On confidence in being an anime fan

Many times, I see people, particularly on the internet, who are simply afraid to admit that they’re anime fans in real life. They’re afraid that it’ll alienate their friends, or that people will think less of them.

I have issues of confidence as well in certain areas, but being an anime fan isn’t one of them, and I think it’s important for an anime fan to be able to tell others that he or she is a fan. It’s not a deep dark secret. There’s no downside to being an anime fan unless you let there be one. If you truly are an anime fan, if something is a part of your very being, or if it’s even just a simple time waster of a hobby, to be unable to express who you really are to others is a far worse fate than some people thinking that you’re a loser because you watch cartoons.

At the same time, this does not mean that anime fans have a free pass to push their hobby onto others. As with any good relationship among people, there has to be listening and understanding. Barging through your friends’ conversations to talk about something they may not have interest in in order to fulfill your own desires is just plain rude.

In short, don’t be afraid to tell people that you’re an anime fan, but don’t advertise it either like it’s your only defining character trait.

Because it never is.

12 thoughts on “On confidence in being an anime fan

  1. I think this is very true. Also, thank you so much for telling people not to barge into conversations to talk about anime. I’ve noticed a lot of my anime obsessed friends do it consistently, and it’s recently getting on my nerves. I used to do it too, but now I realize how immature and rude it is. Not that witty, either. Now I just have to convince them to believe the same. Once again, thank you for posting this realistic analysis. :)

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  2. I think a trap a lot of anime fans fall into is the mistaken assumption that other people don’t have a passion for something the way they have a passion for anime. The reality is, practically everyone has hobbies and interests – things they love and put a lot of time and effort into – and, as a result, they’re perfectly capable of understanding how you can have a passion for something all the same. Yes, anime is definitely a niche “something”, but it’s the people with niche hobbies that end up getting all the attention at cocktail parties. Boring people who lead boring lives just aren’t all that exciting.

    I have never met with a negative reaction upon revealing to someone that I’m an anime fan. Never. I’ve gotten some curious reactions, of course, but curious is good. It means the other person finds my choice of hobbies genuinely interesting in some way. And, by extension, I hope they find me interesting as well.

    On the other hand, I don’t wear my anime fandom on my sleeve, and I don’t fit the otaku stereotype, so I’m not giving people an excuse to react negatively. Unfortunately, I think a lot of anime fans go out looking to be marginalized by embracing the social outcast persona and wearing it like a badge of honor. To be honest, that’s the one thing that frustrates me most about anime fandom.

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  3. >>Unfortunately, I think a lot of anime fans go out looking to be marginalized by embracing the social outcast persona and wearing it like a badge of honor. To be honest, that’s the one thing that frustrates me most about anime fandom.

    Sorry Jeff.

    >>Barging through your friends’ conversations to talk about something they may not have interest in in order to fulfill your own desires is just plain rude.

    I probably do this a lot, but it’s not like I have RL friends. In some IRC channels where not everyone is an anime fan, I think I just do that without thinking. Whoops.

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  4. Nice post. I for one actually feel a little out of it with my friends that don’t watch anime since we don’t have much in common, but those that do like anime I can go on and on about stuff. It is quite fun acting “nerdy” I think, and I have no problem showing it. Although, maybe I go a little too far sometimes.

    To be honest, Genshiken has helped me realize my hobby and this is who I am and I shouldn’t feel bad about it.

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  5. It’s like how I have to listen to my coworkers prattle on about sports all the time. I have an old Evangelion shirt I wear to work (I work in a factory setting) and they refer to it as my “Power Rangers shirt”. :)

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  6. I guess, in my case, I don’t think of being an anime fan as common, but I’m definitely limiting myself that way. On the other hand, it’s always pleasantly surprising when I find out that people I’ve known for a while actually watch anime. It’s something that comes out in normal conversation, and that might be why it comes at a surprise. Course, when talking, I never randomly bring up anime unless I know that everyone I talk to understands what I’m talking about. :P

    “Unfortunately, I think a lot of anime fans go out looking to be marginalized by embracing the social outcast persona and wearing it like a badge of honor. To be honest, that’s the one thing that frustrates me most about anime fandom.”

    Same. I always wonder if that’s the impression people get of anime watchers as well, since that group also tends to be the most vocal, and the most outgoing. So while I’m not ashamed to be an anime fan (far from it), there’s usually some apprehension when I tell others that I am on, as that thought is always in the back of my head.

    Oh well. :3

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  7. Anime and related media is doomed to be forever looked down upon because it is mostly 2 dimensional. The fact that this happens even in Japan is proof enough.

    Of course there is nothing wrong with liking anime though and it is actually a lot better than many other forms of entertainment. Its just sad that it is built into everyone of us to look down on lower dimensional entertainment, and those who appreciate it.

    Which of course leads to the arguement that those that manage to penetrate this dimensionality are the priviledged few, although this should not develop into an extreme superiority complex. Just live a normal life, don’t behave like a social outcast and bring up the topic only when you know its comfortable in a conversation.

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  8. Most of my friends and aquitneces are at least tolerable to anime fans, so I usually have no problems. However a lot of people, even when I tried to avoid saying things to them, would comment negatively about my fandom. I guess because of this I’ve become a bit overbearing, but mainly because the fucks won’t leave me alone about it.

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  9. I’ve actually never had a problem with telling people “in real life” that I’m an anime fan.

    My entire anime DVD collection sits out in the open. Whenever I have people over to my house, they see it … they glance at the DVDs, look at the Lain LE Lunchbox and ask me if they can have it … I golf with people that are in their 40’s and I chat about anime.

    I date. Women are over at my house. If we’re kicking around on a Friday or Saturday night, I’ll offer to pop in a new series I’m working though, or show them an OVA/Movie that I think is interesting. Some enjoy it, some dump me. No big deal.

    Being an open anime fan doesn’t bother me. Never has. And the older I get, the less being an anime fan bothers me.

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  10. Pingback: Somerset Somersault: AnimeNEXT 2009 « OGIUE MANIAX

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