It’s been just over 1 year since the release of Kantai Collection, or Kancolle, a browser game centered on moe anthropomorphisms of historical World War II ships. For those who still aren’t aware, it’s a simple game based largely on rng and micromanagement, leveling cute ship girls as you progress through maps. At the time of release, this game planned for a small player base – no more than few ten thousand. It was just meant to be an addition to the website’s other games. However, it didn’t take long for the servers to over-flood with new players, quickly surpassing its expected maximum and beyond. Registration had to be controlled through lottery admissions as new servers were opened one at a time (in fact, after some 9 months, new players still must pass through a lottery to play). Fan art exploded, official merchandise began to be created; manga and anime were started. It invaded everything: events, crossovers, collaborations, and more, and is often compared to Touhou, a fanbase which took years to establish. In this short year, KanColle has proven to be the most explosive fandom in otaku culture history.
But the question is whether all this popularity is just a remarkably popular fad or actually the birth of a new fanbase here to stay. No one can really say either way, and the game developers are surely going to be playing a large role in that as one big mistake can ruin everything. Personally, I don’t see it ending for awhile, but I also don’t think it will have the longevity that Touhou has proven itself to have. As one of the many people trapped in its addictive gameplay, I must say one of its best features is the ability to play with constant breaks. Between waiting for your resources to naturally regenerate, ships being repaired from damage, or ships recovering from being “tired,” it makes breaks almost a requirement. Granted, if you are really hardcore, there are ways to get around it to still play 24/7, but you can still make significant progress without investing constant attention.
On a less technical side, its vast popularity no doubt truly stems from all the different ship girls. With over 100 girls, the art, personalities, and voices have enough variety that at least one will probably appeal to you. And with the marriage system in place, you can be sure all otaku are quite glad to marry their favorite girl(s) (yes, harem is possible too). Coupled with the fact the game is free for the most part, it is only going to get more popular for the time being. Regardless, in the end, it is a trend, and no matter how long or short it takes to die off, it will eventually lose popularity.
The idea of fads applies to religion, too. Of the many things said against Christianity, one of them is that Christianity was just a trend. It was a new, interesting concept “back then” (which often refers to different time periods) but now we know how silly religion is, and it’s no longer needed. Say what you want about the religion, but at the very least, this argument makes no sense to me. Christianity was hardly just a trend in its infant years. It was something people dedicated their lives to rather than something to follow out of mere curiosity. When Jesus called his disciples to follow Him, it was a life changing decision for these people to literally drop everything else in their life and follow Him. When people said “Jesus is Lord,” that was not simply an acknowledgement of their new religion and beliefs. It was a direct antagonist of the saying “Caesar is Lord.” People could and would be punished for it. It is viewed as silly and foolish to die for one’s religion, but it would be equally silly to also say the people of this time period were following Christianity and giving up their lives due to a simple trend. If anything, the time Christianity is most like a trend is right now.
Nowadays, the biggest complaint about Christianity is all the hate we spread. And honestly, that is a really valid complaint. I’ve personally witnessed so-called Christians spew hate towards others and even towards other Christians all while simultaneously noting they are morally in the right with God. All I know how to do is scratch my head in great confusion at how this happens. But perhaps it is because Christianity has been diluted from a lifestyle to a trend. Such people are not living for God; they are only following some rules they heard from the previous generation without much thought. They do it because they grew up with others doing it.
When something is a trend, people will mimic what others are doing. It is something to do in order to join what others around you are doing. There is no self-discovery of God’s love, only following a list of rules without true understanding. These people misrepresent Christianity so much because they treat the religion like a trend rather than a lifestyle. But even for those of us who don’t regularly spew hatred, how often do we treat our beliefs as something less than a lifestyle, something to do when others around are doing it? You might join the latest outreach program or ministry or Bible study, but never really make personal efforts to better serve God. Christianity should not be treated as such, especially not by Christians, because it should be something to live, and die, by.
The Kancolle anime will air this summer, and it’s going to be something aimed completely at fans. If you don’t play the game, you will either not like it or all the jokes will go over your head, and that’s completely okay. Nobody is going to miss out on some epic tale of excitement and intrigue or great story writing. It may be the largest trend at the moment, but for people who aren’t fans, there is no real reason to watch.Unfortunately, people probably view Christianity as the same – something other people are really into but is of no interest to them. That is hardly a good thing because Christianity is far from, or at least it should be far from, just a trend. It is a lifestyle and an eternal relationship with God – the one thing in this world that is not a mere trend.