla explicitly states that “Godzilla [is] a product of the atomic bomb that still haunts many of us Japanese.”

This shocking realisation not only heightened my interest in the film’s storyline, but also caused me to sympathise with both the Japanese people and Godzilla itself. The heartbreaking visual of the inconsolable little girl screaming for her deceased mother made me contemplate the horrendous and very real impact of the atomic bombings that devastated Japan. Simultaneously however, I felt sympathy for Godzilla. The monster was misunderstood from the very beginning and was brutalised by the terrified citizens. The scene where Godzilla was being shot at whilst walking through the ocean caused me particular distress, as I realised that this scene had been referenced in Pokémon. The enormous dragon Pokémon, Dragonite, is a direct reference to Godzilla, and is described as “the biggest Pokémon ever…[who has]…travelled the world looking for friends…because it is alone.” Just like Godzilla, Dragonite is violently shot at and returns to its ocean home, friendless and misunderstood.

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Pokemon (Right) and Godzilla (Left) 

Watching Godzilla has truly opened my eyes to the importance of this monster in its Japanese context – it is an enduring symbol of the horrors of WWII. I also learnt how our culture influences the way in which we interpret and understand texts from cultures different to our own. So Godzilla, if you are out there, hit me up for coffee. I’d love to get to know you better and hey, maybe we can invite Dragonite too?

References:

Hornyak n.d. Hotel Gracery, Shinjuku, image, Shinjuku Station, viewed 27 July 2017, <https://www.shinjukustation.com/hotel-gracery-shinjuku/&gt;

Godzilla n.d. image, Den of Geek, viewed 27 July 2017, <http://www.denofgeek.com/uk/books-comics/pok-mon/46416/pokemon-the-ray-bradbury-homage-hidden-in-a-classic-episode&gt;

Dragonite n.d., image, Pikachu made me do it!, viewed 27 July 2017, <http://pokemon-made-me-do-it.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/13-mystery-at-lighthouse.html&gt; 

“a nurse… and a part time necromancer!”

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Desktop Screenshot of me playing Pokémon Red

Receiving your first Pokémon at Professor Oak’s lab, stepping into the grass on the first route of your journey, encountering that first new Poké Pal in the wild. Starting out on an adventure is always an exciting experience. However, when this adventure is marked by apprehension and possible sadness, the experience is somewhat different.

Having never engaged with a randomiser Nuzlocke before, my experience with Pokémon Red was something completely different than what I have experienced when playing a regular Pokémon game. The first thing that made it different was that the original Pokémon Red only had 151 obtainable Pokémon, not in this version, for I had the chance to encounter 151 Pokémon selected randomly from a total of 721. This immediately made the game more challenging as I had to choose between Ditto, Mothim, and Piplup for a starter Pokémon, and then deal with Pokémon you wouldn’t typically find on the first route, like Poliwrath and Beartic.

Following the basic rules of a Nuzlocke, I encountered, caught, and nicknamed a single Pokémon on each route. As my team and I traversed routes, trekked through forests, and battled countless trainers and wild Pokémon, we became stronger. However, there were some casualties along the way.

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All images used belong to The Pokémon Company

The above image shows the beloved Pokémon that I caught during my short adventure, including Olivia and Miura who died along the way. Under Nuzlocke rules, if a Pokémon faints at any point during your adventure, it is considered dead and must be released or placed in a PC box permanently. Although not a rule that has to be adhered to, it is often accepted that Pokémon be nicknamed so that their trainers become more attached to them.

Nicknaming Pokémon, in my opinion, does create a bond, as it immediately makes the experience more personal. This nicknaming coupled with your determination to keep your Pokémon alive really gives the game tension, and places a tremendous amount of responsibility on the player to perform to the best of their ability. Ultimately, playing a Pokémon game while adhering to Nuzlocke rules can be a very emotional and tense experience, one that is undeniably different than the experience you would receive from a playing a Pokémon game in the way it was intended.

True to the format, the game forced me to think more strategically about how to conserve my team mates and keep them alive. When I did let team mates die, it was an emotional experience. Each loss made me feel guilty and sad, I questioned whether I could have saved them, and all I could do was move on and learn from my mistakes.

However, while playing the game I realised that Pokémon in the Nuzlocke format that die, are effectively zombies. Sure, if they faint then by the rules you are no longer able to use that Pokémon, but the games mechanics themselves will not let Pokémon actually die. If you took your fainted partner to the Pokémon Centre, Nurse Joy would take your Pokéballs, slap them into her machine and stare at them as technology did the rest. In the ordinary way you would play a Pokémon game, Nurse Joy would just heal your friends, in a Nuzlocke, she is effectively a nurse (because she still heals your Pokémon) and a part time necromancer!

In my autoethnographic analysis of this text, I will be looking at the experience itself, but also what made this experience possible. This means that I will be looking at technology and remix culture, the two elements that largely come together to make this possible. However, I also want to look into whether such experiences have adverse effects, focusing largely on games publishing companies.

Regarding technology, I would like to look into how people access experiences like this. To understand this would involve looking at the technologies and cultures that allow this such as emulators, ROMs, and P2P file sharing. It would also be interesting to discover whether it is possible to play some of the newer games available on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS systems via emulators or related technologies.

Another area that makes these styles of games possible is Remix culture. Eduardo Navas looks at Remix theory in terms of music, but says that a remix is a second mix of something pre-existing that is recognisable as coming from this pre-existing product. A remix is only a Remix if it has history, i.e. Pokémon Glazed, a remix of a Pokémon game, is only recognisable as a remix if its origins can be traced back to the game that has been initially remixed. My experience with Pokémon Red can be described as a remix, because although functioning in the way that the original did, new elements had been added into the game to create a new experience, such as: new Pokémon, types, and attacks/moves. A further element that adds to this remix are the self-adhered to Nuzlocke rules.

Moving on, I would like to wrap up this post by talking about the presentation of this project. At this stage, there are still elements of my research area that are unclear which I need to look into further. However, with the current scope of the project, it would serve me well to present it as a multimedia project that incorporates video, images, and text. This would likely be presented on Prezi, however, until I fully nail down my project as a whole this could change.

Kon’nichiwa Australia! Looking at the prevalence of Japanese culture in Sydney.

Another blog in the machine.

Australia is a multicultural nation. We pride ourselves on diversity and being open to new cultures and the Japanese culture is no exception. In recent years manga, anime, cosplay and all things Japanese have all exploded into Australia culture and the cultural and media exports make Japanese culture a soft power deserving of our attention. Through my digital Asia studies I have discovered how much Japanese culture is available for consumption in Australia and it’s popularity among Australian audiences.

There are some who believe that the rising popularity of the socially constructed ‘cool Japan’ and products that have an essential ‘Japaneseness’ about them serve to reduce bad feelings toward Japan that came after WWII (Allen 2006). What creates this idea of ‘cool Japan’ are the innovative technology and interesting cultural products that Japan are able to export to Australia, and Australian consumers can’t get enough of them. From sushi and…

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RIP me, it’s a Randomiser Nuzlocke

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For my individual research project I have decided to play a Pokémon game, but played in a way I have never attempted before. The popular franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri, who was inspired by one, the link cable technology that allowed multiplayer action on the old Gameboy handhelds, and two, his love of collecting insects as a child. While it took 6 years, Tajiri’s vision was achieved in the production of Pokémon Red and Green which were released in 1996.

Many Pokémon games followed the initial release of Red and Green, and has progressed into its 7th generation of Pokémon over the past 20 years. Today, we have over 721 obtainable Pokémon, a huge increase over the original 151 that were obtainable when I was a child.

My adventures with Pokémon began in 1998 when I was 5 years old. I had just started school, I had no friends, and I cried a lot. A LOT. After what seemed like forever, I finally made a friend.

One day, this friend came over to my house toting a Gameboy Advance with Pokémon Red and Blue. We took turns playing this fascinating game of collecting and battling exotic and strange monsters, and it was at this moment I was hooked, my life took a new direction, I was either going to be boring or become consumed by gaming culture. We all know what won out.

The first Pokémon game I ever owned was Pokémon Gold, one of the 2nd generation games that emerged during 1999. With the second generation of Pokémon expanding the universe, introducing new concepts and more opportunities for player interaction, I can safely say Pokémon found a place inside many players’ hearts, my own included, where it will be cherished forever.

For my project, I am going to be looking at Pokémon in an entirely new way, for myself anyway. I will be attempting a rom hack of Pokemon Red while adhering to the rules of a Randomiser Nuzlocke challenge. There are three things to unpack here, which are:

  1. Rom hacks: the process of modifying various elements of a video game to breathe new life into older games or to create a ‘new’ game using the old as a foundation.
  2. Randomisers: randomiser Pokémon play throughs can involve many things, but usually involve players travelling around a familiar Pokémon region with the wild encounterable Pokémon being completely randomised, so they have a chance of finding Pokémon they wouldn’t ordinarily find in that area.
  3. Nuzlockes: Nuzlocke challenges present a way of playing Pokémon, which involves the player following self-imposed rules that ultimately make the game more challenging and emotional. The basic rules include: any Pokémon that faints is considered dead and must be released or placed in PC storage permanently; the player may only catch the first Pokémon encountered in each area and none else, if this Pokémon flees or faints there is no second chances; while not definite, it is generally accepted that players also nickname their Pokémon for the sake of stronger emotional bonds.

To clarify, I will be playing a rom hack of the original Pokémon Red version which has had all 721 Pokémon injected into it. I will be playing a randomised version, which means I will randomly encounter Pokémon from a pick of 721. I will also be applying the above basic Nuzlocke rules to completely ramp up the difficulty and emotional impact of the game.

Before talking about how I will conduct my study, I will briefly go into what autoethnography is.

In terms of autoethnography, Ellis et al say that research and writing conducted in an autoethnographic way methodically examines personal experiences to better understand cultural experiences. The process of autoethnography, the doing, features elements of autobiography and ethnography. This essentially means that autoethnographic study involves the recording of a personal experience which is later analysed for cultural elements in order to help insiders and outsiders better understand the culture.

However, for this style of study, analysis is key. Researchers MUST use theoretical and methodological tools along with academia to produce a well-rounded study that is not just a story. The aim of autoethnographic study is to ultimately illustrate the characteristics of a culture to make it familiar for others.

For this study, I will be recording a series of videos that will:

  • Demonstrate how to access and play these games
  • Include footage of myself playing Pokémon Red to record my personal experience with the randomiser Nuzlocke challenge
  • Analyse the various elements of engaging with such a text and the cultural implications

For the next blog post I will include some evidence of my engagement with the text, my experience with the text, and some of the questions or thoughts I have about the text.

Till then.

Pokemon and Soft Power Part 2: Kawaii and Consumption.

I came across an article this week that discussed the concept of Kawaii and how this seemly abstract notion that best translates as “cute” in English is incorporated into Japanese consumerism. For this blog post, I will briefly discuss a section of this paper and do my best to link the concepts Allison describes to my research into Japanese soft power and Pokemon.
This topic could be an entire essay in itself, and there is a part of me that would love to research this topic much more thoroughly, but alas, I’m short on time and words!

Allison (2003) describes the concept of kawaii  as a notion that combines “the qualities of amae—sweetness connected to dependence—and yasashii—gentleness”. While kawaii is linked to girls and girlishness, it is not exclusively ‘feminine’ (Allison, 2003). Someone’s personality can be called kawaii, for example, and so can a boy’s face. This definition aligns with my understanding of the concept of cuteness.

Interestingly, Allison notes that “Yasashii” or the gentle aspect of cuteness is the word Japanese producers use to describe the marketing of Pokemon in Japan:

If there is something soothing and appealing about a Doraemon or a Pikachu, the aim of marketers has been to extend and expand this emotional relationship into more and more vistas of commodifiable existence. As the Japanese toy company, Bandai, articulates this principle, a child’s happiness can be maximized by spreading her favorite character on everything from PJs, backpacks, and lunch boxes to breakfast cereal, bath bubbles, and galoshes – Allison, 2003.

The comments that Allison makes on what kawaii has come to mean and its relationship to how Pokemon has been used as a commodity speaks to the notions of soft power. It is my understanding that it is the combination of Pokemon’s cute factor, and the way both game and toy companies have capitlised on the cute appeal of Pokemon that have helped to popularise the  franchise internationally, as thus increase the appeal of Japanese culture internationally.

 

References

Allison, A. (2003). Portable monsters and commodity cuteness: Pokemon as Japan’s new global power. Postcolonial Stud., [online] 6(3), pp.381-395. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1368879032000162220 [Accessed 8 Oct. 2014].

Pokemon and Soft Power Part 1: A Brief Introduction to Soft Power

This week I’ve been thinking about soft power. I first came across the term in my second year at university, and I haven’t really thought too much about it since until now. It can be argued that Pokemon has had a huge impact on how Japanese culture has spread and is perceived international in the past 18 years or so, and thus has contributed to Japan’s soft power.

So what is soft power exactly?

Let’s begin with the definition of hard power. “Hard power” can be thought of as the “A coercive approach to international politicalrelations, especially one that involves the use of military power (Oxforddictionaries.com, 2014). Countries can sometimes obtain the outcomes they want without the tangible threats of hard power. This indirect method is often referred to as “soft power”Soft power rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others.  It must be noted that soft power is a difficult thing to both obtain and to measure in a sense. Unlike hard power, soft power relies on the ability of a nation to influence others tends to be associated with intangible assets such as an attractive personality, culture, political values, institutions and policies that are seen as desirable or legitimate (Ey.com, 2014).

Joseph Nye could be considered the soft power Guru, and explains the concept quite well in this VIDEO.

Recently I found an article by Nissim Kadosh Otmazgin (2007) that examines the nature of the Japanese soft power that derives from the proliferation of its popular culture in East Asia. Otmazgin notes that the Japanese government has been examining ways to promote the country’s cultural exports, in order to generate economic benefits and nurture positive appreciations of the country overseas, through investing in Japan’s cultural industries including food, fashion and content production. By cultural production I refer to the Japanese television, film, music, print and gaming industries. It is no surprise that the success of Pokemon has contributed to Japan’s soft power. The franchises’ success over the past two decades has helped to change the attitudes of nations around the globe towards Japan and Japanese culture.

After reading the article, I’ve have tried to reflect by asking myself “how do I explore Japanese/Pokemon related soft power in an auto-ethnogrpahic sense?”

The more I tried to answer this question, the more difficult the task seemed. That was until I realised that I’ve been exploring Japanese soft power throughout my entire auto ethnographical journey. If soft power can be measured by the ability of a nation to influence others relations with cultural assets, like, for instance, Pokemon, then my exploration of Pokemon fan art online is in itself, an expression of Japanese soft power. Fan art produced online that is able to circulate and thus, be appreciated globally, shows the extent of the influence Japanese culture has had on my own online experience as well as thousands of others. People from around the globe who come together online to discuss, create and explore Pokemon online are participating in an expression of Japanese culture.

I’ll call this Part 1 of my discussion, as i feel like there is so much more to be said.

References:

Ey.com, (2014). Rapid-growth markets soft power index:Soft power defined. [online] Available at: http://www.ey.com/GL/en/Issues/Driving-growth/Rapid-growth-markets-soft-power-index-Soft-power-defined [Accessed 27 Sep. 2014].

Otmazgin, N. (2007). Contesting soft power: Japanese popular culture in East and Southeast Asia. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, [online] 8(1), pp.73-101. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/irap/lcm009 [Accessed 27 Sep. 2014].

Oxforddictionaries.com, (2014). hard power: definition of hard power in Oxford dictionary (British & World English). [online] Available at: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hard-power [Accessed 27 Sept. 2014].

 

제공 (contribution)

Struggling with a direction to take my digital artefact in (which I had previously decided would be a visual representation of the international Eat Your Kimchi fan community, possibly a word-art gallery, and which subsequently changed to a simple prezi), I decided to reflect on what made the EYK fan experience so unique compared with other YouTubers that I have come to love.

Louis Cole, host of the channel FunForLouis is a comparable example from the United Kingdom, as his approach to YouTube is much like Simon and Martina’s (EYK’s two hosts) in a few ways:

  1. They both have multiple forms of media attached to their main channel in order to interact with fans (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc)
  2. They both have fan meet-ups in countries all around the world, including Australia (FunForLouis) (EatYourKimchi) ,so that they can connect with and appreciate the support that has steadily grown for them in many communities
  3. They both have merchandise shops (Louis) (EYK) which help support their channel, providing a way for fans to both show their support for the YouTubers and identify themselves as fans to the wider community (as I have by buying an EYK shirt, see previous post 유명인사 (celebrity))
  4. They both have huge international fan followings; Louis has just achieved 1 000 000 subscribers in the last few days and fans actively try to independently meet up with him in every country he travels to. Similarly, EYK often encounters fans on the street and in other countries when filming their videos, and post pictures with fans/’nasties’ on Instagram and Twitter.

These channels are both great at integrating fans into their content and they both have a creative approach to editing and presenting their videos. Additionally, they both started their channels by documenting their daily lives highlighting changes or new learning experiences. So what makes Eat Your Kimchi different? Is it the content creators who make the difference, or the fans themselves?

To me, it’s the actual fandom of EYK which stands out. Their passion, dedication, creativity, general sense of community and acceptance, and willingness to contribute their own opinions and knowledge of cultural experience is evident across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and in real life e.g. during filmed fan-meet ups and encounters with Simon and Martina in public spaces.

Trying to think of a way to describe, display, analyse and interact with this fandom in a meaningful way, I realised that Prezi was not going to work in this context, especially considering that I have identified an innate personal need to somehow show my interaction with and interest in the world of EYK. What makes digital fandoms so unique and simultaneously personal and inclusive of difference is the participatory culture which the Internet and blurring cultural distinctions have emphasised and cultivated (Brough & Shresthova 2012). So how do I play into this culture? How do I both participate in and study the fandom of EYK?

I have decided to create a space where I (and possibly other fans) can shine a spotlight on different aspects of the EYK fandom, somewhat in the vein of Pottermore or the Pokemon Wiki. Introducing the EYK Compendium: The Fantastical Fandom of Eat Your Kimchi, brought to you by WordPress (the central fandom hub), Instagram and Twitter (two methods of additional engagement where I hope to connect with fans and use hashtags to find content and EYK fans).

Net Museums Pt 2: DeviantArt

Last week I made some observations of Pokemon fan art of Elfwood.com, as well as making some observations about the communication style on the site and comparing them with my own experience of Tumblr. As I mentioned last week, these observations are slight, and by no means exhaustive or indicative of how the websites in question operate in relation to fan art on a large scale. These observations merely reflect my personal experience and ability to navigate the sites.

So with that disclaimer out of the way, into this weeks website: DeviantArt! To be quite honest, I have only visited the site a handful of times, and never before have I specifically sought out Pokemon related fan art for auto-ethnographical purposes.  For anyone unfamiliar, DeviantArt, LLC is an online community showcasing various forms of user-made artwork, first launched on August 7, 2000 by Scott Jarkoff, Matthew Stephens, Angelo Sotira and others. deviantArt, Inc. is headquartered in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles, California, United States.The site aims to provide a platform for any artist to exhibit and discuss works. Works are organised into categories including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature, Flash, filmmaking, skins for applications to name a few.

Like I did with Elfwood, keyword searched “Pokemon” and brought up a host of results.

The first thing I noticed was the difference in standard of artwork that was produced upon searching the term. Most of the artwork that I found  seemed to be digital art, or art that has been edited/enhanced digitally with visual art software, like Photoshop as opposed to hand sketched, then scanned and uploaded. GIFs and info graphics were also present and often included humour or incorporated elements of fan fiction or fan theories into the work. As I was scrolling, I noticed quite a few artworks that I had seen posted or reflagged on Tumblr, which suggests sharing of material across websites and platforms. One particular image I came across was a fan’s impression of a Tumblr -inspired poke ball which I had seen reflagged on my Tumblr wall a while ago.

The main comparison to be made between DeviantArt and Elfwood for me is the size of each website. DeviantArt evidently has a much larger user base than that of Elfwood, and thus the range and quality and quantity of Pokemon related fan art and fiction is much greater. Both sites however serve as a platform for fans of the Pokemon franchise to share their experiences and creative talents in ways that foster creativity and interaction between users. Like Tumblr, people share their both their work and their options with like minded users.

References

deviantART, I. (2014). deviantART, Inc.: Private Company Information – Businessweek. [online] Businessweek.com. Available at: http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=22872779 [Accessed 7 Oct. 2014].

Net Museums Pt 1: Elfwood

So last post I proposed that I would make a comparison between a few of the websites where fan art emerges and comparing them with my own experience of tumblr.com By giving a brief overview of my findings, I hope to gain a better insight into how Pokemon fans communicate online and whether there is any distinct difference in the form of communication between sites. The fan art and communities that spring up online is as diverse as it is fascinating, as is the ways in which people discuss and discover in online environments. I took a trip to, Elfwood.com to observe the types of art and communication on each site and aim to compare these differences with the observations I have already made of Tumblr. I have decided to split the observation of these sites across two weeks, otherwise this post with be much too long. It must be noted that these are merely surface-level observations, and I’m sure if given the time, a much deeper and richer understanding of online fan culture could be gained from a more thorough comparative analysis of online fan art communities.

I’d only heard of Elfwood in passing conversation with people, and had not visited the site until this week. For those of you who are unfamiliar, May 1st 1996 was the day Elfwood saw the light of day. Created by a man named Thomas Abrahamsson, the original name of the project was Lothlorien and mainly focused on high fantasy art made by amateurs. On Elfwoods first day it held art from three artist, and Thomas being one of them. Today,  small team of people in Swedish people run the website and the site is owned by the company Usify AB. The site is a mixture now of amateur fan art, photos and fan fiction, or stories written mostly my amateur writers. A quick search for “Pokemon” turned up 604 results, with 601 images and 3 stories. I clicked on a work of Articuno was posted near the top and read through the comments. Articuno is a legendary ice/flying type Pokemon that can be found in the Seafoam Islands in Pokemon red, Blue and Yellow, and this particular artwork of the Pokemon seemed to have been a digital creation.

To summarise in a qualitative manner, the comment section consisted mostly of badly spelled, grammatically incorrect praise for the work put into the picture, along with affirmations of the fan’s love of Articuno/Pokemon in a general sense. There were very few negative comments on that post, which for me reiterated the excitement and genuine interest fans of the genre felt towards the franchise and other amateur artists. It is difficult to tell the age and location of the commenters, but for Elfwood users it doesn’t seem to matter. The picture of Articuno th in a sense, became a symbol for me of the Pokemon franchise’s international successes a vehicle for both non-verbal and verbal communication.

What Interested me most about the site was the range and quality of the Pokemon fan art, with the inclusion of uploads of pencil sketches and hand coloured pictures along side digital artworks. The site is moderated by a “trusted member of the Elfwood team” and has seemed to have made a point of trying to feature a diverse range of artworks in the site. This site seems much smaller and more of a niche audience than Tumblr, catering specifically to amateur fan fiction and art. I feel as though it is harder  on Elfwood to generate discussion among fans than it is on Tumblr, whether this is due to the seemingly smaller user base of the site in comparison to Tumblr, or perhaps it is because of the inability to reblog or share other users works, as is the case with Tumblr.

References:

http://www.elfwood.com

http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Seafoam_Islands

Pokemon Fan Art as an Online Phenomenon

I found a real interesting article by a scholar named Marjoris Cohee titled “From Amateur to Framauteur: Art Development of Adolescents and Young Adults Within an Interest-Based Community. (2012)” The article describes the role that online fan art communities play in the  “developmental progression of adolescents and young adults within the cultural context of an interest-based community.”  Choee discusses a number of aspects that shape teen interactions with fandom in particular the role of narrative and sociocultural community to the development of  artistic ability. The article is quite broad in its discussion of online fan communities, as Cohee explores a plethora of concepts that describe how fan artists interact and develop in an online environment.

I found myself reading the article and applying each concept she described to the Pokemon fan art and artists I have discovered on tumblr.com over the course of this subject.

What was most interesting for me was Cohee’s comments on amateur artists as ‘copyists”:New fans who were not otherwise proficient art makers repeated the attractive image over and over, practicing an exactness of its appearance as a way of holding the object of admiration close and absorbing or assimilating its desirable aspect into their own persona.

I have found myself doing this (with the Pokemon Mew) as I strive to achieve an image that actually resembles how I picture Mew in my head. I find myself trying to achieve that “WOW” factor that Cohee sites from Jenkins 2006 work of fan culture.

I was also interested by Cohee’s remark on belonging to fan communities and the sense of similarity that amateurs often seek with their fellow fan artists. Cohee refers to sites such as Fan Central, Elfwood and DeviantArt. Perhaps for my next post, it would be interesting to do a comparison between how Pokemon Fan artists communicate on one or two of these hubs and contrast them with my own experience of Tumblr.

References

Manifold, M.C. 2012, “From Amateur to Framauteur: Art Development of Adolescents and Young Adults Within an Interest-Based Community”, Studies in Art Education, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 37-53.