I hate anime fans because they are conceited, anal-retentive, silly, thickheaded, ignorant, inane and elitist. It is true that every human being displays these traits at some point in their lives, but most anime fans seem to have gotten an extra helping of them. Most of the time, I find them simply naive, grating, and irritating when they begin to discuss their preferred medium of entertainment.
Hmm, a good example of the sort of thing I'm talking about would be... try going up to the average anime fan and casually referring to sa's favorite show as a "cartoon." Nine times out of ten, you'll get to see the wheels in their head creak a little bit before the veins in their forehead start to twitch and steam starts coming out of their ears moments before they treat you to an extensive, violent rant on how anime is NOT cartoons, you stupid ugly American, it is a high form of art, unlike the half-hour toy commercials produced on this side of the Pacific, and to refer to it as a mere cartoon is to spit upon, pillage and violate all of the elite aesthetic glory that is anime.
Discounting the fact that the marketing blitz accompanying popular shows in Japan often surpasses what we get in the West (we never saw Sailor Moon sausages over here, did we?), 'anime' is actually-- surprise-- just the Japanese word for 'animation'! Thus, Pokemon, Akira, Legend of the Overfiend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Mickey Mouse, and Fritz the Cat all technically fall under the enormous banner of 'anime'. And last I checked, it was perfectly acceptable to speak of British or European cartoons; there exists no particular provision stipulating that 'cartoon' must refer only to American-produced work. Anime=animation=cartoons. End of story. QED.
(On a similar note, it should be noted that "seiyuu" is merely the Japanese word for "voice actor," and calling someone a "seiyuu" does not mean that they are on an artistically higher level than a mere voice actor.)
Further more, there also seems to exist a rule in the Unwritten Code of Otakudom that denouncing everything Western and championing everything Japanese is an essential part of being an anime fan. Now, I will freely admit that there are many aspects of Japanese culture I do like. I like their tendency to emphasize effort as more important than innate ability, their social politeness, and the fact that enough people there take video games seriously enough to orchestrate their music (among other things). It is also an irrefutable fact that Pocky kicks ass.
However, I know enough of their history and culture (unlike many anime fans, who think they can glean an accurate picture of Japanese society solely from watching subtitled videos) to know that Japanese culture also has its fair share of aspects that aren't admirable. It's still very much a male-dominated society, despite what anime might suggest, and can be downright repressive at times, not to mention there still remains an omnipresent attitude throughout most of Japan that foreigners, no matter how nice and decent, can never truly be accepted as "one of us." And don't get me started on the fact that the Japanese government has never apologized for wartime atrocities committed during WWII. Hell just read a series called "Rain Fall" or "The Rape of Nanking". You learn all sorts of interestingly horrible modern tid bits about Japan. But this isn't a political rant, so what it all comes down to is that you just can't take something as complex as an entire culture and slap it with a quick judgment like that.
The "America bad, Japan good" attitude, though, has ultimately spawned something even more utterly annoying than mere cultural chauvinism, and this is the irritating plague of fans who try to prove their Otaku Eliteness by speaking in weird bastardizations of Japanese and English, attaching honorifics to their names, and transcribing character names according to their original katakana spellings. Now, the first one doesn't always bug me that much unless it reaches a point where English speakers can't actually understand what the hell you're saying. The second one does annoy me, because honorifics are something that depend on your status relative to the person you're speaking to, so giving yourself an honorific makes no sense. The third one makes me want to froth at the mouth and rake my fingernails down the wall before going out to messily destroy adorable woodland creatures.
A word about the Japanese writing system might be useful here. As most anime fans know, the Japanese have a phonetic alphabet-- katakana-- which is used primarily to write words of foreign origin. (The other phonetic alphabet is hiragana, which is used to write Japanese words.) Now, the deal with katakana is that it only contains sounds which occur naturally in the Japanese language-- thus, there is no "l" sound, no "th" sound, and so on. Thus, it is used to write foreign words according to how the Japanese would pronounce them. Katakana words are NOT to be taken as actual spellings when transcribed literally. Many fans, ironically often those who toss off Japanese phrases at the drop of a hat, don't even realize this and think it is Cool or 1337 to romanize character names as they look in katakana. This is just STUPID.
For example, the anime series Slayers, a recent obsession of mine, has a character named "Sylphiel." Since the "si" sound doesn't occur in Japanese, all foreign words containing the "si" sound are written with the letter for "shi." I can't even count how many pages I've seen referring to her as "Shilfiel," "Shilfeel," "Shirufiel," and so on. Likewise, Anthy Himemiya from Revolutionary Girl Utena often has her name butchered into "Anshi" by fans. "Amelia" becomes "Ameria," "Martina" becomes "Maruchina," and... well, anyone who's spent any length of time visiting anime pages has probably seen this. One of the worst examples that I've seen concerns a character in Slayers called "Copy Rezo"-- "Copy" because, well, he is a copy of a character named (surprise) Rezo. However, anime fans PERSISTENTLY and CONTINUOUSLY insist on mangling this into "Kopii Rezo" or "Koppi Rezo." It's an English word. An ENGLISH word!! "Kopii" is just the Japanese pronunciation of the word "copy"! I haven't heard any anime fans claiming that they watch anime on their "terebi" recently. And yet I still see innumerable shrines, fanfics, and self-professed "information" pages referring to "Kopii Rezo."
The ultimate blow to my last shreds of confidence in society, though, was dealt when I saw a page referring to the series whose name is usually rendered into English as "Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon" (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon, Bishoujo Senshi Sailormoon, or Bishoujosenshisailormoon, or whatever the hell the Elite Hard-Core Otaku way of writing it is) written as "Bishoujo Senshi Seeraamuun." Is "Seeraa Muun" the way it is written in katakana? Yes. Did Naoko Takeuchi actually intend the name of her manga to be "Seeraa Muun?" I highly doubt it, especially taking into account that katakana is used mainly to write words of foreign origin, and since the words are written in katakana, the most obvious conclusion is that they're intended to be-- GASP-- foreign words! No, misspelling character and show names does not make you elite. It just makes you look like an idiot. Anyhow, if you've ever even seen any officially licensed Japanese SM merchandise, it usually has S-A-I-L-O-R-M-O-O-N written on it in very unmistakable romaji. Then again, I've fairly well given up on expecting anime fans to display anything in the way of rational thought. These are people who engage in flamewars over whether "Sailor Moon" is one word or two, for God's sake.
Now, I've become increasingly aware that there are more than a few other people who share my view on the vast majority of fandom, but quite frankly, from what I've gathered, most of them are afraid to speak out. And who can blame them? If there's one general characteristic of anime fans which irks me more than any other, it's that they take themselves and their entertainment too damn seriously. Sure, Japanese animation seems to put more of an emphasis on telling a serious story with well-developed characters than most of the animation we get in the West, but it's hardly an inviolable constant. I've seen some extremely crappy anime and some really damned good non-Japanese animation.
Not every anime series is an irreproachable masterpiece of cinematography and character. That said, a bad dub is not the end of the world either. Sure, DiC did a hack job on the English version of Sailor Moon, but to be frank, it's not as if what existed in the first place was classic cinema either. Sailor Moon is entertaining fluff, with no deeper meaning to it beyond the usual shoujo series "the power of friendship and love" message. If you're one of the sorts of people who expounds at length on webpages and bulletin boards about the "incredible beauty and power" of Sailor Moon, why the last episode is the greatest masterpiece of cinema since "Citizen Kane", and how Usagi is a metaphor for Jesus, please do the rest of us a favor and garrote yourself with piano wire. (And yes, before you ask, I have seen the Original Real Japanese Version. I don't want to get started on this. Your show sucks.)
In sum, I suppose the gist of my advice to anime fans would be:
1. 'Anime' and 'cartoon' mean the same thing.
2. Watching anime does not make you a qualified expert on the Japanese culture.
3. Sailor Moon (Sailormoon, whatever) is not the be-all and end-all of animated entertainment.
4. Stop taking yourselves so damned seriously. Being an anime fan (or a fan of a certain series, or a fan of subs as opposed to dubs) does not make you superior to the average person.
PS - I love Tenchi Muyo the mostest and wish to bear Washu's children.