Anime. It seems everybody’s into it. Since its rise to fame in the 90’s anime has become a BIG part of nerd culture; and eventually as we’ve already seen, mainstream culture. Anime’s influence can even be seen in a majority of American pop-culture; such as music, sports entertainment, and yes…even American live-action. (Netflix, I’m lookin’ at you!)
With the medium now apart of mainstream culture, it’s brought about the ‘wrath’ (and we use this term loosely) of original anime fans; the ones who were there when it was mocked by people who didn’t understand it – mainly bullies. Lately we’ve been hearing this term thrown around throughout the anime community, and that term is ‘True Anime Fan’. Of course for anyone that’s heard of this term before, you might recall it being said from a salty individual on Twitter; ripping into the fans of popular series that have had a spot on Toonami’s line up. Of course you guys know the titles; Demon Slayer, Naruto, One Piece, Dragon Ball Z, SAO, you name it.
The term ‘True Fan’ usually means that you’re well-versed in the material of the medium that you’re passionate about, but in anime’s case; you’ve watched ‘enough’ anime to know about what genres are trending, what series has good/bad plot and character development, and the reputation of the animation studios that produce the shows that you watch. Honestly, there’s really no set number of shows that you have to watch in order to be classified as a ‘True Anime Fan’, however to the many ‘anime specialists’ out there; if you ONLY watch anime titles that are deemed ‘popular’ or ‘mainstream’, then YOU are not classified as a ‘True Anime Fan’.
This type of mentality has garnered some rather controversial attention, which has lead to gatekeeping within the anime community (which we’ve talked about on a previous post) as well as Twitter feuds online. Sure, anime is now accessible to a casual market of consumers, but now that its among the ranks of mainstream popularity, it has brought in a whole new generation of anime fans who didn’t originally have access to it during its rise. You don’t have to watch a specific anime title to be considered an anime fan, in fact, if popular titles like One Piece or Demon Slayer brought you to the world of anime fandom in the first place (and you like it), the you ARE a ‘True Anime Fan’. Who knows; maybe that one show can lead you to underrated or hidden gems that you’d never thought you’d find.
It seems many fans forget that they too (yeah, we said it); THEY TOO, were watching one anime title that they really liked when they were growing up. (For us it was Dragon Ball Z.) As you get older within the anime community your tastes in certain genres change over time, however to the casual anime novice they’re just trying to get their feet wet into the fandom and see what shows will peak their interests. You don’t need an ‘anime checklist’ to figure out if this is the show you should be watching or not due to its popularity. If you like a show (regardless of its story, characters, etc.), the you’re a fan of that show. If that show leads you to other shows; then you’ve become not just a fan of THAT show, but the other shows as well. Basically we’ll end this post a lil’ somethin’ like this:
Watch what you wanna watch and who cares what others think!
Until next post, bye! 😉
3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About It: What is a ‘True Anime Fan’?”
I got into anime in the early 2000’s and as far as I can tell, the anime community in the US has always had a problem with elitism. And since the beginning, I thought that was a bad idea. Anime and Japanese culture in general has a big enough learning curve, new fans don’t need to be snubbed by older fans on top of that. Really as a fandom, we should be trying to recruit everyone we can, the anime world will only get better with more diversity of fans! Recently I’ve been over joyed by the development of more shojo anime, and that was caused by the rise of female anime fans. Who knows what kinds of wonderful anime will be created because of the wave of new fans!
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We agree completely. Anime has become much more diverse and inclusive with a vast amount of characters and representation; even down to the Voice Actors themselves. As members of the older generation of anime fans; we feel that its our duty to teach and expose the younger generation to many of the awesome titles that we watched (and are currently watching) over the years.
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