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Anime Fans on TikTok!

For this assessment, I explored how anime fans socially interact and connect with each other on TikTok. I investigated these social transactions and noted what common trends were involved within this online community. Another aim for the project was to see whether TikTok was an appropriate and efficient platform for anime fans to use to connect and share anime themed content.

Context to my digital artefact

TikTok is a social media platform that has built popularity within the past few years and is owned by the Chinese company called ‘ByteDance’. “TikTok is not the first Chinese social media platform to go international, although it is likely the first to gain traction with non-Chinese users globally” (Chen 2019). Anime was also able to build popularity in the past few years especially through the rise of the digital age, which has brought streaming platforms like ‘Crunchyroll’ forward for local and international fans to enjoy anime content (AGMacdonald 2017). These two forms of Asian entertainment have combined, and have allowed anime fans to share fan theories, cosplay, fan art and more, whilst interacting with other fans. I explored this online community on TikTok and discovered that like other social media platforms, TikTok provides interactive features such as the like button, comment sections and the ability to follow different creators. TikTok also includes other unique creative features/tools such as the duet tool and the ability to share self-made audio/music. This is all explored further within my YouTube video/digital artefact.

Specific themes/areas within the anime community on TikTok

To gather primary research, I filtered content on TikTok by using the hashtag ‘#anime’, which gave myself access to a wide stream of anime themed videos. I was not initially aware of how popular certain sub-communities were on TikTok, such as cosplay content, compilation videos, and fan made animations. These three specific sub-communities became the forefront of my digital artefact and research.

The importance of exploring and supporting this topic

Social media has become a source of marketing and has assisted small businesses and niche markets to grow in popularity. TikTok, is considered one of these powerful marketing tools as it has boosted niche markets through several different trends. Although anime is building in popularity internationally, it is still considered niche when compared to western animation. It is important that platforms like TikTok continue to showcase anime towards international audiences to assist its growing popularity and therefore financially supporting anime production companies. This financial support is especially important considering the current pandemic crisis and its effect of the economy. To have anime fans grow and boost different anime series and movies online will financially support anime production companies beyond the pandemic. It is therefore important to study fan interaction on TikTok, to see whether the content posted by fans is effectively supporting anime, and to see if it is simultaneously being a positive space for the fans to connect.

(Funimation 2021)

How this topic relates to this subject of Digital Asia

This subject’s study of Athique’s text and its reflection on social transactions explains that “Free mobile platforms, such as Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp have transformed interpersonal communication and the public sphere in most of Asia” (Athique & Baulch 2019, p. 13). I believe this statement can also be applied to TikTok through its ability to transfer interpersonal communication through its unique interactive features, encouraging social transactions between users. Within my digital artefact I explored what these interpersonal communications look like between anime fans on TikTok, considering that TikTok mostly communicates via video content.

When exploring animation trends from Asia in this subject, I came across Kemp’s (2021) study and his exploration of Asia’s digital practices. Kemp (2021) expresses that despite high levels of digital adoption, recent data has shown that people in Japan spend considerably less time using connected devices to the rest of the world. This raises concern for the anime economy and risks potential low local viewership. It is because of this concern that exploring international fanbases is important, for international fans may become one of the main sources of income for anime production companies in Japan. Through my digital artefact, I was able to explore whether TikTok is a successful tool to assist the continuing growth of the international anime fanbase.

Critical reflection on my research

Throughout collecting primary research, I not only was able to explore the three most popular sub-communities I mentioned earlier, but I was also able to see more creative themes that also shared anime content such as fan art, comedic videos about anime, videos about anime merchandise and videos exploring fan theories. If I were to make a larger digital artefact, I would look further into the anime community by investigating more than one hashtag. As mentioned earlier, I only searched through one hashtag, ‘#anime’, to filter content for my research. There are more hashtags that were used within the anime community, including:

  • #relatableanime
  • #animetiktok
  • #animeboy
  • #animefan
  • #animeedit
  • #animecosplay
  • #poccosplayer (which refers to people of colour cosplay)
  • #weeb
  • #manga
  • #animegirl
  • #animememes
  • #animetransitions
  • #animechallenge
  • #animethings

This list of hashtags demonstrates that the anime fan community on TikTok is larger and more complex than what I have been able show in my digital artefact.

(Animart 2021)

Other texts that influenced my digital artefact

This blog post by Haddcik (2020) similarly explored TikTok’s dynamics and how it has benefitted anime fandoms. It introduced me to the complexities of cosplay on TikTok and how there are representations of anime TikTok trends shared through compilation videos on YouTube. Once I discovered this side of YouTube, I realised it is a fitting way to display several TikTok videos, which led to my decision of using YouTube to my advantage for this project and created my own video.

Concluding thoughts

Through this project I was able to dive into the anime fandom through TikTok and saw many different fans dress like their favourite characters, creative fans that edit themselves to look like they are a part of an anime franchise, talented artists, super fans with lots of merchandise and much more. I saw these fans effectively interact with one another using the like, comment, follow, duet and audio features on TikTok to create many different anime trends.  It was through this lively representation of anime fandom that I was able to see anime’s international success and therefore I believe it will only continue to grow in success with TikTok’s aid. 


Reference list for this post

AGMacdonald 2017, ‘Why Western Culture is Beginning to Embrace Anime’, The Artifice, weblog post, 7 August, viewed 27 August 2021, < https://the-artifice.com/western-culture-embrace-anime/>.

Animart 2021, Naruto Shippuden GIF, image, GIPHY, viewed 31 October 2021, <https://giphy.com/gifs/naruto-shippuden-2y98KScHKeaQM&gt;.

Athique, A & Baulch, E (eds) 2019, Digital Transactions of Asia, Routledge, New York.

Chen, X 2019, ‘TikTok is popular, but Chinese apps still have a lot to learn about global markets’, The Conversation, weblog post, 2 April, viewed 25 October 2021, <https://theconversation.com/tiktok-is-popular-but-chinese-apps-still-have-a-lot-to-learn-about-global-markets-113039&gt;.

Funimation 2021, Kimetsu No Yaiba Eating GIF, image, GIPHY, viewed 30 October 2021, <https://giphy.com/gifs/funimation-2ya7xLyEeynlZM4FCw&gt;.

Haddick, A 2020, ‘How TikTok Is Changing Anime Fandom (and Boosting the Popularity of Older Series)’, OTAQUEST, weblog post, 22 December, viewed 25 October 2021, <https://www.otaquest.com/anime-tiktok/&gt;.

Kemp, S 2021, Digital 2021 Japan – Headlines & Highlights, online video, 8 April, KEPIOS, viewed 24 October 2021, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPqrC3_cukw&t=376s&ab_channel=SimonKemp>.


Reference list for my YouTube video:

Anime_officer 2021, Got a community guidelines violation for this….. don’t let it flop, online video, 10 October, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@anime_officer/video/7017274576287632645?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Asumi_cos 2021, Our Genshin group! Everyone looks amazing and the location was beautiful., online video, 9 October, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@asumi_cos/video/7017046468485713153?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Axion_digital 2021, Who’s House Is It Anyways? Pt.3, online video, 13 August, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@axion_digital/video/6995620841232944389?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Batyr.white 2021, Grid TikTok of anime boys voice, online video, 5 March, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@batyr.white/video/6936058243131149569?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Bolton, C, Csicsery-Ronay, I, Saitō, T & Tatsumi, T (eds) 2007, Otaku sexuality – In Robot ghosts and wired dreams, University of Minnesota Press, US.

Boykins_cosplay 2020, FOOL YA FOOL!, online video, 20 September, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@boykins_cosplay/video/6874244626291739909?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Crushhouse_ 2021, mad, online video, 15 February, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@crushhouse_/video/6929108783633321218?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Elizmil.art 2021, Tutorial anime face, online video, 17 August, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@elizmil.art/video/6997033720716823810?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Enjoyedanime 2021, Stay with me, online video, 6 February, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@enjoyedanime/video/6925839627861363970?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Euphain 2020, Romantic anime scene, online video, 22 December, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@euphain/video/6908833518353173762?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Hkjc8888 2021, Anime cat, online video, 14 July, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@hkjc8888/video/6984773138043129093?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Ikidnappeddhay 2021, Cus u like u a lot, online video, 27 February, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@ikidnappeddhay/video/6933797298925276422?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Itskingchris 2021, Kakashi vs Pain, online video, 11 August, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@itskingchris/video/6994968586007727365?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Jalexrosa 2021, 2 weeks for this! Watch till the end, online video, 8 February, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@jalexrosa/video/6926687475234573574?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Jihyorge 2020, duet with brr_m am I late to this trend … anyways, online video, 2 December, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@jihyorge/video/6901438382694501637?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Joe__anime 2021, Anime edit, online video,9 August, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@joe__anime/video/6993883050396355845?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&t=1635654551906&lang=en&gt;.

Jomariexann 2021, almost two months later lolll vc:, online video, 10 June, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@jomariexann/video/6971870370504690949?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Jzj_weeaboo 2020, Just a regular day, online video, 5 July, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@jzj_weeaboo/video/6845787264165973253?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Kingsapphire 2021, this was fun, which ones your fave?, online video, 27 March, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@kingsapphire/video/6944088587705126145?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Kraft.work 2021, Sorry I didn’t have time to finish my sentence at the end so u have to pause, online video, 31 August, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@kraft.work/video/7002333216040291590?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Meikasama 2019, Demon slayer cosplay, online video, 23 October, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@meikasama/video/6750729903840185605?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Mionosekai 2021, Woman version, online video, 20 August, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@mionosekai/video/6998434416645131521?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Mks.backup 2021, IM IN LOVE, online video, 10 September, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@mks.backup/video/7006237706900589829?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=mks.backup&t=1635654551906&gt;.

Mks.vision 2021, Guess the characters, online video, 10 August, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@mks.vision/video/6994491654304435461?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Mks.vision 2021, My favourite is Itachi and yours?, online video, 24 October, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@mks.vision/video/7022307920318565637?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Ncsz.one 2021, Naruto, online video, 11 August, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@ncsz.one/video/6994887394323401990?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Nelyrall 2021, 2m soon, online video, 9 October, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@nelyrall/video/7016687641072536834?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&t=1635654551906&lang=en&gt;.

Nintendo.girl 2020, MADE MY DREAM COME TRUE. i feel like crying THANK YOU, online video, 18 July, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@nintendo.grl/video/6850523394039926022?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Nontynine09 2021, Wallpaper, online video, 15 March, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@nontynine09/video/6939824768162057473?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Noona.uwu_ 2020, since y’all liked the first one, online video, 10 February, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@noona.uwu_/video/6791653105638313221?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Sachi_hime96 2021, Had to try this with the Orochimaru look! Rate?, online video, 6 August, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@sachi_hime96/video/6993012051157208322?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Sachi_hime96 2021, Throw back to when I did this, yall remember? Do more?, online video, 30 September, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@sachi_hime96/video/7013436757844839682?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Saraecheagaray 2021, late. to. the. trend., online video, 20 February, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@saraecheagaray/video/6931202334689168646?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Shortiezaz 2021, idk if the world shall know pain but my eyes do, online video, 15 September, TikTok viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@shortiezaz/video/7007959051568991494?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Snauzk 2021, Anime edit, online video, 31 August, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@snauzk/video/7002355318390934790?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&t=1635654551906&lang=en&gt;.

Sskgael 2021, Anime girls, online video, 8 August, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@sskgael/video/6994110171958103302?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Tritanttv 2019, IN THE AKATSUKI FIT, online video, 19 November, TikTok, viewed 16 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@tritanttv/video/6896606602158247173?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=en&gt;.

Uzumakii.edits 2021, senpai~|, online video, 6 September, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@uzumakii.edits/video/7004572551317818630?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&q=uzumakii.edits&t=1635653257673&gt;.

Yaboy.p 2020, FLASH WARNING, this trend if cool af, online video, 28 December, TikTok, viewed 18 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@yaboy.p/video/6911027243837934849?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

Zenxkage 2021, Anime edit, online video, 2 March, TikTok, viewed 17 October 2021, <https://www.tiktok.com/@zenxkage/video/6934761938039753986?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&gt;.

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Published by kirstyrosey

University student - Graphic design

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