I felt like writing something short and lighthearted, so here it is.
A few years ago, I was having a conversation with a co-worker, and we touched upon Harry Potter. I remember her telling me that I wasn’t a “real fan” because I didn’t finish reading the Harry Potter series but jumped to the movies instead.
A few weeks ago, I read two news articles talking about superfans and their willingness to splurge on pricy Merch. I began to wonder what makes a fan a fan.
It’s not a thought-provoking question, that’s for sure. But why do people tend to splurge in the first place? One of the articles interviewed a BTS superfan who spent 4,000 USD on Merch. Her previous purchases would go up to at least 6,000 USD. It’s crazy.
While everyone has their reasons for buying Merch, I think the obvious one is that it’s a clear sign of support for the artist. If you support the artist, does that make you a fan? Probably.
Merch is also tangible things. It’s more believable to say you’re a fan when you have something to show rather than empty words.
I think Merch are also collectibles. When treated as such, the more you buy, it becomes a collection that’s like a library or physical display of affection to an extent.
Merch is one thing. So, let’s go back to the books and movies argument. Back in the day, there were things like inside jokes going around in fandoms for people who read the books “making fun” of people who didn’t read the books. But they enjoyed the movies nonetheless.
I don’t have much to say that, except movies are a great way to encourage people to read books rather than the other way around.
I think the same could be said for anime and manga.
I read a manga because I watched the anime first. Sometimes anime endings leave you wanting more, or they leave it at a place where there’s room for so much more. That’s when I turn to the manga, usually.
Of course, some people are encouraged to watch the movie because they’re already fans of the book. However, most are usually not satisfied with the movie.
Anyway, I think the bottom line is that everyone has different ways of showing support. Ride that wave of enjoyment as long as you like.