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?

Overlord treasure
maybe there is…

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.

I love Soul Eater but I never even tried NOT

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.

things look so pretty on the other side of this…gate…

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.

run w the wind
Not that I”m great at communication to begin 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.

Rini 3 (13)

31 thoughts

  1. I 100% believe things like that are primarily for attention and to get people to think the way you think. When a popular figure you like on a media platform says this is bad, odds are the followers will agree with that, and because it is a “hot take” sometimes, it turns into more views and so on.

  2. I think it says alot about your skill as a blogger that with a single post, you can evoke more thoughts than I could fit into a novel-length manuscript. I’ve tried five times to come up with a comment to add to the thoughts of the other commenters here, but I got to much I have to get done this week. But I didn’t want to leave without at least saying how much I admired the post and the comments it generated.

    1. Thank you so much! If ever you want don’t hesitate to put your thoughts in your own post, I’m sure a lot of us would love to read them (I would…)

  3. We’re all different and connect to different shows for different reasons, and need to be considerate about that. The Yu-Gi-Oh! anime is special to me (for all of the flaws it has), and has been a show I have watched from my childhood, but that isn’t the same for others. Just as there are some anime that others mention that they have seen and I haven’t. Essentially, we all need to be more considerate – from the words I read here, it’s nice to see that many people are 🙂

  4. A part of them is just kids or consumer who watch only a handful animes which they believe is best and when they hear good things about some other one then they just try to attack it as they believe it’s wrong for any other to get much attention (these types of cases arise every now and then. For example when in TOG was airing, there were opinions that it is similar to HxH and few HxH fans just targets TOG due to that )

    (Rare but you will be bound to encounters few )Another part of them are just trolls who aim for any hype show . These types usually make such posts in order to attract negativity towards it and anyone who likes it. They are clever and do that intentionally . (Reasoning behind their action is just that they judges that anime to be bad or want it to be accepted as bad. So they took the job in their own hands to brings negativity to that particular anime)

    It’s rare but one part of such are also the ones who doesn’t actually have anything to do with anime but they have a problem with you.

    (Some people just have salty tongue so they can be sound as rude when it’s not actually the case. )

    1. I’m sure there are all sorts of people that take in this practice. It’s fairly common. In my experience I have mainly seen it aimed in genera«l and not at any particular person so it’s not likely to be personal and by people who watch a lot of anime and seem genuinely annoyed or even agree by public opinion. I guess they could all be trolling.

  5. I think you discuss it on your blog BECAUSE you don’t understand it – and you have the courage and curiosity to explore it in public, and to hand the question over to your community for discussion.

    My knee jerk answer is the people who take something that is just an opinion based on individual taste, “I like that show” or “I don’t really like that show” and browbeat and bully someone who expresses a differing opinion is that this is part of a bullying complex, the thing that makes trolls trolls. People who wouldn’t say boo to you in public because they are afraid of a normally confident human who can express an opinion – however mildly – these people get behind a keyboard and suddenly now they’re 9 foot tall and bullet proof and can spew out any amount of venom purely for the sake of releasing those toxins from their own soul. You can usually spot them because if you try to reason with them, they devolve into name calling and personal insults. It is essentially abusive behaviour at that point, and this is the Internet – I can walk away (so to speak).

    However, I have to say I don’t think all of those who do this in the anime community fall into that category. Making this an interesting discussion. What is the essential difference between someone like “us” who say, I don’t really like Overlord but hey, people do and they’re certainly entitled to watch whatever they want to watch. When I’m not at their house. 😛 And people who go ballistic over a difference in opinion. I think perhaps it is passion. The passion that keeps us watching, reading reviews, seeking out news and digging through the ‘net to find old shows someone mentioned that sounded good. Passion can sometimes lead you to act in ways you normally would not – because it transcends logic and good sense and often “polite” behaviour. And the anime community has a rather wide range of passion. There are those of “the old guard” who swam in dark waters full of pirates to find anime before it was available in their own (usually western) countries and I think some of them hold some resentment towards us “late comers” who only began to watch anime when it became legally available and nicely subbed on Crunchyroll. This includes me. I was curious about anime, but not enough so to dip my toes in the illegal waters. So, yeah, you’ve kind of got me there. (At the same time, on a personal note, I was creating S&M porn for the Internet – so I probably had enough borderline legality in my life at the time) So I can see how some people might think they have some sort of “moral” higher ground as a super fan if they’ve been around since before Netflix was making their own anime.

    That said – yes, I can understand why they might feel that way. Doesn’t mean I agree with them. It’s like how people who are morning people, who spring up at 5 am ready to go and have half a days work done before I rise at 10 am often think they have some sort of moral higher ground over me. Seriously, enough to be snarky to me about it. They never seem to consider that I rise about 10 am – because I was working through the night and until 4 am – while they were sleeping. We both work a full day. Why is one any “higher” or “better” than the other? And yet morning people do get judgy over it.

    So I think my very meandering point is that some people are just in love with being judgemental. As someone above commented, their only way to raise themselves up is to put someone else down. If it were not anime, they would find something else to be judgemental over. Like what time of day you wake up. Just to muddy the water, I’ll say that probably every one of us humans has a bit of that judgemental trait in us. I just reserve mine for so-called leaders who would rather let thousands of people die than make a politically unpopular decision. Oooo – see – I was insulting there.

    Human behavior. Endlessly fascinating.

    1. Of course you would have a thoroughly thought out answer for me. This is why I ask these questions, I am lucky enough to have met some really smart people through this blog. It could be some odd symptom of a deep rooted insecurity of some sort. I can see that. Especially if they feel awkward for their love of anime they might want to justify it as something more worthy than the common rabble…

      1. I think everyone to some extent desires some respect, even admiration, and perhaps even more so people who are marginalized for some reason like their taste in entertainment, or we kind of ostracize and punish people for being smart – at least as kids. So I can see some of meanness as someone trying to meet their own needs – however subconsciously.

  6. I have admittedly felt a bit hurt if someone either doesn’t like an anime I do or didn’t like a recommendation that I gave them. I think it does stem from the joy of sharing something cool with someone. However, I don’t feel it’s right to berate someone for not liking what you do or liking something that you don’t. I love having discussions about what worked and what didn’t for an anime. Nothing achieves perfection and thinking that something is is foolish. I think people just need to understand some people can overlook flaws of a series or disagree that the particular flaws exist.

    1. And there are certain ways of wording things that shut down any possible conversation. I didn’t like something because… is one way to say it and sounds great. This is stupid no one could possibly like this unless they are also stupid is another that makes it a lot harder to discuss anything further

  7. I once heard some YouTube anime guy talk about how people should just accept that Fate is garbage even if they like it, and I thought of that when I read this. He thought Fate was lousy because it’s convoluted and bizarre, fine. But a lot of people find value in it, and are they wrong about their own tastes? I agree with you here; people should be able to enjoy what they like without getting yelled at or shamed for it. I can’t say exactly why it happens, but I suspect people who try to shame others for liking or not liking whatever series, film, game etc. are either looking to stir up fights to get attention or have way too high an opinion of themselves.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t criticize anime or any other art we find lacking. Any work put out for public display is open to criticism, and even to harsh criticism if it’s called for. But what you’re talking about here is definitely different. No matter how much I hate something, I’d never say “nobody should like this” or anything like it. I’d be more interested in why people like it rather than simply declaring that they have terrible taste.

    I didn’t always think this way, but it’s a combination of maturity and losing the energy to care about what other people like and don’t like (more of the latter really.)

  8. Part of the problem comes from a (often misplaced) confidence that your taste in something is somehow more refined. I find that, generally speaking, a person’s ignorance of any given subject is inversely-proportionate to their self-confidence when talking about it; e.g, the person who knows nothing about politics is the one on Twitter loudly trumpeting their political opinions at anyone and everyone. The same goes for any artistic medium. It’s as discouraging as it is exhausting to deal with.

    That said, there’s definitely a large subset of anime watchers that only ever really watch the mainstream shows that get super hyped up each season, and gloss over the rest. That’s where most of the vitriol towards popular shows comes from, I think. Semi-normal human beings like you or I probably don’t have any beef with these people– it’s not our problem, even if it is slightly unfortunate that they’re missing out on some good stuff. However, People like that are the perfect low-hanging fruit for folks who can only stand tall if they’re knocking others down.

    And yeah, like you said, the same issue is prevalent in just about all other artistic mediums– I especially notice it with mainstream music. Look up any song from the past few centuries on YouTube and I bet you’ll be able to find some person in the top comments using the song in question as an excuse to belittle fans of modern music: “nobody listens to *real* music anymore; all musicians since Mozart are talentless hacks, etc etc etc.” Exhausting. Truly exhausting.

    1. Not inversely-proportionate, after all. Just proportionate. Dunno why I wrote it that way. It’s past my bedtime and I’m trying to sound smart… that’s never a good combination, lol.

    2. Well obviously my tastes are the only right ones but I’m not gonna get mad at people for not sharing them. Only one person can be the best… I hope no one takes this comment seriously.

  9. From my experience what I have hate with these gate keepers, in general they are relatively young or have very low self confidence.

    It’s often don’t have a lot of people to socialise with and watch a lot of YouTubers like Count Dankula or other shouty ones who declare their opinions as facts. Sometimes even as a joke but they cant see trough that because they are fairly unsociable. Because they are not that good at life, or gaming or have now great skill like sewing they kinda replace it with anime expertise..and mistake their taste as a skill. I think they have the same genetic make-up as people who burn down 5g towers because they read they caused Corona.

    If you have the same opinion as PewdiePie or IGN or whatever big names there are in the anime world of reviewing (I honestly know zero) I think it is easy to think your opinion is “right”.. That opinion is sadly is all they have and when if someone who can only talk about how great Overlord is and than meets me who says . “I found it overrated and rather dull, not my taste as I dislike that kind of main characters.. as I never feel tension from them ‘ I suddenly take their entire identity away from them. Even if I just state my opinion and love that they had so much fun with a show, if other people would follow my opinion.. they have nothing obviously they have to shove me off.

    It’s a bit sad as they place pride in something you can’t really in my opinion feel pride about. I stand by my opinions but I am never proud of them as they aren’t more important than that of others but if it’s all you have your pride has gotta go somewhere? I really want to hug and help those kind of people make them feel loved..but 9 out of 10 times those semi gatekeepers can only talk about Overlord or Naruto or whatever it is they defend (or attack) so ferociously. In a way it’s kind of beautiful they are that passionate about something..I just wished they would have something to be passionate about that is closer to them.

    I also think thats why it’s not common among bloggers… we already have our blog to be proud and passionate about.. our community even. I know even if people disagree with me, they can appreciate a post I make. Or like the voice in my content.. or are at least happy I tried something.

  10. I respect your like to have an interest in whatever show you like please respect mine to respect my interest to like whatever show i like same principle goes for anything in life in general live and let live to each their own good article you written.


  11. That was a good post. If I do disagree on something, I will do so civilly if I decided to comment. There are times when I’m surprised when I see a negative review like one time I saw someone not like Haibane Renmei and was legitimately shocked. I didn’t argue with them, but was honest about me really liking that anime for example. I just hope that I haven’t come off as judgmental to others.

    1. I always thought about it like people getting genuinely mad because they disagree with your favourite colour….

  12. It’s odd, isn’t it? I never got the urge some people have to start fights over this stuff. Even someone like me who tries to be generally positive with it is still going to find things they dislike, and that’s fine. Outside reviews, I just tend to not comment on dislikes unless it’s relevant to a question or conversation. Even then though, I don’t see the need to begrudge people their tastes. When confronted about shows I like, I tend to stick with something like ‘well, I like this because x, y, z. If you dont agree, that’s cool though. Different strokes and all that.’

  13. Even during AMQ sessions I get one of my anime to show up and other players will go, “You finished Brave Beats?!” (as an example – that’s the one that stands out in my mind because I convinced Scott to add it to his PTW that way) By the by, I watched Brave Beats when it was airing because they treat the dance battle stuff like magical girl stuff…(also, I found Choreo kinda hot, but that’s a secret between you and me). Also, describe /anything/ in the context of magical girls, bishonen and/or superheroes and I will want in on it if I haven’t a) heard of it and chosen if I should add it to my list (if my list isn’t already out of control…) or b) dropped it – that’s how I get the really obscure stuff on my list.

    Where passionate people gather for one subject, you’re bound to gather people who start trashing each other’s so-called “bad taste”, but because anime was built on what was supposedly a solitary hobby, anime fans get really nasty about it…although it can cycle the other way and people can get self-deprecative about it too.

    1. I understand it a bit better in a personal context – although it’s still a bit odd. It’s when it’s aimed at no one and everyone that it gets weird for me.

  14. It’s mindblowing isn’t it? It has a lot to do with respect I think. I’ve often said this, but I always respect another’s feelings towards something. If someone really loves something that I absolutely hate, I would never go on a rampage trying to convince them otherwise. Sure, I might say something like, sorry this one wasn’t for me, but that’s about the limit. The other way around makes even less sense. I love Sword Art Online for instance, an anime that has a lot of hate, but I have definitely seen posts convincing other people to stay away from it. Why? I mean…that you don’t like it, that’s okay. But there are also people that might enjoy it, and you are keeping them away from it. So in the end, I just hope people will understand that with any medium, be it anime, books, movies or whatever, there will always be differing opinions. Just respect that and let it go😊

    1. I get if someone is reviewing a show and they describe why they didn’t like it. That’s critique and it makes sense. But when you just blindly go on a general spree not even aimed at anyone in particular, it’s sort of weird.

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