[Repost, mainly because I’ve wanted to bring attention to my older posts from when I had fewer followers.]
I am not one of those people who believe the anime industry is dying. Some people do, and they are welcome to that opinion, but anime is reaching more and more people every year, and I think it will only get better. However, we aren’t growing as fast as we COULD be because of one thing, and that’s gatekeeping. For those unfamiliar, gatekeeping is what happens when hardcore fans, directly or indirectly, through their actions make people turned off on anime or certain subgenres of anime altogether.
Some people are genuinely just passionate, but passion is not a good thing by itself when it is directed towards such petty and cringy things. The usual case, however, is just a bunch of sad nerds who want to feel special and superior over other people, and lording that fact over them. I’m here to talk about how this negatively affects our chances as a community of converting casuals into fellow moe-trash loving degenerates.
“I ONLY WATCH REAL ANIME”
This is the most common one I see, and frankly, the most ridiculous. I think it should be obvious that good anime isn’t limited to weird and obscure violent shit from the 80s and 90s, or anime that mimics that style from 80s and 90s. Yes, these shows are great classics in their own right for having mature and gritty plots, horrible, gruesome violence and deep philosophical musings. Like any other medium, these are not the only shows that can be good, and claiming anything that isn’t like the anime you watch is trash makes you even more trash. This extends to stuff like shounen and moe, but the most prevalent are the ones I mention above, because these are the people who want to feel smart, but have to rely on anime from the 90s to do so. You are literally limiting your own knowledge and enjoyment by sticking to one genre of anime, and are even preventing more avenues for discussion by pushing away people who might actually be interested in watching your show. Being a pretentious minge is not gonna win your side any points, and neither is telling people off about the shows they like.
“OWO, SUGOI, *insert western name here*-chan! “
Weeaboo culture is a hell of a thing. What is it about sheltered nerds suddenly releasing so much concentrated cringe once they find an avenue to vent it? While the anime elitist is more about preventing casual anime fans from wanting anything deeper to do with anime, this specific brand of weeaboo is the one that is turning normal people off from anime in general. They are passionate, but they lack the charisma, or the sanity, to make a good point as to why you should watch anime. Instead, they post about their nonexistent waifus on social media, to their immediate family’s abject terror. I’ve found that the majority of these kinds of people are the people who grew up with early 2000s romcoms and shounen, during their middle school to high school years, and never really grew out of that phase. It sucks because I know anime has helped them go through some tough spots, but they have used it so much as an escape mechanism, and have stayed on forums or cons with several, like-minded people, that they think this behavior can be socially acceptable, when fortunately for us, it is not. It makes the anime fandom look childish and immature, and why this particular brand of anime fan is so hated by anime elitists, because even they get lumped in with them, despite their “mature” tastes.
However, something these two can agree on and directly go against is-
“NORMIES, GET OUT”
They have this weird obsession with being “true anime fans” like it’s some kind of religion. It’s anime, for God’s sake, it should be treated like any other medium of entertainment and fiction. These are the people who come out of the woodwork when ANY mainstream show is suddenly talked about by normal people. It will either be elitists saying “you’re not really an anime fan when you watch trash like this”, while the weeaboos say “You only watched this show because it’s popular and trendy!” Obviously, fakers DO exist, but I see far more normal people who just happen to like an anime than fakers. They just can’t separate the two, however, and they end up bundling all of them in one basket. As per usual, this whole thing is very sad and depressing to look at, because
Gatekeeping is NOT something we want for a “niche” industry such as anime. More and more people are being accepting of it, but it’s these kinds of people that are actively harming our quest to spread the jot of anime to other people. I like that they have a passion, but passion can be as much a fuel for hate as it is for love of a thing.