Monday, June 20, 2011

Why are so many people willing to dismiss anime?



This is one of the major reasons why I started this blog.  While having a place to talk about anime is fantastic, my true motivation was finding out why so many people absolutely hate anime without knowing anything about it.  Hopefully I can change a few minds as time rolls on.

I know that it's 'cool' to hate what other people hate.  That's just the way our culture works, especially when it comes to the internet.  People are way more interested in hating things and bashing people than they are offering praise or constructive criticism.  For every person out there that hates anime with a passion, I bet there are 10 others that hate anime only because they hear others say the same thing.

I'd love to sit down and chat with people that dislike anime and have formulated opinions/reasoning as to why.  I'm going to try and put together pieces like this.  Perhaps some video interviews with people around town, or question and answer sessions with people that I know.  One way or another, we'll figure out why people are so quick to judge anime.

I really do hope I can start to turn some of those opinions around.  I know you guys will help me achieve that goal.  Let's show people what anime is all about!

29 comments:

  1. I honestly don't know why. I just get bored when it is on. It may also be that when I worked at GameStop, anime fans came in with the shirts or clothes or Naruto head bands and they were all socially awkward (completely- not the awkward gamers can be) smelled and force conversation about anime when I clearly showed no interest in anything they had to say. I do enjoy pokemon and Monster Rancher though...

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  3. RMC, have you seen "Texhnolyze"?

    Well, that Anime is the Anime that animes everything in Anime! In other words, it's a masterpiece! Great story, great art, and dark as hell! There is no cheesy lines or anything corny - it's a straight serious anime! One of my favs!

    Also, have you seen "Grave of the Fireflies"? Well, Roger Ebert has a great commentary about the film and anime in general: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9WEyuMq0Yk

    He express how anime is an ART form!

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  4. You can probably tell from my profile picture, but I'm kind of an anime nerd. That being said, take my opinion with a grain of salt...but I think a lot of the prejudice comes from the people who like anime. My girlfriend works in Japantown and there are, to put it bluntly, fat ugly, socially awkward people who really like anime and come to japantown in cosplay on the weekends. If the only people who you knew that liked anime were like that, you might consider anime uncool.

    Now, I understand that the reason that fat, ugly, socially awkward people connect with anime is because it's something you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, and you can make connections with lots of other people who are just like you and actually have some semblance of a normal social life through it. But, it doesn't mean that everyone who likes anime is like that, and it doesn't mean you become a loser automatically just because you like anime.

    When my girlfriend moved to San Francisco, she thought that "otaku" were fat, ugly, socially awkward people. Then she was talking to a really good looking guy who was really good with ladies at a party about that subject and he said "you've got it all wrong...if I'm not an otaku, then nobody is an otaku." She even joked to her friend when I said I would take her to an anime convention that she would probably be the most attractive person there. Now, I love my girlfriend and I think she's beautiful, but there are some damn hot people at conventions. And after the first convention I took her to, she wouldn't stop bugging me about cosplaying at our next convention! "All the girls in costumes were so cute, I want to be cute too!"

    Sorry for the really long post...hopefully it makes sense. I was at an anime con this weekend and was blacked out most of last night from all the partying with attractive, intelligent women. ;)

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    1. Those fat, ugly, socially awkward folks who really like anime that your girlfriend saw in Japantown are called weeaboos. Which stands for wannabe Japanese because they want to become Japanese but obviously lack the qualities because nobody can change their own ethnicity and race. Weeaboos denounce their own culture and of course since they are wannabes, they speak broken Japanese and try too hard to be cute(girl weeaboos do that). They pepper their speeches with Japanese. "You're so kawaii!" "Sugoi desu ne!" They prefer everything Japanese because they hate their own culture and think that Japanese culture is superior. They give anime fans like myself for example a bad name. They are the reason people hate anime. Many anime haters believe that anime fans and weeaboos are the same thing. It's usually normal anime fans who hate weeaboos. Weeaboos believe that Japan is an anime wonderland where everyone listens to Vocaloid and bashes other cultures which is why they are racist. But their perception in Japanese culture is biased. What they believe is true is actually not. I recommend avoiding weeaboos because these people have the tendencies to seriously hurt others.

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    2. While there are people who are like that, I really hope people can get rid of the stereotype that all people who watch and like anime are weaboos. Seriously it is so annoying

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  5. They're all the same or very similar, there's no variation in the way the characters are drawn, they're full of cliche characters, tell the same stories about people in distant universes (as an example), etc. Also, anime fans come off as though anime is the only thing that defines them, they're obsessed with it, and seem to think it's somehow better than any other art form. The biggest thing for me is the art style is a turn off, and it (maybe unfairly) makes them all look like they were drawn by the same artist. I dunno. That's just my thoughts on the subject, I don't really HATE anime... it's just not my cup of tea.

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  6. One anime that ruined it for alot of people I would have to say is Dragonball Z. When most people think of DBZ they think of how they talk for 15 mins and than they have a 5 min fight.

    I'm sorry to say it but American adaptation of anime in the early years sometimes sucked. When they first brought DBZ to the US they took out all of the dirty jokes, suggestive themes, most of the violence (blood, limbs being cut off...etc) and the drama. They butchered it. They got rid of alot of episodes because it didn't have anything to do with fighting, they were just story driven.

    I believe people that don't like anime think of that show, how annoying the characters VO are and how boring it was. But if you have ever watched the uncut version of it you would see it is a pretty good anime.

    Anime should never be altered from its original state.

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  7. I base my dislike of anime through my own experience - don't assume that if someone dislikes something you like it -must- be only because they think it's cool to dislike it. I simply dislike it because I don't like melo-drama, or the type of "humor" of most of the ones I have watched. It's just absolutely horrible. Beyond that, most of the shows I've seen are almost always the same in at least one area, be it art direction or plot or whatever. It's just all terribly boring, mediocre, overly-dramatic or overly stupid, non-original stuff to me. The ones I've seen, anyway. And I do find some of the fans of Anime to be quite obnoxious, as the fella posted before, trying to force conversation upon you about something you don't know or even remotely care about, but I guess you could say there are people like that everywhere in life.

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  8. @ nattlefrosten

    I guess you just have to find the right show for you. Just like movies or TV shows you are not going to like all of them. There are anime that I can't stand and than there are ones that I can't get enough of.

    One of the reasons why Japanese Anime is so popular in Japan is because they are so good at make them, sky's the limit with anime and they are mostly horrible at making live action movies except for Akira Kurosawa. Kind of like how Chinese are good at making Kung Fu/ Fighting flicks but really don't make any other types of movies. And the ones they do make we never hear about them. Anime in Japan is the standard, Japanese live action movies not so much.

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  9. @Wiimo: Do you think the art style is BAD? I think anime looks very nice, actually a lot nicer than most American cartoons (where the art is outsourced to the Phillipines or it looks like it was made in Flash). I can agree that a lot of it looks very similar, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing...the art direction is what really makes each anime unique in my eyes. I would take well drawn stuff that all kinda looks the same over stuff that looks terrible. There are a lot of anime that are poorly drawn or animated that I just can't watch...Initial D and Hana Yori Dango, and a lot of the older stuff, too.

    And saying that the story of each anime is the same is like saying every TV show or every cartoon or every movie has the same story. Anime is a lot more diverse than a lot of people give it credit for. I don't blame them for not knowing...but it is an ignorant statement to make.

    But I don't think the intent of this post is to argue every point that dissenters make, it's to understand why people don't like them...so I think I should probably back off from commenting on this anymore. :)

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  10. @Zaakro

    Yes, you're correct. It's stupid to generalize anything, which is why I made a point to say "the ones I've seen". And out of the ones I've seen so far, I've liked none. That's my simple explanation and response to people that say "OH YOU DONT LIKE IT CAUSE YOU DONT 'UNDERSTAND' IT THATS WHY HURRHURR" or, as Mr.Rawmeat said, because it's "cool" to dislike. I don't care what other people like, and I highly doubt that the majority of people that dislike anime dislike it simply because other people do. Accept the fact that some people may not like what you like and probably have completely valid reasons. (The last few sentences were not directed at you, Zaakro.)

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  11. @ nattlefrosten

    You are exactly the person I'm looking for. Thanks for coming to check out the blog in the first place. I can only hope that you keep tabs on it and find something that strikes your fancy.

    With that said, the point of this post was to find out why some people dislike anime, and you gave me completely valid reasons. You don't fall into the category of someone that dislikes anime just for the sake of disliking it. Having a set of reasons to makes it easier to peg down what bothers you about anime, and then easier still to eliminate that sort of anime content from programs you might enjoy.

    I hope your right about people having valid reasons for disliking anime, but unfortunately I've been working on a few surveys that show opposite results. As soon as those are finished up, I'll definitely share the results here.

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  12. @RawmeatCowboy

    Oh, I'm sure there are people that DO dislike it based on other peoples perceptions, it's kind of like Sony/MS/Nintendo fanboys hating on things for completely invalid reasons. But at the same time, I dislike generalization of people and would argue that there is large % of those people that dislike anime that dislike it for valid reasons.

    But what I truly don't understand is why it matters. People will like what they like and hate what they hate, whether they do or don't shouldn't matter as long as you enjoy yourself and what you personally like. I'm not referring to you or this post in specific there, just in general with people being bothered by the fact that some people don't enjoy the same things they do. Also, I've been a GoNintendo reader for years and feel like I should say "thanks" right now for the massive amounts of work it must take to stay so up to date, while I have the chance. So, yeah.

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  13. The problem here is looking at "anime" as a cohesive whole and trying to make generalizations about it. There are so many different genres and audiences for anime, and also varying levels of quality among them. Anime has been completely fetishized and presented here in the US as an exotic art form, to be treated as something in and of itself. It's really just a type of storytelling, nothing more. There are some unique qualities associated with anime to be sure, but there is nothing mystical about it, and it certainly isn't the window into Japanese society that some otaku seem to think it is.

    The reality is, anime is just another form of media, like live television, movies, books, comics, etc. that happens to more accepted (and therefore more prevalent) in Japan than it is here. So there are some amazing shows out there, but there are an equal number of absolutely terrible shows, and everything in between. Maybe the people dismissing anime have only ever seen the crappy shows and have missed out on the amazing stuff. On the flip side, I used to date a guy who loved the most horrendous shows just because they were from Japan and had girls with enormous boobs in it. What gives?

    It's like trying to make judgments about American television as a whole - sure there are some Arrested Developments and Battlestar Galacticas, but there are also lots of Two and a Half Mens and Jon and Kate Plus Eights.

    Two cents from Lurleen! :)

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  14. I was really into anime all throughout high school. I loved it. Seriously, couldn't get enough of the stuff. My love, embarrassingly enough started out with Sailor Moon (though I was exposed to stuff like unedited Akira, Project Ako and the original Street Fighter 2 film way before I should have been, around when I was in 5th and 6th grade) and from there I moved on and found many of the staples like Escaflowne, Macross Plus, Cowboy Bebop, Eva, and of course Ghibli films.

    I've since fallen out of it. When I met my wife at animation school she was really into anime and we'd watch a fair amount of shows together (though she was usually into shows I wasn't into) and slowly but surely I started to get my fill of it. I started finding that a lot of it followed the same structures and characters. As I got older I guess I started to critique it more and went from eating up everything I could get my hands on (I sat through that boring old X film) to becoming very picky. I'd watch the occasional film like Jin-Roh or Blood the Last Vampire (which I hated) but that was the extend of it.

    I think I really had enough when I started watching Samurai Champloo. I was pumped for it because a lot of the talent from Bebop had worked on that show. I watched a handful of episodes and found the parallels so striking that I just couldn't get into the show. One episode was almost scene for scene from Bebop. I called the whole thing as it happened and it was at that point I had given up on the show, and subsequently lost nearly all of my interest in watching any series.

    That said I'm not a complete anime hater. I still love the Ghibli films, they're fantastic of course. My cable provider also has the Funimation Channel and I've caught a few series that have been okay enough. I found Mushishi on there and loved it. It's probably the only anime series I can think of recently that I genuinely love.

    I don't have beef with anime per say, there can of course be some good stuff, but the bulk of it, to me, isn't worth watching. Then again, I'd also say the same thing about regular cartoons.

    Anyway, I had a few really great years with anime, I did, but we just grew apart over the years.

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  15. There are probably tons of reasons why, but I will just put one down that I haven't seen anyone talking about.

    Kawaii.

    Yeah. A lot of people in America probably don't take it seriously because for every serious anime that is out there, there's always like 3 cute animes out there that have the timid girls who do kawaii things.

    Don't get me wrong, I like some anime that could be considered kawaii (K-on!), but sometimes that type of anime can get annoying.

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  16. Well, there was a point in time when I thought anime was stupid. When I was young, the only anime I was exposed to were DBZ and Sailor Moon and I hated them both. I didn't like their art direction and I didn't like their stories. To be frank, I still feel the same about both series and I'll probably never watch them in their entirety. (Sorry DBZ and Sailor Moon fans! Please don't hate me!)

    It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I finally decided I would give anime another try and started watching Death Note. Although it took some time to get comfortable with it, eventually I grew to love the show. There are many reasons why I love Death Note, but it all boils down to it being good and, perhaps more importantly, different from anything I had ever seen before.

    This brings me to why I think people easily dismiss anime: it is very Japanese and therefore, in many cases, very weird. To realize how amazing a detective story Death Note is, to appreciate the fascinating characters and the interesting social questions raised requires wading through a lot of dramatic chip eating and bulgy-eyed death gods. To like anime, you need to have a strong craving for something different and be willing to drudge through a lot of strange to get it. The barrier for entry is so high that a lot of potential otaku will never be willing to invest the time to find what they like.

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  17. Someone earlier said anime is really just another artistic medium, just another canvas for expression. Unfortunately, modern anime doesn't take advantage of much of this and is just turning into trite schlep. Here's a few reasons why anime as a genre is currently sucking ass:

    1. Youth Obsession: too much anime is squarely focused on children, high school age and younger. Want to write a story that stands out in the crowed anime market? Write a story that doesn't involve super powered children.

    2. American Voice Over Talent: The actors that do the english dubs of animes are NOT helping. At all. Most animes I just turn on the subtitles. I may not know what they're saying but at least what they're saying sounds believable. Unfortunately, the same 3 american voice over "talents" seem to be recycled over and over again.

    3. Fear of Emotional Depth. Animes are great at delivering "opaque" and "cool" characters. Villans with unfailing confidence, perfectly affable heroes who's skill and prowess allows them to defend and defeat said villains. But great animes go deeper into these psyches. Not enough animes even attempt to go that far.

    4. Uninspired Visuals: I love big cute anime eyes and green hair as much as the next guy but in a medium where you can literally make the world look however you want, there is surprisingly little variation in how animes draw their worlds.

    5. Last but not least, its Art. Inherently, there's going to be a lot of echoing of popular stories, genres and styles. And you might even add that mimicry is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, even more so than other cultures. So consequently, large swaths of it are going to just be boring crap.

    ... which is why I'm excited to have stumbled upon your blog. I hope we can get some anime gems that push the envelope.

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    1. 1. wrong... its not squarely focused on children, there are plenty of anime stories that portray adult themes focused on adult audience such as, death note, samurai 7, attack on titan, etc. now lest say they weren't cartoons, let say they were live action shows. would you still think "Oh... its so weird..", "this thing is certainly for children audience". then where do you leave comic heroes. batman, Spider man, Green Lantern etc..? those had been around for YEARS.. and they keep making movies, cartoons etc... why doesn't people criticize them as such "weird, overrated, sexist, sexual, childish material? the whole point of criticizing, and you think their art style sucks? have you seen spirited away? the countless award wining movie directed by hayao miyasaki? you call that garbage? you sir, has no taste nor eye for art, and should not be allowed to criticize art itself.

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  18. There is one reason, and one reason alone, why people hate anime (that is, apart from hating for the sake of hating): Ignorance.

    Many people don't realize that anime is a synonyms for Japanese animation. It's like saying that you hate Western animation; you simply can't. Even if you don't like Pixar, there's also Aardman, Industrial L&M, Imagi and dozens of other styles. In other words, claiming that you dislike anime because "it all looks the same" is stupid and ignorant.

    Fun fact: Nintendo artwork is also anime. GASP! As unbelievable as that sounds, it's the truth. So now, all those who hate anime yet love Japanese video games know how wrong they are about the art direction of the medium.

    Hating a medium because of it's fanbase is equally stupid. By that logic you should hate all forms of entertainment in the world since each one has its community of morons.

    People will hate what they hate and like what they like but what if that hate or love is irrational? What if we used the same logic when dealing with the bigots in our world?

    Anyway, Damany pretty much summed it up in a rational manner and not just "durr it all teh saym!1"

    Point 4, however isn't exclusive to anime. Western animation is also guilty of abusing the same art direction in order to make money. It's either the lifeless plastic CGi models of most films or the stupidly super-deformed and/or bland flash designs of most shows.

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  19. Sorry for this being long winded, but I have a lot to say.
    The very first anime show I ever saw was the Saturday morning X-men cartoon on Fox. Back then, I didn't even realize it was anime, but if you hit up youtube, you can see it really is. That alone wasn't what got me hooked, but it took Toonami's Gundam and DBZ to bring me in. Throughout grade school and high school, I watched it and enjoyed it. Back then it wasn't so mainstream that animators were still willing to take risks and come out with some shows that are simply mindblowing (like Evangelion or FLCL for example).
    Unfortunately, now that people see there is money to be made, the accountants want secure investments and sticking to tried and true methods that have worked in the past, leaving us with these extremely derivative stories that have hardly any surprise (how many times has Gundam been retold with a man in a mask?).
    The other problem that I have with modern anime is that you have the kawaii and moe craze (lucky star *groan*), now we're in the fan service stage (see Ichiban Daimyo and others), and that just turned me off to anime even more. It's all too rare that we can get amazing shows like Code Geass these days, and it took Durarara to finally bring me back into the anime world, but I'm much less involved than I was before.
    If anyone can find any modern gems, I'd be more than willing to take a look, but I think the golden age of anime has already passed.

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  20. I was horribly disappointed the first couple times I tried watching an anime to the end. Too many questions were left unanswered in one, and, damn it, those main characters never did suck face like they had been promising in the other. It wasn't until I accepted the fact that there is always the possibility of what I dubbed "anime endings" that I allowed myself to enjoy the ride. The creators don't feel the need to cater to the masses, and that's okay, it's their show. I don't like everything I see, but I've at least started reaching out looking for more stuff along the lines of what I did enjoy. (Somewhere between goofy and gloomy, with a touch of what my husband calls "happy girly fun time.") We watched Mushishi recently. Man that was some beautiful imagery!

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  21. I think anime gets a bad name through the rabid and idiotic fans who oftentimes do strange and unrefined things. Like walk around with Naruto head bands and shout random, mispronounced Japanese phrases when not necessary. That stuff is fine- at a cosplay convention. Not in everyday life.

    I think that with the really strange hentai and perverted shows getting a lot of news coverage (think strike witches, queens blade, rapeman, etc) anime often gets in the same lump as video games.

    I think the name "anime" doesnt help either. Its simply animated films from Japan. French animated films aren't called any special name- they're simply animated films. :/

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    1. I agree. Those idiotic fans, weeaboos. They make the anime fandom look bad and some people actually believe that anime fans=weeaboos when that's totally wrong. Weeaboos are dangerous because they are so obsessed that they will literally attempt to kill those who don't have anything they like. (i.e. if you're a non-Japanese Asian and they find out that you're not. They will beat you as much as possible or shout insults at you telling you that you don't deserve to be born Asian.) I have never encountered a weeaboo before. I've read a ton of weeaboo stories. If a weeaboo goes to Japan, he/she will get deported for bad behavior. That happens to a lot of weeaboos.

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  23. Yeah, I never understood why animation from Japan was dubbed "anime." Everything else is just...animation. But I guess I don't really know much because I'm an extremely casual anime fan and have only watched a couple shows.

    Cool blog, by the way. I'm sure it will help me learn the ropes.

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  24. From my experience I have disliked anime due to fanboys/girls ( I am like that with any sub-culture/community). I don't really care about people liking and I don't think people should care if they dislike it! The only anime I found interesting was Attack on Titan and that was before I saw tthe fan-art and fan-fic, shudders*

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  25. I know this is a really late comment considering this blog is from 5 years ago but I'm currently in Year 11 and are doing a project for school and came across this blog. It almost entirely says everything that I'm trying to say using my project. My main project question was "What impact has Anime had on today's society" and one of my subtopics was "Why to people hate/shame Anime when they know nothing about it.

    Honestly I've got no idea why people could hate anime. Yes some genres may not be for you, But does that automatically mean that you should shun all anime in general? No of course not. Simply browses around the categories/genres like you would for games and try and find a story line that you like. If you can't find something you like maybe ask for suggestions from people.

    My first time watching Anime, I started with Bleach-(As you can tell by my Profile) And I fell in love with most Shounen based Anime's. For most people its what your interested in and what you like in general.

    My message for people that "Hate" anime, Re-think your opinion of it and try to find something your interested in. Then see if there is an Anime that shares that interest.

    ShadowSpectrum Out

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