Some of my friends noted that I had sent ANN’s Answerman a thing in 2007 and he never published it, so I cussed him out on the ANN forums. Thanks to Gmail here it is. It’s kind of hilariously obvious trolling, and I guess he just didn’t take the bait, but I thought you might to read it anyway. Just skip this if you don’t care.
You know, there is one thing I really hate about anime fans. You know
what it is? I hate anime fans who hate on things.
I’m guilty of it. We’re all guilty of it. Most of us have read so much
randomly directed hate on the Internet that we have been fooled into
thinking that people will swayed by the presence and loudness of our
opinions, or believing that we need to whip them out of our pants to
show everyone how angry we can be. Nothing can be farther from the
truth. Reasoned criticism is great–I’m not questioning that. But when
you put down subtitles, or certain genres, or proclaim the inferiority
of some production studio, you are adding to the noise and drowning
out the signal.
It doesn’t matter if you run a blog, or write a column, or even if you
work for a licensor. You are, in fact, a nerd with an agenda. And
you’re pissing people off.
Take this example: Imagine you’re hitting it off with someone at a
con. This is an absurdly improbable situation, but stick with me for a
minute. You’ve met someone at a con, a friend or a possible
significant other, and you’re getting along pretty well. Feel free to
fantasize about this. You both discover that you like seinen anime, so
you recommend your new friend watch Honey & Clover. And then, all of a
sudden out of nowhere, your friend says “God, I hate Honey & Clover. I
can’t believe you watch that, it’s boring and plotless and horridly
How would you feel if a relative stranger dissed something you like so
dismissively? Maybe they’re trying to show you how sophisticated they
are, or demonstrate that they aren’t afraid to have different tastes.
They might feel like they’ve accomplished something in the
conversation. But you just feel kind of upset, or even annoyed. Such a
comment never gets you on someone’s good side–remember that the next
time you get the urge to put down someone’s musical tastes!
In real life you don’t have to think too hard to demonstrate to your
friend that he’s made a mistake. A comment like that is followed up
with a flurry of body language, probably some defensiveness on your
part, and then your friend would back down and move on. But on the
Internet, we don’t have that. All we have is some person who posts
“Honey & Clover is such a poorly produced schlockfest!” or “Nymphet is
the greatest manga ever made!” on a forum. No body language– no
modesty. Only a big, nasty opinion. You are powerless against their
ability to rant on the Internet, and if you leave it alone they will
have all the attention to themselves. All you can think is, “I can’t
let that one go!”
The temptation is to respond to the flamebait in kind, or use logic
and rhetoric to put them in their place. But you can’t win. Anime
arguments are based solely on our prejudices, not on the facts we
ground them in. You can argue back and forth, but the opinion will
merely manifest itself somewhere else. The Internet is too big to
declare victory, and the only way such debates end is when both sides
get tired. The proper response is to acknowledge your differences and
It doesn’t even matter if someone is trying to put down all anime.
“Anime is a cartoon, and cartoons are for children!” The correct
response is not “But Miyazaki, etc.” Your opponent will become
technical and escape the jaws of reason. The correct response is “So?”
This is just some random person. They don’t control your life. They
cannot force you to change your opinion.
The Internet has a lack of measured discussions analyzing anime and
games, and a severe overload of volunteered, useless opinions. If
you’re not observing particular issues, but simply making personal
judgments, detach yourself from the need to make the world over in
your image. Feel free to shut up and watch the anime.