Okay fandom, sit down, because we’re going to have ourselves a little chat. It goes by the name of ‘why using humor to cloak character bashing is Not Acceptable.'
By this point, I think we’re all familiar with the tales of what some YGO cosplayers experience at cons – namely a string of overused jokes and puns that were funny the first few times round, but which have quickly worn out their welcome (the most infamous being the 'card games on motorcycles’ directed at 5Ds cosplayers. Yes, lovely, I’m pretty certain they failed to hear it the first six thousand times it was shouted in their direction).
Still, this is just a mere trifle compared to the realization that not all of the jokes put forward by The Abridged Series and all its other incarnations are used in the same way. Cue some very relevant quotes from someone who was put off of cosplaying Yuki Judai, of Yu-Gi-Oh GX, by a portion of the convention crowd:
Although I really enjoy cosplaying as Judai. I feel that it’s a really difficult cosplay to do because of the mental stuff you get behind it. The teasing and the mean abridged quotes are something really difficult to put up with.
I find abridged funny. I really love GX Abridged but at the same time because of BBT abridged I get people yelling “Shut up Jaden you’re not funny!” at first you shrug it off but it makes you a bit irritated. Plus it makes me really sad and stuff. So for me being Judai is really emotionally draining.
What I never understood was why they were like that coz you know Marik gets equal belittlement in abridged. Actually abridged Marik annoys me loads. Coz well they make him sound idiotic. Yet when I went to cons as Marik people didn’t pick on me like they did Judai.
I bolded for emphasis the last bit, because therein lies the crux of the matter and the hypocrisy. Of course, some people will jump up in arms and say ’it was all in good fun, just mere teasing, nothing to get upset about! It’s merely satire!’
Here’s the thing, though. a. Your satire is legitimately making people dreaddoing what they love in this fandom and if you don’t find that more than a little bit fucked-up, I don’t know what more to say to you. b. You’re not even being consistent, as the person above noticed as well. Time and time again, I’ve received complaints mostly from spin-off cosplayers who were the targets of unwarranted and decidedly mean-spirited jokes. The very same thing can be said for interactions in the online community. Far too many times have I see people speak out against up-front character bashing, only to be swiftly shut down with a 'I was just kidding, man’ statement. That shit doesn’t fly for racist or sexist 'jokes’, so I have no idea why it should be suddenly acceptable as a cop-out here.
There are two problems here – how some people in the overall YGO fandom behave and how some parts of TAS itself are written. Leaving my own personal, biased opinions on the creator of TAS aside, I have to point out that there are plenty of ways to write quality humor by poking fun of the show’s various and many idiosyncrasies (I still laugh until my stomach hurts at the bit satirizing the use of split screen between Kaiba and Yami Yuugi) without involving mean-spirited jabs at the other series and characters. There’s a worldof difference between a joke like 'the demon that lives inside my head’, and 'desu desu bitches’, which poke fun at a character’s unusual or whacky traits….. and something like 'you’ve destroyed Yu-Gi-Oh’s credibility.’ Oh, really? By what metric and in what objective way, other than one filtered through nostalgia goggles?
If you’ve been involved in this fandom for long enough and especially if you’re a spin-off fan, that last bit ceases to be a joke, because it’s almost word for word the sort of shit we’ve had to put up with for almost a decade, day in and day out, to the point where a lot of people have very legitimate reasons to write off the fandom as a toxic mess and not engage with it at all. That doesn’t make me laugh. It sends my blood pressure straight into the stratosphere, because it ceases to be humor and becomes thinly-veiled character bashing.
What the person above said is dead-on. It’s as if someone people are using the abridged series (and here I’ll point my finger at both creator and certain fans) to cover up their bashing and make it seem more socially acceptable, isn’t it? An especially easy thing to do, what with TAS having the bad habit of providing low-hanging fruit.
I think it’s time some people asked themselves'what the fuck are we doing here’, if it’s gotten to the point where others feel actively harassed and unwelcome in this fandom.