Am I an Anime Hipster?

Misha :3 (for no real reason)

And is there even such a thing as an “anime hipster”?

I have a very open (and sometimes vocal) distaste for the mainstream. To some that automatically labels me a hipster (which has become a running gag among my peers). I’m the guy who’d you be walking with through a theater, see a poster for the super popular Something-Something 3, and when you ask me if I wanna watch it I’d go out of my way to say “Nah. It’s too mainstream”. The same thing with books (especially since “Young Adult” has been in some sort of audience boom as of late). It’s not as bad with music though, thankfully, since there is a genre for popular music.

It comes around full circle though with anime and manga. I care very little for the “Big 3” as it is. Not that I’m saying Bleach, One Piece or Naruto aren’t worth watching, because I really do believe that they’re all great franchises (otherwise we wouldn’t be calling them big). It’s just that, you know. I’m not buying into it. I mean, I watched Naruto when I was a kid, sure, and I thought it was a great series then. I’m sure it would’ve been the same with Bleach or One Piece if I started out as early. Now, however, I dunno. It doesn’t invest with me as strongly as would the current fans of these titles.

I said this to my anime-watching friends and, as I said earlier, I became (to them at least) an anime hipster. It’s not that I’m offended by it (for all I know it could be true), but it does make me a teeny bit curious. One of the main reasons why I still haven’t watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is because of how much people I know admire it overly so. Again, not saying that TTGL doesn’t deserve the praise it gets even now, and I’m well aware how important the success of TTGL was to making anime more popular in the West from a contemporary stand-point (which gave way to more localizations and simulcasting).

Something inside me just doesn’t want to watch it, for some reason.Then it just becomes the opposite when I sometimes recommend titles that seemingly only a handful of people know of. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve recommended Wakusei no Samidare or Dance in the Vampire Bund (these two are apparently my best examples of unpopular titles, lol)

Saying all that, it’s not like I hate everything that’s mainstream. I mean, you could definitely make the argument that Shingeki no Kyojin is rising up to the mainstream, but I didn’t drop it the moment it became popular. I think SnK is pretty darn good. The same is actually true for a lot of shows in my archive. Even my favorite franchises (anything Type-MOON, -Monogatari) are widely popular as well.

My best guess at what my feelings are towards mainstream media is; I don’t like it when people start liking a show or something because it’s popular, which then makes me start disliking the show altogether.

I now dare ask; am I an anime hipster? 😀

41 thoughts on “Am I an Anime Hipster?

  1. Short answer, Yes. the fact that you consciously decide to stop watching something just because its popular is something i find rather disingenuous.There are some shows that are popular that don’t resonate with me but that’s not because they are popular its just because i genuinely think they aren’t that good.

    • Well, yeah, although whether or not I deliberately do it is something I’d contest (pointing out my SnK example), I wouldn’t really deny it either.

      That’s a nice point you brought up as there does seem to be a trend in what sells and what doesn’t.

  2. I try and avoid mainstream show because I find that it’s too easy for fans to bombard me with spoilers. Plus most of the time a lot of the shows that are in the public eye are not deserving of their hype however, you can’t say anything bad about the show because fan bases are usual very vicious.

    • Interesting, yeah. I think there are already a couple of overly-spoiled spoilers out in the open and they really are for the more popular shows.

      Hype is a bit more neutral for shows (since you can call a studio releasing a PV as ‘hyping up’ the audience, but doesn’t necessarily promise what you expect) but I get your point.

      As far as fan bases are concerned, I guess quite simply they’re just a part of the ani-community, albeit a more devoted bunch. They don’t “have” to stop people from telling what’s good and what’s bad for them though. 😀

  3. I don’t mind popular series to be honest, as long as the content is good. The problem is that I generally end up not liking the series everyone else like. I suppose that can be called a bit “hipster”… 😀

    • Agreed 🙂
      Sometimes the problem is what “passes” for the mainstream rather than the mainstream itself; like, I wouldn’t mind if say, for example Psycho-Pass became crazy popular, ’cause I happen to like that series a lot.

  4. Yes you are. Just like me! 🙂 At least, I think we can all be a little hipster about certain things. But seeing you tackle this topic, you strike me as a really open-minded person. You could probably give anything a chance…if you really wanted to. And I like what you said about not liking when people like a show just because it’s popular. We shouldn’t let the hype cloud our judgement. But watching something popular can be a good starting point. Everybody seems to like said show, so the greater the chances are that you will too. That’s how I got started with anime(Bleach). After a while, though, you sort of have an idea of what you like and don’t like. Still, anything mainstream strikes me as someone telling me what to like sometimes, and no one tells me what to do! Lol. Nah. But that’s probably why I’ve shown a bit of resistance towards it. Although, I can say, from my now three years of continuous anime viewing, I am not as big of a hipster as I was back then when I first started watching anime on a regular basis. I can appreciate other “non-anime” shows now, mainstream or not, and genuinly give them a fair chance – only when I felt the need to explore different mediums, of course. I was such a hipster back then. 😛 -Sorry if this post strikes you as a bit too long. I can go on and on sometimes.

    • A kindred spirit! 😀

      Haven’t really seen this topic being talked about in the ani-community is all and I guess took it upon myself, lol, but yeah, I’m glad I come across that way. I probably could give anything a shot if I really wanted to, yeah, or at least try to give it the benefit of the doubt.

      Fan hype really is unreliable in that regard. I talked about it before actually from a post a while back about how for example Death Note is as a popular franchise. Oddly enough it seemingly found its niche within the gothic (along with emo, even) community in bulk for some time, wherein appreciation only came from its fairly dark and almost anarchy-like themes, rather than the narrative.

      As for non-anime shows, I’m actually the complete opposite with live action (especially Japanese live action) where I tend to be very adventurous. I guess, as you said, it goes in hand with how much anime I’ve watched, and have therefore decided for myself what’s “good”. And as feal said above, it’s just that sometimes what everybody else likes isn’t my cup of tea.

      Oh, not at all 😀
      For me these discussions are really part of the fun of writing posts like this one.

  5. For mainstream, and especially due to how hyped in general these shows are, it’s easy to reach consensus to a large group of fans. I try to watch as much as these “popular” shows as possible (a lot of them in my backlog) – I like some of them, but feel indifferent for several of them. Being popular doesn’t mean it’s good, but then again, our tastes are all incredibly subjective matters.

    • Agreed, and it’s really the consensus that “this is one of the best out there” that’s the most effective, which really just overwrites the show/title’s identity overtime to “the show that everyone’s watching, so it must be good”. It’s a weird balance, really, but yeah, in the end, we all end up using our own standards anyways.

  6. oh gwad, this blog post hit me right in what i feel about anime. i feel like we watch anime for the joy of just enjoying it, and not feeling influenced to watch it because there’s too much hype for it. i’m fine with my friends watching a ‘mainstream’ anime, but it’s kind of frustrating when i recommend them other anime to watch or ask them what else they watch, and they….don’t watch anything else. It’s even worse because I have a lot of cosplay friends who see a popular anime and immediately cosplay it but don’t even bother to watch it, and only cosplay it to get attention. I read a lot of manga, for example, Shingeki No Kyojin, which has been released for many years, but only now that the anime has come out everyone’s all WOWOOWOWOWOW BEST ANIME EVER. for some reason i agree with the innate distaste to watch mainstream anime because, i agree, not that they’re bad, but the ignorant-like fanbase kind of turns me off and corrupts the purity of anime. ~HIPSTER~

    • Sometimes you have to give people the benefit of the doubt in that they might not really like the show you’re recommending, but for the most part, yeah, I really do get your feels 😀

      Cosplay gets away with it, I think, since they really should play as characters that a lot of people know. Often times what will happen when cosplayers do the opposite is viewers might end up thinking “oh, that’s gender-bend” or “oh, that’s an original”

      I also really empathize with you on that delayed appreciation thing that comes up so often. Mine was Fate/Zero (and Urobuchi Gen); wherein for the most part no one really knew both before the anime adaptation came up, and now people are crazy about Zero Lancer and Zero Archer etc.

      I wouldn’t outwardly say it “corrupts”, but some fanbases (not all) really do make it hard to appreciate for yourself, things that are so publicly over-appreciated. In my opinion at least 😀

  7. So, what do you watch? Disliking things due to popularity doesn’t make you a hipster. It makes you seem like a guy who dislikes things because of popularity.

    • True.
      I don’t really know what the distinction is, exactly, but the division really isn’t just between being a hipster and a mainstream fan.

      I watch what I can, for the most part. I stay away from mecha, sports, pure shoujo (i.e. reverse harems), ecchi heavy shows, and most shounen. Like I said in the post the franchises that I’m a biggest fan of are Type-MOON’s and the Monogatari series (both of which I’m aware are popular in their own right). I also like most light novel adaptations.

  8. Shows/manga that are popular can be good. If you are an anime hipster you’ve obviously seen and read these popular entries from my favorites on ‘myanimelist’

    Cowboy Bebop
    Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex
    Kino’s Journey
    Niea Under 7

    Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou

    • From the ones you’ve listed I’ve only seen Mushi-shi. I’ve been planning on getting into Ghost in the Shell for a while now too. I’ve read a couple chapters of Genshiken, but probably not enough to do it justice (not much of a manga reader)

  9. My best guess at what my feelings are towards mainstream media is; I don’t like it when people start liking a show or something because it’s popular, which then makes me start disliking the show altogether.

    I could somehow hear my inner self with this paragraph.

    It seems that we are, indeed, anime hipsters. Cheers

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  11. Aye, I definitely don’t get it when people stay liking something just because it’s popular. I find that that can lead to overhype far too easily, and not just in anime. Back in my school days, I found that happening with a lit of metal bands too. For what it’s worth though, I do find that some series I can come back to when the initial popularity has died down and watch it without all the constant praise hoping on around me, which makes things much more enjoyable. That said, I relented and tried TTGL and couldn’t finish it … it was just so disappointing compared to what I’d been told.

    • ” I do find that some series I can come back to when the initial popularity has died down and watch it without all the constant praise hoping on around me, which makes things much more enjoyable.”

      ^Happened to me with Arslan Senki. All my anime-watching friends piled on about how its the Game of Thrones of anime, and how it was bound to be good because the guy behind FMA was working on it. It was about a year after it aired that I finally watched it, and yeah, it really was all the things they said in the end xD

      My thing with TTGL (and shows in a similar vein as TTGL) is that its waaaaaay too over-the-top — which I understand that some people love; but is something that just doesn’t sit well with me for whatever reason.

      • I’ve not yet seen Arslan myself yet, but I’ve been lucky enough to avoid to much hype for it.
        TTGL had so many issues for me. I lived the opening episode, but found going downhill after that. The animation and plot were inconsistent, I thought that the characters ranged from dull to annoying with nothing in between, and then I hit the bath house episode … a focus on fan service, Kamina ramping up his annoying levels, and far too many shots of one character nude … I gave up about 3/4 through the episode and haven’t returned to it. I don’t mind stuff being OTT if it’s done well, but I just felt that TTGL wasn’t. Hype definitely left me expecting something far better than I got.

  12. …”when you ask me if I wanna watch it I’d go out of my way to say ‘Nah. It’s too mainstream’.”

    That right there is what makes you mainstream, by choice. While I’m familiar with being in niches, or being of a minority, it’s never because something is to popular or what not. As far as I know anyway. My subconscious coulb be telling another story entirely, who knows?

  13. Seems a bit silly to stop liking stuff because it becomes cool but the way I see you. We as human beings can’t always control out feelings. So if that’ how you feel then that’s how you feel. Simple as that. That’s just how it is. As far as you being an hipster. IDK but this was definitely an interesting read. thanks for sharing. I also tend to stay away from popular titles but if I enjoy them. I’ll stay around.

    • It really is silly, yeah, I won’t deny that. There’s just something about how some people can be so dismissive one second, and then become an absolute fan once the popularity rises — but, the anime (or whatever media) is innocent of all that, so it doesn’t really deserve my ire.

      Glad you think so 😀 And thanks for dropping by and sharing your own thoughts as well.

  14. An interesting topic. In a sense I get where you are coming from – simply liking something because it is popular is absurd, a petty attempt at jumping on the band wagon to be part of the “in” crowd.

    The issue is that not watching something due to its popularity is just as problematic. In the end, you are still allowing your viewing to be determined by other people. “Mainstream” and “popular” works may usually be pretty mediocre, but real gems get popular from time to time and you end up missing out on personal enjoyment because other people like them. I say – don’t stress about whether others like something, just ask whether you like it.

    • “Don’t stress about whether others like something […]” —
      Is a good reminder for people watching anime, and by extension, to doing things that people want to do. I’ve since done a better job of keeping that in mind (from the time I wrote this), but I do slip up and let myself be swayed from time to time; definitely a bad tic.

  15. Definitely an anime hipster, no doubt about that. Those who consciously go out of their way to avoid what’s popular or emerging in the anime industry are easily fitting the qualifications for an anime hipster. I used to be the exact same way before I decided to begin watching Naruto and now I find enjoyment in shows and series because I enjoy them, not because anyone else does.

    • It’s a sickness, no doubt xD
      In all seriousness though, it’s really a matter of maturity (or immaturity) on my end — that much I’m willing to admit.

  16. I’d say that disliking something on the basis that it’s popular is just the inverse of liking something because it IS popular. It doesn’t make you a hipster – it just makes you kind of closed-minded. I don’t think hipster is the right word. I would also add that what’s ‘mainstream’ is kind of problematic given how the medium is consumed. While there are plenty of horrible shows that have garnered tons of popularity as I’m sure you know and reference heavily in your justification of avoiding ‘the mainstream,’ it’s not like there are that many ‘hidden gems’ either. Good anime stands out as time passes and while there are tons of entertaining and subjectively worthwhile shows – few of them compare to what you might refer to as ‘the mainstream’. But at this point it’s all semantics and diction anyway.

    I’ll just say that avoiding something like TTGL because a lot of people like it is remarkably poor reasoning and I think you’ve limited yourself unnecessarily. I’d dismiss these notions of ‘mainstream’ and ‘popular’ when it comes to what you like or enjoy if you are able to and see if it doesn’t bring a little more enjoyment to your experience. You cite plenty of ‘mainstream’ shows you enjoy so it’s not like you even have a real aversion to them beyond their face value in how you describe it. If something looks or sounds interesting to you, you should be able to watch it without concerning yourself with the show’s reputation or the validation of other people. I’d agree and say that liking something simply because other people do is pretty bad but I don’t see any difference between that and what you’ve been doing. Thanks for the provocative post.

    • Well said 😀
      While I could kinda reason that public reception has a hand in shaping the reception of certain media by way of symbolic creation — all I would be doing is skirting around the fact that it definitely is a very closed-minded approach to the selection and subsequent appraisal of anime to watch. You’re right in that there’s no real dichotomy to be observed here other than what “I” myself classify as part of the mainstream, and what is not.

      In practice I may not be as averse (at least, much less than I was three years ago maybe? xD) towards what’s “in”, but yeah, admittedly I do concern myself with what other people think of a particular title — in hindsight rearing itself as the hidden moral of this here post.

  17. You could be considered an anime hipster but it also depends what your true feelings are towards popular shows, whether it’s just the popularity that stops you from watching it. At the same time, I’d argue that anime needs fans like you to expose other people to lesser known anime that are still of a high quality.

    • I suppose a good summation of my true feelings for popular shows is; I probably won’t watch it if it’s too much of a hype train (at least not during the peak of its popularity), but at the same time I’d acknowledge that it’s good (or it must be good).

      I try to at times — give other people new looks in terms of anime they might not have seen, and it’s a pretty neat feeling when they end up enjoying it too 😀

  18. I don’t think you’re an anime hipster. You’re an anime rebel! Or more precisely, a mainstream anime rebel. Well, people do have different tastes. I like a lot of mainstream things, especially in anime, but I don’t shy away from the more obscure ones. In fact, I actively hunt for them. They may be hidden gems. Anyway, good post.

    • “Anime Rebel”…
      Hey, I kinda like how edgy that sounds! xD But yeah, most of the time I really do like to hunt for obscure shows through chain searching — I find the process fun (and rewarding if I end up finding something good).

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  20. I think liking or disliking something has to be your own choice. Allowing the opinions of others to dictate your views kind of defeats the purpose. That said, I’ve also put off watching an anime because of a lot of hype surrounding it (on more than a few occasions) because I want to watch it on my own terms and when I’m ready to decide whether I like it or not. One Punch Man was my most recent example of a show I didn’t watch straight away and when I did watch it I thought it was okay but I still didn’t really get all the excitement around it.

    • Hype in itself is a funny thing really, as it predicates so much on individual expectation. It’s definitely true that liking something or otherwise should always be up to you, but really the truest form of that only comes after the fact — when the viewer finishes the show (ie your experience with One Punch Man), so there’s plenty of room for prejudice while we’re in the middle of watching something, or before we even start to watch something. The key I suppose is to shut the hype out, in this matter.

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