Slowly I am starting to get to know (and talk with) more and more anime fans. And guys, they’re just like normal people! 😏
This has led me to discover that although we are all very different, there are some things that seem to unite almost all Anime fans. Anime specific experiences we’ve all gone though at some point but unless you’re an avid anime watcher, you might not even know such a thing could exist.
When I started making this list it sounded more like an array of unpleasant symptoms so I tried to make it more optimistic since being an anime fan can be great fun! These are just from personal experience, so maybe saying all anime fans go through this is a gross overstatement. Let’s see:
5) Seasonal manic depression
Eventually, most fans discover and start following the advent of anime release seasons. 4 times a year we get an onslaught of new series and a chance for the return of one of our favourites. It’s a time of excitement and anxiety. For a few weeks we’re on a high of anime overload as we take in a whole bunch of first episodes and find out what we want to watch for the next few months. We welcome long anticipated shows with a slight nervousness that they won’t live up or get our adrenaline going with surprise gems.
And then, I’d say about 3 weeks in, the inevitable down sets in. Series loose that shiny new feelings, shows settle down into a calmer build up and we, anime fans, get a bit tired and busy to watch every show available. The new season sheen wears off and we go back to normal which seems just a little duller now.
It’s a pattern I have noticed over and over again but only with anime fans. Want a favour from an otaku in your life, wait till the start of the next season, they’ll be in a great mood!
4) Anime series mourning
Every type of entertainment ends at some point but there’s something peculiar that happens when an anime you’re really enjoying ends. You get bummed out. Well I do. It feels sort of lonely and a little empty. Boy that sounds melodramatic but I’m sure someone out there knows what I’m talking about. I’ve talked to a lot of anime fans and a lot of them have experienced this sort of slight soft depression when they no longer have the comfort of their favourite show to go home to.
But I’ve never hear anyone describe something similar at the end of sitcoms or Western tv shows. Sure people were way angry when game of thrones ended but not for the same reasons. Maybe it’s because so many anime go unresolved so as a viewer you feel like there *should* be more. Maybe it’s because I don’t actually talk to many people about tv shows since all I watch is anime and they do in fact feel the same way….Who knows??
3) Morality mambo
Has this ever happened to you. You are super excited about a new anime you’re watching and you’re talking with a friend unfamiliar with the medium and you’re about to explain the romantic sub plot between brother and sister and they start to look at you weird… Or you try to explain that Hisoka is an amazing character with predatory pedophile tendencies that are shown by the show but never addressed or reproached. (And I do love Hisoka!)
I’ve always maintained that the lack of oversight in anime is mostly a good thing but it means that a lot of elements that are completely off limits in other sort of media just show up, sometimes randomly, in a lot of shows. And I am not at all pro predatory pedophiles and it’s really weird that I actually have to write that… But when you’re an anime fan you sort of learn to navigate around a lot of minefields that are just foreign to the uninitiated.
2) Platform paranoia
Remember way back in point 5 where I talked about the high of new seasons. Well those that go one step further in their appreciation of anime might actually seek out anime release schedules before the season even starts. Just to sort of get an idea what you’re in for. And if those fans are like me they get psyched about a whole bunch of upcoming titles.
The problem is that seasonal release schedules are pretty easy to find on the internet. They’re translated from Japanese airing schedules and industry news. What’s missing though is the international distribution platforms as sometimes, those haven’t even been properly negotiated or secured yet.
So you get all wound up and giddy, then you have to obsessively see what’s been released on all your platforms just to see if you’re actually going to be able to watch those shows after all. Of course Murphy’s law dictates that the show you are most looking forward to is going to be our of reach and you’re left with the dilemma of getting an entire new streaming service just to watch one series… It’s a drag. I am still very upset that Beastars never made it to Netflix Canada and there’s no sign it ever will….
1) A secret (or not so secret) 2d awakening
I’m sure a lot of us have had a phase when we thought those Otaku falling in love with anime characters and getting body pillows or dozens of figures were…a little odd. I mean sure the designs are nice and all but it’s still just a drawing. And then one day it happens. You’re just innocently watching a really great anime when it hits you. You love that character!
Ok there’s nothing unusual here, people love great characters that’s normal. But then you start thinking about that character a whole lot. Maybe you start to compare actual real people to this character. You buy a figure cause the artistry is so great. Maybe also a key chain cause you needed one..and a wallet is always useful, a couple of t-shirts…you can’t walk around naked after all and you start thinking a body pillow would be nice. Before you know it you have framed fan art staring at you lovingly from your desk. Congratulations you just got your first waifu/husbando. Welcome to the club!
Some of us still feel a bit embarrassed and keep our 2d crushes to ourselves, others openly distribute our erotic fabrics to anyone willing to listen. Either way, most anime fans have had a 2d awakening t some point and it’s magical!
So tell me, do any of these sound familiar or am I way off the mark here? Maybe I forgot something? Is there anything else that unites us anime fans in our experience while leaving others confused an possibly a little concerned?