Difficulty Begets Hot-Blooded Fandoms

Conquering adversity on the quest towards dreams and desires defines the idea of “hot-bloodedness.” This is obvious in fiction. Applied to life, it helps to redefine every fan as a shounen action hero.

The feeling of winning—or, more primally, surviving—modernized, surviving under the best possible circumstances, is the most satisfying of feelings. We define our victories ourselves, though our definitions are usually designated and then warped by culture. This makes a victory won against the tide of society feel all the more awesome.

This came to mind when I thought about Mega Man fans, whom, going by those I’ve met, tend to be incredibly hot-blooded and dedicated to the series. I’ve watched Egorapter’s “Sequelitis” video about Mega Man X several times, even though I’m not a fan of the franchise, because his passion makes it one of the most entertaining video game reviews ever made. What makes Mega Man fans so god damn adamant about it?

All this hot-bloodedness doesn’t line up with my vision of Mega Man—which for me was a kind-of-ugly game that I sucked hard at, and never got far in. But that’s the key—Mega Man is hard as FUCK. Beating those games takes devotion. You will not complete a Mega Man game without wanting to complete a Mega Man game. It becomes a desire, like a mini-dream—a flame—like an opponent in a shounen manga whose ass you just need to beat so that you can call him your best friend.

Hot-bloodedness as a fan doesn’t always come from the difficulty of completing the material, but it can in many different ways, under the guise of many different goals.

Sometimes, merely entering a fandom is a challenge. In my time with the My Little Pony fandom, I’ve literally read more “how I got into this fandom, overcoming X fear” stories than I have in eleven years of anime fandom. The mere act of going beyond what is socially acceptable and enjoying what you love just for yourself is a huge and liberating victory for a great deal of people. You’ll find those in every fandom. It’s why so many lolicons are so prideful about their loli love. (I used to be one of these myself).

A fan remains a fan and remains hot-blooded as long as he keeps setting up new challenges to overcome. A lifelong fan like ghostlightning has no need to break any social barriers, so he sets goals like “watch all of the Gundam anime,” growing a ridiculously huge beard in the process. I set my goals to indefinite heights, because I want it all, like Griffith from Berserk. I just can’t stop going and conquering every goal, so much that if I were immortal, I’d never accomplish everything that I set out to do.

Running out of things to do can really quell a fire. I had a big fire for My Little Pony recently, when I set out to do things like listen to every pony song ever (took me two months). I have fewer goals in the fandom, having fallen out of touch with it to an extent, and thus I am not as fiery about it as I was.

My indefinite set of goals in the anime fandom is precisely what keeps it burning so warm in my heart even when I watch as little of it as I have been. Everything I can possibly do in this fandom is moving me towards some goal or another.

I’m rambling at this point, and I think you get it. Anyway, vote for me in the ABT.

14 thoughts on “Difficulty Begets Hot-Blooded Fandoms

  1. I can definitely see this, especially in video games. I played VVVVVV not so long ago, and I spent like 45 minutes beating the infamous Veni Vedi Vici room. Pretty sure I didn’t get out of the first part of the room for at least 10 minutes. Not sure of the exact stats, but I definitely died hundreds of times, just for a fucking trinket that isn’t even required to beat the game. But the trinket wasn’t what I was after; rather, it was the feeling of conquering a room that so many people talked about when the subject of VVVVVV came up. And when I beat that son of a bitch, it felt pretty fucking awesome. I was locked in as much as I have with any other video game.

    Even if I forget the rest of the game, I’ll still be able to look back on that fondly on VVVVVV just for that experience.

    • I’ve read a lot in the past few months about how harder games which really test the player are the most gratifying, but only on closer inspection do I also really get that those games have the most devoted and in-depth fandoms.

  2. Glad to see some love for Egoraptor :) Strangely I have pretty much the same reaction as you.
    I don’t really care for all these old videogames but when YouTubers like Egoraptor, Pete Dorr or HappyConsoleGamer talk about their passion you really feel how much they love their hobby.

    Great article !

    • Sequelitis is so damn good. The fact that he seamlessly wrapped a perfect review, his personal brands of comedy and animation, and so much passion all into one video is something I dream of doing in a review.

      • The same here :) But I also suspect that Egoraptor’s vids are pretty much ADHD in animation form (nothing against such people, but he should take some ritalin ^__-)

  3. Well crap, now I have to watch that Sequelitis video again… for like the fifth time. Can’t wait for his A Link to the Past vs. Ocarina of Time video.

    This makes me think of the time I spent six hours fighting Ridley in Super Metroid over and over again until I could beat him without getting hit. I love it when a game’s challenges are fun enough that it makes me want to replay it and do even better next time.

    • I’ve watched my brother and two of my friends play Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls over and over again for the past three years, and that pretty much sums up the whole of the experience. It’s massively difficult, and I’ve watched them ragequit, throw controllers, and curse the game, but they just keep coming back for that awesome feeling when they get better at it and beat its ass faster and faster.

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