This month, the Otaku Diaries look at possibly their most interesting topics yet: how anime fans perceive anime fans, the idea of fandom as a community, and our terrible/awesome sexual fetishes manifested in 2-d form. Have you ever been ashamed of other anime fans? Well you’re not alone, as the majority of the people surveyed by the Otaku Diaries believed the same thing. Check it out, and tell them what you think.

Hisui and Narutaki bring up an excellent point in that it seems as if fans (and people at large) are quick to point fingers and acknowledge the flaws of others without taking a good long look at themselves. Personally speaking, I can be just as guilty of this as anyone else.

While open-mindedness is certainly a noble trait I try to maintain and promote in others, I’m also aware that it’s extremely difficult for anyone to remain so all the time. We all have our values, and values have limits that can be crossed. When you look at the fandom, it’s easy to remember only the “yaoi paddles,” the “black-ups,” the actions that seem born out the desire to fit in and stand out simultaneously, and then lament that you are being associated with these people. You do not want shame by association.

The desire to not seem inferior in the eyes of others is not exclusive to otaku or geeks, but I think it’s particularly interesting among nerdish hobbyists because of how those who have been shunned tend to turn around and draw their own lines in the sand. Whether it’s gamers at WCG USA 2009 refusing to acknowledge that their national finals took place at an anime convention, or a fan’s desire to not be associated with lolicon getting so extreme that they lash out at any modicum of fanservice real or otherwise, we get to see nerds condemn other nerds for the sake of appearing more legitimate. Even the fact that the definitions of nerd, geek, and otaku are argued about with some regularity are indicative of this tendency to want to stand out while also fitting in. Is any of this all that different from the glompers and /b/tards?

The reason that we as fans can get so incensed about our fandom is that we place so much of our emotions into our hobby. Whether we’re overly cynical or too forgiving, we at some point decided that discussing and arguing about anime, manga, and the people who love them has been a fight worth fighting. Those who actively try to separate themselves from the riff-raff are perhaps the most guilty of all.

I think the most important realization to make is that we’re all works in progress, we can all stand for some improvement, and we all often confuse “improvement” with “further mistakes.” Do not condemn the fandom as a whole, but do not go against your own values. Do not ignore your own mistakes, but do not look down upon yourself for being flawed.

Through all this, one thing remains true: No one wants to be truly alone. Even the most arrogant, the most self-centered, and the most unsociable people in the world would still jump at the chance to have someone out there who truly understands them and makes them feel good to be themselves.