The Nature of Anime Fandom “Discussion”

Icon-AnimeIcon-MOEThe “#EducateAnime” movement has popped up recently. It’s growing, but where it goes still remains to be seen. The premise is to encourage discussion and debate, and discourage blind hatred and negativity.

Longtime She’s Lost Control readers might recognize this as everything I’ve been on about since before this site launched, back when I was on Blogspot and writing for The Moé Coalition.

I’m a firm believer that all media deserves a fair shake and fair criticism. Everything can be discussed and everything should be discussed. Yet, time after time in anime fandom, shows are written-off, ostensibly as not deserving of discussion. We see that there are certain types of shows that do get discussed and looked-into on a deeper level, and certain types of shows for which that kind of discourse is thought to be an absurd proposal.

Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, REDLINE, The Flowers of Evil, shows by studio Trigger, some shows by Gainax, etc. The general community is fine with discussion about shows like these. Shows like Clannad, Strike Witches, To Heart, Upotte!, and some other shows by Gainax, however, are written-off as “moeshit,” and discussion is thusly discouraged.

On a basic level, this kind of makes sense. A show like Cowboy Bebop or The Flowers of Evil certainly has more to say about the world we live in than To Heart or Upotte! does. As I said, however, that’s only on a basic level. Quite frankly, discussing anime that directly relates to our real world by way of being realistic is easy. It’s surface-level. That’s not to say it’s any less valuable, or that people who engage in this kind of discussion are deficient in any way, but that the reality is different from how it’s portrayed in the fandom.

There are layers of abstraction involved with discussing shows like Strike Witches or To Heart. They certainly don’t take place in our real world, but they were most definitely still created in our real world. Their fantasy worlds are influenced one way or another by our real world and understanding the influences behind even these shows can be valuable in gaining more understanding about the medium.

Some fans, including plenty of those who fancy themselves “intellectuals,” choose instead to wear blinders and narrow their horizons by clinging to arbitrary rules like “Sturgeon’s Law” and “Death of the Author” that only serve to shut down in-depth discussion of certain media, which incidentally happens to be media they dislike.

Circumstances like these have made it easy for fans and critics to condemn anime that doesn’t meet a certain standard as “pandering,” “derivative,” “sexist,” “pedophilic,” or any number of other damning marks. We can rarely talk about how anime that Western critics perceive as “sexist” gives us insight into the elements of Japanese culture that inspired those shows, and even when we do, it’s with a judgmental undercurrent, criticizing Japan for not being more like the United States in this aspect or that.

This happens a lot. People who normally would suppress discussion of shows they don’t like are suddenly on-board when it becomes a chance for them to write off a show they hate with a surface-level criticism. Once someone expresses disagreement in an effort to turn it into a real discussion, however, it’s back to shutting discourse down.

The blind hatred, dismissal, and negativity shown for certain kinds of anime will only hold the anime fandom back. Discussion is our best tool for gaining understanding and increasing our enjoyment of this medium we love as anime fans. We cannot allow people who can only express negativity for certain kinds of anime to continue to dominate the discussion about those shows.

Fighting blind hatred and promoting real discussion in the anime fandom is something I’ve been doing for years, and will continue doing until we have a fandom where subjects like moé can be discussed without people trying to shout down the discussion simply because they don’t like it.

That’s why I’m on-board with #EducateAnime.


7 thoughts on “The Nature of Anime Fandom “Discussion””

  1. Congratulations, that was the most hypocritical thing I’ve read this month. That, or you have a really distorted or immature view of how society works. Either way, I will spare you any more epithets as you might start treating my completely personal opinion as a blind hatred too.

    1. This is why #EducateAnime is necessary. People are too quick to make unqualified assessments, and then hide behind “It’s just my opinion.” You can say “hypocritical” this and “immature” that, but unless you can explain why, you’re just shouting useless opinions into the wind.

      You’re completely entitled to your opinion, but don’t pretend it has value simply by virtue of being your opinion.

      1. Value of opinion is determined by a reader. You see none in mine, I see none in your post. I don’t want to waste too much time on this, so I’ll make it brief: anyone who uses phrases similar to “we”, “we should”, “we should reform others”, “unqualified assemsent” (who the fuck gave you the qualifications? To something that CANNOT be even assessed that way, what a joke.) “our standards of discussion is right, others – wrong”, “we will fight hatred”, “encourage discussion” etc., anyone, who generilises so much, who feels entitled to speak in the name of the fandom (?) (I don’t remember allowing you to speak in my name, neither did others from this fandom – saying WE is YOUR self-entitlement) is an immature wannabe leader and really poor manipulative bastard who knows jackshit about what makes a community work. The single thought that you might have some control over it is just insulting to others, just as is trying to diminish people saying some moe anime is not worth discussing. Why do you care? Why the fuck do you focus on them so much? Because what you want is not a discussion, it’s personal struggle that you want to win. Your words border on what tyrans and dictators do when they feel like changing everyone else according to your view. It never, ever works out, especially if you plan to do it outside of your blog.

        The proof is that while I would normally agree with you, I wrote all that because from the first paragraph I felt attacked. If I didn’t, I’d feel that others would be attacked anyway, in the name of your so called “mature discussioin” ideals.

        If you want to encourage fruitious discussion, you can do very little, as it ultimately comes to the people from ‘fandom’ discussing and not your little special brigade. All you can do is to provide good discussion platform, marketing to gather people of similar opinions, don’t attack others in retaliation, focus on positive behaviour, be fucking HUMBLE for once and stop trying to blame everyone for everything. This place is hostile as fuck – because you are hostile, passive-aggressive, and as you are you will never manage to do what you want to achieve. Sorry, I’m out. From my experience you won’t give a shit about what I wrote anyway, so that might just count as time wasted.

        1. Dear monster, get bent will you, please?

          TEAnubis know exactly what he’s talking about. I’ve seen countless discussions on moe/fanservice/otaku being shut down just because of a bias
          against them without any actual reason why to hate such things. TEAnubis isn’t being a leader of discussion because he wants to, but because he HAS to.

  2. This article is dead on. Go into any popular forum for anime or any news site that allows comments for their articles (ANN), and you will find members of the anti-moe brigade consistently trying to shut down debate and conversation about shows that are “making Anime look bad” and are what they consider to be the “cancer of the Anime industry” . This simply does not happen when discussion about “deep shows” (i.e. shows that they enjoy) like AoT and Space Dandy starts up. Like you said, attempting to silence and ridicule those who like the shows that they hate is the problem, not the fact that they hate those types of shows in general. While some individuals and trolls that participate in that deplorable activity may not like that you are stepping into their living room and calling them out (monoster and electricpatriot ), the reality is that it does take place on a daily basis and is a practice that needs to stop.


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