Hiding (Your Power Levels) in Plain Sight: Alternatives in Expressing Love for Your Hobby

As open as I am about my anime and manga hobby, I too understand that it really isn’t appropriate to wear the colors of one’s hobby so proudly as if it ultimately defines one’s person and character. I’m a very intense fan of Lakers Basketball, and of playing tennis recreationally, but it doesn’t make sense for me to wear Purple and Gold most of the time (if at all), or wear tennis apparel away from the tennis court (apart from the very comfortable Adidas clima-cool shirts during hot days).

In a similar vein, I never really felt the need to wear anime and manga t-shirts to express my love for my hobby — although my love for anime and manga runs very deep, my love for mecha anime drills under ground and straight through the planet, and my love for Macross kicks reason to a super dimensional curb. However, I don’t think love as a fan is as simple as consumption and the display of such. Anyone with money can do that.

The interesting thing to do is to go out in the open and be detectable by people who you permit to detect you: that is, people whose power levels match yours or exceed it. To do this, you need to learn to work the details.

As much as I like buying merchandise like plastic models and figurines, these are stuff for the home. And as much as I like the idea of cosplay, and I have done so myself (at least one Halloween), this is obviously too blatant a display and identifies me so loudly that the people I might be interested in to meet may shy away from.

Phone charms are lame (unless you’re a teenage girl), and Simon’s core drill makes for a terrible pendant in real life (maybe it’s okay when you’re 14, not so much when you’re turning 34). How can you demonstrate your high power-levels, remember love for your favorite works, and keep it invisible to both the weak and the ignorant? Some creativity is necessary, it should go without saying.

I live in the tropics, and it’s summer right now. Flip-flops are not only acceptable as casual wear, they’re really preferred. My friend who is part of the Havaianas distribution machine in the Philippines tricked out this pair of flip-flops for me in Skull Leader colors. What is Skull Leader?

It’s the signature piloted mecha of the Macross franchise (Roy Focker), and my obsession as a young boy in the ’80s. I would only be able to buy original merchandise of it nearing the end of the ’00s, but I have since been doing so with a vengeance.

Now, would anyone but an old-school Macross fan recognize this? Probably not, and that’s really the point. I don’t really walk around looking for casual anime fans or people from different fandoms; usually I already have something to do when I go out. But to meet a fellow Macross fan while walking around in the mall or something, I’d stop for a chat no problem.

It’s not just all about Macross too. For two years now I have been signing my name, in all the contracts, cheques, correspondence, and memoranda with I deal with ‘Char’ right in the middle of the signature. It’s a thing of beauty, really. No one can really distinguish my longhand “n” from my cursive “r” without really looking out for it and even then the difference is negligible (my middle name is “Chan”). So yeah, that ghostlightning, HE IS CHAR.

There’s more. I too, am quite an intense Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad fan. I felt like I was Koyuki himself back in high school, and I had my own ‘Ray’ who taught me how to play. Remembering love for Beck is prohibitively expensive, if I would really buy the guitars. But since I can’t and won’t (at least right now) I had my shoes tricked out:

Now that isn’t Yui’s ‘Gitah’ from K-ON!, that’s Ryuuske’s legendary “Lucille.” I had these made before K-ON! aired, but I wouldn’t mind Yui’s Les Paul Custom, and Sawako’s Flying V on another pair of Chuck Taylors.

There you have it: some ideas on how to manifest your charging heart of love for your specific fandom, beyond general anime and manga, without scaring people away or making the people uncomfortable when they’re with you. Either you’re considerate of how most people can’t handle your fanboy(girl) power, or perhaps you have a Shameful Otaku Secret, it’s all good.

How about you guys? Done anything like this? Plan to? Dish it out!

Notes:

I mentioned that I really don’t go about looking for casual anime fans to chat up. This is mainly because I’m usually twice their age, and that I have a bunch of people to watch shows with and talk shop with. For things outside the usual titles I watch or read, I meet these guys or have them over at my house.
I’ve had Choudenji Machine Voltes V stationery sets on my office desk, assorted mecha anime posters, and a Rurouni Kenshin wall scroll in my office at some point. My wife sybilant wears anime t-shirts on casual fridays, has all sorts of figurines on her desk, and has Aria desktop wallpapers. Mai Waifu is GAR.
Collectively, we’ve played Escaflowne, Kare Kano, and Beck: MCS songs during our wedding reception.
I insist that our daughter grow up a Lakers fan, she and I really get along and I will raise her GAINAX.

Further Reading

A thought-provoking post on fan behavior among other fans; they really do suppress their power levels (Saturnity 09/26/2009)
Some reflection on fan behavior, and some theorizing as well (it’s just me ->)
Who do you watch anime with? [->]

First time here at We Remember Love? Try this.

About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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105 Responses to Hiding (Your Power Levels) in Plain Sight: Alternatives in Expressing Love for Your Hobby

  1. mjsnoozer says:

    I have anime eyecatch tunes as mail tones. Only a handful of people can recognize them.
    I can spot high level weeaboos as they flinch when they hear these obscure eyecatch mail tones.

    Once, an old guy actually asked me if my tone is from a certain series. It’s cool.

    • I never had any eyecatch tunes and end up using full tracks for message tones. Ends up being fine with me since at times my phone is either tucked in a bag or far from sight.

      (I use ‘Try Again’ by Fire Bomber from Macross 7)

  2. bluemist says:

    I have a Yume (Da Capo II) coin purse which I have everyday in my pocket for 3 years. I don’t think anybody asked anything about it.

    I also do the ringtone thing, in which I have the annoyingly cute poppipoppipo popipo (Hatsune Miku – Popipo) and the famifamifami~ma famifamima (Family Mart in Akihabara) tune. Remembering love without anyone branding you weeboo.

    • It’s uncanny that nobody noticed it, but maybe they did and just didn’t know how to react. Somehow I’m not sure if those ringtones are immediately associated with anime, I don’t think that’s what people take note of. If anything they’d probably be annoyed by the high-pitch.

  3. Landon says:

    Back in the day I’d sport the occassional anime t-shirt, but that was when I was in my early 20’s and was the model of the college-aged slacker. Ten years later, the only geeky thing I wear anymore is my Badtz Maru lanyard for my work badge which has an SOS Brigade pin on it. The pin blends in well, since a lot of people wear similarly-sized pins signifying bonuses and rewards on their lanyards. If anyone asks I can say I got a bonus for being a ESPer.

    • I was still in my 20s (late 20s lol) in the top photo. Yeah lanyards allow for a lot of customization and buttons and pins easily fly under people’s radars. I mean they can tell they’re there obviously, but not to the point that they actively attempt to distinguish them if they’re not obvious.

  4. Baka-Raptor says:

    I’m a Nash fan. Care to place a friendly wager on the upcoming series?

  5. mefloraine says:

    The only thing I use to “identify myself” as an anime fan to the public is a small pin on my shoulder bag–which only leaves the house when I’m going somewhere overnight or traveling. So, it doesn’t get shown off much.
    I don’t even own an anime t-shirt, and I pretty much don’t want to.
    There’s a difference between being a geek because you are one and flaunting it because you want others to know you are one (and then running off and being upset because people treat you unfairly for your geekiness).

    • What’s on the pin?

      Back in college I remember being voted top nerd in a language/social studies course. I was incredulous (I thought another dude was far nerdier LOL). However, I can’t say that I’ve ever been unfairly treated due to my real or imagined geekiness.

      Even without the anime stuff I’m pretty straightforward about it, but somehow I think people feel they discover my geekiness as opposed to it being so upfront. Not sure, but that’s how it felt since after I graduated.

      • mefloraine says:

        Probably just depends on who you know and where you live.

        The pin was handmade, and it has Momo (Shinigami no Ballad)’s cat on it.

        • I apologize if I came off as saying unfair treatment of geeks never happens. That’s not what I meant, and I’ve seen it happen as much as anyone, just never to me due to my improbable good fortune.

  6. Kiri says:

    I’m a fan of subtle geeky jewelry, though a lot of what’s available tends to be of poorer quality, sometimes you come across good stuff. I have an necklace of Flamel’s cross, which is relevant to FMA, but the symbol has older origins than that, so I could totally pass it off as just a Flamel’s cross. I’ve also had it mistaken many times for a Rod of Asclepius. Some symbols aren’t as ambiguous, such as necklaces of Squall’s lion or the Kingdom Hearts crown, but they still have an aesthetic appeal outside of their obvious fandoms, so most people who don’t see the obvious references wouldn’t think twice about it. :3 Not as sneaky as your flip-flops, but it works for meeee.

    • I can’t really wear jewelry because my sweat is toxic to metal (acidic lol). I only wear my wedding ring, and a wristwatch whose leather strap I have to replace every year. I do want to wear bling sometimes, especially nerd bling.

      I’ve always wanted to wear Squall’s Lion. Lucky you~

  7. Travis says:

    I just wear anime shirts wherever I feel like it, including work. I don’t feel particularly subtle. I do like the ideas above, though. I don’t buy a lot of clothes, period.

    • Like Landon above there was a time I felt comfortable wearing them. I’m 34 now so the social contexts I find myself in aren’t the most appropriate for wearing shirts with big robots on them. (that said, I have a Voltron shirt, 3 Voltes V shirts, 3 Mazinger Z shirts, a Megatron Shirt, an Autobot shirt, and a Decepticon shirt LOL)

      If only I could stay 23 forever~

  8. Fucking brilliant. This is exactly why I love you ghostlightning – you are an evil genius.

    I own two anime t-shirts. One of them I can only comfortably wear at home – my Lucky Eva shirt, which has Tsukasa and Kagamin in plugsuits hugging together, is so freakishly sexual that I am scared to wear it in public. When I forget I’m wearing it (this has happened) in public, I either zip up a jacket if I have one or just cross my arms. Overall, not a great idea. (I did wear it openly when I was in college, but it still felt uncomfortable, and felt like it was less likely to start conversation and more likely to end it).

    The other one is the silhouette of the Nirvash’s head, and that one is a lot more brilliant, because there is no possible way of telling what the fuck it is if you haven’t seen Eureka Seven. Otherwise, it completely passes as some kind of skateboard company symbol or something. I’ve only had one friend, who I knew had seen E7, that looked at it and knew what it was.

    I’ve thought about how to do just what you do, but now you’ve driven me to take it into serious consideration. I want to make a post like this about my super-awesome power-level equipment, damn it!

    This all brings me to a fun anecdote – how I met No Name. See, No Name was in my Japanese 2 class, but he had only showed up for the first 2 weeks before he left school for the rest of the year due to his chronic migraines. In those 2 weeks, I sat next to him, and I couldn’t really find out much about him except that he was a HUGE anime fan, apparently – I, however, didn’t know that much at the time, and didn’t get to say much to him before he left.

    The next year, he started sitting at my lunch table at the beginning of the year, seemingly unaware of who I or my friends were at all, as he just wanted somewhere to sleep in the back of the cafeteria. I couldn’t tell if it was him, though, since I barely remembered him, so I never said anything.

    Well, one day, he shows up and is reading this Lucky Star guidebook thing. IN JAPANESE, man! Now, this was in 2007 – Lucky Star would have just been finishing it’s airing or so. I knew for a fact that not a single person in my school could have heard of it. This guy was serious business. I immediately struck up conversation with him – and then I got lucky. He had also been in my study block, and it so happened that he sat right in front of me.

    I started passing notes with him, talking about some shows, and mentioning the anime I was watching, etc. – and before the block was over, I got him to hand over his email address and yahoo messenger name! Great fucking timing, too, because that was the last day that he ever came to school.

    Had it not been for the chance occurrence of him pulling out the Lucky Star book at my lunch table, I never would have become friends with him. Now he is my best friend, whom is at my house every single weekend.

    So yes, I highly recommend showing off your power level, even if it’s not as blatant. You never know when someone will notice and end up becoming your best friend.

    • Thanks man, and thanks also for that wonderful anecdote.

      This is precisely the point in revealing your power levels in a way they are perceptible only to those powerful enough as well. Thing is, both of you were in high school and things are quite different when you’re that much younger.

      Me? I can’t be that unsubtle when I’m attending business functions, professional networking events, and the the like — no matter how casual.

  9. Ryan A says:

    SHOES! Dawns on me that someone needs to make a subtle clothing line for this kind of representation. I think it’d be pretty spectacular.

  10. Sweet custom flipflops and chucks! This is the kind of stuff I refer to as “crypto-nerdy” to my friends. I’ve actually been contemplating one manifestation of this recently. For the most recent local con I made a 0083-style pilot’s jacket out of a blue jacket I already had. Added the black shoulder area patches, rank tabs, and an EFSF symbol on the left chest area. I still really like the jacket, and I think with the rank tabs removed it will be crypto-nerdy enough for public use. The black shoulders won’t give it away, and most people won’t be able to distinguish the EFSF patch as anything anime.

    This isn’t the only example though. My backpack, which I’ve had since sophomore year of high school, has been an evolving mix of patches held on by safety pins, buttons, and pins since then. At first it was all strictly punk bands and an “emo sucks” patch, but it’s grown with me to include university patches and some small anime stuff. A Honey and Clover button (four leaf clover on a cloudy sky background like the print of one of Yamada’s skirts that has the show’s title on it) and three Gundam pins. One with Ghiren Zabi and part of his speech circling the edge of the disk, one of a Haro, and one of the ZAFT emblem. Among the mix of things on my backpack, they tend to blend in except to the knowledgeable.

    Phone charms can be cool, in limited numbers, at least I think so. My phone includes three Macross Frontier small phone charms and my Chinese zodiac animal charm from Hasedera Temple. The background is the Juiz logo from Eden of the East, the ringtone is the Pururin one that Yamazaki has in Welcome to the NHK, and the text alert is Meru’s meru-meru from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.

    • reminds me, when I started hanging out with my buddy No Name (see story above) his ringtone was Pururin, and at the time, NHK was my favorite anime. I knew this was the start of a beautiful friendship.

    • Thanks! I can just imagine senior management asking me to call some other high-ranking fat cat and I whip out my phone and out comes Hiiragi Tsukasa swinging in the air winking at him…

      I’d love to wear aviator-style jackets, but jackets per se are nigh unwearable in here in them tropics T_T

      My personal style doesn’t indulge much with accessories. I wear a watch and my wedding ring. That’s it. No keychains, tags, lanyards, and the like for me. That said, I can really see how you’ve managed to encrypt your fan loot among the stuff you wear and carry with you.

      • Haha, yeah, I’m contemplating my phone charms as I get ready to enter the real world, maybe I’ll move them to a backpack zipper or hang them from my rear view mirror or something. Or only leave the charm from Hasedera Temple on there. I don’t know yet, I’ll have to wait until I get my first job and observe for the first few days how much personal stuff people keep around the workplace.

        • People get to be as eccentric in high degrees in the workplace, but almost never as new hires, unless they were poached for their reputation as incredible badasses that people will overlook many things about them.

          There were times when I used my geekery to ‘soften’ the image with which I was introduced to others. Sometimes people get lazy (or malicious) and introduce you as Jesus which obviously can piss off some people you get introduced to. Showing a ‘harmless/vulnerable’ geek side (ever so cryptically) can (but not automatically) make them warm up to you.

  11. otou-san says:

    You’ve already mentioned my “shame,” and I thought this was really clever, but then I realized I do have one thing.

    Easy to get, I guess (at least at one time it was), but in the Platinum box set of NGE, there was a vinyl NERV parking pass and I keep it on my car next to the legit ones. So far no one has noticed, so I guess it’s… working?

    • NERV car pass is wicked, wicked cool. I can’t imagine any other car pass in anime and manga that’d be anywhere close as cool.

      During this election campaign season I thought of making sashes and other campaign materials for ‘Millia for President’ but thought better of it.

  12. I set levelupper.mp3 as my phone’s ringtone, and set a Mikoto gif as the phone’s wallpaper, and I used to have a Mars Base(Mospeada) phone strap/charm thing, before my friend tore it off. I also listen to LEVEL5 -judgelight- and only my railgun on my iPod, constantly, at 80% volume, in public. Also, I play Yugioh, and use the cards, Evocator Chevalier and Neos Alius, in my deck, because they look like Karas and Ultraman, respectively. :V

  13. 2DT says:

    I have a K-ON! desk calendar at one school, and a Ritsu figurine at another. It’s provided the easiest question for my students: “Do you like K-ON?” To which I always say, “Yes, very much.”

    But beyond that, I don’t really show my colors. Most anime-related wear is frightfully ugly… But I once saw this really cool sweater with Nanoha’s magic circle on the back, and if it wasn’t 8,000 yen, I would’ve gladly picked it up and worn it everywhere.

    • I remember your anecdote about Ricchan and your students ^_^

      It’s pretty out in the open if you ask me; after all I’ve had a Kenshin wall scroll in my office and my wife has Aria images for her desktop wallpaper at her office. I agree with the frightful ugliness of anime ‘fashion.’ This is why I’ve approached things with a DIY spirit (though I don’t make these myself, except the signature).

      • otou-san says:

        I have a Crayon Shin-Chan wall calendar in my office and if I still worked in a cube I imagine I would still have it there as well. I used to keep Eva and Macross mecha desktop wallpaper on my work computers.

        But those both reinforce, respectively, “cartoons are for kids” and “anime = robots,” and imply that I am enjoying my anime stuff perfectly well in a context that people consider safe. If it was a giant poster of Asuka (or even of the Undines or something), I think I would shirk at the idea of displaying that somewhere public…

        • Yeahh… like showing the public that we are in touch with our childhood self…

          But if we show anime girls we’d be showing how much touching with ourself–, or at least that’s what people can think…

  14. Space Crafty says:

    Just came across this: http://www.projectrobotech.com

  15. Hanners says:

    I have a handful of anime-related t-shirts – Some of them are perfectly “okay” (in my opinion anyway) to wear in public any place, such as my “Haruhiism” t-shirt and an Eden of the East “Noblesse Oblige” logo one, but I have others that I’d only really consider wearing to anime-related events, including a Lucky Star t-shirt, a couple of K-ON ones and a Miku Hatsune one which is all kinds of awesome but not the kind of thing I’d wear to the supermarket.

    Funnily enough, I’m waiting on a custom-made Asuka t-shirt to arrive right now, ready to go and see Evangelion 2.0 in London in a week and a half. Sadly, I haven’t thought of any more subtle ways of snakily displaying my fandom in public yet.

    • I still to wear a lot of robot shirts, but I find myself wearing them after a workout, or after playing tennis, where they’re paired with gym shorts and the like… not exactly a look I’m using to socialize.

      How often do you wear these articles? Do you reserve them for special moods, or are they part of your regular rotation of apparel?

      • Hanners says:

        The more “mainstream” t-shirts I just wear if I feel like it (not all that often given the UK’s weather!), and the more “blatant” anime t-shirts I save for cons, anime expos and that kind of thing mostly.

        • I suppose the weather there is damp and chilly, so you’d end up having to cover up your shirts in layers right?

          Here it’s so freaking hot and humid you can’t even wear black t-shirts unless it’s after dark. Otherwise you’re just roasting yourself. Of course, I’m too boneheaded and I end up having lots of black shirts.

          I do wish I can layer more often though.

          Oh, the sheer mass of people during cons just makes it crushingly hot. I think the cosplayers, especially those with coats (even school uniform coats) are nuts to be wearing those costumes in the crush of people in an enclosed space.

          • abitidi says:

            You underestimate the dedication and sheer willpower of us cosplayers. I once wore a caterpillar suit (think 14 inches of crushed newspapers and pillow stuffing) in the middle of summer. I thought I was going to die…but it felt great….ok maybe we are a little bit nuts.

          • Nuts needn’t be insulting hehe, the same way I’m nuts to put in so much effort into this non-profit website.

            But your caterpillar suit… amazing. Have you seen the caterpillar girl from Franken Fran? That would make for an amazing cosplay.

  16. omisyth says:

    I’ve just never really found a piece of clothing that expresses my fandom while at the same time being subtle enough to go undetected by the untrained (LOL) eye. Plus I never see anything that’s like OH MY GOD I MUST HAVE THISAFIUJA NSDFAS. Maybe if I actually went out looking for the stuff, but I never buy anything but DVDs anyway…

    • All the more reason to make stuff yourself, or have them done! You could simply be doing your workout using gear that characters from Hajime no Ippo use. You could let people break their fists when punching your face like how Inugami Akira does it…

  17. maAkusutipen says:

    I guess where we live at Ghostlightning.. an approach would be to wear a caption graphic tee in moonspeak. Make it so that the design is cool looking and not blockish with the color scheme muted. But for me I will go for something loud and attention getting.

    I am planning on the next con that I attend to wear a white t shirt with gold bold lettering the words…
    Kimi wa dare to kissu wo suru.
    Of course in Kanji and Katana… lol..

  18. Kaioshin Sama says:

    Yeah well at least your friends aren’t trying to get you to cosplay at a convention when you’ve told them a hundred times that you aren’t the cosplaying type…..are they?

    I’m headed to Anime North in a couple of weeks and I plan on it just being an exploration and curiousity/hobby type affair where I can get away from the hassles of my regular working life schedule. To me it’s more than enough to just take in the convention at a steady pace without having to become the convention. The plan is that if I’m going to stand out somehow it’s going to be as my own personality…..for better or worse.

  19. Vendredi says:

    Absolutely nothing. No telegraphing or signaling, at least, not animation wise. However, I’m likely to be one of those people in the mall who noticeably cringe upon hearing/seeing/perceiving displays of power level no matter how subtle.

    • No matter how subtle? Wow, is there some truly embarrassing memory involving the hobby as a whole that you have that inspires such a strong reaction?

      Mind you here it’s not very bad at all. Super robot shows were a big part of the late 70s which means many of the people who are beginning to be somebody or already are, are not unfamiliar, if not casual fans of those shows. Ergo, the very notion of anime at worst can be dismissed fondly instead of derisively.

      • Vendredi says:

        Maybe “cringe” is too strong a word – the reaction is more of a facepalm or a bit of laughter at myself for actually picking up the reference – all the more so if it’s a subtle one. I haven’t watched a great many shows but I’ve heard of or can recognize quite a bit.

  20. Bruno J Global says:

    My work phone has for its screen saver the GIF of Tsukasa fumbling over her new phone, and its ringtone is Josh’s piano rendition of the Chobits OP. I do wonder why I’m still putting up with the moe theme, but I guess I’m just being lazy and stubborn and I might resign soon anyway, so yeah. My personal phone on the other hand is rather vidya in it’s theme (although I’d hardly call myself a gamer), with an SMS alert tone from Starcraft and a ringtone from an obscure mecha flash game called Seventh Sky.

    The Tsukasa screen saver had gotten reactions like “childish”, “cute” and “cool, a moving screen saver on the phone!” Last week, it started a conversation I had about anime with our onsite vendor support. I got to learn that he is a Macross fan and he pointed out that my officemate, who was my batchmate, is a really huge Macross fan himself. That took me by surprise. Maybe we had talked about Macross before, but he never came across as a huge fan. The vendor pointed out that my officemate’s YM ID was a Macross reference. Again, I felt stupid. I think it once did occur to me that the ID was from Macross, but I dismissed it as a coincidence. I did put out Macross-related status messages, but I guess my officemate is so good at suppressing his powerlevel to not bother chatting me up about it.

    At that point I realized how puny my powerlevel was in the presence of a high-level Macross fan. I know your Macross powerlevel is also high, but maybe the lack of personal contact has reduced the impact on me. I am glad though that I am not alone with my Macross faggotry. I shall work hard to remember love more.

    • Tsukasa smoking out a hardcore Macross fan hiding in plain sight? Priceless.

      We should all get together sometime!

      • Bruno J Global says:

        Yes we should! By the way, I’ve referred the vendor support to WRL.

        I hear you guys have a monthly anime karaoke night out. Well, I have singable Tagalog translations that have been lying dormant for months now for the following songs: Okkusenman, Vanilla Salt, Uninstall, My Love is a Stapler, Brush and Ballpoint Pen, and Hello Little Girl. I’d like them to be field-tested.

  21. adaywithoutme says:

    I’ll try very hard to not hold the fact that you’re a Lakers fan against you.

    My anime habit is very subtle… well, except for when I go to cons (which has happened… twice, ha). Essentially, the only people who may become aware of it are those whom I permit to gain access to my room. I’m pretty sure that list of people consists of three individuals in the past year, so…!

    I will read manga on the train, though; no one has ever started talking to me because of what I’m reading, however.

    Cell phone charms aren’t lame! I have a Hello Kitty one!

    • Lakers fan since ’96 when Shaq came to town, but it was even more awesome because The Logo (then GM) Jerry West also traded the human flop Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant.

      Don’t hate. I don’t like the Lakers because they win so much. They win so much is the return on my fan devotion HURRR.

      I suppose if I were a girl I’d be real cute with my phone charms! Oh I do remember Bianki having both Lulu and Suzaku on the same phone. When she keys in a text message they end up smacking each other on the lips over and over…

  22. Emperor J says:

    Little late to this particular party. Let’s see I had a 12″ Domo-kun plush strapped into the passenger seat of my car for several months, but no one ever said anything. I still have a couple T-shirts I got back in college, Cowboy Bebop and .hack//SIGN, but I don’t wear those out in public unless it’s under a jacket or something. I have “Le Petit Jardin” from Winter Garden as my cell phone ringtone, but I usually have it set to vibrate. Also, the background pic on the phone is of Kotonoha from School Days.

    Despite this, no one has actually said anything to me about it, and I’m probably more than Vendredi than anyone else here.

  23. Evelance says:

    I have a t-shirt that has L in old english style font (like L from Death Note), and my girlfriends initial is L so…yeah
    When she asked me if that’s a sign of love i just nodded, even though i got it before i dated her and when i was crazy with Death Note lol
    And my phone ringtones were Dramatic (Honey&Clover), Dramatic (Big Windup!/Ookiku Furikabutte), Driver’s High (GTO) and Chain (Air Gear) all at different times

  24. I’ve worn a K-on Yui shirt outside once and people around me had this expression O_O.
    I lol’d hard at ‘em.

  25. drmchsr0 says:

    The only anime t-shirt I have is that Kamina one from Gurren Lagann. I was hoping for some mecha t-shirts, but it would appear that I’d missed the boat for stuff from the likes of G Gundam and GaoGaiGar.

    I’m mulling over making a Chibi-Miku-san shirt (mostly because I love the little comic enough for it to fly under the radar), a GGG tee, and probably a Neo-Japan tee for the heck of it.

    I do have anime tunes on my iPod touch (Used to have the first 3 albums of Fire Bomber on it, but right now I have Sunred, GGG, THAT ONE HINAGIKU SINGLE, and lol RailgunOP mixed together with Christian hymns and… … … pirate metal.), a whole bunch of pictures (hidden with a bunch of weird pictures and hamster pics) and that’s probably it. Apart from anime on my iPod touch.

    I find it mildly comforting that faith and geekery mix, so I’m free to express my geekery, but I’m still a little embarrassed by it. Other than that, I never tell how big of a geek I am outside of certain groups. I make it a big point to never reveal my geek side.

    • Never?

      Wow. Far be it for me to judge your circumstances that I wouldn’t be able to know anyway, but that’s a lot to keep in. Isn’t it hard to withhold your authentic self from others?

      The stuff I do here in this post are just more sophisticated A/T fields, if you’ll indulge me. I wouldn’t welcome being judged too, but it doesn’t mean I have to not be myself when I want to be myself.

      • drmchsr0 says:

        Geekery is but one side to me. I’ve never considered anime the “real” me, to be honest. It’s a fun hobby I like a bit more than most things.

        I don’t tell because hobbies are, well, hobbies. Private things. The “real” me, as people see, is less of me being an anime geek (which, I highly stress, is only one part of me), and more of that one guy who keeps going no matter what.

        You do realize I’ve been plugging away at my blog for more than 4 years with probably less than 3 readers a month. That’s more or less the “real” me. :P

        • I get you, but the same way I’m not ‘just’ a die-hard Lakers fan, or a Tennis-tard, or a lover of books, and an utter Macross-fag.

          I wouldn’t want to not be fully self-expressed.

          • drmchsr0 says:

            For me, it’s trust issues. Mostly. I don’t reveal until I feel I can trust someone. That, and I’ve seen the worst way of self-expression.

            Then again, I’m a very, very private person.

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  27. aquabluesweater says:

    Personally I always feel really great when I am able to recognize people wearing an eva shirt or anime-related apparel. It’s kinda cool to see other people liking the same thing I do I guess.

    As for me, I have a picture of Whisper of the Heart as my phone’s wallpaper. Still wondering whether someone will ever recognize that. ALso have a 6 inch Shishio Makoto figure from Kenshin all in his bandage glory sitting on my workdesk. It does actually blend in pretty well with my surrounding. So far, only had one guy from Philippines recognizing it which is kinda neat. work computer wallpaper is also a good way of interspersing a bit of anime in. Used to have a few non-descript ones like Place Promised in Our Early Days (scenery picture and you really have to know it to recognize) but nothing that jump out. Like you mention, I definitely don’t want to go for something so overly obvious and that can be pretty difficult!

    • Yes, aside from the Shishio figure the Ghibli/Shinkai images are rather obscure. I started using those too as desktop/laptop wall papers. But after I put the O-Totoro in my laptop, I think a dam broke and it’s been anything goes ever since — I only switch wallpapers when I’m using the computer in a public place, though recently I’ve permitted myself to be seen writing blog posts for this site in public internet cafes.

      What country are you from/are in right now?

      • aquabluesweater says:

        I guess Totoro does have that effect on people:) Wallpapers, without being too obvious is a nice way to show your love of certain shows for sure.

        I grew up in Thailand (where the seed of anime geekery was sown when I was watching lots of anime on tv in the morning in the weekend), studied in the UK and am now working in Singapore. I presume you’re from the Philippines right Gathering from your about page…)?

  28. I’m pretty sad that it took me so long to get to this post. This looks like a fun conversation, I wish I’d thought of it. As for displaying my power levels in public, I used to be brash and flashy about. I never cosplayed, never will, but my displays of anime love have always been relatively easy to spot. There’s a store in the town I went to high school in that sells all sorts of anime/manga related paraphernalia. My most cherished purchases have always been the Fullmetal Alchemist accessory set (a ring, pocket watch & a pendant respectively) and a Fullmetal Alchemist backpack. I wasted no opportunity to wear and show off these items, but as time has passed they’ve been relegated to cute trinkets that I keep in a cabinet. I still have fond memories however of running into a girl at a Japanese takeout and noticing her big red Edward Elric jacket (you know the one). I got her attention and pulled out my “snake and cross” FMA pendant. No words were exchanged, just a smile and a nice moment.

    People know I’m a huge anime fan at my job, so I guess wearing something, especially at my age, is a little unnecessary. The only public display of my power level I consistently still carry around is a phone strap from Burst Angel that I hang from the visor in my car. Somewhat ironic since I hate the show, but loved the character designs. I’d be supremely impressed if someone recognized those two characters.

    • Now that’s something. People are already educated about the highest power level in the vicinity.

      That anecdote with the FMA merch is a classic. You and the girl must’ve had some Newtype flashes going on. Awesome.

  29. soulassassin says:

    If I were to be earning well, here’s a few things I like to have without having to get too much attention:
    1.) Camo-colored Lillian Jogakuen (Marimite) emblem patch.
    2.) Camo-colored NERV (Eva) patch.
    3.) Lillian lapel or tie pin.
    4.) A Zippo lighter with either a Lillian, NERV or a UN Spacy emblem.

  30. crazydave says:

    Finally figured out how to turn mp3’s into ringtones for the iphone so now I have the intro to thousand enemies as my ringtone.

  31. ToastCrust says:

    As mentioned, the younger you are, the easier it seems to be obnoxious about your hobbies. I’m still not totally closed in, but I won’t deny a certain level of caution about it. Most of my ultra high level anime junk is at home, in my room.

    I do still have the odd thing with me (I’m one of those people who have a commute to university that’s long enough to justify getting a cheap dorm, but short enough that I can’t really say no if the family demands my presence) at where ever else I live: a small original print of a Mushroom girl, a postcard-sized print by a friend featuring Portal, a Touhou print of Yuyuko & Youmu, Persona 4 print, and a Vocaloid print (the lot of them in casual clothing).

    Still, these are things that only roommates will see.

    Personally, I’ve been using this wallpaper though, which I think has been very successful, for my laptop (which I pull out in class, etc.): http://img248.imageshack.us/img248/3643/1270956216832.jpg

    On a similar note, Yotsubato manga (Japanese copies) are typically what I peruse if I want to do some public reading during breaks. Haven’t really gotten comments on it.

    I’m even planning to grab that sweet Miku-colored PSP and putting the equally good COSPA Miku strap on it, which I think will be suitably “hidden in plain sight”.

    Either way though, I think I enjoy a lot more agency than many others, as an Asian living in a non-Asian cosmopolitan metro area. Even if I’m sort of blatant, most people will just sort of take it as “Oh, it’s a FOB”, in the sort of “Well, that’s just what they do” way. More distressing is the fact that most people will assume I’m Japanese first, which is a weird thing to have to correct.

    Honestly, I think I’m more distressed by trying to work on pen and paper RPG’s in public, than I am in anything anime related. The only people who might even bother bringing it up in an aggressive or negative way are just equally nerdy people of differing hobbies (say, really extreme Magic players or the generic PnP roleplayer), usually ones who think anime becoming bigger’s encroaching on the things they like.
    Or they’re just some 4channer/SomethingAwful/whatever looking for a reaction.

    Still, I can’t say I’m such that I could resort to actually *using* those Shana doorknob message hangers I was given, nor would I go as far as a friend of mine who actively calls himself an otaku and wears a cap that says it in kanji.

    But it’s in the same vein that I don’t wear shirts about fighting games or make PnP roleplaying jokes.

    • Wow Pen and Paper role-playing huh? I was a DM back in high school but I played with my brothers and our neighbors, no one in school was into that. At university there were interested people, but a trimester moved really fast so I couldn’t get back into the groove sadly ever again.

      Thank you for the wallpaper, I shall use it immediately. It’s so cool! Yotsuba’s perfectly camouflaged as well lol.

      I also LOLd at FOB. I didn’t know they still used that word.

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  34. rxsiu says:

    Ah, I just chanced upon this post… Bit late, but I have some thoughts on this as well…

    I’m a pretty upfront Gundam fan, anyone who knows me IRL undoubtedly knows this. An incomplete list of my powerlevel markers:
    -Gundam Wing Just Communication instrumental as ringtone
    -Newtype Flash as txt msg alert (met my best friend and current university roomate in highschool with this one, it also filled me with glee a few times when someone asked “is that… from Gundam?”)
    -RX-78 on my phone’s screen protector (met 2 cute girls during frosh week with that, who woulda guessed.)
    -Eden of the East’s Selecao insignia as my ipod touch’s wallpaper
    -Neo Zeon Sleeves logo spray painted on both laptops (although only one is ever taken around, people comment on how “cool” the symbols are)
    -recently purchased a pair of Zeon engraved shot glasses from etsy

    I wouldn’t say the above are exactly subtle, but anyone who doesn’t know anything about Gundam wouldn’t notice anything. My less subtle cues involve a few Gundam related T-shirts that can actually pass off as wild paint/sketch designs and mostly Gundam related posters covering my wall, along with a Zeon flag hanging next to my bed.

    By the recommendation of my teacher, I wrote my 4000 word International Baccalaureate final essay on otaku culture (and got an A on it too); it’s just as the drama Densha Otoko portrayed it – otaku interests are for the most part, frowned upon by mainstream Japanese society. This outlook on otaku interests isn’t restricted to Japan, many mainstream societies look down on nerdy hobbies. That said, I’m not one to be ashamed of my interests. I wouldn’t go around getting in everyone’s face about otaku interests, but I would gladly converse with anyone who has similar tastes in hobbies (in general). If by chance someone has interests in gunpla, then I would proudly show off my completed works.

    The subtle and not-so-subtle power level cues I listed above have resulted in me getting to know some of my closest friends now. Gotta say, Anime (and Gundam in particular) have shaped my life significantly. No shame or regrets in it either.

  35. Winry says:

    I have yuuki Cross’s (vampire knight) necklace, and people have noticed!!! I also made shoes with the FMA symbol on them, people have noticed those too!! It’s probably because there is lots of otaku around here!!!!

  36. shindemoii says:

    I had a string quartet play “Yakusoku wa Iranai” from Escaflowne as our “exit march” song at our wedding, and snuck in the Evangelion version of “Fly me to the Moon” during the iPodded reception. Nobody was the wiser!

  37. Wow good job!

    Our daughter had her first birthday party last weekend, and while there weren’t any anime or manga related things that went on (BUDGET), I did notice that a bunch of unrelated catering staff and carpenters (who set up our yard) were casually wearing Naruto shirts as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

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  40. ygo-nights says:

    Where did Sybilant get that sweatshirt? I want one.

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