You’re an anime fan, I’m an anime fan, and proud of that to boot. Or maybe you’re not, maybe you’ve been sent here by an anime fan because you sit on the other side of this coin I’m about to toss. I speak quite openly about my love for anime amongst my peers and it’s often met with reciprocation, or at the very least, understanding. Despite this, there is still a breed out there who feel the need to mock us, and I can’t for the life of me I can’t work out why, because chances are, we are not so different.
“I don’t get it”
“Seems like a waste of time, there’s so much “real” TV you could be watching”
“But it’s just so boring”
“How can you sit and watch that for hours”
“These people are so exaggerated”
“These rules don’t make sense”
Sound familiar? Is that someone who doesn’t like anime talking to you? Well, as much as those words may seem as though they fell from the lips of an anime hater, they are in fact my thoughts. About football. And when I think about it the only difference between a footie fan and an Otaku is that one is considered far more culturally acceptable, and quite frankly I don’t see why.
Both sides have a voracious fan base –
Football fans just cannot get enough. Whether it’s the Premier League, Champions League, World Cup, Euros or just Sunday football down the park, there’s always more for the average footie fan to consume, there just aren’t enough hours in the day! Now, below is a screenshot of just a portion of the list of anime I want to watch right now, I think that speaks for itself. Be it simulcasts or seasons past, my anime list expands far quicker than I can deplete it.
They can talk your ear off about their chosen subject –
I have no empirical data, but I’d be willing to bet that the amount of team stats and player info stored in the average Brit male’s brain could fill the Encyclopaedia Britannica twice over, and they love nothing more than to show off that knowledge to their mates down the pub, or just cram the info into the ear of anyone unfortunate enough to catch their eye. Likewise, I almost dread to think how many hours have been put into debating “who would win in a fight, Saitama or Son Goku?” Or which anime world you’d most like to live in. Or whether you should have read the manga rather than watched the anime. And then, of course, there’s the lengthy Waifu/Husbando discussions.
We all grew up with it –
Every kid on the playground has their favourite football team. Most Brits grow up with football on their TVs at home, it’s just a part of life in this country, a staple of our culture. But my generation grew up with something else too. There was sooo much anime on TV in my youth, I watched Pokémon, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Yu-Gi-Oh, Beyblade, Flint the Time Detective, Sailor Moon, CardCaptors, Monster Rancher, Tenchi Muyo, Tenchi Universe, Tenchi In Tokyo *okay, breathe* the list goes on and on. At one point Pokémon was bigger than football. Forget your Panini stickers, let me see your starter deck. This was always bound to have an effect on me, and even if you meet someone who is not an “anime fan”, you can almost guarantee you can at least talk to them about that moment when Ash died in The First Movie
It’s more than just something to watch, it’s art –
The beautiful game. A moniker often ascribed to football, as players gracefully interlace wilful tackles and well timed toe punts, and smash split second strikes while defenders dance like kites caught in the cross wind. Watching the likes of Ronaldinho can be akin to watching the Royal Ballet at times (While some might have me search for a “manlier” simile, I could do so only to the detriment of this statement). Anime is art for obvious reason, as it is most commonly hand drawn initially. But it’s not just the medium that drives this idea. The choreography of some of the fight scenes I’ve seen in some shows would drop Jackie Chan’s jaw, while the cinematography of others would put many a Hollywood veteran to shame.
It can all get a bit emotional –
One of the few instances where it is deemed socially acceptable for a man to cry in public in this country is when his team loses. There is no shame in it. Sometimes that amount of passion cannot be contained. Just as the excitement pours out when the ball hits the back of the net, a team’s failure can induce the inverse. As for anime, well I defy anybody to watch the first 12 episodes of Steins;Gate and not feel something gut-wrenching by the end of the twelth. Go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait right here. And then of course there’s the fact that I can well up at the mere mention of Grave of the Fireflies
We love a good gathering –
Match days, fans packed in to the rafters, everyone is in good spirits, enjoying each other’s company, enthralled in a shared fandom, a collective camaraderie culminates in an altogether joyous experience. This is much like an anime expo. Just a bunch of like minded people, both strangers and friends, joining together to enjoy what they love as one pulsating pit of passion (that actually sounds pretty gross, but I’m keeping it in because I like the alliteration). And these gatherings bring me nicely into my final point
Football fans love a good cosplay. They’re willing to spend top dollar for the best quality replica football shirts so that they can step out to the match dressed as their husba… err… favourite player. Now you can argue it one way or another, to me that’s no different to cosplay. Dressing a particular way that you wouldn’t dress otherwise to visually express your support and enthusiasm for your chosen pastime.
This guy’s Arsenal cosplay is on point.
And there you have it. Now I’ve applied this to what I perceive to be the most common passion in the UK, but I reckon you could attach this logic to almost any fan base. So next time someone mocks you for “watching cartoons”, maybe hold a mirror up to them and help them understand that at the end of the day, we are all Otaku in some form or another.