The obnoxious consequences of anime becoming memes

There is no denying that KonoSuba benefited from its online popularity. Those first pioneers who sought out the show shared images and gifs of it online, which attracted hordes of new people who started doing the same, creating a perpetual cycle of hype. While KonoSuba is the undisputed king of this viral hype, it’s a kingdom it shares with the likes of Love is WarSenko-sanKomi Can’t Communicate, and many other works. All of them fun in their own way, but this online popularity does come with caveats.

Aqua

A problem I faced is that most of these shows (and manga) I approached out of frustration. I went into KonoSuba having already seen countless posts about it that spoil various jokes. While I was interested enough in these anime to put them on my backlog, I was ultimately watching them sooner than expected because I worried there’d be nothing left for me to see if I gave social media another month.

People understand that a big story development is a spoiler and mark posts featuring these as such, but a show like KonoSuba is heavily dependent on its comedy, which isn’t that exciting when people have been reposting its best scenes for years now. Kudos to the anime community for not spoiling a second of Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai‘s story. Just a shame that every snarky line of dialogue from that anime was reposted a dozen times by the time I got around to it.

bunny girl

With KonoSuba, I also noticed how the popular consensus in the anime community colored my expectations of these shows. KonoSuba already doesn’t have the deepest characterization, but constant posts about Aqua being useless made me think lowly of a character that had a lot more to her than what the community was giving her credit for. As I watched through the show, it struck me just how brief some scenes were despite being held up as major character moments. The big “gender equality” scene people kept bringing up when mentioning Kazuma was so short and insignificant I didn’t even register it as THE moment until season 2 had a call-back to it.

Now some might ask why this is a problem now, when in my review of Nichijou I praised how easy it was to share the show online. Putting aside that the internet was a very different space back in 2011, Nichijou is a series of short comedy sketches that, by design, are meant to work independent of the show as a whole. It’s more fun to watch the full anime but the situation is notably different compared to Kaguya-sama, which had every new episode rigorously dissected the moment it came out to find the newest meme material.

Cat ears

This is not to say that anime shouldn’t be discussed. It’s only natural that a sizable part of the community will be talking about shows that are currently popular and airing. However, there is a difference between places where discussions about shows is neatly ordered and places where pictures and gifs are posted freely. I like anime and I like anime-related comedy & nonsense, but I am contemplating leaving these communities because I don’t want to keep up with seasonal anime or dig through its endlessly-reposted spoilers to see the more general posts I signed up for.


How and where do you engage with the anime community and how important do you feel it is to avoid spoilers for the latest shows?

One Comment Add yours

  1. AK says:

    I don’t guess all the memes bother me that much, though I can understand why they would bother a lot of people. Seeing material from a game or anime posted way too often can give me the kind of wrong impression about it that you bring up.

    I’ve been having this kind of experience with Monogatari recently. For the longest time I only knew all the memes that took one-off jokes from the series and blew them up, but seeing them play out in the context of the show makes them a lot more enjoyable. I’m thankful that I wasn’t put off of the series, because I’m liking it so far. All the dumb jokes about it don’t give much impression of what it’s actually about.

    Liked by 1 person

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