Hi, this might be the first post you read here or this could also be one of the many you have already read. I can tell you one thing for sure, if you love anime you might get what I’m trying to get across..
You might not know me, but if you’ve enjoyed anime throughout your life I hope we can talk about this topic together..
How old were you when you watched your first anime? It might’ve been a staple in your young childhood or it’s “only” been in your life for a couple of months, it doesn’t matter.
The stories that you saw unfold in front of your eyes have hopefully caught you from the very beginning.
From the typical starter bunch of Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball Z or Sailormoon.
Countless fans have been entranced by the magic and the action, the thrill or the drama of anime.
I mean technically, anime is just japanese cartoon, but hasn’t it become so much more?
I will never forget the excitement when I ran home from school to watch the last ten minutes of Dragonball, because the scheduling of anime was so bad at that time.
Anime wasn’t like playing soccer or talking about make-up.
Why read about celebrity scandals if you instead refresh the page again and again to watch the newest released episode of Attack on Titan?
Did you also count your money to get a new manga instead of going to the movies? Checking out how you could “make your own merch” because the official import stuff was too expensive?
Did you also feel side eyed from others for loving anime?
Because I feel like a lot of people did.
Even now in a more open minded world through the internet, I can read ridicule and hate everywhere.
“Weird chinese cartoons”, I mean first of all, that’s racist.
Second of all, why weird?
I never liked the word if it was applied to a person or a hobby.
Why would someone call something weird if it was normal for someone else?
Yes there definitely is some weird anime out there, no denying the facts, but most anime is just culturally different. I can understand where the stigma might come from, but that is also the part where we can prove others wrong and show them other really good series.
A lot of people peacefully relished in the stories and narratives anime would give.
Why make something inherently bad from the get go?
Frustration can be bottled up and ignored, but it will always stay in the back of one’s head. Still, not every person that isn’t interested in anime is to be put in a box. If we generalize every person outside our community just like others might have generalized us, there will be no difference in our behaviour.
Of course, not everyone feels this way. There is always a spektrum when we talk about things like this. This post is mostly talking about the people on the very end of each side. On one hand we have the non-anime watchers and on the other are the more obsessive gatekeepers. Most people reside in the healthy balance, casually watching anime and reading manga while going about their business. The reason I mention the extremes in this post is because I wanted to build a foundation for the next point I want to mention.
While trolling around on the internet, reading stuff that’s posted in fandoms or discussions about shonen anime abilities, I’ve actually come across a lot of toxicity.
Frankly speaking, toxic people are everywhere.
I know this isn’t a new venture, they have always been everywhere all the time.
Still, through the internet and especially because of the shield of anonymity negativity may just be easier to see.
People can change their minds.
Maybe a person that never wanted to have anything to do with anime found a particular series and was pulled in.
Some other person that was even against anime in general, maybe even taunted it before might have developed a new mindset towards it.
Now this is where the seasoned fans should come in, welcome them to the community and start out with first recommendations.
Sadly what I have seen even more and more is anger and bitterness towards newbies or casual watchers.
“But have you watched xy?”, “you’re not a real fan if you haven’t watched xy”, “Oh you like xy? That’s so typical”.
Why is it so important what shows they watch?
And why should there be a list of mandatory titles to see?
This is why I mentioned the frustration in the beginning.
I’m not in any way saying that everyone in the anime community feels this way.
However, if a die-hard anime fan is mad at a bunch of newbies for only watching let’s say Sword Art Online, I personally believe it’s because of that exact pent up frustration.
Being mad because the “mainstream” never gave anime a chance when that particular fan was young, but now suddenly everyone wants in on the fun.
The anime community is amazing.
People of all kinds of interests and all kinds of backgrounds come together in one big bunch and talk about something they’re passionate about.
If someone asks me if I like anime and I say yes, I’ve already made a friend.
(That’s how I met Makii and we’re still rollin’ so~)
It would be great if this community, our community would stay that inclusive.
Why fight over sub and dub watchers?
Sure you can have a preference, but shaming others and especially beginners because they
aren’t used to subtitles isn’t very nice.
There is no need to gatekeep anime, and there is no need to “protect” our community from new people.
We have fought through the troubles of being the outcasts, and now that we have the numbers of a big community we cast others out!
Like I mentioned before, I can understand the frustration.
I can understand the fear of the newbies surging in.
One might even be scared to let new fans in because they might change the traditions or let a new generation of anime burst in.
But see, the world is ever changing, and change can be a good thing.
Everyone can stick to their preferences and still be civil.
If we stay together, help each other up and communicate in a peaceful way, we can make this place we created even better.
The good thing with the anime community is that you’re never alone. If you want to find comfort characters that help you through some rough patches in your life or just want to enjoy your favorite shows, this community should be a place where everyone is welcome.
I hope this wasn’t too personal and still an enjoyable post for you guys! I hope to see you in the comments if you want to discuss this topic further! Stay positive and constructive~
Until the next tea spill~