My inner anime otaku escaped today in my Youth Cultures class at school. She was fiery, and the sight was not pretty. I would like to rant about that if you don’t mind.
My Youth Cultures class is actually a pretty interesting class, I quite like it. If you have it at your school or something like it, I advise taking it. It covers a GenEd requirement but it’s pretty relevant to my major, which is nice. Anyways, my professor has the course set up so we choose a youth subculture to research for our final, and all the coursework throughout the semester all builds up to this final paper. The assignment due this week is just a presentation to the class about our progress, what our subculture is, what we’ve learned, and what we still need to work on. I chose Steampunk, because they’ve interested me since I first learned of them. I present Friday, wish me luck!
So you can probably guess from my introduction, that one of my classmates is covering anime otaku culture. Well, anime culture, because I don’t think she even knows the term ‘otaku,’ which leads me to my frustration. To be frank, her presentation sucked. It was so misinformed and poorly put together that, as a fan of anime, manga, cosplay, and the like, I was offended. And I’m not even that deeply immersed in the subculture. But oh my goodness…
First off, she kept saying MAYnga. I’m not even trying to be one of those obnoxious anime fans that want to be all things Japanese and as authentic as possible. But this is a research project she’s doing, and any basic Google search of the term manga will begin by telling you how to pronounce the word properly. So, say it right if you want to be taken seriously. I feel like making sure you’re pronouncing words correctly is a given for any presentation in front of peers.
Then, she kept referring to both Japanese and American animation as anime. Someone in class asked what she meant by American anime. Like if she meant American cartoons inspired by Japanese anime, like the Boondocks (which I missed last night! Grr), Teen Titans, and Avatar: The Last Airbender, or if she just meant cartoons. She said, “Yeah, I mean just all of American anime, all of the shows, yeah.”
And I’m not done yet. She went on to say that the stereotypical anime fan was an Asian teenager, usually male. I’m sorry, but if you haven’t come across the terms wapanese and weeabo anywhere in your research, then you’re doing it wrong. Just saying.
Then she told all of us that Walt Disney was responsible for introducing anime to the United States.
WHAT. THE. EXPLETIVE.
All you have to do is think about that statement and know it doesn’t make any sense. What she probably meant was that the man revered as the father of anime and manga, Osamu Tezuka, was inspired by Disney’s works and went on to make Astro Boy. Is it me, or are those two assertions COMPLETELY DIFFERENT? Well I wasn’t the only one in class that was seriously lost by chick’s nonsense. So someone asked how Walt Disney introduced anime to Americans.
“Oh y’know, with Mickey Mouse…and Goofy, his movies and whatever, y’know.”
No, girl. I don’t know, because that is simply NOT A THING. Please sit the expletive down and never speak words again.
Sadly enough, I could go on. But I need to stop. Things like that put me in a weird place. Because the magnitude of ignorance and misinformation in that presentation baffles me. Her willingness to appear so unintelligible makes no sense. And the fact that we’ve been working on this final since week 2 of the semester insults me as a procrastinator, because even I have more work done than that. The data was so wrong, I mean so wrong, that you literally feel offended and pained.
frustration + confusion + the slight sense of obligation to help one so lost = a hot expletive’n mess of a place I don’t wish to return
But! There’s a lovely release you get when you take a step back from crazy and ask yourself, Why do I care?
Then I realized, I don’t!
Why do I care that chick is going to write a ten page paper on farts and sprinkles? Why do I care that the anime club on campus is going to pin her to a wall with shurikens when she mispronounces manga while asking them questions for fieldwork?
Oh my gosh, I don’t!
I’m going to complete my final on Steampunk. It’ll be flawless, and I’ll move on. Never to think about that class again. Magical…
So yeah, I’m better now.