When someone thinks of a series that has had a toxic fandom because of fujoshi one series many will agree on, that has had one of the most troubled pasts within its fandom is most definitely the Hetalia fandom. From toxic shipping wars to Nazi salutes at anime cons, the fandom quickly became one many wanted to avoid like the plague. On a side note, I would like to say that much of the negativity within this fandom has died down, to a certain extent. There is still some drama every now and again but I will get into the possible reason behind that later in this post.
First a history lesson, what is Hetalia? Starting life as a short panel webcomic that was later adapted into a manga and then a very successful anime series and even a movie, it is a series about human personifications of various countries around the world throughout history and the first season focuses heavily on the Axis Powers and then later on down the line Allies of World War 2. It is a comedic take on world history, cultural stereotypes and could have easily turned into something very racist but due to its light and comedic tone quickly became popular throughout the anime community. Especially within the fujoshi side of anime fandom because many of the countries are personified as handsome men.
At its height of popularity, you could not go anywhere within the Hetalia fandom without finding shipping wars and plenty of yaoi. To those within the fandom who were not interested in this kind of content, they quickly began to hate those within the fandom that shared it. Having it constantly shoved in their face whenever they wanted to discuss the series tensions quickly boiled over between the fujoshi and everyone else within the fandom. If you were not into shipping characters within a fandom or found yourself a fan of an unpopular or ‘worse’ a heterosexual ship you were often attacked by other fans within the fandom, many being the angry obsessive fujoshi’s; something many of us have been accused of being at one point or another and something many older yaoi fans try to distance themselves from.
Believe me, I get it, you love your OTP. You have that one ship you love more than any other, believe me, I get it. I have been there, but forcing others to agree with your pairings and threatening and spamming them until they agree with your shipping choices are not going to make your friends in the long run. All it will do is make other fans within the fandom not want to interact with you, then you will find yourself surrounded by people with the same opinion on the pairing as you, I know what you are thinking that’s great, now I can spend my time only with like-minded fans and don’t have to deal with ‘haters’ anymore. This, however, I can guarantee end. One day you will like another pairing in another fandom and if those friends you were so close to in the previous fandom don’t agree with you whether that be the pairing or the new fandom itself, what then? Well, the ship wars will begin again and you will find yourself in a friend circle that will continue to shrink until there is just you and your precious ships. The fictional characters you love and no one else.
I know this sounds harsh but, I am speaking from experience on this one, I was once that fujoshi. Though for me it was not the Hetalia fandom, for me it was the Yugioh Fandom and I lost a lot of good friends within that fandom because of my choices in behavior online. I was so obsessed with the pairing I loved and I ignored or downright belittled everyone else’s opinions on the subject. I slung mud in shipping wars, I made personal attacks on other fans and now that I am older and wiser I am ashamed of my behavior when I was younger.
A lot of this drama in the fandoms comes from the younger members and a lot of this can be because of a lack of mental maturity on their part and I really do not mean this as an insult. Hetalia was and is still a fandom with many young fans and there is nothing wrong with their being younger fans in a fandom. This could be the first anime that they love to this extent and they want to tell everyone how much and/or what they like about this show. I will be going more into this in an upcoming post that is a personal story of my own dealing with younger ‘yaoi’ fans that almost got myself in trouble and had me having to step back and look at certain aspects of the yaoi fandom.
On its own merit Hetalia is still one of the most hilariously clever anime I have watched and not all the fans are as bad as some might have you believe, in fact, there is a really great community on the Hetalia Amino. It was bad, it was cringeworthy at times but don’t let a fan base make you miss out on an awesome series. If I did that I would have never watched Steven Universe and it is one of my favorite current airing shows.