It have been awhile since I have written a long line of editorials… but I think this is a pretty good question. This topic came to attention when I saw that thread on AnimeSuki. Haven’t said that. it depends. As most know, I have been a fan of Anime for a long time since the first anime production I seen from Studio Gibli, this is when I step foot into the Anime World. as more of these shows shown on TV, my interest for it went up. It wasn’t until High School that I started watching more, so I’m not exactly a new fan of Anime, it was something that was on and off, but never loss interest in. I have never participated in any Anime Clubs while I was in High School and still continued not to after my sister joined one in fall semester in college and well, not going on well and she stopped attending. Being in the Anime Blogosphere, I have seen less of the dumb part of the fandom and more of the more intelligent bloggers for the most case like to do what they enjoy most, watch anime and write their thoughts on it. Also I participate on AnimeSuki Forums (If you see me, give me a poke…) and Melative that also has a very good amount of intelligent fans who I converse with.
The problem lies in the mainstream Anime forums. AnimeSuki may be popular, but not as much so than Anime News Network and MyAnimeList. There lays the problem as now we are given a vast amount of fans and of course, there are going to be some newbies who are going to have very narrow taste in liking only Naruto and the such and don’t give a damn about other people’s opinion. This is the main reason I do not participate on MyAnimeList forums (except to develop the MAL client) and catalog my anime (until I gotten away from it and now use Melative to catalog everything!). When they see something that isn’t Naruto, they will likely rank it down on purpose… Then again, what is the purpose of rating an anime while its airing. However, the ratings to not stick and only ratings on people who watched the season in whole at the end only counts. Maybe some dissatisfaction perhaps?
The problem I’m seeing is not the fandom as a whole, bit maybe the person. As they all say, tastes are everything and people have shows that they like the most and some they do not like. I admit that I do enjoy most of the stuff I seen, but as recent examples, I have been dissatisfied by Kampfer and Nogizaka Haruka Second Season as a whole because of excessive fanservice, which led me to think that most fanservice anime aren’t that good. Open minded view is a key of balance and giving an anime a fair chance. I have done that for the most part and enjoyed it… maybe not with the case with fanservicy anime since I have been constantly disappointed by how it was brought out. With my dislike to fanservice anime, this come to the point that tastes are different for each fan and changes over time. Say that you initially didn’t like a genre you watch and over time you realized that you actually enjoyed it.
Back to balance and open minded view, newer fans and old should be more open, give a fair judgment and don’t compare shows with other shows. The most recent example with people who are comparing Sora no Woto to K-ON and thinking it’s moeblob anime… The problem with that kind of judgement is that people are warping their view and not looking at the content as a whole. People who think it is K-ON! will probably miss the overlying plot or the complete difference in character design. This is the same who call some anime “moeshit” and all those degrading terms without forgetting it and just watch and enjoy. As long a person become nitpicky at all the flaws and not looking at whats good, it always going to bring a negative view that wouldn’t be if the person didn’t nitpick at every flaw in the title. As my friend said, “Being negative just to RAAAAGE and FFFFFF isn’t funny or clever. Balance is the key to life, and there’s something beautiful even in the ugliest of places.” Unfortunately, I haven’t lived up to that quote since I have been rather negative on other things that are not related to anime. Also, I have seen a small amount of bloggers raeg because they like to bring attention… It’s okay, but it’s pretty obvious that it will bring out the bad of the fandom by disgruntled commenters depending on the content of the post.
Fanboyism is another problem. Rabid Fanboys are annoying no matter how you look at them. They will bash the show they don’t deem to be perfect and praise every aspect of their show even though there are flaws. Acting like a fanboy sadly does not bring any good except getting people annoyed and such and this can apply to anything, not just Anime. This was apparent in the console wars between Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft and Mac vs PCs and believe me, they get really ugly quickly and it is hardly open minded at all.
In conclusion, from what I have seen so far, for the most part the fandom isn’t getting dumb from what I seen. Maybe in other Anime communities and definitely MyAnimeList and ANN. However there are some controversial issues like Anime Licensing and Crunchyroll that brings out the bad of the Anime Fandom, but I tend to ignore it now since I don’t want to get involved, I buy my Anime that are licensed and I want to watch or want to own and it gets rather redundant since I don’t care where it come from, I only care about the content. Besides from that, I think it is a good thing for people to be more open minded on what they watch and stop comparing titles to other anime and write it off as such and such without getting the whole point of the plot or the gist of the whole show. Less RAEG (unless you are doing it for fun) and negativity would be a better goal of improving the fandom and also bring more intelligent discussion on what we love most, watching Anime.