Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

I hear this a lot: “I used to like such and such, but the fans ruined it for me.” And it bugs me every time I hear it; after all, why should the fans have anything to do with the actual series or game or whatever else? If you like it, then you will like it — I don’t understand why so many people give power to the masses by letting them affect their opinion of something. A series is not its fans, and the fans do not make the series. Sure, sometimes it might be annoying hearing fangirls and boys fawn over the various bishounen and moeblobs from your series of choice, if the only reason you decide to dislike those bishounen and moeblobs is because of the fans, then you’re not thinking for yourself anymore.

Case in point, I love Kingdom Hearts — okay, it’s not an anime or manga, but I think it’s a good example because the fans are notoriously obnoxious. I think the first three games were excellent (I am sad that so many people forget about Chain of Memories), and I love the ending to KH2. I like almost all of the characters and enjoy what we do see of their in-game relationships. Does it annoy me that fangirls seem to like slashing every single male character in the entire fandom? (Regardless of whether they ever actually officially interact? lol@AxelxDemyx?) It used to a little, but really, I am a huge proponent of the “to each his own” ideal. I may not like what you like, but I will support to the death your right to like it. And since I’m active on deviantART and people like to bitch about various fandoms always getting frontpage attention: I may not like what you draw, but I will support to the death your right to draw it. And if it’s popular? Good for you!

I don’t really understand when people get disappointed that “overhyped” series aren’t as good as one may come to expect. It’s more of that giving power to the masses, which is kind of hilarious when you consider that most people would say that they don’t trust the masses. And it’s true — don’t trust them. Put your trust in people you actually know, then you can be legitimately disappointed when things aren’t as good as they’ve been described to you. I didn’t watch Haruhi Suzumiya because of its popularity; I watched it because several people whose opinions I care about recommended it to me. I was disappointed for those same reasons. Similarly, I didn’t start Naruto until two years after its debut and only because several bothersome friends kept suggesting it. I didn’t stop reading it last summer as any consequence of annoying fans; I stopped because I was tired of waiting for something to happen.

I also refuse to stop liking something because it’s popular or to be ashamed of getting into something because it got popular first. It annoys me to no end when people rag on Naruto for being popular or for its general fanbase being young and silly. Getting offended at kids being kids is stupid. Saying that they’re bringing down the image of anime in general is blaming them for the ignorance of the rest of the population (regardless of what is in the mainstream, people will use what’s popular as a stereotype for the rest of the community; I don’t really think anyone would be happier if the populace’s general impression of anime was crazy kids fighting giant robots in other giant robots or bounty hunters in space).

The moral of this post is to think for yourself! Who cares what everyone else thinks and does? If you like it, then like it. No shame, kids. No shame.

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  1. kadian1364 on February 6, 2009 3:22 pm

    I completely agree with your philosophy here. I often remember this quote, although originating from the train-wreck anime (literally!) Daughter of 20 Faces, the spirit rings true for everybody, everywhere: “Watch, listen, and think for yourself.”

    Too often I see people blindly invest in the opinions of others without pausing to think, “What exactly does this person like about such-and-such, and how would it apply to me?” In such a subjective area as varied and mercurial as consumer entertainment, it surprises me to no end how many people still think in black and white terms, that there is are somehow clear right and wrongs in leisure activities.

    Listening to others’ thoughts is important in fandoms of any kind, it promotes intelligent discussion, the sharing of ideas, and the creation of a community. But the onus is on both the speaker, to clearly communicate the why and how a like or dislike was formed towards one piece of art or entertainment, and the listener, to examine the speaker’s words and interpret them for her own tastes and values.

  2. Kiriska on February 6, 2009 5:36 pm

    Indeed, the ability of the speaker (or writer, I suppose, on the Internet) to back his opinions with his logic and train of thought is paramount to any reasonable discussion, as is the ability of the listener/reader to see the writer’s opinion as just that — an opinion. Of course, a good writer might be able to subtly persuade a reader to a certain side, but in the end, if the reader has an opinion of his own, then he’ll be able to spot it.

    I just don’t understand why some people are so eager to get angry about it all.

  3. Martin on February 7, 2009 7:25 am

    Great post. Seriously. I won’t pretend I’m never even slightly affected by other people’s opinions (I wouldn’t write and read blogs at all if that were the case) but I’ve learned to distance myself from what passes as popular opinion.

    Haruhi Suzumiya is a good example. It’s a good series in many areas and I found it to be enjoyable; that said, I never bought into the feverish hype surrounding it, and would have been bitterly disappointed with it had I taken everyone’s views at face value.

    I’m a huge believer in recommendations from friends and others who share similar tastes (my preferences often differ from the majority of anime fans anyway, possibly because I’m a bit older than most anime bloggers), rather than just going for what’s most popular.

    In any case, I like your insight and outspoken style. Keep up the good work! ^_^

  4. Kiriska on February 7, 2009 1:12 pm

    Thanks for the comment. ^^

  5. vendettared on February 19, 2009 6:19 am

    Exactly. Why would anyone get swayed of their own conviction by simply running into rabid enthusiasts who just dont know how to bugger off? Pissed, yes. But influence? Gimeme a break.

    And I agree on KH2. There’s a huge fandom plaguing it but it does not change the fact that KH2 made the final weeks of the Playstation 2 worthwhile and possibly a reason for everyone why they shouldn’t sell their Playstation 2 to give way to the next-generation of games.

    Like you said, start thinking for oneself. Consider it a life long investment. It’s hard to learn a concept, but once you understand it, that knowledge can be applied repeatedly. Resist intellectual indolence, actively pursue answers instead of passively accepting them.

  6. Kiriska on February 19, 2009 6:25 am

    Oh, KH2… I still don’t even own a PS2. I preordered the game, drove through a thunderstorm to pick it up on release day, then jacked a friend’s system for a week to play it. Good times.

    I think sometimes, it might be easy to accept fanon as canon because it’s so persistent, but all it really takes is a quick review of the original source to remember again that fanon is not canon and that canon is beautiful and that’s what you loved in the first place. But yes, thinking for oneself is helpful too~.