Between those who understand the niche of anime and those who don’t, there lies a very big rift. But even for those who do, there seems to be still some misconceptions. One of the biggest ones I’ve observed is that watching romance anime is only for girls for the most part unless these are embedded in shounens like Bleach. Until then, they shouldn’t be watched by men. I don’t know if it’s only my misconception, but it seems that it isn’t, seeing that guys who do watch anime โ€“ not really addicted to them as I am, seem to prefer or are only proud of watching Bleach. When asked about ‘soft’ titles like Honey and Clover or worse, Koi Kaze, it’s either they pretend they haven’t heard of those titles (very plausible) or just pretend not to have watched these for the sake of their ‘manliness.’ This is what I don’t understand about a lot of guys. They are open to anime, but for the most part, they’re open to one of the weakest genres (IMO) only, shounen. It’s not that they’re still young boys and pre-teenagers, are they?

Granted, I do watch shounen. I was once a very avid fan of Bleach. But I didn’t stop there. Storywise, Koi Kaze kicks Bleach‘s ass hundredfold. I don’t have to wax lyrical about how I observed stuff (Faulknerian fragmentation … ) in the seinen Shingetsutan Tsukihime, because I already have. But to honestly limit what you watch simply because of what society tells you is real gayness. It’s a total retreat from being able to dare to watch beyond what you once did.

I can honestly say that I thought Bleach was among the greatest of all time, but reading suggestions thread and other threads about other anime slowly broadened my horizon about what anime should be, and what are great paragons of excellence when it comes to anime. But I didn’t pass judgment on those who watched ‘other’ shows (yes, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu included). I even talk with people and are online friends with some who really love the show, I simply just hate fanboyism, though I’ve been one once and have only myself to blame (Ergo Proxy) and that’s why I hate reliving the experience. No, you haven’t seen me fanboy with Honey and Clover yet. Once is enough; I hated that time, but I’m simply full of praise for H&C.

I don’t know with shounen being related to manliness, but I’m pretty sure it’s very untrue. I must even state a point that true manliness lies when one can watch those romance shows without flinching, although it does sometimes gets to me (the philosophy of quite a few anime watchers), and I ask myself why I am watching shows I’m not supposed to watch because I’m a man. In the long run, however, it’s better: at the least, you get to know what girls think about and how they observe life in the perspective of shoujo and josei anime, and even though one may deny himself from being a ‘man,’ I can assure one that he’s better off that way. Quality anime often are either seinen or josei, and story quality of good shoujo often is greater than good shounen, perhaps because of the fact that shounen anime try to mulct as much money out of the franchise as possible, eventually denigrating the story quality whereas shoujo for the most part don’t do this and just tell as good a story as possible. That applies for good shoujo, of course. I think a lot would agree with me when I would say that Utena, despite not watching it, has a much more solid story than Bleach ever did, and digs deep with its characters that a lot of guys online are even touting it as their favorite of all time.

(For those who don’t understand shounen, shoujo, seinen, or josei, shounen is anime aimed for young boys and pre-teenagers, shoujo is aimed for young girls and pre-teenagers, seinen is anime aimed for young men and older men, and josei is anime aimed for young women and older women as well.)