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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