I’m one of those people who had been watching anime for a long time without knowing it was anime. By the time I realized the existence of anime as a concept, I had in fact already watched quite a few series. Even then, I was, and stayed, a noob for a long time.

Having little contact with the community I didn’t pick up on vocabulary, social trends or pronunciation until fairly recently, and even now, I need to have basic concept explained to me all the time.

I am regularly told I’m a “fake” fan or that I don’t “really” watch anime. But enough about my mother….

Here are 5 random times (among the millions) where I was completely wrong about anime!

isn’t little Shoujo adorable?

5 – I use to think that Shoujo was a character name

I have always had a marked preference for subtitles whenever available. I think I have old school dub PTSD. Man dubs use to be terrible! However, fansubs where often incomprehensible and not always available. So despite this, I have watched a large number of shows dubbed. Japanese terms and expression have only recently been introduced in dubbed versions so when I was young, I would only come across the word Shoujo rarely, in titles.

And since those titles where usually superimposed over an image of the main character, I was convinced that it simply happened to be a popular Japanese girl’s name. Even once I started to realize it didn’t refer to a specific character, I still thought it was an Archetype (like a Mary Sue). It was only when I specifically sought out the meaning of Maho Shoujo that I realized how brilliant I must have sounded exclaiming how pretty Shoujo’s dress was….

anime free wallpaper
what kind of girl would be interested in this?

4- I use to think sports anime were clearly aimed at boys

My gateway anime if you will, the show that cemented the medium as one of my entertainments of choice, was Hajime no Ippo. I still love that show very much and it has helped fuel my passion for sports anime in general. For a very long time, I thought I would be one of the few girls that showed any interest in sports. After all, I had always seen it as something with a generally more male audience.

Imagine my shock when I found out that not only was there a sturdy female following of sports anime but a lot of the male fans I knew, tended to disregard the genre entirely. I was baffled. I didn’t make the connection that the boys were not that interested in primarily male casts since the boys who watched sports in real life, tended to watch the men’s leagues rather than the women’s. Yeah, not the same audience…I know now… I’m slow.

not counting the movies

3- I thought anime series generally ran for 100 episodes or more

Back when my understanding of anime was fairly limited, I basically thought it was shonen. You know, anime was DBZ, Naruto, One Piece. And I had subconsciously assumed that all anime series just sort of went on forever. In fact, this was so ingrained that even when I did realized I was watching an anime that seemed to have 20 or so episode, I just assumed the rest hadn’t been translated yet.

This was in fact a huge deterrent for me. I’m a completionist so I found the thought of having to commit the years of watching every time I picked up a new series, very daunting. I was so relieved to find out that 12 to 24 was the standard. When I discovered short programs, I threw a party!

Haiyore Nyaruko-san
a show that teaches children how to cook…

2- I thought excessive violence was inherent to the medium

Yea yeah, I sound like such a normie. What can I say. I’m not proud of my ignorance but we all start somewhere. Like I mentioned, Ippo was one of my first animes, along with Evangelion. Aside from that I had watched Rose of Versailles as a really small kid. I followed that up with the Kenshin OVAs, Berserk, Ninja Scroll and Cowboy Bebop. Of course, Akira.

 I have no issues with violence in entertainment, as this blog should have made really clear. However, my experience with anime had led me to believe that even what was meant to be a children’s series (Versailles – this is arguable, I probably was way too young to watch that, but I didn’t know at the time) was rife with blood and death. No one was safe in anime!

Yup, I had neatly eliminated the very concept of slice of life, romance, comedy or moe. Heck, even sports anime in my head, involved heavily beaten characters, trips to the hospital and potentially lethal injuries. It’s a wonder I’m not completely desensitized by now.

toradora christmas
Toradora has actual christmas episodes

1-      I thought seasonal anime meant holiday specials

I put this at number one because I only learned that wasn’t the case, after I started my blog. I had never really heard the expression “seasonal anime” until I became more active in the blogging community. I honestly figured it referred to holiday specific episodes, like Christmas or Halloween specials. Those St-Valentine’s day episodes where everybody tries to make chocolate.

I quickly realized that people were referring to entire series and boy was I confused. I had to wonder if there were really that many Christmas themed shows out there and why had I never heard of them since so many people seemed to be talking about it!

Thankfully, I caught up before I asked anyone about an Easter anime but I felt pretty gosh darn silly….

Are these really the most embarrassing misconceptions I had about anime? Oh no but I’m not telling you guys! Maybe you can convince me to let you know but sharing your own little moments of enlightenment. We won’t laugh…much…

anime girls laughing

26 thoughts

  1. Some of these I think are pretty common, like violence or big episode length. I know that my Sister thought these things for a long time. Anyway, I had a good time reading and some of these were pretty funny 🙂

  2. Ha! That was funny.

    I grew up in a Japanese culture so I can say what I’m about to say.

    _-{If you don’t speak Japanese or have grown up in Japan, all of yous are n00bs}-_

    Anime can be very confusing if you don’t speak Japanese because of Puns or Jokes,

    -It’s not a thing made for “Gaijin”[外人=Foreigners]-

    Since they live a totally different life, their jokes can get weird or even inappropriate,
    ex( “Kanchō”,[カンチョー= shaping your hand into a gun, then jabbing it up your friends butt.]

    Hrm, basically what I’m saying is that Anime is made for the Japanese, and the Japanese don’t really understand English so they name things weird things, therefore confusing people who know how to speak English, that’s probably the reason Anime confuses you.

    Don’t think that helped anyone at all so,,,

    I liked your story.

    -(Hoped That Helped)-

    1. Thanks Dave. I’m not English myself and we did a type of Kanch in school as well so at least had some inherent context yet I still manage to have some really creative presumptions on anime…I have skills!

  3. Lol! The Shoujo one got me 😂😂😂 I had a similar case where when I was first getting into anime (6th grade), I thought ecchi was a name as well lol.

  4. I had honestly thought that most anime series were like DBZ or Naruto. Boy was I surprised about the genres that anime has to offer. I also was surprised about the length of most of the series. Love the 12-24 episode format.

  5. C’mon, Irina! Everybody knows that “seasonal anime” refers to food and cooking-themed shows (like Food Wars or Gourmet Girl Graffiti) in which the food gets seasonaled while being prepared. . .after all, who wants bland food?

  6. I originally thought “hentai” only meant “porn” and not “pervert” so when girls would scream “hentai” at a boy in an anime, I wondered why they were calling him a porno! >.<

  7. The first (well, #5) made me LOL. I have some old Chinese bootlegs of Yu-Gi-Oh (before I knew they were bootlegs, of course), and the subtitles were… interesting to say the least.

  8. Ah, I’ve luckily been spared most of those. Some common ones applied to me (like thinking “shonen” is a certain type of fighting anime; oh and at one time I would sometimes mix up first names and last names, because I wasn’t yet used to friends addressing each other with their last names – stuff like this did happen to me). But that’s more because no-one around me talked about anime, so I only encountered those terms when I was actively reading up on them.

    I started watching Japanese cartoons when I was around four years old, and from very early on I knew they were Japanese, because my father kept me reminding me (he thought the character designs were odd). I’ve been watching Japanese cartoons for nearly 20 years, before I even heard the term “anime”. And by the time I found I could watch currently airing stuff online I was watching them for nearly 40 years. And that’s also pretty much the first time I heard other people talk about anime in those fancy terms that are second nature now. I rarely had any what’s-this? experiences; instead I had lots of so-that’s-what-they-call-them-over-there moments.

    Also, I wasn’t checking out forums immediately, so I’ve been watching tons of subbed anime before ever talking about it, or reading what others have to say, so some terms that we use differently than they do in Japan also caused confusion. An example is “otaku”: it’s really just a word that combines the mixture of hard-core fan and geek: a specialised interest. Watch a few anime and you catch on to that pretty quickly (Kuragehime is the best example). So there was a period of adjustment when I realised that the western fandom just uses it as a word for fans of Japanese popculture (there’s a US magazine I can buy at train stations of that name, now).

    So, yeah, one way to avoid those confusions is to just not talk to anyone or listen to anyone until you – the autodidact – have got the basics down. Do I recommend this method? You may save yourself some embarassment (though likely no-one thinks ill of you for any of this anyway – so not even that, really), but will lose a lot of fun interaction. No, I certainly don’t recommend this method. Internet communication makes anime more fun, and as for the rest: it’s just regular learning by doing.

  9. Wait…what are you saying? All these things aren’t true?? 😮😮
    Seriously though…I still feel like a noob when it comes to anime. I love it, and I honestly wish I had more time to check out so many more things about it (Natsume and friends anybody?????😅😅), but yeah there are a lot of things about the medium that I certainly used to think as well. Luckily since I have become a part of this community there are so many things I have learned…and am still learning.
    As always…wonderful post Irina 😊

  10. Number 1 and 3 was all me three years ago. I generally prefer long running series, but when I realized how some stories could pack a serious punch in 12-24 eps, Noragami, Your Lie in April, Akame Ga Kill and many others, that’s really when I started to get into anime.

    This post is oddly inspiring, it made me relive the times I thought mainstream, long running, and Shounen anime was all there was or all that mattered in the anime medium. I might just write a post about my own experience.

    Great post Irina.

  11. Well, I learned something new today, although I don’t intend to out myself and say what it was.

    I’m still very much in the “normie” category of fan, and I’m happy to call it my platform from which to broadcast.

    There’s some things I don’t really ever feel like I’ll get used to, like completely out of left field fan service in shows where it doesn’t feel appropriate.

    But this was a cute read. Glad to see we’re all just fumbling around in the dark a lot of the time.

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