How Hardcore are You?

Otaku Room Manga Figurine PostersDoes this room look familiar?

Konnichiwa, Mikuites! I’m back! Did you miss me? Today wasn’t so hard, so I had the energy to type, although my arms are kinda sore from lifting chairs. But despite the physical work, it is nice to go outside every once in a while, as opposed to being stuck inside all day––which actually kinda ties in to today’s topic.

Anime itself has become a growing subculture, especially in the last decade, but within that subculture has developed a hierarchy. Though I’m not usually one to spark conflict, there have been many times in my 7 years as a fan where I’ve witnessed people arguing over who’s a bigger anime fan than the other––especially during the four years I ran our local anime club. If you didn’t know what Clannad or Code Geass was back then, you were considered a newbie. The altercations remind me a lot of how gamers make comparisons between what divides a hardcore and causal gamer.

Anime, obviously, is much different––because while gamers have three main consoles to select from, we only have one (two, maybe, if you count manga––but that’s a whole ’nother monster), which makes it harder to gauge what makes one anime fan better than another.

So, how do you define a hardcore anime fan? I like to bring up the “quality vs. quantity” argument. One would assume that someone who keeps up with all the currently airing anime is more hardcore than someone who does not. But what if that someone (which was mostly the case amongst my colleagues at the club) keeps up with all the latest anime, but have no idea about obscure titles like Shigofumi or GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class? Is someone who’s read the Soul Eater manga from beginning to end better than someone who’s only watched the anime?  Perhaps most importantly (at least in my opinion), is it more important how much anime you’ve watched or which titles you’ve seen?

Maybe it boils down to a matter of taste. Is someone who likes Claymore better than someone who likes Queen’s Blade? Who’s better: Pokemon or One Piece fans? While many people are willing to defend how great Kampfer is, does that make them void of being a true anime fan by default?

Anime is infused with Japanese culture, and it’s no secret that some of us try to integrate a bit of Japan into our lives, whether it’s learning the language, eating Pocky, or even celebrating Japanese holidays. Does knowing the language make you any greater of a fan? In order to be considered “hardcore”, must you attend conventions or even go so far as to visit the Land of the Rising Sun itself?

Hell, just being an anime blogger has to put me a few steps ahead of most of the “casual” pack out there. :P

While here in the States we use the term “otaku” playfully, in the East it’s practically insulting. This leads to the main question: is being a hardcore anime fan even a good thing? Having bought two Nendoroids (BRS and Miku), my fandom has already surpassed my expectations from just a couple years ago. I told myself I would never pay that much for a figure, and yet I still gave in––and once you buy one, it’s hard to stop. XD

Dakimakura Pillow Fate Testarossa Marriage Otaku It must be fate…

There has to be a line drawn somewhere. Forget about comparing casual fans to hardcore. How do you separate a hardcore fan from one who has gone to the extreme? The problem is that I think it’s all relative. While owning two figures might be considered “extreme” to someone who only watches a couple episodes a week, it could be perceived as insignificant to someone who has been collecting figures all their life.

I think fans can be divided into anime (and/or manga) experts, and Japan experts––though on many occasions they tend to overlap. Thanks to anime, even though I know more about the Japanese culture than the average American, I can only speak the few words I’ve picked up from anime due to repetition. I believe that instead of drawing a linear line, we should imagine anime like a pie chart and anime fans taking up certain percentages of the pie––some more than others, obviously. In other words, you’d probably have to measure yourself on a percentage scale from non-Japanese to complete Japanese. But again, what anime is considered hardcore and what is not? Some will even argue that liking anime doesn’t make you any more Japanese, it just makes you a fan of animation.

Tell me then, how much of an anime fan are you?

About MkMiku

Just a neko expressing what's on my mind. Nya~
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25 Responses to How Hardcore are You?

  1. Overlord-G says:

    1st of all, Kudos for mentioning Shigofumi (A show I already tackled and greatly enjoyed) and Art Class (It’s on my to watch list).
    Next: Well, I am the anime wizard here on Curacao’s campus with only one person who watches as much as I do. As for my willingness to purchase anime based products…I want plushies and nendoroids but I don’t own a single of either one…”sobs”…Bincho-Taaaaaaaaaaan!

    • MkMiku says:

      I actually found out about Shigofumi through MAL, as it was listed as a recommended anime under Kino no Tabi. I really love Geijutsuka Art Design Class. Although, I must admit that without taking an art class, someone could potentially miss out on some of the jokes.

      I don’t watch as much anime as I used to–going to college and retiring from my club is part of the reason–but I’m still very passionate about it, otherwise there would be no way I could maintain this blog for two whole years.

  2. Will says:

    I am an hardcore anime fan, but only from my point of view. For me, watching anime, reading manga and bloging is already more than what a fan could ask for. Sure I don’t buy manga, anime or figurines, but they are also expensive. (I have a friend who bought a Zelda figurine at about 150$). Anyway, it’s not that I would buy some anyway, but I would bet my life that I am more hardcore than 90% of the Canadian Population.

    • MkMiku says:

      $150 is a lot to pay for a single figure, but I bet it looks awesome. I don’t read much manga. I specialize more in anime. >.< So, obviously, I've seen way more anime than all my other friends have (maybe even combined). Though, if that makes me any better than them, I'm not sure. I think bloggers in particular are special because they "go the extra mile."

      That's cool. You also bring up a good point–locaion has a lot to do with it, too.

  3. kiddtic says:

    I hate to be that guy but there is definetly a difference between hardcore anime fans and casual fans. Hardcore fans will continuously seek out new anime, manga, figures or anything even slightly close to the otaku fandom. Casual fans on the hand only watch anime because they are ‘fans of animation’ and watch the odd DVD ever now and then.For example my workmates all know the Mainstream titles like Akira, Ninja Scroll, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon and The Ghibli films but are not so keen on watching even the bigger series of today like Eden of the East.

    How hardcore am I? http://alturl.com/3tfb6 That Hardcore!!

    • MkMiku says:

      That’s typically how I view it. Since, like most of y’all have commented, I don’t really collect figures, I tend to judge levels of fanaticism by the amount of anime a person has seen. I agree that those who keep up with the latest stuff are usually more hardcore than those who don’t. Although that’s not really a fair assumption, since some people have more time and access to anime than others. Also, who’s to say that just because you’ve seen the newest anime means you’re more hardcore than someone who’s been keeping up with it for years or even decades? That person may just have happened to start watching anime only a year ago. <_<

      Again, I really feel it's relative to your own community. Online, I'm pretty much as equal of a fan as everyone else, but IRL most average people would say I'm "over-the-top," despite me thinking I'm quite normal. xD

  4. Seinime says:

    Both a newbie at anime and collection-wise, only one nendoroid so far… T_T

    I’ll back it up with my unlimited anime love works.

  5. When it all comes down to it, does not really matter how many titles you like or even how big of a “fan” you might claim to be – if you truly love something no one-else can tell you otherwise. The way of expressing that love however is another demon, but for me, I would say I have no problem with that factor. It all simply boils down on the point of significances and what you value. So for example: If someone does say they watched about 1,000+ I would be virtually unimpressed and would not exactly call them hardcore – it just means that person had a bunch of time on their hands and probably had to sacrifice other important experiences in lieu of. Hardcore is an over abused term that does not exist in my opinion. Simply put, just a subjective term.

    PS: Nice to have you back and hope you are feeling better :3

  6. Yumeka says:

    Heh, this is an age-old question that I’ve tackled from different angles on my blog as well (here’s one example: http://animeyume.com/blog/2009/12/05/how-many-types-of-anime-fans-can-you-name/)

    But yes, I think how hardcore you are comes down to passion in the end. The person who watches only anime subbed online and the person who buys DVDs for the dubs can both be hardcore if the passion they feel is at a high enough level. The person who’s a Naruto manga fan or a Pokemon game fan can both be hardcore in their fandoms even if the fandoms are different. What separates the casual fan from the hardcore fan of anything comes from how important the object in question is in a person’s life and how they feel about it. Someone who watches many different genres of anime and is genuinely interested in anime as a whole could be called a hardcore anime fan, while someone who just watches action anime could be called a hardcore “action (anime) fan” and just a casual anime fan.

    For me, I’ve never lost interest in anime for the eleven years I’ve been a fan, I’ve seen over 300 titles, spent thousands of dollars on anime products over the years, my room is covered with nothing but anime posters and merchandise, anime makes up just about the only shows I watch and talk about, then there’s my blog and my majoring in Japanese at college because of my interest in anime…I’d like to think I’m pretty hardcore ^^,,,,

  7. Well, after my exposure to my anime club back in high school, I can definitely say that from my perspective, I am not a hard-core anime fan in terms of quantity. 3/4 of the members have at least 10+ figures and 50+ posters! I have yet to even acquire a poster or a figure…

    But, if we’re talking in terms of quality, then yes, I would be a hardcore anime fan! As a long-time fan, I do have plenty of experience watching quite a lot of titles, and I’m putting that experience to great use as an ani-blogger. ^_^

  8. Yup i’m definitely a newbie. I recently started blogging about anime and yea definitely, I think the aniblogsphere is a pretty fast and informative way to learn about anime. It’s been a year and i’ve already learned a lot. I still haven’t bought figurines or posters, but i’ll get there. I believe that when you love something, you want to be surrounded by it too. And loving something takes time so it may be a matter of loving it for a longer period of time than others. Like Yumeka says, hardcore – it all comes down to passion.

  9. Q says:

    “It must be fate” – lol nice pun there.

    I have been questioning myself the concept of “fan” recently. What defines the term “fan”, and what “qualifies” one to be a greater “fan” than another?

    I may digress myself a little here, but I have been playing through most of the Ace Combat series in the past few months. The latest game “Ace Combat: Assault Horizon” has just been released last week, and feedback was pretty divisive – some like the new changes to the gameplay, some hate the new gameplay and other things such as bringing the settings to the real world rather than the fictional world, claiming how much they have been a fan of the series and Namco should not be doing this and that. “Fans” rage over each other saying how one claims the other side for not being true fans etc (“I am more hardcore than you, hence I have more bragging rights”). It’s sickening to read.

    And this context can apply to all sorts of stuff as well too.

    There are also similar arguments saying how one is not a “true” fan if they don’t buy merchandise or official/doujin stuff etc, claiming that no money spent = no dedication. You know what I mean, and sometimes reading things like this makes me think that sometimes it’s this sort of “fanbase” that makes a particular franchise or brand even less appealing than the other way round… The sense of elitism.

    With all that splattered out I personally think that how one defines a “fan” is a pretty subjective one, and how hardcore one is compared to another can be a relative thing, but we may “excel” in different perspectives. For example let’s pick Miku: one may collect all sorts of Miku merchandise, one may know a great variety of songs and their composers, and one may be really big into the artwork from sites such as Pixiv etc. I like to think of how far we go into something in terms of our passion – we don’t mind talking about what we like, we enjoy what we talk about, and we like having it as a part of our pastime.

    I don’t really like to call myself “hardcore”, but then with all sorts of stuff I buy for myself (military miniatures, Gundam models, figures etc) it’s hard to still consider myself as “casual”, especially from outsiders’ point of view. Quite similar to how you said you’ve exceeded your expectation of your fandom when you’ve bought the nendoroid Miku & BRS, I’ve surpassed mine when I really decided to get figma WRS that has to be bundled with limited edition of BRS THE GAME that costs way too much for rather mediocre game and bonus content. Once you buy something it’s not easy to stop indeed; my first big collection is my 1/144 WWII tanks which I still have, and my old school friends often joked that I have more tanks than Hitler himself.

    But then does that mean I am necessarily a bigger anime fan or say BRS fan than you with the merchandise I have and the money I’ve spent? No. You may have watched a lot more anime than I do (following 4 series in one season is already something unprecedented for me), and you may (just using it as an example) know more about BRS background, or huke’s art, or even the Miku song while I only mostly like the character design and that’s it. Everyone sets their own lines and definitions I suppose.

    And gosh another long post. Sometimes it’s funny what random stuff I would blabber out when I look back at what I’ve written :P

  10. Ningen says:

    I define being otaku by having a lecherous look on your egao when seeing kawaii girls.

  11. It must be fate…
    My blogs tagline lol

    Well for sure im not that hardcore as i may sound, sure i can be a total nerd with talk about it 24/7 but i can still control myself.

    I actually dont think i am that of a big fan, a fan of interest but i can probably live without it but i choose not too because i still have a close attachment to it.

  12. Aya says:

    In my perception it’s not about how hardcore are you, but are you Happy ? well I am not otaku just simple anime/manga fan maybe that’s how my perception different ^^

    by the way welcome back hope you feeling better :D

  13. Nopy says:

    My room is 70% as hardcore as the one in that picture, that’s how big of an anime fan I am :P

    The way I gauge anime fans is by how long they stick with it. Most of my friends have stopped watching anime so it’s easy to say who was a bigger fan now :) It gets harder with fans who are still fans though.

  14. Onion says:

    Why the labels in the first place? People who watch anime are people who watch anime. This hardcore softcore stuff only drags unneeded confusion into the entire matter.

  15. frostblogger says:

    I have to admit thats probably how an otaku’s room must be like. Luckily I’m still nowhere near that having read so much manga and watch countless of anime. :)

  16. Emiko Seiei says:

    I don’t think whether you’re hardcore or casual matters, as long as, you like and respect it is good enough :) I see no point in competing on who’s “better”.
    personally though, I’m inbetween-ish~. I’ve watch a ton of anime (but probably not as much as you) and have started to dabble in manga reading. However, school has kept me away from my precious anime word :’(

    ps. LOL I would love to have that room! x3
    too bad I’m poor xD

  17. glothelegend says:

    Two years ago I’d have considered myself a solid fan, maybe even a bit hardcore. Now though….well shit I’m barely a fan. Managed to watch a shitload of anime this week though it feels good to be back…not sure how much time I’ll have for anime what with the 20 credit semester from hell starting up in two days.

    Education courses are pointless busywork I hate nothing more.

  18. Robert Tene says:

    Damn…. I wanted to get myself some figurines and hugging pillows once, but I cannot because I know that if my parents see that they will get the wrong impression about me lol ~

    I do have some Death note wallpapers :P. When I will live on my own my room will probably look like that :P

  19. Overlord-G says:

    Where have you been all this time?

  20. Mangu says:

    “Some will even argue that liking anime doesn’t make you any more Japanese, it just makes you a fan of animation.”

    …which is true.
    Being an European and eating a hamburger at McDonald’s doesn’t make you more American either. LOL Or browsing YouTube with US settings.
    Simply enjoy the stuff, but don’t get lost, no matter how shitty your life is.
    Else that would be a sign that you lose your sanity
    (see My Little Pony -> Bronies …although that is not anime, but you fellas get the idea.).

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