Here’s are the best ways to anger anime fans:
Asking why a show isn’t in English or why the characters’ eyes are so big are the two easiest ways to anger anime fans.
You can also ask a ton of questions, ridicule the medium, suggest that it’s for kids, or misname characters and shows.
Or, just point out how unrealistic it is on repeat.
So if you want to learn all about what makes anime fans really angry, then you’re in the right place.
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What Even Is Anime?
The fact that you’re looking on the internet for tips on how to anger an anime fan suggests that you might not be intimately familiar with the art form.
If we’re going to do this, we should do it right, so I’m going to take a minute to make sure we’re all on the same page.
If you know a little bit about what anime is and how it works, the list of anger triggers below will make more sense.
So, here’s what you need to know.
Anime is a term used to describe a style of animated content that is produced in Japan.
In order to be anime, it technically has to be made in Japan.
If it’s made in Korea, China, or elsewhere, it will have another name.
It’s kind of like how scotch has to be made in Scotland to really count.
The thing about anime is that it doesn’t directly compare to any western media.
Even though it is animated, most of the content is not aimed at children.
And, anime, by itself, explores a full range of different genres and stories.
You can find comedy, slice of life (meaning it’s everyday people doing everyday things), fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, romance, horror, action, and even westerns.
There’s a lot of anime out there.
The big thing about anime is that it tends to lean into its own list of tropes.
If you’re not familiar with the term, tropes are ideas or expressions that tend to repeat a lot in entertainment.
The damsel in distress is a common trope you might recognize.
It’s a simple concept, but it’s used in a wide range of different stories.
With anime, the tropes are largely different from what you might see in American or European (also known as Western) fiction, making anime a completely different viewing experience.
As such, it has garnered a large following.
If you’re interacting with an anime fan, they probably appreciate that the art styles, stories, and characters are very different from other popular media.
Why Are You Trying to Enrage the Anime Fans?
That covers the basics of anime, but there’s another important question.
Why are you picking fights?
Jokes aside, I can really reduce this to two basic ideas.
The first is that you actually don’t want to anger anime fans, and you’re planning to use this as a guide of what not to do.
In that case, I have you covered.
I’ll cover common faux pas, and I’ll explain why they bother anime fans.
The other possibility is that you want to tease a friend who loves anime, but you want to do it in a friendly way.
I’m actually embracing that.
There are a lot of friendly jokes and arguments among anime fans, and I’m going to provide insight into them.
If you’re actually looking to just make people angry, I don’t really have anything for you.
Nothing on my list is going to start a fistfight.
Instead, I’m focusing more on meme-level faux pas and points of frustration.
Ok, How Do You Anger Anime Fans? (11 Ways)
That is enough preamble.
Let’s get down to it.
Below is a pretty solid list of things you can do that will anger anime fans.
#1 Call Anime a Cartoon
Yes, this really does tend to annoy anime fans.
Sure, they understand that anime is animated (it’s in the name).
They know that cartoons are animated.
But, there actually are distinctions between cartoons and anime.
To keep this fairly simple, those distinctions lie in the style of the animation and the types of stories told.
Cartoons are traditionally aimed at children (although there are exceptions), and the visualizations are usually stylized to be in the vein of silly depictions of things that might otherwise seem normal.
Anime is not usually aimed at children (although there are again exceptions), and the visual style is more—for lack of a better term—cool.
Anime tends to stylize the visual aesthetic in order to evoke a specific sense in the watchers.
While cartoons more often than not aim for silly aesthetics, anime might try to seem realistic, “cool,” silly, or any number of other things, and you can actually browse anime by cover art to get a sense of the type of show you might see.
All of this is to say that when it comes to the animation itself, anime and cartoons are easily distinguished at a glance, and for someone who is a big fan of anime, chalking all animation up to “cartoons” is offensive.
Or so I’m told.
#2 Suggest That Anime Is for Kids
This really piggybacks on the idea above.
One reason anime fans don’t want you to call their shows cartoons is because there’s a strong association between cartoons and entertainment for children.
As I said before, there are anime shows that cater to younger audiences, but they’re actually in the minority.
If you explore anime content, you’ll find some of the darkest and most disturbing ideas explored through the medium (you’ll also find plenty of content that isn’t dark and disturbing).
There’s a lot of variety to what you’ll find in terms of themes and levels of maturity.
Especially if you’re talking to an anime fan who is over the age of 18, suggesting that they are watching kids shows will probably irk them a little.
At the very least, they’ll want to correct you.
#3 Ask Them Why Anime Isn’t in English
This is simultaneously a fun and playful way to tease an anime fan and an innocuous, innocent way to genuinely get under their skin.
If they’re watching an episode, and you can clearly hear Japanese voices, ask them why it’s not in English (or your native language).
If you’re teasing them, then they’ll probably jump into a rant about how subtitles are better than audio dubbing.
It’s a whole thing among anime fans.
If you’re sincerely asking, then they’ll definitely launch into that rant.
Then, they’ll probably play you samples of English-dubbed anime and Japanese anime so that you can “hear the difference for yourself.”
Like I said, it’s a whole thing.
#4 Insult Anime Fans’ Favorite Show
This is one of the big ones, and it’s something anime fans do to each other all the time.
If they’re a big fan of anime, then at some point, they’re going to try to introduce you to their favorite show.
It’s like how people get you to try a favorite drink or snack or whatever.
The easiest way to really hurt their feelings is to insult that show when they bring it up.
It’ll be more effective if you know enough about the show to provide direct, valid criticisms, but regardless, no one likes hearing bad things about their favorite show.
Really, you were the same way about Breaking Bad or The Wire or whatever, so it’s not really that different.
#5 Start a Waifu War
If you don’t understand the words in the subheading, don’t worry.
I’m going to explain.
Waifu is a slang term among anime fans to describe extremely popular female characters.
There is a gender-reversed analog known as husbandos.
I’m going to be using the terms interchangeably, because ultimately, it’s all the same concept.
The waifu aspect of anime culture can get pretty weird pretty quickly, so I’m going to keep this light and casual.
Sometimes, there’s a character that is particularly cute, compelling, and/or extremely good at what they do, and many fans take to those characters.
This is normal in fiction, if you really think about it.
The thing is, a lot of anime producers try to steer into this aspect of fandom, so at different moments, there will be characters competing to be THE crowd favorite (maybe for a season, maybe for all-time).
Arguments as to which “waifu” is the best can get pretty heated, and they’re easy to start.
Make a claim that any character is the “best girl” (gender actually does not matter), and you will instantly start a waifu war.
You don’t have to do anything else.
The anime fans will come running from far and wide, and you can see the arguments take place in real-time.
It’s a fascinating phenomenon.
#6 Ask if Every Character on the Show Is the One Anime Character You’ve Heard Of
Anime is not the most popular of all media in the West, but it has a notable global impact.
There’s a chance that you’ve heard of a couple of anime characters at some point.
A few names that might ring a bell include Goku, Naruto, and Deku.
There are plenty of others, but if you can name any anime characters at all, then there’s a real opportunity for you to annoy anime fans with this trick.
While they are watching a show, repeatedly ask if whoever you see on the screen is that one character whose name you know.
Odds are, the character you know isn’t in the show they’re watching at all, so this is sure to be annoying.
#7 Point Out Plot Holes
Anime is not about realism. At all.
Anime does try to explore real feelings.
A lot of sci-fi and fantasy anime shows use unrealistic scenarios to explore real ideas.
But ultimately, even the most “realistic” anime shows are still pretty unrealistic.
You can watch a down-to-earth show about a few high school kids in art school working on a project together, and it will find a way to be ridiculous in that manner that only anime can really pull off.
What that means is that any anime that bothers to have a plot at all will have plot holes.
I’m not picking on anime here.
It’s just the limit of logic.
If you embrace the fantastic (which anime generally does), then logic is bound to fail.
The story isn’t real, after all, and that leads to plot holes.
You can usually find them very quickly, and pointing them out is almost always frustrating.
If you don’t want to invest enough effort to follow the plot of a show, you can take the easy way out and point out how unrealistic the show is.
It still works, and it’s a lot easier.
#8 Pronounce Anime Wrong
It’s pronounced “Anne-imm-ay.”
Any other pronunciation is objectively wrong, and yet, many people get it wrong.
If you’re really trying to be annoying, then get creative.
If you’re not being creative, “ann-eye-mm or ann-eem” are common and frustrating for fans.
#9 Ask Why Anime Characters Have Such Big Eyes
This is definitely one of the most common questions non-anime fans ask of anime fans.
A common artistic style within anime is to overemphasize the eyes.
A fun fact is that this isn’t some Disney-esk style that’s aiming to make everything look cuter.
Instead, it usually has to do with Japanese philosophy.
Surely, you’ve heard the expression that “the eyes are the windows to the soul?”
Well, this line of thinking has been around in Japan for a very long time and is in line with traditional Buddhism.
To make a long story short, Japanese artists tend to focus expressionism in the eyes more than other parts of the face or general body language.
In fact, eyes are a part of serious Japanese tropes.
If a character wears glasses that hide their eyes, then that character almost certainly holds dark secrets.
The glasses prevent other characters from being able to see deeper into their motives, and a betrayal is inevitable.
On a different note, if a character is constantly shown with their eyes closed, then you can trust it’s a character that should not be taken lightly.
The closed eyes are symbolizing that this character can handle normal events with no thought or expression at all.
All of this is to say that eyes tend to be bigger in anime because of cultural focuses on expression through the eyes.
If, after reading this explanation, you still ask an anime fan why the eyes are so big, you’ll easily get a rise out of them.
#10 Ask a Million Questions While Anime Fans Are Watching a Show
This isn’t specific to anime.
If you ask someone a million questions while they’re watching a show they like, it will be annoying.
The difference is that if you aren’t accustomed to Japanese storytelling, it’s pretty easy to get lost jumping into an anime.
The tropes are all different.
The aspects of storytelling will feel strange.
Anime even does weird things with time that don’t make sense out of context.
Two characters can have an entire conversation while throwing a single punch.
It’s just an anime thing, and there are lots of other things like that.
It’s easy to get lost, but the anime fan next to you is probably deeply invested in the story and/or characters, and your endless stream of questions might be annoying.
#11 Suggest That Anime Fans Have a Weird Fetish With Japan
This is probably the most mean-spirited idea on the list, but it comes up enough that it’s worth mentioning.
If you see someone watching anime and suggest that they have some kind of Japanese fetish, they’ll probably take offense to that.
Many people enjoy anime because it offers a whole range of stories and ideas that often aren’t explored in western media.
It expands the kinds of stories that they can enjoy, and it has little to do with any attachment to Japan in particular.
The fetish suggestion can come across as pretty judgmental, and it wouldn’t be surprising if your comment was met with defensiveness.
While many of the things on this list can be used to tease people in a friendly way, this one is more likely to genuinely cause anger.