Today it’s time for something a little bit different: let’s talk anime controversies. This is part of a series of posts that Moya from the Moyatorium is suggesting for November: Announcing Controversed: A November Workshop.
As I finally have an excuse to stop being lazy and actually write a blog post on my thoughts, let’s see the prompt for this week:
- What is a controversy in the (anime/manga/other) community that bothers you, and why?
- What do you think of controversies? Do you consider yourself or your blog controversial to any degree?
If you want to skip to any specific part, there’s a TOC on the sidebar. Also, I have no intention of offending anyone, but just sparking discussion, igniting a flame war and losing all my followers.
Controversies that bother me
The ‘This is totally mundane but I’ll make a big fuss about it’ way of thinking
This is very related to the second question What do I think of controversies, as many things fall into this category. But I guess I can say that increasing the status of mere preferences and opinions to controversies is something that really bothers me.
I guess this happens because the anime community, like the comic book and other geeky communities, is very passionate about their hobby, and their preferences regarding it. That is good for many things, but sometimes it only serves to drag people to useless internet flame wars.
WHO THE F cares if you prefer subs or dubs, or if you prefer reading One Piece/Hero Academia/Black Clover/whatever? I mean… if you like One Piece, other One Piece fans will care about it, as you are a part of their group. But there is no - or shouldn’t be - a group of people that bond together in the fact that they don’t watch One Piece. Is the same joke that people make of what atheists do when they go to their atheist church/cult?. The answer is: nothing, they just… don’t. Not liking/doing/believing in something will just put you into a group of 1~7 billion people that also don’t.
With that being said, the only correct answers are: subs of course, BNHA and Black Clover. The rest of you are damned to burn in the eternal flames of bad preferences. Just kidding. (But I’ll talk about subs vs dubs in a separate post)
I fEel OfFeNDed ANd ThIS shOUlDN’T eXiSt
I’m not sure if this is an anime community controversy, as I really believe that as in with comics and games, most people that complain about offensive content don’t actually consume that type of content anyway. BUT THIS!!!!! Yes, I understand that there are sexualization, violence, sexism and racism in the media - all of them, not only in anime - but some people try too hard to be offended by drawings and computer graphics when they are ok with the exact same content in a movie or music video.
I will not go deeper into that as I think this deserves its own post, but I’ll leave below an extremely offensive image of an adult woman wearing a sugoi-dekai shirt.
My take on controversies
In Brazil we have a saying when referring to people focusing on useless discussions/“controversies”: it’s lack of dishes to wash. People need to chill-out and find a better use of their time. My personal suggestions:
- Consume content you actually like
- Finally start learning how to sing/play piano/speak japanese/play bridge as you always dreamed of since you were a kid but always say to yourself you don’t have enough time. NOW YOU HAVE TIME!
- Learn skills useful to get a promotion/better job/a job. Earn more money to buy those expensive figures you were planning on getting after selling a kidney on the black market. You get to keep your organs!
- Transform all that accumulated hate energy in sweat, burnt fat, muscle mass as you exercise, lose a few pounds, improve your health and self-image. The not enough time + lack of energy + not liking to exercise is strong, I know. But 10 minutes of stretching + planking will do wonders for your body and mind, and also help prevent hand/wrist/elbow pain as you get older and have too much computer time. Trust me!
If you still think an issue is important - issue, not controversy - get out of twitter and devote some time into actually researching it. Do you think playing GTA is making people violent, anime lewds lead to child abuse? Go look into research and see if your thoughts are correct. Many, many times, our assumptions, suppositions, intuitions and hunches are actually wrong.
It’s natural to think for example, that death penalty and poor prisoner treatment will deter crime, but that’s really far from the truth. The same thing happens with thoughts on violence in videogames, and sexualization of 2d (or 3d) characters. It’s perfectly fine to have a starting theory, but to go to war with people (and countries) producing and consuming media and art content, you need a little bit more.
I say this because I don’t want the anime community to turn into something that people won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, like games and comic books are sometimes. If you think that the community is ostracized from the general public outside of Japan, maybe that’s part of the reason why: someone observing us will see a bunch of grown-ups acting like middle schoolers because they don’t agree which drawing is better.
A friend once said (loose translation): people hate being seen as a cliché, yet they act exactly like it. If you hate the cliché, maybe stop proving it right.
Anime fans will be seen as children (or man-children) if we keep acting like children. Let’s enjoy our favourite content and have a healthy community, and then we will be seen differently.