Okay, okay, something that has been irking me for awhile now and it does not always have to do with anime but I think we should talk about it for a bit. Everywhere I look these days, I see heaps and heaps of hate and it’s just a total downer. The rise of social media has of course propelled this kind of speech to unprecedented heights; it’s far easier to hide behind your computer screen and bash people, right?
I have days of news feed scrolling where I am just pummeled by hateful words, bullying, and arguments. And I believe what really gets to me the most is the way these arguments go down. Sadly, it seems people have lost the ability and art to have a decent debate: one where each side listens to and considers the other’s point of view, instead of resulting to the name calling and the bullshit.
I see it over music, movies, sports, politics (That’s a big one these days), and even anime. But I am here today to tell you that we as humans are lucky enough to be the only ones on this Earth that can actually debate and learn from one another, and I believe we are wasting our abilities.
I want to give some pointers on how we can CIVILLY debate about anime (Or anything really, most of this can be taken and used in many other areas of our lives.)
Let’s start with an example of how one of these “nowhere” conversations may go: Let’s pretend this is on some form of social media.
Anime Fan A: “Whoa, the new episode of One Piece blew me away! Go Luffy!”
Anime Fan B: “Why would you waste your time watching that garbage?”
Anime Fan A: “Wow, uhm have you ever even watched it?”
Anime Fan B: “Hell no, I actually have a life and Luffy sucks noodles.”
Okay, as you can see here, we had Fan A expressing his enjoyment of a show, while Fan B comes out of nowhere to be an ass (Like really, why even post if you don’t like it?)
Now of course, we will always have our fun little anime feuds (Who would win Naruto or Goku, Who is best Waifu, etc.) But this kind of interaction is childish and uncalled for. There is no debate of any kind, there is no true personal interaction, no one is learning anything, and that pretty much ends it. It is also very clear in this example that Fan B really just went out of his way to down Fan A, without even offering supporting reasons, or expecting any kind of discourse whatsoever.
Instead of these altercations, we can have decent conversations and debates about our favorite anime. We can listen to one another, and perhaps learn something new, or at least take the time to respect another’s point of view.
Here are some helpful tips to help promote more civil conversations among the anime fan base. (Feel free to use these elsewhere when possible).
- Tip 1: RESPECT. We should always try and be respectful, even when others aren’t returning the facet. Think about how much you love your favorite anime for a second. It’s a very personal thing, and there’s no telling how much it means to you. Things like this can go way deeper than the surface and I think we should remember that. For every anime that exists, I’m sure there is at least one person that it means the world to. Just try and keep it in mind.
- Tip 2: LISTEN TO OTHERS: “Small mouth to speak less, Big ears to listen more.” Perhaps someone brings up a very decent point about an anime you dislike. Mull it over instead of immediately discrediting them or swapping the subject. What if they have peaked your interest about an anime you’ve never given a chance? What if you start an actual conversation with them and they elaborate. What if you find a new anime that you love? If anything, perhaps you can have a nice friendly debate. I’ll throw in a quick story here: One Piece always got on my nerves growing up. I heard people talk about it and just didn’t get it. I thought it was stupid, whimsical, and ridiculous. My only exposure to it was from a couple episodes of the 4kids dub. LUCKILY, a friend pestered me to try it. He then pestered me not to give up on it right away. And then One Piece Saved My Life.
- Tip 3: Keep your words soft, you never know when you may have to eat them. When debating, especially on topics that are sensitive, it’s always best to use “I” phrases. “I” phrases allow you to communicate the way that you feel, without sounding accusatory. It also seems to show that you are open for further discussion, and that you are ready to listen. Example: Instead of “One Piece is way too long and nothing happens” try “I feel that its a little long for me to get into, and some episodes I’ve seen seem a little slow.” You could even tack on a question at the end to further conversations, such as “do you think it’s worth all that watching?”
Try a couple of these tips out and get into some real conversations about anime. Take your favorite anime and find out the absolute worst things about it, then decide how you would respond to another if they hit you with those. Most of all, keep talking about and loving anime with each other. It’s pretty wonderful!