My week started off with a fairly relaxing day. Worked on my car, napped a little, and decided to try to get back into Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links like the anime fan I am.
Then I ran face first into the dumbest of takes I’ve ever seen.
The above tweet went viral today, mostly with people denouncing it, which is great.
Gatekeeping and You
It’s really impressive how foolish this thought about gatekeeping is. If you know only these anime, that’s still hundreds of hours of media to take in. That takes dedication and effort to watch and enjoy even a few of these to a certain degree.
Gatekeeping is nothing new. Star Trek got a reputation for being for nerdy men, despite the fact that the series was arguably kept alive by its women fans. Still, you can find incredulous people testing the knowledge of women who say they like the show.
Years on, and you can still find people with this mentality across the internet. Just tell someone you like the MCU or DCEU movies, or that you’re really into gaming. Odds are, if you’re a man, it’s just accepted that what you said is true. If you aren’t, expect to be questioned by a self-styled defender of the hobby.
The Purpose of Critique
Another thing that comes up here is a lack of understanding as to the purpose and effect of critique.
You see, the person who wrote the shit take up there explained why they wrote it.
The article the Twitter user links to is this one. It’s a fairly innocuous critique of Kill La Kill and the gulf between the show’s sexual humor and the message it tries to get across.
I’m not going to lie, I agree with the article. But there’s plenty of people who don’t. The important thing here is that the article isn’t calling you a bad person if you enjoy the show. And it by no means wants the show to go back and fix every little instance of hypocrisy.
The Anime Gatekeeper™ is worried that people like the one who wrote that article, don’t understand anime. They’re worried that people who don’t understand anime will change the hobby and make it worse. And most of all, they’re worried about Censorship! *gasp*
The problem here is that it treats the hobby like it’s a zero-sum game. If someone who “doesn’t understand anime” is making their opinions known, then that drowns you out, and the anime you want won’t get made.
Which is ridiculous. There is so much anime out there for any kind of viewer.
The critique is about improving the messaging of Kill La Kill, not about censoring it. It may help someone who doesn’t want to see something like that avoid it, or may help someone making a new anime improve their storytelling.
But it’s also just an article online, not word of law. Plenty of people will ignore it, and make the anime they want to make, weird sexual jokes and all. They aren’t going away and killing your own hobby isn’t an appropriate response.
Again, out of the two screenshot tweets, I can’t figure out which is dumber. I really can’t explain how wrong they are.
Here’s the truth: Do you like anime?
No? Okay, you aren’t an anime fan. That’s totally fine.
If yes: Congrats! You’re an anime fan! It doesn’t matter if it’s just Demon Slayer, Naruto, Inuyasha, Bleach, One Piece, Fate, Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam, My Hero Academia, Yu-Gi-Oh or Ghost in The Shell, you’re still an anime fan.
If you like Berserk, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Attack on Titan, Elfen Lied, One Punch Man, Kaiji, or even Kill La Kill, you’re also an anime fan.
The only thing gatekeeping does is ensure your hobby will die off. Including people helps to make it grow and flourish with new ideas.