Throughout life we are constantly asked, “What are your hobbies?” Tute ice breakers, job applications, tinder profiles, awkward morning after conversations, etc. Hobbies are an easy way to get the gist of a person, for example: people that run are also probably healthy in general and whether you want to or not, you will feel terrible when they get the salad and you get the double patty with bacon and extra cheese. Bros that go to the gym probably know more about the human muscular system than that one pre-med friend you have, and then you have that friend that says ‘drinking’, and you all laugh, but you also know for sure that they need to get their stomach pumped and their liver checked. Everyone has at least one hobby, we all need something to get our minds off of the monotony that has become our day to day lives. Nevertheless, some hobbies are more “accepted” than others, and no one knows that better than the weeb.
Simply put, a weeb is someone that loves anime, and you know who you are. You’ve seen every episode of Naruto, Bleach, Death Note, and One Piece; the only thing you are subscribed to outside of Spotify is Crunchyroll; your most visited pages are mangapanda.com, mangareader.com, and mangafox.com; at some point in your life you took a Japanese class or at least tried self-teaching; in your head Hayao Miyazaki is this century’s Da Vinci, and your favourite song is something like the opening to Code Geass. However, if you are anything like me you would much much rather have the world burn before your eyes than let your friends know your favourite show is a Japanese cartoon.
It’s a little unfair, but like I said, not all hobbies are viewed equally. While someone who has an obsessive love for AFL is treated as a normal, albeit passionate, citizen, anyone found watching anything remotely like an anime is ostracised and viewed as someone that just “never really grew up”. You know that this isn’t true, you know that anime is so much more than that, it’s full of beautiful artwork, well thought out storytelling, meaningful life lessons, impactful characters and so so so much more. Nevertheless, you deny having ever watched anything besides Pokémon back when you were a kid, you never watch anime on Netflix because you’d rather be caught dead than have anime pop up on your suggested list, and nothing makes you cringe more than that kid doing the run with their arms flailing behind their back. Every once in a while you find a friend or two that shares this forbidden love, but other than a small conversation here and there you would rather say your hobby is underwater dildo making.
The question is why. Why are you required to keep your love for anime under wraps while everyone else gets to flaunt their ‘socially acceptable’ hobbies? The answer is simple. For every day to day person that likes anime there is a 35 year old man dressed up in a sailor moon outfit holding a body sized pillow for warmth after spending all of his money on some anime figurine or hundreds of volumes of their favourite manga. No one cares how many “normal” people enjoy anime if there is some portion of that population that has animegirlfriend.com saved under their favourites. Most anime are deeply thought provoking and critically acclaimed- yet you’re still judged far more than that person who genuinely enjoys watching Riverdale, because one group has tentacle porn and the other at its worst, has an edgy blog and a full size poster of Cole Sprouse. The extremist is what makes the stereotype, and unfortunately the extremists that love anime make for one hell of a stereotype.
There are, however, some within the community that are brave enough to not give a fuck. Yes, they are aware of what it may look like if they are caught watching HunterxHunter in their free time, but bruh it’s a good anime so fuck you. Not everyone, myself included, has it within them to make this jump- it’s hard enough already to find someone to love you for who you are, without you being that kid that watches anime; however, at the end of the day if it’s something you love, it’s something you love. If everyone that enjoys anime keeps it under wraps, then the stereotype will never change.
As always, it’s hard to walk the walk- I can barely stand it when my openly anime-loving friends try to wrap me up in a conversation about anime while I’m in a public place, but I know that nothing ever happens unless someone is willing to be a little uncomfortable. Right now, there is simply no love for anime in the general public. However, that does not mean change is impossible. Maybe rather than ranting about the 73 shows you are watching all at the same time you should introduce them to anime gateway drugs like Howls Moving Castle, a movie that is universally accepted amongst weebs and nonweebs alike. Maybe at the same time recommend the anime-ish cartoon Avatar the Last Airbender and slowly but surely you are pushing their head deep into the ocean that is anime. Can they breathe? No….. it’s the ocean, but goddamn is it beautiful. Next thing you know they are ranting about the bullshit ending to Katekyo Hitman Reborn and fangirling over the fact that the third season of Attack on Titan has twenty-four episodes. Change is slow, and I can’t wait for it to happen, but until it does I will be watching my anime on an incognito tab.
If you want to know why I am anonymous, read my article