Yuki’s Note: This is unorganized and I probably got a few things wrong about nerd culture in the mainstream. Whoops.
I love scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing ads from companies such as Sugoi Shirts and Kaomoji. Seeing their flamboyant Japanese street fashion inspired clothing makes me smile at the expense of my wallet. But who cares as long as it could make me look good. I just wanna rock a fuckin’ shirt with an anime girl with a censor bar across her eyes in public! It just makes me feel good about myself and feeds my ever growing ego. But man, who would imagine vendors online selling stylish and fashionable weeaboo shirts on Facebook?
Nerds have come a long way since the darker days of our passion when we were shamed for simply enjoying our nerd culture. If I were to wear my weeaboo attire 20 years ago, people would mock me. Today? People (for the most part) tend to mind their business. Shit, just the other day, when I went to my local head shop the store clerk saw my shirt and we started talking about Fate series for a few minutes (he thought my sunglasses were something based off Fate). It was a lovely chat until he said that Rin was the worse girl in the Fate series and that Saber was the best.
I ain’t never going back to that headshop.
Anyway, you wanted to catch a superhero movie in full cosplay back in 1996 and you were over the age of 13? You got roasted! Now it’s the norm for people to cosplay as their favorite Marvel or DC superhero at opening night. If there was a nerd in a TV show, they were the laughing stock loser who never get the woman. They never got anywhere. But shows such as Silicon Valley has ended the stereotype that nerds are losers and that their hobbies won’t get them anywhere. I gotta say, this is the golden era of the nerd.
Everything that I’ve mentioned above now leads me to this question: Are nerds trendsetters?
The obvious question is yes, of course. In fact, I even answered the question my self. So leave my page. I want to say that, but I do enjoy going deeper with my theories and exploring them. We (well, I) have come up with the conclusion that nerds are trendsetters. But why? Why are us nerds trendsetters, and how can we take advantage of this before the inevitable nerd bubble breaks and we’re back to being shoved into lockers and having our lunch money stolen by the jocks (well, you weak nerds are getting shoved into the lockers, I’m knocking anyone out who tries to do that to me).
This is my theory:
People were tired of the old shit and wanted something new. Everyone and their moms love reality TV, watching sports, drinking at the local bar, what have you. Meanwhile, the nerds were in the background; creating and working on their passion. We spent our time inside, communicating with our peers, showcasing our talent online. As time went on and technology advance bringing the advent of social media people were started to take notice of the group they once shunned away: The Nerd.
Social media lead the way for nerds to showcase their creative talent (although we’ve been doing this shit years and years before that came along through online forums, blogs, etc.) As more people gain access to the internet, the more nerds were given exposure. Yes, there were TV channels such as the Sci-Fi Channel, Tech TV, and g4, but they were only viewed by their niche target market.
Now? Well, I mean they’re still being watched by their niche market, but the normies are getting into them as well. Oh and g4 is dead. So perhaps that doesn’t count. Shows that were once for nerds with cahs (meaning they could afford internet and cable packages) are available through streaming services such as Hulu, Crunchyroll, Netflix, etc.. The video game industry makes more than the movie industry. Anime is…catching up. It still has a some catching up to do, but with anime (slowly) creeping into the mainstream, I say it won’t be long until anime in the West is treated like film.
It’s funny to think about how nerds are shaping things up. We’re like rockstars (almost). Seriously. Go on YouTube right now and you see that some of the top YouTubers are people talking about video games or streaming themselves playing games. Two decades ago folks would scream at nerds that playing games isn’t a real career. Today? Playing video games and screaming at a game for hours on end is considered a real job. Of course, you have those normies who think that isn’t a real career, but they’re just mad that they’re slaving away at some corporate or labor gig they hate while the nerds they used to bully are making hunder of thousands of dollars playing video games.
So, to anwser my own question: Yes. Nerds are trendsetters.
From my last article, I stated how nerd culture has reached popularity that rivals mainstream culture. Years ago, anything nerdy was deemed pathetic – activities that only people with no lives enjoy. Today, it’s going through a renaissance. Superhero/comic movies are now major blockbusters. Video games are treated as a serious art form. Anime is no longer viewed as a joke (for the most part). Yet, despite those achievements, there are bitter nerds angry with the newfound popularity (of nerd culture). They’re upset at the past (as they were bullied for being nerds, weren’t accepted, etc.) They continue to cry about whatever happened to them in high school. Can I say something? If you’re this type of nerd, you need to get the fuck over it.
High school is over. Nobody (but you) gives a shit.
The past is the past; let that shit go. You need to stop being mad at your peers from high school just because they rejected you (for being a nerd). The popular preppy girl who wouldn’t dare date you because you played Pokemon? She’s now fat, have five unruly children from three baby daddies, and she’s working at a dead end job. She’s hopeless. The asshole who called you lame because you wanted to study rather than hitting up the weekend party? I bet you he ain’t doing shit with his life today. He’s strung out on drugs and begging people for money on the streets.
You, my friend? You’re doing well (I hope). You’re working on your goals, dreams, making money, and life-changing moves for the better. There’s a special somebody in your life that appreciate your nerdiness. You changed your wardrobe and rocking the fresher clothes of the season; clothes your bullies never imagine you wearing years after high school.
You changed, just like trends and the people who may have made fun of you.
Here’s what you need to understand. The bullies and assholes that made fun of you could’ve changed after high school. They could have realized that they were horrible to you and others. Perhaps one day they reflected on their hurtful actions of the past, realized what they have done, and made the effort to never repeat that shit again. Teenagers are pricks. They should know better, but it takes a while for people to grow and self-improve for the future.
People need to change for the future.
Let’s talk about the future. We’re living in the golden age (of nerd pop culture). Superhero movies are bringing studios hundreds of millions of dollars (the good ones of course). Adults are playing on their 3DS in the open without normies talking shit about them. Otaku are expressing their love for the anime medium without fear of ridicule. You can talk about the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super or My Hero Academia with your coworkers. Cosplay is getting the respect it deserves. Everything nerdy is slowly becoming accepted and not made as a joke to belittle the people that love it! I can bet money that in a few years, people will no longer be mocked or bullied for liking anime, video games, comics, etc. It’ll be too deep within the mainstream for anyone to go out their way to bully people over those things. So what if there are some norimes who think that shit is lame? Fuck them! Let them be stuck the past with that old mindset.
NOTE:This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic. The link to the YouTube will be provide below.
Conventions are a wonderful place to have fun and let loose with fellow nerds. However, conventions can also be overwhelming for newcomers, lacking knowledge on what to do. So, out of the kindness of my heart (and because I need to clean my public image), here are a few things to do at conventions!
Wanna learn interesting tidbits and facts about your favorite series, gain knowledge that’ll set you apart from your peers, or learn more about your favorite voice actor or creator? Go to a panel! Usually, conventions will have four types of panels: Fan, Interactive Industry, and Guest.
Fan panels are run by passionate and all-knowing fans of a series, sharing their expert knowledge to others fans and newcomers alike.
Interactive panels are panels in which you can partake in the action and/or have an hands on experience in relation to the subject. Examples include sake tasting, sewing tutorials, murder-mystery solving, cooking anime inspired foods, and hypnotism panels.
Industry panels are run by industry guests such as Funimation or Viz Media. Industry panels will host series reveals, news on upcoming projects, and the industry hosts will answer your questions about what’s currently going on in the industry. Sometimes, industry guests will reveal get exclusive news andcontent about a project first at their panels before the rest of the world get the information.
Finally, guest panels. Guest panels are of course hosted by the guests of honor. It’s worth your time going to one as you can learn about your favorite voice actor on a more personal, learn how they got their start, and even learn how they feel about their co-workers that they normally wouldn’t say in front of their face (did you know that a lot of America voice actors hate Vic Mignogna?).
One of the best experiences of a convention is meeting your idol and having them autograph their materials for you! To start, learn when and where the guest(s) that you want to see are hosting panels and autograph sessions and attend them. Did they make your favorite manga? Get that shit sign. Are they a voice actor you really love? Get your DVD signed by them! Do you want to know how your favorite voice actor got their start? Go to their panel! Be aware that popular gusests tend to have a long waiting period for autographs sessions. Be sure to have fully charged cell phone or a book to read on standby while you wait!
Higurashi and Umineko cosplay meet
Met new friends within you fandom and show off your cool (or trash) cosplay!! You can find information on meet ups in the program booklet or on the convention social media and website. Showcase your cosplay or just chill and kick with fellow fans and make new connections.
The dealers room is a hall or room full of offical merchandise, fanmade items, wigs, cosplay materials, etc. They’re open all weekend but it’s best to wait until Sunday for the best deals and discounts on products, as merchants want to reduce the amount of items they have to take back home Sunday or Monday.
Play video games here with other cons goers (or be that one asshole who hog ups the console all day because you couldn’t even make friends at an convention) Setups can range from the old school, current games, arcades, or a mixture of all three. Tournaments (such as Street Fighter, Project Diva, Mario Kart. etc.) are often held here, so you should try to join in a tournament if you’re confident in your skills.
Relax! You’re with like-minded people! Cons are a great place to make new friends and networks that can last for life (or a few years until some petty drama comes up and ruin your friendship)! You are all here for a common passion and love. By networking and befriending fellow comic book nerds, weeaboos and otaku alike, you will build a network that can help you find and learn about more conventions in the area and other cool nerd shit outside of cons. Who know what new connections can lead you in the world of convetions.
For you bloggers, vloggers, etc – make sure that you have a business card if you’re networking with others in your field (thanks for that DJ Kill Zone)
Dress up as your favorite character and join the cosplay gatherings and meet. Take pics taken of you in your cosplay, never to find them online! Cosplay is a wonderful hobby that will bring joy and new people into your life! At least do one cosplay in your life if your curious about it!
That wraps up my “What do do at cons” post! I’ll hope our tips will help you enjoy the con!
We nerds are goofy. You’d think that from experiencing rejection and exclusion by non-nerds, we would be welcoming of our fellow nerds nerds. But nah, we’re not. Some indulge in repeating the same exclusion and rejection cycle they faced in the past to other nerds. Elitist nerds will play the gate keeping game; allowing certain “real” nerds in their circle.
Others will quiz people who they deem fake; asking questions and checking if a person is knowledgeable to their personal level. This essay will explore gate keeping, quizzing, and understanding the causality of such acts.
Gatekeeping is common, yet old practice, existing before the social media and nerd culture boom. Gatekeeping is the act of not allowing certain people into the community; fearing that they’re fake, attention seeking fans (nerds blessed with good looks are often accused of being fake), or casual fans who don’t appreciate the source material.
Example: Some Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) fans believe you’re not a real fan of the SMT series if you started out on Persona, or haven’t branched out to other games of the franchise. Some hardcore SMT fans have belittle, mock, and excluded the newcomers; judging them for not starting or being interested with the archaic (but fun) early games such as SMT 2 or Megami Tensei.
Elitists feel that to be a real fan, you must have outlandish amount of experience and knowledge before joining their ranks. It’s really just their insecurities speaking. They’re afraid of the inclusive.
But hey! What’s a great way to cope with your insecurities? Showcasing your superior, yet unimportant knowledge by quizzing folks! Elitists quiz others on topics that only the truly hardcore (virgin) nerd knows. They’ll ask things like “Who was Akira Toriyama’s first editor”, or “What comic issue did Raven (Teen Titans) debut”? It’s a test to prove you’re worthy to call yourself a real fan. Honestly, it’s stupid and it makes you come off as an asshole.
You know some useless nerd trivial. Congratulations. Nobody is trying to play your quiz game. Nigga you ain’t Alex Trebek.
When compared to their male counterparts, female nerds are more likely to be subjected to quizzing. These beta ass males can’t believe that women have nerdy hobbies and interests, so they gotta drill them to see if they’re not “fake”.
Oh, you’re a pretty girl at a comic book shop who takes care of her personal hygiene, rock a My Hero Academia snapback, and wear a Captain America shirt because you’re a legit fan of the comics before the movies because your dad passed down his Captain America comics to you? If you’re a real Captain America fan, then name the main staff who worked on the June ’97 issue of Captain America!
Can’t answer? You must be a fake nerd girl. Girls don’t read comics!
I mean, I get that these dudes are (probably) still mad about being bullied and rejected for being nerds by girls back in their high and middle school days, but let that shit go. Don’t become the bully fucking with a chick just because she’s a nerd and you assume she’s not a real fan. Go get help or something bruh.
While I do not agree with the gatekeeping, nerd checks, and quizzing, I can somewhat understand why they do such actions. Nerds were/are ridiculed, bullied, and mock for their hobbies for decades. Prior to the recent nerd boom, nerds weren’t accepted by the mainstream. Having nerdy interests was considered weird; nobody wanted to fuck with you. People were on that “Oh I’m a nerd!” game, only to play the real nerds and hurt them for being nerdy.
When you’ve been bullied and teased for your hobbies, you tend to be defensive. It’s a shame that people are like this, but it happens.
Maybe if these elitists weren’t so hurt. Not saying what they’re doing is right though.
We nerds are goofy. You’d think we would be more welcoming of other nerds to our circle. Sadly, with elitism, quizzing, and “nerd checking”, this isn’t the case in our community. Quizzing and nerd checking may leave out some and expose “fake” nerds, but is it worth making newcomers feel excluded?
I can understand why the elitist do this due to ill experiences, however, you got to let go of the past. Past experiences shouldn’t’ determine that everyone on that fake shit based off assumptions.
I would say it’s possible to end this but that would require humanity to end as well.
As an artist, musician, or writer, you often hear people tell you that you should always promote your craft. Always work on skills. Always improve on your work because you never know who may be checking you out.
Having the right person enjoying your craft could lead your passion and hobby into a career or even working along side with your idol.
Dragon Ball Super manga artist Toyotaro is a prime example of this. Toyotaro started out as a Dragon Ball manga artist. As a doujin artist he is best known for his Dragon Ball AF doujin manga; a fan project that landed him a job with JUMP Magazine working along side with series creator Akira Toriyama.
A fan working with a series creator man. That’s perhaps one of the greatest honor you can have that nobody can ever take away from you.
Think about it: Toyotaro had a hobby of making Dragon Ball manga. He probably never imagined in his life that his passion and love would lead him to working with famed manga artist Akira Toriyama. He gets paid to create art of his favorite series with the creator.
If you’re a producer keep making beats. A musician? Keep playing. A writer? Keep writing. An artist? Keep drawing. Keep promoting yourself and putting you works out for the world.
You really never know who may be enjoying your work.
Prior to Sailor Moon S, a laboratory explosion would claim the lives of Souichi Tomoe’s family. Lamenting his daughter Hotaru’s death, Souichi is approached Geramatoid of the Tau Nebula. Geramatoid presents him an offer: Restoration of Hotaru’s life in exchanged for Souichi’s freewill and servitude.
Souichi accepts, not caring about his own life. Upon Souichi’s agreement Germtoid takes him as a vessell; controlling his body, will, and life. Unknown to Souichi , Hotaru would become a vessel to Mistress 9; the Messiah of Silence.
After the incident Hotaru and Souichi continued their lives “normally” and grew close, despite acting as pawns for the aliens. With Hotaru’s character arc introduction, we are given a solid example of their bond. In episode 112, Hotaru and Chibi-Usa are warmly greeted by Souichi at Hotaru’s house. Hotaru cheerfully introduce her Chibi-Usa to her father, who is glad to see Hotaru made a friend (for once in her pitiful life). Hotaru is affectionate towards her father, expressed in tone and body language.
Later, the relationship cemented at the arc’s climax. Souichi (liberated from Germtoid’s control) confronts Mistress 9 (fully controlling Hotaru’s body). He falls to his knees, clutching the unrecognizable woman and begins begging for forgiveness, guilt ridden for allowing her to become possessed and indirectly ruining her life.
Irritated, she responds with calling Tomoe a “useless filthy shell of Geramtoid” and strangling him with her hair. Enraged, Hotaru (whom was inside Mistress 9) overpower the Daimon, forcing her to release her father.
Mistress 9 would struggle with Hotaru to regain control of the child’s body but to no avail. Hotaru’s drive to save her father would lead to the awakening the spirit of Sailor Saturn residing in her. Mistress 9 was instantly killed as the power of Saturn’s awakening was too much for her.
Soon after awakening, Hotaru, as Sailor Saturn, proceeds to destroy Pharaoh 90 (leader of the Daimons, summoned earlier by Mistress 9) saving the world at the cost of her life. However, with her powers of rebirth, Hotaru was reincarnated as a baby. Souichi (recovering from his injuries and amnesia) reunited with Hotaru, beginning a new life free from the Daimons.
At the end, it’s funny to think about the roundabout results Souichi noble act of sacrifice. The man gave up his own will and body to save his daughter’s life. Hotaru saved her father and “sacrificed” herself to save the world.
To quote a certain rapper: ‘Have you ever loved someone so much, you’d give an arm for? Not the expression, no, literally give an arm for?’
(If we were to dig deeper into their relationship there’s actually a second side of Hotaru and Souichi’s, relationship although not as direct. After Hotaru’s introduction in the series, there are a few scenes of Hotaru and Souichi [under the influences of Mistress 9 and Germatoid] interacting with one another and discussing plans for Mistress 9’s awakening and the destruction of Earth.)
While the anime portrayed Souichi as a caring, warm, and selfish father, his original manga counterpart was a deranged monster. (Okay, maybe monster is a bit too strong of a word. Bastard seems right).
Professor Tomoe was a self-centered madman whom perceived his daughter’s near fatal injuries and the invasion of the Daimons as gifts from the heavens. His grand ambitions and selfish drive would lead to Hotaru living a horrible life.
An infamous figure in the science community, Professor Tomoe was blacklisted due to his unethical research and experiments. After being blacklisted Tomoe sold his findings, using the money he earned to buy property for a research lab and founded the Infinity Academy to continued his work. Flip and hustle my dude. Flip and hustle.
Similar to the original anime, his wife was killed and Hotaru was severely injured in a lab fire. Tomoe saved Hotaru’s, using a combination of genetic technology and replacing her damaged limbs with cybernetics implants.
During a follow-up operation, lighting struck his lab, opening a dimension gateway (it’s a comic book, roll with it). Master Pharaoh 90 emerged from the gateway with an offer: he would give Souichi everlasting power and knowledge in exchanged for his allegiance. Although bewilder and hesitate at first Souichi accepts, seeing this chance encounter as a breakthrough for his research.
Pleased, Pharaoh 90 gives Tomoe Daimon eggs for implantation of human hosts. The professor receives one for himself and another containing Mistress 9. The Mistress 9 egg needed a suitable host for her powers to grow. Souichi knew the “right’ person.
Tomoe implants the egg inside Hotaru who was still recovery. Her body degrades to a frail state resulting from the unnatural combination of cybernetics implants, genetic technology, and finally, becoming the unwilling vessel of Mistress 9. Culminating from the selfish ambition of her father, her health plummeted ranging from seizures, shortness of breath, and blackouts.
While Souichi and Hotaru were close in the anime, their manga counterpart was distant and cold. In chapter 2 of the arc Kaori (Tomoe’s assistant) notices Hotaru having a health fit.
Kaori offers to help Hotaru until she recovers.
Despite being offered help, Hotaru pretty much tells the woman to fuck off, stating that she can take care of herself. Tomoe intervenes, asking Hotaru not to be rude to his assistant as Kaori helped the family ever since the death of her mother.
Hotaru proceeds to go off on her dad. She doesn’t hold back in telling him that he’s only infatuated with the woman, who just happens to be his private tutor. As Hotaru storms to her room she tells Kaori that “she ought to learn her place”.
Souichi checks up on Hotaru once things cooled. As she is being comfort by her dad she remarks on how inhumanly cold his hands are.
I believe this is the best to describe their relationship: Cold. The two were distance and cold. Souichi was invested in his research, always in his lab. This left Hotaru lonely with little interaction with her father. Souichi only saw Hotaru as a project, more concerned Mistress 9’s growth than his own daughter.
Later in the future, Mistress 9 awoken (transformed after consuming Chibi-Usa’s Silver Crystal). Souichi was excited to see her in full. He expressed concerns that initial fusion attempts with Hotaru’s body failed, nearly prevented her awakening. Hotaru (observing the discussion in her spirit form) wasn’t pleased that her father did this to her.
Her suffering and ostracized life was caused by her own father. Her father whom only saw her as a science experiment.
Souichi would meet his demise in Act 35 of the manga. Soon after transforming into Daimon Germatoid, Tomoe was instantly killed by Super Sailor Moon’s “Rainbow Moon Heart Attack”. (Dude was talking all that good shit but he didn’t even last three pages.)
As she watched her father die, Hotaru reflects how he did everything for her ever since her mother’s death. However, she states that her father died on the day he sold himself to Pharaoh 90. The man who died was not her father.
It’s strange how opposite their relationship were comparing the anime to the original manga. Souichi wanted to do anything to save Hotaru even if it meant becoming a servant to Germatoid and the Pharaoh 90. While he was noble for doing so it did spite him as Hotaru would also become a servant to Mistress 9. Souichi had enormous remorse for allowing Hotaru to be possessed despite he knew it wasn’t his fault.
Unfortunately his manga counterpart did not share that guilt. He felt prideful about his actions, thinking of Hotaru as just a project and not his daughter. Yea, he did saved her life (how he did at may not been totally legal, performing surgery his kid in his secret lab) but what good was that if he took advantage of her suffering?
Goddammit manga Souichi. Just…goddammit.
While most (hardcore) fans are aware that Hotaru and her father’s interactions are vastly different in the manga/Crystal and original 90s anime, there are some who may had only grew up watching or experienced the original anime. It is because of watching the original anime alone that they were unaware that Souichi was a horrible person in original manga thus his cruel nature in Sailor Moon Crystal.
Their surprise is understanding as Souichi was a good person who was thrown into a horrible situation in Toei Animation’s portrayal of his character in the original series compared to Naoko Takeuchi’s Professor Tomoe in Crystal and the manga. Their shock pretty much inspired me to write about both versions lol (YouTube comments can do that to you)
I hope you enjoy this post and if you took the time to read it and enjoy what I wrote I hope you follow me on WordPress for more content like this. I am currently working on a piece for Son Goku from the popular Dragon Ball series so stick around for that in the future!