I find it really strange when people take a criticism on their favourite anime (applies to any medium of art actually) as a personal attack.

Yes, works of art can mean something to you, but if it's not your personal work of art that intimately reflects on who you are then how can it possibly make you irate or feel like its a directed attack on your person? I really don't understand that mindset.


It's what happens when you get really attached to something. If you identify with something, an attack to it feels like an attack to your identity.


@Aldnox I find that silly because it's literally not your art and to define yourself solely by something somebody else created is selling yourself short.


like when somebody wrote a bad review for akira and the whole site was in an uproar

i think it's because it feels like a personal attack on your beliefs, and people just haaate to be told that they're wrong about something


@Electrochemist It's not "solely". But if you like playing the guitar and you see people saying playing the guitar sucks, you'd probably feel bad about it because you have a personal attachment to it. Same thing. It's not weird really, it's human nature.


Distinguishing between fiction and reality has always been a major problem that anime fans have suffered from. Not just anime fans in fact, just about anyone hooked on media. Like the comment above said, when people consume art that they feel is a representation of themselves or an idea that they believe in, they hold that to such a high esteem that criticising the art is criticising themselves. People need to drop that mentality and understand that they're more complicated than what a piece of art is able to communicate in order for them to relate to.

Loving something because it connects with you on a personal level or has helped you comprehend parts of yourself that you otherwise couldn't have have without said piece is one thing, but to romanticise it and not take yourself beyond that point is another way of saying "this is all that I am." I've met some very boring and one-dimensional people in my time, but I still think they're worth more than the art they associate with. It may say something about themselves, but it is not an excuse to become the art piece itself.


@Aldnox But learning & playing guitar becomes your art. Somebody elses writing is not yours for example.


If someone doesn't like something I really like i feel a little sad but nothing more because I want people to enjoy the stuff I enjoy. Everyone have their own opinion and everyone have their own taste.


@Ixil wonderfully put!


@Electrochemist That's not the point. The point is you have a personal attachment to it. Look at shows like CLANNAD which have unironically gotten people up from terrible lives of depression and suicidal thoughts and given them a push to the right path in life. Can you say it's stupid that they have a personal attachment to that show and thus feel bad when people criticize it?


@Aldnox yes, for example, the FMA manga has helped me through the darkest times in my life and will continue to do so, how could somebody elses criticism on that manga's pacing, writing quality or art possibly have any bearing on my experience with it or my subjective love for it? It's not my art.


To put what @Ixil said another way, they actually live vicariously through the entertainment they consume. Some folks unhappy with choices or opportunities they've had in life will emotionally replace those parts of themselves with the entertainment that fits the idea of the life they would have liked or would like to lead.

I've struggled with this myself as I really didn't come out of my shell socially until high school was almost over. As a result I didn't carry many friends over into adult life and didn't have many of the memories others had from school days. When watching some shows or entertainment I find myself imagining my life to have followed the path of the characters in the show.

This leads to an emotional attachment to the show that I wouldn't have otherwise. For the people you mention, this turns criticism of the show into a feeling of an attack on that emotional bond that these people have developed, leading to them considering the criticism to be a personal attack.


@Electrochemist Attacks on FMA might not have an impact on you, but they do on other people because everyone is different and reacts differently and has different experiences. You said you didn't understand, I explained the best I can, there's not much else to do. I'm terrible at explaining stuff though, so I apologize for that.


to be fair

this was a literal line in that Akira review

Attention to anyone planning on watching this: please don’t. I’m looking out for you here. Fuck this movie and the shitty culture behind it.

like almost all of the negative reviews that I've just seen get downvoted to oblivion read like the person writing the review entirely gave up giving what they were watching a chance as they were watching it and before they even STARTED writing their review

like that JoJo one that got taken down a couple of days ago it was entirely negative on Part V which is still airing and the person said in the review itself he was still gonna watch it to completion but he was still reviewing it to tell people to not bother anyways

it's fine to be negative but if you go into it just 100% and don't actually provide genuine criticism and just rely on insults or just calling things stupid or bad of course people are gonna take it as an attack and downvote you to all hell

I mean I know there's still people who will do that anyways regardless but I really do believe these reviews get like 100+ downvotes more because they're just terrible reviews rather than they're a negative review of something that's really liked by a lot of people

being negative or criticizing something =/= being unpleasant


@TheGrumblingGoblin basically this.


@TheGrumblingGoblin There was an interesting thread on askreddit the other day where someone asked people to name insanely popular movies that you secretly hate but are afraid to mention because of potential backlash from fans.

Literally a thread where people are supposed to name stuff they dislike that is popular.

Well if you sort it by controversial people were naming things like Game of Thrones and Max Max Fury Road and fans were downvoting them to hell. Literally in a thread where people were supposed to name things they didn't like that were popular.

So while I agree with you that being unpleasant or writing an objectively bad review is certainly a good way to get crapped on, many fans will just crap on anything that disagrees with them and would rather sit in an echo chamber all day than to hear someone doesn't like the same things as them.


I think that comparison is a little shortsighted. Consuming fiction is not a passive process, it is a form of continuous intellectual engagement; you digest various pieces of input, aurally, visually, textually, interpret them, piece them together and derive speculations, which you constantly reassess; you don't just observe a story from afar, you hypothetically live it and, ideally, find something to identify with - not in the sense of literal insertion, but in the sense of finding something that manages to speak to you and your experiences.
Of course, you are not the one who wrote the script, who drew the storyboards, who devised the characters, who directed or who supervised the production, but similarly, when you learn a song on the guitar, you are not the one who conceived of the melody, who composed the song or who wrote the lyrics. That is, though both activities get executed in different manners, they are fundamentally similar in that you take a preexisting piece of art and then thoroughly engage with it. Of course this does not make the piece of art yours - that would be preposterous -, but you are to some extent appropriating it.
Not only are you connecting with the piece by engaging with it, you also tend to achieve a better understanding of it and its intricacies. If your friend plays you a song on the guitar and it is not to your liking, they will surely object and might argue why e.g. the composition is particularly elegant, a detail which you might not have noticed simply listening to it (of course, this analogy doesn't translate perfectly to fiction as all people usually have consumed the same work, but the disparity comes back in place with the amount of thought devoted and potential rewatches/rereads of the work in question).
All of this is not to say that people are justified in taking criticism as personal attacks, let alone that this would it turn justify dismissing these criticism (which I staunchly oppose), but I will certainly defend that this type of reaction is perfectly natural.


@Thorgott2 I'm mainly referring to extreme cases where one would think criticising production or writing qualities is a personal attack on them. I'm not talking about offhand comments or insults, I'm talking about actual critical reviews etc etc. But yeah I agree with you, not unnatural to defend some piece of media that you deeply love and connect with, I do it all the time. But I do think that to find it personally offensive when the other person comes from an analytical standpoint and is not actually offensive with their wording is, quite frankly pushing it - and that's what I'm talking about.


I agree with you, though I still tend to get really irritated when I say something like, “hey I really like this show,” and people’s first response is “well i think it’s shitty and here’s why,” which could lead to a dunk session in chat on the show. It feels overly confrontational and negative, and while I’m not hurt by their criticisms of the show, I might feel hurt that they’re going out if their way to shit on and be negative about something I just said I enjoyed. Though you’ve said that you’re talking about critical reviews, in which case what I’ve said doesn’t apply.


I agree with basically everything you said.

The film FRANCES HA is one of my favorite movies of all time, and yet this is my favorite Letterboxd review.