We all had that one phase that we are really, really embarrassed about, whether it be listening to dubstep 24/7 or having an ’emo’ haircut. Well, for me it was my complete japanese obsession and, ugh, now I wish I could take it all back. Being weeaboo basically means that you are completely obsessed with japanese culture and even go as far as too denounce your own culture. Typical Weeaboos also like jpop, kpop, japanese food and call themselves otakus (which in itself is a slur). My weeaboo phase wasn’t anything special but looking back, I am so freaking glad that I didn’t put any information on the internet, which I will ne doing now, so just sit back and enjoy.
My story starts with my parent who were major fans of miyazaki’s films. Hot summer afternoons were spent watching Princess Mononoke and (my personal favourite) Laputa: Castle in the sky, for a while I didn’t think anything of the films I watched, simply dismissing them as well animated disney films (keep in mind I was 5). My second introduction introduction to japanese culture was through my parents’ constant travelling to asian countries, such as Malaysia and Hong Kong (because the flights were less expensive and closer -I live in oz). Through my travelling I pretty much had a second hand experience of asian culture but alas, that did not stop my weeaboo phase.
My weeaboo phase starts with my sister who liked watching anime, because ABC (Australian broadcasting corporation)’s kids channel showed anime late at night such as Sword Art Online and Kamisama Kiss. My sister invited me to watch SAO but I declined because I wasn’t such a fan of animation at the time. Later my sister asked me to watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica which was airing at the time, I decided hey, what could happen. I instantly fell in love with the show, and this is where the story really starts. I became obsessed with anime and in the beginning of the year I went to Malaysia.
At Malaysia, where we were staying there was a very large mall, and at this very large mall there was a strip of small Japanese stores. Two of these stores were in fact, selling anime merch. I was soo excited and I bought a pencil case, a keychain, two posters and a shirt. Now that I think of it, my stereotypical weeb behaviour is so cringey, I can’t even. I wasn’t the only person who liked anime in my school, a girl called Frances did, and believe me, she liked anime way more than me, which even put me of anime for a while. In one of my most weeby moments, I wished that I was *sigh* asian because being south african and 1/4 belgium girl born in Australia was rather boring.
Of course, by now, you’re asking, how did I stop being weeb? Well it all started when I was watching anime YouTubers. One of those anime youtubers was TheAnimeMan. he often talked about weeaboo behaviour and condoned it. I started realising, that, maybe obsessing over anime is unhealthy. I also started going on the more political side of tumblr and the political side of Tumblr told me (in varying terms of politeness) that fetishizing races were wrong. I realised, hey, maybe wishing I was asian is racist and trying to learn japanese from anime is stupid and disrespectful to Japan. Well, that and my disisnterest in modern anime led me to become a more casual fan of my beloved animu.
To anybody reading this, if you are obsessed with anime to the point of it being unhealthy and cringey as hell, please reconsider and stop it. Anime is great but fetishizing cultures and wishing you were asian isn’t and is ultimately harmful to you and the culture that you are interested in. Remember to be respectful and kind to all cultures. Take it from me, don’t be a weeb.