For a while now, I have covered several aspects of the fandom and of course there are always going to be good and bad fans. However, after hearing news about fans threatening others through violence over other fans opinions and such, it makes you wonder if there are some really bad apples and messed up people in the fandom that are worse than the anime fandumb since their behavior hurt the overall reputation of ordinary people like you and me who happens to enjoy anime or even video games.
There are some things that I do not like about the anime fandom. This mainly includes people telling others that his or her tastes in anime is garbage or harassing other people for having an unpopular opinion such as not liking a certain character. I have seen this kind of behavior on social networks like twitter with someone stating that he or she dislikes or likes a certain character, especially when it comes to idols. As a result, fans try to defend these characters or attack people by saying how horrible a person is because x character is precious or threatening to block people on social networks. The opposite is true with people receiving backlash for liking a certain character too.
People need to realize that people are entitled to their opinions and that fictional characters do not have feelings since they are not real. If you do not like what someone said about your favorite character or do not like a certain opinion, you can simply ignore it or mute certain messages.
In short, there is no need to overreact or harass people. By harassing or telling people off that they are horrible people for not liking or liking a certain character or not agreeing with a certain opinion, it just makes the fandom or community look bad. This is probably the reason I find social media a bad place for any serious discussion since you will always have these kinds of fans derail it.
On the other hand, there are fans that do not agree with a fans opinion or not like something that they go so far to threaten violence instead of accepting or ignore it like any normal person would. We have seen this in the fandom, especially in regards to voice actresses receiving death threats for dating other people or a creator getting death threats from a disgruntled fan because he or she does not like one of the plot details or because some character got killed off.
Of course, there are others that try to threaten violence towards a group of people who are fans of a certain franchise for various reasons. The recently foiled Pokémon Tournament massacre plot is one of the recent examples where two players wanting to shoot people with their weaponry and bragged about it on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, there was another instance of it this week when a male high school student in Japan got arrested for threatening to kill Love Live fans on Twitter with a picture of him holding a knife just because he do not like how certain fans behaved.
While these two different instances of these threats of violence seem credible enough as the perpetrators were arrested and their actions are largely frowned upon, I feel that these incidents make fans look bad in the end since they are part of the fandom too. Lets take the high school student who threatened other Love Live fans as an example. He still considers himself a fan of the show, but simply did not like how anti-social the fans are.
To me, since he admits that he is a fan of a certain franchise, people who are not familiar with it will think that all the fans are like him and start looking down at people who like a particular franchise because they will associate other fans with a certain person’s misbehavior. Not only that, this incident can apply to people who enjoy other forms of Japanese media besides anime. People will start viewing people who have interest in them as being social outcasts and use them as a scapegoat when a shooting or violent threat is carried out. The same goes for gaming as well. As terrible as the Pokémon massacre plot may be, there are other nasty things in the gaming community such as sending death threats, leaking the victim’s personal information and sending SWAT teams to people’s home just because someone lost a match in a first person shooting gamers or even do it for the thrill of it.
Obviously, society as a whole and the mainstream media will jump on at that and generalize people who like these forms of media as lowlife losers and create a negative stigma for people who enjoy them. In these instances, the normal everyday person who enjoys playing video games or watching anime are the ones that loses since they will get looked down at society and have a negative label slapped on them.
To me, this is not a good thing as people will be afraid to talk about video games or anime, which are two popular forms of media. While this bad and threatening behavior can be as a result of a mental illness, it is sad that there are a number of fans that watch low-key or Iyashikei shows who argue, become too defensive or even aggressive over some aspect of a show that is meant to calm someone’s mind or give a healing effect. After all, Love Live is one of those shows that supposed to be lighthearted with a group of cute girls creating an idol group to save a school. Likewise, people play video games to have fun, not to be swatted by a disgruntled gamer who lost a match at Call of Duty.
As a whole, what can we do to combat this kind of destructive behavior? I think the only thing we can do is not only calling out people’s actions, but also avoid getting involved with them. Getting involved with these fans will just ask for trouble. Just ignore them by blocking them and if the threat is credible enough, report it to authorities. Even so, I think fans and people who enjoy these kinds of members need to try to convince normal people who are not familiar with gaming and anime that there are normal people who these kinds of media and that one should not generalize a fan’s bad behavior to the whole fandom or community. Lastly, remember that people are entitled to their opinions and you should respect them even if you do not agree with them.
What are your thoughts about overly obsessive and misbehaving fans? Do you think the actions from them especially the ones I mentioned are harmful in society’s perception of people who enjoys video games or anime? Feel free to share. ¶