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Hey, Answerfans!

by Viewers Like You,

Sorry, we're off this week. But here's an all-new Hey, Answerfans! UPDATE: New rule: if you plan on submitting an answer to the question of the week, your response MUST HAVE "Answerfans" as the subject heading. Otherwise, your response will be discarded. If you have already submitted an answer, please resubmit with ONLY "Answerfans" in the subject header.

Here's last week's question:

From "haxor_05":

Ah, I was waiting for the day you'd ask this question.
Until about two years ago, I was in the closet about being an anime fan. I was open about it when I started out (Read: 1997, with Sailor Moon, followed by Pokémon and Dragon Ball Z two years later), but when I discovered the anime on Adult Swim, I would hide it from others except for a small circle of friends in high school. I wasn't bullied about being an anime fan or anything like that; it was because of the erroneous American notion that cartoons are for kids, along with the equally wrong belief that all anime is either Pokémon/Yu-Gi-Oh!/Digimon/DBZ or violent tentacle rape porn. At that point, I only told a select few people that I was an anime fan, and even then only when the stuff on Adult Swim came up. It wasn't until two years ago, when I started buying anime on DVD, buying manga, and watching on YouTube, that I got more open about my fandom. I've since told other people about being an anime fan, but even then I only really tell those I know well. On the other hand, walking around wearing a Samurai Champloo T-shirt or flashing a Death Note keychain advertises it enough.
So yeah, I used to be a closeted otaku who hid his fandom, but not anymore. I'm way out, baby!

From Parick Oulette:

Yes, I do hide my fandom.  Anyone that has met me wouldn't guess it until they've come into my house and seen my book/dvd shelves. I just never bring it up in conversation and I never get asked.

I used to find that if I did bring it up, the conversations would just get awkward. Also, using my parents as the template, I never bring it up the subject of anime around adults as it will always get labelled as "that pokemon show" and then they change the subject.

So yes, I do hide it, until they see my room.

From Ken Avery:

Yes, I do hide my anime fandom.

I have been watching anime off and on for over 40 years and as you can guess most people "my age" think anime is "nerdy kids stuff" or pornographic, which we all know is a very narrow minded attitude.  I have a neice that is an anime fan and watching the reaction of my wife when my niece talks about not only watching anime but going to a convention, this is one subject I will not be discussing with my wife for quite a while, if ever.

Every since I was a kid and saw a little magical monkey called "Alakazam" one 1960's Saturday afternoon, I was hooked.  Having only seen Disney and Warner Brothers up until then, I was amazed at what I was seeing.  Characters with some development and the hero actually getting hurt.  This was some thing that was definately different.

From Verna Venisa:

When I became a fan of anime in high school I practically flaunted my fandom. I wasn't obnoxious about it or anything, but I was very open about the stuff I was into. I wore t-shirts with my fave show on them, buttons, wristbands, and what have you. I cosplayed (I still do, actually), and got really excited about going to conventions every year. The fact is that becoming an anime fan made me a more confident person, because it forced me to adapt to situations where people don't necessarily understand why I like the things I do.  
As I got older, however, went to more conventions, and met more anime fans, I began to become incredibly turned-off of the whole culture. Let's face it. Anime fans (or at least a majority of them), are pushy, rude, overly-vocal, and generally unkept people. Yes, it's a stereotype. Yes, it's not true of every fan. But as anime as become more public and more people know what it is, it's become clear that that is how anime fans are seen: immature and obnoxious.

Frankly, and you can hardly blame me, I don't want to be associated with that. So as of late, it's not that I hide my fandom. I just don't make it apparent anymore. Sure, all of my good friends know I'm into anime, but I avoid anime paraphanelia like the plague now for fear that I'll be lumped with the otaku of the world.

Now, some people would say that I "care too much about what people think" or that if I were more confident with myself, I'd be able to show my "true colors" or whatever nonsense they want to spew. The fact remains that what other people think does matter, whether it be my friends, people I'd want to date, or potential employers. I'm not going to let a silly hobby get in the way of getting what I want out of life, even if that means I'm not wearing a Fruits Basket t-shirt every day. I think I can live with that.

From Josh Stevens:

Living in a youth controlled by 'in-things' such as Rap, R&B and all those other cliched nightmares were hard for me to deal with in the first place, being the rock-loving person I am. However, one thing that ruined my chances of being popular during my school days was somebody found out I like anime, and spread it around. The problem is, when most people think of anime they instantly think of 'Pokemon' and 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' which is understandable as they are major marketable global names at the moment, but they'd ignore the deeper shows like 'Fullmetal Alchemist', or the hilarious titles like 'Azumanga Daioh!' which did make it hard for. Then came Naruto, and the never-ending amount of ninja jokes aimed towards me. It really did seem back then that being an anime fan was a social taboo, but once the beans had been spilled, I couldn't deny - and why would I? Popularity was never anything to me in the first place, it was for other people though, which is why hardly anyone spoke to me. I do not however, blame anime as the reason for this, I blame the fact that people these days are too stubborn to try out something different, and all have to be the same.
I started college two months ago, and the atmosphere has changed completely - people no longer cringe when I mention I like anime, and I am free to walk around with a T-shirt AND messenger bag displaying the 'Laughing Man' logo from 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex' with pride, heck, people in my tutor group always think the worst when I'm NOT wearing them!   Also, for me, anime has been a real comfort zone. Throughout this past year I have been through a heck of a lot, but nothing was more relaxing then at the end of the day, snuggling up with some cushions and watching the now deceased-'AnimeCentral' channel and some of their amazing shows such as 'Mobile Suit Gundam SEED' and 'BLEACH' - For me, anime was that kind person, and that shoulder to cry on I never had. It was a comfort zone, and with some amazing characters such as Lacus Clyne from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, and Kakashi from Naruto, has also added to the vast wisdom I am said to have.
Now, at college everyone knows I like anime, and they don't judge me for it. I don't like to pretend to be someone I'm not anyway, the only things I hide is the fact that I still play the 'Pokemon' games and play the 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' trading card game, because they are both seen as rather kiddy, even though I do still attend Pokemon Events, and see that the majority of fans are older than me.
In Conclusion, I don't feel as if I hide my Anime fandom as a whole, my closest friends know I enjoy some of the kiddy shows like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but in all honesty, not everyone needs to know that. However, people know I enjoy anime, and that my iPod is filled with soundtracks, but now I've reached a more mature age, and so have my peers, no one really cares - Heck, I'm even in the stages of fine-tuning discussions of starting a Weekly Anime Club at my college!
     I don't feel one should ever need to hide their fandom, their fandom is a part of their identity. The only problem is, the general consensus among secondary school pupils is that anime is a social taboo, and we're all in love with every anime girl on the face of the planet, well, what do you expect from 12-16 year olds? There may be fans like that, but the majority of anime fans are an extremely welcoming and friendly community, so there is no need to hide your fandom, or you'll never meet great people like I have!

From Lianna Mills Jr.:

I heartily congratulate you. You have successfully managed to find the one question that could get 75% of anime fans sweating.

The way I see it, there are three general categories for anime fans: Closet Otakus, who act perfectly non-Japan obsessed in public, then they come home, plop down, and watch episode after episode on their computer and actually have shelves of manga; Anime Vocals, who go to school/work wearing Naruto ninja headbands, can be heard raving to their friends about their latest anime craze at any time during the day, and walk around with a manga volume or their newest DVD tucked under their arm; and the Middle-Grounders, those who are somewhere in between, not shoving their fandom up other people's noses, nor hiding their love of anime from all eyes.

I'm a middle-grounder. I might be found reading manga, or maybe I'll have a hardback novel by the author Shannon Hale in my lap. If you ask me what my favorite movie is, I'd say Nausikaa of the Valley of the Wind, and were you to ask what my favorite TV program is, "I don't watch American TV" would probably be my answer. My T-shirt might have the SOS Brigade symbol on it, or it could be solid blue.

Though, if I do say so my self, the Anime Vocal crown really gets on my nerves. Hey, great, you're not hiding your fandom, kudos to you. That doesn't mean I need a demonstration of how you just learned the Hare Hare Yukai, or an explanation the length of a short novel on how awesome the last episode of Bleach was.

Answerman's "yeah I really am this much of a douche" note on Lianna Mills' answer: Unless the "k" in "Nausikaa" is some sort of bizarre attempt at language purity, in which case you're trying too hard, then maybe you should learn how to spell the title of your "favorite movie".

From Danny M.:

I've seen how silly, stupid, and obnoxious anime fans can be. I'm sorry to say that I used to be one of them: using Japanese language in everyday conversations, have a diet consisting only of pocky and Japanese food, making trips to Japantown a habit, etc. Looking back on it makes me extremely embarrassed. Compared to the way I am now I am happy to say that I have drastically changed by hiding my anime fandom.

These days I usually make anime a whole separate part of me by only restricting it to my online “persona” – I even hide to look at animenewsnetwork.com. The only people who know about my anime fandom are my family and close friends. I try to avoid weeaboo's and regular anime fans like the plague – have I mentioned how embarrassing they can be? Unfortunately I cannot stop listening to Japanese music and collecting Japanese comic books. So I usually only let me hear my iPod and hide my books in storage.

The one time I let my inner anime fan come out in public was to settle the infamous One Piece vs. Naruto dispute (we all know that One Piece will always come out the victor).

Other than that I have chosen to become another piece of society. Call me shallow, arrogant, superficial, small-minded, or whatever, but I'd rather be known to be a contributing member of society than a 19 year old college student who is still into cartoons. I'm not saying you cannot be both, but I'd rather keep Japanese animation out of my social life.

Finally, from GE Ferguson:

have never, EVER hidden the fact that I am an Anime Fan. Quite the opposite in fact. I like everyone to know that I am a deep fan of Anime for the pure fact that with that little piece of knowledge you see just what everyone thinks of you. will they laugh? will they accept you for being a fan? or are they like you a fan themselves? I work at a starbucks right by 2 high schools and a college in the middle of a downtown business area, so I see a plethora of people from all different walks of life, and it amazes me still to see that of all those questions the one that turns out to be the truest is that people like to look down at you for being a fan. But even with all the people that point and laugh I would never hide the fact that I am an anime fan just to escape from a person laughing at me for it. to deny that which is apart of us is to in fact deny who we are, that is by far a worse thing than anything I can think of.


So here's the question for this week:

Now you've got this week's question, and it's time to get answerin'.

For those of you new to Hey, Answerfans!, I'll explain the concept.

Believe it or not, I'm genuinely curious what you think.

That's right; as much as I love the sound of my own voice, I do love to listen to what other people have to say on a subject. I'm finding that over the last few years, the attitudes, reasoning and logic that today's anime fans use eludes, confuses or astounds me; I hve so many questions for you, and I'm dying to hear what you have to say in response.

Welcome to Hey, Answerfans!

Basically, we're turning the tables. Each week I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to email me your answer. Be as honest as you can. I'm looking for good answers; not answers I agree with or approve of, but good, thoughtful answers
. People feel passionately about these subjects and I'd like to see that in the responses I get. I'll post the best answers I get, and maybe some of the crappy ones. Sometimes there may only be one or two good ones; sometimes five or more. It all depends on what I get in my inbox! Got it? Pretty simple, right? Start writing those answers and email them to answerman [at] animenewsnetwork dot com.

We do have a few simple ground rules to start with.

Things To Do:

* Be coherent.
* Be thoughtful.
* Be passionate.
* Write as much or as little as you feel you need to to get your point across in the best possible way.

Things Not To Do:

* Respond when the question doesn't apply to you. For instance, if your email response starts with "Well, I don't do whatever you're asking about in the question... " then I'm going to stop reading right there and hit delete.
* Be unnecessarily rude or use a lot of foul language.
* Go off-topic.

So check this space next week for your answers to my questions!

See you all next week!

Howl's Moving Castle © Nibariki * GNDDDT

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