字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Definition Anti-Anime: a dismissal of anime and its related communities and aesthetics characterized by a belief in anime's supposed “backwardness” or “weirdness” relative to western media [Lachlan, from off-stage] Please welcome the arrival of comrade Zeria, esteemed chairman of the anitube left vanguard, lover of isekai, and scholar of yuri, for her polemic against the anti-anime saboteurs who number among our ranks. [I enter, turning to the camera, proclaiming this section as if it were a speech] My comrades, it should come as no surprise to you when I say that we are beset on all sides by the forces of reaction. Our world is increasingly one of great peril, as the right grows ascendant ona global scale. The society we live in is more charged than it has been in a great many decades. As such, the time has passed for which we must declare all media to be political; that fact is already self-evident. The question, then, is how we, as leftists, must relate to this media. And no, that relation can not be hating on everything, abolishing the commodity form does not mean abolishing fun, Theodore. Our enemies certainly know what their relation to this media must be. Let it not be said that they understand the works they consume, a mere glance at the anime right should put that thought right out of your head, but they know that culture is a battleground, and are preparing for another battle. AnimeGate is nigh-inevitable at this point, it seems likely to happen in the next year, and with conflicts over Goblin Slayer, Shield Hero, and Zombieland Saga scarcely banished from our collective memories, it appears that this will be a fight against the “Western anime industry” of Crunchyroll and Anime News Network, while a number of unfortunate suspects sit by, ready to lead the fight and, if they're lucky, to make a profit from doing so. This obviously their actual aim, let's be clear, they saw how GamerGate worked out for those involved and they wanted. Wait, those guys ended up nowhere? Maybe these new people should try something else. Regardless, while this coming AnimeGate may end up less effective than ComicGate — and that would be saying something — it must be strictly opposed by the left, after all, GamerGate did play a big role in radicalizing many Extremely Online people into outright fascists, though of course, we needn't and shouldn't ally with the companies involved either, only the unfortunate people caught in the crossfire. But this brings me to a central question. How should the left relate to anime and its associated communities? Many leftists I've talked to simply accept the alt-right's positions: that anime is an inherently right-wing medium, that Japan is a reactionary hellhole far more misogynist and queerphobic than the oh-so-venerable West, and that as a result, leftists simply shouldn't consume Japanese culture. You'd assume that self-proclaimed left wouldn't just accept fascists at their word — after all, if you end up dead in a fucking ditch — but, well, look at the twitter reaction to this video's title. So, let me be clear: for as much as the right ignores reality in acting as if Japan is a safe-haven, free of the SJW scourge, my attentions here are turned towards many members of the left. By accepting that Japanese works are necessarily 'weird' and 'backwards' due to their supposed lack of struggle, they end up infantilizing and depoliticizing an entire nation that is, like any other, political on all fronts, and that ain't the tea, sis. This is, though. [Sip tea]. The people who often proudly call themselves the anti-anime left poison any efforts to create a proper leftist relation to media. Because yes, the leftist boogeyman is real — though not nearly as successful as the right would have you believe — we want to win, to take over the world, we are the post-modern neo-marxists that they are so afraid, and if we're going to do so, we can't give up an entire nation's media or the communities that enjoy it. Anime is good, folks, don't give it to the chuds. Fortunately, many members of the anime left are building the spaces for agitation that we need, but it's not enough. Allowing the alt-right to claim anime as their own, to act as if it's naturally theirs due to the Japanese being “inherently traditionalist”, is just bad praxis that forfeits an entire ground for propagandizing. And in practice, this anti-anime sentiment is a symptom of a broader racist Othering, one that not only hampers our ability to relate to culture but hurts many marginalized people, though for that discussion, let's move into a slightly more intellectual headspace. I promise, I won't use too many big words. Part 1: Wacky Orientalism [Puts on fake glasses] The comments I received on Twitter upon announcing this video's title are quite enlightening as we move into a discussion of how anti-anime sentiment is harmful. The Nazis, of course, came out in full force, and the veiled anger they displayed was frankly enough to make this entire project worthwhile. There's little better than Nazis spamming anime girls in SS uniforms, after all, who can deny the comic genius of having a generic seasonal waifu say “burn the degenerates”. A common theme among these replies is the idea that anime is one of the few places free from politics, whereas us greedy SJWs have stuck our gender- and race-tainted hands aaaaaallllllll over every other aspect of common media today, including games and comics[show political examples]. They're wrong on the anime itself, but they've got a point about the community. In the pst couple of years, leftists in those spaces have done a good job at showing, contesting them and, in some ways, trying to prevent them from planting their seed in the fertile breeding ground that is nerd culture. Anime communities have not had that, at least not to the degree that they need to, this is a space full of alienated young people . Of course, the biggest anime convention in the world was founded by a guy who, uh, got arrested for throwing Molotov Cocktails, and Comic-Con sure as hell can't say that, but y'know. However, what there right wingers are not correct about is the idea that all anime is apolitical, or even worse, that it's all reactionary due to Japan's inherently traditionalist values. When I look at Gundam, what I see is a series with a strong respect for imperial expansion. It's the leftist responses that are really concerning, however. Many claimed that I was calling them racist if they didn't like anime — something I never did, though I will get into how that might be the case later one — while others did something even worse, which is to say, accepting the right's premise that Japan is simply a backwards nation. As we all know, only under the proper civilized boot of the mighty European can the reactionary savages be fixed and brought to true humanity. I'm a leftist by the way. This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon reaction. In July of 2018, Japanese Diet member Sugita Mio made disgusting remarks about queer people[play clips of what she said]. This caused massive blowback both in Japan and abroad. When one of my friends, Kastel, tweeted about this situation, one of the first people to bring it to the English-speaking world, they were faced with a wave of Orientalist backlash. Many presumably well-intentioned leftists simply explained the remarks away with “well, what would you expect from Japan?” which really makes sense, given that Kastel got this information from Japanese people. It's this behavior that was called Orientalism in Edward Said's seminal 1978 boo k. Massively distilled, Orientalism could best be described as a form of Othering wherein those nations deemed Oriental, an especially the people who live in and come from them, are seen as backwards, exotic, homogeneous, and most of all, only able to be understood by those from the Occident. As Said says, “The Orient that appears in Orientalism, then, is a system of representations framed by a whole set of forces that brought the Orient into Western learning, Western consciousness, and later, Western empire. ... The Orient is the stage on which the whole East is confined. On this stage will appear the figures whose role it is to represent the larger whole from which they emanate. The Orient then seems to be, not an unlimited extension beyond the familiar European world, but rather a closed field, a theatrical stage affixed to Europe.” This behavior might not be the tea, but Said's work sure is, even if weird anti-anime leftcom-y types will occasionally write it off as “nationalistic”. It's not hard to see that in considering Japan an “inherently traditionalist culture” certain leftists a particularly notable form of Orientalism. Said himself discussed this, pointing out that even Marx himself, radical thinker that he was, did not escape from the Orientalist discourses and structures that defined him, and while the form of those discourses has changed, their existence, certainly, has not. It is no shock, then, that leftists who aren't daddy also fall prey to this trap, though you would expect in our modern, post-colonial landscape, they'd know to do better. After all, I don't think that uhhhhh [checks notes] ridiculing Japan's culture is a great step towards uniting the workers of the world, but hey, that could just be me. The question is, then, how does this relate to anime? It's true that no one would say “Well, what would you expect from America” if a Republican stood up and bashed queer people, it happens every day after all, so the fact that people so about Japan is obviously a bad look, and worth curbing in the future. However, if you are one of the leftists who called me out, this has nothing to do with anime. After all, saying “What about Japan” is a blatantly political statement, whereas making fun of anime is simply mocking a bad medium. Clearly, ignoring the political dimensions of apolitical speech is good leftist praxis. It's certainly true that anime does not define all of Japanese culture. Only the worst Japanophiles believe that, and I'm certainly willing to call them Orientalist as well [play weird SakuraCon commercial]. However, anti-anime sentiment is rarely a hatred of Japanese animation as such. Usually it comes in the form of a hatred of all that could be considered “otaku culture”, from video games to idols. Once again, this is far from the entirety of Japanese popular culture, and one could theoretically hate all of these, including the “anime art style” — though I can't say I've ever been able to describe such a thing, and I'm not entirely sure that it exists — without resorting to Orientalism. However, this general distaste for all nation's pop culture that make it outside its borders is characteristic of a newer mode of Orientalism, one which focuses on the exotic nature of those it describes: Wacky Orientalism. Wester Wagenaar sees this new form of Orientalism as one that has arisen in the 21st century, though not without its precursors in the late 20th, becoming a third type that stands alongside the already present Traditional Orientalism and Techno-Orientalism which Japan has been subject to for centuries and decades respectively. Wagenaar defines this Wacky Orientalism as “the Western perception of Japan as 'weird'”. As he says, the West does this to “create and strengthen the norm of what is normal” and to “confirm its normalcy”. These ideas are rampant in Western discussions of Japan over the last couple decades[play Americans reacting to “Weird Japan” and “WTF Japan” memes]. This also lines up perfectly with the leftist applications we have thus seen. When a Japanese man is homophobic, and a leftist responds with “well, that's just how those Japanese are” they do this to subconsciously confirm that for all the problems the left has, at least that behavior will be combatted here. After all, those wacky Japanese just haven't gotten with the times like those Western companies have done a great job at[stare at screen and then show shitty homophobia and misogyny from Western people]. The simple fact that this behavior is far from homogeneous in Japan and is in fact opposed by many people in the country, is totally ignored. And why wouldn't they be? After all, the Oriental knows less about themselves than the enlightened Westerner. What a brilliant leftist strategy, congratulations guys. In light of this newfound destination Wacky Orientalism, the problematic nature of writing off all of anime and its associated cultural elements comes into fuller focus. Whatever one's feelings are on popular anime — yes, yes, I know that Hetalia does some uncomfortable stuff with Korea and and the Axis Powers, I know, I know, look all I'm saying is that Hetalia hasn't been popular for years and was never representative of anime as a — by attributing their dislike of it to some fundamental reactionary thought that somehow exists within the roots of the medium, anti-anime leftists are confirming that for all of its problems, Western pop culture is better than Japan's. This is an especially big problem given the popularity of “anime style” in contemporary Japan even outside of otaku communities. Characters who we in the West would refer to as “anime girls” are simply a common part of life in urban and sometimes even rural Japan, being everywhere with little to no comment. Culture differs from country to country, as do the forms in which various oppressions take root and express themselves, but, well, few people are saying all American animation is bad, and America's got a hell of a lot of right-wingers. Precure is an anime, Kase-san is an anime, and Michiko to Hatchin is an anime. In effect, boiling all of “anime” down to one thing acts as if all of its creators are the same, have the same values, or come from the same situations, and that is a form of Orientalism, no matter how much you try and call me a weeb so you can avoid listening to me. So yes, perhaps saying that all anime is trash is, in fact, racist in itself, though obviously, you're allowed to dislike the industry, that's just a matter of taste, yada yada yada. When you extend this line of logic to anything that even remotely has to do with the common aesthetics surrounding anime, you get yourself into the /r/socialism fiasco, where you end banning people just because they enjoy drawing catgirls which, uh, “reduces women to domesticated animals” or something. You get the idea that anyone with an anime avatar is a Nazi because there's nooooooooooo reason that anyone would ever want an idealized version of themself or something, rather than having to look at an actual picture of what they look like. This is your brain on anti-anime leftism y'all, do you really want to end up like this? Hell, let's ignore the orientalism for a second, do you know how many trans girls you'll alienate if you put these ideas forth? Have you spent any time in online trans communities? These people love their goddamn cat girls! I'm not even that into them myself, I'm more of a dog girl person myself, but look, I respect them, this just isn't good praxis. I'm not done, however. This Wacky Orientalism is not just bad due to the way it Others Japan and the cultural products it produces and consumes, nor because of the way it sets up the West as always right. Painting an image of a homogeneous Japan is not just helpful to the Western right, who would love full and unfettered access to these communities. No, these discourses are far more dangerous than that. They also assist the Japanese right, and the process of Japanese nation-building. And if you're a leftist, that is very, very bad. Part 2: Nationalism and Nihonjinron Not only are leftists absolutely capable of being suckered into Orientalism given its status as the primary Western discourse on the East, which the Marx example was intended to show, but Japan has historically made great use of the Orientalism they've been subject to and Wacky Orientalism, as the newest form, is no exception to that. It's time to talk Cool Japan. The Japanese state is well aware that its culture and media are popular around the world, and in this age of late capitalism, where soft power is one of the strongest tools available, it is happy to market this culture worldwide.