Anime fans are all a bunch of nerds. That much is obvious to everybody, both inside and outside of the community. What's not always obvious is what anime fans are actually like. They might seem like a monolith, but don't be fooled — there's a massive variety of otaku out there: weeaboos, fujoshis, casuals, cosplayers, and more.
If you're not an anime geek, you might not know what any of that means, but it's okay. You're about to read an anime fandom breakdown that's going to clear it up for you. If you are an anime fan, you probably have some idea of where you fall already. Because you definitely fall somewhere. Nobody escapes.
Despite their eccentricities, most anime fans are pretty cool people. Sure, there are a few folks who should be launched directly into the sun, but you get that in every community. Despite their differences, every kind of anime nerd shares a genuine love of the medium. Maybe that's the only thing that all these very different types of fans have in common, but hey, that's not nothing.
Key Characteristics: The Shipper is all about the love between characters. While there’s some crossover with the Fujoshi, the Shipper isn’t limited to dudes loving dudes. The Shipper might like straight ships, they might like queer ships, and they might like both. Shippers watch a series, decide on an OTP (one true pairing) and then apply their talents to fanart, fanfic, fanmixes, AMVs, or just screaming happily at each other about a cute moment that their OTP shared.
It’s not all sunshine and ice cream, though. Ship wars can sink a fandom pretty darn quick.
Favorite Shows: Literally any anime with more than one character in it.
Fandom Level: 6 coffee shop AUs out of 10.
Key Characteristics: To the Fandom Intellectual, anime is an extension of their education. They probably majored in literature, media studies, science, history, psychology, or anthropology, and they’re looking at anime through that lens. While the Fandom Intellectual might focus their attention on anime that poses interesting philosophical and moral questions, they can also be found writing about how the little clown man from YuGiOh 5D’s struggled with internalized classism. Because, you know, why not.
Favorite Shows: Death Note, Library War, Mushishi, March Comes In Like A Lion, and Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Fandom Level: 6 thesis statements on whether or not Light Yagami has Narcissistic Personality Disorder out of 10.
Key Characteristics: The Casual has seen the same handful of anime literally everybody else has seen, and it’s all dubbed. If it was on Kids WB, Toonami, or Adult Swim, they’ve seen half of it and don’t remember most of the details. Maybe they’ve seen one of the more wildly popular contemporary titles like One Punch Man or Yuri!!! on Ice, but don’t count on it.
Favorite Shows: Naruto, DBZ, Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh! (only DM, the Casual has never seen GX, 5D’s or Zexal), and of course Pokémon.
Fandom Level: It's over 9000!!!! out of 10.
Key Characteristics: Fujoshis are often parodied in anime — you’ll find them in everything from Barakamon to Kiss Him Not Me. Fujoshis are huge fans of yaoi, a genre that packages relationships between gay men for heterosexual female consumption. They buy seme/uke paddles and carry them around anime conventions, and they’re likely to have messenger bags covered in “I <3 Yaoi” pins. At their worst, they can be found following real life gay couples around anime conventions and badgering them to kiss.
Favorite Anime: Free, Black Butler, Yuri!!! on Ice (they like it because it’s “sinful,” not for the representation). Old school fujoshi have a huge soft spot for Gravitation.
Fandom Level: 2 Dorito-faced senpais out of 10.