Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fan Love Vs. Fan Hate.

Watashi no namae wa Richard J. and this is Blog of a Heretical Dub Lover, the place to spend a few precious moments of your life knowing you're somehow making the world a better place for English dub preferring anime fans! Today I bring you a bit of my thoughts on two competing aspects of fandom. Fan Love and Fan Hate!


I apologize in advance for the gratuitous use of TV Tropes linkies. (It's their fault for being so infinitely linkable. And addictive.) Please note, this is not intended as a rant.

So lets begin with a basic premise on my part: I believe that fandoms live and die by their willingness to adapt to and absorb new fans. Most fans lean toward the casual side of things and, over time, many fans who start young will age and leave the fandom entirely. Therefore, new fans must be found and encouraged to join the fandom community (or at least indulge privately) to maintain the fandom's overall numbers. (Any organization that suffers numerical attrition over time will eventually cease to exist right?)

Now let's talk about Fan Love and Fan Hate in detail.


Fan Love is something that's actually rarer than you might think. Some fans are very easy to please and make squee in joy. These fans are generally warm, friendly and typically a bit more open-minded. Anime fans of this type will gush over a series in a way that almost makes you wonder if they've had a bit too much sugar while you wish at the same time that you could be that happy while watching the same series. (Or any series if you're jaded enough.)

These fans are generally newer fans, not yet driven to cynicism by the constant flame wars and debates. (Subs vs. Dubs, lolicon and "is X genre ruining anime forever!" threads can kill these precious fans' very souls.) These fans get blasted by the Internet backdraft caused by both fans who treat anime far too seriously and fans who are filled with Fan Hate. Newer fans especially can feel very intimidated by the ostensible authority or power of older and "wiser" fans who more or less tell them they are morons for liking a show/genre/trope that is "obviously cliche" and "terrible."

Fan Love dies as a direct result of intimidation and massive pressure to stop enjoying something. Further, fans who like shows that are more niche or just different from the acceptable mainstream often encounter the problematic phenomena of loving a show that has a Love It or Hate It nature. In this scenario, a new fan filled with anime love finds a show and thinks "wow, I love this! I want to share my feelings with other fans because this show is just so awesome!" They go onto a forum or even start a face-to-face conversation with another fan they know. The result: They learn that the show is very polarizing and are assaulted with Fan Hate for loving the wrong thing. This is especially likely with certain types of shows.

Do you love guilty pleasure fanservice series? You're a pervert! Do Yaoi/Yuri tales make you squee? You're an annoying fangirl/fanboy! (This happens especially with Yaoi fans due to the larger fanbase spawning more bad fan examples.) Did that show with cute young girls make you smile? Prepare to be called a pedo! The scenarios are endless and new fans are often not prepared to deal with the sheer blast of Fan Hate they can get.

Finally, Fan Love sometimes results in fans actually liking an anime or a character in an anime for the same reasons as the Japanese. This might sound like a good thing but sometimes it turns out that other fans from your culture/ethnicity/whatever hate that anime or character because of those Japanese loved aspects. (The Trope Site's Anime/Manga examples include several characters I personally adore.)

Fan love can go way too far and become obsession as well, resulting in the more serious Japanese version of the Otaku rather than the "another word for anime fan" version used in the USA. Fan Love can occasionally, especially if the fan has low self-esteem and a high degree of Fan Hate exposure, result in becoming a hikkomori. Yes, you really can send some people into deep depression and isolation just by being mean to them. Straws and camel's backs, you feel me?

Despite all the issues, Fan Love is a necessary part of the fandom. Without fans who gush over a series or just promote the hell out of it, newbies can feel very alone in their likes and dislikes. It's fairly easy to go to any anime forum and find Shonen fans but you're going to have a much harder time with some genres. Specific series can be hard to find fellow fans of too if they are niche, old or just different. Naruto fans are everywhere buy how many Koi Kaze fans do you know?

Fan Love provides an endless source of new possibilities for fans, giving fans a chance to re-consider a show that reviewers have trashed or re-discover their own Fan Love. Sometimes fans become jaded by repetition or just get bored with their favorite genre/shows and Fan Love brings them back in. Fan Love can also provide a new perspective if everyone else is complaining about shows they've never even seen before or English dubs they've never heard.

Fan Love is good and needed for anime fandom. I Believe that Fan Love is lacking right now and that fans have become very cynical and often quite harsh in their way of thinking. There's so much doom-saying and bad-mouthing right now, with many fans often posting about how the latest anime season is "the worst ever" every time a new season starts. How does this make fans who like the new shows or old shows being slammed feel? Doesn't the overly negative nature of Fan Hate make fans feel unwelcome in the fanbase? If those fans are new fans or fans who buy a lot, wouldn't the negativity hurt the financial future of anime?

I believe it can and does. So let's talk about Fan Hate, what it is and how to push back with love! (Oh boy, I sound like a motivational poster or something.)


First, Fan Hate often flows from Hatedoms. Essentially, the number of fans who despise something grows enough to coalesce into a faction which attempts to purge all who disagree with them through a combination of constant complaints and sheer vitriol. Have you ever had the experience, as I have, of a Sub Elite responding to your "I love this dub" comment with "you're a racist because you don't watch in Japanese?" This is the kind of insanity that I think of as Fan Hate. It's nonsensical and extreme.

TV Tropes has a nice list of specific forms of Fan Hate and irrational stupidity here. Read it and then go on a forum, try to catch all the types! Fun for fans of all ages, flame protection recommended. (No, seriously, read that list.)

For those who don't won't to read the list, I'll quickly go through a few favorites from it. One type of Fan Hate I've seen a lot comes from the Anne Titlement type of fan. This fan complains about how their kind of shows aren't being made and another kind of show sucks because it's not what they like or want to see made. (Every moe fan should recognize this kind of fan.) The anime fandom is crawling with this variety of Fan Hate, which involves berating fans for being fans. A subset of this type of hater is The Barney Execution Squad. This is when a fan hates a show that clearly isn't intended for them at all! It makes little sense for a fan of serious seinen drama to rail against the evils of fluffy shoujo comedy right? Not all anime is intended for all anime fans.

On that note, Hentai is not for children so don't complain about tentacles being inappropriate for children under 3 to play with due to being a choking hazard. (Warning label joke or horrible statement? Discuss.)

Another Fan Hate spewer is The Willfully Blind: this group of fans refuse to recognize potential strengths of a work or anything positive about it. Fan Hate from this type will accentuate the negative beyond what might be considered rational, going as far as to outright ignore anything else in the anime. You might not recognize this kind of Fan Hate at first because sometimes the hater has a point. However, just because they hate the Tsundere female lead doesn't necessarily mean the show is all about women beating on weak men. Perhaps the series even directly addresses the very issues the blind hater is pissed about but they refuse to acknowledge it. The Willfully Blind can also be found dispensing Fan Love but the Fan Hate form tends to be tenacious and damaging to fandom. Expect this guy to show up frequently on threads and remind everyone how much he HATES THIS SHOW/GENRE/TROPE.

The most extreme form of Fan Hate comes from The Crusader. This fan hates something so much they actively seek to attack it at EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY. These fans are obsessed and will point out why they hate something constantly, often derailing threads over it. A frequent result of this actor's efforts are Fan Hate heavy mini-flame wars that break out in threads that originally had little or nothing to do with the subject being vigorously debated. (A poster constantly mentioning how they hate something in most or all of the posts they make is prone to Fan Hate of this kind.)

The Fan Dumb in Fan Hate is nearly limitless. Having a divergent opinion in and of itself can trigger reprisals, even in a Fan Love heavy fandom. This is when consensus reality meets fandom in a horrible event called Fandom Heresy.

Anime fans consider certain aspects of fandom to be universal and you will get Fan Hate blasted if you disagree! Don't like Cowboy Bebop? Do you think Miyazaki is crap? Depending on the site, do you like English dubs, dislike fansubs or think lolicon hentai is free speech? (Okay, I admit, that last one is pushing it for most fandoms period but drawings [u]are not[/u] the same as pictures of real children.) If your opinion isn't the same as the majority, you might be in for a Fan Hate pile-up. The problem here comes from having an opinion that tends to be extremely rare period. Fans aren't too likely to hit this one, unless it's the classic and can we please stop fighting over it Sub vs. Dub debate.

Fan Hate can push new fans away, make old fans weary and just make the entire experience of joining a fandom more trouble than it's worth. I can honestly say that I got lucky and joined the anime fandom at just the right time and ended up feeling quite welcome. Nowadays, the Fan Hate is so severe and fans so focused on what's streaming now (legally or illegally) that I often wonder if I'd have even become a fan if I were getting into anime in recent times.

Fan Hate punishes anime fans for being fans. It makes a fan, who may already feel unwelcome in other fandoms due to liking anime, feel even more unwelcome. Fan Hate is unnecessary too. A negative opinion doesn't have to be cruel or hateful!

Example, a Dub Fan posts "I really loved Haruhi's VA! Wendee Lee was just great!"

Reactions: -Sub Fan: "Actually I prefer the Japanese seiyu Aya Hirano over Wendee Lee. Haruhi's just a cool girl in any language though."
-Sub Elite: "Wendee Lee sucks, she can't act at all. No dubber can. Aya Hirano rules!"
-Crusader: "Moe blog Mikuru ruins the show. I hate moe. I want it banned."
-Anne Titlement: "Why couldn't Kyoto Animation have made more Full Metal Panic instead of that crap show!"
-The Willfully Blind: "That Haruhi show is terrible! The episodes are out of order! That's just stupid."

One of these reactions is negative but not an example of Fan Hate. Pretty obvious right?

Fan Hate can have beneficial effects when it's toned down a notch or three. It can encourage variety in a fandom and it can help people avoid shows they wouldn't like anyway, though due to The Willfully Blind and people complaining about shows they don't watch that can also backfire. Fan Hate can discourage some of fandoms negative aspects by constantly reminding fans to avoid sterotypical/bad behaviors and to think outside the genre. Still, Fan Hate tends to be a destructive force that makes new fans feel unwelcome and old fans cynical.

Counter Fan Hate with Fan Love! Don't be afraid to gush about a series you love and try to be polite and inviting with all fans, especially new ones. Treat questions and comments with respect, even if you disagree. Remember, having a different opinion doesn't make the other person wrong, it just makes them different. (Yes, even if you really can't grasp how they can feel that way.)

Fan Love builds the fandom and Fan Hate tears it down. Remember and go in peace.



  1. TVTropes is so amusing, lol. But yeah, I agree with all that you've said!

    FanHate in the anime world has just become rampant lately. I totally understand how it could drive newer fans away.

    I myself have witnessed someone being driven away from a forum due to the US community at large having a severe dislike of the adaption of a certain anime compared to it's source material.
    I believe the time I spent following those threads was when I truly felt the impact of Fanhate for the first time, seeing something I enjoy get bashed so much.
    (If this particular anime ever gets licensed, I expect those guys to show up again and discourage people from "paying for that crap" or whatever... *sigh*)

    Even with some friends of mine, one friend I have likes to make pedo jokes about me for liking series' such as Strawberry Marshmallow and Strike Witches. (though he doesn't mean it seriously, so it's not really that bad)

    All-in-all, I think the anime fandom just needs to lighten up, and stop taking everything as serious business.

  2. @ bal-anime: What was the series adaption you mentioned? I'm intrigued. (And a bit saddened that the very first person to comment has seen Fan Hate drive away a fan.)

  3. The anime is Umineko no Naku Koro ni (aka, When They Cry 3).

    A large portion of the US fanbase of the franchise seem to hate the anime adaption of it. (This may be a result of the visual novel having a fan translation beforehand, thus allowing US fans to see the source material first for once). I personally think that it's a fine adaption, though it left out a few scenes.

    Anyway, I just remember the hate for the adaption being severely strong at Animesuki forums while it was airing, and one guy just left those forums for awhile because they were annoyed by all the hate.

  4. As some one who also reviews anime DVDs. I can see how easy it is for fan love or fan hate. I at times have a hard time keeping my review balanced and just point out the facts.

    I review so I can help the anime fan love. I just feel that there is too much hate out there right now. I'd like my reviews, to be like a stepping stone to help the anime fan. And hopefully make more anime love.

    The main reason, why pretty much I only read a few reviews, is more and more are getting biased on the genre and it makes me sad. In a way at least to me, a lot of reviews are starting to turn more into fan hate.

    As some one who only goes to a Bleach forum, I see so much whining about how the story isn't going good, or this was so predictable and it's so stupid now. It almost makes me want to quit Bleach; however, I do take a lot of those comments as a grain of salt. But I just feel sorry for the new fans to come into so much whiny stuck up fans. I wonder if anyone been scared off yet. I don't know if people have been driven off or not.

    It's also the reason I'm an impulse buyer for anime. I just don't like the fan hate. So I just buy a lot of my series without looking it up. I think fan hate, can lead you astray into not buying a series. I guess, it would be my way to battle the fan hate.

    I know I should go to more anime boards and stuff. It's just that I don't want to deal with the fan hate and stuff. Among other things.

    I do agree with Bal-kun, I do think anime fandom really needs to look at themselves more. They are starting to get too picky, even to what show is being licensed next.

    PS. Sorry if it sounded like I'm trying to advertise my reviews. That wasn't the point.It just that it fit into my reply. Also sorry for the long reply.

  5. Wow great post! For a long time I have always gone around forums reading stuff and of course a big issue I would always come across was the whole dubs suck mentality and I have no clue why people pursue it when they can easily watch it in the Japanese dialogue. I finally started to engage and communicate in these communities if you will and wow... I think it's completely pointless and I should go back to what I was doing years ago by just being an observer.

    I also just buy out of random luck, because you really do see a lot of people saying XYZ sucks, this is horrible, stay away from that! When in reality the show isn't all that bad and in fact the show is exactly what it is suppose to be. I don't download shows like the majority does so when something gets brought over I feel like I'm the only one buying these dvds in the stores, since the damn market is doing so piss poor. I almost feel like that seriously, I'll see a new show out on the shelves so I pick it up read the back maybe read up on it at ANN then bam purchase. I seem to do better grabbing shows out of stores than looking for reviews online.