Posts Tagged ‘Anime Fandom’

We’ve all heard of ’em and we all (whether we want to admit it or not) are a part of one or more.  In conjunction with the furry fandom, you have the anti-furries.  In conjunction with the anime fandom, you have the anti-anime crowd.  In conjunction with the Twilight fandom, you’ve got the anti-Twilight crowd.  Need I say more?


Anti-crowds are rather popular.  They mysteriously pop up whenever a subculture, form of media, movie, book, series, etc. becomes a major focus of attention at some point.  These sorts of crowds have always been around.  When rock and roll first was created, the movement against it was very strong.  Same for jazz, and rap.  I suppose the music today that get’s this kind of flack is the “teenybopper” music.  Those songs sung by the likes of Justin Bieber, and anyone else in his age range.  But doesn’t it strike you as odd that anti-fandom fandoms get so riled up over such miniscule things?  What is the purpose of hating someone for liking anthropomorphic animals?  You probably liked them as a child and still do to an extent.  Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse…I suppose you hate them too.  Or what’s the purpose of hating people who like media from Japan.  While you may want to claim that it’s really the “weaboos” that you hate, you’re reaction towards the whole fandom (from the people, the cosplay, and the art styles) tends to say otherwise.


The ironic thing about these anti-crowds is that they tend to think more about what they hate than the people who actually like such things think about.  Deviantart is a great example of this.  And for this I’ll use the example of sparkle-animals again.  This is one of those anti-groups within the furry fandom.  I’ve touched base on it in a previous post but to summarize, sparkle animals are animals that are given unnatural colors and markings not only for their species but for animals in general.  Some people love them, some people hate them with a burning passion.  There is no in-between.  And anti-sparkle animal crowds devote a large chunk of their art to mocking (or “satirizing” as they like to say) people who create these creatures.  Never satirizing the mild sparkle creations.  Always the rare, obnoxious ones.  The one some 12 year old who’s new to character design created with way too many colors, markings, and accessories.  Those kinds.  They make them and have all their other sparkle animal hating friends praise them.  Bringing them much e-fame in the deviantart realm.  Or the anti-Twilight crowd…ever notice how they’ve got a ton of Twilight related submissions just about how much they hate Twilight?  While people are free to express themselves in anyway they want to, why would you devote so much time and effort towards something you hated?  You can’t change the minds of people who like those things, and those who are moderate will remain moderate.  The only people you’re pandering to are…others that hate the subject?  But in order to do that, don’t you have to have this subject that you hate on your mind as much if not more than the people who actually like such things?


There’s a number of reasons anti-crowd members can give for why they’re a part of the anti-crowd.  But really it only boils down to 4 points (Credit for a few of these points goes to Cracked.com.  I can’t remember the name of the specific article but it was about why it’s better to be a conformist rather than an anti-conformist):


1) The desire to rebel.  Everyone does at some point in their lives.  Particularly against your parents.  Some people take that to a grander scale and want to rebel against “the man” or “the system”.  You rebel against the mainstream.  So you see that anime’s become the new it thing.  As a rebellious person you don’t want to join that crowd so you go against it and you find reasons that you hate it.  Regardless of if you’ve actually seen any anime series or not.  Or you can just go from what you remember of DragonBall Z, Pokemon, Digimon, or Yugioh as a child and claim that it’s all for children.  Or the opposite route if you’ve been mentally scarred by something you’ve seen, claim it’s only for perverted adults.  You don’t know this as a fact as you’ve never really watched much anime since you were little.  You’re just going to do all you can to rebel against what you perceive as popular.


2) The desire to belong.  It’s a basic human need.  Everyone wants to belong somewhere.  You don’t want to feel like you’re all alone in the universe.  And thus you have anti-groups.  Deviantart again is the perfect example.  Go to their groups menu and search “anti”.  What do you find.  Lists upon lists of clubs whose sole purpose is to come together over what they hate.  Sounds like a grand waste of time to me.  Especially since these things are so petty.  Why not come together over the hate of…I don’t know…racism?  Sexism?  War?  Things that if you put effort into you can actually change something in the world.  Instead this effort is being put towards hating certain fictional character pairings or Justin Bieber.  But if the only thing you wish to put effort into is hating on people for liking something, more power to you then?  Hopefully one day you’ll grow up and see how childish things like this really are.


3) The desire for stereotypes to be the full truth.  While a grain of truth lies in a stereotype, it’s a stereotype for a reason.  And that reason is because the truth is so coated in this cover of lies that it ceases to be true anymore.  The stereotype for furries is that we’re all these depraved perverts who want nothing more to either have sex in animal costumes or have sex with animals.  While the furry fandom seems like a haven for people who are zoophiles, the majority of furries are very much against zoophilia…with a burning passion.  Why?  Because 1) it’s illegal, 2) it’s disgusting, and 3) it gives all other furries a bad name.  But for some reason, despite knowing that stereotypes aren’t even remotely always true, some people still believe the stereotype about furs.  Though to play off what I said in my previous rant, if you’re going to be prejudice, display equal opportunity prejudice.


4) The non-desire to listen/learn.  Anti-fandom people don’t want to understand why this person over here likes this, or that person over there likes that.  They want to remain ignorant of any sort of facts.  Or just the fact that it’s impossible to lump a bunch of people together even if they share a similar interests.  There’s an anime fan over there that doesn’t ramble on using “kawaii!” or “desu!”?  “Nonsense!  We can have none of this!  They must do it even if they won’t show it.”  Or a furry who’s a virgin?  “Blasphemy!  All furries are sexual deviants and I know this as fact!”  You see, that’s the sort of commentary you get from those who wish to remain ignorant.  And sadly you can do nothing for people like this.


The point here isn’t to say that it’s wrong to not be a fan of something.  You don’t have to be a fan of everything and in fact that is an impossibility.  But don’t go so far off the deep end that you become a part of these nonsensical “anti” crowds.  Just as you don’t have to be a raving lunatic fan girl to be a fan of something, you also don’t have to be some dark, depressing moron who spends all their time hating on stuff for the sheer purpose of hating on stuff.  These people are the equivalent of the raving fan girl only more obnoxious and more annoying.  Because if there’s anything more annoying than talking about what you like all the time, it’s talking about what you hate all the time.  At least we know the reason why talks about something they like.  As for why people devote their time to something that they hate…that is a concept, my friends, that is beyond me.

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Cosplay.  A fun pastime in the anime, furry, sci-fi, and other fandoms where fans of series will dawn the costumes of some of their favorite characters for a weekend.  Whether it’s to show off something that they’ve made or something that they’ve bought, all cosplayers cosplay for the same reason: It’s fun.  You know it.  You know that when you see that one really good cosplay of your favorite character, it puts a huge smile on your face.  You’ll walk over, ask for pictures, or even ask for tips for the next time you want to make a costume yourself.  But there are people who bring costuming out of the realm of “fun” and into the realm of “serious business”.  And I’m not speaking of those who actually make costumes for a living.  No.  I’m speaking of people who’ll go out of their way to ruin the fun of others because they don’t look like the character they’re cosplaying as.  Specifically those who put down overweight cosplayers and non-white, non-Asian cosplayers.


These people are ones who completely take the fun out of cosplay and bring it into a realm of discrimination (albeit on a rather silly level).  Black person wants to dress up as Sora from Kingdom Hearts?  Nope.  Can’t have that.  Sora’s not black!  Or an overweight (even if it’s just slightly) girl wants to be Sailor Moon?  Nope.  Can’t have that either.  Sailor Moon isn’t fat!  And god forbid you have an overweight non-white, non-Asian person dress up as a character.  That’s a disaster waiting to happen for these people!


So let’s say you’re a white person and you see a black guy cosplay your favorite character.  You get all in a tizzy because you will have none of this black Ichigo nonsense.  Only character black people should dress up as from Bleach is Tousen ’cause you know…he’s black.   So in an outrage you decide to tell him that he looks horrible as Ichigo (but conveniently leave out the why because you don’t want to come across as racist or anything…no need for you to break out the whole “my best friend is black!” line that all people who use racist language use) even though the actual costume is spot on.  Meanwhile you see a white Ichigo cosplayer.  His costume isn’t terrible but clearly isn’t up to par with the black Ichigo cosplayer’s costume, but you tell him he looks amazing otherwise.  Well hold on now…why did the white one look amazing?  Ichigo is clearly not black but he’s clearly not white either.  His name is ICHIGO KUROSAKI!  Since when was that a European name to you?  And he lives in Japan!  Just because he has orange/red hair isn’t an indication that he isn’t Japanese.  So if you’re going to get angry at one race of people because they’re not the right race to be portraying a character, you’d better be getting angry when another race of people (even if it’s the same race as you) wrongly portrays the race of a particular character.  If you’re going to display racism for such a petty thing, it’d better be equal opportunity racism.


As for weight bias, it’s to be expected.  A little more so than race bias.  Weight is always on the forefront of American society in one way or another.  Celebrities are always put down in tabloids for being too heavy or overly skinny (though more for being heavy).  Models (unless they’re the elusive plus sized model) are always tall and thin…always a size zero.  Kids and adults are bullied every day for weight related issues and it’s definitely harder to be bigger than it is to be thinner.  But just remember this one tiny lesson…YOUR FAVORITE ANIME CHARACTER ISN’T REAL!


That’s right.  None of these characters we love are real.  They’re all figment’s of their creator’s imaginations and putty in the hands of said creator.  Even the characters that are based off of historical figures are still fake.  Le Chevalier d’Eon?  While a very real historical figure, the anime’s recollection of his life is only .5% true (and I’m being rather generous with that).  He was a man.  He dressed up as a woman.  Those two things are true.  He did not have a sister that he masqueraded around as during battle.  Nor did a spirit of his sister or any other woman possess him.  Nor was he actually a woman (though he claimed to be).  These characters that we see are ones by the creators to help tell a story.  So it’s only natural that we’d end up either loving or hating them.  So when a person decides to dress up as the ones we like either because we like their outfits of because we like them as a character.  Why should an overweight person be left out of the fun?


“But Sombra!  We have every right to make fun of people!  It’s fun for us!”  I’m sure that’s what some people would say.  Well sure you absolutely have the right to be a cold heartless jerk but is that really the way you want to portray yourself to the world?  “But Sombra!  We’re only telling the truth!  These people need to hear it so they can change their lives and get healthy!”  That’s just what you’d want me to believe.  Because the truth is that you’re just cold and heartless.  You feel every need to rain on someone else’s parade because it makes you feel better.  There’s a comfortable overweight person over there having fun…you can’t have any of that because you’re unhappy with yourself  Or maybe you just don’t like seeing people who you feel shouldn’t be happy actually be happy.  You need to bring them down to your level so that you can be brought up and somehow feel superior over them.  Your version of the “truth” is often a very distorted one.  One where you have to tell people that they’re ugly, need to stop eating, or in some cases (depending on how really cold and black your heart is) that they need to die.  But there’s a few facts that you need to be schooled on:


1) Beauty is always going to be in the eye of the beholder.  What you find absolutely repulsive, someone else might find beautiful.  Or even if their physical appearance isn’t the greatest someone will always give this person the time of day and find that there’s a beautiful person underneath who was just waiting to get out the entire time.


2) Eating is a rather natural function.  While it would be a normal assessment to say “eat less” or “cut back on these sorts of foods” to expect someone to stop eating altogether is an unrealistic idea.  The body needs food to function and to make your metabolism work faster.  So while it might be “obvious” to you to tell the overweight person to stop eating, just realize that actually a death wish upon them…which brings me to the last point…


3) Really?  You’d go tell a person to die because of their weight?!  Because they dressed up as your favorite character, “messed it up”, and somehow that’s a qualification for them to commit suicide?!  How much more of a dick do you have to be?!  I don’t have to elaborate more.  Actions like this just speak for themselves.


All in all, this form of bias is amazingly ridiculous and baseless.  Why it exists is beyond me.  We’re all member of the same fandom and we all understand what it feels like to cosplay.  It’s fun.  You know it and I know it.  Even those who have never cosplayed know it (which is why they want to cosplay).  But it’s people with the attitudes that I mentioned above that really take the fun out of the experience and turn it into something that people could potentially hate or fear instead of enjoy as they should.  And a small message for the cosplayers, you know what you like.  You know what you can pull off.  Don’t let a few haters ruin the experience for you.  Because for as many people that are there that might hate you for it, there are plenty that will either love you or be indifferent.  Other congoers are there for fun to.  Just remember that.  Do what you love.  That’s all that matters.

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There’s something that I notice at anime conventions and it’s that there is a silent disrespect and hatred for the furry fandom.  It seems some “otaku” place themselves on a pedestal over furs.  I understand that at an anime convention it is conventional for people to cosplay as anime characters.  So furs that dress up as pokemon or digimon or any other creatures related to an anime series are generally left alone.  But there’s a silent double standard in the anime fandom and it’s that you can costume as any character, anime related or otherwise, but god forbid you fursuit as your personal character!  Or god forbid you sell “furry”/anthropomorphic art in artist alley.  People will talk about them behind their backs as if somehow they are greater than the other person.  And this isn’t just limited to the furry fandom.  Anime fans get their fair share of hatred.  Anime in America is thought of as a fad that will disappear in time.  People who like anime are thought of as immature or “wannabe Japanese” people.  God forbid a person shows a genuine interest in the language or culture as well as likes anime.  They will be thought of as a “weaboo”.  And what about sci-fi and comic book fans?  Their like of cosplaying as their favorite characters at conventions is always fodder for late night comedians to poke fun at.  They’re thought of as the 40 year old, overweight virgins who will never get a girl because of his “insane” interest in Star Wars or Superman.  Yet there still seems to be a ranking system of fandoms within fandoms.


But does no one ever notice how fandoms always overlap?  Anime fans have their conventions.  Furries have theirs.  Heck, there’s even a convention for Power Rangers fans.  And comic book fans have Comic-con and other variations like C2E2.  And sci-fi fans have their conventions.  For every fandom you can think of, there is a convention for it somewhere in the world.  But for the purposes of this entry, I’ll only be focusing in on connecting anime, comics, tokusatsu and furry.


There’s one thing that all these fandoms have in common and it’s that they’re more alike than their fans would like to believe.  I’m a new fan of Japanese tokusatsu and an old fan of anime and furry.  Japanese tokusatsu and anime are easily connectible as they’re both forms of media that come from the same country.  Not to mention series like the Super Sentai series and Kamen Rider can sometimes read like a live action anime.  But where does furry fit into the scenario?  Very easily.  In the furry fandom, many anime series tend to be very well loved because critters are the focal point of a few popular series.  Pokemon, Digimon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Wolf’s Rain are four of the most popular.  Animal and/or shapeshifting characters from other series are equally as popular.  Ein from Cowboy Bebop, Mokona from just about everything that CLAMP has made, or some two of my personal favorites, Spinel Sun and Keroberos from Cardcaptor Sakura.  As for furry-type characters in tokusatsu, you’ve got anything from Godzilla to the more animalistic yummies in Kamen Rider OOO (IE: the bird type yummies created by “lost” Ankh).


What about a connection between American comics and Japanese comics (manga)?  At it’s simplest, comics and manga are both stories told through image and text.  Nothing more, nothing less.  People seem to think of anime and manga as a genre of it’s own without realizing that just like American comics and animation, Japanese media is separated into genres such as shounen (meant for boys), shoujo (meant for girls), action, horror, comedy, “mahou shoujo” (magical girl), psychological thriller, and so on and so forth.  There’s a good chance that if you have a genre/subject that you like in American comics, there’s a manga out there that you might enjoy as well.


I don’t have to do a rundown of every detail of every fandom to show the constant overlap between them.  My point’s been made just fine.  People have different interests and sometimes those interests collide.  But if there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that we’re a part of the fandom(s) because we have similar interests to others and we want and need to have people in our lives to share that interest with.  We come together, cosplay and support one another in our endeavors because it’s fun.  And in the end that’s all it ever needs to be is fun.  There doesn’t need to be any ranking or comparing ourselves to one another.  We don’t need to shun a person expressing being a furry at an anime convention or being an anime fan at a sci-fi convention or a comic book fan at a furry convention.  Because when you get right down to it, that person also shares your interest.  Or else they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

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