“A normal person”.
At least that’s the impression you could get, from the way these annoying extremists are referenced everywhere. Or rather, I should say “this annoying extremism”. As I already referenced it a month ago, I don’t really think that the word can be truly applied to any individual in the anime fandom, since anyone can easily avoid the few stereotypes that obviously brand anyone as a weeaboo.
- Don’t use phrases like, kawaii, or baka gaijin, non-ironically.
- Don’t praise Japan, don’t want to go there, don’t learn Japanese. (or if you want to, at least don’t brag about it, and balance it out by saying something negative about Japan).
- Don’t get offended at others calling anime “Japanese cartoons”. Don’t insult western animation.
- Don’t complain about how horrible every single english anime dub is.
There it is. You might still get called a weeaboo as an insult, but that doesn’t really matter, given that everyone insults everyone by calling them that. The point is, that only a naive newbie who still didn’t get the memo that these things are uncool, would be singled out as an obvious total weeaboo, but beyond that, we only have a sliding scale of different attitudes, in the direction of people who are more positive about anime’s Japaneseness, and those who are more negative about it.
Just like with similarly two-sided groups, like optimists and pessimists, introverts and extroverts, liberals and conservatives, collectivists and individualists, (cat people and dog people :P), it looks like there are these inborn ways of thinking, that fundamentally influence where we stand in an argument, how we see ourselves in the big picture. If we would try to apply this one scale outside of anime, to encompass every choice between trying to fit into a new (sub)culture, or expecting it to fit to your own needs, it would probably be something like the dualism between… I don’t know… “entitlement and adaptability”? Or is it “conformism and nonconformism”? Something like that.
But this is an anime blog, so let’s not look to deeply into social psychology, and talk more about how it applies to weeaboos.
On the above picture, everyone with a “far-right leaning” attitude can just take a step back to stay on the golden mean of reasonably different tastes, to avoid ostracism, just like all radicals. But the strange thing is, the left side of that scale, almost always gets completely ignored. As I said in the opening, most people see it almost like if it would have been cut in half at the red line at the middle, that marks a normal person, and the only thing that we would need to take care of, would be not to go too far right. As long as you hate weeaboo-ism, you are a perfectly balanced person. So, who are on the far left side?
We don’t even have a name for them. For people who categorically oppose everything that might bring attention to Anime’s Japaneseness, at least as annoyingly as their polar opposite bring the attention. I’m sure you know what people I am talking about. Chances are, you are one of them. If you…
- see someone identifying themselves as an “otaku”, and helpfully warn them that the word actually doesn’t mean what they think it means, but “obsessive perverted nolifer”.
- start hyping a series just because it’s promo picture features muscular men shooting guns at each other, and no one in it has colorful hair or large eyes.
- sincerely believe that moe is killing anime.
- go out of your way to make up anime titles like Dog x Me SS, or My Ordinary Life, so you don’t have to use Japanese words.
- refer to the failure of american anime publishing as “the death of the anime industry”.
- consider attraction to high school age girls pedophilia.
- expect fansubbers to creatively work themselves around fanspeak terms, that you and everyone else in the audience would understand anyways.
- believe that the only acceptable role of translator’s notes is to explain that the creative english neologism below, that the fansubbers made up, is supposed to mean “Tsundere”.
There are at least three ideas tangled up in there. Some of it, like the preference of GAR 80’s 90’s action shows over anything made with modern aesthetics, especially moe, is sometimes also identified with elitism, but the elitist stereotype would also include a preference of fansubs, and a pride of learning fanspeak, that this group avoids like the plague. And finally, there is the relucance to identify with anything “otaku”, or Japanese.
From my experience on anime forums, I’m pretty sure that these three things are connected at the same people. People, who got into anime through the 80’s and 90’s trend of series with gun violence, and non-japanese settings, and liking it, they proclaimed that this “anime” thing is the embodiment of mature animation. Ever since that, they never let it go.
And that’s not a bad thing. Just like with any of the other scales, like the optimism and pessimism scale, it’s a good thing that different attitudes keep each other in check, reaching a sensible consensus. It’s also a good thing, that even though I’m leaning towards the right side of that scale, some others keep me in check, not to bend over and be a total weeaboo.
But for now, we quickly need to find a name for that ???? on the left side, so we can also start keeping them in check. So next time when I get called a weeaboo for using the phrase “osananajimi”, I don’t have to write an essay about the nuances of how that character type has specific Japanese connoations beyond “childhood friend”, and about how loanwords get naturalized in the borrower language, I could just say:
“Like you have any right to call me out on that, you….”
So, any suggestions?