The Toxic Anime Community | The Messiah Complex

[This is done with huge amounts of generalization, when I say “anime community” I do not mean everyone in the community, but the select few that spoil the whole]

The anime community might just be the worst community I’ve seen to date; worse than the C.O.D and Nintendo communities combines. The anime community is so toxic that I really believe that it is beyond saving at this point. Many people are introduced to anime everyday by their peers or other forms of social media, and one of the things holding most people back from fulling entering the anime community is how bad it is. A lot of people only watch select anime shows such as Naruto or any other long-running shōnen anime; or they just watch the Miyazaki/Ghibli movies and call it a day; and that is largely on how toxic the community is as a whole not just to newcomers, but regulars alike and this acts as a deterrent to many looking to join.

Well let the rant begin…

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Anime has been going strong this decade, from a great 2011 year to a really exceptional year in 2014 producing some great shows are could go toe-to-toe with some of the best out there, shows like: Parasyte, Your Lie in April and Ping Pong: The Animation were exceptional shows in both viewers and critics mind, and the medium as a whole I continuing to push the boundaries on what 2-D animation (with a little help from CG) can accomplish. You would think that since more great anime is being created, that more people would be introduced to the medium and overall the reception and support of anime in the West would grow. But sadly that just isn’t the case, with the growth of anime it has led to a lot of elitism and fanboys who always believe that their opinion is the only opinion.

Now I’m not saying that this is only prevalent in the anime community; a bunch of other communities also feature this for example the old heads vs. new heads in the rap community: arguing over the new crop of rappers like Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi and Kodak Black labelling most of them as “mumble rappers”. But the anime community feels this more than these other communities purely because people in the community always want to feel superior than other, and put others down.

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People get scrutinized on everything in the anime community: from their PERSONAL favorite’s; what they hate; how they rate anime; which characters they like; what they recommend and even what is considered anime. Most of the people in this community are not even Japanese and have never stepped foot in Japan, but feel the need to preach on a culture they do not even fully understand and set up their own rules for anime, which is a foreign concept to them.

One example of this, is a short anime called “Shelter” by Porter Robinson and A-1 Pictures was removed by Reddit r/anime board even after having a 98% approval rating just because the creator behind it was not Japanese. Now this anime was fully anime in every single way possible, it shared the same key character designs as found in most anime, made by a prominent animation company: A-1 Picture, and was animated by Japanese people; but just because the original creator was not from Japan it was removed. Reddit’s r/anime board did put it back up after massive hate, but the question still stands of why was it removed in the first place? This is just 1 example of people trying to define something they don’t truly understand.

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Other anime-inspired shows like Avatar the Last Airbender and even RWBY have been treated in similar fashion, ignoring the fact that “anime” means “animation” people still want to dictate what is and isn’t considered anime even though all of what is being considered is animation by nature. It kind of weird that anime coming from China or any other part of Asia except for Japan is not treated the same way by the communities rules. They shouldn’t be considered anime either, but it largely is regarded as exactly that. The restrictions people in the anime community place over anime are just plain idiotic, and I don’t quite know why these restrictions exist as it seems to do more harm than good. These restriction not only crush the ambition of people looking to enter the world of animating and making anime, as their works will never be acknowledged as “true anime” but from what I’ve gathered I don’t think the people actually making anime/manga care that much about what is or isn’t anime.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-9-46-55-pmThis leaves the question of: Who are these rules for then? They aren’t for the animators making anime, and a lot of casual fans are confused about why something such as Avatar wouldn’t be anime as it looks and feels like anime, but Oban Star-Racers even though produced partly by a french company would. With the world being as interconnected as it is nowadays and with the increase in globalization and interdependence, in the near future most of the people working on anime would be from different corners of the world, and at that point how will anime be defined then? What will happen when 1/5 of Ghibli’s or MADHOUSE’s or even Kyoto Animation’s staff members are from countries like Croatia, Mexico, Thailand or even South Africa. If this ever happens then it would shatter the existing rules of how anime is defined by the community, because although it still feels like anime the people behind it are not native to Japan.

Now onto recommendations: this is a tricky subject to tackle as everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I do think that some people’s opinions should be (only in certain situations) be treated above others. For example if you have watched 200  anime I do feel your recommendations are somewhat better than someone who has only seen 20 anime. That being said, I do feel that the community does take this idea and blow it out of proportion. In most cases it does not matter how much you’ve seen, if you think this particular anime shares enough similarities for someone who has seen it to enjoy another anime, then you are right. Recommendations exist to help people find new anime based on what they’ve seen already or based on what they enjoy in other mediums. If someone tells me that like 21 Savage then a good recommendation would be Black Lagoon, and how much anime I’ve watched should not for the most part dictate how good my recommendations is.

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This is one of my major issues with the community; the community never seems to be serving others and making the whole community prosper, but rather it’s everyone for themselves. Recommendations are the easiest way to expand the community as most people got re-introduced to anime from a friend suggest an anime like Naruto or Bleach to them. And although we have since recognized that these anime are not as great as they were when we started watching anime, you should still respect that the recommendation did its job in helping you get acquainted with the medium as well as providing a jumping-off point to where you can find new anime and develop your own tastes. I don’t really see the point in everyone criticizing everyone else’s recommendations, it serves no one by wasting time and energy by pushing down someone’s recommendation just because it doesn’t fit your recommendation because you think you have superior taste.

This leads into my next point about people in the community not understanding the point of everyone having a different opinion. Not everyone will agree with one another, and if that did happen then it would be so boring. Everyone differing in opinions is what I really like about the community, that everyone is so passionate about what they think and how great and engaging conversations can be started based on this. But again the community takes a great concept and turns it into a negative; arguments in the community never get resolved because people can’t accept the fact that not everyone thinks like them.

So much time, energy and effort have been wasted on pointless argument in various comment sections over people’s beliefs that will never change no matter what you say. The anime community not accepting each others differences, and rather focusing on shoving a persons own belief system down another person is what is crippling it. I feel as if the community cannot agree to disagree, but rather have a never give up mentality on either proving to the other person that they are right or making the other person believe the way they do.

keyboard-warrior-yuki-nagatoNow to move onto the casuals… brace with me here. Okay, why do all the casuals just watch Ghibli only and not progress further than that? Ghibli are great and all, but Ghibli aren’t the only movie studio in the world. MADHOUSE make arguable equal or even superior quality movies in storytelling and world building (in my opinion). Redline; all of Satoshi Kon’s films; most of Mamoru Hosoda’s films and others, these are great films in their own right and rival Ghibli’s best works and I do not understand why they aren’t getting the recognition that they deserve compared to Ghibli.

Yes I do know there will be a bunch of people telling me that they have watched all those above mentioned films and will be quick to pull up the statistics on how many users on MAL have watched it. But people must understand that when I’m talking about the casuals of the community most don’t even have a MAL account, and secondly some don’t even call themselves anime watchers. This broken ideology to separate Ghibli from anime is misguided, and this is largely why Ghibli is placed on such a high podium as they attract a large portion of the casual watchers.

Ghibli is a great studio and do produce some great films, but there are other great studios as well and it’s sad to see them not get the same recognition. This casual problem has somehow filtered into the anime community on a whole, as more and more people are only watching Ghibli films and couldn’t be bothered with any others. I think more and more are somehow silencing their voices when talking about Ghibli. People are afraid to criticize Ghibli and rather label everything they do as masterpieces because Miyazaki directed it or they have the Ghibli name attached to it.

ghibliSome people just watch the most recognized greats from them like Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro etc. and choose to ignore anything else less commonly know in fear of it not being as great. Now I’m not saying every person must watch every anime movie ever or even that people must hate on Ghibli, I’m just asking for a little more diversity into other films and more criticism towards Ghibli would be appreciated to better the community on the whole; but I doubt that will happen any time soon.

This consensus due to fear takes out the passion of providing both criticism and praise for any title. This is weird because of how vocal I have just been about the anime community fighting so much; but I still stand by point on debates. Debating is healthy for not only improvement but understanding one another side as well to something you love, but when no end is in sight of said debate that’s when it changes from debate to full-blown argument. Argument’s are not productive at all as not party leave satisfied at the end and rather both just leave in a worst state than how they entered.

Well that’s all I really wanted to say about the anime community. I could if I wanted to talk about the otaku’s/weeaboos; shōnen fanboys or any other factor of the anime community that I dislike, but that would have detached from the original message of this. This rant was more to talk about what I find are the worst aspects of the community, and to explain why I dislike them so much. But as I said above this is really generalized, and when I mentioned the anime community, I mean only those members of the community in which this applies to, and not everyone that watches anime. And with that I’m out…

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One thought on “The Toxic Anime Community | The Messiah Complex

  1. Good personal write up on your feelings on the anime community! As a part of one for almost 3 years now, most of these points are totally on point and really cement why we are a community tend to not open our minds. We are okay opening our minds to a more niche hobby like anime with vastly unique ideas and presentation in some regards, but the idea of opening our minds to others and their viewpoints still hasn’t happened. Maybe with due time it can change, but honestly I think it boils down to innate human personality that causes most of these issues. We don’t like to be challenged outside of our comfort zone and when people tell us we should be more open for discussion we coil and attack like it’s dangerous. May better winds spread over our anime lives!

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