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!
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….
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.
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!
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.
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…