From Dictionary.com- “Weeaboo is a mostly derogatory slang term for a Western person who is obsessed with Japanese culture, especially anime, often regarding it as superior to all other cultures.
From Urbandictionary.com- “”Weeaboo- a person who retains an unhealthy obsession with Japanese culture, typically ignoring or even shunning their own racial and cultural identity.
Googling “weeb” or “weeaboos” on image search will mostly bring up a ton of stupid memes…
We hear the word “weeaboo” and “weeb” thrown around a bunch these days. But where does it come from? What does it actually mean? And most importantly, how is it used and perceived by us in the anime community?
Some research will show that the term “weeaboo” originated with a webcomic called “The Perry Bible Fellowship” and it replaced the former term “wapanese” that was used for Westerners interested in Japanese culture. Some definitions still hold “weeaboo” to mean “one who wishes or wants to be Japanese and discard their own race and culture” but I believe this is a little bit of a stretch on the term.
Still, the word arose with the rise of anime popularity in the US, around the time of the airing of classics such as Yu Yu Hakusho, Dragon Ball Z, and Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. At that time, anime was considered to be completely within the realm of “nerdiness” and weeb (I’m done on using quotation marks for it) was mainly used as a derogatory slang word.
It conjures up images of the classic “anime freak” – often male and overweight, usually unemployed, and probably still living with parents. This unique creature has little to no social skills, no sex life, perhaps no friends or bonds, collects gundams, has a hot hentai pillowcase, and binge watches anime on VHS. Sadly, this stigma still lingers somewhat around the word…
…But then things began to change. “Nerdiness” became cool and the popularity of anime began to skyrocket. (A similar occurrence was witnessed in the Magic the Gathering, Dungeon and Dragons, and videogame communities). It is hard to pinpoint if the acceptance of “nerd culture” gave way to anime’s popularity surge or vice versa, but as culture changed, so did the usage of the term weeb.
Now weeb is used often jokingly by members of the anime fan base to refer to each other and even themselves! (ex. I just watched 100 episodes of Bleach, I’m such a weeb). But what I really want to try and gauge is this- Are we, the fan base, accepting of this term for ourselves? Has it ever been applied negatively to you? Does the word bother you? Do you prefer another word? Otaku?
For me personally, I wear the name like a badge of honor. Even if it is used to hurt sometimes, we can carry the name proudly and make it our own. We should be delighted in our eclectic community! In our wonderful group are people of every color, males, females, transgenders, different religions, furries, and so much more. And we are all united together through our love of the same medium and under the banner of Weebs.
Thank you for reading! Please leave comments below and tell me what you think about the article and how you feel about the word Weeb!