Warning, I wrote this in a single sitting while getting my thoughts and emotions off my chest, so if it comes off as long winded and ranty, that is how I mean it to be. I don’t want to edit out my feelings to create a better piece of writing, as I want people to truly understand my emotions here. I put this in the anime section of my blog because that is where my frustration began, and if this post bothers or angers you, I don’t even fucking care. The image of Ritsu conveys exactly how I’ve been feeling lately.
This past year has been a trying time for me when dealing with fandoms. In particular the anime fandom has stood out to me, and in a very negative way. I have been deep in fandom over my years, in which I have amassed a huge figure collection, I have dakimakuras, I’ve argued with people I disagree with, etc. I even used to proudly call myself an Otaku, and started my previous blog, The Otakugamer using that label. Unfortunately my passion is being sucked out of me as the very hardcore section of fandom. This ended up with me having a blow up in a semi-public setting online, that a few have seen, and many have not and may never witness. This post will break down my issues and specifics.
Most of my focus is with the Anime/Otaku fandom because some of the group have become so rabid, you can’t say anything negative about the hobby. I have found myself arguing over the most inane topics because I might hold a less than favorable opinion, or lacking an opinion that people want to hear. Since the beginning of the year I’ve stopped watching and finishing a lot of anime series, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by some. It wasn’t until a couple months ago I started realizing why.
Beginning with Otakon this year, I become cognizant of my fatigue of dealing with anime fans. I was no longer just annoyed with the one side of anime fans that hates everything moe and wants nothing but intellectual content. My frustration started to include dealing with the fans that love calling themselves otaku and fighting anyone who speaks ill of their hobby. Post-Otakon my frustration grew to anger and I rarely had patience to deal with anyone who would fight back without substance. This ended with my most recent outburst.
Last month I ended up doing a Fall Anime 2013 Preview bit as I do every quarter when new anime series come out. Repeatedly leading up to this season I constantly stated my opinion of the season looking like it was going to turn out to be disappointing. As I watched preview trailers, read descriptions, and looked at early images, my opinion became a bit harsher. I had no qualms in stating this Fall season looked like shit or that it was going to suck. I ended up only finding fives shows that seemed worth my time.
My opinion on the fall season was not taken very well and during my season preview I was locked in to a huge argument with a friend. My friend was pissed I could make a blanket statement on what was marketed to me, even though this is the first season I’ve watched so few shows, and normally I find ten or more shows worth watching. I was getting fed up as the argument went on and it got extremely heated. We were yelling and cursing at each other, which wasn’t a pretty scene at all.
What came next led to me almost being done with anime altogether. My friend had the audacity to question my fandom, about how many shows have I finished recently, etc. For those who may not know, I have been a fan for over two decades, and the one thing I hate in fandom more than anything else, is questioning a person’s level of being a fan. This may not be the exact phrasing, but I basically said “Fuck this, I quit” and walked off. It has been a long time since I’ve been that angry with someone while arguing over a hobby. In the end, I finished the preview and did patch things up with the friend in questions, in which we both spoke rationally to each other about how we felt and we are all good now.
I don’t want people to think this is exclusive to just anime fandom, as gaming fandom has become very irritating lately as well. There have always been fanboy/fangirl wars over game franchises, genres and consoles, but lately it gets worse and worse. Gaming fandom kind of irks me in a different way, as I feel that gamers have taken the path to seeking out the negative in everything instead of just enjoying their hobby. They nitpick on anything the new generation of consoles are lacking, or crying about pre-order bonuses, glitchy games, or game companies themselves. All the while the same people are still pre-ordering and buying these titles, which completely contradicts their complaints.
My biggest complaint lately with a lot of the hardcore in the gaming fandom is when discussion turns to Feminism, Sexism, or Misogyny. Gamers hit forums or article comment threads, freaking out when anyone thinks a game has a poor representation of women, or lacks one completely. It’s not like those “gamers” are arguing rationally or logically, but instead they throw insults, start petitions, or the biggest offense, threats of physical/sexual violence. This only helps support the argument of those bringing up the issues. While I do believe these issues exist, I don’t always agree with how the arguments are presented. They can be just as mistaken by complaining games they are offended by shouldn’t exist or should be changed to their liking. Personally I feel they should be focused on helping produce more content that helps put these issues to rest, not screaming for games to be changed or canceled.
I also want to beg the males of all fandoms to stop being so critical and dismissive of the female fans. It is not necessary to have a lady prove her fandom by being asked twenty questions so you feel validated. The also includes knocking it off with “Fake (insert fandom label here) Girl. Why are you so threatened by a female fan that if she only enjoys, for example Nintendo games, she isn’t hardcore enough to be a gamer. Grow the fuck up and stop acting like immature little boys. Girls aren’t going to take away your video games. Accept them and just act civil for once in your life, instead of hiding behind your keyboards like little pussies.
While I’ve been working on how I went about writing this lengthy piece about my issues with fandoms, I was able to reflect upon myself and how I want to approach my hobbies going forward. The first thing that came to mind is no longer labeling myself. I will no longer call myself an otaku, a brony, a gamer, etc. I am just going to be a fan of my hobbies and the content I enjoy. This is a way for me to not feel associated with the negative sides of fandom since I won’t be grouping myself in, and I can finally relax more.
I have also decided to take a break from the convention scene for about a year. I have canceled my plans for Otakon Vegas and Katsucon. I might attend a single day of MAGFest in January, but that is not final. The break from conventions was a tough one to make, but I definitely feel it is the right decision. This past year the convention scene was the first to begin to wear on me. If you are curious about my attendance at Otakon next year, fear not as I will be joining everyone, as that convention is more of a weekend to hang out with friends whom I only see about once a year.
For those worried my voice will be going away on my newly launched website or the podcasts I co-host, I can assure you I am not leaving. There will be some changes going forward, that much is true. After discussing it over with Scott Spaziani, Otaku in Review will move to bi-weekly and we won’t force ourselves to finish shows just to provide a review. Shows may end up being shorter in length, but we want to go back to just having fun and not feeling constrained to a deadline on reviewing items. As for Geek Effect, it will also be seeing some changes, as the schedule has been hard to nail down with Mana. We hope to have it back soon in its new capacity.
So as I close out my long winded thoughts, I just want to assure my readers/listeners/friends that I am not going away, I am just going to relax. I am going to be entertained by my hobbies, and not disillusion by the fandom anymore. It is too easy to get caught up in the emotions that fandom brings, and I no longer want to feel overwhelmed and agitated by a lot of the nonsense the hardcore fan base of my hobbies can bring about. I hope my friends who can be considered amongst the hardcore understand where I am coming from and don’t take offense to anything said here. I’m fucking exhausted and I need to keep my sanity if I want to continue the enjoyment of my many hobbies.