Discussion and Frustration

I get frustrated from time to time looking at some of the things other anime fans complain and argue about. I feel like, if one tenth of this kind of energy was put into having a worthwhile discussion about issues that can affect our understanding of this medium and how we engage with other fans who enjoy it, we’d be closer to being a more cohesive community.

A lot of arguing goes on within the anime community. A lot of arguing goes on within the anime community. It’s difficult to keep track of it all, primarily because most of it is trivial. A lot of energy is wasted on these trivial arguments. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating to see so much go into stupid things instead of the real issues, issues that will determine the future course of this fandom. It’s frustrating to know that, while some of us are making an effort to reach an understanding about some things in this medium called anime that we all love (And remember that. Whether I love Strike Witches or he loves Redline, or she loves Gravitation, we all love anime), these people are all willing and content to fling crap at each other and pretend they’re talking about a real issue.

Even when the issues are discussed, however, there’s no effort to meet in the middle. Everyone is just content to shout from their position and completely dismiss anybody who attempts to bring a different viewpoint into the discussion. In a way, it’s nice that some kind of discussion is occurring, but at the same time, no real, constructive, progressive discussion is occurring. Everyone just repeats their own talking points until somebody gets tired or bored and stops responding.

Most of the time, however, it doesn’t even reach that point, because people are too busy getting their hands dirty slinging mud at each other over things like Nyotaika!! Sekai no Dokusaisha Retsuden (An artbook depicting world dictators, past and present, as moé girls). It’s a waste of everyone’s time and energy. In a month, this will no longer be an issue, but things like moé and loli still will be, and we will have still made zero progress toward reaching an understanding about them. I guess that’s okay, though, because we’re getting to the bottom of the crucial, infinitely more important issue of the moé dictator artbook and whether it’s in good taste or not. That’s how discussion goes in the anime community: Some people take issue with something, everyone argues back and forth about it for a week or two, then a few weeks or a month later, it’s a non-issue and everyone is onto the next “big” controversy. Meanwhile, the real, lasting issues are only discussed every so often, but always consist of the same repeated talking points, and always stop short of a level of discussion that could result in some actual progress or understanding within the anime community.

At the same time, however, it’s sort of our fault, those of us who value genuine discussion within the anime community. We’ve been characterized as quiet fans, and there’s some truth to that. I think those of us who value genuine discussion will see more of it is to start it ourselves. Put simply, we need to be louder. We need to stand up and speak. We need to call for these discussions to occur. We need to step up and say “Let’s talk about the real issues.” Instead, however, we allow this useless bickering to continue. Are we really okay with this? Are we really content with the utter lack of attention paid to the issues that matter? Are we really fine with the Anti-Moé Brigade stonewalling every discussion of moé or lolicon that looks like it could turn into a meaningful conversation?

The Western anime fandom is catching up to the Japanese fandom, and it’s doing that very quickly. If we don’t start talking about this stuff in a genuine manner, the Western fandom could be damaged permanently. This is a time where we should be talking about these issues of moé, lolicon, and how and why we enjoy what we enjoy. Getting bent out of shape over three-day-long issues like the moé dictator book won’t help anyone. This is a time where we need to reach an understanding.

As anime fans, let’s start interacting with the anime medium and with each other in a meaningful manner. That’s what I want to see start happening. Enough of the wasteful chatter masquerading as “discussion.” Let’s debate. Let’s engage with our fandom. Let’s reach an understanding and come together as anime fans.

Can we do that?

3 Replies to “Discussion and Frustration”

  1. My problem is how discussion of anime devolves into talking about real life social issues rather than actually talking about the shows themselves. Even when they do, they hyper analyze EVERY single aspect of a show and find shit that was never the intention of the creators.

    1. Well, but that can be a positive. The show was created in the real world by real people. Things that happened in real life to the creators influence everything they do in their art and sometimes it shows.
      When you want to analyze something deeper, often times you have to go outside anime and look at history, literature, poetry, present trends, etc. Sometimes those are things people had in mind when creating the show.
      And secondly, there’s a serious discussion in culture about if creators intention is overrated. And again, good examples can be found outside of anime, like cinema, literature, music and with paintings. Music is specially happens all the time, you have upbeat songs that have depressing or critical lyrics, but people remember it as a happy song, take Hey ya by outkast.
      Another important issue is that many creators says the art are bigger than themselves, that they were channeling the art, it just wanted to come to existence and it just happened. It was like an obssession, it just instinctively flew out from their hands. Sometimes they themselves don’t consider it intentional.
      If it is subconscious, is intention that important? If we cannot communicate with the author and can’t be sure if it was intentional or not, should we give the authors intention that much weight? If a piece of art is subjective and can mean different things for different people, including the creator, when is it appropriate to value the author’s intention?
      Those are valid questions and I don’t have an answer, but they are worth discussing next time you have an anime analysis. Here, it’s all too theoretical and may be impossible to get anywhere

  2. It would be interesting to see an actual discussion on these issues. But in order for that to happen people would have to keep their ego’s in check and seeing as how some people here can’t admit their wrong that’s going to be hard to do. However as I said it would be interesting seeing as there’s this huge cultural moral gap between America and Japan. I think all moe and loli fans have their own personal reason as to why they love what they love, but it’s fascinating to see that these kinds of fans can adopt an understanding about Japanese entertainment despite their cultural upbringing.

    Till people are willing to set aside their ego’s and create a non-shameful atmosphere for these kinds of fans then only the boldest will come out of the shadows to not only admit their fondness for moe and loli, but to defend what they love. Everybody wants feel accepted for who they are as a person, and fans of moe and loli fans are no different.

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