So, I'm almost ashamed to admit that I like anime to people that I know because I'll just be labeled an otaku. I think it's really just anime fans that make a difference between people who are and aren't obsessed; to everyone else, we're all the same. I guess it's partly because that's all the media covers. If I ever see an article or news segment about something, it's never about normal anime fans. It's always about otaku of the worst degree, you know?
Don't get me wrong, I'm an anime fan. But I also have a life. I've known so many otaku in the past that just can't function socially without their anime. It's all they talk about and all they think about. Not only that, but they just assume that to like Japan is to like anime - which IMO I find insulting to the Japanese culture, because hey, how would you like it if they came to America thinking we just sat around eating hamburgers from McDonald's? When I first came to college here I was excited to hear that we had a "Japanese Media Appreciation Club," but not too long after I found out that all they did was watch anime.
Not only that, but they're just plain embarrassing. Otaku (the really, really extreme ones) just don't know how to act. They pounce, squeal, glomp and otherwise act like animals. I was at a convention, and some girl I didn't even know latched onto me and licked me.
And then, of course, there's the fan-Japanese. It makes me laugh, but it also makes me want to wring their neck. I'm not going to claim to be some Japanese master; I've been studying the language and plan to minor in it here, but I know I have a long ways to go. I just hate how anyone who takes Japanese and happens to have an interest in anime is assumed to be taking the language just to translate their favorite shows. Nevermind that we might like the culture, or that we might want to live and work there someday. It's all for the big eyes, small mouths and perfect proportions.
... the anime fandom is serious business, really. It's fans like that who make me ashamed to be one.
I think I'll just stop right there to avoid going on a total rampage, but you get the picture. I'm probably not the first person to say any of this either, just looking at the other posts here. But yeah, I'll be around. I'm so glad I found this community.