Seasonal Anime, The Otaku Community & Spoilers – A Discussion

As the Fall 2018 anime came to a close, a few of my Facebook friends where sharing pictures, lamenting the end of some great stories. One Facebook friend in particular, shared screenshots of the final heart-wrenching scene in Banana Fish. One of his friends complained about the spoiler (red) and the poster’s response (blue) used a phrase I’ve seen many a time on Twitter, Tumblr and any other social media. The manga has been out forever. I have to question why this is an acceptable response to accidentally spoiling someone. So let’s investigate what the deal is with the anime community and spoilers!

Anime community spoilers

So What is a Spoiler?

Just like in the name, a spoiler is a piece of knowledge that will spoil the experience of consuming a media. For example, knowing a certain character will die, a plot twist, knowing certain characters will fall in love etc. If you can imagine your experience of the  media would be significantly different knowing a piece of knowledge – then yes, it’s probably a spoiler.

What Isn’t a Spoiler?

Anything that can be assumed: To give an example most people can relate to, if I were to say to my friend, “hey, in episode 50, Rock Lee and Guy have a great scene where they train together”, I wouldn’t classify that as a spoiler. Simply because I can assume or imagine that can happen – Guy and Rock Lee are close and they ALWAYS train. Whereas if I said something like (this doesn’t happen in Naruto just making up an example), “Guy decides to abandon Rock Lee and never speak him to again.” then yep that would be a spoiler because who could ever imagine that happening?

Crunchyroll content warning

Content Warnings: When Crunchyroll began including content warnings on series like Goblin Slayer, besides people crying butthurt and ‘snowflake’, a few viewers complained that content warnings spoiled their viewing experience. As they would either know ahead of time that an episode will have violence OR expect violence when there would be none. Content warnings are there to tell viewers “in this episode there may be something in this episode that will upset you”. They DO NOT tell you “hey in this episode this character will die so prepare your tissues”, so no, they are not spoilers.

Megalo Box – An Example

Megalo Box spoilers

When Megalo Box was airing, there was a phrase I saw repeated again and again “but it was in the manga!”. The series was released on the 50th anniversary of a manga called Ashita no Joe. A few manga readers, or fans who had seen the 1980 anime would comment “oh I can’t wait till they animate this part”, or “gosh this part is going to be so intense”. Some fans even discussed how the series’ shocking ending would be shown! New viewers would get upset about the spoilers and the people who had shared the spoilers would respond with “It’s such an old series, you should know it by now!”.

My issue with this is – why is it expected that someone should read the manga, or know an old anime? Every day a new anime fan pops up, and what do new anime fans do? They jump into new anime, like the ‘old’ Big Three, the ’emerging’ Big Three or seasonal anime. They don’t go and start watching a show from the 1980s. Furthermore, and I’m talking from personal experience here, when there’s a series I like, I will VERY rarely watch the anime and read the manga. It’s one or the other and it depends on which medium I feel suits the story best.

But even regardless of all that, I’m sure everyone has had the experience of having something spoiled. And it’s a really shitty feeling, if you have a dash of empathy you know you don’t want to ruin a series for anyone. You want someone to enjoy the series as much as you did that first time you say it. Think of an incredible plot twist that happened in a series you liked – the shock you felt, the excitement? Now imagine if you had to go through that entire series knowing it was going to happen. Not so fun, right?

Avoiding spoiling people is easy – just use a spoiler tag or writer ‘SPOILER’ before your big rant / photo collage. Rectifying spoilers is even easier, just type a simple ‘sorry’ and it’ll be no harm done, just don’t put the onus on the viewer to have read some famous manga before watching the anime.

How do we Avoid Them?

Set up blocked words: Thankfully, social media sites like Twitter allow you to blacklist words or phrases. Below you can see my muted words on Twitter, I muted Avengers when the new film came out, and have quite a few otome phrases as I tend to take a long time to play games and don’t want any routes to be spoiled!

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 9.18.01 pm

Avoid Episodic Reviews: Many episodic reviews will feature a bunch of spoilers, simply because that’s the idea of it. An episodic review discusses what happens in an episode! Looking at full reviews can be a bit of a gamble, but most bloggers I know are kind enough to write “spoilers” at the beginning of their review so you can nope out of it if you don’t want to know too much.

Don’t Look it Up: Probably the easiest way to avoid spoilers is just don’t look up what you’re enjoying before finishing it. Don’t type in character names into google as it’ll try to guess what you’re searching like “character x” becomes suggested as “character x death scene” or “character x kiss with character y”.

To Sum Up…

To sum this article up, I’m going to use an age old Australian phrase – don’t be a dickhead.  For many of us, anime is an escapism from our daily lives, the chance to explore new worlds and meet interesting characters. Don’t ruin that excitement for another viewer, and it’s pretty easy not to. As I mentioned above – just tag your spoilers and for the love of anime, if you do spoil someone just apologise.

18 thoughts on “Seasonal Anime, The Otaku Community & Spoilers – A Discussion

  1. There are a few people I follow on Twitter who are incessant screencappers of both anime and visual novels that they watch and play and it drives me *nuts*. They’re not doing it deliberately to spoil things for other people — they’re just trying to show their enthusiasm for something, or perhaps comment on it in “real time” — but the side effect of what they are doing is spoiling every damn minute of the things they’re enjoying for those who haven’t watched/played it yet.

    Technically many of the things I write about narrative on my site are probably unmarked “spoilers”, but since my whole site approaches things from the perspective of analysing complete works rather than reviewing things “as I go along” (with a few exceptions) I feel I’ve set expectations appropriately. That and for my big features I tend to have a dedicated article just to talk about narrative, so if you want to avoid narrative spoilers, just skip that one!

    I do think some people can be a little oversensitive about what constitutes a spoiler, particularly when it comes to game — there were people arguing that talking about certain moves in Smash Bros. was a “spoiler” before the game came out, for example — but really, it’s not all that hard to be considerate to others and keep any potential spoilers in their own little walled garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh I’ve got a few people I follow who do that, I end up muting them, because I still want to ‘follow’ them to show my support but I don’t actually want to see their non-stop screen caps!

      It’s definitely hard, actually I should say pretty impossible, to write a feature article or in-depth analysis while dancing around big plot points in the story. So I’m sure people would expect it going into your site! But yes, I agree, sometimes fans can be a little over sensitive. I just finished watching an anime called ‘My Roommate is a Cat’ and the main character in that is hyper sensitive to spoilers, to the point that he doesn’t like anyone even giving him their opinion on a book/show/whatever. I’ve seen people similar to that on social media and it always gets me scratching my head.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a bit weird when it comes to spoilers, there’s some shows where I actively look up EVERYTHING about the show including full recaps before watching the show myself. And then there’s show I ~insist~ on experience unspoiled.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Haha! I’m actually pretty similar, if it’s a show I’m on the fence about I’ll go and read a few episode summaries before I decide to commit, but ones I 100% know I’ll love I try to avoid any spoilers of. I have a friend who actively went on Wikipedia to know every Game of Thrones death as she wanted to know which characters to avoid getting attached to, she gets quite emotional watching series and didn’t want to be crying wreck every week.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m not hugely concerned with spoilers. With The Promised Neverland I wanted to go in cold so I actively avoided first impressions post after reading one or two until after I watched the episode and I didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to pre-season hype. But now that its started I’m not that concerned about it if I read about something that might happen later in the series. For me it is more about the way the show executes an idea rather than what the idea is.
    Then again, deliberately spoiling something for someone, particularly if they’ve asked you not to, is kind of just mean. As you said, simply making it clear that there are spoilers then at least gives the reader the chance to decide if they want to read it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, definitely, everyone has their own take on spoilers, but it’s best to just make it clear so others don’t get upset. I didn’t mention it above, as the intro was long enough but maybe I should add it in after Megalo Box, but this post was also partially inspired by something else I saw on Twitter. Apparently a lot of Western fans have been posting manga screenshots from a series called Hypmic (which was originally a game), and Japanese fans were getting very upset with it. Yet despite this backlash a lot of people continue to post the screenshots. It’s a pretty mean thing to do 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve blocked people on Facebook for spoiling Game of Thrones in real time. I feel like there is a time limit to this things though. I’m not sure what that is, but I think at least a week is adequate.

    I’m talking about my experience watching One Piece for the first time on Twitter. If you’ve not seen One Piece there will possibly spoilers, but this series started however many years ago. I try to avoid anything that’s too much of a spoiler but that’s pretty hard if I mention a character that wasn’t there from the beginning!

    There are loads of people talking about the current episodes so it’s almost impossible to avoid all spoilers. At least with episode reviews I can skip them. I do hate it when the spoiler is in the title of the post though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely! I think the worst thing about Game of Thrones spoilers is a lot of online news places tend to report on major twists. So even checking the world news can be precarious! When I used to read Buzzfeed, I went on one day (less than an hour after the episode had aired) and the whole first page was like “25 reaction tweets to this character’s death” (great journalism there!)

      It’s definitely harder to avoid with older and super popular series. I know with clothing brand Uniqlo they recently partnered with Shounen Jump and released a bunch of t-shirts One t-shirt had the death scene of a major One Piece character. Thankfully I was well caught up, but I was pretty surprised they would print that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The first time I ever encountered an unwanted spoiler was when the first avengers movie came out. I’ve been scarred ever since and I’ve avoided them like the plague ever since when it comes to movies, books and television shows. For some reason though, I’m not as caughtious with anime, I’m not sure why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no!! That would have been so frustrating!! I’m super sensitive to book and movie spoilers, I guess because it’s a finite story, so you can only experience it once. But with an anime (if it’s still ongoing),there’s more chances to be surprised or shocked, so it doesn’t completely ‘ruin’ the experience per say.


  6. I think I’ll go into hiding when Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out. The Japanese version will have already been released for a few days, and some people can’t resist being the first to screencap or upload stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh gosh, I really dislike seeing screen caps straight after something has been released. I feel like there should be a 24 hour grace period or something before anything gets uploaded. I hope you enjoy KH3 when it’s released, I’ve never had the chance to play the older games, but I know many fans have been waiting for this latest instalment for quite some time!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m normally one week late on episodes anyway and wait for official releases if I know there are any I can get my hands on, so by the time I start talking about any spoilery stuff, I’m normally too late to cause any damage. Just in case though, I do have a spoiler policy stating “here there be unmarked spoilers” at the bottom of my blog.

    Thanks for submitting this to the Showcase.


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