That’s a weird question, isn’t it. It needs a bit of context. Lately I have come across several people that consider themselves anime fans even though they haven’t watched an anime in years, haven’t kept up with the industry and aren’t really interested in picking up any new shows. But they did enjoy anime at some point or at least a particular series and they go by the mindset of once a fan always a fan!
You maybe thinking to yourself, what does it matter? If they want to call themselves anime fans who cares how much anime they watch or when was the last time they watched it. I believe the answer is: it doesn’t matter at all. Bring on all the fans. I would love for anime to become mainstream enough that I can have actual conversations on it with strangers on the bus. (not now though – I don’t leave the house) I would love for my fellow bloggers to have access to a large enough audience to make their professional blogging dreams come true!
I just find it interesting that after so many stories of people hiding their love of anime for fear of being made fun of or misunderstood, there are now people who go out of their way to self-identify as such even if they don’t really care that much for anime at the moment. It’s almost like there’s some merit to being an anime fan. Like there would be a reason to *want* people to think you are one. Almost as if liking anime is….cool….😮
Guys!!!! When did this happen? How did this happen? Why didn’t anyone tell me???!!!?
Wait, does that mean we’re all cool now by extension? I’m not sure I’m prepared for that. I’m probably going to need a whole new wardrobe… (I mean it’s most likely just going to disappear anyways…) The world sure is a funny place. You go to bed one night a carefree anime lovin’ dork without a care in the world, you wake up the next morning and BAM! You have all the pleasant weight of uber coolness on your shoulders. They don’t teach you how to deal with that at school.
But it’s all good, we’ll figure this out together.
First let’s just all agree that anime is indeed the coolest and people who watch it are therefore to be admired and emulated. We always knew that of course but it took the rest of the world a little time to catch up is all. Isn’t that always the case!
Now that we’ve established our baseline reality, what do we do about it? I don’t think I’ve ever been cool and all the super cool bloggers I’ve talked to refuse to admit they’re cool so I’m sort of at an impasse. I have no personal information on the subject and no one wants to share. Probably cause it’s secret knowledge just for cool people… I guess we can just gloss over that by saying something like cool people don’t need other people to know they’re cool. So yeah, that’s it… Crisis averted!
So what does the new anime centric cool look like? I mean coolness is all about rigidly following rules and confirming to strict guidelines, right? I wouldn’t want to accidentally do something not on the pre-approved list and squander all this completely arbitrary and unearned new coolness before I properly take advantage of it.
Also how do you take advantage of coolness? I assume people are going to stop me in the streets to ask my anime opinions and take careful notes. That seems like the least they could do. Soon enough a display of anime knowledge is likely to be mandatory for any popularly elected office or job with a social requirement. I suppose I should add my blog address to my LinkedIn and have it printed on my business cards. Oh and I will want to keep it out of my dating profile or else I’ll just get buried under date requests. And I’ll never be able to tell who likes me for me and who’s just using me for my Anime knowledge. I’m probably going to get stalkers who are constantly cosplaying as my favourite characters and such. I appreciate the attention and all but it gets to be a bit much after a while, you know?
What am I saying, of course you know. We’re in the same boat! For those of you that haven’t gotten the chance yet, maybe update your social media so only your friends know about your anime skills. Better safe than sorry!
I figure that I will very soon stop having to actually pay for anything as long as I make my love of anime obvious in some way. Like if I’m walking around with an anime t-shirt I can’t imagine I’d have to pay for coffee, or like office supplies. If it’s an obscure series I should get a free trip to somewhere. I guess we should all stock up on highly visible anime accessories. They’ll be as good as gold soon enough. (This was obviously written a little while ago…)
From what I know of anime I figure I should probably try to be fairly sex positive and open minded to kinks. Surprisingly I’m way ahead of that one. I’m also already good with the crazy hair colours and peculiar wardrobe choices. This said I was once told cool isn’t about appearances so none of us have to change our looks in any way.
From what I’ve observed, cool people don’t need to reach out much. Others just come to them as if drawn by an invisible force. Now that we’re all super cool anime fans, we might have to struggle a bit with our naturally outgoing um…nature and try to put on a more introverted front. Now I know this is going to be very though for a lot of people so may I suggest a way to distract yourself from the numerous social events you can’t wait to attend. How about staying home were it’s safe and warm and you can order pizza, and watching more anime! Amazing idea right? I’m pretty psyched about coming up with it and look forward to trying it out.
Most of all though, I think we shouldn’t fret too much about it. Sure these are all super useful and totally realistic guidelines you may want to follow but at the end of the day, anime has made us all inherently cool and there’s no need to do anything more than be ourselves!
How are you dealing with your newfound infinite coolness? Or were you born cool so you haven’t noticed any change? Those are the only two options…
31 thoughts on “Is Anime Cool???”
Big big sarcastic energy on this one. Love how you write.
Thank you! I find that humour gets lost in the digital ether a lot
This was a fun read. Anime has inspired me to start writing. Which is very weird seeing how it made me lazy in the first place. Like Cloud said “round and round it goes”. Btw would really appreciate it if you could check out my blog. It’s a YA fiction book I’m working on and the blog is sorta my way of storing information. It’s an imaginative read I promise. More power to you.
I will check out your blog
This post quickly went off the rails, and it was glorious.
Off the rails is sort of my default destination…
This post is awesome. And you know, you are one of those cool blogger. I’m just saying. 😎
It’s interesting, this fleeting anime faniness. I mean, I’m a huge fan of Buffy but I haven’t watched the series since 2005, except for some stray episodes here and there. I’m thinking maybe it’s the same for those people. They have watched like Akira and a bunch of Ghibli movies and then they think of themselves as anime fans. I know one or two hipsters who thought it fancy to watch ghibli back in the -00 Those people still claim they’re fans of anime but they have no clue about any anime dated after Ponyo.
And they still are fans. It’s awesome that they admit to it now. It’s like all the closeted otakus are coming out and it’s fabulous!
I remember when my son was young as we would watch anime together. One time I was taking him and a friend somewhere when I mentioned something about Naruto. The friend got of onto some insulting tangent about insulting the stupid “Narutoids” of the world. I didn’t bring it up again. I had no idea that anime was forbidden fruit for people who were “cool.” Just my Aspie-ness sticking out again.
Cool isn’t about appearance as long as you have an approved appearance. As you said, coolness is all about rigidly following rules and confirming to strict guidelines. The rules are different from your daddy’s day and vary depending on the particular clique, but they are still there.
I have never heard Narutoids… Somehow I feel like it’s more insulting to the person using the term than the one it’s directed at.
It was super uncool to watch anime and my son really didn’t want it known.So I dropped the conversation. Inside I was hurt that my son had to hide something we enjoyed doing together.
It really does suck.
I tend to think its less about anime specifically and more about the rise of geek/nerd culture as a whole. When I was a kid, words like ‘geek’ and ‘nerd’ were mostly used as insults. But now that most people have become aware that a) geeks are making a ton of money and b) geek culture is pretty much everywhere anyway thanks to the truly massive popularity of things like Marvel movies, it’s no longer something that needs to be hidden away for the sake of appearances (at least, not in the Western world – ironically, I’d say Japan’s a bit of a different story).
True! And it has done great things for comic book companies. I hope rising popularity can help anime studios the same
I don’t know if anime is cool now or not because I never know when anything is cool 😛 I think that anime has definitely become more popular in recent years, as has nerd culture overall. Social media has made it a lot easier for people to find fan communities to bond over stuff they like, streaming has made it easier to watch anime easily and cheaply, and East Asian pop culture in general has become more popular (see also: K-pop). But I’m not sure if that means it is mainstream, or still niche but on the cusp of being mainstream? It’s confusing.
I guess it is kinda weird sometimes, when any hobby becomes more mainstream you get people who are just into it because it’s trendy or looks cool on a t-shirt. I got bullied and teased as a kid for having nerdy interests (anime being just one of them), so I get a bit defensive when the so-called “cool kids” start acting like they liked “my” hobby all along. But I try to remember that we’re all weebs here, and just because I’ve been watching anime since I was a kid doesn’t mean my fandom is any more or less valid than theirs. All it means is I get more people to talk about my hobby with, and maybe recommend them some cool shows they might not have seen yet. So I try to look at the positives even if I’m coming from a biased viewpoint.
I’m pretty sure not knowing if something is cool or not is the definition of cool. Congratulations
Too uncool to care in the least. Still, I can understand the position of those folks who watched something way back when and consider themselves fans. I don’t normally watch shows/movies with live actors because I can no longer generate any “suspension of disbelief” (as my literature teacher termed it). The actors just seem like a bunch of folks playing dress-up, something I stopped doing as a child. Still, I fondly remember certain shows that I watched before I developed that particular aesthetic, and readily count myself a fan of them (among them: Doctor Who, Get Smart, and the very last one, Firefly).
Oh wow, I never thought about live action being disbelief destroying but now that you mention it, I can totally see that. I wonder if it’s common
And you know, it’s not necessarily even the live action part that kills it for me, but rather how the actors seem so serious in trying to pass themselves off as their characters and convince their audience that their story is real. I can still watch live theater and actually really enjoy it, but there the physical setting itself (particularly the stage) forces acknowledgement of the artifice of the entirety, thus allowing me my suspension of disbelief. I’ve tried to apply the same thought process to the television set or movie theater showing a program or feature, but it just doesn’t seem to stick for me. . .
You’re background might have something to do with it. Like a professional deformation that immediately spots BS…
I personally couldn’t care less at all about popularity and for me i really hate it when anime or games are being used by what i would call “Culture vultures” and use it as way to boost their own popularity just because its seen as trendy or cool.
For gaming as well we honestly never needed Hollywood at all to legitimatize that gaming is perfectly cool or even anime either.
And if turned suddenly popular just for being an anime fan or gamer especially with the decades knowledge and experience i have then i would be really weirded out.
So basically i’m just live and let live when it comes to both hardcore (Me falling into this catagory) and casual fans but if you ask me i rather keep my interests to myself and only talk about them to other anime fans and gamers.
Not me, I think it’s great anime gets any kind of recognition as it is likely to increase it’s market value and then more will get made and/or animators will stand a chance at a decent living wages.
The gaming industry is already one of, if not the most popular from of entertainment which has gone a long way in allowing large variety of games to gate made and people to take interest and create some real indie gems. I would love the same to happen with anime and a big part of that is people just advertising it by saying they like it.
See that questioning and vetting of whether a person is genuinely an anime fan is the reason I have to qualify “I’m a casual anime fan.” Which I think is really obnoxious. Yeah, anime is becoming more mainstream. I don’t go out of my way to identify as an anime fan, but if it comes up in conversation, yes there are a few I like and I respect it as an art form.
There’s definitely some subtle gatekeeping going on in your article here. You say you don’t mind more anime fans, but then why point out that they haven’t watched anime in years? No grown adults care about being cool. Just…if I like something, I’ll say ‘Yeah, I like that.’
I only have like 3 animes I like. Am I supposed to go, “No, I fucking hate anime! It’s for weebs!” because it isn’t my absolute favorite type of show? :/
You seem really focused on this idea of outsiders stealing some kind of clout.
Because I use to remember when people that would continuously watch anime would refuse to admit it, it was a mirroring of situations to see how times have changed and how great it is that people don’t feel stigmatized about embracing their tastes.
I’m not sure how often you read my blog but I am absolutely a casual anime watcher. And the idea that anime even has clout to steal is super exciting but sadly if it does, I don’t fall into that category.
It’s great that you like anime, I hope you continue to enjoy it and share it with others! I’ll work hard on trying to make my points clearer in the future as well. This was really meant as a silly little article to make people happy and it’s obvious I really missed the mark on that one. Oh boy…
Here’s the thing. I like to play video games, but I don’t have a current gen console. I could afford one, but I don’t have a place to put it, unless I retire my PS 3 and PS 2, and I’m still using them regularly, so I don’t want to. As a result, I don’t have any current games. That might change if the PS5 is backwards compatible with all PS-s as hopeful rumours say. So far, only PS4 compatibility is confirmed (I think). I’ve given up on PC games as soon as online activation became mandatory. Am I fan of games? One wonders.
I’ve only ever encountered polite disinterest, or people who think anime is Ghibli, World Master Piece Theatre, Pokemon, and Sailormoon. The next level might know Dragon Ball and Naruto. That’s where it usually stops. So if someone tells me they like anime, I’m most likely to talk about Ghibli and little else. There is an anime sub-culture. When I was watching Parasite (the Korean film) in the cinema, they were also playing the Date-a-Live movie. They wouldn’t do that, if nobody came. I do hope people didn’t take their kids to see something they thought was Ghibli-like. They’d have had an interesting experience.
I’m not sure what it’s like in Canada, but if being an anime fan is suddenly cool, and you want to remain cool, it might actually pay to be careful with revealing your knowledge. They might not be prepared for Interspecies Reviewers.
It might be like the seventies:
A: You know, I really love Cartoons.
B: Yeah, me, too. Fritz the Cat was awesome.
A: Oh? I don’t know that one. Sounds really cute.
A: It’s not kitty adventures? More like Tom and Jerry? Slapstick?
B: …Uh… (*Glad he didn’t mention Fantastic Planet*)
Fritz the Cat was awesome! I dunno, I’m hopeful that people are just opening up to embracing all sorts of interests. But you may have a point. This said I was also just riffing on the very concept of cool to begin with.
Yeah, I know. I’ve always been an outsider, wherever I went, so I sort of see “cool” and “target” as two sides of the same excotic coin.
As for “opening up”. Some people are, others aren’t, and it isn’t always clear to what they open up or not. Ever noticed how the metaphor is about gates? Sometimes you just have to turn your head to notice the obvious path you’ve been missing all along. (It’s hard to talk about this. I feel like I’m babbling.)
You’re not. I have a feeling that geography and potentially gender might have led us to have drastically different experiences and understandings in that regard though. I’m much more used to being ignored or patronized than targeted. Which drives me up the wall but I think it’s probably the better of the two.