DON’T OPEN THE CLOSET DOOR!
It’s where I hide my anime…
DAMMIT, WORDPRESS, YOU ATE MY FUCKING POST.
I had a good post written, a solid piece. But WordPress ate the whole damn thing, leaving me with merely eleven words that I’d written as the intro! Fucking hell!
So, now you’re going to get the bastardized version instead.
OreImo and Kuragehime represent opposite ends of the otaku spectrum, in that OreImo is about someone who desperately tries to hide her otakudom whereas Kuragehime is about a bunch of women who embrace it whole-heartedly and openly – or as openly as anyone who is afraid of going out in public can. Its actually an interesting contrast, and I’m glad they are airing in the same season, honestly, even if I’m not really watch OreImo. And I also enjoy having them airing simultaneously given the recent trend toward having more otaku-centric shows out there. I enjoy contrasts.
But I also find myself curiously unable to relate to either model, something I realized the other day when it occurred to me that I was unsure whether most of my friends are aware or not of my mad love for anime, in particular those I attended college with.
My room at home has a Jigoku Shoujo poster on the door, shelves of anime and manga, several anime-related alarm clocks, and a few figurines sitting about. I make no bones about the fact that I like anime. At school, the presence was much more muted, although this was due to space constraints in terms of both how small my dorm room was and how limited the space in my luggage was as well. I had a lone figurine, and the only anime on my shelf were the half-season-style sets of Fullmetal Alchemist I bought while I was at school. A few volumes of manga sat amongst my other non-academic books on the top shelf, but the only constant was my copy of Aquarium. My DVD travel-case-thing was mainly crammed with anime DVD’s, and only contained four DVD’s that were not anime (The Departed, the original version of The Fog, Hott Fuzz, and 8 Mile), so there really was never any occasion to take it out in front of others. Anime fans in America are, in general, pretty rare, and the only one I knew of at my school was allergic to laundry detergent and thus never did his laundry.
On the other hand, did I actively seek out other fans? No. But I never really felt any need to; I had friends who were obsessive about America’s Next Top Model and professional soccer, neither of which I’ve ever had any interest in, but that didn’t make any difference in our friendships. Which either speaks to the fact that I am, ultimately, a loner by nature (something I slowly realized over the past four years or so, and which I also realized doesn’t mean that one possesses no relationships with others, but actually simply means I am pretty happy to be by myself), or that I… I don’t know. Can talk about something other than my number one hobby, I guess? Can look beyond superficial qualifiers to see the awesome human beneath?
Yeah, I almost choked in disbelief when I wrote that sentence. That is a truly awful sentence.
Friends have been in and out of both my college dorm room and my regular bedroom at home. No one has ever commented on any anime-related stuff present, and I have only commented on it once – a male friend was staying with me, and I had told him to feel free to peruse my bookshelf, but cautioned him against cracking open any of the manga. About half my collection is BL, and I figured he’d just rather not see it.
And I find all of this very funny in light of anime characters who scramble around madly, desperately trying to hide the fact that they are actually crazy, crazy fans of things that society generally casts aspersions upon. Granted, it obviously wouldn’t be as funny if they were just regular people who were well-adjusted and didn’t have self-esteem issues. But I do find it amusing given that these anime do that, and that this is also the general message sent to fans at large – that your hobby is something that others will look upon as being childish and stupid, so you’d better keep that under wraps, or you’d better embrace it whole-heartedly and get ready to occupy the land of the ugly, the unwashed, and the un-socialized.
Now, do I consider myself an otaku? Not really. I’m a huge fan, but I just don’t identify with the term.
(Aside time! The furor that can be generated by the term ‘otaku’ to me is pretty fucking stupid. Yes, people use it differently in non-Japanese fandom than Japanese people use it. Big deal. Or should I bet getting on a high-horse and starting a crusade over the Japanese usage of the English-language ‘mansion’? And does this mean I somehow managed to miss the huge battles over the use of the terms ‘shounen-ai’ and ‘shoujo-ai’ in American fandom to denote light homosexual content although they are used in Japan to indicate that something is pedophilic in terms of content? Language isn’t dead, morons – get over it.)
Anyway, yes, I’m a big fan. A huge fan. I have a freaking anime blog, for crying out loud. I write posts dissecting orientalism in shows no one cares about and which no one will ever read. My homepage on my web browser is RightStuf – just so I can keep up-to-date on their sales. I can babble incessantly about the market forces and economics of anime both in Japan and in America. I’ve seen hundreds of shows, read literally thousands of manga. I have subscriptions to Crunchyroll and the Anime Network (online version). The only movies I’ll go watch sight-unseen are Hayao Miyazaki films. I spend more money on anime than anything else (yes, even alcohol! very shocking, I know). I cannot even fathom the idea of ‘growing out of’ it. I love the damn thing, heart and soul.
And yet it appears that most people I’m friends with aren’t particularly aware of it. From which we can further extrapolate that most people just don’t care that I happen to be a lover of kiddy stuff and cartoon porn. AMAZING.
And, ZOMG I JUST MANAGED TO FINISH THIS IN TIME FOR THE NEWEST EPISODE OF SHIKI TO APPEAR ON HULU ZOMGGGGGGGG *dies*