The False Positive Pitfall in Discussion of Anime and Manga

“Intertextuality” is the idea that there is a conceptual space where ideas brought forth by books, movies, texts, etc. interact with each other. One way to think about it is the old addage that the “truth lies somewhere in between.” This is the space where differing (or similar!) opinions confront each other. Don’t think about it too literally, but with the internet available, it’s become a lot easier to have this sort of thing happen beyond the scholarly journals and academic settings where this sort of thing usually occurs.

As anyone who has read Ogiue Maniax probably knows, I quite enjoy finding and seeing any connections which may connect one aspect of anime to another, be it from show to show, or from staff to real world events or whatever, and it’s something that’s consumed my time and the direction in which my hobby has gone. I think I’m pretty good at it, and apparently others do too.

However, there’s a drawback to having an open mind which actively seeks out connections among the material you’ve ingested mentally. Sometimes what happens is you see connections that do not exist, but because of the success you or others have had in taking this approach to a topic, it becomes difficult to break free of this trap. In other words, sometimes we tend to overthink things. This is what I call the “False Positive Pitfall,” and it’s something I feel anyone academically-minded towards anime and manga (or any other topic for that matter) has to watch out for. Failure to acknowledge this effect can result in a number of problems, from undermining your writing to being seen as unnecessarily elitist to simply leading you down the wrong path until all you see is false positives and you become a case where you’re an anime reviewer everyone makes fun of because you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about anymore.

Now, I’m not immune to this at all, and there’s multiple instances of statements made out of false positives that are on this blog. But people aren’t perfect, and even if you’re constantly on the lookout for them, some are bound to slip through, especially as your knowledge of anime and manga expands. Again, it’s more that I want people to be wary of the False Positive so that we can foster better discussion that is both relevant and respectful to the topics we engage.