Random Musing Of The Day (On K-On And Popularity)

I wonder if it’s not that K-On is extremely incomparably popular in the western hemisphere based on it’s own merits, so much as people like writing low content posts (especially of the “moe moe kyun” variety) about how popular it is at an accelerated rate and in such a manner that makes it seem like it’s the case.  There’s no easy way of denying that it’s content is a popular and controversial topic of conversation at it’s inception, but it’s starting to seem like it hit it’s peak in terms of self-generated popularity a little while before what we have gotten in the last couple of weeks and has instead been feeding into itself in terms of perception of popularity in a way that makes it seem like it’s getting moreso.  Is intense and constant mention of a single event in one episode really a sign of growing and overwhelming popularity, or just a sign that people feel the need to talk about it because it’s perceived as popular and relevant, thus creating a substantial portion of the popularity in the process?  How much does K-On owe to itself in terms of popularity, and how much does it owe to it’s fans conversational quirks?  But one of many questions to ponder.

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14 Responses to “Random Musing Of The Day (On K-On And Popularity)”


  1. 1 relentlessflame April 28, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    I think you’re just saying that K-On is only popular because people keep talking about it. But isn’t that exactly what popularity really is? It has nothing to with “merit”, and has everything to do with becoming part of the common conversation. Think of all the other things that have become popular over the years. So in other words, I think the answer to this random musing is “yes”… even though that annoys you.

  2. 2 sadakups April 28, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    1. It’s has moe written all over it.
    2. It is a show that does not require the viewer to think (and because thinking while watching anime is definitely not entertaining)
    3. It’s made by KyoAni. Enough said.

    That’s all there is to it.

  3. 3 Kaioshin Sama April 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    @relentlessflame: Not quite what I was going for no. I’m musing on where the popularity of the series ends based on it’s own efforts at generating it, and where the fan side of things takes over with regard to discussion on it BEING popular or rather seeking to point out the idea that it is. It relates not to people talking about K-On’s episodic content, but to people talking about it’s popularity. Is a show really as overwhelmingly popular in reality as it is in personal perception if people feel the need to point out the idea of popularity on frequent occassion, or does doing this create a greater perception of overwhelming popularity then what actually exists in the process that inspires future commentary on the idea of a shows popularity and possibly skips the question of what generated the current level of popularity in the first place. It’s like the chicken and the egg question in a way.

    And yes of course I realize the irony of my post becoming part of the form of discussion I am taking a look at and how much it throws a monkey wrench into the puzzle, but unfortunately it’s unavoidable. That’s why I tried to phrase this post the way I did. I don’t seek to answer anything with any of my musings even though I have my theories, but merely to pose the question and see what answer people come up with that works for them. Thank you for your answer by the way.

  4. 4 ghostlightning April 29, 2009 at 12:52 am

    There’s irony yes. Viral popularity is a term that comes to mind – we’re not exactly talking about word-of-mouth anymore, but blog posts are close substitutes of even improvements of such.

    One thing that makes a show popular is influence. And bloggers influence each other:

    Keion is popular at some level due to the reputation of its parent studio so anticipation posts, and first impression posts are made. The response to those posts are very strong, so secondary bloggers (by secondary I mean people who aren’t necessarily fans or reviewers of the show) start ‘cashing-in’ on the popularity to enjoy PVs and/or discussion. Then tertiary bloggers (people who merely enjoy/dislike the posts made about the subject) start writing reaction/commentary on the show and/or on the meta level.

    Influence, it’s strong.

  5. 5 Kaioshin Sama April 29, 2009 at 1:13 am

    @ghostlightning: I see, so if I get you then you are saying that popularity in this case is governed by a theory similar to Reaganomics, starting with Kyoani at the top and as the greatest beneficiary and trickling down to secondary and tertiary bloggers who see less return on their investment (time and effort in writing), but help carry the weight of making the series popular more than anyone.

  6. 6 TheFuzzy April 29, 2009 at 1:57 am

    I have to say, K-ON’s almost-instant rise to popularity can be a little suspicious to some of us bloggers, especially when certain points are a bit…lacking. I haven’t had time to make a post about that though.

    To answer your question, yes. Even you’ve admitted that its popularity has caused you to question bloggers blogging about its popularity.

    Also, thanks for linking me. I think. :)

  7. 7 relentlessflame April 29, 2009 at 3:35 am

    I still think that what you’re describing is the essence of a “trend” or a “fad” (when it becomes more about the popularity of the thing than about the thing itself). If you think of the blogosphere as a form of mass media, then it’s really a perfect match. It’s also a perfect match if you compare the scene to kids on a school playground (anyone remember pogs, or Pokemon, or whatever it was in your area growing up… what was cool was that other people thought it was cool, not that it was *actually* all that special). The combination of circumstances here is what conspires to short of “short-circuit” the normal popularity process and take us immediately to the meta phase. In other words, it’s the “aura of cool” — people talk about how popular it is because the basis of that popularity doesn’t need to be explained any more. “All the cool kids are doing it.”

  8. 8 Kaioshin Sama April 29, 2009 at 4:06 am

    @relentlessflame: Basically yes. To take your comparsion to the mass media, it feels similar to how the networks are handling this whole Swine Flue outbreak. To quote John Stewart’s comment on CNN’s report on some cases in Canada “Six confirmed cases and you turn 4 million square kilometres bright red?” When you think about it there’s been something like 60 or so confirmed cases in the America’s, but with the amount of coverage and stories it’s getting in the news and the idea that creates that it’s a mass epidemic, it inflates the scenario to that level artificially in the eyes of viewers. The urge to then top that stories impact catches on with other networks and before you know it the idea of a widespread epidemic takes hold in the populace. Wow though….I never realized just how much like the Mass Media the anime blogosphere can be at times.

    @TheFuzzy & sadakups: One other thing I noticed and that is kind of interesting is that the idea that K-On’s popularity was pre-determined by hype and the studio that was doing it seems to have sparked a lot of debate with many people on both sides of it all, but the idea that K-On skipped something along the way as far as it goes with proving itself to the anime community and building that popularity doesn’t seem to be getting argued much.

  9. 9 sadakups April 29, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Seriously, KS (and not to be rude or anything), why are making so much fuzz about this show while some of your readers (or maybe just me) are anticipating your final word on 00. I got reminded of it after hearing the latest Gundamn podcast (where you are credited at the end).

    As for the topic, I don’t mind the popularity K-ON is getting for whatever reasons there are. It’s the same question I had when Haruhi first aired. I just didn’t get the hype, even though I was watching it, and in the end, I really don’t give a damn.

  10. 10 deady April 29, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    lawl ..
    it;s like saying Toradora is soo uber awesomeness for this season ANIMU and i wanna talk about it in my blog A MUST

    or like the gurren laggan season D :
    where everyone is soo high in spirit talking about the awesomeness of COMBINE COMBINE COMBINE COMBINE SIMOOONNN
    + the kamina speck is a must see popualarity too
    people spamming everywhere over the net that time
    *coughcoughkaminacoughdied*

    other anime that hav the same situation as K-on
    Luckystar,clannad,bla bla bla,

    …you just being hit by the K-on impact too
    *pat pat*

    ..thanks for linking me >_>
    i guess hmmm
    im just randomly post thou
    *runs*

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  1. 1 What We Buy When We Declare a Show a Favorite: An Image to Sell or, How Anime Fans Create Themselves As Brands in a Social Market; a Theoretical Speculation by ghostlightning; Told in the First of Possibly More than One Blog-Post « We Remember Love Trackback on May 1, 2009 at 12:02 am
  2. 2 Basquash! episode 7 ~ and boy, you don’t know what you are missing out on if you aren’t watching this. « When Anime Past Meets Present Trackback on May 15, 2009 at 4:43 pm
  3. 3 Lies and Truth, Epistemology and Semiotics, to Know Mugi is to know God (Yuri-ka!), The Quixotic Quest of Language; and OH YES Eureka 7 « We Remember Love Trackback on May 20, 2009 at 12:01 am

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