I Love/Hate Anime

From Bitter Asian Men: 

I Love/Hate Anime

Hey folks. Today’s May 31st – I hope you had a good Asian History Month! Wait what? You didn’t realize May was Asian History Month? I guess I can’t blame you. After all when I was in grade school, in February the school would put up these big banners with the faces of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks plastered on them. In May, do you think my school put up big banners with Confucius or Tokugawa Ieyasu on them? Hell no. (Not that anybody that age would recognize them if they did. At worst, they’d call Confucius ‘the fortune cookie guy’). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Asians are the least-minority of the minorities in the US. We get the marginalization, the prejudice, the bad stuff that comes with being minorities, but none of the perks… if you can call having a month where people pay attention to you and 11 months where they don’t a ‘perk’.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m going to talk about in this article. You see, I have a confession to make. It’s hard for me to say it, but… I like anime.

GAH! There, I said it. Happy? Yeah, I don’t usually tell people I like anime because it’s embarrassing. But wait! Why the hell is it embarrassing to say you like anime in this country? I’m half-Japanese, even, it’s part of my culture. I should be embracing it!

I’ll tell you why it’s embarrassing: OTHER ANIME FANS. When I say “I like anime”, it unfortunately puts me in the company of some of the most annoying, shameful (and also shameless) people on the face of the planet. Incidentally, while there are extremely annoying anime fans of Japanese or otherwise Asian descent, most of the annoying ones (and most fans in general in this country) are white, so I’ll be talking about these people most. A friend of mine has a term for them: JAPANOPHILES. I’ll go over their worst aspects step-by-step.

1. They think anime is the pinnacle and/or the ONLY aspect of Japanese culture
I hate it when people say they’re interested in Japanese culture. This is because usually what they really mean is ‘I’m an anime fanboy’. If you took 100 Americans who say they like Japanese culture, 99 of them would give you a blank stare if you asked them what they thought about wabi vs. sabi, or the kaidan of Akutagawa Ryuunosuke, or the folk music of Inoue Yosui. Ask them what they think about Cowboy Bebop, however, and they’ll tell you exactly what they think about it.

2. They think that many things OWE THEIR EXISTENCE to anime
I play Guild Wars, incidentally. When Guild wars: Factions, which had an Asian-influence, came out, there was a sharp and staggering rise in the sheer amount of idiocy springing up about the game and what inspired the things found in the game. The worst came from Narutards, of course. There’s a skill called Way of the Assassin in Factions. For some reason, these Narutards assumed that the skill was an homage to Naruto. Never mind that “Way of the…” has been used for decades to translate ‘do’ in Japanese. Such as you know, Bushido being translated as Way of the Warrior. Later when an NPC named Acolyte Sousuke was introduced into the game, Narutards said that he was clearly an homage to Sasuke. WTF?! The names aren’t even spelled the same, and never mind that “Sousuke” is you know, a name that existed way before Naruto did! That’d be like saying, oh hey, I’m a huge fan of Heroes… did you know that Peter in Family Guy was named after Peter Petrelli!!!?!? Hurr. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if some younger Narutards were so stupid that they think Naruto INVENTED ninjas.

3. They think liking anime somehow makes them COMPETENT in the language
When I do watch anime these days, I try to download the raws. The reason is if I get fansubs, invariably I’ll find some bad mistakes and I’ll end up getting pissed at the fansubbers instead of paying attention to the episode. A major problem is that fansubbers (and their video game counterparts, the RPG script translators) have a passing knowledge of Japanese but not enough to be competent. They’ll make up for it by looking stuff up in online Japanese dictionaries, or in the worst-case scenario, using Bablefish. So they’ll translate idioms literally – like ‘kanazuchi’, meaning ‘bad swimmer’, they’ll call ‘iron hammer’, the literal translation. So you get nonsensical sentences like “Oh that girl, she’s an iron hammer”. They’ll also translate false cognates incorrectly – like ‘saabisu’ usually means ‘free’, not ‘service’. Anyway, everybody makes mistakes, but when these people make mistakes, their mistakes get taken as truth by hordes of other Japanophiles.

4. They try to BECOME JAPANESE
This is one of the most annoying aspects of these people. They talk about how they love Japanese culture so much, they’re going to immerse themselves in it and become as “Japanese as possible”. Naturally this is based on the false assumptions I mentioned in Point #1 that anime comprises a large part of Japanese culture. You can easily tell who these people are – they take Japanese classes and say ‘sugoi’ and ‘baka’ all the time; they take kendo but all they really want to learn is battou-jutsu; they talk about how they’re going to move to Japan and it’ll be so awesome because they can buy all the manga and anime merchandise they want and nobody will call them a freak. (Reality check: they will in fact be called freaks.)

5. They EXPLOIT Japanese culture for money and/or fame
Hell, remember MegaTokyo? I fucking hate MegaTokyo. It’s a bunch of Japanophiles writing about being Japanophiles that just gets scarfed up by other Japanophiles – and they MAKE MONEY OFF OF IT. If you aren’t of Japanese descent, you have no idea how ridiculously offensive that concept is. Though maybe I can put it into a more familiar parallel – if I were a young black man growing up in the ghetto, and some suburban rich white boy started making rap albums about growing up in the ghetto when he’s never even set foot in one, and he subsequently sold millions of albums to other suburban rich white boys who wished THEY were rappers… yeah, that’s about the same level of pissed that I am about things like MegaTokyo.

Anyway, it’s clear I have a love/hate relationship with anime. Actually, it’s not even that complicated – I love anime, but hate most of the people in the fandom. So I don’t like telling people I don’t know that I like anime, because I’ll get lumped in with them. Damn, those people are obnoxious. Going to conventions are the worst. I’ve been to several, mostly to hang out with friends, but at conventions I always find myself saying stuff like “Man, I like anime, but at least I’m not like these freaks!” to myself about every 5 minutes or so.

I don’t have the time nor the energy to write about every annoying aspect of Japanophiles. Hell, I barely touched upon the cousin of the anime fanboy, which is the import video gamer fanboy. You know, the guys who know 10 words in Japanese but mod their PS2s and import Final Fantasies (or Naruto games) and try to slog through it. I’d write about them now but I’m already feeling nauseous from writing what I have so far, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Happy Asian History Month!

20 Responses to I Love/Hate Anime

  1. brian says:

    Lol. Great article. I was searching “annoying japanophiles” on Google and came across your article. I was trying to vent some of my frustration out on this issue as well. No offense, but I have the exact same attitude about the Japanese language as you do with anime (I don’t watch it by the way). I’m a big language lover (currently learning German and Japanese and relearning Spanish), and Japanese just turned out to be one of those many languages that I’m studying.

    Japanese has always intrigued me as being ‘different’ because the spoken language doesn’t resemble any of it’s neighboring countries or any other on the planet for that matter. Contrary to Romance, Germanic, and Altaic languages. Well I went there a couple years ago also and had a blast. So that has something to do with it too. I’m really looking forward to going back someday in the distant future. Probably in 6 years or so after I move to Spain and back.

    Well back on topic. Yeah, a lot of times I feel really embarrassed or ashamed learning Japanese. Reason being? The of the plague of Japanophiles. And have seriously considered dropping it all together lately. I’ve always pondered to myself, “What will Japanese people think of me when I start speaking their language? What will other people think of me? Am I gonna’ be labeled a freak automatically?” You know, those types of things.

    Apparently when you mention Japan/Japanese these days the first things that pop up in a lot people’s minds are anime, porn, girls in sailor uniforms, video games, and samurai. Sad reality really. I don’t remember if you mentioned this, but it kind of strikes my nerve whenever people who know nothing else but anime suddenly come to a conclusion that one day they want to permanently move to Japan. haha. Great stuff. I’ll quit my ranting. You have a nice day. And Happy Asian History Month to you also.

  2. Hollaman says:

    Dude this is so true. Anime fans are the most annoying people. Also, anime isn’t that great itself. Crappy animation and storyline. I heard it’s not that popular in Japan, its for children.

  3. lifeinmotion says:

    It is. The newer stuff is just recycled garbage or aimed for the Japanophilic crowd.

  4. ndy says:

    Lol @ “That’d be like saying, oh hey, I’m a huge fan of Heroes… did you know that Peter in Family Guy was named after Peter Petrelli!!!?!?” that cracked me up so much. Anyways it is really irritating, and you would notice that Free-to-play mmorpgs such as Rappelz have way much more wapaneses than games that you pay-to-play e.g. WoW.

    They would have like Bleachfan/ Inuyasha sort of names while in WoW or other pay-to-play games, you would see “classier” or those of Norse/ Greek mythology descent such as Odin, Ailevr etc and etc.

    And speaking of the learning of the Japanese language, I don’t find anything wrong in learning it? Lol, I am into languages sort of person *shrug* Well, unless it is learning Japanese so that you could “show off”, that is another thing.

  5. ndy says:

    Sorry to double comment but, after seeing brian’s comment, I would like to quote on his “I feel really embarrassed or ashamed learning Japanese. Reason being? The plague of Japanophiles.”

    Yeah, sometimes I feel that too. An interesting language ruined by Japanophiles by their recurring use of basic words such as “DESU”, “KAWAII” and “BAKA”.

    And that usage have stereotyped the usage of the Japanese language into the language of a typical wapanese whom is trying to “really be a Japanese when he/she isn’t one”

    Why do those Japanophiles think that the Japanese language is the best language in the world? As a Chinese, Mandarin to me is a interesting language, not to say that the Japanese language was derived from the Chinese. Can’t Japanophiles learn more about the history about the other languages than to keep ranting that “OMG JAPANESE IS SUGOIII”.

    *pif*

  6. lifeinmotion says:

    Japanophiles are not the most mature or open-minded people

    btw – your blog is difficult to navagate and check your javascripts

  7. Xarcan says:

    Hey nice article.. i dont know what to think, i feel just about the same way you do, im part japanese and i like anime but am embarrassed because of waps.. whenever Kawaii, suigoi, and desu i feel like upright just pounding the hell outta someone.. thats very cruel/brutal sounding (i would never do it) but it pisses me off seeing people using my ancestors language just outta the blue connected with english sentences.. im not racist in fact i HATE racism, but people should act in their culture, they can learn the language and history for knowledge but man i feel insulted by the slaughtering of my culture brought down by people who know nothing but anime, i remember growing up in misawa i thought nothing of anime, it was just another cartoon to me had no genre or style name, but at 11 when i moved to Florida all i hear are “OMG KAWAII!!” or “That was super SUGOI!” and i see people dressing in kimonos they bought off eBay i think to myself “what are up with these americans?” me being half american myself had no clue why people were so interested in my other halfs so called “Culture” when they mean anime. Reply to me back if you actually read this at: Malfurous@yahoo.com

  8. honeypearle says:

    Yes, Japanophiles are the world’s biggest fools!
    Who need to whacked over the head until common sense registers.
    Truly pathetic that these mostly white geeky kids or Adults wanna be Japanese I doubt Japanese society would be more accepting of these idiots than American society.

    I’ve read that Japanese society sees these losers as a goldmine rather than people who are worthy of respect or emulation!

  9. lifeinmotion says:

    As I said before, Japanophiles are merely useful idiots for the Japanese. No more, no less.

  10. Lacey says:

    You know what… I am so freakin sick and tired of people saying they hate anime! Because you know that if your one of them you only saw the silly cartoons for little 5 year olds! Before you criticize such art like that… go to Blockbuster or some movie store and rent a couple of DVDs like Spirited Away, or anything created by famous Hayao Miyazaki! Seriously, do your research before you make a fool of yourself!

  11. Lacey says:

    Ok sorry for being all rude earlier I didn’t read your article… I had just read the title… So yea – YOUR TOTALLY RIGHT!

    I hate those stupid upsessive fans! Really they need to go out and get a life… (and a boy or girlfriend!) I agree with you completely, although I’ve tried to learn Japanese but i’m not one of those geeks! I am very amused about your Japanese cultures and would to learn all about them, but thats a discussion for another day so, so long… now im off to sleep. (At only 1:00AM) :-)

    Thanks for the article… :-D

  12. Pingback: In My View: Why elitist arguments suck « In Search of Number Nine

  13. Juju says:

    I read through all that you said, I agree with everything you said. I wonder if us Americans can control people with our animations like that. We could rule the world! (joking)

    Yes I’m Asian too and I have been “glomped” for being so. And some people only wanted to be my friend because of that. I gave all of em a big “FUCK YOU”

    I’m not Japanese though, I’m more of Chinese decent. My mom complained about some conflict in the past involving Japanese people slaying the innocent Chinese. I don’t know the full details but I detest killing of innocent people OF ANY GROUP OR COUNTRY AND WHATNOT.

    Now when I told my friend, who’s a Japanophile about how upset I felt about innocent people being slayed. When I said it was Japanese vs Chinese, she just SHRUGGED. Shrugged at the thought of Japanese killing innocent people, and said “Who cares? Japan is better, China probably did something to them first”

    I fucking can’t believe her. Hate her now. I don’t care who started what, I hate it when innocent people are killed. I know it’s not ALL Japanese who did this but I’m upset at the few who did, even though it’s the past.

  14. lala says:

    aha, this article made my life.

  15. Eske Poetry says:

    This was very interesting. When you come down to terms. It’s real and true. I’m fine with someday hoping to just visit Japan and figure out what it’s like but to permanently adopt a new language and culture and somehow find a way to make a living in a foreign country is just absurd. I know very basic parts of Japanese but I don’t study it i guess you could say anymore. Japanophiles.. One day I was in school in the library and I was making fun of one. I like some anime but it’s not my obsession. Anyways, he mentioned I liked anime too and I felt as if he was saying I was the same as him. I got up and Punched him twice on his face and then the library was silent the way it should be.

  16. helium says:

    Sadly, i think this describes me and my friends pretty well, sigh lol

  17. Feli says:

    omg I can relate. I used to love anime when I was in middle school and high school, but my brother is an anime fanatic. After awhile (because of my brother), I’ve seen enough anime for a lifetime. I’ve seen so much that the storylines are now very predictable. It’s the same recycled stories.

    While it’s fine people love anime, they’re annoying habits have made me hate anime over time.

    So in response to a comment above, I hate anime because I’ve SEEN a lot of it and I see how it can even make people snobbish about it. One time, I had one girl argue with me about asian culture. Hello! I’m Asian and she’s not! WTF?

  18. shafaz says:

    I like anime and I never really had a problem with any of those japanophiles before since I never met any. That is until recently. One is a younger girl I found in my school (13 may I add) who decorated her locker with a bunch of shojou anime pictures, tiny white board full of japanese phrases, and said KAWAIII SUGOIII and NANDEEE at least 6 times in a less than a minute conversation with her friend…I’m stuck with a locker beside hers…it’s quite annoying. -.- The other person was someone I actually know. She asked me for some aniem reccomendation and I gave her some, then we started talking about her favourite anime with happens to be Ouran Highschool Host Club. I gave my reasons for liking it (humorous story line, nice art, good voice acting, entertaining etc.) I asked her why she liked it so much, her answer: Tama-chan and Hunny and (whatever that glasses guy was named or something) are sooo hawt! They’re like KAWAIIII!!

    I was just…scared then. This was a girl I knew to be fairly sensible and a good conversationalist (we had a talk about friggin communism before…and might I add that we’re just teenagers that are supposed to be into pop culture and whatnot) yet here she was obsessing over a cartoon. She called a friggin 2d cartoon character hot. How are they hot??? They’re cartoons! Gaaaaahhh!

    I was planning on starting an Animation Appreciationg Club in my school (basically we watch international cartoons. Japanese, French, Italian, German, Indian there are a lot of good one’s out there.) But this made me realize the club is probably going to be overrun by a bunch of hormonal japanophiles…so I doubt I’m going to be going with that now.

    Damn it, why are people so annoying. Can’t they just let me enjoy my hobby in peace. DX

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