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.

Inescapable Anime Fandom

I consider myself a man of broad tastes, though if you ask me what I’m into, I will invariably answer “anime.” Because clearly, I’m more into anime than anything else—I run an anime blog, not a music or film or game or book blog. Yet there’s an extent to which I think my anime fandom isn’t so much more massive than my other fandoms as it is more inescapable and easy to be a fan of. This is caused by my social life, really.

Whereas I know a shitload of anime fans, a million sites and places where I can go to talk about whatever anime related subject I want, and easily locate fanworks, I can’t do that for anything else. I don’t know where to talk about movies or games or music, etc.

It’s not that those are hard to find, it’s that I’m picky. There are only a handful of anime-related sites I actually read and only a certain number of friends I have that are anime fans. But I love reading/talking to all of them, and they weren’t easy to find. I’ve been a member of the anime fan community for some ten years now. I’ve graduated up from being a forumite to being a blogger and social interactor to narrowing down my social circle into just people whom I like.

I can’t go and join some forum for some fandom, because I will hate it. I hate forums. I wouldn’t even want to go back to reading blogs, really. Because in the end, what I really like isn’t talking about anime so much as talking to people whom I like, and anime is just what I talk to them about… the consequence is making my fandom expand even more.

I’ve ended up limiting myself to discussing my other interests with anime fan friends who happen to share those interests. I can talk music and movies to otou-san to an extent. I have friends with whom I can talk video games. But I couldn’t do something like run a blog and have a readership from the ground level of those things. If I started, say, a My Little Pony blog right now, only my little brother would be reading it until I established a new readership, then spent years thinning it into people that I like.

All of this is why my side blogs never survive or thrive. There’s no reason my manga and music blogs coudln’t have been updated with as much frequency as this one, but it was never as fun because hardly anyone was reading them.

But maybe I’m about ready to undergo the process again. After all, I’m getting pretty bored with the anime fandom, and some of these fandoms are just dying to be expanded. (Just as likely, I’m too lazy to try.)

The Hardest Wall To Climb Is The Wall of Apologies (On Loving Things That You Used to Make Fun Of)

The more of anime culture that I consume, the lower my standards get – that’s how it looks from an outside perspective, but more accurately, the more that I consume, the more things I find to appreciate about everything I see. Not just anime, but music, too – I used to be pretty picky about what genres I would watch or listen to, and now I can safely say that there is no genre that I am incapable of enjoying on a case-by-case basis. I’ve found myself liking more and more shows that I wouldn’t have before and willing to listen to music that I couldn’t formerly tolerate. It is not always easy to branch into a genre you were previously uninterested in, but always rewarding – however, I have found that the hardest thing to get into is something more personal.

That is, anime and music that I formerly claimed to hate. Or if not hate, then whose fans I formerly looked down upon. I have striven to remove all of my elitism, but I’d be lying if I said i was done doing so, nor if I said that I didn’t used to be really, really elitist. I mean, hey, everyone wants to have at least someone to look down on, to instill a feeling that they are at least superior to that guy, but I can hardly kid myself like that. No one has ever told me that I had good taste, and no one ever will. There are genres of music and anime fandom (yes, genre of fandom) that I looked down on in the past, and far harder than merely breaking into a genre that I was formerly uninterested in is breaking into one that I formerly looked down on.

Actually I still am not sure if I hate this.

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Loving Your Fellow Fan – It's All A Rich Tapestry! (Also: I Learn to Truly Understand the Thirst for Akihabara)

It’s quite evident that we of the anime blogosphere have a great love for our fellow fan. After all, we spend a lot of time reading anime blogs (yes, it’s crazy that I post 3 times a day, but you’re also crazy for reading three posts by me a day!) and we allow the views and opinions of others to enhance our fandoms and our lives. It is, however, because I share such a strong bond with anime bloggers that I feel I almost try to ‘do too much with them,’  like a clingy girlfriend. I’m sure that some of you do the same as well, as I feel that the blogosphere moves at a pace and has a livelihood that wouldn’t be possible if we spent most of our time interacting with fans of other groups. However, every so often I remember that anime fans are a vast, vast sea of people, and many of them have a lot to offer us. Just as a sheltered person would never be able to gain enough experience to have worldly knowledge and grow an epic wizard beard, a sheltered anime fan may be disallowing their beard to fully grow. That might not be a problem for everyone, but for a guy like me who strives to be the biggest otaku possible, I find it important to make sure I’m getting the ‘full experience.’

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