The Online Anime Subculture

As anime has expanded beyond Japan overseas for more potential fans to see, so have the online fan bases and subcultures. It has grown due to the internet and countless websites that help old and new fans come together and discuss their favorite anime or manga. One thing is clear — as the internet evolves, so do the fan bases and their own subcultures.

With the early age of the internet, there were few websites that held forums for TV shows, video games, and movie fans. As people began to invest their time more on the internet and its few services, they began to create fan pages and websites solely based on what they liked. One massive example would be the video game Earthbound and their website in 1999. Starting out as a simple webpage for fans to talk with one another has grown over the years as more people joined and the website began getting more complex. Today in 2024, the website is crammed full of options for people to look through and covers everything about this community. This gave way for other media to grow.

Besides game forums, anime forums have essentially grown in the early 2000’s thanks to showings of anime on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Fans of various shows wanted to show how much they loved the shows or even give their opinions about them.

One website that has helped fans is MyAnimeList. Starting in 2004, it is a website for fans to list shows they have watched or will watch. People can even rate the shows from 1 to 10 and write an extensive post about their opinions. As more famous anime began airing in the 2000s like “Death Note,” “Naruto” and “Dragon Ball,” more began flocking to the site and rating and talking about the shows in discussions.


Soon, video websites like YouTube allowed fans to express their love of their shows. These various fandoms ended up becoming communities of their own as fans showed their appreciation in different ways, like art, music, cosplaying and video remixes.

Today, various fandoms have their set of rules and ways of showing appreciation to the creators of their shows. Schools and campuses have even allowed clubs to form for students to get along with each other. Here at CUNY SPS, we have a community of our own.

In February of this year, I formed the Anime Club at CUNY SPS. It offers students a group chat where they can talk to one another about their favorite shows in a safe space free from any type of ridicule. Students can even offer to tell others about underrated shows, anime-related games, share music, show off their anime memorabilia, and vote for any event that will happen.

“I think that this club is an important part of the anime subculture because it provides a safe space for us anime enthusiasts,” said CUNY SPS student Alex, a member of the Anime Club. “I for one was very excited to find out about the formation of this club, especially because I thought I was the only anime lover. Although this is an online club, it does not really feel that way because we all get along so well and share a love for anime.”

Coming soon is an in-person event for the film Summer Wars. Club members all vote on the club’s community Discord chat group where all students are welcome to join. This is another example of the online anime subculture growing as more fans want to show their love of anime. Students have different types of likes in their lives, and anime could be one of them.

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