Okay, so the wonderful folk at Reverse Thieves as well as Ogiue Maniax have been discussing the phenom of dating between fans of anime/manga, and I can honestly not only speak from experience, but from years of having friends who have come out of this tattered yet all the wiser. It is a popular notion in this day and age to want hobbies to remain exclusive with a hope that the other in their lives would just respect it. Makes sense. One could only hope that another person can identify with ,or at least understand those little things about us that separate us from the pack. But anime fandom has grown exponentially since the quiet days of 80s fandom, and must be taken into account. Much like a love for science fiction has been a give-and-take cornerstone of relationships, anime love definitely has an integral place in identification when speaking couples. To merely dismiss the validity of a mutual love of a certain hobby due to deficiencies elsewhere in the relationship is not only misguided, it is incorrect on multiple levels.
This is speaking from experience, and taking in the pains of losing another despite mutual interests. This has happened to me more than once, and in the flaming aftermath of these, I can speak with full clarity that it was not based upon so much a love of the hobby as a singular connection point, but rather as icing on the cake. One relationship fizzled when subgenres like games, and tastes in content were dividing matters. Another ended simply because ambition levels were mismatched. If the other has no respect or undertanding of another in areas such as these, it is likely to become a nagging thorn in both sides lest both wish to make it work. And therein lies the pickle. Some folks just don’t see the work as worthwhile, and will allow the relationship to deteriorate or just plain bust. It has a lot less to do with the hobby so much as the workload one must be willing to carry. Otaples can indeed work, but its all about that damn “work” word again.
(Just because a pair enjoy the same things, won’t mean that one will understand another’s reasons for it.)
Again, to dismiss the otaple merely due to the mutual hobby is missing out on so many elements that make or break them. The search for a mate can take on many configurations and incarnations. And it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing when it comes to hobbies. It’s amazing to see that work out for so many. And even a minimal interest on both parts seems to work well, and this is likely because other components are being met on the two-way. And this is what is being underplayed in the discussion, the need for identification of the “whys” as opposed to merely the “you’re a fan too?” factor. Relationships require a lot more effort and time than many seem to be prepared for, and a mere hobby isn’t going to cover all the bases. Knowing the reasons and understanding the enthusiasm of another is a major part of the relationship experience.
So let’s talk hypothetical dating for a second. One meets another with not only a mutual love of your hobby, but also loves the same show you do. And when getting to the discussion of said show, you realize that your reasons come from two completely different and near-intangible viewpoints. Now if the other can see where your views come from, then perhaps there is hope. The effort begins here, and will likely be a deciding factor in the future of matters. But all too often, these differences are ignored, perhaps leading to an inevitable crash. The operative part being that so many (otaku not exclusive) seek identification with mere trees of similarity without ever examining the leaves.
If the focus is merely on the anime, then of course it has very little to stand on. Any one mutual hobby will never be enough foundation-building material for a relationship. It is the same for classical music as it would be for manga. It is important to consider what it is one truly sees in that other individual outside of the hobby. Taking the little things into consideration should always be a primary element in considering a close relationship of any kind. After all, it is often more about surviving the inevitable slings & arrows, and coming out the other end, longing to be better people.