Anime

Hi, I Like Anime! YES, I’m a REAL Anime Fan!

gate·keep·ing

/ˈɡātˌkēpiNG/
noun
  1. the activity of controlling, and usually limiting, general access to something.

We are all familiar with the term “gatekeeping” at this point in the game, especially if you run in many of the nerdy circles of the internet. Because, let’s face it the nerd community isn’t always the wholesome escape we want it to be—especially if you happen to be BIPOC, female/ female presenting, or anyone that isn’t a straight white male. So, being a black female nerd is like a double whammy sometimes, with me having to constantly PROVE that I am a “real” nerd, to folks who feel they are the last remaining accolades of some secret club. Just because I don’t watch or read the hottest “mainstream” nerd media, that somehow invalidates my nerd card and that’s just not fair.

The “Nerd Test” – Are you really a fan?

Samurai Champloo Mugen

I don’t hide that I’m a nerd, in fact I go out of my way to add a little drop of nerd magic into everything I do (just look at my desk at work). But, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given the “nerd test” by dudes when they find out I like anime and manga. My favorite conversation starters being:

  1. Oh, you like anime? Have you heard of Naruto?
  2. Oh so you like anime? My favorite anime are Naruto, DBZ, and One Piece…
  3. Are you really an anime fan? Or like, have you only watched Sailor Moon?
  4. I bet you’ve never even heard of [Insert Basic Mainstream Anime Name]…

All of these get a HARD eyeroll from me, one because don’t insult my intelligence like that—shounen is NOT the end all for Japanese media—and TWO who made YOU the authority on anime and manga?! And then, when I clap back with a “less mainstream” series like Mushi-shi or Natsuyuki Rendezvous they act like a deer in headlights. Where is your vast anime knowledge now?

And what’s worse, is that there are some folks who won’t even listen to what you have to say unless you’ve watched the quintessential anime staples, which for some reason always seem to include a heavy smattering of shounen anime. And God forbid I mention a shoujo series—you can actually see the light leave some people’s eyes when you start listing off shoujo series. But, nothing seems to piss off some people more than when I admit that I like boys love media, because I am immediately labeled as one of “those people” and no longer worthy of engaging in the anime discourse. And I hate that! I shouldn’t have to prove that I’m a real fan for people to respect my opinion

Being Labeled a CASUAL Fan

Meganebu Hayato.gif

Then, there is this notion that because I don’t eat, sleep, drink, and breathe anime I am a casual—someone who only consumes anime on weekends or when otherwise not engaged with other real world obligations. In some people’s minds there is nothing more dirty than being called a casual anime fan because it means that on some basal level, you aren’t worthy of being considered a “real fan”. As if there is some upper echelon of the Anime Fandom reserved just for those select few who after years of consuming only the purest and most critically acclaimed anime can aspire towards—let me tell you now, that’s BS.

There is no right or wrong way to consume anime, hell I can go months without watching anything only to turn around and binge entire series in the course of one week. Like most things in life, I watch anime when I FEEL like it and not a moment before—so I’m usually several seasons behind the rest of the anime community. But, that shouldn’t have any bearings on my status as an anime fan, nor should the type of anime I watch. There is no hierarchy in anime or at least their shouldn’t be! If you like shoujo anime great! If you like boys love, fantastic! If you only watch the newest series, kudos to you! The rest shouldn’t matter.


There are no REAL fans only ANIME fans

Time and time again I’ve seen people nitpick celebrities and other anime fans for not being “real fans” simply because they don’t fit into their image of what they think a “true anime fan” should be—insert otaku stereotype here. Gone are the days of nerds in basements, lording over their sweet otaku treasures. It’s a new day, anime is more visible and accessible than it has been in years, so that is bound to attract some new blood. So, before you open your mouth to question someone else’s fan status, STOP and instead ask them about what they like… you might learn about something new!

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So, now that I’ve said my piece, have any of you had to prove your anime fan status? How do you feel about gatekeeping?

Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome!🙂

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12 replies »

  1. Well, I would fail the test miserably; I haven’t seen any of the big shonen anime. So, I’m no true fan. I’ve seen a bunch of other anime though that most of those twerps haven’t seen so…

    No but yeah, as a female person I can totally relate. You aren’t really taken seriously and there is always that little pat on the head when you mention you like anime.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL that test is set up for failure. I’m the same way, I am very selective about my shounen series, but ask me about a shojo or a drama series and I got you! What are some of your favorite “non-mainstream” anime series.

      Exactly! I hate that pat on the head, I’ve told guys off for that at a con! He was like OH WOW you’ve seen some real anime series… and I was like what exactly does that mean?!

      Like

  2. Gatekeeping is always dumb no matter the fandom or level . People like what they like . I personally enjoy a veriety of different shows , but I’m not the biggest fan of the newer shonen series . I have friends who only like one or two different series and I still think they’re fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This actually haunts me pretty badly. I mean I have gotten into anime with the casual stuff, so I know at least that but among OWLS and the Ani-blogging community in general I feel like a fake fan.
    I saw people write blogs like “what type of anime fan are you” and by the tests logic I would be a casual fan.. because I watch anime once or twice a week and haven’t seen many of the “true” classics.. I was told my favourite anime was Naruto.. and no it’s not not even close.

    I do appreciate the Big shounen as they got me into a world so I do like to talk about them , they left a big impresssion. I did feel hurt by the test.. like my views suddenly did not matter because I was casual..
    I also left chats because I was to casual. I really love anime, but at my own pace and there is plenty of commonly loved stuff I do not share a love for. I am somewhat picky in anime that doesn’t make stop being a fan or a fake fan. Due to bullying I got into anime late in my life and I can never catch up anymore. It would be way to stressful to try as well, like seeing entire japan in one day or so.

    The thing is I fall a bit between two worlds now I fell of the Shounen bandwagon and got into the more “weird/bizarre things like Samurai Flamenco and Flip Flappers.. also stuff like KyousouGiga which Rini-Senpai recommended was really my jam..Kill la Kill, Konosuba , heck even Akikan and Dokuro or School Live. ..but I feel like my taste is to casual and I am being seen as a fake fan. I am also not part of that Shounen group. So I feel fake in both worlds. That is tricky.. and while I do not feel there is intentional gate keeping there can be this “tone” to conversations which can completely shut me out after saying a single line. It can be hard to be an anime fan in my own rights 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Pinkie!! You are definitely not a “fake fan” and your anime tastes are 1000% valid! As someone that takes breaks from anime fairly often I know exactly what you mean when you say it’s hard to catch up.

      I strongly believe in taking things at your own pace rather than rushing to catch up with everyone else. It’s always best to watch what you like, because there is always someone out there who likes the same thing you do.

      I know that tone you’re talking about and in those cases I just find other people to talk with who are watching what I’m watching. Sometimes it’s just a matter of expanding your friend circle–which isn’t always easy to do but super rewarding when you find more people to connect with 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gatekeeping is dumb. I’ve been watching anime for 30 years and haven’t seen any of the big boy’s action series.

    But give me a show that’s like “It’s a high school romantic comedy… BUT THE LEAD IS A CENTAUR/ AN ALIEN PRINCESS / AN IDOL SINGER WHO IS ALSO SOMEHOW A HORSE, HOW WACKY IS THAT?” and I am clearing six hours out of my schedule so I can open my head and pour in the brain sugar.

    My wife, on the other hand, cannot stand any of that but loves her some Otome games and the BL manga and absolutely adores torturing me with random pretty boy idol shows.*

    We meet in the middle with Utena and Card Captor Sakura.

    OMG we might not be real fans either. 🙂

    * OK, I will admit Idolish 7 had some good music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL I love this!! There is too much variety out there for folks to be so stuck in their ways about what is “acceptable anime” and what isn’t. Oh, sounds like your wife and I have similar interests!!

      Like

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