August 18th, 2007

I Am a Closet Anime Fan

Posted by Mut in Uncategorized

We all enjoy anime to some degree or another, and some people are very open about it. They visit Anime Expos, cosplay, and proudly associate themselves with it without the fear of detest from others. Others, not so much. Where I live and go to school, anime is a foreign interest. Not too many people are familiar with it and frankly, it isn’t something that’s brought up as an everyday conversation piece. In fact, outside of my e-friends that I’ve gained since I first got on the internet, I only know two people out of a few decent size groups of friends that I’ve ever spoken to about anime. Even with those people, anime has never been brought up no more than a hand full of times. And If people do know what “anime” is, finding out that you’re into anime will make them get a bad impression of you because anime has a negative connotation. People think anime fans are socially awkward, nerdy, and someone they wouldn’t want to affiliate with. And as an Asian American male, I’m already associated with it by default! This may just be my own narrow experience, but I’m sure there are some people out there who can agree and relate.

So why is it that some people, me included, are closet anime fans? I’m sort of out I guess (I’ll explain in a bit), but I’ve never casually brought it up in a conversation with my friends or strangers unless I was specifically asked, or if they brought it up first. Even then, my apparent knowledge of anime is just what I know about the mainstream series and I brush it off. I guess you could say that I’m insecure with myself, or fear the rejection of not being “socially normal” or being too different, but can you really blame me? In this society, as a 22 year old nearing 23, I can’t be talking about why AonE stopped subbing Naruto, or if why everyone is learning bankai when it’s something rare and only developed after hundreds of years of training when I go to bars or clubs! It simply doesn’t work to get the girls’ attentions. If there are people who can prove me wrong, then please teach me your secrets. I’m more proud to have concealed my anime interest rather than to have expressed it openly.

But I am not a complete loser, as some of you may be judging by what you’ve read so far. I do have a significant other. And I do share my anime interest with her, but it took a while to come out with it. It took nearly eight months to build up the courage, comfort level and closeness to even let her know that before I met her, I used to spend a chunk of my free time reading manga about a guy who fights demons with a ridiculously large sword, and watching anime about high school teens who are involved in a secret international mech war. Exposing this side of me would totally derail things when we started the relationship, she had the impression that I was the atypical, opposite-of-the-stereotyped Asian American male. My room definitely has zero evidence of my liking of anime. I have no wall scrolls, figurines, DVDs, manga, or anything like that even hint the existence of it in my life. Before I told her about being an anime fan, I used to be the guy who quickly tries to exit out of the web browser because I would be browsing the GotWoot forums when my girlfriend would open the door to my room. Ugh, it was as if I was trying not to get caught masturbating by my parents. It’s embarrassing but funny at the same time.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that interest in anime, at least in my environment and amongst the groups of people I know, isn’t very socially acceptable because it isn’t a norm. But I’ve been comfortable with hiding it, and my girlfriend accepts my interest in anime as just a part of who I am. There are a lot of things people hide and this is just one of mine. I think I subconsciously don’t share my interest a lot more now because I’ve lost the burning passion I once had for anime. I don’t spend hours dedicating myself to the newest Naruto release by DB (faggots), or checking for raws and spoiler pics for the latest chapter. Nowadays, I only browse the forums to post in non-anime related, off-topic forums, but I do catch up with anime occasionally and read some Shounen-Jump manga here and there. I don’t know if I will ever completely lose interest in anime and abandon it altogether, but I do know that if and when that day comes, my secrets will die with me…

I simply choose to not reveal myself as an anime geek. My social reputation is overwhelmingly more important than this. Is that so wrong?

55 Responses to ' I Am a Closet Anime Fan '

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  1. Mut said,
    on August 28th, 2007 at 8:21 pm

    d3xion pretty much nailed it. That’s basically how things are here. lengJai, comparing Family Guy with an anime series, say Naruto, is completely different. Family Guy is actually a very popular mainstream television show aired on basic cable (FOX) during prime time, while Naruto is a show intended for 10 year olds that air on a network that isn’t as widely viewed. Also, just because I am Asian, that doesn’t mean I have “a load of Asian friends”. In fact, I only have small handful of them. Either I don’t share the typical Asian commonalities or I just don’t attract them? Who knows. But the demographics in my environment made a huge impact on who I can hang out with.

  2. lengJai said,
    on August 31st, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Mut i wasn’t talking about naruto on some dumb crappy TV channel in America i’m talking about in Japan where it is aimed more on adults. Its crappy in US because its aimed at children and they cut of a lot of the blood and swearing etc. So in my eyes its right for me to compare with family guy.If you check dattebayo polls and downloads you will see how popular naruto and bleach is.(this is just from dattebayo alone) So this doesn’t really change the fact that you shouldn’t be embarassed about watching anime if people watches cartoons like simpsons and family guy.

    Well i’m just assuming that every asian person has a couple of asian people they are friends with, mainly because all the asian people i meet seem to have a handful of asian friends. And still u can share anime interest with none asians, i showed some of my non oriental friends some anime and they liked it, this includes indian and black friends, you guys just need to forget about what other people think and just do what ever.
    and like i said before if your still unhappy moe to Japan or Hong Kong

  3. Kareem said,
    on September 2nd, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    You don’t bring up niche subjects like anime out of no where. You don’t just randomly announce to people that you’re into anime and then start talking about the latest episode of your favorite show. People tend to talk about the local sports team or that show on TV or how their job is going or the latest big movie release. GENERAL STUFF Y’KNOW! Just about anything that you can bet that person might’ve heard of. You get into niche subjects with people you know better. It’s all standard procedure.

    If you can’t be comfortable with who you are amongst friends… then I seriously doubt if they are friends rather than good acquaintances. Either that or you’re really insecure. Or both. Honestly, I can’t really speak from your position. I would never be friends with people who would reject me for things I like. Do you really want to be friends with someone that is like that? Honestly, I think you have a better chance of growing out maintaining an acceptable image than you are to stop loving anime. I can understand at that age popularity is uber important to you, but sooner or later you’ll grow out of it, because then you’re an old fogie and no one likes you anyway. :p

  4. ~sl4yer~ said,
    on September 14th, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    I’m from philly and ive been a fan of anime since i was 12 or 13 and i have always been open to talking to ppl about anime. In fact i met a lot of friends from talking about anime where im from no one gives two craps about what u like or dont only time they care is if it affects them in some way.

  5. ElCangrinage said,
    on September 21st, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Ok listen up, I’m from NJ and over in this area there are so many cultures and races its not even funny. But most of all everyone here has their own trend, likes and hobbies. Also there are plenty of clicks here, like the jocks, meat-heads, rockers, surfers, reggaetoneros, wanna be gangstas, and so on and so forth. Well I grew up with a bunch of guys that since children never cared about culture, race or likes, we were just ourselves. After growing up we grew our separate ways but remained friends and we have one of each category now. One is a pretty boy, the other a gansta, the other a meat head. Myself, I am a US Marine veteran and an Undercover Investigator now. One of my friends is a district manager New York Sports Club, the other a cop, another a stock broker. And the one thing we have in common is that we were always anime/manga fans. You see just because you like anime or anything else in this life, you have to be branded and categorized. If you follow that road that everyone else follows just because you want to be like everyone else, then you will be monotonous. you will never be happy with yourself because you will never be yourself. Following that road that everyone else follows just keeps you from opening up and being happy.

    For example, who wrote on stone that skinny is beautiful and over weight is ugly. Or that a man that has multiple partners is a man’s man but a woman with multiple partners is nothing but trash. ect. You see if you let peoples thoughts towards you make who you are, then you aren’t any different from them. So how about you just break from that road and read manga or watch anime regularly, and if someone looks at you funny because they find out, then dont be afraid to introde them to anime. Who knows they all might love it and you will be the one with the most experience to show them all what it is about. Then you will have people looking for you for info and you wont feel so intimidated. Oh and I forgot, you dont have to be asian to like anime. I’m Puertorican and I love it. Bro, if my advise doesn’t help, then come to New York for a month the least, and by the time you go back, you wont be caring about what anyone thinks, and that will help you suceed.

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