Fans of anime and manga come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and with its ever growing popularity from North America to third world countries, there’s always a few challenges that come along with being in the fandom. There have been situations where people have ripped into a certain fandom or series so bad, that the fans of that said series or fandom may drop the overall experience all together. To us that’s sad to hear, but don’t worry my friends, because there are heroes and heroines among our ranks that are fighting to protect us against the dark side of the fandom that we love.
1st Hurdle: Haters
It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of anime, manga, superheroes, music, or anything else that gives you joy, there’s always going to be a group of individuals that will despise any and everything about the fandom that you love. (That even includes the fans of said fandom.) We’ll let you in on a little secret; haters travel in packs and are never solitary towards the person, fan, or thing that they hate. Although there’s no real remedy against this kind of thing, just remember that you have friends (like us) that you can confide in, as well as the powerful anti-hater guilds all around the world and North America. A. Goldman and I have been in your shoes and we know what it’s like to be hated on because of what you love, but remember this; you are not alone in this fight.
2nd Hurdle: The (Cosplay) Fashion Police
This one’s definitely for the cosplayers. Whenever you make the decision to cosplay as one of your favorite characters and head down to an anime convention, there’s always a slight chance you’ll run into some individuals who will point out the inaccuracies of your cosplay in general. People work very hard to make these awesome cosplay outfits for their character, and it’s a crying shame when you can’t even enjoy wearing what you’ve created just because a few people said that it looked “wrong” and inaccurate. Don’t let people control how creative you want to be when it comes to cosplay, let your hair down and go for it!
3rd Hurdle: Ridicule from the “Outside World”
Let’s be honest, the world can be sooo judgemental, especially when it comes to the fans of anime, manga, superheroes, cosplayers, etc. Whenever someone who doesn’t know what anime or manga is asks you why you’re dressed up (cosplaying), you usually tell them that you’re on your way to an anime convention that’s happening in their area. This hurdle is not as taxing or difficult as the previous two, but it can potentially carry the same amount of weight depending on the type of ridicule that you face. There’s a large percentage of people who know what anime is and a larger percentage of people who don’t (and that may include your family). So instead of getting heated about the ones who don’t know what anime or manga is (or even care about it), we can educate them on what it’s about and the positives that it has done for its fandom, as well as the world.
4th Hurdle: Fanservice
We’re going to tread the waters lightly on this one because this is a hot button issue. As many of us are aware, ecchi and harem titles are being cranked out on almost (if not) a monthly basis, and there are some fans out there that either find these shows too predictable plot-wise (little to no plot at all), or that fact that the male (and female) characters are being portrayed in a negatively stereotypical way. For this kind of hurdle we have to remember that North American slap-stick comedy is different than in Japan; what they find funny and hilarious overseas may be a bit shallow and offensive to us (and vice-versa). There was a time where the anime production companies produced shows based on what the Japanese audience wanted to see, now they’re producing more shows and content based on what WE want to see. That of course can be a great blessing, and a horrible curse at the same time. (It only depends on what side you’re on.)
5th Hurdle: B.M.B. (Black Market Bootlegging)
Piracy is a BIG (and seemingly unstoppable) problem for production companies all over the world, even for the ones in Japan. This kind of hurdle can effect the way we see anime plot-wise, character development-wise, and production-wise. When certain companies get robbed of profits it can have a trickle-down effect; meaning smaller budgets which can lead to the animators not getting enough pay, and when they don’t get enough pay, that can lead to quality issues in low-budget anime titles. For every dollar we spend on buying anime box sets, some of that money is going back into the budgets of Japanese anime companies as well as our favorite voice actors, animators, and more. Bottom-line: support the industry.
Well guys that’ll about do it for now. We all face these hurdles some of the time if not all of the time, but as long as you have a great support system, you’ll be able to overcome anything that comes your way.