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Anime Gatekeeping, And Why The Community Is Doing It The WRONG Way

anime girl annoyed face
Avatar of Theo J Ellis

Anime gatekeeping is no different to gatekeeping in any other industry. It all starts with one greedy person who wants to hoard, manipulate, and abuse an industry for selfish reasons.

When I started getting into the anime industry I reached out to 1000’s of anime accounts, sites, blogs, vlogs, and more.

Most ignored or saw me as “competition”. Including people who went out their way to build themselves up at the expense of trying to put me down or exclude me.


This is a form of gatekeeping WITHIN the anime community

A lot of these so-called influencers aren’t your friend.

Same with the big sites. Unless you kiss their batty and bend over backwards when they tell you to.

The other form of gatekeeping in the community is criticizing fans who like anime that aren’t “popular”.

sword art online alicization fight kirito eugio

Sword Art Online is a perfect example of this. The amount of media outlets, vlogs, and blogs who jump on the SAO hate train for clicks and likes is sickening.

It’s their way of saying “if you like SAO you shouldn’t be in the anime community”, which is proven by how you’re treated for being a fan of it.

These same people who by the way, claim they love and support the anime community (when convenient to their agenda).


Anime gatekeeping as it stands, is built on arrogance

It’s all about who’s better than who, and excluding anyone who doesn’t fit your idea of “the ideal anime fan” to stroke your own ego.

That’s not what gatekeeping is supposed to be. Or at least that’s not a practical way of doing it.

With that said…


The State Of Anime Gatekeeping Looks Like This:


1. “If you watch mainstream anime, you’re not a real fan”

mainstream anime

I’ll be the first to say I’m not the biggest raver when it comes to mainstream anime. That’s because I don’t like to get caught up in hype.

But I’m baffled at the amount of fans I see saying “you’re not a real anime fan if you watch mainstream content”.

All forms of extreme gatekeeping is nothing but projected insecurity. You exclude others to big yourself up and make yourself “feel better” about your choices.

Trying to put others down for having different tastes makes you a loser behind closed doors.

Related: 15 Of The Best Non Mainstream Anime That Deserve More Praise


2. “If you like Fairy Tail or SAO, you’re not part of the anime community”

fake anime rules from elitists farhanshahid

As this image says – it’s a “caste” system for so-called real vs basic anime fans on an imaginary hierarchy.

According to this:

  • Elite anime fans have watched Berserk or NGE.
  • Otaku’s have watched FMA, Steins Gate, Code Geass.
  • Weaboo’s watch Death Note, One Piece, Attack On Titan.
  • Casuals have seen Dragon Ball, Naruto, Bleach.
  • “Untouchables” is anyone at the bottom who’s watched (and enjoyed) SAO or Fairy Tail.

This list by a person who’s no doubt projecting his insecurities, is what’s wrong with the toxic anime community.

People are so spiteful these days they’ll go out of their way to make you feel small, to justify a “void” in their lives.


3. “You can’t cosplay as THIS anime character because of your race”

The image above is taken from a black girl who cosplayed as Nezuko (Demon Slayer).

This was her first time doing cosplay, and she was understandably nervous because of reasons I’ll get into.

Ironically it didn’t take long for her post to gain traction, or for the “anime cosplay police” to tell her what she can and can’t do…

you cant cosplay as nezuko if youre black

These types of gatekeepers in the anime community, ironically, are Americans who aren’t even Japanese. And yet are “gatekeeping” anyone who doesn’t look like them based on false notions.

Though it’s not like Americans only target the black community, either…

only asians can cosplay anime characters 1

On the other side is another extreme: fans saying “only Asians can cosplay”. And going as far as starting an “Anti western movement” with a website dedicated to it.

This type of anime gatekeeping is mad and I’d like to believe it’s not common, but it kinda is.


4. Excluding NEW fans to stroke your own ego

nezuko of the hole demon slayer meme

This “meme” says anyone who started watching Demon Slayer after episode 19 aired isn’t a REAL fan.

The funny thing is what they’re actually saying is new anime fans who now like Demon Slayer aren’t “qualified”.

This logic is the reason why NEW fans don’t wanna be part of the community. Why would they?

No one wants to be a part of someone if it means jumping through imaginary hoops because of some false notion of gatekeeping.

Related: 7 Of The Biggest Reasons People Don’t Like Anime (Or Give It A Chance)


5. “If you watch anime dubs, you’re NOT a true fan”

so called true anime fans

This is another version of FAKE gatekeeping you see in the anime community. And again – this is mostly by people who aren’t native Japanese.

It’s either Americans, or westerners for the most part more than anyone else.

They wanna criticize and exclude anyone (new fans included) for liking dubs even though it doesn’t affect them directly. Instead of shutting the f*ck up and letting dub watchers enjoy what they want.

filthy dub watchers meme

And the fact this meme was created in 2019 only shows the amount of insecure people trying to gatekeep anime are alive and well.

This is again, why a lot of people avoid the anime community because of all this b*tching and bickering over nonsense.


6. “If you like X Y Z you should be ashamed of yourself”

if you like naruto anime gatekeeping

And then there’s the “gatekeepers” who go on to say you’re a piece of sh*t for liking certain anime. Or that you’re not a true anime fan.

Or in this case:

“If you liked Naruto you should be ashamed of yourself. If you like Boruto then you need to stop calling yourself an anime fan altogether.”

I do wonder why so many people are offended by your choice of anime.

Gives me a good chuckle.


7. “If you’re a woman, you’re not a “real” fan”

I’ll admit I’ve only been privy to this kind of behaviour, lately.

It seems there’s a small group of anime fans who criticize female fans for not being as serious or genuine.

Sometimes – they’ll even go as far as saying female anime fans are “only” fans because they’re trying to impress Men.

It’s amazing how this level of stupidity can even exist, but it’s a form of gatekeeping that makes me shake my head.

At least it’s not mainstream though. Just a couple of clowns without makeup.


A better way to handle Gatekeeping In the anime community:


1. When dealing with culture vultures

culture vulture meme talons

A culture vulture is someone who slides into an industry, profits off it, spreads propaganda and doesn’t give a F about the culture.

We’ve started to get a ton of culture vultures in the anime community in the last couple of years.

A lot of them are on Twitter, and certain websites who all of a sudden write about anime.

There are so many of these people masquerading on the internet as “anime. But they only jumped on the bandwagon because it’s getting popular.

Their motive is to try changing anime from the inside out with their so-called “WOKE” ideals and progressive bullsh*t. And force western ideals on Japanese media and society.

Anything they claim is sexist, misogynist, or whatever other buzzword is where they put their energy.

Related: The Problem With Anime Feminists In The West (And The Hidden Agenda)


Gatekeeping these types of people and “calling them out” is gatekeeping 101

YouTube video

At the end of the day, it’s these people who are trying to ruin and harm the anime community for everyone who just wants to enjoy it and be left alone.

If there’s a problem, the community can deal with it. We don’t need extremists to step in and preach about what should and shouldn’t be done.

Culture vultures are attempting to do this in all kinds of industries, not just anime. And it’s something that should be called out.

That’s the type of gatekeeping that makes sense because it’s practical and serves a real purpose.



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