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Otaku Diaries Part 6: The Otaku post for people who hate Otaku.

December 7, 2009

#0096
You cannot set foot in a convention without being ashamed of fandom.

This is sort of a follow up post to the Otaku! Threat or Menace? article. However, this time around we delve a little deeper into those little pieces of fandom make you just that much more otaku. And still another post will follow this one soon about that question of just what do otaku think of fandom past and present and where is it all headed. But here you will see that anime is this creature that affects people in different ways and has a draw for people that runs both shallow and deep. And amidst all that is the wonder how the community gets along at all!

I see more and more a very disturbing attitude among anime and manga fans. This idea that they are “too good to be anime and manga fans.” The idea that them and maybe a few other people are above the hoi polloi with their horrible taste, bad manners, and overall immaturity that makes people have a bad impression of the fandom. The problem is that so many fans now a days have this feeling it means at least some of them are wrong. Either the majority of anime fans are not as bad as they think or some of the people are that part of the problem see themselves above. We are going to try to see how prevalent and pervasive this feeling is in our participants.

#0039
I don’t really feel disgust towards fellow fans because I did the same things they’re doing. I can just hope that they try to turn themselves around as I’m slowly doing.

#0016
It generally goes along with adding ‘-chan’ to everyone’s name and asking boys to kiss each other.

#0094
Sports fans can be just as sad as anime fans. I just happen to be an anime fan so shitty anime fans piss me off more. I mean there are a laundry list of reasons to be proud of anime fandom and to be ashamed.

So, the sexy statistics. You might assume that anime fandom is made up of horrible people with sickly fetishes seeing how some people talk on the Internet. But overall most people had rather mundane tastes. Guys were unsurprisingly into large breasts and oral sex. In fact that was so mundane and ubiquitous we did not bother tracking it. The most common fetishes were uniforms and glasses which were popular with both sexes. We did have 4 self confessed lolicons, 2 people into futanari, and 2 people who said they preferred 2-D girls to real ones. But they were mostly the same people. So while there were people that get much negative attention they were in the minority. I was surprised that women went into very little detail about their fetishes in anime. Also there were only 2 women who said that she was into yaoi in the fetishes question despite the fact that several women said they were fujoshi. I had always assumed that we reached the point were women were just as comfortable talking about what turns them on as much as men but that might not be as true as I thought.

Okay, can I just say that large chests and oral sex are not fetishes. They mean you are a dude. It would be a fetish if you DIDN’T like those things, thus why we listed flat chests. The only real knowledge gained from this question was that most people are still run of the mill when it comes to their fetishes. Anime otaku aren’t just made up of a bunch of sexual deviants. But just the same with only a sampling for 40 people, prominent tastes like lolicon stand out with about a 10% cut. I, too, was blown away by the lack of yaoi mentions. I am not even sure why it happened because plenty of people mentioned yuri, so it’s not as if people just overlooked these things. However, with our sample of females being very low (only 11 participants) perhaps it just wasn’t large enough to show a more open manner with regards to sexual proclivities.

#0015
. . . being a yaoi fan I often feel quite ashamed of my fandom. I know that yaoi isn’t exactly high art, it’s a pandering genre meant to be instantly gratifying, and so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t attract the most intelligent people. Still, I wish that most young yaoi fans weren’t quite so loud and obnoxious, it really makes the rest of us look bad.

#0079
If I’m ashamed of any sort of fan, it’s the fans who hate what they don’t like with a passion equal to how they like what they like.

#0019
The behavior of other fans tends to irritate me . . . and it’s only recently that I realized that the “at least I’m not a fucking loser like THOSE PEOPLE!” defense is just a defense mechanism that redraws the line a lot. I’m so far over the line of normalcy without ever having crossed the line and become “one of those people” that the line I drew may as well have been meaningless.

Almost everyone who took the survey felt that other people in fandom disgusted them at some point but only a third of the people surveyed ever felt any disgust with themselves. These results can be used to paint two different pictures. The first is there is this small group of anime fandom that gives everyone else a bad name. The second is that there is circular finger pointing at everyone else who they think is the problem. The fact of the matter is both are true. There are people who are just outright embarrassing fans. Only the most lenient in the survey did not bring up people behaving badly at cons. The other problem is best summed up with “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” There are lots of fans who are overall good fans but have distinctly nasty habits. They see the bad habits of their peers but gloss over or ignore their own faults.

#0040
I’m a crusader against 4-chan culture. It’s disgustingly base and I’m a slave to the good and beautiful.

Most telling is that almost all fans were ashamed of other fans, but most not of themselves. So either most participants were upholding their high ideals of fandom or people don’t always see themselves as they actually are. The “it’s not me, it’s them” defense is what us and most other people probably think off the bat. However, that idea contrasts with much of the other answers we’ve gotten for other questions in the survey. People have been rather open about a myriad of personal things. Is it possible there is a disconnect when it comes to their fandom? Are people so caught up in it (otaku afterall) that they can’t really take a step back to evaluate that part of their lives? Or is it that other common happening of a few ruining this for the many?

#0014
Helped me be a better person? Find solace in a shared experience? Provided a comforting, reassuring presence when all around is chaos? . . . Been an inspiration helping me to discover new ways of seeing and thinking? Absolutely.

#0060
I don’t think there are too many good life lessons in anime. Sure, shooting a woman after sleeping with her may work for Golgo 13 but I’m thinking I just can’t pull it off in quite the same way.

Both the internet and cons have similar situations that become out of hand and can cast a shadow on anime fandom as a whole, and have cast a shadow as the opinions here express, which has many people fed-up. Biggest problem, as I see it, it too much information syndrome. And screaming it at the top of your lungs to anyone and everyone who is even remotely involved in your hobby. In a day and age where everyone is comfortable talking about anything, people just wish you wouldn’t. This coupled with, how many participants put it, the younger fans running wild in any anime meet up setting is making fellow fans cringe. But at the very same time, the internet and conventions is what has brought so many fans together. It even made doing this survey possible and as many people mentioned it allowed them to finally connect with others. More than a few people met friends and significant others through this very hobby. And as much as everyone complained about the anime community, almost everyone on the survey wants to continue to be apart of it. Just look at how many fans go one step further and create fan works or write about anime.

Overall I think this trend of anime and manga fans who hate anime and manga partially comes from this idea that people are surrounded by nothing but vile idiots. They enjoy anime and manga but see it as a fandom filled with people everyone should avoid. They get this attitude that they are above such things so they are thereby separated from what they dislike in fandom. But the answer is not to separate yourself from the community. It is to see the value it what makes anime and manga fandom great and and trying to encourage what is wonderful and productive anime being an otaku.

#0029
. . . it has provided a way for people in high school to stereotype me, which makes it hard for me to break through barriers and befriend new people. Pretty much I am know as the “anime kid,” so it takes some effort to convince other kids that I’m a normal, rather friendly person, and not some sort of bumbling social reject.

#0030
I wouldn’t be friends with nearly as many people and it kind of gives me a sense of belonging.

Despite what people said about hating their fellow fans I think the evidence points to people not being a hostile as they might let on at times. 80% of the participants had tried to learn Japanese at some point. There seemed to be a genuine interest in learning about Japanese culture and the Japanese language. A good deal of the people had contributed to some sort of activity for the anime community to enjoy be it a blog, podcast, fanzine, AMV, fan fiction, or fan art. And most everyone else who did not do one of those at least partook in the efforts of someone else who did.

What I really took away from this part of the survey is a desire that everyone wants to be a better fan. Everyone recognizes bad behavior so it is only another step to seeing it, and correcting it, within ourselves. And more positively is that people want to be apart of their hobby, anime fans maybe more than others. With few means to actually communicate with or becoming involves in the creative process of anime, fans are looking to connect themselves in different ways, some fun and some thoughtful (some a little of both). Anime fandom has a huge, and vocal, community and people want to be apart of it even if there are deterrents to it.

As much as they complained about hating other fans they usually had kind words about the people they had connected to. Anime fans want to make connections to their fellow fans and often do. There was rumbling of displeasure with their fellows in most peoples surveys but they were also able to talk about what they liked and who they felt exemplify what had drawn them and kept them in the fandom. The people who took the time to fill out this massive survey obviously cared enough about anime fandom to make their voices heard and that if nothing else is a good sign of people who still care.

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6 comments

  1. [...] exercise | Tags: fandom, how fans see other fans, otaku diaries, reverse thieves This month, the Otaku Diaries look at possibly their most interesting topics yet: how anime fans perceive anime fans, the idea of [...]


  2. The “it’s not me it’s them” argument is always a problem in any group subject to stereotypes, especially when it comes to young people. (The common stereotypes about high schoolers often provoke a similar reaction.)

    My two cents: Anime fandom is generally made up of somewhat normal people who have an unusually strong obsession with Japanese culture. However, it tends to attract people who are a little more on the awkward side of the social scale, so at conventions and anime club meetings we end up meeting a lot of people who can just barely hold an engaging conversation, even when discussing a common interest like Japanese cartoons.

    It’s that aggregating of so many people who are slightly less than proficient at social interaction that makes people feel like the whole of fandom is made up of social rejects. Am I any better than the average fan? I’d like to say yes, but as you say in this article, it’s difficult to make that call about one’s self.


  3. I don’t think it’s as bad as you present here, not all fans are ashamed of enjoying something just because a few people behave badly. It’s hard to gauge people’s general attitudes too. As I proved in a comment elsewhere, some fans are very reactionary and not too good at thinking before communicating, so if you ask, ‘who bothers you,’ there could be a very long response, but the person being questioned may not feel this way in general.

    “I see more and more a very disturbing attitude among anime and manga fans.” -this statement is the same sort of attitude that you are talking about in the statement. There is also a message throughout the article about how fans should be more open-minded about other fans, but it is combined with a message and statistics that could be interpreted as, “Not all fans are the bad kind of fan” which isn’t quite an open-minded idea. I’m sorry to have over-reacted over a misinterpretation of the article before, but some of the conflicting statements like this leaves me confused about what your overall observation is. I think it’s very important to know whether or not you would consider yourselves part of the fandom you talk about in the article as well, or if there is a possibility that the survey and article puts you in a position above the fandom as you spoke of.


  4. @Jade

    There is the old saying that, “I against my brother; my brother and I against my cousin; I, my brother, and my cousin against the stranger.” The implication being that against an outside threat people stand together but internally they bicker without someone to be unified against. I would also like to believe that it means that like brothers although they might fight there is still a strong bond and love between them.

    Maybe it simply comes down to what social circles in fandom we run in. I often see old school fans complaining that new fans refuse to give old shows a chance. I see moe fans who think that everyone else is attacking them and respond in kind. I see places like Colony Drop that think everyone is fandom is a huge joke. I see people constantly crying that things would be better if we could just kick group X out of fandom once and for all. I see it as this constant trend. But at times people find it easier to say what they hate and why more than why they like the things they do.

    However, the surveys did represent this as well. 37 of 40 people said there were people in fandom who disgusted them at some point. And when people did talk about what disgusted them they were quite verbose. I am sure if we had a question in which we asked “Do you ever feel proud of other fans?” they would be verbose but that is hindsight. The fact remains that there was a wide amount they had to say that was negative. And therefore we reflected that in our article.

    I’d like to point out that to have these sorts of strong feelings implies a great bond people have with fandom. As does the fact that almost everyone on the survey has tried to learn Japanese at some point and that nearly everyone participates in a fan work. Our overall conclusion was that while people felt strongly against bad behavior, everyone still wants to be apart of something and be connected to their fellows.

    I think the fact is that there are both feelings. They are not contradictory. You can be proud and supportive of something or someone and still have issues and anger towards them. Feelings are not light switches with on and off attached to them but complex and ever shifting pictures with multiple layers all blending into each other.

    – Hisui & Narutaki


  5. I think context has a lot to do with it. I’ve often been proud of people’s actions when I could understand them, but never when I couldn’t. Conversely, it’s easy to be outraged when you can’t understand what would possess someone to do something.


  6. This is one of the most interesting otaku diaries posts yet. I could say a lot about my own feelings on the subject, but I should have just finished filing out the otaku diaries form that I forgot about until the deadline was up >_>

    One thing that I have started to notice is a lot of people avoiding as much otaku culture or appreciation for anything Japanese as possible. They assume that any further interest in Japanese culture is because the person is trying to “be all anime” or something. There is a disdain for doing anything related to the hobby besides just watching, reading. All discussion should be kept online, and giving out any indication of having an interest in anime in the real world is considered a horrible, horrible thing. There is a strong feeling of superiority over other anime fans. This person has a feeling of superiority due his interest being “genuine” while the average fan’s reason to like anime is not. Most of this I have observed on 4chan, but I see traces of it elsewhere as well. What results is people robbing themselves of enjoyment so as not to be seen as the kind of anime fan that they hate. In the end, I feel they are way more obnoxious than the narutards and fangirls that they so despise.

    Of course, this is an extreme case. I doubt any of the people taking this survey feel this strongly. Like I said, it is mostly a 4chan thing where being obnoxious and bitter and part of the fun.

    Scott talks about this a bit here (http://animealmanac.com/2008/03/19/otakus-war-on-otaku-why-the-world-doesnt-actually-hate-us/). In fact, I first really got involved with the blogoshpere because I was researching this subject and found that post and emailed Scott about it. I learned about twitter, etc, etc.



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