Talkin’ ‘Bout Jaded Fans: THAT ANIME SHIT? YEAH, I USED TO LIKE IT. NOW I WATCH SPORTS AND FUCK WOMEN.

Before I launch into this unorganized mess of thoughts, I just thought it would be prudent to inform you that this post is in fact an unorganized mess of thoughts. Enjoy!

After a year or so, OS (or that guy I used to talk to on AIM a lot) made a post on the latest incarnation of his blog saying he’s outta here. Gone for gone. Packing his bags. While his post in itself didn’t offend me, it was a comment left by Hung that inspired noticeable levels of rage. Long story short, OS has lost interest in anime, and feels kinda bad about it. His post is allegedly a look back to the “good ol’ days” of anime blogging (i.e. probably no more than four or five years ago), but it reads more like a giant apology for no longer being a nerd and instead taking pleasure in watching football and fuckin’ women. Hung–who never ever has anything good to say, really–weighs in with his far more bleak point of view, suggesting that anime is only something you do when you’ve got nothing else, and by god he doesn’t wanna go back!!

I see nothing wrong with losing interest in a hobby. I’m not the huge Star Wars fan I was when I was a kid, and I don’t feel bad for it. However, I do see something really negative in losing interest in a hobby, then showing disdain for it. Especially showing disdain on a blog about the hobby that you’re showing disdain for!

Every situation is different, but I can see Hung’s story plain as day without even speaking to the guy. This dude got into anime in college–at the very earliest, senior year of highschool–and was blown away at the fact that drawings filmed together in a sequence could tell actual stories! These cartoons weren’t concerned about whether or not it was rabbit season, nor were they about one-hundred-and-one talking dalmatians. They had real human characters, man! This shit had drama, this shit had comedy, this shit had MARTIAL ARTS, and it was all STRAIGHT FROM FUCKING JAPAN, MAN. This shit was so exciting, young Hung didn’t know what to fucking do. He did crazy things like start some fuckin’ anime blog and some fuckin’ anime blog aggregator. Dude was doing whole bunch of crazy things just because he liked these cartoons. Then after the 1000th summer season of love comedies and sad girls in snow, the dude got sick of it all. To put it all briefly, the dude got burned out.

My story is a little different. I discovered anime at the impressionable age of ten, watched a bunch of shit I should have and should not have, and I had a good time. There also wasn’t a lot available to me, so I couldn’t really binge on torrents or anything. But above all of that, I saw anime as simply an extension to my already very active enthusiasm towards animation in general. Anime wasn’t something new and weird that was automatically better than everything else. It was simply an addition to the types of media I enjoyed taking in. Okay, so it was new and weird, but not so much that I lost track of myself.

I’m not saying I’m better than the people who only got into anime in college, but I think perhaps my lack of access and early time of entry has positively effected my longevity as a fan. I think my gradual easing into the medium as I aged did well to defuse any disappointment I may have had a as result of noticing that all of these cartoons aren’t that wonderful, only some of them are. If anything, Hung’s case is just tragic, and it happens to a lot of ex-fans. That’s why there’s a lot of dead blogs out there. That’s why Garten finally stopped writing. “The Hung Method”, as it were, oftentimes leads to jadedness. This isn’t bad in itself, but shit gets personal when you start making your jaded nature known to other fans happily taking in this stuff. That’s basically what I’ve been trying to say across these 700 words and counting.

A jaded fan is someone who sees absolutely nothing redeeming in what he’s a fan of anymore. However, since he’s still a “fan” he sticks around and chimes in with his often uninformed and cynical viewpoint from time-to-time. (For an example, take a look at Hung’s latest masterpiece!) By all means, this person should get the fuck out and stop bothering us. But no, they stay. Hung is still around in some form, and Zac Bertschy and Justin Sevakis still work at Anime News Network.

In fact, I have to thank Zac and Justin for wonderfully illustrating just what distinguishes a jaded fan from other fans. Especially those fans who may be perceived as jaded because they come off as overwhelmingly negative and critical. It was in their episode of the ANN Cast where Daryl Surat guest starred. Before that point Daryl Surat was, in my mind, something of a jaded fan. This was before I came to the definition that I outlined in the above paragraph, mind you. But after listening to Zac and Justin talk about how just how awful everything is, then listening to their conversation with Daryl, things became very clear: Daryl is a huge fan. Daryl is excited about anime.  He just has very specific tastes. (Correct me if I’m wrong, Daryl.) It’s the same with all those Brazen Braggarts over at Colony Drop. Between reading their blog posts and speaking to them on IRC, I don’t think any of these guys are jaded, they just have very specific tastes. Even Sean, who is arguably the most cynical, and who I’ve argued with on numerous occasions (he wins because I can’t think straight) gets excited about some things.

In an attempt to bring this all together, the difference between the legions of jaded Hung-like fans who just couldn’t replicate that first high and our friends at CD and the AWO is fire. Passion. If you’re not excited about this hobby, you should just leave. Even if you disagree with them (I’m sure a lot of my readership does.) Daryl and CD have something to say, and they mean it with all their hearts. Hung doesn’t. This has fire. This doesn’t.

(And before anyone gets on my case for jumping on Hung, I’m simply using him as an example for an trend I’ve noticed across my time as a fan. He’s just the closest thing in my sights at the moment.)

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38 Responses to Talkin’ ‘Bout Jaded Fans: THAT ANIME SHIT? YEAH, I USED TO LIKE IT. NOW I WATCH SPORTS AND FUCK WOMEN.

  1. lastarial says:

    Unfortunately this is one of the areas in which the Internets has not helped.

  2. windupsheep says:

    therefore find at least one more (backup) medium of interest, and switch often to avoid burnout/disillusionment/jaded-ness

  3. janai says:

    I really wish I had listened to that ANNCast earlier. It’s really given me a better impression of Surat. I was thrown off track by the rather harsh tone that he uses in his writing, which led me to believe that, by your definition, he was a “jaded fan.” His tone in that podcast felt much more mild, which I really appreciated. Thanks for the article.

  4. Link says:

    You should have attacked the futility of the anime blogging scene itself some more.

  5. Os says:

    Ha ha. I was pointed to this entry by one of the few blogger people i still talk to and I couldn’t help but laugh. I remember when we used to talk a lot. I learned quite a bit from you I think. Not obviously in my area of shoujo/josei, but in general and things related to gundam.

    Not trying to take sides or fanning the flames, so to speak, so I’ll talk a bit about my post: In terms of anime, I’ve only watched Summer Wars this winter break and it seems it’s gonna be the only anime I watch until summer vacation. But I still read manga whenever I’m at a bookstore, and when I’m not at school. That’s at least once a week for at least an hour. I still LOVE manga, my collection is just not growing as fast as it once was. So my post, thrown together in a wave of emotion with the news that Garten’s blog is dead being a catalyst, was more a big thank you to people who was there with me when I started blogging about 4-5 years ago and to the medium when I started watching “real” anime that was not on Kids WB or Fox Kids a couple years before that. I’ve been into this thing a while, too. I’m Asian, man, that shit was all over our super markets.

    tl;dr. Long story short, I’m not “outta here” quite yet. Only when the women start finding out is when I’m in trouble.

  6. VZ says:

    Amen wah.

    For me, I don’t a shit about anime being some for of higher art that reveals the secrets of the universe. That seems to be why anime fans in the west find their time watching Evangelion to decipher its “deepness” while in Japan, it’s about the girls and mecha.

    That’s why I don’t hold the snobbery that some hold that moe is ruining the industry (fuck you Matt Alt, you know shit about modern otaku culture so why are you even in Japan?). Er sorry, his article that he wrote that got posted on CNN.com pisses me off. If you want to argue with me that I’m wrong, I wrote about on my blog.

    I HATE the fact that the ones who hate moe, ecchi or anything that doesn’t make anime seem like some super deep artsy medium seem to hold more power on being the opinion leader of the anime scene. Thank God for people like you wah and Onii-chan who are the voices of reason.

  7. jpmeyer says:

    I showed Hung that book about how to date white women if you’re an Asian man, so I guess this is my fault?

  8. digitalboy says:

    Very nice post. I can’t stand jaded fans, polluting the airwaves where the real fans with real passion are trying to roam. Every time someone talks about how much anime sucks I think ‘fuck you and get the fuck out of anime blog’. I definitely think Daryl Surat has a passion that the ANN dudes don’t, and it does make all the difference.

    I, like you wah, got into anime at about 10 years old and it was more or less a natural extention of the anime I grew up with before knowing what it was. As such, I don’t see myself ever leaving anime fandom behind.

  9. digitalboy says:

    By the way when I read the post title I just thought ‘Shit was SO cash!’

  10. Glo says:

    If I ever go out, I’m not going to announce it, I’m just going to fa d e……

    But that will never happen so I’m going to go watch some anime bye.

  11. Sean says:

    I think people tend to misconstrue frustrated and/or critical fans as “jaded,” simply because most anime fans can’t parse any sort of reasonable criticism against the anime industry. People act as if criticizing anime is a bad thing, or being unhappy with anime means you should just stop watching it altogether, when really it’s just indicative of having some minimal standards and taste.

    While it’s undeniable that my (and I’d imagine Daryl’s) taste is rooted in 80s and 90s sensibilities, the fact that modern anime is so overwhelmingly skewed towards one particular niche should be a cause of concern for any reasonably cognisant individual.

    Anyways, great post. You should do more like this.

  12. drmchsr0 says:

    Are we talking about the same Hung who quietly booted me off the Nano?

    :3

  13. mt-i says:

    I think 10 is roughly the age at which I *stopped* watching anime—the 80′s kid shows we had loads of on TV at the time. And I probably grew a bit disdainful afterwards (in fact, I don’t think I’ve changed my mind re Captain Tsubasa or Dragon Ball Z being pretty crappy shows). It wasn’t until Princess Mononoke (screened in French theaters around ’98) that I started watching Japanese animation again, and actual anime series (and actual passion) waited another 7 years or so. My impression then was not so much “hey, this is the best thing ever” but more like “hey, this is a lot better than back in the 80′s, and not for kids” (along with “it has lolis in it so I’m in…”).

  14. Daryl Surat says:

    I think all of us here aren’t the huge Star Wars fans we were as kids. How can we be, now that we’ve seen the prequels? That said, I am surprised to state that I enjoy the new Clone Wars CG animated series. It’s not on the level of the 2D one from years ago, but then almost nothing is.

    Sean’s last comment pretty much hit the mark as far as where I stand. I don’t think my tastes are THAT specific, and I don’t even think I’m all that negative. The majority of my thoughts on anime are expressed by way of either my podcast reviews or my Otaku USA articles, and I would say that 95% of what I’ve chosen to review over the last 4-5 years is something I enjoy. In looking over Wikipedia’s seemingly incomplete list of all the anime made from 2000-2009, I counted roughly 1500 different titles. Of those 1500, about 170 were things I considered “worth watching.” Ties in nicely with the Internet’s 2nd favorite law about how 90% of everything is crap, with a percentage point or so margin of error.

    But the unstated portion of that law is that nobody agrees on what falls into that 90% and what doesn’t. So it is that my 170 or so anime titles are a very different set than the set several other people come up with when presented with the same list. And so, even though I pretty much stick to talking about what I like, if I throw in an offhand remark about something I don’t particularly care for, that part’s all anyone remembers.

    The most typical shorthand criticism levied towards me used to be “Daryl only likes shows from before 1990,” which was never true. Now it’s “Daryl only likes shows from before 2000,” which is also untrue. It’s just the inevitable result of a scenario by which there’s an increased output of titles available for viewing but a constant level of quality.

  15. Os says:

    Oh yeah, hit me up with a copy of that podcast we recorded way long ago, will you? You have plenty of ways to contact me. Thank ya.

  16. roast-beefy says:

    Man, I used to blog anime but now I just watch sports and fuck women

  17. Pingback: Daryl Surat on Not Being a Jaded Anime Fan « The Ghosts of Discussions

  18. wah says:

    >>Os
    You’re outta here as far as anime blogging goes, right? By the way, the podcast archives are easy to find so you can get that episode on your own. It sucks, anyway.

    >>VZ
    You totally missed the point of this post and just launched into the same rant that you always do.

    >>mt-i
    Well, like I said, every situation is different. But if I’m putting the numbers together right, did you not seriously get into anime series proper until around 2005? That’s actually right around the time I discovered bittorrent. Though before them, I was still watching things on US TV and buying some shows as they came out (for 30 dollars a disc…)

    >>Daryl
    Before I listened to Anime World Order or spoke to you in some form, you were something of a caricature created by stories from people who didn’t especially like you. I think that stuck a little until that ANNCast, despite listening to the AWO, reading your articles in OUSA, and speaking with you. The same goes for Colony Drop–they usually review things they like, but people latch on the few times when they take shots at the things modern-day fandom likes. It may be a case of modern-day fandom simply not caring for what CD or you likes, thusly not caring about any positive review of it, and only remembering the negative things.

  19. ETERNAL says:

    Thank you. I agree. That is all.

  20. Os says:

    My. Seems you’re causing quite the ruckus.

    http://mistakesofyouth.com/index2.php?id=podcast/index doesn’t have it cos I guess i’m looking for “season 1″. You know, that one where it was me, you and link huddled in a basement, nestled around a fire. I searched my karoshi archives for a link but the link is dead.

  21. wah says:

    Ohh, yeah, I got rid of S1. Email me and I’ll hook you up.

  22. Hung says:

    I guess my comment was a bit disdainful, but I really didn’t mean for it to piss anyone off. If people can get excited about new anime, then that’s great. I think you’re right that I don’t have the passion for it anymore. Go ahead and use me as an example if you’d like. A cautionary tale or something.

    My comment was more of a “hey Os, it’s okay to not be interested in a hobby if it isn’t doing anything for you anymore” kinda thing. Sometimes you move on and expand your reach. Sometimes you get excited about something and dig deep into it. Neither is good or bad.

  23. Inu says:

    Man… I used to watch sports… Now I watch anime and fuck pillows.

    Actually, it’s not like that. I just recently got into football. So I watch anime and sports, but don’t fuck pillows. Being very young when being exposed to my first anime (CCS, Utena and Sailor Moon on VHS while under 8) might explain why I enjoy many anime I come across with a very low expectations coming into the shows. I expect “how much is this going to entertain me in the end” rather than specific elements such as characters, animation, story, et cetera. With the exception of School Days. Fucking Makoto.

    Maybe you should write a study on people (outside of japan) who are /too/ /deep/ into anime, manga and japanese culture (the ones that make us “normal” fans facepalm) and how they become that way. Like that woman who was on American Idol the other day… Because she looks and acts eerily similar to others I’ve met, known or have seen (in real life, youtube and et cetera).

  24. mt-i says:

    Yup. I’d been watching anime on TV as a kid from maybe 87 to 92 or so, and only got back to anime series in 2005 (with Tsukuyomi Moonphase, Kamichu and Ichigo Mashimaro as highlights :p).

  25. 2DT says:

    I have a confession to make: I don’t follow Anime News Network at all. I only know of the names you mention because other people have mentioned them. But that sounds dreadful, a podcast about anime run by two fellows who hate anime. Why are they still working there?

  26. DrmChsr0 says:

    Hung: Yeeeeeeeeeeeah.

    Saying it with a hint of disdain and shit. Couldn’t you have just said that instead of trying to play the moral high ground? It smacks of elitism.

  27. VZ says:

    @ 2DT: It’s not they don’t like anime completely but generally seem to not like anything made now. Justin’s cool for his “Buried Treasure” column. Of course the most stuff he considers garbage is actually pure gold entertainment to me due to the sheer lack of morality (M.D. Geist, Angel Cop, Madbull 34).

    Zac has a puritanical moral coat hanger up is ass. It’s because of him stuff like KnJ and various other lolicon stuff can’t be released here. There’s not going to be a moral panic if stuff like that does come out like Zac fears. Some stuff is so niche anyway, you can sell it just online, not worry about the brick and mortar stores where moral crusading soccer moms shop.

  28. Pingback: SPIRIT OF THE DECADE: I’m so fuckin’ jaded I can make a ROYAL WARSTRIDER OUT OF MYSELF « orz – I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans

  29. faf says:

    am going through this now. seriously burned myself out over last year trying to get a club started, screwed up my priorities and whatever ‘real social links’ i’d managed to hang onto, and when it was all over, i didn’t plan on it, but i took some kind of…three month sabbatical. no contact with my animefan friends. no anime. just the occasional catch-up with manga events. can totally relate to OS. the people i was close to were never the ones who had the same passion for my hobby. weird huh? you’d think there’d be no problems with coinciding passions. Dec came, i tried to join in again, but things were different. it was shit man. a sneer was never far away with me you know? i was out-of-it in every event i attended. i was just impatient with everything and everyone, and having a hard time keeping a lid on my big mouth. but you know, decided i’d go with the recommendation of someone i trusted, in other words, you. binged the zettai karen manga and bakemonogatari. in the end, yeah, there’s passion. but i doubt i ever want to get too close to a community again, at least until i ‘recover’. jaded fans have been a peeve of mine for years, and the fact i was becoming one seriously ate at me. thanks for helping me come to terms with this shit.

  30. TheBigGSN5 says:

    The show 30 Rock had a character addicted to a fugly dakimakura on a recent episode, FYI.

  31. Lunar says:

    The problem that I experienced is that it’s easy to pigeonhole someone as either a jaded fan or a fanboy, while there are actually many shades of gray.

    Justin’s definitely more jaded than most anime fans, obviously, but Zac’s definitely even more jaded than him, for example.

    I myself find evaluating on a per argument basis is a good way to approach things. In this I agree that often, ‘jaded fans’ opinion are often uniformed (or filtered by high amount of bias). MattAlt’s article on CNN, for example, is far too sensational, skeletal and loose with the facts to worth much. But I find the opposite that of fanboys who show disdain to even a well-argued criticism to be as bad.

  32. Robert Kelly says:

    Currently, I’d say I’m not so much going through burnout as I’m just incredibly lazy and am just spending hours surfing the internet instead of doing something useful like watch some anime. But I also don’t really see myself as getting burn out in any fashion, mainly because while a lot of what’s going on with the anime industry does really irritate me, I don’t let it get to me, and just seek out anime that does interest me.

  33. DrmChsr0 says:

    If Zac is jaded, then I’m a shrieking fanboy. The kind that squeals so hard it annoys people and gets investigated on.

    If Zac considers himself burnt out, then I should be shot in the head for being too interested. No seriously.

    You get what I mean.

  34. Pingback: Divining Your Fandom – Why Most Blogs Talk About the Wrong Things « Fuzakenna!

  35. linger says:

    “A jaded fan is someone who sees absolutely nothing redeeming in what he’s a fan of anymore. However, since he’s still a “fan” he sticks around and chimes in with his often uninformed and cynical viewpoint from time-to-time. (For an example, take a look at Hung’s latest masterpiece!) By all means, this person should get the fuck out and stop bothering us. But no, they stay. Hung is still around in some form, and Zac Bertschy and Justin Sevakis still work at Anime News Network.”

    Amen, brother.

  36. Hunter says:

    I’ve been in ruts like that, but the I just watch some old 70′s/80′s show, rekindle the fire, watch something from the 90′s, then I return to the 00′s, where the lacking begins and repeat.

  37. seriously says:

    This was a very interesting post to read.
    As for me, I got into anime late in elementary school, age 11 or so, watching some classics friend brought me like Bebop, Eva and Trigun, and I kind of eased my way into it until I became a huge fan at 13.
    From that point I kind of started watching anything called anime, until I realized some years later that most of what I am watching is not so good and became more picky, reading on blogs and hearing opinions of a show before even considering trying it out.
    I still spend most of my time watching anime and reading manga and I really enjoy it, but I can’t help but wonder, why is it that I feel like watching a mediocre anime is less “a waste of my time” than a better than an average movie? What is it about anime that captures my heart and makes me feel like it’s so special? I don’t have that much interest in animation outside of anime, though I always did like animation.
    I am afraid that if I don’t find the answer to this question one day everything will blow up and I will never be able to enjoy anime again, I have actually seen it happen to quite a few friends, there is only so long a passion can burn, I need to find the substance behind my passion, because I am sure there’s a reason for my interest in anime.

  38. Pingback: I was watching anime because I blog – Well, I’m stupid « クロス† チャネル