Can people stop pretending they are superior? – AKA: elitism closes doors

I don’t know about any of you, but I’ve seen an incalculable amount of anime elitism a couple weeks ago in an insanely short amount of time. It first started over talk about the Legend of the Galactic Heroes remake over the internet, I then faced a lot of it when I went to a fan Macross panel at Sakuracon (some members of the audience were pretty horrible), and then went back to the internet with the surprise release of FLCL Alternative’s first episode on April Fool’s day. Another thing that a lot of people attacked, because it wasn’t like the original (it’s only one anime guys, jeez). Do I even need to mention that one video that a certain youtuber made talking about why older anime is better. I think that goes without saying. All of this happening at one time pissed me off. Something to take notice with me, it isn’t one thing or two things that really set me off, it’s a lot of things happening at one time that put the pressure on me. This is an example of that.

Disclaimer: To be clear, I know that I am not a perfect human being either. I realize that I have some biases toward older anime or older anime made new somehow. Because I’ve realized this, I try to incorporate series that I usually wouldn’t into my seasonal watching and at least give things I wouldn’t usually watch a chance, even if they don’t do anything for me and I drop them. I also try my best to not force my opinions on others, but I am human. Sometimes I do that and realize in horror that I shouldn’t have said anything. If you like something and have some good reasons or maybe just like something to like something, then good. You do you. The world is better for us all having different opinions.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about why I am not a fan of elitism at all.

Gate Keeping is Wrong

Yeah, that statement is all I need to say here. There is no amount of anime series, types of series, or certain anime series that a person needs to watch in order to be considered an anime fan. Once you watch an anime series and enjoy it, that’s all it takes. Bam, you are an anime fan. There is no turning back now. Even if you are watching something as “main stream”, I hate this term by the way, as the dubbed version of Dragon Ball Z, you are still a fan. Once again, for those in the back, what you watch and how you watch doesn’t matter. Welcome to the club. All gate keeping does is lock yourself away from other people and the anime community at large.

Not everyone started watching anime at the same time/place

I feel like this really does go without saying, but let’s go into detail about this anyway. You know how people are born during different days, months, and years, experience their first anime in a different way, may have started their experience at a different age, and have different tastes in anime because of that? I can keep going with this concept, that’s basically my whole point here. Not one person who ever lived is going to have the exact same tastes and forcing people to watch certain series in hopes that they will reciprocate the same tastes and just be a clone of all your tastes is wrong. There are way too many human variables in a complex equation for that to happen.

That being said, suggesting series for other people to try out and watch is still an excellent idea. It can expand every bodies anime knowledge and give other people insights and tastes that they wouldn’t have regardless. Discussing the series that you suggested in question. especially if the other person didn’t like it because that opens up so many alternative viewpoints that you might not know about otherwise. Discussion is good. Saying your opinion is objective wrong, after all, is wrong.

Are Older Anime series better?

You know that about that one problem that is common place today? How tv series and movies borrow a lot of ideas off each other and we have a lot of different varieties of one thing around media markets right now? Do you really think that is just a modern practice? No. Back in the day, there was an impossible amount of super robot shows wandering around 70’s and 80’s. I’m not saying that none of these series had their own original ideas, but it was still an anime market full of robot series. I haven’t seen them all, but you can google that time period and see the truth for yourself.

Time is a filter. Since we are separated from a lot of older series by a larger time difference, we can only see the most popular and famous series of different time periods on our perspective scopes. I’m sure there are hidden gems in each decade of anime that we haven’t watched yet, but that doesn’t mean the rule of 90% of everything is crap rule didn’t apply back then either. Yes, more anime is produced these days and that means that more of the 90% of crap is being thrown in our faces. That also means that there is more 10% of that good wandering around we need to find. That’s right, time is no longer a filter. We are our own filters. I like the experience of finding good seasonal shows then just waiting to see what stands out as good. I know that isn’t everyone’s thing but putting in the effort makes the experience worth it for me.

Watching the original first?

Once again, here is another thing that pisses me off. Newer versions of older series are making appearances all the time these days. Not just sequels, but reboots and reimaginings too. Do you know why those are series are created in the first place? To open the door for newer people to get into a franchise. What pisses me off about the whole “you should watch the original Legend of the Galactic Heroes instead” argument. There are elitist fans out there tring to tell people to watch a one hundred and ten anime series plus movies and prequel stuff instead of trying a twelve-episode seasonal anime right off the bat? Does this seem like a good idea to you? It’s a lot like “do you want to try out this small slice of a different pizza you’ve never had before” or “HORK DOWN THIS 32 INCH PIZZA RIGHT NOW” kind of deals. Let people watch the reboot first to see if they like it. Whether or not they decide to watch the original series is up to the other person, NOT YOU. I know it sounds crazy, but I would rather people try out Gundam OO and/or Gundam Iron Blooded Orphans before jumping into other parts of the franchise. That way, there isn’t tons of lore being shoved down people’s faces.

As for reboots of series that are going to about equal in length to the original series, that’s up to the viewer. The modern anime is still a gate way to those franchises, but then the original is there in a very digestible manner. Do whatever you want in those cases? Just remember that what series you watch first can affect your opinion of the other. That’s how I felt when I watched the new Kino’s Journey, because I loved the original. I won’t say that is the reason why I hated the new version, because I saw a lot of issues and flaws in the newer adaption by itself, but it certainly didn’t help in anyway. (I think my inner elitist appears from time to time as well.) I wonder what my opinion would be like if I saw the original Fullmetal Alchemist now? I’ll have to watch it eventually to find out.

Conclusion

Guys, what I’m trying to say here is don’t shut yourself away from other people by having a closed mind. Keep it open a little and you never know how your world might change. Like I said before, this is still something that I am working on myself, but I have a goal. A goal to listen to everyone’s opinions and live a much more fulfilling life just by accepting other people’s ideas too. Keeping yourself locked up in a box restrained by your ideals and opinions is no way to live. That’s it, see you guys.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Pete Davison says:

    Elitism in all its forms is such a colossal waste of time and energy… and some people sure do love to waste that time and energy! Me, I’d much rather be spending my time enjoying and writing about the things I love than yelling at people for liking the wrong things or not hating on the right things, or any of the other pointless arguments that erupt regularly. (I’m taking a bit of a Twitter break at the moment because I’m so sick of negativity from certain quarters.)

    This idea is pretty much why my site exists in the first place. As a former member of the commercial games press, the stuff I enjoy from Japanese creators was inevitably sidelined or ridiculed with a patronising “oh, Japan!” at best, censured by casting some absolutely foul aspersions on people who enjoyed it at worst. I write about stuff not to say what people “should” or “shouldn’t” like, but rather simply to share things I’ve found interesting and enjoyable over the years.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Scott says:

      That’s a good goal to be sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jenn says:

    I agree! I don’t know why it’s so hard for other people to just let people like things! Plus, I figure even the more hardcore fans had to start with an “entry-level” “mainstream” show…This also makes me think of the dub vs sub debate. I generally go sub, but I think it’s silly for people to wave off people who prefer dubs as being fake fans or something. Some people just don’t want to read along!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Scott says:

      There is that whole “how dare people not like the things I like” thing that just hangs around in people’s minds for forever. I used to be one of these bad people too…

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Jenn says:

        Admittedly I used to be one of those hardcore anti-cute girl doing cute things anime types, and now look at me 😂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Scott says:

        I still struggle with that genre a little bit. You are better then me…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. kimchisama says:

    Well said! I want to get people to watch and enjoy anime and I don’t want to shame them for anything they like. People just want to enjoy things! It is so odd to me that people think that others aren’t fans just because they came to anime later in life or didn’t see something like Cowboy Bebop. Let people like things! haha!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Scott says:

      Thank you!

      Some people are stuck in their self imposed box.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I agree with you on the gate keeping. Its annoying and gets old very fast. I like what you said about remakes though. I’ve the originals and sometimes I like the remake better because it can fix problems in the original work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Yeah, I don’t get why people even bother with gatekeeping, but they go it anyway…

      Yeah, I feel the same way about remakes sometimes. Really depends on a lot of factors.

      Like

  5. Karandi says:

    People are going to like what they like and really, more anime fans are always welcome. Though, it doesn’t matter what the fandom is, elitism is always a bit of an issue as some people just want to feel superior to others. Best to ignore and just focus on the thing you love and talk to the people who want to share that love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      The best idea is to ignore them.

      I just had to say something somewhere in order to vent, otherwise I would explode.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Iki says:

    Now I remembered when Slam Dunk-fan attack me when I said Kuroko no Basket is better than Slam Dunk. Told me I’m a kid who doesn’t know Slam Dunk’s greatness xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yeah, those people have a habit of appearing when they aren’t wanted .

      Like

  7. ospreyshire says:

    Very good points. Sure, I’ve made “otaku hipster” jokes before, but I’m do it as a form of humor while satirizing these elitists. I do confess that I can come across as too forward by mainly focusing on non-mainstream stuff (anime and live-action media) just just because I have a niche. Besides, there are way more important things to be angry about such as unemployment, racial profiling, or world issues instead of which version of Legend of the Galactic Heroes would be better. This is why otaku and nerd subculture can annoy me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Psssh, you don’t come across that way to me.

      And you are right, way too many thing to be angry about. Especially with the state of our country as it is right now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ospreyshire says:

        That’s good. Also, I do apologize for the typos since I was worn out after a long day of work. Haha!

        Thanks for seeing where I was coming from. Don’t get me started about the sociopolitical aspects of everything since I do get passionate about that stuff. There are worse things going on that are more severe than the latest object of nerd rage.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. To answer your question, I think it’s can happen, just control mind. I saw some people corner others just because they had different opinions, to the point they didn’t mind if another side will hurt, despite that side just want to share reasonable thought. And the winner achieved the ephemeral happiness… Winning and elitism like that don’t lead to any usefulness.
    As like you said, what we can do is controlling our minds to not do the same mistake again. I ever did something like that (but not in anime communities) and I regret it. That mistake becomes the important lesson. Respect other people and their beliefs but share the correctness so they can consider and improve by their own wills are the keys. I think your post is like the good opportunity to make this world better.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. biblionyan says:

    I don’t get elitism at all. I can understand being super passionate about something, and sometimes discussions on those things (not limited to anime) can come across as you being an elitist thinker (has happened to my friend numerous times, but they’re not elitist at all), but that elitist mentality specifically boggles my mind. I also noticed tons of it when The Legend of Galactic Heroes came out. Can it be disappointing when things aren’t exactly like the original? Yeah, it can. Does it make the new adaptation/interpretation any less quality than the original? No it doesn’t, or at the very least liking one over the other doesn’t make the “better fan” or “truer watcher/otaku.” Having a closed-minded thought-process like that, as many people have said already, definitely is a waste of energy and does nothing to help industries grow and evolve; as you said, it closes doors. It strangles creativity and art. Art is supposed to be very individualistic and newer interpretations of older masterpieces are some of the best ways to evolve, whether they are hit or miss. This was an excellent post and I enjoyed reading it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scott says:

      Yay, thank you for reading. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  10. Irina says:

    But Scott, what is we ARE superior???
    Joking of course. The way I see it, immediately disregarding something because of the sin of being new (or inversely, because someone else did it *before*) is a very efficient way to never enjoy anime again.
    This said, fandoms (especially more niche ones) always tend towards ellitism or exclusivity. They feel protective of something they love and are afraid no one else does and see any attempt at updating/modifying it as an attack.
    I guess I can see the point. I’m always a bit nervous when a series I absolutely loved get a new iteration/season/remake after a long hiatus.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scott says:

      Well, maybe you are superior to all of us Irina. I kid, sort of. You are still pretty cool!

      Yeah, I can see it too, but I try not to. This didn’t allow me to enjoy the new Kino’s Journey though. I still feel pretty bad about that, but don’t plan on rewatching it anytime soon…

      Liked by 2 people

  11. VZ Madness says:

    i feel a lot of Elitism comes from the anime youtube community, not all of it but i have seen a lot of it on there. also i hate the term being a real fan, your a real fan “if you only watch dragon ball z in subs” is something else i hate but a great read.

    Liked by 1 person

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