There are a few general laments that we Otaku always go to. You know, about how misunderstood we are or how much negativity there is. However, in my experience, the negativity is often coming from inside the house!

Sure, I still get the occasional incredulous look followed by “what, you watch cartoons?” from people who discover my hobby. But when I say “oh yeah, they are amazing you should try it” I usually get, maybe I should, or I don’t know, what do you recommend?, in response.

The truly aggressive stuff, strangers (when I’m lucky) calling me stupid for my tastes or calling any specific anime trash. That stuff almost always comes from self-identifying anime fans. There are some exceptions but by and large not that many.

cause we are a passionate lot!

There was a point last year (when people might have been stuck at home and have had arguably too much time for social media) when I couldn’t open Twitter or Discord without seeing someone with Otaku in their bio gratuitously ranting against at least one show I happen to be enjoying, or ranting against other fans at least.

I have even seen anime fans go from bemoaning how negative the community is to trashing a show and insinuating unflattering stuff about the fans of the show, in the same thread. Like only one or two responses down. That’s some impressive acrobatics!

Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense that anime fans would be the ones to criticize specific anime or other anime fans. After all, they are the ones that are most familiar with it. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about the pan flute community for instance. But that’s in no small part because I have nothing to say about it at all.

But just because I can explain the cause of something, doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. I know where UTIs come from… What I’m saying is that we should be able to criticize anime, even for personal deeply subjective reasons that won’t apply to a wide audience, all we want. It’s o.k. to dislike an anime. It doesn’t make you a fake fan or someone who doesn’t understand or whatever. There are millions of titles out there. I figure, anyone even capable of having preferences, isn’t going to like them all.

we can try!

But just because I don’t like a show, doesn’t make it trash, and it certainly doesn’t entitle me to make any hurtful assumptions about the fans of that show. Sure we can call disruptive or plain old bad behaviour out if we actually have the energy for it. But I don’t think liking an anime series falls into that category. Unless it’s Mayoiga of course… I’ve got to stop that!

So far I’m pretty sure I’m not saying anything revolutionary. I don’t blame any of you that dropped the post a few paragraphs ago. These are rather self-evident platitudes. The more interesting part comes into the why do we do that. I know we are probably not the only community that turns on itself but this is the community I am a part of and care about, so this is the one I want to look at.

I keep wanting to say, the anime community used to be much more welcoming. But I’m actually basing that on my personal experience and really until I started my blog, for me the anime community was like 4 people, 3 of which were good friends and one I was dating. So yeah, my 3 good friends and a partner with vested interest were more welcoming than thousands of strangers. Duh! That doesn’t mean anything at all changed within the community, my horizons just got bigger.

For all I know, had I actually ventured out to social events I would have met the exact same types of folks that seem to be constantly unhappy now. In fact, if I am completely honest, one of those friends was kind of a troll. They were just nice to me.

thank you!

But I think what is actually wearing on me is the slowly but steadily increasing pessimism I’m starting to see. Crunchyroll announces a collaboration with Webtoons for Crunchy-produced webtoon-based anime and before any of them even aired there were soooooo many people calling it the worst decision ever, a travesty, yet another marker in the downfall of all things anime. For the record, I watched all three shows and enjoyed them all to varying degrees. They weren’t masterpieces but certainly, all compare decently with past anime I have seen. But that’s not the point. Even if they had been the worst, they hadn’t even been produced yet, much less aired.

American companies start to distribute manga and anime and even produce some. People are mad about Western influence on the media. It’s certainly going to destroy everything good about it. A Japanese company buys Crunchyroll, people are still mad about it (sometimes the same people). It’s certainly going to destroy everything good about anime…

If we’re not going to do anything productive to make a situation better, or we simply can’t, how about we actually get an idea of what a situation is before we get really angry about it. Cause honestly, I’m starting to feel like anime is doomed. And I don’t know why. I keep seeing amazing new series coming out but there are so many people assuring me that those series are actually garbage and also that the industry as a whole is garbage. And those are the fans. Hate to see what the detractors say.

don’t even try to imagine it

Now, I’m obviously not going to stop being an anime cheerleader just because of that. Not with so many amazing series coming out and so many incredible older shows I still have to discover. It’s a medium that still has a lot to teach me.

But I really want to share that joy with my fellow anime fans and sometimes I don’t know how. I occasionally feel like anime fans just don’t like anime and it’s a little sad.

Maybe I can start a silly little tag or something. Actually, I have an idea. this is my new tag. Go to your MAL or AniList or Excel, or brain, whatever you use to keep track of your anime. Pick the 5 shows you personally rated the lowest (but still remember) and say something nice about them.

I’ll go first:

  • Mayoiga – The Lost Village: Big surprise, right! I really like those character designs and the premise is awesome!
  • Kite: This anime thought me a lot about myself, specifically about what I don’t like…
  • DRAMAtical Murder: The source material was bomb! In fact, I’mma gonna replay it!
  • King’s Game: It might not have been on purpose, but I did get a lot of good laughs!
  • Cinderella Nine: It was fun collabing with Matt.

See even bad anime have something going for them! And as far as I’m concerned, any one of those would have been exponentially worse if I had to watch a live-action version! So now I remember that I just like anime in general.

I’m not actually going to tag anyone because I’ll get sad if no one wants to play with me. However, I do encourage you to try this, even just as a mental exercise. I think it will make us all feel better.

And if you do write a post about it you rock and I thank you! Sharing that good feeling is even better! You don’t need to link to me or anything. This one is just to spread the anime love around.

41 thoughts

  1. Hmm…don’t think I have enough for a post, but I’ll try:
    – Vampire Holmes: At least the premise was good enough to draw me in. (Everything else about it was terrible and I would rather keep it forcibly scrubbed from my brain.)
    – Heybot: At least it was…creative(?) (I don’t think that’s the right word for it…)
    – Mahou Shoujo Taisen: At least it had lots of unique characters and mascots…Too many for its short runtime, in fact.
    – Kiitarou’s Youkai Picture Diary: Nobunaga no Shinobi told me it actually wasn’t that terrible to do a war plot in a TV short, so…maybe it doesn’t count.
    – Hand Shakers: Ooh, pretty colours…
    Bonus:
    – Seisen Cerberus: Pretty colours x2 (?) (This anime is another one I’ve scrubbed from my memory.)

    1. I had never heard of Vampire Holmes and now I’m really sad to hear it’s awful. I wish I could say my favourite show was called Vampire Holmes.

      1. It’s rated really low no matter where you look (27% or 28% on AL, 3.4 out of 10 on MAL and 1 star on Anime Planet as of the time of checking), so it’s probably for the better that you don’t know about it…

  2. By first playing along…

    -Hetalia: Well… I learned a little bit about history,mostly spurring to research it myself for clarification. Also that following trends based on fanart isn’t always the best idea.
    -Netsuzou Trap: At least the female character designs were cute, and it delivered on fanservice.
    -Itou Junji Collection: It gave me a reason to call up my brother and check-in on his most recent vinyl acquisitions. Also made me appreciate other horror anime a lot more.
    -Zetsuai 1998: The atmosphere was definitely there, and the animation itself was fairly solid given the time and the themes of the piece!
    -Room Mate: It tried something unique which is better then not trying at all.

    I feel like a lot of anime fans who slowly shift into watching anime but hating it are the ones that don’t know how to regulate their watching habits. They seem to watch anime by quantity not quality, and when you watch 6 shows in a row that aren’t ‘high quality’ you’re bound to get bitter about that. Those fans also seem to be the type to ignore genre tags, so they watch a lot of stuff that they don’t like just to dunk on it later. It’s kinda a vicious cycle.

    I found myself in a similar position recently. I wasn’t as excited for the new season as I thought, and therefore I haven’t started anything from it. I was disappointed by a few series and how they ended from Winter 2021. It made me resentful in the initial draft about anime from that season that I found my reviews to be more negative then positive, despite me actually really enjoying it. Sometimes, it’s better to take a couple steps back and ease off something instead of consuming so much you grow to hate it.

    1. I feel the Room Mate one. I have watched many an anime I wasn’t feeling because it was trying something new…
      You may be on to something. That makes sense, especially for people who have a more developed sense for the art.

  3. I thought a lot about this post today and I think this is all result of the ones being closest to the material you enjoy hurting you more? I mean, it’s really easy to dismiss an opinion from someone who isn’t in the general anime fandom, right? They can watch an anime series or film out of context and it kind of bounces off more. People in the community who have some anime knowledge can add more pain and legitimacy to their arguments or opinions which is why it can hurt more. The biggest enemy of an anime fan can easily be other anime fans because there is so much variety and thought in the culture of being a fan. Maybe that is something to remember when faced with negative opinions again because our opinions are our own.

    Anyway, I don’t really want to think about a list of the top shows I dislike. I have had a hard enough time making a top list of shows that I like and I don’t want to think about negative opinions.

  4. Another incredible post, as always <3
    Least five favourite…
    That is a little difficult, since I can't remember the names of the bad ones I never finished.
    Well, here are my least five favourite that I actually finished:

    Count of Monte Cristo – had incredible, trippy and gorgeous animation
    Sword Art Online – an interesting and mind-bending first episode. I love the idea behind it
    Kino's Journey- interesting concepts, and some unforgettable moments
    Evangelion- (I didn't finish) some great action sequences
    Switch Girl!!- Beautiful first episode! Watching the heroine change between perfection and chibi slob was adorable

    1. Those are some really good compliments! I wish I had liked Monte Cristo more than I did, it really did look so unique

  5. Shows I ranked the lowest, or would have ranked the lowest had I still ranked anime when they came out… I probably forgot about them. There’s a good candidate: a ~5 min short, a harem comedy where the male protagonist turned into a cat. I liked the concept… but not the execution. It became very clear very quickly that something in the production went wrong, so eventually they just didn’t bother animating an episode and aired live action footage of goats doing goat things, and pretending the haremettes had turned into goats for this episode, by having the voice actresses voice the goats. I appreciated this actually. It was also when I dropped the show; but it was a creative way of telling me we don’t care so you don’t have to either. If they hadn’t done the episode I might have forgotten the anime completely by now. That was definitely memorable. Unfortunately, the name wasn’t. I don’t remember what the show was called.

    The thing is this: the shows that annoyed me or made me mad or any such thing were still good enough to get a reaction. The show’s I’d talk about in negative terms are not the shows I ranked the lowest. The shows I ranked the lowest are the ones in that bottom less pit of indifference. Remembering them is a chore. They had nothing going for them, and so I evicted them from my mental space. The show with which I opened this reply was one such show but… It did a memorable thing, and thus I still remember it (though not its name).

    I could definitely say nice things about all the shows from which you pulled screenshots for this post… except for the last one, and that’s because I can’t figure what show it is, and it drives me nuts, because I’m positive I’ve seen it (or at least part of it), and I *think* I liked it, too.

    1. “Unfortunately, the name wasn’t. I don’t remember what the show was called.”

      Nora, Princess and Stray Cat. Good lord, I’d completely forgotten about that thing.

      1. Oh, dear god, yes – that was the name (Nora Neko Heart). Forgetting is a skill that lets us live day by day. Nobody even bothers to diss this show.

      1. Oh, no wonder I didn’t get that; I didn’t actually watch Gun Gale. Also, apparently I was only glancing at the next-to-last screenshot apparently: I thought it was Irasekai Picnic, but it’s obviously not, so I don’t know what that is, either (still looks familiar, but in a way they all do – even unfamiliar ones).

        As for the others:

        Mikagura Gakuen – Zvezda – A Place Further than the Universe.

        Only 3/5, actually, when I thought I had 4/5. I need to practise more.

          1. I had half-a hunch it might be something like that – Shakugan no Shana, or Index. Another one I haven’t ever seen (only tried the odd episode or two of the original and seen some episodes of Index).

            For what it’s worth, I really do like the character designs of the Railgun franchise.

  6. Yeah, some people are so critical of anime it makes me wonder why they even bother watching it. Then again, I’ve also watched my brother who used to be a massive cinephile become more and more critical of modern movies the older he gets. He used to be the first person I went to for movie recommendations, and now I can’t remember a single new movie he’s liked that’s come out in the last fifteen years. I suppose some people just get like that after a while, where everything has a ton of things wrong with it and nothing excites them anymore.

    Saying nice things about my bottom five anime, hmm. I think I can do that!

    Variable Geo – some of the fights were actually pretty good for a 90s anime
    The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato – the Disappearance arc itself was quite good; I’d actually consider watching that again someday and just skipping the rest of the show
    Rune Soldier – I did like Merel at least; the few episodes I enjoyed were mostly the ones that had her as a focus character
    Comet Lucifer – I think I was the only person on the internet who actually liked the dancing vegetables scene
    The Perfect Insider – Still has one of my favorite OP sequences

    1. I have never heard of Comet Lucifer before but that’s quite the title! The mention of dancing vegetables kind of makes me want to see it now

  7. I feel you on this. A lot of content online is extremely negative, regardless of what it is about. It’s why I don’t like to write negative reviews unless it’s something I feel very strongly about (and even then…) A lot of anime out there is not for me, but I don’t have a problem with someone who has a different opinion. As long as they don’t hate on everything that’s popular just for clickbait.

    I don’t rate shows on MAL anymore (and haven’t used it in forever) but here’s my bottom five that I can think of off the top of my head:

    Akame ga Kill – the animation was solid. OP was fun in a butt-rock sort of way

    Lord El Melloi Case Files: Doing a Sherlock Holmes-esque story in the Fate universe is an interesting concept, even if the execution left a lot to be desired

    Deca-DENCE: That first episode was admittedly pretty bomb

    Angel Beats: The music was really pretty and I love the OP

    Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: It had… Alec Baldwin? Okay, I need to get back to you on this one 😛

  8. Lol I was seriously toying with posting something on this same topic last week. I love anime but man oh man do some fans have very strong and angry opinions. At least it seems that way on Twitter.

    I’ll bite on the lowest rated shows thing.

    .hack//SIGN: Gorgeous soundtrack that largely shaped my positive opinions in general about anime. Arguably the first (palatable) character development-driven show that wasn’t accompanied with excessive gore.

    A Certain Magical Index II: Great animation and it sticks to a solid aesthetic.

    Magical Sempai: Large contributor to meme templates

    Helpful Fox Senko-san: Highlights the excessive toll grind culture and overworking yourself takes on mental and emotional health.

  9. I’ve noticed the same thing, and I’ve had a similar reaction. There were some sites I used to read not just because I “had” to, but because I wanted to. Unless it turned into an exercise of seeing how they phrased their hatred for several series I was watching.

    I mean, seriously, the phrase “dumpster fire” tells me nothing about why they didn’t like it.

    You’re right when you say that you’re more aware of it, and it’s likely been there. I remember the USENET days, and the things I see now feel a lot like the same kind of thing.

    There is some good news, though, and it’s that sites like yours offer a wonderful alternative. I actually feel my guard drop when I open your site in a browser. It reminds me of how exhausting it is running with shields up all the time!

    I’ll see what I can do about listing my bottom five shows, but that means I have to say something nice about School Days. But that’s at least part of the point of the exercise!

    What’s interesting to me is that as I start to think about it, more than one positive comes to mind. Hmmm…

    1. Honestly, School Days was an amazing game… the adaptation kind of completely missed the point sadly

  10. I Iove your sentiment here: I think it’s society and social media in general that has poisoned a lot of different communities that were maybe less main stream a decade or two ago.

    I feel like social media has done weird things to us socially (myself very much included) where we are all much more social but we’re much less socialable.

    Our digital avatars have become our identities to an extent and any sort of slight is taken too personally and must be stamped out with an insane vigor. I don’t know I’m rambling but I have seen exactly what you mean in other online communities the past decade or so.

    I too have often wondered if it’s always been that way and I’m just growing more sensitive or disenfranchised or if it seems to be growing worse. I think it’s both. Sorry for ranting! Stay safe!

  11. Thank you for writing this! I don’t usually get into the more vocal areas of the anime community but I’m well acquainted with this kind of salt for games. I think it’s rather sad and bemusing… It’s very easy to forget within a depersonalised react first, moderate later culture that all these works are the result of someone’s effort. Even ‘bad’ works (and of course that’s going to be very subjective) have people behind them and so I want to at the very least try to appreciate that fact and find something positive about it! Anyway, thanks for the food for thought and great tag idea – I think I’ll try to write down some of my thoughts in a post later!

  12. I don’t blog, and as a football fan I easily tune out knee-jerk negativity, when I don’t embrace its absurdity. But I appreciate the sentiment regardless, so let me join you in spirit:

    – Fate/Stay Night (2006) had some kick-ass music.

    – Psycho-Pass 2 reminded me just how good Psycho-Pass 1 was.

    – Mahouka made it possible for me to drop shows I don’t like.

    – Clannad taught me that Key’s bug-eyes trigger my gag reflex.

    – Akame ga Kill was nice enough to kill off half its characters.

    1. Oh good one, I haven’t seen Psycho Pass 3 but I can say the same thing about Psycho Pass 3. The first PP was awesome!

  13. Firstly, what you are discussing here is not a bunch of “platitudes” (how about being kinder to yourself?) but an important and necessary reminder that it’s perfectly okay to dislike something and argue your case for why you dislike it, but it’s something else altogether to launch personal attacks on people because they either disagree with you and/or like something you don’t. Nothing platitudinous about that at all.

    Secondly, I think a trap we all fall into from time to time is to think the world is going to hell in a handbasket because we’ve noticed something particularly irksome about the world that really bothers us – and the more it bothers us, the more pervasive it seems. I mean, yeah, there are the people who just rubbish stuff for the sake of doing so, either in order to generate controversy or else draw attention to themselves. But I suspect that a) these people are in the minority and b) we only notice them because they are 1) loud and 2) we ourselves are heavily invested in the subject or activity in which they are active. But, yo know – I also suspect that their reach and influence is nowhere near as big as they (and we) think it is. I suspect most anime fans never hear their complaints because they don’t read anime blogs or check out anime social media; they just consume the anime they like, and talk to their friends who do likewise and get word of mouth recommendations through their personal networks. In fact, I used to be one of them (and, from your post, I suspect you did, too). I have been watching anime for a looooong time, Irina (I am very old!) – and I never encountered any of these types until I started writing my own blog posts about anime. Before that – well, I didn’t know many people who liked anime, I kinda just did my own exploring and that way met other people who did. I truly think that’s how it goes for most people!

    And the truth is, this kind of phenomenon is nothing new. For example, did you know the word “fiasco” comes from the world of opera? When opera was at its height as a form of popular entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were organised groups – gangs, really – whose sole purpose was to disrupt performances (usually the opening night of an opera by a famous composer) in order of cause a “fiasco”: a disruption so severe it closed down the production to either suspend or shut down altogether. Sometimes it even ended in a riot! Never mind that a fiasco could cost a composer their career – all they cared about was the sense of power and superiority they derived from causing a disruption.

    In other words, the people who delighted in causing a “fiasco” a century ago were just the Belle Époque equivalent of the people you write about in your post.

    So don’t be sad or despondent. These people are a nuisance and unpleasant and can every now and then do some real damage. But in the wider scheme of things, I suspect their effect is ephemeral…so long as we avoid the trap of getting sucked into their whirlpool and thinking that their little vortex is the whole world!

    Congrats on another great post! 🙂

    1. I was pretty bummed out when I wrote this but I bounced back. It was over a month ago.. Thank you so much for cheering me up though, now I can look back on this comment next time I’m bummed out. Also I get to add to my random opera facts, that’s a huge win.

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