The Negative Anime "Stigma"

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The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Mitsugi on Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:45 pm

I was compelled to make this thread after somebody mentioned the anime stigma in a recent post. Was it you Chiaki? Anyway, I have experienced this stigma for YEARS, having run an anime club for almost 4 years. Unbelievable. The stigma in America is definitely negative and according to Chiaki, there is also a negative stigma in Japan. I guess I am looking for 2 things from this thread.

1) I know we have people on this forum from a number of countries. The server indicates there are podcast listeners from something like 40 nations. So I'd like to know if there is a stigma in other nations outside of the USA/Japan.

2) I'd like to hear peoples experiences with the stigma. For example, have you ever tiptoed around your words to conceal the fact that you're watching anime? Please don't feel uncomfortable, we are all friends here. Smile


Last edited by Mitsugi on Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:47 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  bakuhasu on Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:45 pm

I know exactly what you mean Mitsugi. Well since I grew in an asian community here in the tourist filled San Francisco and from my understanding people who watch anime is well accepted. Maybe its the fact that as asians we can really accept anime as a medium growing up. I remember from 6-10 everybody was into Pokemon, Digimon, Yu-gi-oh, all that kinda good growing up animes until... middle school towards high school. I believe it's that point where people really just want to "grow up" while they're not acting not much older than just mere teenagers. What I'm getting here is that your friends or classmates just want to throw off their past. To pursue anime with loads of homework is really time consuming. I think that's why people just give up their nostalgia ( anime really is nostalgic mean in the 90's anime is the top most watched in saturday mornings) and just leave a dark impression to anyone. BUT thinking more here thinking in my high school years anime is watched by alot of people. People who don't watch anime usually view Bleach, Naruto, and One piece. I hang with friends who aren't anime addicts watches Gundam. There are anime addicts as much as people in my school who watches Korean Dramas for their hobby. I don't know about other states but anime here in San Francisco is an acceptable thing. The only time I had a negative stigma was a project meet where I was introducing myself and named one of my hobbies is watching anime one of the guys I had to work with gave me a negative impression he just laughed at how pathetic I was. Being older than him and more educated I simply said it's my form of entertainment and you can learn alot from anime than your music videos.

Well I am confident in this day and age to be growing with a community full of anime watchers, I think I may have been discouraged by the fact that I do watch anime here and there but I don't even remember when. When someone asks "Why do you watch anime? It's Pathetic." Just simply say that it's a form of entertainment that is meant to be enjoyed and that's why its created. It's the same reason why movies are created. In fact anime has even go as far in making itself being a form of pornography just to attract an audience. It can be as messed up as two boys going at it and as beautiful and tearful as a family reuniting at the last episode of an unnamed anime.

Seriously guys don't get discouraged but just be proud that you are able to enjoy such a form of entertainment. It is who you are well it is what I am. I know I went off topic but I WILL defend to the core when it comes to things I love and that for one is anime.

Alright that was a mouthful time to let the person talk..... or ummm type
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Saber on Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:10 am

I'm gonna modify this a bit by descriping the situation over here in Germany first to better elaborate on it.

The anime stigma in Germany is pretty much the same as in the US, though I dare say it's worse. That is mainly due to the fact that, even by European standards, the anime market here is a lot smaller than the one in America, left alone Japan. Even our neighbor country France has a much bigger market to deal with and the conventions held there are at least tripple the size of what's going on here.

Over the years, anime in Germany has been suffering from the well known stigma of being something for children, not something to be taken seriously. This is largely due to the fact that most people here think of Sailor Moon and Pokémon when they think anime, mainly because these have been the very big presences in German children television and have obviously been running for years due to their large episode count and an uncountable number of re-runs.

This was emphasized tenfold due to the broadcasting politics of RTL2, which has been running a lot of Anime over here in the last few years. Most of the series that ran on RTL2 were of the so-called endless kind. Pokémon, Detective Conan, Ranma 1/2, Digimon, Inu Yasha, Dragon Ball: These are all long-running series which for the most part are aimed at a rather younger crowd. However, apparently it did not fit well enough because numberous changes and cuts were made to the material to make it even more "child friendly". America has suffered a good deal from this thanks to 4 Kids Entertainment and we got a lot of their edited series, namely Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters. Thing is, often enough, RTL2 even cut stuff that was left in after 4 Kids had butchered the original Japanese release. The official reason for that is to abide the rules of child protection etc, but really, it was mostly done to appease raging parents and not put the ratings in any danger.

As a result, most people here think of all the RTL2 stuff when questioned about anime. To the "normal people", anime is all about school girls and skimpy outfits fighting monsters, young boys going on a journey of catching, training and fighting monsters instead of going to school or boys beating up one another for no apparent reason. It's really a shitty situation if you're asking me and it doesn't end there. In the last few years, anime has become more scarce on German television. While Pokémon is still running and One Piece is currently continuing (mostly unedited thanks to Funimation) on a different station, most of the timeslots which used to be anime are now taken up by pretty cheap, stupid Western cartoons like WinX Club etc, a lot of which try to imitate anime by using a similiar style of animation and expressions. Stuff like Totally Spies and what not, and they are still trying to sell it as anime.

The DVD situation is not that good either. Similiar to the American market, a lot of companies retired from the field because sales kept dropping and dropping. America only has a few companies left such as Funimation and Bandai Entertainment, and it's similiar to that here. Current main publisher for anime DVDs is a company called Anime-Virtual, who similiar to Funimation has taken in a lot of liscenses from other companies and distributes them under their name of those of the retired companies who owned the liscense in the first place.

So yeah, anime definately is not standing in a good light over here and with the increasing paranoia (mainly created through "Killer Games" and discussions about violence in movies and video games and how this may be in conjunction to school shootings etc), as well as dropping sales and obvious dwindling interest of TV stations to actually air anime on free TV (we do have our own ANIMAX, but what good is Pay TV for increasing interest in a product?), I don't think the market is gonna sustain itself much longer. For a long time now, I have been importing a lot of my anime either from the UK or the USA, because the quality of the product is often a hell lot better, from video and audio quality to subtitles and extras.

Oh yeah, and the few conventions held here don't really help either. People think all the Cosplayers are carnival goers on drugs or something.

---

I myself am of course also branded with the stigma. I'm rather reluctant to speak to "normal" people about my "addiction". Mainly because I don't really want to start discussions or having to justify my sanity over buying all this stuff. DVDs, manga figurines, model kits. My room is full of this stuff, yet I feel uncomfortable when someone whose not into it comes in. I'm not really ashamed of my fandom, but it still is sorta awkward to explain it to people not familiar with it. Sure, I can talk about it freely on the internet, but the real world, sadly, is still something different.

Being 21, I'm still living at home and of course the topic gets brought up regulary when I order some DVDs or whatever from an online store and my mom has to get it at the door while I'm off to work and so on. This is where the discussion always circles around whether it's still a hobby or already an addiction. Especially this year, I've purchased a freaking lot of DVDs, more than I have ever bought before. I'm not really keeping track anymore, but I've definately spent over 1500€ on anime DVDs this year alone.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Mitsugi on Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:59 am

Some really fantastic posts from both Baku and Saber. Really good stuff. Wow. I even learned about Germany a bit.

I myself am of course also branded with the stigma. I'm rather reluctant to speak to "normal" people about my "addiction". Mainly because I don't really want to start discussions or having to justify my sanity over buying all this stuff. DVDs, manga figurines, model kits. My room is full of this stuff, yet I feel uncomfortable when someone whose not into it comes in.

This makes me want to make a thread about posting our anime/video game setups or something. That might be fun. Thoughts? I will also say that I have experienced that exact same feeling of shame when people came into my room in college and stuff. I'm in grad school now so I don't have to tolerate that crap but so what if I have 3 wall scrolls and a stack of video games. Good lord people, hang me up on my toenails for it!!
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Saber on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:14 pm

Mitsugi wrote:Some really fantastic posts from both Baku and Saber. Really good stuff. Wow. I even learned about Germany a bit.

Well, personally, I felt obliged to point out the situation because nowadays when people start talking about the dwindling anime market and the issues that arrise of it, people only ever talk about the American market. Just my two cents thrown into the lot, since there's a lot of people outside of the US and Japan who enjoy anime =P

This makes me want to make a thread about posting our anime/video game setups or something. That might be fun. Thoughts?

This wouldn't be a forum inhabitated by anime addicts if we were not to start the typical "my collection is bigger than your collection!" discussion. I always enjoy looking at other people's stuff. I regulary check Shelf Life over at ANN.

I'm in grad school now so I don't have to tolerate that crap but [b]so what if I have 3 wall scrolls and a stack of video games. Good lord people, hang me up on my toenails for it!![/b

The thing is, video games are commonly more publically accepted than anime. And there are even tournaments around the world where you can win actual prize money for playing.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Mitsugi on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:27 pm

The thing is, video games are commonly more publically accepted than anime. And there are even tournaments around the world where you can win actual prize money for playing.

That's true but if somebody see a stack of 20 video games, even that will give of a negative stigma. I agree though, video games are becoming more normal while anime as a whole, is not.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Saber on Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:47 pm

Mitsugi wrote:
That's true but if somebody see a stack of 20 video games, even that will give of a negative stigma. I agree though, video games are becoming more normal while anime as a whole, is not.

For most part, video games have a much larger presence in everyday life and by far a bigger fanbase to support it. There's a ton of video game commercials on television (I don't recall any anime commercials over here other than DBZ years ago, no idea how it looks like in the US), dozens of video game related magazines, blogs, TV shows even, and the overall industry is bigger and better established than anime.

Some video games might still be controversial in public discussions (Counter-Strike for example, at least here), but the entire industry and the players usually have a better reputation than anime watchers. It's quite sad actually, especially because in most cases, anime fans love video games and a lot of video game players also watch anime.

Both are two very different forms of entertainment which at the same time are often enjoyed by various groups of people. Why one thing is less accepted than the other, it makes me sad.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Hikari Okami on Wed Nov 18, 2009 1:18 am

I have a story about the anime "stigma" and it has a happy ending.

When I was in elementary school, I was already pretty weird as I was very tall, gangiy, and usually the only black kid in class. I let out that I played video games and got slack for it, so whenever the anime subject came up I decided not to add insult to injury and kept my mouth shut. Strangely, a lot of kids collected Pokemon cards but never watched the anime while I was the opposite (the only cards I own are the ones I got from watching the movies).

I kept my anime watching habits a secret until about 8th grade. I went to middle school with pretty much the same group of kids from elementary school, so this was my big dark secret. Then one day my parents were late picking me up from school so I was waiting in the cafeteria. There, I saw a girl reading a Sailor Moon manga. I gathered my courage and began a conversation with her. We've been best friends for 8 years and it all started with our mutual love for Sailor Moon.

These days, if the subject comes up, I'm pretty comfortable telling people I enjoy anime. Although, I am a computer engineering student, so most of the people I meet have some aspect of geeky/nerdy-ness as well. But you never know, sometimes admitting you like anime can be an icebreaker. It's worked for me on more than one occasion.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  CanadaMan on Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:11 am

I was definitely the skinny underweight nerdy boy all through school (and going to a school that was 99% Caucasian didn't help anything), but I didn't discover anime until after I graduated high school. Now I'm comfortable with admitting I really enjoy anime and games because I have my other hobbies that live on the opposite end of the spectrum.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Yordy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:33 am

Well, in the Netherlands we also suffer from this negative anime stigma.

Back in the days of VHS, and the early days of DVD, anime in NL was being released by a company called Manga Entertainment. That company released some classic anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira, but besides that they just released ultra-violent 80s anime and hentai like Urotsukudoji.

So in the popular opinion this led to people perceiving anime as "those cartoons with all that sex and violence". And seeing as Manga was the only company releasing anime at that time, this opinion never changed, even to this day. The mainstream idea of anime in NL is still the same, even though we now have several companies releasing decent anime, and even get the Ghibli movies in theaters (since they're distributed by Disney).

Most of the movie critics and magazines now have a different and more favorable view of anime, but this is only voiced on those sites or in those magazines, and the general public will not see this. So most people still look at you like you're a pervert if you walk up to the counter with a copy of Spirited Away on Blu-Ray...

There's a foundation in NL that is dedicated to promoting the Japanese cinema (not just anime) and lifestyle, but even they can only get that much exposure. So yeah, I agree that there is still a stigma on anime and manga, and even though we do our best to change it, there's still a long road to go...
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Mitsugi on Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:39 pm

That's interesting how there is a different stigma in the Netherlands. I think that in the US anime started as 100% kiddy material. Stuff that was suitable for any age. But still, I think that anime in the US has a splash of pervert stigma in the US. It's gradually filtering in as more and more people become aware of hentai. I think the internet has helped to promulgate this as much of anime online advertising or general content online is hentai or at least ecchi.

Thanks for your input Yordy. Nice to have the input from another nation. We are one step closer to solving the puzzle!
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  FinalFan2009 on Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:22 pm

in australia i move around a lot so ive been to many different cities and i have found no negative stigma towards video games but quite a bit towards anime
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Yordy on Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:14 am

I think that there are two things working in favour of anime at the moment, and I hope that they will continue doing so. (At least in the Netherlands.)

The first being Disney. Yes, it will keep the "Kiddy" connotation alive, but you can't deny that everything Disney puts out there is of very good quality. And since they have the distribution rights for Ghibli, that will probably benefit the anime image...

The second is Blu-Ray. There are quite a few anime out on BD by now, and because there are not yet that many BD out there, they tend to get noticed. If you look at the enormous amounts of DVD's and then compare that to the amount of Anime DVD's, they tend to get lost in the crowd. But with BD, that ratio is a lot more favourable. Also, the box-art of most of the BD anime releases is very flashy and attracts a lot of attention, so that helps to get it noticed. I've heard from some people in the BD retail business that Vexille and FFVII: Advent Children were huge hits, and sold heaps of discs. It might just be because it's great to show off what your BD setup can do, but at least that will sell discs and get it some mainstream attention. So as long as they keep doing solid releases, with a widespread appeal, I think this might really work in anime's favour.
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Re: The Negative Anime "Stigma"

Post  Plixik on Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:56 am

To get anything negative, I think you have to take the anime thing a bit too far. I've never gotten any shit for anything to do with anime and all i wore for like 5 years was anime t-shirts. All that has ever done is gain me friends who liked whats on my shirt. I like to watch me some anime, but there are anime fans and anime freaks. By this i mean the horde of half retarded freaks that gravitate into one giant smelly pack of annoyingness at my school. They never take a shower, never cut their hair, never take off their naruto headbands, and spend all day screaming crappy jokes like "I'm going to take over the world ahahaha!". I could go on, but ill spare you the details of how much i dislike them. Those kind of people are the reason i couldn't stand being in my schools anime club for more than a few weeks.
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