Alright, so we’ve seen some arguments about this pop back up on Twitter recently.
Disclaimer: you can buy merch for all types of things on our website. And we’d love it if you did. But let’s deal with the question first…
The short answer: nope
Your fandom isn’t measured in one single way. It’s not 100% about how many official goods you own, or whether you go to all the live events, or how well you’d do on a trivia quiz. It’s a combo of all those things.
Owning a bunch of merch is nice, sure – it feels good to have actual stuff in front of you. That collection’s one part of your total activity as a fan. What’s the point of making an ita bag if you don’t show it off somewhere?
But, as The Beatles knew all too well, money can’t buy love.
Not every fan can pay up every time a new item arrives in stores. Fandoms are important, but it might not be your number one priority. You’ve got to eat, and pay bills, and live. But you have love, as a fan, and that counts for something.
Let’s say you’ve been a fan for 5 years but you don’t own anything. Sure, it’s gonna get you down that you still couldn’t buy those official goods. But you’ve been a fan for 5 years. That’s impressive, you know?
There are other ways to show your support, ways that matter. Streaming/view counts matter. Hype on social media matters. Voting for awards matters. Those all show the creators that their work is loved and appreciated. And you bet that matters to them.
Being part of the fan community makes you a fan. That alone is your validation. If you’re able to spend on that fandom, that’s a plus. Having less (or zero) disposable income doesn’t mean you’re a ‘bad’ fan.
The long answer: it’s complicated
On the other hand… Companies and brands can’t survive without money. Sad but true.
For your favourite anime or manga to keep running, someone’s gotta be funding it. Spending is the direct way to show your support. And that’s where the so-called ‘fan hierarchy’ comes in.
Fans who cough up for the goods are keeping their fandom alive in the business sense. So it’s natural they’d feel like they’re helping more.
Bragging’s not cool, though. Show off your merch haul and be proud of it, yeah, but try not to rub it in other fans’ faces. Being able to afford stuff makes you lucky.
Even though financial support’s ‘a good thing’, again it’s not all about the merch. If you have cash to spend on your fandom, it doesn’t need to be on goods. You’ve got choices when you want put your money to good use: crowdfunding upcoming projects, subscribing to a related service, buying the app, getting event tickets.
The alternative answer: a proxy shopping service?
Hey, you knew this bit was coming.
Buying official merch for your fandom can be difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. If it was simpler, then duh, of course getting hold of the goods wouldn’t such a pain in the butt. Isn’t the simple option what everyone wants?
Here at DEJAPAN, our aim is to make it easier for you to order stuff from Japan. We want it to be more affordable for you: that’s why we don’t charge a service fee or commission on purchases.
Feed your fandom (whenever you can). Check the latest merch and prices on Rakuten, Amazon, and Yahoo! Shopping, all in one place.