Let’s face it, anime fandom can be annoying as hell. Sure, the physical and online spaces where fans interact are great places to make friends, but there are some truly unpleasant things that can happen when enthusiasts start talking anime.
Despite the amount of morally positive series that exist, there’s a shocking amount of toxic behavior in the anime fandom. Whether it’s shipping wars, cosplay shaming, verbally eviscerating people who prefer dubbed anime, or just straight-up bigotry, there are a lot of problems that anime fans could do a better job of addressing. All anime fans have a shared passion, so there’s no reason to be rude to one another.
Weeaboos are one of the most irritating aspects of Western anime fandom. A weeaboo is a fan who isn’t Japanese, but who has decided that liking anime gives them free reign to appropriate Japanese culture. Weeaboos wear kimonos incorrectly, give themselves Japanese nicknames, and see Japan as some kind of idealized holy land for nerds. If they like you, you’re “sugoi!” but if you anger them, they’ll “korosu” you with the fake katana that they bought at an anime convention.
These fans treat Japanese people like extensions of the media that they love, and don’t recognize that Japanese culture amounts to a lot more than cool cartoons. Whether it’s adult men salivating over Asian teenagers, or someone insisting that they know everything there is to know about Japan because they watched Naruto, these fans relish in Japanese stereotypes, and don’t really care about the people of Japan and their culture.
Imagine you’re talking to a self-proclaimed anime fan, who really just got into anime. Other than a few random episodes of Pokémon back in the day, they’ve only really seen Sword Art Online, part of Naruto, and the first season of Attack on Titan. Is this person a “real” anime fan?
If you answered no, then you should know that a lot of fans find your attitude annoying. There’s no test that you have to pass to be a real anime fan, you just have to enjoy anime. While it’s great to familiarize yourself with a variety of anime — including classics and more obscure titles — you don’t actually have to do anything specific to participate in the community. Your level of knowledge doesn’t correlate to your enjoyment of the medium.
Cosplay is a fantastic way to creatively express your love for anime, but the fun stops when people start cosplay shaming. Cosplay shaming involves insulting a cosplayer either for how their outfit looks, or how they look in it; in either case, its unkind and inappropriate.
There are a lot of reasons why a a cosplay outfit might not look identical to its animated counterpart. The cosplayer might have run into budget or time constraints, or they might be a beginner who isn’t totally comfortable putting a costume together. Whatever their reasoning, they’re just trying to have a good time, and they didn’t dress up to gain your approval.
The worst examples of cosplay shaming are comments like “you’re too fat to cosplay her, she’s skinny” or “your skin is too dark to be that character.” The cosplay community is supposed to be fun and inclusive, not a place for bigotry.
If you watch a lot of anime, you probably have a preference for watching either subbed or dubbed shows. There are good reasons to like both; subbed anime offers the original vocal performances, and can be super useful for viewers with hearing problems. On the other hand, dubbed anime usually captures the original story and emotional content of a series, while eliminating the distraction of reading while you watch.
The choice is largely dependent on personal preference, but many anime enthusiasts do not see it as such. Instead, some members of anime fandom believe that dubbed anime is illiterate garbage, and that people who enjoy dubbed shows aren’t experiencing anime properly. Others will tell you that if you like subbed anime, you’re a pretentious assh*le. In both cases, unless you’re doing it their way, you’re wrong.
For complex neurological reasons, humans naturally love media that they were attached to during their teenage years. This means that there are a lot of adults in the anime fandom whose favorite shows came out in the ’90s or 2000s.
While that’s not inherently a problem, issues arise when fans insinuate that every anime made after their personal cut-off point is trash. These people usually forget about the plethora of not so good anime shows from years past, since they can only recall memories of their favorite series. Good storytelling has always and will always exist, and anime studios are perpetually expanding the tools that they use to tell those stories; people who reject modern anime are missing out on some seriously good content.
This attitude usually comes off as condescending to younger fans, who are actively making the memories that older generations reminisce about. Trash-talking new anime definitely doesn’t encourage junior fans to check out the archives of anime history.
While it’s totally possible for anime to be overrated, there are some fans who think that anything that’s even remotely popular is garbage, and that people who like popular anime have bad taste or aren’t real fans.
Obscure anime can be awesome, but sometimes a show is obscure because it wasn’t good. Conversely, sometimes a series gains popularity because it’s actually fantastic. Even when this isn’t the case, there’s nothing cute about being a misanthrope, which is a perfect descriptor for fans who disregard popular shows solely on principle.
When curmudgeons complain about anime sheeple following the herd, they’re cutting themselves off from content that they might actually enjoy, just because a bunch of other people said it was cool. Even though they’re going against the popular opinion, they’re still letting other people dictate their taste.
Don’t be an anime hipster, evaluate shows for yourself and don’t worry too much about the general buzz surrounding a series.
Here’s a hypothetical situation: Jennifer is a huge fan of Yuri!!! on Ice. She loves it for a lot of valid reasons: the skating moves and the soundtrack are stellar, the relationship between Yuuri and Victor is a legitimate representation of queerness that rarely appears in anime, JJ Leroy has a tramp stamp of his own name, the list goes on.
While Jennifer can’t get enough of the show, her friend had a really hard time with the first couple of episodes, which feature a literal onslaught of fat-shaming directed at the main character. When her friend says that the show made her uncomfortable, Jennifer immediately starts defending her favorite series, and refuses to consider her friend’s criticism.
Everyone loves some piece of media that’s problematic, and it’s totally okay to enjoy things that aren’t “objectively well made.” No two fans are the same, and that’s a good thing. Disagreements should lead to respectful discussion, as blind loyalty only breeds a shallow appreciation for a show’s subtleties.
One huge problem in the anime community is how perverted fans can be. While some people simply appreciate sexy characters, others get super weird about their favorite protagonists, even when they’re small children.
Sure, being into lolicon or shotacon doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re interested in children, but there’s definitely something suspect about a grown adult who genuinely enjoys Boku no Pico and Kodomo no Jikan, or who won’t stop talking about the salacious things they’d like to do to Misty from Pokémon.
Going beyond the realm of annoying, people’s preference in anime can sometimes signal legitimate danger. Lusting after juvenile characters makes fandom a dangerous place for kids, which is a major issue when a show’s target audience is children. Additionally, sharing and talking about lolicon and shotacon normalizes the concept of sexualizing children, which makes taking advantage of minors seem less criminal.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you like. If you know that you’re into psychological thrillers, but tend to zone out when watching sports anime, you should probably choose to watch Another over Yowamushi Pedal.
While it’s okay to dislike certain genres, people should take care not to mistake their personal preferences for cold hard facts. Fans of romance anime aren’t shallow and stupid because they want to see a relationship develop, and people who love slice-of-life stories don’t necessarily lead boring lives.
Judging others for their preference in entertainment is just rude. If more people made an effort to branch out of their comfort zones, they might discover that they enjoy genres they never would have considered watching.
Misa Amane is one of the most hated characters in Death Note. In Naruto, Sakura Haruno is so universally despised that you can’t spend two seconds in the fandom without encountering hate. In the Sword Art Online fandom, nobody likes Asuna Yuuki. In case you’re not picking up on the pattern, all of these characters are female.
Pretty much every subculture includes some elements of sexism, and anime is no exception. Misa Amane, Sakura Haruno, and Asuna Yuuki might not be the coolest characters, but they are universally slammed for being useless, stupid, pointless, ugly, and irritating in ways that male characters simply aren’t.
Sometimes, fans are rightly annoyed by the ways these characters are treated by their series’s narrative. People were right to take issue with the way Asuna’s character is reduced to the damsel in distress trope in the second half of Sword Art Online. However, it’s totally inappropriate to call Asuna a useless b*tch because she was victimized.
Some fans will find a reason to hate any female character, which is grossly unbecoming.
Manga is awesome, and reading it often provides backstory, plot points, and fun little details that the anime just doesn’t have time for. Nothing’s wrong with reading the manga version of an anime series, or even recommending that others do the same. The problem is that some people think they’re somehow better fans because they had the time and initiative to read hundreds of chapters of material. Fans like this need to get over themselves.
One major way that fans engage with their favorite shows is through shipping; writing fanfiction, drawing fanart, and talking about their favorite anime couples. The thing is, fandoms don’t always agree on which couples merit that devotion, and disagreements can rapidly devolve into name calling and threats.
Many fans find themselves wishing that they could just ship whoever they want without other fans getting all bent out of shape. At the same time, others find their fandom experience wrecked by people who won’t stop talking about allegedly distateful ships. For example, it’s one thing to disagree on whether Izuku of My Hero Academia should end up with Ochaco or Bakugo, but it’s quite another to ship him with his teacher.
No matter what side you’re on, arguments about shipping can suck the fun right out of fandom.
Queerphobia is not unique to anime fans, but bigoted viewpoints have a unique way of cropping up in the anime fandom.
First of all, many fans take personal offense when people insinuate that their favorite character isn’t cisgendered and straight. Disgruntled readers will write hate mail to fanfiction authors who interpret their favorite character as trans, and fans froth at the mouth over fanart that depicts gay couples kissing.
Some anime fans — specifically straight ones — get super excited about LGBTQ+ characters and fan works, but not because they want increased representation. Instead, they apply stereotypes from yaoi and yuri — two genres that feature some pretty disturbing tropes — to actual human beings. Some take it so far that they yell out “look, it’s a real life yaoi!” whenever they see gay couples.
While it’s great to see an increase in queer-positive anime, some fans need to realize that LGBTQ+ people do not exist to be appropriated.
Anime doesn’t just appear out of thin air, producing and distributing a good show requires a huge amount of money. Additionally, all of the animators, voice actors, and other industry workers need to be paid for their services. Unfortunately, some anime fans would rather pirate their shows than lay down the cash to watch them legally.
Obviously, no one should sacrifice their rent money to buy Haikyuu!! DVDs, but it’s a little annoying when financially stable fans refuse to support the anime industry. When anime producers lose money to piracy, they often begin to release fewer, lower quality anime. If you want to continue enjoying a stream of new shows for years to come, support your favorite series with your hard-earned dollars!