Why Does It Seem Like Nobody Can Think For Themselves Anymore?

Just a bit of a random musing post, but I’m getting the sense that in this modern era that people are starting to become incapable of actually truly making up their own minds about something.  No truer is this then in the realm of anime fandom.

Day in and day out just reading blog articles I will tend to see people agreeing with what somebody has written in a blog article about a show for example as if it is the god given truth, but then have nothing to add to it at all.  Common is the common, “Love this blog article and the show” for an episodic review and that’s it.  What gives folks, cat got your tongue?  It’s as if people feel they are going to offend by going a little in depth about the show they are reading about when replying.

I also notice that when there is a popular show about that I can literally wade through a comment box of a hundred or so posts on anime academy with not a single one having a remotely differing opinion about it.  That should be unlikely unless again people are too afraid to actually come up with their own unique conclusions about what they are reading.  The blog writer or the first poster should not be the trendsetter for the rest of a comment box.  I know somebody out their has a slightly varied opinion about just about any topic I can think of, so why do they fear to share it?

Another thing I notice in anime fandom is what I call the stock response.  The idea that there is one and only one way to respond to an idea.  For example,  Suzaku Kururugi does something in Code Geass, the response is “SUZAKU NEEDS TO DIE!!!!”  That is your stock response for this given situation and rather then sit down and actually look at what the character is doing, people seem to find it easier to just go through the motions.  Assumption of quality also comes to mind as I right this and also seems to come packaged with the stock response.  For example if a popular studio or composer….say I don’t know, BONES or Yoko Kanno presents a work then the instant inkling is to go ahead and praise it as endlessly with comments like “The best of the year” without actually really going into any details about what makes it worthy of such high praise.  It’s just seems assumed by people that the likes of BONES and Yoko Kanno are automatically worthy of it and doesn’t even dawn to them that there should be a why.  It’s that kind of goodthink that also makes me ask the question as to why is seems nobody can think for themselves anymore.

It makes me more then a little frustrated because I will come into a conversation and try to give my look at something and often it won’t be exactly to the stock response.  For this I often seem to be greeted with scorn or obnoxious replies.  In fact just a few days ago I dared to offer that the Clannad Tomoyo Chapter OVA had a little to many distance shots, still shots and behind the speaker shots compared to normal and that the snow scene lacking in colour by nature resulted in them being able to divert funds and attention to other important areas of the animation effort.  For this I said that I couldn’t offer anything other then a par good grade for animation and that I disagreed with the notion that the animation was outstanding or top quality in this OVA.  Well holy smokes, when saying that the animation in a Kyoani series is awesome is today a kneejerk socially conditioned response like greeting someone with “hello”, you can imagine how well that went over with people who expect the stock response and nothing else.  Not to well, spawning a lot of “you don’t know what you are talking abouts” or “you watch to much mecha animes and think animating robots, explosions and beams is harder than animating facial expressions’ “. 

That latter comment also belies a gross misunderstanding of mecha shows I won’t get into, but my point is that because I dared to think for myself and divise my own way of reaching a conclusion, and thus I was met with much scorn.  Never mind that fact that I essentially reached the same conclusion about the animation as everyone else, merely choosing a path that circled all the way around the topic of the animation in the episode to reach the conclusion, that was also just worded differently.  I had thought to hard about it, and people have also told me on occassion that this is something I shouldn’t do.  That last part is the kicker and what leads me to this article.  I could offer more examples of what I am talking about with all this, but I think by now people should get my point.

It’s all just a little frustrating and I have to sit back and talk about it lest I go a little bonkers, because I can’t imagine how things got like this.  The whole group mentality thing is culturally ingrained in Japan and I’d expect it on something like 2ch, but these are people from my own region of North America where the very fabric of it’s society was built on the notion that people should be able to practice their own belief system and way of life.  Instead what I see now is a showcasing of a distinct case of mental apathy when it comes to my favourite passtime of watching and discussing anime.  Instead of forging their own set of beliefs or positions on anime, I swear people are now just choosing whatever the popular belief is and making it there own.  It seems to be getting worse before it’s getting better and it’s making for a boring watch, read and discussion for me this summer . 

Luckily I’ve come to appreciate that I can often fall back to Animehistory here and have come to appreciate the readers I have garnered that love to think about the anime they watch and who have more to offer then the same old stock and expected opinion on the shows and topics I blog.  So thank you all for making this blog a good time for me and alleviating my thirst for new ideas and opinions on the same old topics.  Without you I’m not sure I would still be in to discussing anime at all anymore when it seems that there is nothing to discuss anymore, because certain group ideals are now held to be self-evident.


37 Responses to “Why Does It Seem Like Nobody Can Think For Themselves Anymore?”

  1. 1 Var July 19, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    The mass body that we call humanity, on the majority, has not thought for itself for… well, it never has. The general person is a sheep that is led by those who can word things more eloquently and convince others of their thoughts. When someone important or respected says “Yoko Kanno rules.” those who respect them or look up to them will mimick that whether or not they believe it themselves because it is the ‘cool’ thing. As time progresses they may force themselves to believe it, losing their own opinions and… the ability to think for themselves.

    Kneejerk reactions are also ingrained in humans. When they see something they don’t like, they remember it and wish to avoid it occuring again. So when they see something even remotely similar, even if it is, say, the outline of a shadow, they will instinctively react and act in a way that their minds have prepared them to act. “Holy shit! It’s a stalker!” when in reality it was just a friendly little girl strolling down the street. “Holy shit! Its GSD all over!” when in reality its Code Geass and they simply jumped to a conclusion. *coughtrainwreckspamcough* It is paranoia and it is stupidity that drives these forward, this being the internet where everyone thinks their (uninformed) opinions matter, it is likely the latter. Once you apply this to what I said in the first paragraph, once someone important spews garbage, all his little underlings will spew garbage. It is a domino effect… of garbage.

    As for Suzaku, that is simply the general: “I hate the one who opposes the main character” line of thought. You can’t really avoid it as its prevelant everywhere, it just seems that Suzaku gets more flack than normal… which I attribute in part to the way his character was purposefully designed. Its not hard to see that the writers tried to frame him to be likeable and hateable at the same time, same for Lelouch. It is then, simply, who is the main character and who is the one that more people will support, usually they are the same.

  2. 2 Kitsune July 19, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Well, it is not that difficult really. Many anime fans are young people. Young people tend to seek acceptance by the group. Responding in accord with others helps them to achieve that to some extent. Even older people exhibit it. Groupthink is quite pervasive phenomenon.

  3. 3 Haesslich July 19, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    You’ve forgotten about one thing: a lot of fandom, and a lot of opinions (and thinks like who people vote for, what brand of tissues they like) is formed either by following what their parents did, or by adhering to an outside source’s opinions/views. This is why people tend to vote one party or another in elections (because they’ve always voted this way), or else they’re studio fandoms (Sunrise is best, KyoAni can’t be beat, Sunrise = trainwreck story).

    As for the Tomoyo OVA, they could’ve gotten away with redoing the OP (as nobody but Tomoyo, Sunohara, and Tomoya appear in the OVA anyways)… but didn’t, unlike Hidimari Sketch whose special kept the same OP but redid the opening animation slightly (adding intros for the three side characters who were featured more prominently in the first special while taking out the usual ‘four main character’ intro)… but I can see why KyoAni didn’t – it saves money, and they probably weren’t paid extra to redo everything.

    As for Suzaku, it’s probably because he’s NOT the main character that he’s hated for doing things that Lulu has done in the past (kill people in gambits, abuse his powers and rank, etc). The fact that he turned Lulu in to the Emperor, killed his father, and acts as least as hypocritically as Lulu probably makes it that much worse for him in the eyes of the fandom… especially as he doesn’t have the same cunning that Lelouch displays, which combined with his anti-hero status makes him nearly untouchable.

  4. 4 Kurogane July 19, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Hmmmm, would it be wrong of me to echo what was said in previous posts? ^^, just joking, but I think I know which discussion you are talking about. It’s just one of those things I don’t get involved in because it’s pretty much a waste of time. It wasn’t as bad as you make it sound anyway; they were being pretty nice back there, compared to some other discussions I have read. I think that a group mentality is integral to the anime community, because that’s what it is: a community. It’s not that we have this “group mentality” that is the problem. I mean, the fact that we can get together and create fandoms etc just increases the enjoyment of watching and discussing anime. What is the problem is more a kind of “communal myopia”, where people are so into their community that the short-sightedness of the community is their short-sightedness as well. Anime blogs can be seen as a perfect example. To be honest, this is one of those rare blogs where the comments aren’t usually single-sentenced echoes of what people said before. I doubt it is always the anime blogger that necessarily instigates that “communal myopia”, it’s more or less a minority of people who really know how to use their words and draw in the rest with those words.

    They use arguments that sound valid (but aren’t), like, for instance, “The writing is bad, so this episode is bad”, “This animation studio has a history of fail/success, so this anime is bound to fail/succeed”, “The Animation is good because this anime studio has got an ample budget” (which is not true; it’s very easy to blow your budget on CG, high-profile voice acting or a movie-like first episode and a caricatured mediocrity for the remaining 25 episodes …). These arguments convince the ones that aren’t as insightful, that don’t know anything about writing, animation (they can just about tell when it looks pretty and when it doesn’t), and so they start believing them and pretty much “follow the leader”.

    I like how you get certain things off your chest that I totally agree with. It makes me think that I am not alone out there, in this infinite vacuum of shallow-mindedness. Just don’t get too worked up over this. Before you know it, they pull the “Freedom of Speech” argument on you, and quite frankly, I think Freedom of Speech is overrated. Yes, everybody should have the right to state their opinion, but everybody should also have the Freedom to Shut Up when that opinion is of no use and only infringes on the Freedom of Speech of other people.

  5. 5 manomation July 20, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Well unfortunately the majority of the population don’t like to think or have been conditioned not to think and to go with the flow.
    individuals like yourself who go and “rock the boat” with your differing opinion is oblivously going to relatiated back with mostly poor arguments as a lame attempt to assimilate you into their collective. To put it shortly your in the minority of which are the people who think and if you try to fight against the majority you’d probably suffer the same fate as John from The Brave New World.It is a fact people don’t like change, people don’t like opinion differing from theirs. People easily succumb to a suave person who appears to be well educated and knowledgable and believe their word is law.The final most likely reason for the lack of thinking is that people want to feel like they belong. This is what the majority of people are like and will most likely continue to be like so get over it. Besides as for the case for Suzaku he is not the protagonist of the story but instead he is the antagonist who commited horrid crimes to the protagonist what more is there to say. Who cares if both he and the protagonist have the same goal, who cares if the protagonist indirectly killed more people than him, and who care if his tactics are underhanded and that he commited worse crime then his friend. All that matter is that he is much more suave and eloquently speaking which makes him a more likable character then Suzaku who cannot express his ideal as eloquently and this pales in comparsion. Well that just my two cents on the reasoning of why the majority of people don’t think.

  6. 6 lelangir July 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

    1.) not everyone enjoys Yoko Kanno

    2.) comments not always need be short or in approbation with the author

    iShould episodic blogs insinuate provocative responses? Perhaps insinuating that that kind of blogging style has inherent purpose or ends may be discriminating against what the episodic article actually calls for, or what the author intends on getting out of it. Essentially, thoughtful comments reflect equally thoughtful writing, and vice versa. If somebody writes a mundane summary of an episode, is someone going to “go out of their way” to say “well, what do you think the ____ of the ____ symbolizes concerning ____ and _____?” I doubt it – although I can’t say it the author would enjoy or entertain comments like those.

    Yet there are exceptions. I’m sure there are blogs that keep up at an episodic pace yet write in an editorial-like fashion, Crusader being one (or so IKnight has told me).

  7. 7 Kaioshin Sama July 20, 2008 at 6:28 am

    @Var: I think what you are referring to in your second paragraph is the Pavlolvian Response.

    @Kurogane: Actually, when you talk about the Freedom to Shut Up you aren’t to fair from the truth. There’s actually a reasonable limits clause in the Canadian constitution that states something along the lines of “A law will be found to violate the freedom of expression where the law either has the purpose or effect of violating the right.” In other words, it’s reasonable to argue in court that an individuals fundamental right to freedom of expression should be overlooked if they are exercising it in a manner that infringes on another persons fundamental freedom and that they can be prosecuted or brought to court for it when breaking a law by doing so. It’s a tricky subject, but it has been used in issues of hate speech and such. If you want to know more about that little snag I’d be happy to share.

    @Everyone: Which is a shame because he’s one of the better villain characters to come out in recent years. I can only imagine where Char Aznable would be today had the internet existed back then.

  8. 8 Rooked July 20, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Hi I’m new and I would like to say, I love your ideas and your blog. Just playing.

    I’ll play the antagonist not to alienate everyone, but to be a foil.

    As for the topic, I’ll just say it’s human nature. The same communal attachment that creates nations and what not. Dare I say, more towards the animalistic/primitive mental processes. What’s wrong with that situation? They have a stimulus to make themselves happy, and non-conformers upon which they can elevate themselves.

    Kinda like what happened right here in this topic. The mob doesn’t think? But I wonder how much of the opinions here are conditioned against the mob; conditioned by a very own, mentor/idol.

  9. 9 Myssa Rei July 20, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Kaioshin: Because you *do* overthink (you admitted so yourself), and quite often take a circuitous route with your opinions, which often results in a post whose tone everyone else (the mob) generally take the wrong way. Also, you keep on forgetting that the mob (how Roman) you keep encountering in the other blogs you so frequent aren’t really the types who can be bothered to use their brain matter for in-depth discussion of the aspects of a series. You mentioned about entertainment value before, but your definition of ‘entertainment’ won’t always be the same for folk watching the same series.

    I’d think that the majority of viewers these days are more than happy to turn off their brains whenever they watch a show, and focus instead on what aspects of the show entertain them. You’d be surprised at the amount of people watching Macross Frontier, for example, not for the mecha battles, but for the SHIPPING. Oh God, the shipping. And this is true for almost ALL of the mainstream shows. “Forget about plot, I want my dose of pairing!” ad infinitum. This goes for all the mainstream shows that come up each season.

    As for mob behavior… Well, Haesslich already elaborated on it far better than I could have.

    The old hands like him and me KNOW this. YOU should know this. It’s nothing new.

  10. 10 Miha July 20, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Specifically regarding anime, I think the shallow line of thought is a consequence of today’s anime (generalizing here) that are designed to evoke viewer emotion. Emotional material sells better than thought-provoking because we already get a sufficient amount of the latter from civics and philosophy classes, or we simply reject it. Emotion isn’t so easy to talk about, but that’s what anime leaves us with to discuss. When someone says “I HATE SUZAKU”, it’s a finished thought, a personal definite. Explaining your rationale behind your emotions can seem silly, or at the very least just a waste of time. Emotion is also a blindfold why we don’t take a critical approach to the medium, which is an otaku feat for most of us.

    I admit, enjoying the emotional ride is a guilty pleasure I indulge in frequently (CODE GEASS being the prime example of these past few seasons). If an anime is that good at it, I don’t mind ignoring all other production aspects such as weird camera shots, music, or whatever. KyoAni’s animation on the whole is not something I’d call awesome; it’s consistent and assuring that I don’t need to pay special attention to it, which let’s me enjoy the story and the characters. This is how anime is supposed to be if it wants to compete with other media. So in the end, this is just an issue of how I’m planning to enjoy an anime title.

    Bottom line, I don’t believe every anime was meant to be for critical thinking. As a result of the intent and its completion, there can be only so many break-stopping opinions.

  11. 11 The Sojourner July 20, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Hmm… An anime blog is nothing more than a hive for those with common interests to congregate. I do not think there is a need to grieve about this issue. Look at this blog, are you not offering a different perspective from other blogs? It is not as if there is no place for those who hum an alternate tune than others to speak out. Is it not true that you have attracted those who disagree with ‘the majority’?

    I do not think it is a big deal that a lot of fans out there ‘cannot think for themselves’. It is their choice and you are assuming that they lack individualism. Better it be that we simply acknowledge the fact that both sides cannot agree on certain issues and go our separate paths without much ire.

    The Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Shutup applies to us all, so we all have to mind that.

    And Suzaku is no villain in my opinion. In fact, none of the significant characters in Code Geass can be considered as a classic villain in my opinion. Everyone has their own issues and hence the conflict.

  12. 12 blake steel July 20, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    Well it does seem like a lot of anime fans can’t think for themselves. But I am perfectly capable of thinking for myself unlike certain anime fans. That a problem with fanboys. They always have other people thinking for them. Some also use this to get attention from people.

    I don’t need another persons opinion like some people. If I find some manga or anime thats interesting to me, I don’t go and ask for someones opinion on that manga or anime, I just decide to check it out.

    I can always think for my self because I am not one of those stupid fanboys. I am also wrestling fan. They once had an anime about wrestling called M.U.S.C.l.E. But unfortunatly it is never around since it is an old anime. But even though I have never seen M.U.S.C.L.E I would have checked it out if it was still around.

    That is all I have to say about the issue of people who apparently can’t think for themselves.

  13. 13 Haesslich July 20, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    I’d argue Char was more a Lulu-type character than he is a Suzaku-type, who is more akin to Amuro in his ‘act first, be dense like a brick’ nature, at least in the first series. Basically, Char’s more of an anti-hero than he is a villain, whereas Suzaku… well, he’s not an anti-hero, he’s dense, and he’s such a hypocrite that he was willing to force drugs on the paranoid Kallen in order to get ‘the truth’, which he could’ve figured out if he’d sat down for about five minutes to go over all the facts he had in front of him.

  14. 14 Gsus July 21, 2008 at 12:18 am

    Suzaku’s fine. Suzaku lacks the sheer determination of Lelouche, but he at least has a semblance of a conscience compared to Lelouche. He acts on a moral code (“innocent unless proven guilty” in the case of his suspicions of Lelouche, killing his father for giving in to Britannia rather than resisting to the last man, the Kallen situation) versus Lelouche’s ad hoc judgement calls (leaving the battleground to save Nunally, decimating the Geass Cult base, and of course, recruiting Rollo…).
    I consider comparing the two moral positions a moot point (yes, I am jaded, sue me), but cheering on Lelouche and condemning Suzaku has a wry flavour to it, considering the current geo-political climate…

    Anyway, enough with the sidetracking and let’s steer this bull straight into the porcelain store…

    Don’t underestimate the superficiality of human ‘culture’ and the ease of succumbing to groupthink. The beautiful is, for all intents and purposes, always related to the good, carving a niche with “Code Geass: Macchiavelli’s and Plato’s Inconvenient Truths” a lot harder than “SaiMOE 2008: Kallen vs C.C.”.
    Then again, as all of our parents have said: “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you follow?”.

    The horrible thing is that once you stay on the bridge, and turn out to be correct, everyone else will stand there and stay there, even if there’s a massive car pile-up, a raging inferno and tentacle monsters behind them.

  15. 15 Kaioshin Sama July 21, 2008 at 3:00 am

    @Myssa: Yeah, I know what you mean. There’s only so much interest I can take in the whole pairing thing. The fact that brawls breaks out over whether Alto belongs with Ranka or Sheryl among fans just gets me every time I think about it.

    @Miha: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I’m rather particular about what I like to blog. As Myssa pointed out, once Macross Frontier started to shift more into a romantic comedy realm I sort of lost interest in blogging it. The series has also had a strong romantic theme running through it, but Frontier took it to an extreme with the school stuff.

    You’ve also stumbled on my dark secret. After graduating I am unable to leave the university life behind. The studying/critical thinking part that is. I loved school unlike most people as well as learning.

    @Gsus: Hahahahaha! Too true. Especially the final 2 paragraphs.

  16. 16 Epi July 21, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Just a few of my own thoughts into this:
    1) People who tend to comment on things or blog about things tend to do so because they find enjoyment in doing so. They tend to stay interested in such things because they enjoy it. Thus people who will follow a series up to say an 8th episode, probably enjoy that show to some degree and will generally have only good things to say about it. Why waste your time with watching a show or commenting on it if you think it sucks? Therefore a lot of this is a self selection process, whereby those who would have negative things to say, probably would have lost interest a long time ago.

    2) #1 necessarily shows us that people who are pre-established fans of something will generally tend to care a lot more than other people. Thus BONES fans will care if a show is made by BONES and will probably talk about it. People who don’t even know what BONES is probably won’t say anything because they don’t know. People who hate BONES will also not bother saying anything because why bother?

    3) Things will always tend to build upon themselves, and as with all social phenomena, things can easily get out of hand. Since we know that #1 exists, that people will only really care if they like it in the first place, we come up with a interesting phenomena, that of social reenforcement. For instance, one person saying good things about a show as long as there is some ounce of truth will be accepted. To be noticed the next person now must go one step further, and praise something else about the show to ‘stand out’, as the first point is already ‘common knowledge’. Thus this endless reenforcement creating an ever more powerful social group which directs opinions via the power of inertia. As well, those who care the most will usually be the most vocal. Even if the entire group is not necessarily as extreme, it may appear so because of the concept of the silent majority.

    4) Because of #1, #2 and #3, eventually people will have invested a lot either emotionally or just time-wise into thinking about and talking about something they like. They may not have agreed with all ‘good’ points in the past, but as it seems like ‘everyone else thinks so’, they are also not in a position to question certain facts and will probably eventually just accept it as common knowledge as it’s easier to do so. Because of their investment though, it means that if their views are pointed out to be false, or worse yet criticized, they will be defensive. Secondly, because the person doing the criticizing is obviously not in the ‘praising’ group, group dynamics will make that person act against the first person even moreso. To put it another way, it’s a lot easier to disagree between friends on minor points, but if an outsider were to point out that you and your friends were all wrong, the natural inclination is to go ‘against’ that person no matter what to uphold your pride and to justify your own investment.

    5) A lot of people out there simply do not want to spend time analyzing everything. People watch anime or form opinions on any number of things for a lot of reasons. In terms of anime, it may just be a casual thing the person does, or it may be their relaxation. They may have more pressing things to think about, or they simply might not be the type to like analyzing stuff in the first place. As such it is easier to just ‘go with the flow’, especially if they are going to invest time reading in blogs and posting on forums. It is perfectly natural for people to delegate thinking to ‘expert opinion’, whether this be influential blog writers or whatever, people will do as such. If expert opinion and general consensus says that Yoko Kanno can do no harm, even if one of her songs is merely mediocre, the average people will probably think ‘well there’s probably a good reason why everyone likes her so much so maybe this was just a misstep’, and thus formed opinions tend to have an inertia of their own and are hard to change.

  17. 17 Kaioshin Sama July 21, 2008 at 7:38 am

    @Epi: I think you just completely unintentionally and indirectly made me finally understand Jason Miao. Thank you. Especially with numbers 3 and 4.

    Truth be told these are pretty close to some of my own theories that came to mind as I was typing out the whole article.

  18. 18 Anonymous July 21, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Ah hiveminding.

    People like doing things together and don’t like to be left out; people don’t like to be wrong. I feel Anime Forums in general is like school all over again, so I don’t talk on Anime Forums lest I like to get founded by people who spend a little too much time and effort into their Anime.

    That is the one reason I don’t like discussing Anime (and most games) seriously – I get pounded on by people who think I am wrong like a sack of rocks. I imagine some other people feel the same.

    But do I join in forum conversations? No I don’t, for the hivemind/fanboying pisses me off and the people who take their hobbies too seriously are frustrating to talk to.

  19. 19 Yokamina July 21, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    It’s because people who enjoy a show seek out websites talking about its episodes, and in general people aren’t interested in writing lengthy comments.

    Also, the blog format discourages communication, when compared to, say, a web forum or something of that sort.

  20. 20 Epi July 22, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Kaioshin, funny thing is, I was thinking about Derailed by Darry when I was writing my post 🙂 I guess it came through somehow haha.

    I also think your posts here have something to do with the whole Gundam 00 and DarkMirage’s blog thing… one thing I always remember is the long discussions that we all had on AnimeSuki back in the day about Gundam SEED which were pretty fun. At least I think it was you that I used to argue with.

  21. 21 KKL July 22, 2008 at 3:55 am

    I agree with the fact that most comments seemed to agree with the entry (and some of them are very shallow and uninformative). However from the comment that I’ve read for this entry, (no, I haven’t read it all) they all agree or at least didn’t really disagree too much about what you were saying. I just think it’s because that one would most likely comment if they agree than if they disagree, because it takes more effort to do so and you know in the end you’ll be cursed/stabbed/discriminated against by the people who share the common opinion. I don’t think it’s the fact that anime fans now have lost their own way of thinking (though I do think the numbers are increasing) but it’s just that the ones who are bothered to comment in those blogs are the ones who agree with the blogger’s opinion, those who have a different way of thinking might choose to find their own place where they knew their opinion can be more readily accepted or at least looked at.

    As for Suzaku, I do hate him. I do admit partly because he’s not the main character, but partly because I hated his very pathetic ideals and arguments in season 1. And towards the end, I just got an impression that he blamed it all on Lulu without trying to think deeper because that’ll be an easy conclusion that he can make for him. However I have to admit that I don’t hate him now in season 2, because I’m really impressed by his character development (or maybe it’s due to the fact that I like Lulu less now).

    But anyway I’m like what you’re saying, it is very refreshing to see somebody actually writing an entry about this matter!!

  22. 22 guest July 22, 2008 at 4:49 am

    There’s nothing wrong with stock responses. Not everyone wants to put in the time and effort to back up something as trivial as their immense dislike for Suzaku. I loved the latest episode of Code Geass but I didn’t think too highly of some of the earlier episodes. I might say something on the line of “BEST EPISODE EVA, so much better than the earlier episodes” but I’m most likely not going to waste my time arguing with someone who thinks otherwise.

    I do understand your frustration in the case of CLANNAD but that type of attitude of fans towards criticisms should be expected everywhere in our life (although it’s worse in anime community). I’ve been around anime community long enough and frankly, offering my opinions to a group filled with rabid fans who have nothing to say except “well that’s your opinion, it’s obviously not for you, so why are you still here” proved to be tiresome and stupid, so I don’t bother anymore. My advice is to take those comments less seriously, you’ll feel less “frustrated” and go “bonkers”.

  23. 23 Kaioshin Sama July 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    @Epi: Well I actually already understood DarkMirage long before any of this so there’s no need to make a post centered squarely around it. It’s even been pointed out by some commenters on his articles. If one must know (and I might as well just come out and say what ought to be said because I’ve been keeping it to myself for long enough anyway)…..basically DarkMirage can be summed up thusly, “Look at me, I’m being really cynical about everything just because and am making lots of sex jokes. Aren’t I funny as a result”, followed by everybody agreeing with him and misinforming him that he is indeed clever. Rinse and repeat.

    So basically not all that much unlike Jason Miao who makes every topic ultimately about him (If people just think I made the Shinkirou/DarkMirage claim as a random joke then be aware that it was calculated in just knowing the guys personality) instead of what he is pretending to be talking about and people misinform him (Miao that is) that he is still funny while he constantly rehashes the same 8 or so tired one liners he’s been making for the past 3+ years. Probably because actually informing him of the truth results in the guy I.P banning you because he can’t handle it.

    It’s definitely been demonstrated before that the more cynical you are the more traffic you tend to attract. It’s built into human natures unexplained desire to seek out chaos and disaster. The only question is whether it’s worth it to sacrifice integrity, credibility and an even-handed view of your subject matter for an increase in traffic from the worst the internet has to offer. In my opinion it is not, but I guess in theirs it is.

    Admittedly the guy does get some solid commenters on occassion like the one who commented recently on the fact that people make up stupid plotholes out of thin air when talking about Code Geass that aren’t even really plot holes just so they can have something to bitch about, but those are few and far between. Personally I’d rather have medium-low readership and constructive commentary then a lot of spammish forcibly negative and meanlingless comments, loads of mindless drone readers who just agree with everything I say instead of contesting it or playing devils advocate like some have in this discussion and me just being negative all day every day.

    And if that seems a harsh judgement towards DarkMirage and Jason Miao’s way of doing things to anyone, consider that they do the same to every subject they talk about daily. Same deal.

  24. 24 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Kaioshin: Ara, why the focus back on Jason all of the sudden? I thought the topic matter was about the drones that seem to populate episodic review sites like Random Curiosity.

    Frankly, while Jason sometimes provides valid points (sugar coated in tongue-in-cheek sarcasm), the main draw for regular posters, oddly enough, IS the tongue-in-cheek commentary rather than the actual subject matter… And if you’re familiar with Haesslich and me, how quickly he (or another random poster) can derail a topic.

    It’s not a place you go to for deep discussion about the whys and wherefores of a series, heavens no (two of the most MASSIVE posts aren’t even directly about a show at all, but PICTURES) — I don’t think that’s ever been the point of the most recent incarnation of AoMM. Heck, the guy’s repeated, again and again, that he puts more stock in entertainment value than thought-provoking themes (I’ve butted heads with him somewhat on the subject of adaptation), and frankly Geass entertains him, but not in the same way you see.

    Epi’s already given 5 points, but it would be worth giving more thought to the fifth point he mentioned, and I quote, “A lot of people out there simply do not want to spend time analyzing everything.” They want to be entertained without exercising their gray matter, because either of lack of time or compunction. ‘Cause that’s the demographic of Jason’s readers right there.

    While I’m quite sure that Haesslich is a well-adjusted and intelligent person in real life, as much as I am well-educated professional out of the web, but have you actually read some of the exchanges we’ve had over TOMOYO, of all things? It’s the definition of mindless banter, but you know what? It’s fun.

  25. 25 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Back to the main subject matter…

    In the end this seems more like a personal pet peeve rather than anything else. Accept the fact that many bloggers (and their readers by extension) don’t *WANT* to find deeper meaning in a show they are following, do not *WANT* to find symbolism in their guilty pleasures, and want to simply be entertained. Accept that they don’t enjoy the show you watch in the same way you do, and accept the fact that their opinions are very likely not going to segue with yours.

  26. 26 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 2:41 am

    Ugh, I hate posting at work…

    Anyway, one of the more recent examples I’ve encountered with the so-called mob mentality inherent in some of the ‘popular’ blogs (which, based on sheer traffic, Derailed isn’t)can be summed up with… Tomoyo and Kyou.

  27. 27 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 3:16 am

    All of these can be easy to tune out though, because in the end, you can select what you can accept and what you can ignore. Isn’t that one of the points of having a blog, where you can have your personal island of calm and sanity, a place to you can say your own thoughts on a matter, without having to be bogged down in what you perceive as mind-numbing idiocy? Do your thing, and let them do theirs, and if their readers act like aimless sheep, well, it’s their problem, not yours.

  28. 28 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 3:24 am

    (Speaking as a part-tune aimless sheep though, tuning out and just engaging in a derailed conversation about… nothing, is still a guilty pleasure I enjoy. At the very least, no deep dives into the cultural influences and current issues reflected in War and Peace and Canticle for Liebowitz — both current readings for yours truly)

  29. 29 Epi July 23, 2008 at 5:39 am

    AoMM is one of my favorite blogs actually… I don’t think everything has to be analytical, just as I enjoy my random harem anime from time to time while I will also endlessly praise LoGH.

  30. 30 Kaioshin Sama July 23, 2008 at 5:41 am

    @Myssa: Slow night at the office? Anyway, I thought Tomoyo and Kyou were just popular characters with lots of fanboys. I personally don’t know what people see in them, but it’s kind of just straight up fanboyism more then mob mentality isn’t it? Unless we’re talking about the people who are raging about the canon ending with Nagisa as opposed to Tomoyo and Kyou, those people are kind of special.

  31. 31 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Preach to the choir, comrade. I love my deep and thought-provoking series (Mushishi foremost among these, but LoGH is an old favorite), but given my line of work you’ll understand why I put a premium on relaxing enjoyment (no wonder I love stuff like “Someday’s Dreamers: Summer Skies” and “Allison and Lillia”) instead of intellectually-vigorous mediums of entertainment (which War and Peace and the aforementioned Canticle fill VERY well). Nevermind that I’ve been catching up on Machiavelli and Dante recently (waiting for my PC to encode stuff leaves a lot of free time)…

  32. 32 Myssa Rei July 23, 2008 at 6:00 am

    Kaioshin: Not really, but the systems here at the office are having issues, so it gives me time to do some idle browsing. Also, it takes my mind off the foreclosures I have to do…

    Given the fact that I graduated with a degree in Communications, and not Social Science, I can’t really say much on the causes of Herd Behavior, or its eventual reinforcement and proliferation, but I’ve seen enough manifestations of it outside of the blogging realm to know that, unless the initially idea that spawned such gatherings is in itself dangerously inflammatory (both literally and figuratively), it’s pretty much easy to brush it aside and ignore.

    A blogger who’s harping about how bad a series her or she is watching is far less worrying than the demagogue on the streets inciting people to riot just because the gas prices have gotten so high that they can’t afford to buy their daily fix of french fries; the former can be excused simply for a difference of preferences, while the latter can’t as the riot that might ensue will likely result in the physical injury of other people.

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