Toushin Fandom February 2022 will conclude its activities this Friday, February 25. This annual series of talks for the local anime community has gathered thought leaders, as well as fans from various interests, together in one online event spanning four Fridays. (This author joined the roster of panelists to discuss the anime community nowadays during Week 2.)
On this feature, we spoke to event head Madekuji Masamune who is part of the organizing team at Toushin. What changes have they made, what goals have been achieved and what’s coming up for the independent organization inside Ateneo de Manila University this year?
Anime Corner (AC): Compared to last year’s (and previous events), how was the preparation for this year’s Fandom February?
Madekuji Masamune: So last year’s Fandom February was our first, and it was definitely… a lot more spontaneous. We had no idea how to establish this kind of event online, so everything was built from scratch. It was also our first time doing live streaming and live public online events, as before that was just internal events within our organization.
This year, while we’ve figured out how to set up the format, our main challenge this year was the amount and variety of speakers we have this year. We’ve had to play a lot with the schedule to get to something that accommodated and worked for everyone involved. Our newly established Tech Team has also been on top of setting up a proper website as well as backup streams for Fandom February, and I’m personally quite proud of that.
AC: With an improved lineup of talks from academe to VTubers, do you believe that your goal has been accomplished?
Madekuji: We’ve always made it evident that our goal for Fandom February has been to give people the space to express their love and passion for the things that they like, whether it’s hobbies, subcultures, or fandoms. The variety of people who have come on to speak at Fandom February this year surpasses our initial execution last year, and we’re more than happy to see these people teach what they know to a wider audience.
The main difference this year is that aside from our typical open call for anyone to speak at the event, we’ve also personally invited partners within the academe, as well as company partners. They’ve been very helpful and a delight to work with in making this event bigger and wider in terms of scope. VTubers making it into the event as speakers was basically expected at this point given the development of the VTuber community in 2020 and 2021, and our VTuber speakers have learned quite a lot since then.
The goal of Fandom February 2022 specifically has been accomplished, but it doesn’t really stop at that—it’s an ongoing mission for Fandom February and for us at Toushin to give people spaces to express their passion for Japanese arts and pop culture. Quite honestly, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to surpass this next year, but we’ll give it a shot!
AC (to Madekuji): What would be your best part of hosting Toushin Fandom February 2022?
Madekuji: To answer this question—Personally, I think the best part of being in university and the main inspiration behind Fandom February as well as the in-person talks we’ve held before the pandemic lockdown is the presence of the space to talk about these sorts of ideas.
Oftentimes in college, and always in high school, you’re mainly just stuck to learning about the basic things you’ll find in the curriculum and your typical boring subjects. What often gets left out are discussions on how to apply these concepts into the real world; more specifically, into the things that pique our interest. How can you apply what you’ve learned about probability and statistics into gacha game rolls? Or maybe what you’ve learned about world culture and history into today’s otaku culture? Or even what you can learn about computer-generated graphics being the foundation for today’s VTubers? Not to mention people using their hobbies and fandoms to learn new things that you typically don’t learn in school.
The best part of hosting Fandom February for me is seeing people use what they’ve learned to get a better insight and understanding into their world, and then sharing that with everyone.
AC: What should we look forward to in Toushin in 2022?
Madekuji: We have a special announcement on the final week broadcast of Fandom February on February 25. But if ever you can’t attend, let’s just say it has something to do with our mainline convention, TouCon Online. As far as we know, it’s safe to consider it as the first student-organized online anime convention in the Philippines. And we definitely wanna bring it back.
Aside from that, our university, Ateneo de Manila University, is currently undergoing the shift to return to in-person classes. Toushin may in the future reflect that ongoing shift, and we’ll be spending a lot of time internally to figure out how to use what we’ve learned online into the return to in-person events.
But don’t worry, the support we’ve gotten so far with both FanFeb and TouCon Online makes it clear to us that we have an online following; one that we’ll keep in mind moving forward. But yes, please look forward to TouCon Online 2022 coming in the next few months.
It’s not yet too late to catch up on Toushin Fandom February 2022—visit fanfeb.toushin.moe to register via Zoom, or watch on YouTube. Past broadcasts can be seen on Twitch and video-on-demand post-event.
Thank you to Madekuji Masamune for his time, and the team at Toushin for having Anime Corner as an official media partner for Fandom February 2022.
Banner Photo: Panelist Robert Wong from event organizer Cosplay.ph together with hosts Yuu and Mii Nakamura. / Screenshot from Twitch