Happy Saturday, otaku Saiyans! Here’s to hoping that you have a lovely weekend, no matter what’s going on.
Today’s post revolves around a topic that my friends and I were discussing casually a few days ago. It got me thinking about guilty pleasures, explicitly why something is referred to as a “guilty pleasure” rather than just a thing that you enjoy–why should someone feel guilt when they like something–which then led to my thinking about the amount of passion people give in hating those so-called guilty pleasures. In this case, I’m talking about anime serials.
**If you have no interest in the discussion, you can check out my Top 5 “Guilty Pleasures” down below.**
One the greatest aspects of being in a pop-culture focused community, such as being an otaku or a gamer, is that we can share and bond over mutual interests. Will there be content within those specified communities that not everyone will love or hate? Absolutely. Should the lesser known ones be construed as a “guilty pleasure” simply because they are unpopular, or disliked by the masses? In my not-so-humble opinion, fuck no.
This narrow-minded thinking is what leads to the attitude of elitism, which bottle-necks creativity and artistic evolution for the relative industries, as well as ruining that comfort that stems from being part of niche networks. I recently came across a fabulous article written by Scott @ Mechanical Anime Reviews that discusses elitism in anime and how it negatively impacts vital parts of the community, including the development of anime in the modern world. Maybe because the content of this post was so fresh in my mind, and it is something that I think about often, it led to my friends and I having a deep and intellectual discussion on how social concepts of “guilty pleasure” are inherently negative and hindering towards all of the amazing benefits that niche social circles provide.
Sword Art Online is an anime that I liked when it came out. I have no shame in admitting that the first season was something that I thoroughly enjoyed. During that time, I felt it was very original and provided a thought-provoking concept that I had not seen in the medium up to that point. The first season, for me, was eons better than the second season, and since then there have been other titles that have taken that concept and done much better work with it (Log Horizon immediately comes to mind). But the series gets so much fucking hate. If Sword Art Online never happened, then the whole isekai subgenre probably wouldn’t have sprouted up; at the very least it popularised it quite a bit. Love it or hate it, it had a profound impact on the anime industry, such as making anime appealing to many, many more people around the world. If the show itself isn’t being hated upon, then fans of it are. What is the point? People are going to like what they like. Your elitist and abhorrently vehement negativity isn’t going to change that, and it shouldn’t.
Hating on people for liking something you don’t care for is a colossal waste of energy, and it almost always fails at changing that person’s mind or interests. The only thing that hating accomplishes is that it works to make those people who appreciate unpopular things to feel alienated from a community that they turn to find camaraderie and support from. That horrible feeling of being an outcast, stupid, unwanted, and a myriad of other emotions is completely unnecessary and wholly avoidable. Many people turn to anime as a means of escapism as it is, whether from the personal burdens they have in life, their mental health illnesses, or just a way to explore their interests and passions while feeling lost in other avenues. Anime is escapism for me from my anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It helped me focus my negative energy towards something positive, which eventually led to my becoming a blogger. When you box up their interests beneath labels of “guilty pleasures” or “fake fans” or “stupid newbie weebs” you are doing more harm to the communities that you claim to love and support, which whether you believe it or not, has a significant impact on the development and success of the industry as a whole. If someone made me feel so utterly alienated for liking a shitty anime a few years ago, I probably would not have anime as an emotional support. I would never have become a blogger, and I probably would not be alive because that is how dark my life was when I found it.
Wouldn’t it better to channel all that effort towards discovering more interests? Watching more anime? Reading a book? Napping? Planting some compassion within your heart? How about feeding that brain some maturity? No… Well, I’m sure there are many other things you could try out. Personally, when I feel unjustifiably asshattish, I drink some YooHoo. Does wonders for the body.
My personal stance on this is simple: there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure. The only part of that phrase that matters is the word pleasure. You should never feel guilt, shame, or embarrassment for liking something that other people don’t. If it’s something that you find to be enjoyable and positively endearing, for whatever reason, then that makes it awesome and worth its creation/development. If there are people out there who don’t agree with you, that’s okay! As sentient people, having a diverse grid of what floats our fancy or doesn’t is what creates individuality and paves the road towards positive discourse, which helps us grow intellectually and at times even emotionally.
If there is anyone out there specifically shitting on your likes for the sake of doing so and going out of their way to put you down for what you like (Sword Art Online haters are an excellent example), fuck them. You should take pride in the fact that they are too emotionally and psychologically immature to accept that being different is okay, and you don’t all need to like and dislike the same things to build a network of niche interests. That ain’t what the community is about, bruh.
So… to celebrate the fact that I have anime serials that could be construed as “guilty pleasures,” I decided to share my top five favourites proudly and openly. I have no shame in admitting that I absolutely adore these titles, for varying reasons, some of which are ridiculous. If anyone wants to shit on me, go ahead. I’ll pop some popcorn, grab my YooHoo, and have a jolly good laugh or two about it. I could use the mirth after the March I had. Bring it. ✌️✌️
5. Highschool of the Dead
This was one of the first zombie anime that I had ever seen. The epic level of breast-related, defensive fighting is absolutely glorious. I laughed and relished every second of it. The violence is also quite badass and top-notch, non-stop at many points, and the animation quality was excellent. But my favourite part of the series is the soundtrack. It has some of the better rock-infused tunes than other anime I have seen, and it fit the tone and theme of the series beautitfully. When I want a disease-fuelled, breasticle of a badass time, I watch this.
4. Sword Art Online (Aincard Arc)
Did you think I was only going to use this as an example up above? Hell no, I love watching and re-watching the Aincard Arc. I have deep respect for what this did for the industry, as well as how it influenced me as a watcher of the medium. It opened my mind to new subgenres and allowed me (after a very long time) to think critically and analytically about storytelling as a whole, which greatly affected me as a reader. This would then eventually lead to the creation of BiblioNyan, which has also helps me mature, evolve, and maintain an open mind more and more as the years drudge by.
3. Koihime Musō
Ah… this show. This fabulously ridiculous fucking show that lures you in with its historical vibes and snares you in the trap of extremely ecchi yuri shenanigans… This, ladies, gents, and non-conforming gender friends, was my very first anime. The BIG one. It shall always hold a special place in my heart. While it is quite ludicrous, it is also quite fun. There are awesome badass ladies who kick some serious ass. When they aren’t being Xena-like, they are molesting one another in humorous and outlandish ways. There’s also food. Perfection. *sips Yoohoo.*
2. Ouran High School Host Club
This entire series shits on rich people (rather accurately, which makes it even more brilliant; I used to be rich, unfortunately, I should know) and all the standard boy types in shōjo manga/anime. I love that it’s so bloody absurd and over-the-top dramatic with its theatrics. It makes me laugh-out-loud, unless I’m watching the episode where the Host Club visits the Fujioka household then I’m fucking crying because I’m laughing-my-fucking-ass-off-on-the-floor-on-top-of-Kheb (king of my heart; pictured below). This is my go to feel-good-cause-life’s-being-a-whore anime, for life.
1. Free! Iwatobi Swim Club & Eternal Summer
Fanservice that is exclusively for people who enjoy staring at sexy, sculpted boys doing sexy, swimmer things with the occasionally bout of stupidity (I’m looking at you Nanase). I remember how much crap Free! got because it consisted of half-naked men. The sexism ran white and milky through the streets of everywhere. It fucking boggled my mind. No one has issues with a bullet flying through breasts that are flailing around in a way that is physically impossible or watching a group of ladies seductively sucking off fruits skins—all of whom fit dumbass “standards of beauty”—but put some chiselled-chested potentially Queer boys on screen and the sexists lose it. Bravo. This is precisely why I love Free!. It broke the standard fanservice mould and gave people who enjoy looking at boys over girls something to feast their eyes upon. Equality, Yo. Also, did I mention that it’s fucking gorgeous? Not just the dudes, but the animation style and all that scenery? I’m a submissive slut for breath-taking virtual cinematography and Free! has some of the very best.
I love this anime so much, that I take it with me everywhere I go (see below). #NoRegrets.
Well, my long-ass Saturday discussion has finally come to an end. If I have offended anyone who is not someone that likes to ignorantly shit on others, then I apologise. I always strive to be honest and open with everyone who joins me here on BiblioNyan. I respect you all as individual thinkers too much to be accommodating or unauthentic to who I am as a person.
I wholeheartedly wish every single one of you a super-duper weekend. If you’re working, make sure to take some time to catch your breath and relax once you’re off. If you’re studying, snacks and comforting beverages will help you keep the stress down. If you’re feeling depressed or struggling with some other part of life, know that my Asks are always open (whether here or on my Twitter). I am here, even if you just need to unload. If you’re not a talker, then take your mind out of your current reality to the best of your ability. Read, play a game, watch a show, etc. I know it’s much easier said than done but have faith and don’t give up.