heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Type A vs Type B animé fans

So the other day I was reading Sankaku Complex, God help me, and I noticed in amongst all the "butthurt" comments something about Type B animé fans.

Here, for your delectation, is some Sankaku nonsense (which may or may not have originated on 2-chan; certainly the Sankaku residents have taken to it):

Type A Otaku
  • A person who simply enjoys "anime".
  • Is proud of Japan's anime.
  • Evaluates anime based on direction, voice acting, art, etc.
  • Hates shallow anime with no real content.
  • Story emphasis >>>>> Moe anime.
A recent example would Higashi no Eden. Fans of anime who like Lain or Ghost in the Shell would probably be this kind.

What? How can you define somebody as "simply enjoys anime"? Isn't that everybody who regularly watches animé?
It gets worse - what does "Is proud of Japan's anime" mean? I think the person that wrote this failed to understand that animé is not, in itself, a genre. And while Japan can make some mind-blowing animé, there are some really crappy ones too. Examples? Personal opinion would be .hack//SIGN for something that transcended its roots to be way deeper than it had any right to be, and pretty much any of the Transformers series for crowning moronity.

Type As evaluate based upon direction, voice acting, art, etc. Quelle surprise! Don't we all? I didn't continue with Panty/Stocking/Garterbelt (whatever the hell it was called) because I thought the plot was stupid and the art wasn't something I wanted to watch. '70s style art done well is "Cowboy Bebop". '70s style art done badly is Panty/blah/blah. Look, I said "panty!", panty! Panties everywhere! ... and that juvenile humour is how I reckon we can sum up that animé.

Type As hate shallow animé with no content. Um, cut'n'paste the previous paragraph here. If an animé is shallow, stupid, has no content to speak of... why would people waste time watching it? Hell, even LazyTown (not an animé, but something highly formulaic for young children and bored adults!) had stories, plot, and so on.

Now we get to the truth. The Type A reveres story emphasis over "moe". This is what it comes down to, isn't it? A supposed Type A is a moe-hater and wants to lord it over people who like "cute".

Is this correct? Let's look at a Type B...

Type B Otaku
  • A person who simply enjoys "characters".
  • Will watch an anime if it includes cute or beautiful characters.
  • Doesn’t care if story is awful, as long as the characters are of interest.
  • Evaluates anime based on which seiyū are in it and what the characters look like.
  • Loves moe elements. Doesn't like complex anime.
  • The otaku the media picks up on are usually this kind.
  • Doesn't know that much about anime and so is often criticized by Type A otaku.
  • However, they make much better customers than the more discerning Type A otaku.
  • Recently there has been a huge increase in anime targeted at Type B otaku.
People who like K-ON!, Queen's Blade, Strike Witches and so on would be in this class.
And there you have it. This list was drawn up by a person who wants to believe themselves a Type A to slam the vapidness of the Type B.

Unfortunately, as with a lot of Sankaku stuff, it is a list full of Fail. Let's look at it more closely. A Type B enjoys characters. Obviously the super-refined Type A writer has failed to grasp the concept of characterisation and empathy - namely, what good is an animé without solid characters? I have, in my life, watched a lot of films. Make that, a lot of crappy films. And some good ones. Think about the good and the bad. "The Railway Children". Was this a great film because of the lovely photography? Because we're all train spotters at heart? Or because the players in the film really brought it to life. Made it believable.
It's the same with animé. Okay, it is drawn so will never be "life-like", but in its own way it can present a world you can immerse yourself in, along with characters you find you have feelings for. An example here would be the screwed up world of "Psycho-Pass" and its assortment of interesting characters. If you don't care about the characters, you have little reason to continue watching.

Then comes the obligatory insult to moe. What's wrong with cute? It is something KyoAni does quite well, and just because the characters are cute does not necessarily mean the story sucks. Maybe the Type A is too wrapped up in their own self-importance to understand that Haruhi is a multilayered story. You can easily watch some cute schoolgirls (and the odd schoolboy or two) trying to keep a bratty one satisfied while completely missing the social commentary and hardcore physics. Unlike "Lain" or "Ergo Proxy", Haruhi doesn't rub it in your face, but being better educated will help you derive more from the stories. But, I must point out again, it's a story full of cuteness.

I think you'll find that if the characters are of interest, the story will not be awful. But, this isn't what the author meant, is it? I bet he meant "of interest" as in "lots of fanservice". The story can suck so long as there are plenty of shots looking up girl's skirts. I never really understood this, to be honest, for what sort of sick hikikomori freak gets off looking at drawings of underwear? Jeez...

Evaluates animé based on the voice performer? I can't say I ever have, but if a fan does, how is this different to watching a movie because it stars Christopher Walken, or Denzel Washington, or any specific actor?

Then comes the bit about loving moe and not liking complex, as if they are mutually exclusive. "Eden Of The East", anyone? Oh, wait, that's up there for Type A (under its Japanese name), despite being kinda moe. There was a ton of moe dripping off "Steins;Gate", yet only a butthurt teenage pretender would fail to recognise that it had intellectual parts too. "Ergo Proxy"'s Pino was extremely cute after becoming infected with the Cogito Virus, yet this is to be found in a series with a deep psychological storyline?

I'm an AB. I like cute, but I also like an engaging story. It doesn't always have to make sense (hello "Kamichu!) so long as it is interesting. "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" - a story filled with cute children...who are a little too handy with meat cleavers and knives and not afraid of using them, on each other. Or how about "Shiki", kinda cute, until perhaps the single most hard-hitting thing I've ever seen in animated form, Shiki ep 20.5 that... My God. All Vampires Are Bastards. All Humans Are Worse.

So there you have it. Clearly this A-B stuff is nonsense. As humans, we feel security in differentiation. Rather than accept that different people like different types of animé (just as people like war movies, or romances, or cyberpunk, or...), somebody decided to break all of the different types of animé into two types. The cool sophisticated experts, and the creepy leering panty-obsessed shut-in nerd that drools over animated little girls and would probably be a paedophile if it wasn't for the fact that they can't cope with three-dimensional people, but would rather get off with a fake girlfriend on their Nintendo. I'm sure such sick individuals exist just as much as fathers who rape their daughters exist, but these are exceptions to the norm, not the norm itself. So what is the point of demonising people who like moe? There is no "us vs them" in animé, there's a little something for all sorts of tastes and accordingly there's stuff I like and stuff I don't like. Likewise, there's stuff you'll like and stuff you won't like. Your choices may agree with mine, or they may not. In the case of disagreement, there is no implication of somebody being "wrong", it's just a personal choice. I can deal with that. The author of this stupid list obviously can't.

 

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