If you spend any time among Japanese cartoon fandom, you'll start to notice some distinctive character types. Sure, most of them are fine folks. But some of 'em are just plain annoying; and what's even funnier is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s review!
Know-it-alls: These ego boosters get into anime so that they can impress their friends. Listen for their distinctive croaking during theatrical screenings of anime, as they attempt to show the audience just how cool they are. Usually can be squelched by asking "Why is it that three months ago you didn't know anything about these movies, and now you won't shut up about 'em?" Most of these fans moved on to HK action movies in the mid 1990s, thank goodness.
One-note-wonders who concentrate on ONE SINGLE aspect of fandom - like, "I only like this one show or this one activity" - and get annoyed at fans or conventions that don't show their "special thing" enough respect. My advice is for these people to start their own fan clubs and hold their own conventions. We'll all be happier.
Utterly insane lunatics -these are the people who dig your phone number out of old C/FO directories and call you collect at 1:00am to ask if you'll send them free stuff. The answer, by the way, is NO. They're also prone to involve themselves in hopeless crusades involving network syndication, commemorative postage stamps, or mind control rays from Jupiter, and won't miss a single chance to speak on these topics at length, on your dime.
"Now That I'M Here, The Fandom Can Begin!" - they got into anime six months ago and are convinced that, even if fandom DID exist before their involvement, it must not have been very good. They're full of innovative ideas that were tried in 1995 and didn't work then either.
Youth-Culture God (or Goddess) - of course they're into anime, just like they're into snowboarding and hip-hop-techno-jungle and baby-Ts and scooters and whatever else happens to be hip just now. File under "pet rock" and if they give you any trouble, trip them with their own baggy pants.
Rules Are For Others - They enter every door that says "Do Not Enter". If the rules say "no guns" they bring their M-16. They stand under the "No Metal Weapons" sign, displaying their metal weapons proudly. Asked to not take photos? Flashbulbs pop away. Forget explaining anything to them, because these people are possessed with the deadly combination of Know It All-itis and Got Nothing Better To Do-ness, which means that they have the means and the oodles of spare time to debate Every. Single. Flipping. Thing. with anybody stupid enough to argue with them.
Japan Uber Alles- why, I like these Japanese cartoons, so naturally Japan must be a superior nation populated by a master race of intellectual and physical giants! Watch as I embarrass myself and annoy my friends with my intense wannabe-osity! Easily spotted by their thrift-store JAL yukata and incessant usage of mispronounced Japanese phrases at every opportunity. Can also be found in shopping mall food courts complaining about the lack of chopsticks at the Mr. Panda franchise.
Mister Technology - can only enjoy Japanese cartoons on his state-of-the-art TV, VCR, DVD, LD, ETC, WTF, and will thrill you with endless explanations of how the particular model of gadget HE chose is so superior to those other hopelessly lame brands. Never offer to help this guy move. He's got a lot of junk and it's ALL worth more than your car.
this guy sometimes merges with:
Mister Computer - for whom Japanese animation is a medium with which to show off his amazing computer technology and skill. Downloading episodes, burning DVDs, hosting web sites, arguing about same on internet message boards - if there's not a computer involved in it, it ain't anime. Don't help THIS guy move either.
Not For Kids - A failure to appreciate the differences in standards for children's entertainment leads these geniuses to conclude that if it has what would be considered adult-style content in the States, then it must be adult-style content in Japan! These cartoons are much too sophisticated and mature for children. There's no way Sailor Moon was intended for little kids! Why, the original Gatchaman series had blood and gore in every scene! No, I don't actually own the Gatchaman DVDs, why do you ask?
Senor Creepy - every town has one. He's the guy for whom regular bathing is just a suggestion and has worn the same outfit since the Reagan administration. For him "anime fandom" means replacing his pictures of naked Princess Leia with pictures of naked Sailor Mercury. And that's his GOOD quality.
Why Am I Here? He or she doesn't know or care anything about Japanese cartoons, but this is where everybody is hanging out this weekend so that's where he or she will be. Usually found proclaiming loudly that he or she knows nothing of this "anime" of which you speak, but by the end of the weekend will be a total anime fan who has always loved anime!
The Tape God Of The Ancients - this person built anime fandom, and won't ever let you forget it. Has shelves and shelves full of every Japanese cartoon he could beg, borrow and copy, borrow and never give back, trade for, phone total strangers in Japan and convince to buy for them, or steal. The problem is you will never, ever be able to have any of it, ever, UNLESS you grovel properly. Don't help to move either, those back issues of ANIMAGE are heavy!
Promotional Stepping Stone Guy - He (or she) has some sort of gimmick to push and naturally your anime club or con is the place to push it, whether it has any relation to Japanese cartoons or not. Listen for: "Why, of course, this has LOTS to do with Japanese animation!" Scarlett O'Hara impersonators, dog racing tracks, vampire role playing - if you're willing to lie down they're willing to do the walking - all over you!
Cardboard Fetishist - In the old days, to command the attention of the masses you'd have to learn a talent and practice for years. Now, utilizing techniques developed by years of crazy street person rant theater, all one needs to become a master attention whore is cardboard. Cover it with tinfoil and make a big sword! Write "funny" messages on it and tape it to your back! Or just put it on your head! If you saw 4-year olds doing it down at the playschool, chances are it's YOUR ticket to Fandom Fame! Sometimes collaborates with:
Cosplay Fetishist - Japanese animation fandom is, simply, people dressing up in costumes. That's all it is. Anime conventions are where people dress in costumes and have pictures taken of themselves posing. What all those OTHER people in street clothes are up to is anybody's guess! Sure, whatever it is they're doing would be a lot easier if fabric-draped drama queens weren't stopping dead in the halls every two minutes so clueless morons could get just one more photo, but you know, if those people were REAL anime fans, they'd be in costume!
Social Climber - You see, the world of conventions has a rigid class structure where the high and mighty lord it over the mere peons down below. To attain status in this fantastic world, you either have to do a lot of hard work as a staffer and run the convention, do a lot of hard work as a voice actor or artist and become a guest at the convention, or kiss enormous amounts of ass and be the guy that everybody knows and is friendly to but doesn't quite know why. You'll know you've achieved Convention Status Godhood on that glorious day when, without being a guest or a staffer, you are permitted to enter the holy Green Room and feast upon the Stale Pastries within.
Freaking DJs. Holy cow, freaking DJs. Why is it that every desperate, talentless loser decides to become a flipping DJ? When did the ability to match beats become a valuable life skill? And why does every single one of them think that a Japanese animation convention is the perfect place for them to show the world how awesome they are at pressing "play" on a CD player? And if there's anything they're better at than pressing "play", it's whining about those OTHER freaking DJs. Everything would have been AWESOME if it wasn't for those OTHER melonfarmers, right? People, there are a hundred and fifty million nightclubs in every city where people who want to celebrate the club lifestyle can go and rock out with their jock out all night long - if you want a great time dancing, why not go there? The ANIME CON is for FREAKING CARTOONS. Jesus. I mean seriously people, I don't go to raves and start whining because nobody's showing "Astro Boy", now do I? Jesus.
Little Miss Hyperactive - she's sweet 13 and has drunk SO MUCH SODA in the past six hours that she can't stop moving, can't stop giggling, can't stop screaming, and can't stop spending Daddy's money on bootleg CDs and toy magic wands. Warning - they travel in packs, and once they get old enough to discover boys, they get REALLY dangerous.
In Too Deep - anime fandom has been around long enough to develop its own little culture, and some people find they enjoy the con culture a lot more than the stuff the con is supposed to actually be about. They only communicate in con-culture catch-phrases and references, they're festooned with buttons and tags and signs and paddles and their idea of a great anime con is watching web memes on a laptop in the hotel lobby while waiting for the once-a-year trip to the favorite local restaurant, and then later there's a party. Good thing anime fandom came along to give these people something to hang their social lives onto!
The Cynical Veteran: Bores everybody with his seen-it-all attitude and constant stereotyping of other anime fans. Attends cons to drink and sell collection for rent and beer money. Professes noninterest in anime but is willing to waste hours arguing about the smallest - well, OK, that's me. Eh, everybody's gotta be something.