Should One Have to Quantify Whether They Are an Anime Fan?

This will be the last post before all the manga-themed posts come. Like I’ve said, it’s merely that the series has to have a manga to be eligible for March, which doesn’t actually constrain my usual boundaries too much…

As for this post, this is a response to something of Lina’s. I’ve paid attention to the comments when making my argument, so make sure to read them too.

“You’re an otaku, aren’t you? Name 20 anime other than Naruto, Bleach and One Piece.” – the meme in Lina’s post (edited)

Unfortunately, I’d have to side with Karandi’s comment on this one. The thing about being an anime fan is that you shouldn’t have to justify your need to be part of the community – you only need to decide you deserve the title. There are people who’ve watched thousands of anime and some who’ve just watched long-running shows, after all. Karandi also mentions the “Oh, you can name 20, I can name 200” mentality. Well, the meme probably cuts it to 20 for simplicity’s sake (you’d end up zoning out if you made a serious fan list 200 anime and then proceeded to listen to them), but it is much the same deal.

Certainly, the more you watch, the more names you become aware of, but Lina does bring up a good point when she says she hasn’t watched some of them and yet knows the names of them – the metric for an otaku of any stripe (by Japanese definition) is obsession, not merely knowledge of a small drop in the ocean of their choice. After all, if there are roughly 40 anime coming out per season this year, times by 4 for a year and you memorised the lot from one year, that’s more than enough to satisfy the quota even with the ongoing One Piece excluded (and possibly Boruto, as Naruto’s successor). To add insult to injury, Bleach and original generation Naruto (i.e. the series that bears that name plus Shippuden) have moved on in the world of anime, so some newer fans may have already passed them by for Boku no Hero Academia or Black Clover. Furthermore, there are other titles one could argue could be excluded instead for the meme’s sake (as mentioned by KingDylBag regarding Pokémon and Dragon Ball).

What I’m getting at here is that there seems to be some “segregation of the elite from the non-elite” (or more simply, an “us vs. them” mentality) thing going on with this one meme. It may not necessarily be a bad thing for anime fans, which have historically been not that many. However, the ways one can interact with anime, especially in the internet age, may mean that someone’s never seen an anime and yet knows every single plot point. Arguably, I could label that person a “cheat” or “lazy” for not dedicating themselves to actually watching the thing if it were legally available to them. Furthermore, it might also depend on circumstances behind why this person can’t watch it, but that doesn’t make them any less of a fan of the anime in question.

Basically, anything that is originally intended to be a hobby can be described in terms of quality but not quantity. Recording watching 1000 anime on MyAnimeList may be gratifying when gazing lovingly upon one’s profile, but it doesn’t entitle you to a new tier (the “overlord otaku”, as Lina suggested) of fandom from someone who only watches one long runner. What matters is that both the fan with the 1000 anime and the fan with one show put passion into how they interact with the content they’re dealing with (whether that be fanart, doujins, fanfiction or something else…) plus they identify with the label of being an “anime fan”, and they’ll all win badges of fandom that way.

So, do you believe that 20 anime is enough to quantify one’s love for the medium? Would you manage to sit through someone else listing you 200 anime they know off the top of their head? (Am I overthinking this one meme too much?!) Give your thoughts in the comments.


16 thoughts on “Should One Have to Quantify Whether They Are an Anime Fan?

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  1. Personally, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of justifying how much of a fan I am or if they (whoever “they” may be) would even count me as an “anime fan” at all based on how much anime I’ve watched. I reckon that goes to my own predilections towards being an otaku, but that’s a different discussion entirely — or maybe not.

    I think, aside from putting into display the in-group/out-group mentality of anime fandom, what we can takeaway from this particular meme is that it shines a light on the value and meaning we (as a society) ascribe into roles/titles; wherein the purpose of the meme shifts from being an avenue for elitism (“us vs them”) to one that “triggers” people individually to legitimize their being an otaku (“the-community-I-want-to-be-a-part-of vs me”), lest that title be taken away from them (subsequently, possibly, leaving them feeling ostracized from said community)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, I do not want someone to scream “This is the bestest animu show eva…. fight me!” when he only saw 20 shows in his entire watch. On the other hand, I also hate those elitists that claims everything is trash except for Yuasa (for instance), radical feminists and those that discount the opinions of others simply because they know more about sakugas or watched hundreds of show more than you are.

    By the way, I believe those who have been in the community for a longer time holds a better opinion for the genre they like. I mean, they have seen all the tropes and the deconstruction so it is not bad to ask them from time to time about their opinions on a certain show.

    PS: That being said, the anime community is quite toxic in that regard. My take – love whatever you want. Say the show is the best as long as you have reasons and avoid those who have penchant to seek fights.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Certainly, the more you watch, the more names you become aware of, but Lina does bring up a good point when she says she hasn’t watched some of them and yet knows the names of them”

    I’m of two minds on the gatekeeping/elitist thing… I give and grant and will never, ever disagree that gatekeeping and elitism are Bad Things Indeed. But, on the other hand, once they’re in the gate I’m not bothered by sorting people into Houses. It’s not elist to recognize reality. Though all levels of participation and experience are valued and welcome, those difference do exist and it silly to try and pretend they don’t in the name of “not gatekeeping”.


  4. Interesting topic. I hate the idea that you have to prove that you “deserve” a title, so I’m with you.

    I have much less nicer things to say about the people who call themselves connoisseurs of anime or specific anime genres.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I have much less nicer things to say about the people who call themselves connoisseurs of anime or specific anime genres.”

      Says the guy who is open and proud of his dedication to one particular specific genre…

      There’s no problem with being a focused fan, so long as you don’t try and use that as a club to beat down others and crown yourself king of your particular hill. Naming yourself a focused fan is how you find like minded others. Hell, naming ourselves a fan is how we all found each other in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I want to give you the benefit od the soubt and think you’re just goading me again.

        But just to set the record straight I have to mention that there’s a world of difference between my conduct and that of many other yuri anibloggers.

        I try and fail to exclusively focus on yuri. Sometimes I fail to fairly represent yuri as a whole in my opinion. I also never proclaim myself as an expert of yuri even though one of the reasons why I started a blog in the first place is because I thought I could do better than one of the more popular yuri blogs, which is easier said than done.

        I also don’t like to claim that “other yuri blogs are spreading misinformation” which is what another yuri blog likes to do and imply.

        If I’m the fumbling underdog, then the other blogs are the proud ones you speak of.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wasn’t goading… I was seeking clarification. And it turns out you hold the same view I do – it’s not the act of naming oneself a focused fan, it’s the behavior of the focused fan.

        I think that’s actually an important distinction. Focus is the ultimate expression of the obsessiveness Magiconan mentions. In and of itself, it’s not a bad thing. It can lead to some awful behavior, but that’s a matter of the individual not the label.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think what I like about the aniblogging community I’ve found on WordPress is that most of us are happy to include anyone who wants to talk about anime. It doesn’t matter if they’ve watched a zillion or just a handful, if they are wanting in on the discussion, we want to talk with them because we just want to enjoy what we enjoy.
    Then again, it is a meme so we probably shouldn’t take it all that seriously in the first place.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. That’s what I argued though – because you can’t merely quantify it by listing 20 titles, it has to be other, more subjective factors that make a fan a fan. Otherwise, I agree with your points. Reverse psychology’s slippery when it’s out of the blue…


  7. I’m not entirely sure passion is quantifiable. For the record I would probably stutter trying to quickly list off 20 animes off the top of my head especially once you say *not* Naruto because then that’s all I’ll think about. The fact is given the choice to do anything in the world with my free time – 70% of the time it would be watching anime for me. I enjoy discussing it, writing about it and reading about it. To some that will make me a hardcore fan, to others – the fact that I haven’t seen certain particular shows or only watch so many hours a day will label me as casual.
    And there’s no way I’m sitting through a list of 200 anime titles…

    Liked by 1 person

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