The “Huge Nerd” in the Room

I have started to feel ashamed of my fellow anime fans in my school, and my affiliation with the subculture they belong to– And it’s a feeling I absolutely hate myself for having.

On the first day of Evaluating Contemporary TV class, everyone was told to stand up and state their name and class, followed by the kind of television they most enjoyed and most hated. I went first, and stated my genres of choice- Leaving out the fact that I prefer those genres to be animated and Japanese in origin. We went through the whole class, each person saying their piece, and I laughed along at the commentary about bad reality TV and the like. At the back of the classroom, however, a girl stood and stated her preferences. “I’m kind of a huge nerd,” she stated, continuing on to say she loved anime.

While watching the varied reactions to the statement on my classmates’ faces, I realized that while the majority remained neutral, there were several very obviously disgusted expressions in the room, including a girl who had said she hated “those weird Japanese cartoons”. This wasn’t very surprising to me, of course. I’ve been an anime fan long enough to be aware that it is in many cases a love-it-or-hate-it genre, based on misconceptions and stereotypes. The thing that bothered me most about this particular statement was the girl’s appearance, and the fact that it is a very common look for the “otaku” on my campus, in my state, and in most places I have been in the States. More