By the way, this is my 200th post!For Part I, see here. Part II is here, and Part III here.
The realm of animation, like that of video games and other forms of technology, has advanced quickly over the years, creating gaps in between different generations of fans. Anime is unique in that, ever since its introduction to American society, it has always produced many different types of American fans. Some of these fans are known as “Otaku,” a Japanese word that is closely related to our use of the word “nerd,” though “otaku” holds a more negative or insulting connotation and refers to a fan who may have no restraint, is unhealthy obsessed, or can’t tell between reality and fantasy. Just like people make wrong assumptions about what consists of anime, many also assume all anime fans are “otaku,” even if they don’t know the word.
However, not all anime fans are “otaku,” and while the fans of anime vary on many differing scales, there are generally two categories American anime fans can be classified under. On one side there are those who understand anime as anime—a form of animation originating in Japan—and are aware of what is lost in bringing it to America. This type of fans realizes that the American Dream has become twisted by the American capitalistic society fixed on producing in order to earn and expand. Seeing America as failing in properly accepting anime, these fans become more interested in Japanese culture by learning their language, participating in extra anime events such as cons and cosplaying, subtitling anime by themselves or other fans, visiting their country, or planning to one day live in JapanIn contrast to “otaku” are fans who see anime as just animation—like Spongebob—and confuse anime with cartoons.
Pokemon is an excellent example of this confusion. The series became hugely popular in American in 2000. A show quickly emerged, and millions of kids (teens, and yes, even adults) sat around on Saturday morning watching Ash and Pickachu adventuring. In fact, Pokemon has become one of the shows associated with the word “anime” for many people. The genre led to one of “the most successful computer game[s] ever made, the top globally selling trading-card game of all time, one of the most successful children’s television programs ever broadcast, the top-grossing movie ever released in Japan, and among the five top earners in the history of films worldwide.” The expanding Pokemon franchise, scholars observe, created a connection between American children who loved to consume Pokemon and “Japan as a cool nation capable of producing such wonderful characters, imaginaries, and commodities.” I, age eleven at the time, remember begging my mom to let me watch the show. She said no because the show had supposedly given some children seizures. The qualm here, according to the first type of fans, is that the Pokemon show quickly became Americanized—broadcast and popularized in order to enhance consumerism in a market saturated with Pokemon products.
This practice of “Americanizing” a product—stripping away any ties to its original culture (Japanese in this case)—is done in order to make a “foreign” product appear marketable not only for an American audience, but also for a world-wide market. A producer, marketer, and consumer of Pokemon, Anne Allison, said one reason the series was so popular was because of its multi-media adaptability. Another producer claimed the characters appeal to a variety of ages. All of the community driven Pokemon products—such as on-line competitions and card game competitions that have even aired on television—have also helped promote the series. The issue of Americanizing continues because fans of the show started to become interested in the games (the first being released in 1996 in Japan) without realizing that the games, and thus the idea of Pokemon, originated in Japan. Fans of anime have seen this as disrespectful, not just toward the creators of Pokemon, but toward anime and Japan in general.
Pokemon is just one example of how America has Americanized Japanese animation as it enters American society. This misunderstanding is not just a misunderstanding of what differentiates an anime and a cartoon, but also a misunderstanding of Japanese culture. This misunderstanding isn’t, as fans argue, an innocent misunderstanding, but an intentional pollution by the American media industry intent on promoting anime as a commodity instead of an art form. This first type of fans see that Hollywood isn’t “embracing” Japan and Asian cultures in its re-making of original Asian movies, its adaption of Asian history like in The Last Samurai, or its production of anime, but is instead exerting its power through each of these venues. The second type of fans—those who confuse anime with animation—are those being manipulated by the American media industry and thus engaging and encouraging the process of globalization by consuming and therefore raising the demand of Americanized anime.
 Koichi Iwabuchi, “Undoing Inter-national Fandom in the Age of Brand Nationalism,”
Mechademia Vol. 5 (2010): 87-96.
 Samantha Nicole Inez Chambers, “Anime: From Cult Following to Pop Culture Phenomenon,” The Elon Journal of Undergraduate Research in Communications, Vol. 3 no. 2 (Fall 2012): 94-101.
Laura Bletz Imaoka, “Consuming and Maintaining Difference: American Fans Resisting the Globalization of Japanese Popular Culture,” disClosure 19 (2010): 1-7.
 Joseph Tobin, Pikachu’s Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokemon, Duke University Press, 2004: 3.
 Koichi Iwabuchi, “’Soft’ Nationalism and Narcissm: Japanese Popular Culture Goes Global,” Asian Studies Review Vol. 26 no. 4 (Dec. 2002): 453.
 Koichi Iwabuchi, “Globalization, East Asian media cultures and their publics,” Asian Journal of Communication. Vol. 20 no. 2 (June 2010): 197-212.
 Anne Allison. “Portable Monsters and Commodity Cuteness: Pokemon as Japan’s New
Global Power.” Postcolonial Studies vol. 6 no. 3 (2003): 381-395.
 Laura Bletz Imaoka, “Consuming and Maintaining Difference: American Fans Resisting the Globalization of Japanese Popular Culture,” disClosure 19 (2010): 1-7 and Shinobu Price, “Cartoons from Another Planet: Japanese Animation as Cross-Cultural Communication,” Journal of American Comparative Cultures. MISSING INFO. 153-169.
 Laura Bletz Imaoka, “Consuming and Maintaining Difference: American Fans Resisting the Globalization of Japanese Popular Culture,” disClosure 19 (2010): 1-7.
 Koichi Iwabuchi, “Globalization, East Asian media cultures and their publics,” Asian Journal of Communication. Vol. 20 no. 2 (June 2010): 203. An anime that does more justice than Hollywood’s The Last Samurai in terms of respectfully representing Japanese culture during the Meiji Era is Rurouni Kenshin. This show stars Kenshin, a former assassin who struggles to start a new life in a conflicted nation where swords aren’t allowed in public. Set in the 1870’s, this anime shows how the Samurai class, the previous enforcer of the nobles’ rules, was eliminated after the Meiji Era. This was a time when the Japanese way of life was becoming more Westernized after America’s Commodore Matthew Perry had negotiated trading relations with Japan in 1853.
 Andrew McKevitt, “ ‘You are Not Alone!’: Anime and the Globalizating of America,” Diplomatic History 34(5) Nov. 2010: 893-921. Studying another country’s influence on American culture has many benefits, as does looking at American culture’s influence on other countries. While pop culture is rarely seen as a form of governmental power, scholars are bringing to light its influential power. Called “soft-power,” pop culture’s influence on others’ cultures through art rather than military or economic power teaches and influences other countries’ cultures. Koichi Iwabuchi, “’Soft’ Nationalism and Narcissm: Japanese Popular Culture Goes Global, ”Asian Studies Review Vol. 26 no. 4 (Dec. 2002): 447-469. Japan’s “soft-power” has even extended into the Foreign Ministry with three officials appointed called “Cute Ambassador” in 2009 (Prough). In a country that has been notorious for its economic power through technology and car sales, Japan’s anime and manga sales have become their new economic power (Anne Allison. “Portable Monsters and Commodity Cuteness: Pokemon as Japan’s New Global Power.” Postcolonial Studies vol. 6 no. 3 (2003): 381-395). Shamon’s “Teaching Japanese Popular Culture” is an excellent resource for anyone interested in an experienced view on teaching popular culture, specifically Japanese popular culture in a higher education setting. Librarian Troost’s “Surfing the Internet for Japanese Popular Culture” offers a collective list of helpful websites for Japanese Pop Culture studies. Librarians’ expertiste and promotion of anime and manga seems to be growing. In Arizona, Kristin Fletcher-Spear and Merideth Jenson-Benjamin changed their summer reading program to accommodate a growing interest in manga and anime. See “Get Animated @ you library” YALS (Summer 2005): 32-34. Some publishing companies, such as Toykopop and Del Ray Manga have websites with helpful information for librarians because they understand the importance of manga in promoting reading among children who would otherwise not enjoy reading (Prough).