Thursday, April 3, 2014

Anime Fans: A Community Working Towards Failure

Before I began to blog, I didn't really participate much in the anime community. I was a newbie at the whole "being an otaku thing," and didn't really know much. Eventually I started to wiggle my way into the different groups present on the internet and in real life. I attended conventions and had the time of my life, but I began to pick up certain things that weren't right.

At the conventions I felt and saw discrimination based on people's likes and dislikes. One even resulted into an argument. In communities, at times it feels like you're being placed on constant watch of a judicial system. Say the wrong thing, or like the wrong thing, and you're guilty.

I find this constantly on the internet as negativity and heavy criticism spread. It's gotten to the point where you can't view comments without feeling bad afterwards. The comments may not be directed at you or something you love, but negativity spreads easily. Once viewing something negative I can feel the effects instantly.

While this is present in real life, I've experienced more online. I believe due to the anonymous nature of the web, we can shed our masks and say whatever we think and feel. This however doesn't excuse nastiness and critical words tossed at others and their works. I don't know if it's always been like this, because I haven't lived for very long, but I feel that it needs to change. I can't speak heavily on other communties, but in our anime community there's a lot of negativity flowing.

I don't have the ability to point out one group and label them as the problem, as that would be unfair. I think the problem lies within all of us; we're all playing a part in the downfall of our community. We state that anime is dying, certain things are ruining the community, that the newer series are lackluster compared to the ones before. Are we really sure that we're not becoming lackluster ourselves?

From my view, anime is in no means dying or getting worse. It's just changing, like the world. I believe that our cynical views and negativity is what's causing many fans to say things as "bad." Have you ever believed in something that others have not, or maybe liked something that is considered taboo? Isn't it hard to openly express this, compared to just following what the group demands and says.

We aren't necessarily following like sheep consciously, but unconsciously. I recently took a look at an anime that was considered "bad." While the consensus was pretty clear, there were a few who actually enjoyed it, looking past the bad. These people, while their views may be wrong or not, were soon shut down by the majority group. It was almost as if I could see the negativity spread within the simple comment box, despite being an exchange on the internet.

There's a few problems we anime fans have that I think we need to fix. We tend to label people who we do not like or wish to ignore. We have the group of moe lovers who don't know what good anime is all about. Over there are the gloomy ones who can't stand happy endings. In the corner are the Narutards and Dragon Ball Z fanboys who like "mainstream anime." I see this all the time and it's not okay; you should not negatively label and look down on someone because of what they like.

Which brings me to my next point, we need to understand that everyone has an opinion that may or may not be identical to ours. There's a sort of complex on the internet with the mentality that "my opinion is fact."

These are just a few problems of the community...but if we continue to not work as one and be united due to our similar interest ,which is anime, our community will eventually fail. What is anime without a support group anyways? As long as we continue to judge and label others, disrespect opinions, and spread negativity, things won't get better. If you really want anime and the community of fans to die, then continue to do so.


  1. "From my view, anime is in no means dying or getting worse. It's just changing, like the world."
    It's the same with community. You cannot expect people to stay the same, even more because it's already second or third generation that gathers around anime fandom on the Internet. Many old blogers left, many new came.

    Overall jerksness is a sad sign of our times though. With so much competition everywhere, with so many people expressing their opinions it's hard to be heard, especially because everyone is speaking and no one listens. The next natural step after feeling hopelessly ignored or mocked is both becoming aggressive and defensive at the same time. Few years ago such aggression could have some serious consequences - people still worked on their reputation, on their nick, as there were fewer commenters and better chance to be remembered - nowadays you can drop your name and start a new one as nobody will really care. I've noticed that even when popular blogs shut down, there is less grief as there was some time ago. Even blogs come and go, there will be two new to replace one old.

    As there is more and more social media and connectivity, the strength of each bond and weight of conversations becomes gradually weaker. I'm afraid there will come time when we might dehumanize ourselves completely, treating other people as nothing more than some "thing" which only purpose is to listen what we have to say. That's why I don't accept the idea of social portals.

    Now, as for the matter of conflicts over opinions, I think this problem applies not only to anime fandom and might actually be as old as art and critical thinking itself. I have absolutely no problem with someone saying "I like moe most", "I love Naruto", etc., because it is not something anyone can argue with. That is someone's taste, opinion so it cannot be right or wrong. However, I cannot stand when someone mistakes a personal preference with generalization. You cannot say "this or that show is crap" or "Naruto is the best show in the world and anyone who disagrees knows nothing" without stating why do you think that and expecting no reaction from other people. It's the same exact form of everybody shouting things without giving them a moment of thinking. Very, very often I've seen people go defensive when someone says they are wrong or have no idea what they are talking about. Later that person loses temper, calls them stupid, everyone becomes obnoxiously stubborn and it all ends with further aggression. Above all that shitstorm though are standing watching and laughing two groups of people: those who can use proper arguments and engage in a fiery conversation without insulting others and those who don't give a crap about being labelled and continue to like what they like, state it obnoxiously like they did - be it Naruto, moe, evangelion or whatever. Everyone else just suffers mentally from being confronted with negativity. If those are teens - no problem, they have yet to learn to deal with it. It happens in real life everyday. However, when it's 30+ years old guy, then something is very wrong with this picture.



  2. This whole situation reminds me a bit of fanatism - of other people telling us what is wrong or good, what we should do, what we should think, how should we behave and ultimately that we should respect them and those demands. Funnily enough, very often it was exactly just this one sentence - "Naruto is the best anime that was ever produced and I expect you to respect my opinion". Dogmas, dogmas everywhere and if someone doesn't respect them, he automatically becomes bad guy who is to blame for world hunger.

    Hell, why? Why would anyone respect someone just because he tells him so? Respect for others can come only from within this persons moral spine, from his upbringing, good will, from having other person in high regard etc. and not from demands of other people. When others are nice, you are happy and engage in conversation. When they are not, you ignore them and don't tell them or argue with them that they should change, because they obviously will not change.

    I think you have no reason to be afraid about fandom. If anything, it's bigger than before.. although scattered all over the place at the same time. Sometimes, when a rare gem happens - like what happened with Madoka or Evangelion - there were so many meaningful conversations it'd be impossible for one person to read them all. Sometimes, nothing happens and there is nothing to talk about. When that time comes - all those who feel the need of just saying something to have any reaction from others, start either trolling, insulting, attacking or just plain provoking. I try not to waste any time on those and istead read something that either interests me or is written by someone I like reading.. and sometimes comment (harshly, I know) ;>


    1. Thank you for commenting!

      I managed to read it all, because I found it very interesting. You pretty much summed up a good amount of things I wanted to express.

      "With so much competition everywhere, with so many people expressing their opinions it's hard to be heard, especially because everyone is speaking and no one listens."

      ~ This is something that I've seen often. Even when it comes to arguments or discussions, it usually retorts to people yelling nasty things at each other without acknowledging what the other person has actually said. The lack of listening has maybe led to the nasty treatment of people. Something I found interesting when studying Japanese, is that while speaking the language an amount of patience is necessary if you want to fully comprehend what the other person is saying. Basically you need to wait and listen, before making any further accusations of statements. It's somewhat ironic because the anime community is based around the Japanese culture, yet we still partake in things like this.

      "However, I cannot stand when someone mistakes a personal preference with generalization. You cannot say "this or that show is crap" or "Naruto is the best show in the world and anyone who disagrees knows nothing" without stating why do you think that and expecting no reaction from other people."

      ~ Exactly, this combined with forcing ones opinion on another. You're absolutely right that problems like these exist outside the anime community. Even when it comes to gaming, statements such as "Anyone who owns a Wii is a casual gamer," are things I do not like. Being looked down upon and disrespected for having opinions about something should not be happening. I think you're right that the community is not really failing at all. Instead, we're disconnected and treating others with disrespect. Looking at the bigger picture, it's not just our community like you said, but maybe a global problem.

      So what's the solution to this? If everyone would respect each other and their opinions, avoid making negative statements, and listen, then things could get better. However, with the way the internet is, that seems somewhat unlikely. I assume it would be more appropriate to say that while the community is changing, it's not moving in a positive direction in terms of things like this.

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