I figured it was time to write something that’s not a review or strictly series-related. This post has been nagging at me for over a month now but I’ve only managed to get around to it recently. Before we start, let me warn you that this very easily strays into rant territory. I am very interested in discussion about these points but do keep in mind that these are opinions I developed as a result of my own experiences.
We all have features we dislike in anime, most of which are things that are commonly found in all kinds if shows. And odds are that the thing we passionately hate will be passionately loved by some other fan(s) somewhere. That’s natural. I too have my issues with widespread anime clichés but that is not what we’re gonna talk about here.
Today, the topic is not my issues with anime but rather the anime fan community.
I started reading anime blogs months before I started my own and running an aniblog has pushed me to read even more posts by others. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – the aniblogging community is amazing beyond words. I’ve befriended so many talented, passionate bloggers who’re open to debate and discussion, people who’ve broadened my horizons quite a bit. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine and I do occasionally run into things that make me see red. Since I have more self-control online than in real life, I usually opt to turn away from these things rather than start a pointless argument.
It’s for the same reason that I try to stay away from forums, youtube and the like. There always seem to be a degree of moderation among the bloggers but the throwaway comments in MyAnimeList or Reddit have no such thing and let’s just say that it’s better for my blood pressure if I keep away from them.
I have noticed a pattern in what sets me off and have collected three of the worst offenders here. Read onwards to find out what they are.
Bashing Shows or Characters
I imagine that a lot of people share my opinion of blind bashing of shows or characters. It’s not about hating something or expressing that hatred. Anyone who’s read my Diabolik Lovers reviews know that I am most definitely not above showing my feelings for something I hate in very unpleasant language. But if you come and tell me that you love Diabolik Lovers over all other anime, I’m not going to blow up at you. Yes, I will be monumentally confused but I’m not going to judge you for it. Gods know my taste can be extremely questionable at times (the things my browser history has seen…). The kind of thing I’m referring to here is when a person or group just tears down a show or character or narrative element while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge that someone else may find something good in it. This also often involves turning a blind eye to the aspects of the subject that are actually good or at least decent.
I’m happy to say that this is not something I’ve seen much among bloggers. Sure, there are plenty of posts that harshly criticize shows – I’ve written them myself – but in general, posts like that tend to be well-reasoned and balanced. Even rants open up the possibility of polite discussion rather than screaming matches. Anime discussion forums or even YouTube comment sections are a whole other story and I’ve seen some real creative insults there, not just towards the subject of discussion but also the people involved.
Invalidating Others’ Opinions
This is a close cousin of the first one. Taste is a big factor when it comes to entertainment. You can laud a show as ‘objectively good’ as much as you want but I’d bet an arm that there’s a group out there who vehemently hates it for any number of reasons. This is really a good thing since a conversation between two or more people with wildly different opinions on the same show can be enlightening for all parties involved as well as the silent lurker (yeah, I’ve been the silent lurker a lot). Of course this requires the discussion to be polite and not a ragefest where people flex their intellectual muscles in desperate attempts to cow the other party into submission.
I’ve seen posts and comments that mark an anime as the best thing ever, the worst thing ever, a waste of time, a must-watch or assign any other number of extreme labels. That’s all fine and well…except when these labels are accompanied by the subtle or overt implication that anyone who disagrees is a total plebe with not enough brain cells to rub together. That pisses me off and with good reason. Taste is subjective goddammit. If I want to call tentacle porn as the best thing to come out of Japan, then I bloody well have the freedom to do so no matter what some self-proclaimed anime expert thinks.
For the record, no I don’t think that but I do admit that it’s a fascinating concept.
I don’t think many of you will share this issue with me but out of all these three, this is the one that I feel most deeply about. You see, I loathe heteronormativity with a passion. It’s the twenty-first century and yet people still stick to that damn thing like starved leeches. In case you’re wondering, heteronormativity is the viewpoint that heterosexuality is a given rather than one of many possibilities. It’s also a stickler for gender roles and gender identity. Naturally, it pisses me off big time.
So when I see comments that call an anime with a bunch of naked girls in it ‘fanservice for guys’ and one with a bunch of touchy-feely pretty boys ‘fanservice for women’ or worse ‘fujoshi-bait’, I pretty much lose my shit.
Quietly and for a few moments. Unless you say it to my (digital) face in which case all bets are off.
This right here is the most prevalent form of heteronormativity in the anime community and my dear sweet friends, it needs to stop. The casual assumption that only men get something out of watching hot girls be hot and that only women appreciate handsome guys lacking shirts is ridiculous. This is the twenty-first century so act like it. I recently saw someone call a couple of male-centric homoerotic anime “ecchi for girls” and had to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths while I despaired over humanity. I’ve long since lost count of the number of times a show rife with panty-shots and jiggly breasts have been called masturbation material for men.
What, women can’t get off over anime girls? And men can’t jerk off to anime guys?
You can see how ridiculous that sounds, can’t you?
So please, stop.
Yeah, that got real ranty by the end. Then again, my first general post was like that too.
This isn’t the most positive post out there but all the same, I hope you enjoyed reading this. Now what about you? How do you feel about the three things I mentioned above? And what are your own pet peeves with the anime community?