An Email About Keitaro, KyoAni, and the Fans Who Love Them

I should probably make this a regular feature. Every once in a while, I receive an email that deserves a little extra attention from me in my response. When I received an email titled, “Keitaro Urashima Post and Why You Should Speak For Yourself Only!” I thought it was just going to be another flamer email to put on my block list.

But upon reading the email, I discovered that it was indeed filled with rage, but this rage seemed to be seriously misplaced and completely contradictory to what he was trying to prove. It was the perfect example of the otaku-vs-otaku hate that I have preached against in the past.

He never posted this up on his LiveJournal account, so I’m going to keep the letter anonymous and removed any form of identification in it.

As a fellow anime fan who pays attention to what’s going on in the industry, I like to thank you for all the hard work you’ve done.  So I wanted to give you a heads up before I post on my LiveJournal what I need to say about your post.

There were a lot of use who had been there; being a nerd.  At times I was just like Keitaro:  I couldn’t get a date for a prom, I couldn’t join in any sports teams, and everything I tried to do either ended up in the wrong or with me being a target for ridicule. But I sure as hell wasn’t as hopeless as to fail in life so badly.  I was pretty athletic at the time.  I was good in math, chemistry, writing, and history.

But enough about me.  I’ll talk about Love Hina and how I hated it.  I placed that title with series like Evangelion, Ranma 1/2, and Mitsuo Fukuda’s Gundam Seed series in the bucket labeled “Worst Anime Series Out.”  Along with being cliched and overrated, it featured a character (like Keitaro) who was purely created to make the audience feel better about themselves; an “eternal victim” and “the whipping boy for the world.”

I stopped being surprised over the popularity with titles like Love Hina.  I thought it was because of the fanservice (despite Keitaro’s treatment).  And then there’s shows created by Kyoto Animation (which I refer to as “KyotoAnimu”) which proved that you don’t need to have so much fanservice to be popular.  After seeing a number of male characters from KyotoAnimu shows, the ones where they get the crap beated out of them regardless of what they do…  Seeing said shows become ultra-mega-popular; with a number of people blurting out “Haruhi Is God” and “Clannad Is Life”  like retards…  I came to a quick conclusion that a lot of the anime fanbase are either really suffering, really young, really stupid, or a combination of the three.

I usually wonder if I should apologize for being so harsh.  Especially since these people are cruel.  I’ve been told that (while they welcome different opinions, ironically) someone else’s opinions are like warm sacks of $###.  To this day I still wonder why the industry is catering to these mean-spirited people.  Money, I can understand.  But the idea that you need someone to beat up, because you know he’ll never fight back, is being perpetuated.  It’s as if nobody learned their lesson from all the school shootings and the “F### Tha Police” / “No Snitchin’” campaigns.

But hey.  I’ve been taught to never take anything laying down; beatings, bad opinions, whatever.  And I’ve been angrily disappointed with the entertainment industry inadvertently stating that I’ve been wrong all this time.

Tell me what you think, Scott.  Have I been wrong all this time?

Hey,

Out of all the posts I have written, I would have never expected the Keitaro post to inspire such rage in a reader. So let me see how I can respond to this.

I think the biggest misconception you have, at least from my point-of-view, is that we are meant to pity and despise the nerdish characters in these otaku-pandering series. You’re making it out to be we, the fans, all have some sick fetish in watching others suffer.

Let me tell you that this is most certainly not the case.

I have never once thought to myself, “God, at least I’m not as much of a loser as this dude!” when I watch Love Hina or any of the KyoAni series. I never make myself feel superior to a fellow nerd. If the character is a hardcore otaku and life’s treating him pretty shitty, I’d think to myself, “God, I totally know that feeling! Don’t worry, buddy, you can pull through it.”

It’s showing empathy for the character. It’s relating yourself to his troubles. It’s making him out to be the underdog who deserves to win the match at the end. And more likely then not, he does win at the end because these shows tend to end on a happy note.

Yes, I’m speaking only for myself when I make this statement, but I say it through the eyes of a fan of the genre. You know, the same kind of fan that you accuse of being “retarded” by talking about how much we love Haruhi and Clannad. But we say how much we love it because it celebrates us in our full geekdom. It shows us that we are not alone in the world.

If you look at us as being a bunch of sadomasochists, then you clearly see these shows much differently than we do.

And that’s why you’re not a fan of these series, which is something that you are so eager to prove to me by calling us retards and using derogatory words like “animu” in your email.

Message read loud and clear, buddy!

But you know what? There’s nothing wrong with not being a fan of these series, or not being a fan of any genre of anime.

Remember that anime is comprised of many different genres intended for many different types of anime fans with many different tastes in anime. By chalking up Love Hina as being just as bad as Eva, Ranma, or Gundam, you’re making a pretty bold statement because you know that many fans enjoy those shows.

But you don’t list what shows you consider to be good, and guess what? I think that a lot of the shows you like are also pure shit.

Now I can’t possibly mean that as a attack on your character. I don’t have a clue what shows you like. I just know that no two fans are going to like the same shows. We all have different tastes in entertainment.

So why do you have to be judgmental on other fans because they like something that you don’t like?

Why do you have to look down on us and call us retards for liking animu?

Does that make you feel superior from us?

Who’s really being the mean-spirited person in this conversation?

I’m saying just respect all types of anime fans or nerds you encounter in life. Doesn’t matter how odd they act of how much their tastes differ from yours, we’re all in this together, man.

So quit all the hate and smack talking, ok? ;-)

-Scott

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