I honestly don’t have a whole lot of experience, or interest, in anime or anime-inspired things. I have seen some anime, and I was impressed with it technically. By which I mean, there is often a lot of care put into how the higher quality animes are animated. I remember watching “Akira” and being really impressed by how well they animated it, and I also watched an episode of “Nodame Cantabile” which also really impressed me – those who animated it did their homework and actually animated the playing of the instruments exactly correctly. There was none of that “Tom and Jerry” hit a random key on a piano with 40 keys and pretend like that’s playing – it was actually really well done.
In point of fact, Japanese folks have a rather amazing sense of attention to detail – I have come to realize that when it comes to artistic expression – idol groups, television shows, anime, manga, etc – there really isn’t a such thing as a “happy accident”. What is shown is absolutely deliberate and well thought out – all of it. This hit home to me when I was watching an idol group – I think a team of AKB48 – going to see someone for a reason I don’t recall. They ran into a television personality, and he was very nice until he thought the cameras had stopped rolling, and then he turned into what could only be described as a douche. I thought about that for a minute, and then realized that was included absolutely deliberately. Japanese folks don’t make mistakes like that. They wanted him to look bad.
So, I found an Anime inspired game on my phone. I think it’s a fun and cute game, but I really do see it as just a game, and treat it as such. It has a whole bunch of anime “girls”, most of which are rather skimpily dressed and have very big, umm… assets. Think back to what I just said – this is a deliberate choice. The girls call the player “senpai”, which I find actually a bit cringey, and the voiceovers call the player either that, or “goshujinsama”, or an extremely polite form of “master”. I find that really cringey as well.
Pulling up the comments for each girl, you can see people (and who knows if they’re serious or trolling), saying some pretty nasty things about the imaginary girls. Like “stay away from her, she’s mine”, or much, much worse. As I said, while being a guy I can’t say a little eye candy isn’t nice every now and then, I rather like the game play and simply see it as that. I see absolutely no point in growing attached to a “girl” who doesn’t actually exist.
I think my point is that there are many people out there who see anime characters unhealthily, and that this unhealthy obsession with imaginary characters is something that is deliberately encouraged by those who create the characters. After all, sex sells. Sex always sells.
I honestly think this is why I’m not really a fan of anime. Some of it impresses me, but I just don’t want feel like a “weeaboo”. Everytime I watch anime, or play an anime game, or actually have anything whatsoever to do with popular Japanese culture, I rather feel like a weeaboo wannabe. And I really don’t enjoy that. It makes me feel a bit, um… squicky, for want of a better word. And every time I see people celebrating anime character’s birthdays, etc… it just makes it worse. I really don’t like that feeling.
I don’t like feeling like I’m even close to being associated with weeaboo “culture”, but, to be frank, the very act of learning Japanese automatically brings that association, whether I want it or not. And I am most distinctly not comfortable with that. I am not learning Japanese because I’m a huge fan of their pop culture. But, that really doesn’t matter. Many in America who are learning it are, and quite frankly, that is often not very good company.