I am! — I think. Or rather, I thought I was. Lately, however, I’ve been told by others that some people don’t think I’m a real anime fan. According to my detractors, I’d be better off not watching anime to begin with! Whoa, now wait a minute here — how could that be? Don’t I have an anime blog? Sure, Moe Sucks hasn’t been around since the dawn of time like other sites, but two years running ain’t too bad. Do I not watch a ton of anime? Honestly, it takes more than two hands to count the number of anime I’m watching this season. If after all of this, I’m still not an anime fan, then who is?
It turns out that people think I’m too negative. Okay, I could live with this if it was all that people thought. If I come across as negative, oh well. Some people think, however, that my negativity shows that I’m not a real anime fan. In other words, I don’t like enough anime to qualify or something. Well, I guess this is the key question then: how many anime must I profess to liking in order to consider myself a lover of the medium? But first, let’s be clear with what we’re talking about.
What is true fandom? I guess I’m not well-equipped to answer this question, but let’s take a stab at what a true anime fan might be. I’ve never considered myself to be an otaku. I don’t really have a desire to learn Japanese more so than any other language. I’m not actually fond of sushi. I don’t have anime wall scrolls, posters, figmas, etc. I don’t and have never had an anime waifu. I’ve never been to an anime convention or club in my life. In fact, other than the other two “contributors” on this blog, most of my friends don’t even like anime. Gosh, all I do then is watch anime. Now, compared to someone who can assert all of the above in the affirmative, I guess I would be less of a fan than him or her. In fact, if this person is considered the true fan, I guess I fall quite short of the mark.
But of course, so what if I’m not a true anime fan? We don’t all have to immerse ourselves completely into any particular fandom to belong to it. For instance, I watch sports every single day. Have I ever owned an athlete’s jersey? No. Do I have a poster of Kobe Bryant on my wall. Nah, my walls are blank actually, because I think posters are tacky. What can I say — I grew up with a strict Asian mother who wouldn’t have tolerated such things on her walls. Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure I’m a sports fan. Why else would I listen to ESPN radio in the background with a stream of the US Open in the corner of my eye? I couldn’t debate you on PER or WARP if I wasn’t a sports fan.
So to bring things back to anime, couldn’t I nevertheless be just a fan without spending a sizable chunk of my disposable income on anime-related junk? I mean, I do own my favorite anime series and movies on DVD; it’s not like I don’t buy anything anime-related. So sure, I think it’s possible for someone like me to still be considered a lover of anime. I’ve never professed nor do I ever want to be the hardcore type fan, and hell, more power to people who enjoy the medium to such an extent, but we can’t define fandom in such a narrow way. So then what’s the problem?
I took a very impromptu, very unscientific survey of all of the anime I’ve seen since I started blogging. Excluding movies, this amounts to… oh, about 152 series. And of the 152, how many of these shows did I consider to be above average? A paltry twenty-four. This amounts to roughly 15.8 percent (rounding up, too). Now, I’m going to re-iterate myself just to be clear: I only think 15.8 percent of anime in the last two years are above average. I’m sure the number would go up quite a bit if I factored in anime that I considered to be simply average. But still, is this a damning statistic? In order to be an anime fan, shouldn’t I praise more than just twenty-four out of 152 anime series?
How much, then?
But if 15.8 percent is too low, then what’s the right number? Twenty? Twenty-five? Do I need to write a fan-gushing post every two weeks in order to be admitted to the exclusive club of anime fandom? Here’s what I think. The number doesn’t matter. Yes, this is a bit of a conceit. I’m offering up a statistic I personally invented only to then turn around and denounce it — how ridiculous of me! Still, I never claimed that this was much of a serious post. ;v
But here’s the thing — it doesn’t really matter to me how much of a given season I end up liking. I write a lot about anime no matter what. I write 1000+ word posts on shows like No.6 and Mawaru Penguindrum, but even series I don’t like, e.g. Kiss x Sis. Don’t get me wrong, though. This isn’t some sort of dick-measuring contest where “hurr hurr I write this many words and you only write that many words so I’m more of a real fan than you.” I don’t care who I “out-fan” or who “out-fans” me. If you want to think that you’re a bigger anime fan than me, knock yourself out. How could I not be an anime fan, though, when I really put a lot of effort into analyzing certain series?
It’s true, however, that I don’t treat every show equally. My tone and approach toward an anime like Blood-C is drastically different from how I might approach a show like Usagi Drop. And we all know how the internet often reacts to anyone who expresses a contrary opinion:
As much as I could ever praise a series like Tiger & Bunny, the only thing most people will remember is when I’m snarky with inferior anime. Still, I don’t really think I should treat every show equally. Oh, if you think I should, then you’re perfectly entitled to that opinion. After all, no one has to like what I write. You hate my Haruhi post? That’s cool. But to say that I’m not a real anime fan, though? That’s just silly.*