I watched Aldnoah.Zero last season, and I must admit I mostly followed it to make fun out of Slaine’s fanboys. Their disappointment was as glorious as I’d predicted. I was under no pretense to what the show was. Communication anime, as I like to call its ilk, are shows that are made solely for the purpose of enticing discussion and outrage through meticulous trolling, using plot holes and contradiction as their tools of story crafting. It’s basically a synonym for bad anime.
Anime producers have figured out long ago that people for some reason dig more into the franchise and dig deeper into their wallets if they are able to create fond memories through the franchise. It’s hard to tuck away at heartstrings of every single otaku and it’s even harder to come up with an anime hit. Much easier is to find a half-decent troll to write a story that people will argue over. Shipping setups work, rivalries work. This isn’t a superset of all popular anime, but it covers a good portion of them anyway.
However, I’m not going to rant about smart marketing techniques in this post. No, I’m going to rant about you.
This little gem I found in the sewer that is called /r/anime. I wouldn’t have thrown such a fit if this very topic wasn’t on my mind for more than two years now, but I’ve had enough. I simply cannot stand people who use the hobby as a function for social self-fulfillment. I’ve seen enough evidence online and offline to know that that’s what the hobby is to many people. Person A proclaims to be the biggest anime fan in the world, acts accordingly so, then finds himself a girlfriend and drops anime altogether. Person B refuses to watch anime if he can’t talk about it with his friends, either in school or online. Person C blogs about anime X because anime X right now is very popular in the blogosphere.
Watching anime is a lonely, passive hobby if you don’t have anyone to watch them with. Therefore we have forums, blogs, Tumblrs, Deviant Arts, pixiv galleries, Nico comments, Twitch chats, CONVENTIONS, clubs, events and other places where we can converse about them. Anime aren’t social games, but we turn them into one anyway.
My question is, why aren’t anime sufficient enough to be the focal point of the hobby? Why must there be a social component to it? Why must there be a social component to everything? The answer is easy: people have needs. But to subjugate the hobby almost completely to the social component? This I see as a problem.
So the people who say they like anime but can’t find enjoyment if there isn’t a social component to it, what does that make these people? They aren’t so much anime otaku as they are social otaku, but got stuck with an awkward personality or other circumstances that forced them into the anime ghetto. I figure it’s the same thing for any other hobby.
I’m hitting 30 in a year, the supposed landmark after which everyone stops being otaku because shit needs to get done in real life, but my suspicion is that age has nothing to do with it. If you like something, you like something. If you like watching show X, why the need to subjugate your opinion to a circlejerk? If you want to cosplay your favorite obscure anime show Y’s character Z, why join your friends in cosplaying yet another Attack On Titan brigade? Stop lying to yourself that you like anime if you don’t find the curiosity in you to explore the hobby on your own. If enjoying anime is an orgy, then the party’s over when there’s only two entities left – you and the anime show.
When an activity with a stronger social component comes around, I expect you won’t be standing here reading this shitpost. But you won’t be missed.