A Founder’s Thoughts with D.J. Lewis: Anime Gatekeeping!

Hey there! Hope all is well with you guys n’ gals in this crazy world we call home. Throughout the anime community we as fans experience a lot of things; some good, some not so good, and some just downright ugly. One thing I can say about the anime community as a fan, is the fact that we look out for each other like any other community. Although I don’t really keep up with everything that happens in Hollywood (unless it’s got something to do with an anime convention or Marvel), one of the latest headlines that has been going on for a good week or so, is a social media post from Kim K. about Darling in the FRANXX character; Zero Two, being her ‘inspo’. For those who don’t know what that means, it’s short for inspiration. (Millennial slang.)

I’m not sure what happened after that post was made, but it did open up another hot-button issue plaguing the anime community; anime gatekeeping. As far as I know (and I could be wrong about this) there have been a large handful of famous people from Hollywood, coming out as anime fans (Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan). So where does the ‘gatekeeping’ come in? Well, anime is one of the most popular mediums in the world. Not only is it popular in North America, but you can also find it in other countries like South America, the Philippines, New Zealand, and a few other places. Back in year’s past anime was a niche medium that only a small handful of us knew about, now in 2018 there are more anime conventions and more ways to watch the anime titles that we love.

Like with any medium or type of the like, when something gets too popular, there’s bound to be issues somewhere along the line. Yes, not everyone will understand nor appreciate anime as the beautiful medium that it is, but the last thing we as fans want to do, is treat it like its a country club. I’ve heard of the term ‘elitist’ come up a lot in life, but we also have to know that each and every one of us who’s an anime fan, come from ALL walks of life. We may not share the same religion, we may not have the same skin color, we may not even have the same body shape, but we all have something in common; we love anime and the people that make it!

I know that we don’t want to lose that one thing that makes being an anime fan so special, but I’m pretty sure most of us know what it was like to be ‘outsider’ of a group of individuals, that knew so much about a topic of interest we knew nothing about. There are some people out in the world who are curious about anime (just like you were), and instead of shutting them out because of the fear of it getting too popular (mostly through memes, AMVs, and abridged series’), we should celebrate and welcome the fact that we’ve got more people becoming anime fans. We veteran fans can teach the newbies a thing or two about anime, and show them different titles of different genres.

I used to be a casual anime fan back when I was in junior high, but then my friend of 15 years; A. Goldman, showed me various titles similar to the genres that I liked. (Romantic-Comedy, Action-Adventure, Slice-of-Life, and some Harem.) I don’t think we have to worry too much about anime, because it lives and dies with us; the fans! (Remember when Toonami went off the air?)

Everyone has their favorite titles and favorite genres, so instead of locking people out who want to learn more about anime, we should welcome them. Take this with a grain of salt though, because not everyone in the fandom is a fan. Stay golden! 🙂