A Long-Expected Party.

As I grow farther away from what is known as the Youth Market, I realize that technically I should not be as obsessed with all these things which are meant to appeal to a target audience about a decade younger than I. Still, I react to that assertion with the sort of indifference which marks either acceptance or escapism: being grown-up does not bring with it maturity as much as greater disposable income.

I realize that I'm certainly not the oldest anime fan around, or even near to that qualification. I am still in the generation of Newfangles, and our Snappers are Whippered. I have had occasion to hastily remove myself from a surprising variety of virtual lawns.

And yet, it is a minor shock to realize that it is possible for a young anime fan to ask me "so how long have you been watching anime?", and thanks to a relatively early start, I can honestly reply "longer than you've been alive". (If you're wondering: counting only the time I was aware that it was anime and not just a random cartoon, about fourteen to fifteen years; I forget exactly.)

Anime fans above the target age of the Youth Market tend to have a certain reputation, deserved or otherwise: curmudgeonly and crotchety, liable to express views along the lines of "in my time". To be fair, this applies to more or less every community that is predominantly under the age of 25: I've seen it in all sorts of situations, and the flamewars start to look the same after a while. I suppose this is also something that comes with age, in the sense that it is more rightly associated with experience; age merely provides more time for this experience to happen in.

But age seems to be of great concern in certain discussions, especially in touchier situations. I have been told that my habit of rambling on in complete and complex sentences is a sign of some elemental concept of Maturity lacking in Young People These Days. Few people seem to believe me when I point out that I've always communicated like this on the Internet, ever since I found out about the Internet in the first place. (Which was, incidentally, around the time I discovered anime as anime. Figuring out what these strange cartoons were categorized under helped immensely.) I'm not sure how it happened; it just turned out that way.

Conversely, I've also been accused of being far younger than I am, or at least more immature. I cannot comprehensively dispute the "immature" label, since it's not something I can self-diagnose, but the chronological aspect is easily disproven. From context, it appears that I am part of the Newbie group entirely because I like current anime. These anime are not targeted at my age group, I admit; perhaps this is why I am assumed to be of the age the anime are targeted towards.

It's a little odd to make such assumptions, I think. After all, just because I like Card Captor Sakura doesn't make me a ten-year old girl, as novel as that would be.

A common analogue I've seen would be a certain sort of gamer decrying people who like Final Fantasy 7 or later, claiming that they Have Not Experienced Better. They point to the Super Nintendo era as the True Classics; seeing as I started gaming on the old Nintendo Game And Watch and Atari 2600, I think I may be misunderstanding the criteria for "True Classic". I like Final Fantasy 6 more than Final Fantasy 7, but I still like Halo more than Doom. When people say "remember the time when games were better than today's" I have to honestly reply "no, I don't remember, sorry."

Nostalgia is perfectly acceptable, and reminiscing about stuff I've seen before in happier times is not an activity that is inherently deplorable. However, saying that they are objectively better because of their age, occuring in some sort of Golden Age of Anime, is simply incoherent and bizarre. I recognize that the whole "moe" thing may not last, and if everything swings towards a Darker and Edgier and Angstier style, I'd probably stick to my happy shiny fluffy moe bishoujo harem comedies. But that is preference by genre, not by age, except by coincidence.

After all, it's not like I can claim Ranma 1/2 to have any objective superiority to To-Love-Ru.

One Response to “Uphill Both Ways”
  1. anon says:

    When people say "remember the time when games were better than today's"

    I think when they say that, it's more of looking back at a time when they were less jaded, and more easily amused. That is why the past always looks better, you only remembered the good parts and they looked even better back then because you had nothing to compare to.