You elitist fucker, you.
I’d say out of all the communities I’ve seen online, anime can have one of the most elitist. Online, elitism is usually associated with assholes and hipsters and carries this connotation of unpleasantness. Well, you can think what you will of it, but elitism is a good thing. Why settle for mediocrity? If you could pick to have any sort of skill set, surely it would be an elite one like medicine or law, over something like cleaning?
Now, how exactly would you define an elitist? Someone who thinks generic shonenshit is bad? Further than that? How elite do you have to go before you’re at the elitist stage? I’m going to say that, relatively, an elitist in the anime community is someone who can realise the flaws of shows that aren’t just generic battle-shonens, and can argue as to why a series like Hyouka is good. Now, liking Hyouka isn’t as elitist as you could be. In fact, it’s not very elitist at all; it’s popular and well received, but how many people would say it’s better than Sword Art Online? Not enough. The thing is that since the community is saturated so strongly with casuals that it lowers what it actually takes to be seen as an elitist. A true elitist would probably stick to more old or obscure series like Shoujo Kakumei Utena. In all honesty most of the people labelled as an elitist aren’t really elitist. They’re just voicing their opinions, which is a good thing. It’s good that people have different opinions, and it’s even better to voice them. It’s a nice change from “lol naruto da best! XDDD naruto x sakura!!!” or some other dribble.
I feel the problem with it is you either have to hide away within an elitist community (so you’re relegating yourself to a niche part of an already niche set of people) or try and be louder than the 10 insufferable fanboys around you, which can make you look like a big of an arrogant person. The truth is that that one guy in the crowd isn’t arrogant, he’s just having to make up for all the retardedness that is bestowed around him. Take a comment section, for example. If I was looking at a video or article related to <random anime series> and went down to the comments, only to see masses of people saying how good it is – then I’m probably going to assume it’s worth watching. Unfortunately, popular opinion isn’t always right (it’s often unbelievably wrong in the anime community). So what if this show that everyone is orgasming over is actually a big steamy pile of shit (so imagine comments on a Guilty Crown video)? Well it’s up to Mr. Elitist to shed some light to the unwary reader that the show isn’t as good as people would have you believe. And he’s going to have to stand out more than all the stupid comments that surround him.
So there’s why your average elitist probably comes across like a bit of a prick. Truth is, they’re only trying to help you. And if you don’t take that help, don’t expect them to be very happy with you. It’s hard to have an opinion on the internet. Moving on to the other option available to Mr. Elitist, joining a community that suits him. This is infinitely easier than trying to convince morons to open their minds (or just start using it for once). Let’s use /a/ as our example. Yes, it’s not perfect (you can thank Crunchyroll for that by sending their idiots over repeatedly) and you’re not going to get great posts from everybody, but it’s a hell of a lot better than almost anywhere else (just look at the MAL forums, or YouTube, or Facebook… I could go on forever).
Mr. Elitist probably feels nice, safe, and right at home in /a/. He can have in-depth discussions about shows, talk about the currently airing season and proclaim how his waifu is the purest of them all. But you’re stuck there. You can’t go anywhere else without having to wonder “what the fuck is wrong with people!” and “holy shit why are they so retarded?”. If you try take the elitist mindframe with you anywhere you’re probably going to have a bad time. You’ll be moving from that place where everyone and their mother has heard of Lain, LoGH, Mushishi, Eve no Jikan and many others, to somewhere where people haven’t even seen Eva because ‘it looks old’ or some bullshit. This probably makes Mr. Elitist quite angry or upset, so please don’t take his possible hostility the wrong way – he’s suffering terribly outside of his elitist community. In fact, you could even try listening to him. He’s elitist for a reason – he likes good shit. You’d be silly not to. Back when I was a noob I’m glad I had an experienced voice in my ear. It saved me a lot of time I would have otherwise had to spend making my way through a load of shit to find the good stuff. Once you’ve found that good stuff, you then have something to compare future things you see to.
You know, I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I guess I’m trying to say elitism is good? I mean, why wouldn’t you listen to someone that’s pretty serious about a topic and has spent a lot of time on it? I recall years ago that I would only ever watching big cinema releases. You know, the stuff that you could buy at supermarkets once it was out on DVD? Then I had an elitist film teacher for 2 years. Now I watch things I usually wouldn’t have like foreign films, arthouse cinema and old films (like 1920s shit). I also now find it a lot easier to see the good from the bad with new releases, and have grown to dislike a lot of mainstream cinema. I’m not saying I only watch obscure things, but now I can certainly see a lot of cinema is, well, pretty crap. Special effects and famous actors don’t make good films. And I thank my film teacher for that. I appreciate how lucky I was to have access to his knowledge. Which makes it all the more distressing when I see people dismiss anime recommendations because they’re not ACTION AND ADVENTURE YEAH.
You know what, you might well and truly have shit taste. I don’t care, it’s probably terminal without cure. I’m not ever going to say stop watching mediocre shows. I’d recommend other things over them, and encourage you to watch things that are more or less objectively good, but I’ll also try by best not to shove opinions down your throat. Just be courteous to me and any other strongly opinionated individuals and listen to us now and then. I don’t care what you like, you can like whatever you want. What’s annoying is when you’re telling everyone how good Naruto (or some other shit) is, when in reality it’s mediocre at the best of times.
I guess it’s also worth mentioning the effect of shit taste has on how onlookers view the anime community. To a normalfag, anime means either a) Pokemon, Naruto, Bleach, possibly even Shingeki no Kyojin or b) excessive fanservice and peadophilia. What I wish people would think of when they hear anime is stuff like Akira, Evangelion, 5 Centimeters Per Second, Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei, etc.
Ehh. I don’t know. People are fucking stupid and I should learn to ignore them. I’ve just stopped looking at comments on YouTube all together because they’re so infuriating. I’m just going to stop writing here because I’m just ranting at this point and probably sound like I wear a fedora. If you have any thoughts on elitism, good or bad, leave a comment (I guess).
Disclaimer: I’m far from being truly elitist myself. By most standards, my favourite shows are pretty entry level. Well, by the standards of /a/ and the likes, at least. Which is why I’m always shocked when I see ‘long-time anime fans’ who haven’t even seen, like, 5 of the shows I’d call great.