I currently find myself in an awkward position when it comes to watching anime. I play Visual Novels most of the time and occasionally practice my Skills in Devil May Cry 4 and Unreal Tournament. The only anime I currently watch is Macross Delta. Now, when it comes to Anime I should watch according to others, “Bakemonogatari” is in first place here. This is the “awkward” part: I noticed that I straight out refuse to watch this show. Here is a theory on why.
For the theory, I will look at 4 examples in which the Fandom of certain Anime have influenced my experience and my opinion of a certain show:
- An Anime I didn’t enjoy at all but the Fans hype it up to a huge extent: Sword Art Online
- An Anime which I found pretty brilliant, but the Fandom started annoying me afterwards: Hibike Euphonium and KyoAni in general
- An Anime which I haven’t watched yet but the Fans are already getting on my nerves: Monogatari Series
- An Anime which was so hyped up that I was annoyed by the fandom but in the end I enjoyed it so much that it didn’t matter to me, let’s call this anime “Show X” because this has yet to happen.
Let’s go through these examples in that order. Please keep in mind that most things I write here are based on my personal experience with these titles and the fans of it, what happened to me might not happen to you as humans are all different from each other is some way. I will combine all 4 experiences to craft a thesis on whether Fandoms can destroy an anime experience or not.
1. Sword Art Online and The Absolute Opinion
Let’s be honest, Hype and Sword Art Online has been discussed so often that people already start yawning when someone begins with “I dislike SAO because..”. It’s basically beating a dead horse until the next SAO season gets announced and people will start bashing each others heads in again which is going to be really fun to watch. So I am quite sure that you have experienced at least one of the two sides of the coin I will present you now.
I watched SAO at the age of 16 when I started getting into anime and to be blank: I fucking hated it. Back then I already had twitter so I used that to vent my rage over every single episode of this show. I’m talking about 20-30 tweets per episode, that was live-tweeting and hate-tweeting, it was… live-hatetweeting (does this word even exist?). Immature as I was back then I believed in the “Absolute Objectivity” of anime quality and thought that everyone who liked this anime was retarded. I was insulting anyone who liked SAO, started unnecessary discussion etc. I was a bad person back then. Nowadays I see SAO just as an anime I didn’t enjoy and try to avoid any discussion involving this anime as SAO-Discussion are pretty much a time bomb.
This time bomb is fed through both sides being incredibly stubborn in their viewpoint. This can go so far that the arguments become straight out ridiculous, when suddenly haters talked about “Unrealism” and “Awkward Inbetween-Frames” using these as an actual argument on why SAO is bad. If you don’t understand why these are bad arguments, think about how many anime are actually realistic and if we’re supposed to watch anime as an animation or frame-by-frame.
However, fans of this anime aren’t a lot better at times. Stubbornness leads to stupid situations when the fans can get upset just by the tiniest criticism their “GREATEST ANIME 4EVER” receives. This is the main problem with fanboys like this, they just can’t accept any criticism on their holy relic and sometimes straight out mark it as dumb. I believe It were these kind of people who made me hate SAO more than necessary.
When a fanbase gets that annoying about an anime you already dislike you will end up hating the anime itself more as you connect the fanbase to said anime. This is at least how I experienced it. These times are thankfully over now for me, however, that doesn’t mean that I still don’t get pissed of at overyhyping….
2. Hibike Euphonium and the Circlejerk of KyoAni-Fans
Hibike Euphonium almost falls into the third category, as this anime was getting hyped up already when it was airing in April 2015. Especially THAT ONE person my TL, who just couldn’t stop tweeting about it (I will not name anyone.. if he reads this he knows that he is meant). Long story short: Hibike Euphonium became his overall favourite anime and he STILL doesn’t stop tweeting about it (though at the current state, it’s not nearly as much as it was back then).
My thoughts when seeing this went from “Oh, he really likes that show” to “Yeah, I get it, it’s a good anime” to “Would you please stop tweeting so much about Euphonium….” I was still not annoyed back then, mainly because he was the only tweeting about it back then, at least I think that he was…
So after a while when I was really bored I decide to check out Hibike Euphonium, it can’t be that bad right? Since this is not meant to be Review I will make it short: I liked it a lot. This is marking a point where something happened that seemingly makes no sense: The tweets of that guy from before suddenly started bothering me, I was annoyed and wanted him to really shut up.
With that came the sudden rise of KyoAni Fans among the people I follow who also got increasingly annoying with their KyoAni Talk. I slowly but surely started to think that KyoAni must be some kind of Holy Relic of anime studios and there is no other anime studio out there which could even come close. If you haven’t noticed it already I strongly disagree with that viewpoint. Now this would be alright if the following wouldn’t have happened:
I tweeted once that I think KyoAni is Overpraised, people (mainly KyoAni fans) argued that this is wrong and seemed to not accept this PoV of mine. I didn’t answer any of them, I just sat there in my chair with my head in the palm of hand thinking “What the actual fuck, guys…”. I didn’t even say that KyoAni is bad, just that I don’t think it’s as good as other people make it up to be, but apparently some don’t want to accept this viewpooint exists…
After a while I wondered why I was so pissed off at this, I liked Hibike Euphonium a lot, I also liked Haruhi, so what is my problem? I ended up with the conclusion, that I actually like Hibike Euphonium less than I initially thought. Thinking about it, Euphonium never impressed me this much, the night scene from episode 8 looked good but nothing special in my opinion. Even the scene from Episode 10 that actually made me shed tears was very quickly forgotten. That alone wouldn’t be bad if people would just stop calling it the biggest piece of art of all time that can’t be criticised similar to KyoAni being the Holy Bible of Animation… I remember an argument of someone stating “Every Studio should animate like Kyoto Animation” for which I just say: Fuck No.Every studio should remain their own identity (if they have one).
Consequences? I am pretty much pissed every time someone starts fangirling about KyoAni again and will probably mute a lot of People when “Violet Evergarden” is airing, referring to this as “KyoAni-Circlejerk”. The really bad person inside me really wants KyoAni to fuck this or another project up… just to make some people shut up about their holy relic… I don’t want to lie, this would be kinda satisfying.
3. Bakemonogatari and “MUST WATCH”
I was once part of the so-called “18+ Chat” of the german website proxer.me, which I left since I have completely cut any contacts with that site (the community is really bad). There was that one moment in which there was quite the spam of Hentai-art from the character Shinobu, you know, Homer Simpson just as a blonde loli-vampire everyone loves with a serious addiction to donuts which spawned lot’s of very questionable pictures, but that’s besides the point. I made the statement that I have not even watched Bakemonogatari. Kind of a mistake as I received replies that can be summed up like this: “WHAT THE FUCK WATCH IT IT’S A MASTERPIECE”
If you have somehow read so far and not stopped because you think this post is disgusting, then you should already know what I think of this… my brain set into “Block everything they say” mode as well as dick-mode with which I replied to these “Caps-Lock Recommendations” as I call them, with “You’re making me less interested in this show the more you talk about how much I should watch and how much of a masterpiece it is”.
“Caps Lock Recommendation”, a term I use to describe “recommendations” that don’t actually give me a reason on why I should watch a show except for “It’s a Must-Watch” or “It’s a masterpiece”. This phenomenon appears a lot combined with Overhyping a show or a studio, I can refer to a certain fanbase I mentioned earlier again here, but for some reason these kind of recommendations seem to have more success than when they’re carefully thought out, marking what makes a show so interesting, but why do this when you just can make someone watch a show by simply being annoying? I do think that you’re going to be way more disappointed with a show that you were “forced” to watch like this than with a show that actually sparked your interest, I can guarantee that. This is also why it pisses me off to no end why Recommendation through Annoyance is so fucking successful when I’m here trying to figure a show out that could be genuinely entertaining for that specific person.
In the situation of Bakemonogatari I find myself refusing to watch the show because of said things and also because my initial thoughts to Bakemonogatari were “not interested” anyway, I ended being in a really stubborn position here, more about this later in the theory part.
4. Show X and something that may never happen…?
We have an anime called Show X, an anime produced by Studio Y. Everyone hypes this show up to no limits, since Studio Y is a great anime Studio that never fails to deliver good anime. When this show airs, there is a lot of tweets about how amazing this show is, how Studio Y never dissappoints, everyone criticising are of course stupid and retarded, sometimes in Caps Lock.
And I am one of them.
This is a scenario in which I joined into a hype situation after I’ve been annoyed by the fandom of Show X, but ended up enjoying a show so much that I can not stop pressing out the tweets in Caps Lock, and just fangirl all over the place.
This has never happened so far.
I do find myself sometimes fangirling about certain Anime, best current example being Macross Delta, but I never goes to such an extent. Moreover, I never Caps Lock Recommend this show to anyone. It also to note, that I didn’t join any hypetrain here, I watched Delta purely out of my own interest.
Is it even possible for me to like such an hyped up show then? Even if that show would suit perfectly to my tastes?
You may have noticed several times that some phrases and sentences are marked purple. It are these phrases and statements that will be necessary to explain what the theory is composed. Having all this in mind I came to the following conclusion:
Yes, a fandom can destroy an anime experience. The result may very throughout individuals but I certainly do not doubt at this point that fandoms can have a negative influence on people who watch certain anime. Coming from Bakemonogatari, Annoyance through hype can lead to refusement, but you might not be only refusing to just watch the anime: You are refusing to like this anime more than the people who hype it, similar to how I don’t want to see Euphonium as such a great masterpiece and how I don’t see KyoAni as one of the best anime studios out there. In the Situation of Bakamonogatari this goes even further: I do not want to like an anime people annoy me with! Hello Mayoiga here as well by the way!
When you already hate the fandom before you even watch the anime and end up disliking the anime in itself already, a fandom can make you hate an anime even more. With hype comes expectations that said anime might not live up to, this can go so far that there is no way that an anime can live up to such a hype, because people tend to be more impressed by what they do not expect. Furthermore, coming from the SAO Hatewave, You unconsciously start to look for flaws others can’t see over their enjoyment, this can go so far that your arguments for disliking an anime can become straight out ridiculous for fans, who, as already said, did not notice these flaws.
When you get the full broadside of hype in your face before watching an anime, is it then even possible to enjoy such anime to the same amount? I saw anime I count to my personal favorites such as Code Geass, for which I noticed the hype afterwards. If I were to saw it right after it aired would I still like it that much? Especially considering many people have compared this anime to Gundam 00 which is my personal favorite anime, marking Code Geass as way superior? I believe not.
The problem here is, Experiencing an anime is more than just watching it, and if so much around this anime is problematic, your experience and enjoyment of an anime will WITHOUT A DOUBT be affected. With that in mind, the scenario of Show X can not happen for me.
Here is my answer to the question I posed in the title. Reasoning through Experience led me to this, but your experience might be different, I’m honestly interested if you actually had positive experiences here unlike me.
Just keep one last thing in mind: Hype will Spawn Hate, this is a fact that can not be doubted. So please keep that in mind when you talk about anime shows.
See ya, Bye-Bye then