Sometimes with anime fans you’re damn if you do and you’re damned if you don’t…
There are animes that I just don’t enjoy that much. It’s just not my thing. It happens. But depending on the series, there are certain shows where fans have gotten very aggressive when I mention I don’t like it. This is a familiar situation to most of us I wager. Some fandoms get super protective of their beloved show. Nothing new there.
But I’m noticing that lately, just as often the reverse is true. I get slightly judgmental or exasperated question like what could you possibly see in that show or you liked that? really??? It’s fairly hilariously since I have some well documented questionable tastes at times but still. I generally explain exactly why I enjoyed a show and even when I can’t quite put it into words I say that. I liked it but I don’t know why… There’s nothing to be really gained from trying to convince me I didn’t like it, is there?
And sometimes it’s a more general call out. I will see tweets or even posts with titles like I don’t know what anyone sees in (name of popular anime here) or I’m watching (name of popular anime here) and it’s so boring, why do people like this? It’s a super gratuitous general attack that from what I have seen is always directed to shows that are fairly well known and therefore do have a good amount of fans so there a good chance someone out there got a show they liked insulted, and for what?
The most ironic par is that I often see people who get super defensive abut anyone insulting anime they like do this sort of thing but that’s another story.
Why is this something that happens so much in our community. I wager it actually happens a lot in most fan communities. It’s weird.
I understand the urge to protect a show you like. Even from someone like me who will openly admit that just because I didn’t enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s not a great show and other people won’t have a great time with it. There’s still a part of any fans heart, sometimes hidden deep down, that has an urge to make everyone discover the absolute brilliance of our favourite anime.
When we love something it can be hard to even imagine how someone could not love it and some people take that personally. Some people take it way too personally. But I still understand where it comes from. It’s an urge that I have at times and do have to fight back when someone tells me Natsume looks sort of dull for instance.
But the other way around makes no real sense. What other people are enjoying has really no impact on me whatsoever. I guess if you want to get really pedantic about it, popular opinion could sway production and therefore influence what anime get made in the future but that seems like a real stretch there. From the outside it just gives the impression that people are mildly annoyed that someone has different tastes.
Like I said, this probably happens with all sorts of media. I’m sure there are discussion about how could anyone like this music or this artist but I have really seen it most often around anime.
One theory I have is that it’s a form of, or and extension of gate-keeping. That would also explain why it seems so specifically aimed at popular anime instead of more evenly spread out. The of course more popular anime are the shows more people are watching so in turn they are more talked about. Ok scratch that. I managed to talk myself out of my own point as I was writing. The popular bit probably has nothing to do with it. But the gate-keeping parallels hold true.
There is a sort of implied disdain there. “A real anime fan wouldn’t enjoy that show” or something along those lines. Obviously anyone who knew what actual anime is like and understood how to appreciate it wouldn’t like this stuff…
No one ever says that of course and maybe I’m way off base here, but it still kind of reads like that to me. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking because although I don’t think gate-keeping is something we should encourage or a practice that even makes any sense, it is at least something I understand. Like it makes way ore sense to me than just being angry because people like things
So why am I even going on about something I clearly and admittedly don’t understand. Well it’s partly due to the fact that I can’t seem to go online lately without seeing one of these comments and at least to me, it feels like a pretty sudden rise. And partly because I just want to figure out where the impulse comes from. You know, out of curiosity. And because when I understand where people are coming from I find them easier to communicate with.
I realize that writing about this on my blog is sort of a waste of time. Most of the readers I regularly interact with aren’t really the type to make these sort of comments or indeed do discourage anyone from liking any type of anime. There’s a lot of pretty huge anime enthusiasts around here. So maybe you won’t have the answer for me.I admit I never had the energy to just ask someone why they were making these sort of comments. I have a feeling it wouldn’t turn out well.
But if any of you have an idea why these types of comments are made, I would love to know. And not just personal conversations between two people or someone actually earnestly being curious what the other person enjoyed in a specific anime. That’s different.