May 19, 2014

[A-P Originals] Closet anime fan?

Note: This is an unaltered blog originally written for Anime-Planet. Originally published in August 20th, 2011.
The information/opinions may or may not be outdated and nothing has been edited compared to the original version.

My recent conversations with some of my online friends have made me think. Is anime more accepted in foreign countries such as US and UK than in my small Eastern-European country?

I've been watching anime ever since I was 13. Sure I watched anime on TV when I was 7 or so but me and everyone around just considered them cartoons. But when I was 13 years old I truly discovered the world of anime and started watching it online while at the same time thinking: 'Is this normal?' I always was so paranoid about someone coming in my room or seeing my computer's monitor through window. In fact I still am. Now, I simply wait until everyone goes to bed and I make sure to close blinds so no one sees it through window and only then start watching anime.

It just seems that society in my country can't accept a teen or older to watch animation other than South Park. It's considered childish or even sick. At school I don't have to hide that I play video games, everyone knows it and plays games themselves. I can't say the same thing for anime though.
One of my best friends watches anime himself. He once unintentionally told me that he watches some stuff and at the end of conversation I realized that he likes anime and doesn't consider them as cartoons. He's the only real-life person that is fully aware about my hobby, however, we never discuss anime unless no one's around. I'm pretty sure that some of my closest friends know that we both watch anime and don't mind it, just never mentions it. One of them DID mention it once, asking why our YouTube avatars are from Japanese cartoons and that lead to awkward silence until me and my friend pretended not to understand what's the question about and straight-up ignored it.

I'm just wondering how many people have to go through this. How many people are hiding their hobby and only feel safe to discuss anime online with people from different countries that they've never met before?


  1. I'm from the UK, none of my friends really knew what anime was but I showed it to them all and every one of them came to like it, I bring it up in conversations with people and watched it in class in college, sure some people laugh and think of it and cartoons at first but they should just sit down and watch an episode.
    Most people I know watched Dragonball Z when they were younger, I just showed them bleach and they all got really in to it.

  2. I only have a close group of friends that I share my interest in anime with, everyone else I try to keep it secret. Most people who are obsessed with anime and show it off are made fun of at my school. But then again, those are the kind of people who sit in class and do hand motions from Naruto or bring in Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.

    Either way, some of the people I know; if they knew I like anime, I'd definitely get made fun of for it.

  3. Yea I fell the same way. I love anime and manga but I would never tell anyone that or let them know I watch anime. If it ever came up I would just deny it anyways. That’s why I love this site. I can talk about anime all I want and not be judged. Whenever I watch anime I also make sure no one is around and can see my computer monitor. Boneworks is got a good point ppl who sit in class and hand motions of Naruto and play with Yu gi oh cards or dress funny all the time in public just give the rest of us who just like to watch it a bad name. I’m not saying you cant do what you want but it is a little weird.

    No Matter what if my friends and family or ppl at work or college knew I like anime I would get laughed at for sure.

  4. I don't think i have ever had this problem. I "re-discovered" anime about 3 years ago after spending my early teens thinking Dragon Ball Z Pokemon were just simple cartoons. I hated anime (for various reasons) but i stumbled across Hellsing one day and everything became all clear.

    See i used to live in Saudi Arabia before i moved to Canada. As you can imagine, not many people there know about anime (though sports anime and Detective Conan is extremely famous there with multiple Arabic dubs and subs going around). Since i regretted not finding anime sooner, i never kept it hidden. I tried to "convert" many of my classmates to anime but they all don't understand how good animes are.

    Saying all of this, i mean that i don't care what people think about me watching anime. They most probably watch Hollywood garbage which is nothing compared to good anime. An anime is like a novel, not a cartoon, therefore there is no reason to be a "closet fan" :P the only thing i do hide is when i watch Fanart or AMVs

    Nice Blog by the way. Its good to know some history behind everyone's otaku life

  5. Well, I live in Italy, and while certainly there's more open countries about this, I must say that I don't have much to complain. The "closed-mindedness" is actually more from the television and stuff and from SOME parents, than from the younger generations...since the late Seventies, everyone in Italy grew up with anime, even if most horribly censored or mistranslated (from the Mazinga years, to the Dragonball years, to the Naruto years...); many probably do consider them just "cartoons" without bothering to recognise the difference between, say, "Evangelion" and those funny but pointless Cartoon Network things, but there is a general understanding that "Japanese cartoons" are somehow different and somehow have a larger fanbase. I sometimes find people who go "duh you watch cartoons grow up" on me, but mostly they're such ignorant jerks that it doesn't even bother me.

    I rediscovered anime only in high school after growing up with Dragonball Z and Digimon; I never had a good relationship with my high school classmates, except for my best friend whom I know since childhood, in general we had very different interests and views, but even then I could be open enough about my passion; that was not only because I was already made fun of and outcast for many other reasons, but also because there were other people who at times mentioned liking Dragonball or Naruto. Of course there was no chance I could talk about older anime or less known anime, but at least I didn't have to keep it secret. I didn't boast too much about it either, older sister and brother-in-law are also kind of anime fans, although to a lesser extent and with narrower views.

    Right now I'm very lucky, because at my University Japanese course almost everyone is an anime fan and generally a "nerd" (in Italy this term has a less negative acception than in English), so I'm surrounded by people who recognise the references I make and whose references I recognise. So...yeah, it could be much worse.

  6. Being from a Eastern-European country myself, I know the feeling. Very few of my friends know that I love anime/manga, and even fewer don't think it's awkward. Not to mention parents, who always seem to think of me as a hopeless 23 year old child watching cartoons, at which I reply, They are not cartoons!!! *sigh*

    I graduated from the Japanese-English section of the Foreign Languages faculty; when I started college I honestly expected at least 50% of my classmates to be into anime/manga, but I had to face the shocking reality: not only the students, but the teachers as well thought that liking and watching anime was awkward - they all saw me as an otaku. People like this will never understand the beauty of Miyazaki and Shinkai masterpieces, nor the epicness of series like TTGL or Terra e; they will never understand the genius of Shinichiro Watanabe or Yoko Kanno, heck, you get my point.

    That's why I'm sooooo grateful that internet exists - thank you bloggers, site admins, fan-subbers/translators, and not the least, open-minded people who dare to have an opinion.