When Your Friends Make You Realize Your Fav Is Laughably Problematic


Remembering, once again, why you should never introduce your friends to your personal anime favorites.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/mbb943/when-your-friends-make-you-realize-your-fav-is-laughably-problematic


I’m usually weary of going back to any anime I may have been drawn to as a teen, usually it becomes a no go by episode 2 (coincidence?) It’s actually the reason I’ve been avoiding rewatching Hellsing. Something has been scratching at the back of my head about this show, and as of you writing this, it all makes sense why I’ve been avoiding it.

Not all anime as a teen was bad! It’s the reason I love Sailor Moon and Yu-Yu Hakisho.


Final Fantasy X for me. I used to think it was the endgame of Final Fantasies back then (I was young). Then my friend played it a few years ago and I received an endless amount of grief with his constant mockery: “I can’t believe you liked this”

In any given day I would have kindly asked him to go away but the thing is, he was right. This game is wack and there are things today that I find extremely disturbing, sexist and just quite off-putting as any kind of family-gathering game I weirdly came to expect from it.


The first Wayne’s World is for sure a really bad watch if NONE of the joke land lemme tell you.

And a lot more of them don’t than you might remember. That film didn’t age well at all.


Does trying to get my wife back into Game of Thrones after she wrote it off as “pretty dumb now that it doesn’t have the books” count?

But in all seriousness, JRPGs in general as a genre have been the tough sell. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to play Nier on account of the all around horniness of the character design and Persona 5 is a gift in terms of fun but explaining it to my wife is pretty cringe inducing.

“Well these cool Japanese teens, uh, dress up like bank robbers and steal treasure from bad people’s hearts and uh, there’s a talking cat and you can uh…”


I think the “true” Hellsing is both of those things, as long as you still like it. Both the problematic aspects and the parts you love so dearly exist together, one doesn’t have to eclipse the other. Some things you like just aren’t for certain other people, and I think that’s perfectly okay.

  1. Anime is good and pure.
  2. Having one really close friend (in my case my girlfriend/best friend) to watch all the trashy and problematic anime (or anything else) with is incredibly good.

life is too short to get mad about vampire succ and if you can share that with at least one other person then do it.


Fortunately I’ve always had far too much self-awareness in general and a sense of shame in general to introduce stuff that I like that would probably be viewed in a negative light by some people like say Hand Maid May.

I’ve had a lot of people completely bounce off things I like but that’s a different thing.


Introducing some friends to Gintama in like, highschool or something? That was a big mistake. I apparently forgot that I only suffered through the first, what, 40 episode, 'cuz I’d already read the manga.

The early episodes are… really bad.

And god, for all that I love that stupid series to death, it has some big 'ol glaring problems.

Like, okay. Kyubei being genderqueer/non-binary is cool as fuck.
But other than that, the arc message or moral? Just… why.
And there’s some garbage in earlier arcs. And the way it handles trans stuff… I wouldn’t say there’s active malice, since a lot of the series is about acceptance, but ugh. It’s bad. Any arc involving Saigou, Saigou’s employees, or god, Kyubei, highlights the problems the series has with portrayal of any character that isn’t cishet.


I am finding sort of the same thing happening when I go and revisit older anime that I surely loved when I was younger. Even knowing that it is of a time and place, for me, doesn’t excuse seeing it with 2017 eyes. Hellsing, I feel like is a funny example because I was just starting to see what I see now when it was new. But whew. You’re right. This write up is spot on.


Every time I try to get my closest friends into wrestling regardless of what promotion it may be I feel I have to put a large asterisks especially when I’m trying to show off a particular wrestler I like. “Oh he did that to her because…he’s…a bad guy…for now…but I swear he is great and…oh no they…never address that…in…any…oh boy…okay…”.

Or alternatively, “That dude is great…oh you found their twitter accou…oh…um…yea never mind…wow they suck…”.

Or my favorite “His gimmick is being a hot man & flirty. Well he’s a good guy. Yea he’s flirting with that woman who clearly isn’t into him but she’s…bad…yea but she just beat the shit out of him…thats good right? It’s just the beginning of the story line you will see it…it works out okay. He isn’t as much of a sleeze after this one match I promise. LOOK see!? He just jumped off…oh you’re walking away…you don’t care…okay…that’s fine…I still love him…he’s a good guy I promise! No…no they never acknowledge how problematic…okay well that one announcer does…oh but he calls women…rats…and…Sigh…okay…you know…maybe that’s enough wrestling for one day…”


I love Gintama to death too, helped me more than I’d like to admit through the bad times. It might be more of a solo watch kind of humour, though.


A few months ago, a friend asked me if I had any suggestions for cool action anime movies. This is (paraphrased) what I told them:

“Ninja Scroll is an awesome movie! …although I will should give you a heads up that there is this one scene depicting sexual assault. Also there’s a ‘maybe it was kind of progressive for 1993 but is not great in 2017’ portrayal of a gay (or bisexual) character. And now that I think about it, there were actually two scenes of sexual assault. Arguably two and a half scenes… okay maybe you should just watch Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust instead.”

The fight with the bee guy is still cool as hell though!


I’ve been in this position far too many times.

"Let’s watch the first Ghost in the Shell!“
all of the nudity transpires
"Uhhhhh yeah, guess this didn’t age well!”

More recently, I convinced a friend to watch New Game, but I totally forgot about the way one or two shots in each episode lingers on the all-female cast in a very “male gaze” fashion. It wasn’t horrible, but still somewhat humbling to have that happen after you recommended it.

Since this is a more common experience than I first assumed, it might be worthwhile to preface your classic faves with “I watched this a long time ago.” If that doesn’t apply, remember that your friends have probably been in the exact same position before, and will be in a similar position again. They probably know not to judge you for what you watch.


Side note on this: if your friends call out the anime/other media that might not have aged well and are fans of the worlds favorite dragon-themed soft porn or anything similar is it okay to call them out for it?


Not anime but when I was a kid there was this movie my siblings and I all were super into that had a bunch of trained birds living in a town doing cute tricks aka their daily chores and stuff. There was a plot involving an evil crow that the town finally managed to overcome. I went back and watched it as an adult and was all “awww just as cute as I remembered” up until the narrator said the crow was called “The Black Menace”. Yes, really. The rest of the movie was straight up good and pure white people town but as cute birds being preyed upon until finally capturing and setting the crow on fire. It was all pretty blatent. It won an oscar back in 1948…


Martian Successor Nadesico is the one that sticks out to me most. I loved it in high school but when showing it to my anime night pals a few years ago, a combination of bad video files and just nothing really going on, save one good gimmick in the show, made me feel pretty awkward.


A thousand times yes, Hellsing in my memory is very good and yet there’s enough of it that I remember that means I’m definitely never going back to replace that memory with what it actually is. What I want Hellsing to be is exceptional and back when it was pretty new then I kinda convinced myself it was and glossed over the bits that even at the time I realised were rather juvenile flourishes that detracted from it.

I’ve got a list a thousand miles long but I’m going to pull The L Word from near the top of it mainly because the reboot news is recent enough that I’ve been thinking about it and rewatching it and… I’m not entirely sure I want to do that to myself.



In general, Batman V Super. I get a lot of flak for liking that film. I admit that it has flaws but I still liked it and no matter of understanding of its flaws do I get any kind of relief. In anime though, hmm, Its weird because my friends expect me to like a lot of shonen or action shows like Naruto or Bleach or DBZ and when they found out that I also enjoy shows like Chobits, Urusei Yatsura, Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica, I get a lot of abuse for that.