For quite a while now, we have been watching the anime fandom take a turn for the worse. Now, before I begin, I would just like to say that I don’t intend to persecute anyone as I write this. Far from it, actually. Rather, I simply wish to call on you, dear audience to assist me in rebuilding “fandom” and restoring it to glorious life. So, that being said, do not take this as libel or slander. Rather, hear me out and listen as I discuss the ongoing in-fighting and online warfare that is currently being waged by those desperately clinging to the last vestiges of what they see as “deep anime”, or rather, what they personally see as “deep anime”, against those they blame for the supposed “death” of anime.
First, I will have to speak of early exposure of modern western audiences to anime. In the beginning, we didn’t get much. It was mostly either whatever could make it to kids’ networks over here or particularly violent action shows. When audiences got their first taste of Dragon Ball Z, Gundam, and Ghost in the Shell, they absolutely loved these shows. This is where they went wrong. Before I continue, I must first clarify that I do not think they are watching the wrong shows, nor do I believe they had bad taste. Certainly not. They simply got the wrong idea about anime. They started to believe that these shows represented the medium as a whole. However, the truth was that these shows were simply one part of a larger industry.
Over the years, anime localization has started to become more varied since then. More efficient, faster, and increasing in variety of titles. In particular, we are now becoming more exposed in particular, to elements such as cute girls, easygoing stories, and light-hearted humor that, together, have become known as “moe”. While some fines happily embraced this aspect of the medium with open arms, others did not.
Opponents of moe view it as a threat, so to speak. Because they did not know this aspect existed in anime, they deny that it did, and treat as a new thing and decried this ‘change” as a sign that they will eventually no longer see the types of anime they enjoy be made. A misconception created by willful ignorance. If this was the extent of their reaction, it could have been ignored. However, they did not stop there. They would go on to target the consumers of moe with ridicule, insults, and personal attacks.
From that point on, the “Anti-Moe Brigade” was born. The “Anti-Moe Brigade” is a collection of ideas that moe is a cancer that needs to be purged from anime and that consumers of moe are enemies to be mocked, insulted, and most of all, feared. Supporters of moe are labeled with such “glamorous” terms as “pedophiles”, “virgins”, and “basement dwellers”. Diagnoses of autism and aspergers are used as insults. The ultimate form of deliberate ableism. These attitudes could not be more gross and uncivil, and embody many of the problems described by Timeenforceranubis in his blog, She’s Lost Control Media, as well as the podcasts, NTR Radio and Otaku Midnight(formerly Podcast Zero). These problems also embody the “death”, for lack of a better term, of the anime “fandom”.
Now that the death of “fandom”, Let us talk about what can be done to restore fandom. It will be a long, difficult process. One that will require the effort of every willing anime fan to succeed. But it will also be a rewarding one.
The first step is to start addressing online warfare by its name, and start condemning it as the disgusting misconduct that it really is. We need more people fighting against online warfare. More people like Timenforceranubis, Kgods, and drawingirl94. We need more people who recognize warmongers for what they really are.
We will also need a lot more positivity in the community. As Timeenforceranubis has said, negativity is on the way out. We need to start looking optimistically to the future and quit with the cynicism. It’s time to say goodbye to pessimism, because nobody wants to hear from a doubting Thomas. Let’s can the insults and profanity and start being excellent to each other. Love makes the world go round, as the old saying goes.
We must afford no credibility to the notion that a certain group of people are consuming the “wrong” entertainment. There is no such thing as the wrong entertainment because entertainment is a purely subjective concept based in personal preference.
Well, there you have it. Three easy(?) steps to restoring “fandom”. It may seem difficult at first, but that is most likely because you have not done enough to help yet.
-Dan Bordelon, Jr.