I like debates. Actual debates… I do believe ideas become better and sharper when they are challenged. Throughout the years, I have had a lot of wonderful and very interesting conversations with people on subjects we completely disagreed on. Occasionally I’ve changed my mind about certain things. It’s not the norm though. A lot of people don’t really like disagreeing with others.

Thankfully, the anime community doesn’t have those hangups. It seems we can disagree with each other over just about anything. It’s impressive and occasionally exhausting. But hey, I will always err on the side of discussion. However, there are a few debates that I’m just a little tired of seeing. Mostly because I have nothing to contribute to these conversations and it’s all about me… So I think we should replace these particular talking points with something I do have something to say about, or at least something I’m interested in. Cause it’s all about me….

Just an anime

5. It’s just anime

Ok so this isn’t so much a debate as a well to shut down a debate and it’s sort of annoying to me. Yeah…we know it’s anime…so what… It’s a medium for fiction and storytelling, two things that are fundamental to all humans and a huge part of our intellectual and social evolution as a species. And it’s in bouncy, colourful joy inducing form. I don,t see anything “only” about it.

But hey, I get it, sometimes a person doesn’t really want to engage and needs an easy out. I have been meaning to write a bad science post based on the wonderful Interviews with Monster Girls for a long time know, trying to math out the localized wormhole in the dullahan’s neck. So I think that instead of resorting the the non response of it’s only anime, we could without context just start talking about localized wormhole theories. I bet that’s gonna kill the conversation even faster and I also really want to hear everyone’s theories on how it’s possible!


4. Anime is (Sexist, Racist, Violent, Better…)

I know I’m repeating myself here but anime is a storytelling medium. I’m not sure it’s inherently anything. Specific shows could potentially have those characteristics and it’s fine if one wants to have a conversation about that, but it’s really difficult to do when you cast a wide net over the entire medium. It sort of makes it impossible to argue either way.

My suggestion would be to replace the old Anime is (insert qualifier here) with something empirically measurable in order to make a debate possible in the first place. It can still be really challenging. For instance anime if mostly blue. We would need to go back over all the shows that have been released and check if the RGB values favour blue. And although I’m not going to do that, I kinda want to know the answer… I just like colours, ok!?!

otaku you say

3. Anime fans are …

This is pretty much the same as point number two but with that added little layer of potential insult just to make it extra fun. I don’t even read these debates so i honestly have no clue what the arguments are like. Maybe they’re delightful in fact… But I doubt it…

I’m always afraid these types on conversation will degenerate into virtual fist fights. And although my troll sensibilities should make me like this sort of things, I just don’t. It seems a little mean.

I’m not sure what to replace this with. I guess it needs to be visceral enough to offer the same release but still harmless. How about these debates always have to include the person putting launching them. For instance all anime fans, myself included, like occasional video games. Or maybe Anime fans are for the most part taller than me… I dunno, it’s a work in progress. Suggestions are welcomed!

I think we all know who wins…

2. Sub vs Dub

I really enjoy subtitles anime because I like the sound of spoken Japanese. But that doesn’t make it better. And I deeply don’t see what anyone else’s preference regarding the issue has to do with me. It literally changes nothing. Maybe if shows got either subtitled OR dubbed but not both, there would be some stakes.

(I actually did subtitles in college for a while for a little independent film distributor. Sometimes I even got to do the translating and editing myself. It’s not easy work but I didn’t hate it at all. Maybe I can do that again some day…)

Instead of this, I think we as a community should concentrate on reviving the lost art of fan subbing and dubbing. We’ve been spoiled by anime availability. We should debate which fansub/dub was the absolute best and provide copies for proof! Please do…

new vs old
it’s kind of cool when we can make a direct comparison

1. New vs Classic

I think every season of anime has good and bad shows and occasionally we get masterpieces. And we still get them just as frequently as we use to. No one ever mentions that the same season Evangelion first aired, there was like 5 different Sailor moon projects and 80% of the roster were sequels and spin offs. And let’s face it, the bad or boring anime from 20 years ago has been entirely forgotten so we can’t really compare it with current airing stuff.

I said I’m tired of this debate yet I just had it all by myself! Way to go, me.

I think the aspect I’m just fed up with in this particular question is just how defeated it sounds. People that are on the side of classic anime was better often just leave it at that. making it sound like the only way to ever get the industry back on track is to invent a time machine. The debate would be way more interesting to me, if it was just a little more constructive. I would love to know what they would change specifically about particular currently airing shows to “make them better”. A colour palette with more primary tones (like Tower of God – it’s rich and beautiful and has more gradient but it’s definitely old school colour palette). More 16 to 22 year old boys as protagonists? And no coping out with generalities like better written stories or a production that cares or something like that…

There, I’m sure the internet will absolutely listen to me and immediately put these suggestions into practice. Yup…any second now…

Are there any anime debates that your tired of hearing? Would you like to replace it with something else? Like what? Do you think this post was kinda weird?

Rini 2020 (11)



39 thoughts

  1. I wasn’t into the anime fandom or community before this year (I merely consume the media alone, passively) so you can say that these arguments are new to me. As for the sub/dub thing, I personally don’t care much about it. Everyone has their own preference. If the subtitles work better for them, then so be it. But if they found dub to be the best way for them to enjoy the anime, then go ahead. There’s nothing wrong with both sub and dub. By the way, I like your idea to instead debate about which fansub/dub is the best!

  2. What actually keeps me coming back to this blog is that the topics you write about here are pretty unique in the anime scene, and that it’s not just a bunch of rehashed debates we’ve all heard a billion times before, so no, not a weird post at all.
    As a general rule I tend to avoid contact with the English-speaking anime community, whether it’s debates or anything else, just because it’s usually so toxic and pretentious, and discussions usually don’t go any further than repetitive memes or flaming each other for liking a “bad” anime. Your blog is a rare exception to this rule, so uh, yeah. Thanks for that.

    I agree with most of your points here, though I will defend subs over dubs to the death, lol. IMO, a lot of the nuance can be lost in translation with dubs, not to mention nowadays we have localisation companies with personal agendas taking some pretty excessive liberties when it comes to completely changing lines from the original Japanese. But hey, the only way I could convince my dad to watch Ghost in the Shell was if it was dubbed, so it still does pay to have options!

    Cool that you worked as a translator. I’ve thought about working with a manga scanlation team since my Japanese is getting close-ish to fluent, but I’m worried I won’t have the time and/or patience needed.

    1. ooohhh localization – now that’s fascinating. I think you can earn a lot about culture by what they choose to censor and what they have as propaganda!
      Also thank you! That’s so nice of you!

  3. The main anime debate I never care for is “Shounen Jump anime isn’t really anime” but I don’t even know where to start with responding to it so I usually just keep scrolling. What I enjoy mainly are head to heads so instead of generals, give me specifics and then it’s fun.

    Yu Yu Hakusho vs Hunter X Hunter, Naruto vs Bleach, Which was the best Pokemon season, stuff like that. Those can be fun and I also think with those kinds of debates it’s not like you have to squash either side. You can easily enjoy both titles without disliking one. You may just rate Bleach a 10 but Naruto a 9 or something like that. Either way those for me are the most itneresting to read about.

    A guilty pleasure of mine is watching reviews where people really can’t stand a show that I enjoy. I dunno, I think in general I like seeing what the other side thinks. Mainly I do this with RWBY or the final Bleach arc. I personally love both but I don’t mind hearing why people don’t like them.

  4. I’m tired of hearing people lumping all anime into the same category all the time. You get this so much from the “anime is trash” crowd. I’m not really that big of an anime fan myself, but even I can see that there’s a massive variety of shows and not all of them have this intense focus on deviant subject matters.

    Anime is really just another medium of entertainment, just like movies. It’s kinda similar to watching Japanese films/series except animated.

    1. It is. I actually occasionally hear American cinema is trash from some of my most pretentious friends and it’s just as ridiculous and meaningless a statement.

  5. A lot of it comes down to personal taste, and there’s no arguing about that. Except people do it all the time. Too often they’re just talking past each other, talking to hear themselves talk. Twitter is a great example; there are a ton of prima donnas there who will dramatically declare that they’re ignoring or even blocking everyone who disagrees with their view on anything at all, even anime. It’s silly and pointless, but they’re just trying to make their hurt egos feel better. Until they get some perspective, they’ll never heal themselves — they think the problem is with other people, but it’s in their own souls.

    Okay, sorry for going off like that. I agree with you that these debates have gotten old. It’s too bad, because a real, honest dialogue is great to have, but it’s hard to find anyone out there who will argue with you in good faith. That’s part of why I like this community; people seem a lot more down to earth and natural.

  6. I think debating is anime is kinda stupid in general.
    I hate characters like LeLouche, Light and Kirito , you can tell me what they did well and how I am am wrong .. but I am not wrong, I dislike them. You aren’t wrong for liking them either.
    Sub/Dub , finding vices , it’s all a bit the same for me. It’s okay for you to find something offensive or inoffensive if I feel differently rather than debate let’s make conversations that don’t pit us against each other.

    Stuff Like “Hey I like Dubs” oh “Hi I am more a sub-girl myself, but hey Matthew Mercer is a nice voice actor, would you happen to watch Critical Role”. No one’s opinion is better, ever.

    I don’t need to know why you are right and why I am wrong, because I perceive us as both stating an opinion. Any of the debates you mention deal in it’s toxic capacity with absolutes. With Scott I can probably have a nice debate in favor of Dragon Ball Dub or Sub, as we do not think the other is factual wrong so it would probably not be a shouting contest it would probably end up in something like… check this voice clip! Isnt that an amazing shout?! But check this from the Sub.. that music got axed in the dub.. it’s so awesome. I am fine with those debates.

    Any debate concerning anime that takes the stance.. “Your opinion is dumb/wrong” is a debate I am done with. And all the debates you named have people doing that so your are right.

    Anime is mostly blue.. I have an interesting counter for I’d say on the RGB spectrum I’d nominate Red as the most dominant colour, you see the skin tone of a “white” character is somewhere along the lines of 255 Red 205 green and 160/170 blue.
    While the sky is often a background it isnt always and sometimes , inside , at sunset, bloodmoon etc. So I theorise that skincolour is the most consistantly present in each panel , including face closeups, shower scenes, etc. So while I am not sure it is the most dominant colour I think red would be the most consistantly present.

    1. I think debating can be fun when it’s not arguing. Although it makes no difference to me if you prefer subs over dubs or vice versa, I’m still interested in finding out why. Just cause I like talks about anime. And I might want to share my preferences and why I have them. It rarely goes that well though

      1. Yeah it really depends on the mindset of the person you are debating with. Debating can be fun indeed.. but never if your debating “opponent “KNOWS” they are right.

        Mostly in the stereotypical debates I find people being unable to do that. If Fanboy or hater is an argument.. I am already out :p

  7. Absolutely agree. I think, for me, the biggest issue I see is that debates seem to stumble into mudslinging and online shouting very quickly. Like, nobody is willing to even listen to opposing views without getting angry, let alone seek a middle ground or an agree-to-disagree moment. I do wonder if we’ve lost the meaning of ‘debate’ somewhere.

    1. You’re the second one to mention that. I haven’t watched SAO so I’m out of that conversation

  8. After more than a decade on the internet, I actually came to dislike debates. It feels like people are trying to overwhelm each other with rhetorics until it’s just a practised, meaningless back and forth. At this point, I prefer the word “discussion” (even if it’s only because it’s less frequently used). Debates imply two sides. You win a debate, or you lose a debate. You neither win nor lose a discussion; you have it – and if it’s a good one, everybody wins. (It’s not like you can’t get any learning experience out of debates; it’s just that in practise I see them most often devolve into a repetitive stalemate, where everyone’s convinced they won long ago and why can’t the other side see it?)

    I’d actually love a good discussion about subs vs. dubs; it could clarify a lot of half-understood issues for me. But what it usually boils down to is this:

    sub-faction: anime the way it’s intended by its producers
    dub-faction: you’re intended to look at the pretty pictures, though, not the letters

    Is that a valid rejoinder by the dub-faction, though? Does the sub-faction really not know that there are subs to be read in a subbed anime? The thing is, though, it is a valid rejoinder under the assumption of a debate, where you have to carefully hone your rhetorics. It’s a staged conflict, and not a collaboration. The sub-faction, assuming a debate, can’t afford to say something like “well, maybe I didn’t quite phrase that right,” especially if they’re unsure how else to phrase it. Uncertainty loses a debate. So what usually happens is a side-stepping (the emotinal quality of the original voice acting is meant to serve as an example to bolster the sub-faction’s position, but instead it devolves into more of the same: how can you even properly judge the quality of a language you don’t speak?)

    Every single one of this points is very interesting to me (I have an interest in linguistics), but these points are usually just mentioned and become the site of tiresome conflict. To really address this topics, though, is difficult and demands a lot of attention, and not everyone’s really interested in those topics to begin with. And even I, someone very interested, don’t always have the energy – and on the web a topic that’s not being talked about for a day or more is as good as dead. Meanwhile, I’d usually need up to a week to collect my thoughts.

    More importantly, though, you can’t have a good discussion if people don’t feel “safe”. They’re not lesser anime fans for preferring dubs. They’re not filthy elitists for preferring subs. There are pros and cons and different values and priorities, and that’s surprisingly interesting to sort through in a relaxed atmosphere. I wish it was easier to relax on the web. (You’re actually providing one of the most relaxed platforms I’ve seen around the net; I think that’s why you get so many great comments – the comment section is reliably as fun to read as the posts themselves are.)

    1. This particular discussion tends to be beyond me as the greater notion of authorial intent is sort of irrelevant to my personal enjoyment. As I’m not sure it matters how an audience was “intended” to take in anime.

      My cynical side would say that anime is one of the most commercialized and industrialized storytelling mediums and for the most part the audience is “intended” to just watch it a lot regardless of the variables. That’s not very romantic.

      1. I actually doubt “the way it’s intended” has much to do with authorial intention in that context. To be precise, I doubt the people who say it (whatever “it” is) like this, would change their mind if the creators were to side with the dub faction. I think it’s more about wanting the original-context creation rather than a second-party modification. I think, most of the time there’s a bit of a gap between what people say and what they think they say. Maybe I’m just talking to myself. I know I have that experience a lot, saying one thing while meaning another.

        Of course, we’d have to ask someone who actually uses the argument, and that’s often tricky, too, because “you said this, but what do you really mean,” can sound like “you’re too stupid to talk,” when really everyone has to work with a fuzzy and imprecise language.

  9. Yeah I agree with all of these. I feel the “anime is racist/sexist/etc.” take is played out and overly generalizing. It’s like saying country music is racist or hip hop music is sexist. There are some songs that are, but they are definitely in the minority, and saying that just shows an ignorance of the medium more than anything else.

    “No one ever mentions that the same season Evangelion first aired, there was like 5 different Sailor moon projects and 80% of the roster were sequels and spin offs.”

    Wait, are you implying that Sailor Moon is BAD? OK, I might have to fight you on that one. 😛 jk

    1. Not at all I love Sailor moon but people keep saying how current anime is all sequels and remakes (nothing original) – when there was much less variety in the day. It was a badly explained point. I am of the opinion that Sailor Moon really doesn’t get the credit it deserved. It was just as formative as the big shonen and yet people keep forgetting about it 🙁

  10. I think most of the “debates” you list here aren’t even real debates anymore, so much as an opportunity for fans to vent, troll, and generally rant on a subject where no one is ever going to change their mind anyway. My personal groaner of a debate is SAO sucks/SAO is a classic. Of course, that’s because I take the extreme that SAO for the first two cours is a classic and I don’t much care what anyone else thinks. LOL.

    Being a latecomer to anime online, I didn’t get to watch a lot of fan dubs or subs, although I occasionally run onto one at YouTube as I try to fill in the many gaps in my anime oldies I missed out on. I’ve seen some hilariously bad ones, and some that I actually loved because they even included little boxes explaining cultural references that English speaking people might not get. Educational! OMG I’m falling into the trap of debating this undebatable questions.

    But I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the others that you mention getting some actual discussion. Like the colors. I like colors, too. Of course, that might require someone to actually THINK which I suspect is literally painful for some people…

  11. Debates. . .wow, I wish I had the attention span for something like that. Or got enough sleep to offer coherent arguments during a real discussion. As it is, I just don’t pay much attention to fandom debates–my two simple anime viewing rules override any such need. They are: “you likee? then watchee. no likee? no watchee.” Problem solved!

    1. Very enlightened!
      I started paying a lot more attention with the blog. It’s though to review shows or take part in conversations without a bit of context.

      1. Honestly, you already amaze me with the level of your productivity and output!

  12. Jeez, people still have these ‘debates’? I feel old since these started even before I was on the internet and in fandoms this pertains too…. So totally agree. These aren’t debates just weak excuses and cop-outs for other debates? I’ve seen most of these come up again, only when someone tries to grab a different argument down…

    1. I think they may have always existed. Old timey otaku were sending each other snail mails with best girl rants….

      1. They probably have. I think this comment has inspired me to write a snail mail to my friend about our best boy rant. I just might win if I write a letter instead of a capslock text! lol

  13. Way back in 2003ish Bleach anime was only available as fansubs on YouTube and only briefly. You would figure out a semi-working set of search terms and YouTube only allowed 13 minutes of video per free upload back then so there were two parts for every episode. Fansubs were sometimes hilariously bad, but they got better. When Crunchyroll eventually started their website they made agreements with both the rights owners in Japan and paid these fansubbers to keep doing the job only for some money and credit for the almost-simulcasts of these shows on the internet. The quality was better, and the videos stuck around. Modern kids don’t know how good they have it. When it was on youtube the video would be there for 3-4 days at most, then the poster was banned for piracy and the videos were gone, so you had to search, watch and hope it wasn’t gone for the second half the episode because YouTube erased the other bit while you were watching the first one.
    Good times.

    1. I remember having to torrent or even napster anime. It took 5 to 8 hours to download a single episode and 70% of the time it would be corrupted or not the advertised anime at all.

  14. I agree 100% with what you’ve said in this post. I groan everytime I see the subs vs dubs argument recycled in certain anime fan circles that I’m regularly in. It’s even worse when it turns into less of a “debate” and more of a vent about how bad most dubs are, despite probably not listening to an anime dub in years. Almost as bad as some of the “3D anime is better than 2D anime” stuff I’ve seen as well among some “hardcore” anime fans, but I digress…

    I think some of the biggest hurdles with these debates is not necessarily the debates themselves but where they initially come from. I’m sure that at some point, some of these questions were productive in asking but have echoed so long and so far that the arguments have outlived their purpose.

    I think a majority of these just stem from overgeneralization or failure to nuance particular aspects of arguments, which a lot of people tend to do for some reason or another. It’s something that I definitely have to keep tabs on as well, since it can be really easy to do in some cases without realizing it.

    I could probably go on and on about some interesting observations on how communities could improve these discussions into something worthwhile, but I’ll reserve that for another place and another time since it would be far too long for here. This is about you, after all, like you mentioned 🙂

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