Hey, Answerman! - RANTS RANTS RANTS!by Zac Bertschy, Mar 30th 2007
Answerman's on vacation this week, so we have a special column for you: RANTS RANTS RANTS! Here are a handful of recently-submitted rants on a variety of subjects. Zac will be back next week with a special double-length Answerman column, a fresh Flake, and likely a wacky animated banner!
So let's get ranting!
Our first rant comes courtesy of Sean Tugwell. Go easy on the guy.
I've been brooding on this for years now. Every convention I go to, every time I check out an anime club, every time I even come here a small part of my brain dies. Almost every time I do anything related to anime, where there are other people who like it around me, I am... forced to listen or witness countless acts of stupidity and ignorance. I get the joy of hearing such ignorant, biased, and unintelligent rants and speeches that they make me want to go on a murderous rampage. Why are so many anime fans so freaking ignorant and stupid? Everywhere you go there are countless examples of fans who display such acts of mindless ignorance that you're left wondering if this is a hobby you even want to be associated with. I pride myself on enjoying what I like regardless of what people think. Yet even I find myself sneaking through the anime isle of Bestbuy so as to not be seen by people. "So how exactly are so many fans stupid and ignorant?" Glad you asked. Here are some of the most common examples. I'm sure all of you can list many more but lets focus on some of the most obvious and, as far as I'm concerned, some of the worst in terms of people's behavior. Mind you these are all examples of the extremes for the respective side(s) I mention and not the overall norm. I will also exclude my own personal opinions and simply state examples of said extreme behavior.
Number one, the sub vs. dub people. Probably the oldest battle in the anime industry for fans. Should I watch it in its native language, or should I watch the dubs our companies give us. Go watch what you want, how you want it. Just don't go telling others how they have to watch it. I can't go to a con, or go a week here anymore, without seeing yet another useless debate on how everyone should watch their anime. The sub purists would have you believe, and remind you quite often, that the only true way to watch anime is subbed. The dubs are all horrible and the voice actors should all be dragged behind a pick up truck like the dogs they are. They won't hesitate to completely bash the whole American, or insert country you live in, anime industry. if it's not Japanese it sucks! On the reverse you have the dub purists. Their arguments range from; "This is America and we speak English here," (Which we actually don't, we speak American. English is the good ole King's English that is spoken in ENGLAND and not in America. Not anymore since our little party anyway.) to "I don't wanna have to read while I watch my anime." Regardless of reason they have the general attitude they should be catered to and not have to show any respect for the native language the anime came from. Either way you are forced to listen to purists who think they have a right to act like ignorant jerks with a right to tell you how you should watch YOUR anime at YOUR place.
Number two, the fansubbers and R1 purists (as I call them). Now we have 2 sides debating on how you obtain your anime. So before you even deal with the people telling you how to watch your anime you gotta deal with the people telling you what format to buy. Joy of joys. On the one side are the fansub watchers, and creators. They feel they're entitled to the anime and shouldn't have to pay for it. Why pay for what you can get for free right? "I shouldn't pay for a horrible series I might not like anyway." Nice attitude, you guys must be the children of politicians. The extremists on this side simply refuse to spend one dime on the industry they claim to like. How they think that's somehow productive is beyond me. That's not even accounting for the fact they're actually illegal anyway. They break the law but want to argue morality. Riiiggghhtttt.You also have the R1 purists. Their attitude is if you even look at a fansub for one second you're nothing but a thief and devil worshiper and will burn for all eternity in the fires of hell. Even if you buy the dvds later you're still a low down thief and not a true anime fan. As with the sub and dub people these two groups waste no time bashing you for not agreeing with them and their views. Now I'm wrong for the format and language I watch anime with.
Number 3, the anti hentai, yaoi, and yuri crowd. Oh! great, so you mean to tell me besides being told what format to get and what language to watch it in I'm not being told what I can even buy. Such a fun hobby this anime. These extremists would have you believe by watching this sexual or "gay" filth you'll burn right along with those fansub watchers. I've seen lines here at ANN by people who say if you watch hentai it's a circle ending in rape. Others will say you're just a pathetic single person who can't get any. By watching hentai you're nothing but a sexual deviant. As for those "gay" anime viewers who like they're yuri and yaoi. They're even more depraved then the hentai watchers. Being gay seems to be morally wrong for these haters and they seem to think that just because you watch yuri or yaoi you must also in turn be gay. Better burn them with the hentai watchers and fansub watchers. Here's a true story. At Otakon 2006 there was a panel, keep it anonymous, next door to the late night guests uncut panel. Some wonderful fan had a sign that said "This is the line for the uncut panel." Right below it however was "Have fun at the "X" panel getting aids." These are my peers in the anime fandom?
Last on this magical voyage are the fanboys and fangirls. So besides being told what format to watch, what language to watch it in, and what content to buy I have to deal with being slapped in the ass with a freakin paddle or tackled by some tween! What is wrong with people?! I'm going to hell for watching hentai, burning even more for downloading, a traitor to America for watching subs, and I also get to be hit with a damn paddle by some little snot running up and down the halls squealing like a stuffed pig because that guy over there looks like Yuki from Fruit's Basket. The extreme of this group seem to think it's ok to run up and glomp, which is short for assault, me and then smack me with a wooden paddle before running off. They think inserting Japanese words into their daily speech is so kawaaaiiiii. The really sad fact is it's not just kids under the age of say 14 or 15. It's freaking grown adults too! While they may not lecture you, as the above mentioned groups, they gleefully violate your personal space and harass you. Then they call you a baka because you're so last week and not up with current Japanese trends.
With all of these insightful and courteous people why on Earth would someone be ashamed to admit they like anime? These examples, among so many others, are the reason people look down on anime fans. This is why we're seen as nothing but degenerates, immature, etc etc. While for some this may not phase you at all, for some it's a constant problem. I personally don't care what others think about my hobbies. However, I don't want to have to hear snickers and rude comments every time I walk into the anime isle in any store. Why can't so many people show some restraint? Why do they feel the need to shove their values, beliefs, or ideas onto everyone else? You wanna watch dubs or subs fine, watch them and shut up. You don't like hentai, fine just don't go picketing at conventions and saying comments like it all leads to rape. It's called moderation and personal responsibility. Two concepts lost on so many people. I mean for crying out loud anime is simply cartoons. yes, they are made for adults and more mature audiences then say you're Scooby Doo crowd. In the end though they are still by definition cartoons. You're telling me you're going to act rude and ignorant over a cartoon. Anime is supposed to fun and make you laugh, cry and go through all the other emotions, not create all sorts of extremists and rude jerks. I by no means want to infer all anime fans are like this. As I said these are just the extremist groups. I am... no saint but I'm pretty sure I've never told someone they're a rapist for watching hentai, or sexual harassed someone by slapping their ass with paddle (against their will mind you). If you find yourself preaching to or insulting people with any of the examples above, or others, you need to take a step and grow up. Anime is a hobby, not a religious crusade to take back the holy land. You wanna argue your views then go ahead, but show some damn common sense and common decency towards people for crying out loud. Quit ruining it for the rest of us please.
Next up is Yifan Sun. We get a lot of rants about fans here, so just be forgiving.
This rant is not about fansubs, lolicon, or bad dubbing. Instead, I'd like to address people who negatively identify any particular anime with its fans.
Now, we see this kind of behavior all the time, but oftentimes we've grown accustomed to this without examining the implications behind it. It's not too uncommon to see people who denounce Naruto as childishly immature, Kanon as pandering to a worthless moe subculture, or Ouran High School Host Club as merely satisfying the insatiable appetites of fangirls. Even though I don't even like some of those shows, it still infuriates me to hear such "critiques" of a show. Each of these criticisms are disguised as "problems" present in the show, miss-targeting the series itself as a way to hit home against the true target: the show's fans. To me, it seems like censures such as these are nothing more than indirect insults against the fans of these anime, manifested by the vibrant anti-fandom groups.
Now, I'm not here to preach morality, but rather practicality. Indirect insults have their place (they can be rather amusing and witty when done right), but this is not it, especially when you examine the repercussions of these actions. Firstly, how are these affecting the fans that they're directed towards? Are Narutards or Haruhiists going to admit the error of their ways and repent to you for showing them the light of their sub-par show? Are the Otakin from a while back or the Flake guy from last week going to turn away from such shows because of your mindless condemnations? No, chances are this will only provoke them further, failing to diminish the number of fans while succeeding in diminishing your reputation. People are not blind enough to need you to point out that there are idiots among every single fan group without exception. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, these rash comments reflect quite negatively on anime to outside critics. How much more justified are their baseless accusations of anime being childish or distasteful when they see you, the self-proclaimed anime fan, accusing in the same manner? Come on now, we don't need anime fans themselves destroying their own hobby.
Of course, making these broad claims about shows you know merely by the fans will likely obliterate your credibility amongst any half-intelligent fans as well; it's like claiming to be an authority on biochemistry simply because your brother-in-law majored in biochemistry in college. Now, I'm not demanding you to watch every single episode just to have the right to criticize something. I'm not even asking you to admit anything good about a show you dislike; go ahead and think that Naruto or Kanon or Ouran have no redeeming qualities whatsoever. All I'm asking is for you to criticize responsibly and reasonably, and to articulate it correctly, as it is definitely worth the trouble in the long run. If you habitually present legitimate grievances to shows you don't like, then I probably don't have any qualms with you. But if you find yourself making crude assertions such as those listed earlier, then listen up. Sure, there might be some truth to the claims that Naruto is childish, Kanon has moe girls, and Ouran has bishies, but this doesn't give you an excuse to forego using your brain while deploring them. Why not instead say that Naruto presents concepts such as hard work and commitment in naïve and simplistic ways that do not accurately reflect such ideals? Or that you personally found Kanon's or Ouran's character designs and personalities to be unrealistic and unappealing? You will likely win more people over with reason than with vitriol. Even if you don't change anyone's mind, you will likely gain respect even from dissenters for your well-expressed views. If you opt for the opposite tactic, then I assure you that there are people like me who will remember your unsubstantiated credibility, and will not tolerate any hypocrisy from you in the future.
I recognize that there are some people who'll still perpetuate these groundless allegations simply because they like to provoke responses. All I have to say to this is, simply don't feed trolls. Trolls require attention for sustenance, but they are notoriously not self-sufficient, and require other entities to provide attention to nourish them. Just let these abominable creatures starve to death. However, I have faith that the vast majority of you are not such socially challenged attention addicts, but rather genuine fans of anime. In that case, I implore you to define and show your admiration of anime by love, not by hatred.
And now, Turtle Lady with a few comments about Yaoi.
I've been reading your "Hey, Answerman!" letter for... a bit under 3 months now. I've read most of the issues now, and this might be a different version of one you got awhile back, but I don't think it touches on the direction I want to do with it. My friend, whom we'll call Mary, is really into yaoi. And the...as she calls it, 'pervy' stuff.
Now, don't get me wrong, I like yaoi, shounen-ai, boyxboy, what ever you want to call it. In fact, I've got a small group of friends who also enjoy yaoi. But I like it for a different reason. I respect it. I know it does not portray real life scenarios most of the time, and that it's pretty far fetched. In fact, the only one that I know of that even remotely seems realistic is Gravitation, and even that pushes the line a bit.
Now, up untill awhile ago, before I respected it, I was like Mary. I would laugh and giggle at yaoi. And we would make all these, 'pervy' comments. But in the past few...oh, months I would say, I think I've matured--even in the slightest bit. Like, I don't giggle when someone says the word "balls" like she STILL does.
And it annoys me to. no. end.
I feel as though I hang around a kid. She goes up to her friends in the middle of a crowded mall and 'glomps' them. She skips and hops and holds hands, or links arms with her friends. And to me, it's embarassing! I recently talked to her about all of these things, and she told me that *I* was the one growing up too fast. We are both around the age of 14, but I still think that we should be mature enough to have a discussion about guys without giggle giggle. And it's hard to do.
After it dawned on me how childish I had been before, I had gotten into reading books on Anatomy and romance novels(not with the over done scenes). And she laughs and giggles about it! She reads 'lemons' or 'limes'. (Just in case--lemons and limes are 'mature' scenes in fanfics.)
I think she might be taking it a bit to far--with anime in general.
We both like those over-populated shows(IE: Naruto). And I don't, 'love' Itachi becuase, well he's fictional and you can't fall in love with a fictional character. But I find him really awesome. And I like his attitude and things like that. Meanwhile, she saw maybe 4 episodes of Yū Yū Hakusho and immediately fell in love with Yusuke. And in Inuyasha she has 'fantasies' about her and Kouga.
I just, don't know what to do! It's nerve racking, and she ALWAYS has a comeback for my reasons on why she is immature. She just never listens. Even my other friends agree that all of her little jokes and stuff are annoying. Especially about yaoi! I mean, it's never going to happen. Naruto and Sasuke aren't getting together. Get over it! I think it's about time some people grow up and understand that yaoi is a mix between fact and fiction.
There are gays out there, and they have the right to feel as they feel, but we also need to respect that in some shounen manga, there is going to be absolutely NO shounen-ai between canon characters!
Okay! That's enough ranting for one week, no? As mentioned before, Zac will return next week. Now let's all look at this adorable kitten, and have a great weekend!
See you next week!
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