On Negativity in the Anime Community and Blogging

nakano azusa full

I often explore “why” people start blogging on anime. I collect those origin stories like a treasure. For some reason, they are very interesting to me even though they also tend to be very similar. The top reason by a mile is usually some variation of: “I love anime and I wanted to find people to discuss it with”. It seems a majority of us were looking for an outlet for our random and a sense of community. I was as well.

However, that bright-eyed enthusiasm also tends to turn to bitter disillusionment when the community we discover isn’t quite what we expected.

A lot of bloggers have some drive to make their blogs better, which for some means more popular. I figure that’s fair enough. After all, that’s the community we were seeking in the first place. So for a lot of people that will mean opening up comments, seeking out other blogs venturing off platform to Twitter, YouTube or Reddit in a bid to share our blogs or at least our thoughts with more people.

I’ve noticed that this is where the trouble starts.

anime worried
uh hoh

I’ve spoken to a lot, and I mean A LOT of fellow bloggers and more involved anime fans that grow exhausted from seeing series the love get “attacked” by other fans. I also know a few bloggers and anime fans that actively have fun mocking or trolling other fans so I can’t deny that it happens. Often, these fans take criticism of beloved shows quite personally. Not in the way that saying something negative about the show is like saying something negative about them but more in the way that it bothers and even hurts them. If you’ve ever felt that way you are most definitely not alone! And unfortunately, a lot of people end up retreating and shutting off interaction with other fans to avoid those unpleasant situations.

For some reason, people think I’m immune to this. Thick-skinned and indifferent. I’m not. I once read an innocent remark that Natsume was a fine show but it’s time we invested in a different series and it bothers me to this day. I think about it embarrassingly often. It was over a year ago! I think part of the reason why I personally don’t seem to be as bothered is that in my experience, people rarely insult the shows I like (well they might at first but they quickly move on), instead they tend to insult me personally. And that does in fact not bother me much coming from strangers. From friends, it’s another story.

However, if the criticism stays clearly levelled at an anime, then I have to carefully remind myself to take a deep breath and listen (read) instead of going on the defensive. Sometimes, I forget. And yes, at those times I also wonder if having a blog is worth it…

I could be playing video games

And then we have issues of fans spiralling out of control levelling serious accusations at one another or throwing hurtful insults around over something that really should only be meant for enjoyment. I guess I have issues with insults against anything other than myself. That sounds a bit unhealthy… I should probably look into that. This aspect of the anime community has kept me largely off platforms other than WordPress and has made me actively avoid certain anime topics altogether. And I am by no means particularly sensitive so I can only imagine how bad it can get for those that are.

But it has had another effect on me. I’m not quite sure how to put it, but it’s made me duller. You see, I really don’t want to ruin someone else’s anime experience. If anything I’m a huge cheerleader of the genre at large and I would feel bad if I made it less enjoyable for someone. That’s sort of antithesis to my whole deal. So I pretty quickly started self-censoring. And I have gotten to a point where I’m not that happy with it.

In order to avoid making someone else feel bad, I over sanitize any negative impression I may have about a show. I use very soft and subjective language constantly trying to make sure people know that it’s just my personal opinion and not an absolute or objective value judgment. I am a silly writer for the most part and my humour occasionally skews towards more black or blue jokes but I edit those out when I catch them. As a result, I sometimes end up with some very bland or just very superficial posts hoping to not upset anyone and I still do occasionally.

What’s the point of reviewing anything if all my reviews as just a uniform mass of positive reactions.

besides screencaps obviously

As you may know, I often collab with other bloggers. And for the most part, we disagree. I think Karandi and I have opposite reactions to about 80% of the show’s we watch. And those “debates” are some of the most interesting and rewarding anime discussions I have. Although it is, of course, possible to have fantastic discourse where everyone agrees as well. This said, I personally get smarter when I m challenged. Otherwise, I tend to get a bit intellectually lazy and just assume there’s nothing more to think about.

And I’ve been denying myself these experiences on purpose. Because…well I’m not entirely sure anymore. I know that even fairly mild and respectful criticism has occasionally made some readers unhappy. To be clear, it’s not that I need to make everyone happy, that’s impossible. It’s just that I need to find a way to write something negative with the community reaction pilling on into something worse.

So far I haven’t found exactly how to go about it. Disclaimers break up the flow of an article and don’t actually work anyways. Most people are well aware that negative talk about a show they love isn’t about them directly and that’s not what’s upsetting them. So just a paragraph telling them it’s my opinion isn’t likely to change much.

At the end of the day, as long as it remains respectful, maybe the best way to go is to just be honest. People don’t need to agree with each other on everything. Maybe I can inspire some bloggers to write rebuttal posts. Maybe I can even get someone to start a blog to tell me I’m wrong. Then we all have a great new blog to read. Everyone wins!

To sum it all up. Most people get upset when their favourite shows are spoken of negatively. If it happens to you, you’re not alone. But that shouldn’t stop us from having discussions.

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

19 thoughts on “On Negativity in the Anime Community and Blogging

  1. I can’t imagine anyone saying anything about an anime that would touch me off.
    People who overheat about such things need to relax and take a chill pill.

    Flamers are just flamers and don’t count as real people. Don’t fulfill their fantasies by responding. They are why God invented the delete button.

    I do notice a lot of people who freak out about the moral or political shortcomings of a particular show. Not so much here in our friendly WordPress Circle of Light but on other media and groups. People advocating for a cause and an anime violates their standards. These go from the political to the personal in a heartbeat. Or if the anime triggers a reaction directly in someone and you don’t say its a bad anime, you are as despicable as the trigger material. Now you get into the personal insult regime because the person is incapable of being rational about it.

    I truly don’t understand people who get overheated about whether an anime is aesthetically or artistically good. Sometimes they will post emphatically that “Anime X sucks!” with no explanation. Or they blast off into a rant if you disagree. I’m wondering if they have such an emotional need to be “right” that they cannot accept that other opinions exist.

    Nobody is well served by tiptoeing around controversy. That’d the heckler’s veto. I see a lot of that IRL.

    None of these should stop you from writing the best writing you can. I am a big believer in honesty expressed in a courteous manner. I am okay and you are okay even if we disagree.

    Ah well. It is also what passes for national politics today. We have lost whatever tolerance we once had for diversity of opinion.

  2. Don’t let us stop you from voicing your opinion! Anime is entertainment and the reality is that what someone may like may not be your cup of tea and that’s okay. Honestly if someone is genuinely irritated by you not liking the same thing as them, then that is on them, not you! 😊❤️

  3. So far, I don’t get offended or rather, I don’t really care when I see people talking negatively to an anime I like. People are unique so I respect their opinion and expect that they respect mine as well. It’s also nice to see different perspectives and opinions on various topics and can really widen your horizons, although I’m not really good at debating because I’m gullible. Lol. Great post as always! 😀

  4. “Maybe I can inspire some bloggers to write rebuttal posts.” Lita hears the call from canada and is ready to work her magic on this fun topic ahahah !! honest and great article. Irina your honesty is what we come for girl !!!

  5. Disagreeing on an anime can be part of the fun when it leads to discussion. Even if you still disagree at the end of it, simply seeing how you both interpreted different things (and if either of you spotted something the other didn’t) is great of it all remains civil.

    There’s no need for personal insults to be thrown around, mind you. I’ve never understood how simple discussion over anime can fall into mud slinging.

  6. I hope your not okay with personal insults because you already criticize yourself to a much harsher degree…. Stop that.

    I think philosophy wise you’re very similar to how I operate (sorry for such an unjust and rude comparison) in that you don’t take yourself too seriously and typically qualify arguments. I understand how it sometimes feel doing so feels like dulIing our blades but for one I appreciate a level-headed and mediator approach and think we need more of that than just LOUD OPINIONS.

    I’ve kind of leaned into being a jerk at times understanding that my opinion might be adverse and understand that my cynicism or snark might be opposed. IDK I think I often at least approach from a place of trying to understand multiple perspectives on certain things and never treat a dissenting opinion as invalid. I hope that because I’m mostly civil , that I’m willing to let everyone express their voice and let opinions co-exist that maybe I’m not much of the jerk I like to think sometimes.

    I find you to be well articulate in your opinions and fair and open with your audience and that’s something to be applauded.

  7. Ultimately, reviews are just opinions. Everyone has them and they aren’t all the same. You could look at any great work of fiction in any format or genre and there will be people that hate it and hate it with a passion, just as much as people who love it.

    As they say, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. I think the issue now is that people don’t know how to discuss things without going into attack mode.

    I’m definitely aware when writing a review for something that I didn’t like that I try to stay positive and back up my objections, but again everyone is entitled to have any opinion on anything, even a review.

    Basically, do what you do and try not to worry about what others think. As long as you’re not deliberately being obtuse and looking for fights. Those are the posts that deserve the silent treatment the most.

  8. I enjoyed the post. So many fandoms give their fair share of negativity. I’m not an innocent victim of this. While I go much harder on mainstream movies than any other reviewer I can think of (despite rarely if ever reviewing said films), there are times I might have overdone it with my anime reviews even if I’m making a joke. There are times where I wonder if my thoughts on the original Kino’s Journey came off as condescending to those who only know the remake. I wonder if people have issues with me saying that Angel Beats had multiple elements of otaku-pandering. There are even times if people feel intimidated by covering so many anime and movies most people haven’t heard of. I do my best to be honest, but I wonder if I go too far enough to turn off readers. Part of it might be unresolved baggage from being bullied for what I liked, but I do wonder about these things.

  9. “If anything I’m a huge cheerleader of the genre at large and I would feel bad if I made it less enjoyable for someone. That’s sort of antithesis to my whole deal. So I pretty quickly started self-censoring.”

    That idea has been haunting me lately. Well, not that I’m worried about you in particular (I worry about a lot of the anibloggers, truth be told; we operate in a difficult environment). I mean for my work. It’s not just for my posts; it’s for the comments I’m trying to leave, too. I’m terrible at comments. I can never find the right tone or frequency or level of detail. I always feel like I’ve said something (unintentionally) to insult my host (the blogger).

    I don’t want to make anyone regret opening their comments!

    And yet, here I am. So let’s see if I can make reading this comment worthwhile.

    “And those “debates” are some of the most interesting and rewarding anime discussions I have.”

    In 100% of the times we’ve disagreed in our collabs, I’ve seen it as a positive thing. You’ve always been respectful, and you’ve clearly described why you disagree. It’s even fun to re-weave that part of the post to highlight both perspectives in a way that makes sense. That’s after I’ve re-evaluated my position to make sure I didn’t say something stupid without thinking. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen very often, because I’ve brought my A game to the collab. So you know that if I said something stupid, it’s with the full force of my intellect!

    I only bring that up because you said, “And I’ve been denying myself these experiences on purpose. Because…well I’m not entirely sure anymore. ”

    Argh! Don’t do that! Collaborating with you isn’t just pleasant and enjoyable, it’s also professionally rewarding. I’ve been writing for profit for about 40 years, and if our collabs can still improve my writing, think of the impact you’re having on the writers with fewer years experience! So please do keep it up. I could try to guilt you into it by asking why you’d deny the ani-blogging community a chance to improve their skills, but that would probably be tacky, wouldn’t it?

    “It’s just that I need to find a way to write something negative with the community reaction pilling on into something worse.”

    This is something that really bothers me, too. Yeah, my site tries to celebrate anime, but there are times when even a great show does something that’s decidedly impossible to celebrate. Fire Force’s recent episode is an example.

    The best way I’ve found to deal with that kind of situation is to emphasize that I really, really want to like the show, but it does something (like burn Tamaki’s clothes off) that just didn’t work. Without breaking the flow of the post, I try to wrap the bad points with good points. Like, “Wow, that was a great fight with the animation, but dang, it trivialized Tamaki’s experience, but Karim’s arrival was great!” So far, I don’t know of anyone whose feelings I’ve hurt with that approach. And it’s honest, because I owe my audience at least my honesty.

    “At the end of the day, as long as it remains respectful, maybe the best way to go is to just be honest. ”

    IMHO, it looks like that’s already your approach. The attitude comes through in your writing. I see your audience responding positively to that in your comments (and an occasional negative comment might just be statistically unavoidable).

    The toughest part of being a writer is maintaining the sensitivity that gives your work depth without the negativity ruining you. Stick close to your friends (we provide cover fire for each other) and please keep being you.

    I should probably try to writer shorter comments, shouldn’t I? Especially on a site called “100 Word Anime.” It’s not “650 Word Comment Anime!”

    1. I beg to differ your comments are great! Disagree!!!

      I also really enjoy our collabs, we do have fairly similar tastes usually.

      As for Fire Force I also pointed out that it seems a shame to use Tamaki in such a superficial and predictable way when there is so much more potential there. But that the episode had some real highs. Some readers where upset. There were a few Twitter threads.

      1. “I beg to differ your comments are great! Disagree!!!”

        Thank you — much appreciated!

        “There were a few Twitter threads.”

        Yeah. I saw several of them!

        That’s one thing that makes me glad I went through the Usenet wars in the mid to late 1990s. I learned to develop a thick skin.

        Of course, it took another 10 years to learn to express myself again in spite of it!

        Maybe we just need to patiently teach fans how to enjoy their favorites among friends? I think negativity just sells so much better; it caters to the primitive part of our brains, and it’s so hard to compartmentalize those parts.

      1. Have you ever read Dune? Remember how the Bene Tleilaxu kept cloning Duncan Idaho until he simply became known as The Duncan? The similarity to The Crow might not be accidental! 🙂

  10. Great article as always. Honestly, I relate a lot to what was said. Some people don’t seem to be aware they’re negative, either, which makes things annoying.

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