I’ve been debating for a while now whether or not I should even write this post and I feel that I should. First off, I want to say, I’m not a doctor, or a therapist. Everything written here is all my opinion.
After re-reading and writing about Gamer Girl I realized just how harsh people can be sometimes. I mean, I knew it before, but not having been in school for a few years now I sort of forgot just how bad bullying can get. However, I always thought that the only bullies were those that bullied the nerds, geeks, otaku, etc. but that isn’t true. There are bullies inside of those communities as well and that is what I’d like to talk about.
I’ll talk specifically about anime first.
All too often within the anime community, I see others launch all out attacks on people because they really liked a certain series and the other person did not. There’s even terrible hate that goes on over the dreaded sub vs. dub debate. Being an admin of several different anime pages on facebook as well as being a part of a few anime groups, I get so fed up with seeing the hate all of the time. I started to wonder the other day though, if these people that attack others within the anime community realize that they are being the bullies that they probably dealt with concerning people who were not part of the anime community.
People within the anime community tend to talk about how they are outcasted, left out, don’t fit in, and are bullied by people who do not watch anime. But then, some of those people who have been bullied seem to take their anger out on others who do watch anime by saying things like, “You don’t like *insert anime name here*, I don’t know what’s wrong with you, you’re so stupid!” or one that I absolutely hate because death is a serious threat, “You don’t like *insert anime here*?? DIE!” I don’t see what is wrong with someone not liking a particular show. There are many different anime series that I do not like. Everyone has a particular genre. It’s no different than everyone picking out a different outfit to wear than everyone else in the mornings.
Or, in regards to the sub vs. dub debate, I’ve been told several times how dumb I am because I prefer to watch dubbed anime over subbed. Mostly I hear this from people who have the time to sit down and read every little thing on the screen, but what people don’t realize is that there are people who also multi-task while watching anime. I am one of those people. I am married, I have a 3 year old and household chores to keep on top of, so I often turn on some anime to watch and listen to while I’m taking care of the house and the easiest way to do that, since I do not speak Japanese yet, is to watch shows dubbed in English.
Another thing I see a lot is bullying to people who aren’t into anime yet but are showing interest. For example, let’s say a person sees you watching a Hatsune Miku video on youtube and they ask, “Oh! She’s cute! What anime is she from?” A lot of responses I’ve seen are similar to, “Dumbass, it’s Vocaloid not anime.” How is that really fair to someone who wants to learn but doesn’t know a lot yet? It would be like asking a teacher a question and the teacher responding with, “Dumbass, you should know this already, it’s in the book!”
As part of a group of people who enjoy a wonderful culture and artstyle, maybe you should instead look at yourself as a sensei to the others who are wanting to learn about anime. That’s not to say some people who are trying to bully you won’t ask you, but even still, you can simply throw them off guard by calmly explaining it to them and if they argue with you or try to bully you about it then you can ignore them or ask someone for assistance depending on your situation.
Now, the anime community isn’t the only community that deals with this, I see this within the gaming community as well, and not just from little 10 year olds who shouldn’t be playing Grand Theft Auto 5 anyway. I see it all of the time from grown adults who should be capable of functioning in society.
I’m sure it happens in all sorts of fan bases as well. My thought is that, if someone shows a general interest in your same interest, you shouldn’t get hostile because you may be turning away someone who could have been your best friend.
My question is, is it really worth belittling someone for liking other genres or how the prefer to watch? I like slice of life, you like gory horror, and that’s okay! I believe enjoying anime is much more than enjoying just the stories and the characters, I feel that it is also about enjoying the art style. If someone likes anime but you two don’t like the same genres that doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to them, you could have very nice discussions about a particular studio’s art style or you could listen to each other talk about why you like a particular series or genre. If you are civil about it, who knows, you might just give them the inspiration to give your favorite anime a shot, and if they don’t like it, that’s still okay. At least they gave it a try.
Bullying happens way too often and in so many different parts of each person’s life. It happens from the moment children get into groups and can happen up to a person’s death. I’ve seen children bully other children, I’ve seen teenagers bully children, other teenagers and adults, I’ve seen adults bully other adults, children and teenagers. It never truly stops. But you can be the person who could make someone else’s day by saying, “Oh, this isn’t anime, it’s actually called vocaloid, here let me show you.”
I used to be bullied and after reflecting, I realize I may have done a bit of bullying as well but now I know better and have seen how much better someone’s life can be made by holding out a hand so to speak. And not just that. I used to work in retail and was told on several occasions how much better I made someone’s day just by smiling, asking how they were doing and by taking the time to make sure I was careful with their items instead of just throwing them in a bag to make the process go faster.
So, what I’m asking is please, if someone wants to know about something you like, teach them about it, don’t get frustrated. And if someone doesn’t like what you like, don’t belittle them for it, try to find common ground. If people attack you for what you like, it’s not worth the battle, know that you like what you like and that’s what makes you happy.
We each only have so much time in this life. Let’s make it count.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite anime characters, Kamikita Komari from Key VisualArt’s Visual Novel and the anime Little Busters by the studio J.C. Staff, “If you make someone happy, you make yourself happy too.” I’ve been called naive for believing that, and maybe that’s true for some people, but it has made me happier making others smile and that is all that matters to me. You never know who may be having the absolute worst day and who may have gone through hell and may just need someone to be nice to them to change their entire day or even life.
Thank you for reading!