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Fandom Heresy
aka: True Fan

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Randal: Which did you like better? Jedi, or The Empire Strikes Back?
Dante: Empire.
Randal: Blasphemy.
Clerks

Among Fandom there are some topics which, once mentioned, will cause endless, passionate debate over which faction of the Fandom is correct. Then there are some things which it seems like everyone in the Fandom agrees on. Of course Alan Moore is one of the best comics scribes out there. Of course the American adaptation of Coupling sucked. And of course Garfield has been going downhill for years. How could anyone think otherwise?

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Well, inevitably there are one or two fans who do. Actually voicing these opinions which run contrary to Fandom consensus, however, can entail some risk. You might get some funny looks if you said you preferred the Japanese GoLion over the American Voltron Lion Force. If you say you liked Voltron Vehicle Force, however, prepare to be treated as a Fandom pariah, along with comments that you're obviously not a real/true fan. Essentially, this is the Fandom variant of The Complainer Is Always Wrong.

Sometimes, this trope can even extend to fans who hold opinions that are only tenuously related (or, in some case, entirely unrelated) to the work in question - which run contrary to Fandom consensus. Can exist in the form of "you can't be a true fan of Band X, if you also like Band Y or you don't also like Band Z".

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By the extension of the above two paragraphs, in certain circles, the term "true fan" is the fandom equivalent of Godwin's Law. It's like declaring "I believe in X because I'm a 'regular' fan". In other words, if someone plays/invokes the "X because I am a true fan" , then they automatically lose the argument.

"After a rather influential message by M Sipher in 1997 the term 'true fan' has taken on a whole new meaning among some TransFans. It's a sort of twist on Godwin's Law where anybody who accuses somebody of not being a true fan automatically loses any argument, and is often discounted as a buffoon afterwards."
Steve-o's Transformers FAQ

Please note, to count as Fandom Heresy it must be said by someone who is part of the Fandom. For example, someone saying "Anime is stupid" or "Discworld is boring" doesn't count. However, an anime fan saying, "Hayao Miyazaki sucks" or a Discworld fan saying, "Sam Vimes is the lamest character in the series" would definitely count.

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A very commonplace, fandom-independent example of Fandom Heresy is disliking the main character, or the Ensemble Dark Horse if the main character isn't also the most popular character. Doubly so if you say that said character is a copy of a character from another series. Being a fan of The Scrappy is just as universal an example of Fandom Heresy, for equally obvious reasons.

See also Fan Dumb for another way to hit the Berserk Button of certain fandoms. Compare with Broken Base, where the two sides of opinion are more equal rather than one overwhelming majority against a minority "heresy"; as well as Sacred Cow or Unacceptable Targets, in which the "heresy" includes even non fans. Not to be confused with Fandom-Enraging Misconception, which is for common factual errors about works that particularly annoy their fans.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Bunny Drop: Never mention the second half of the series where Rin falls in love with and marries her adoptive father to the fandom, given that its infamy is so great that both the anime and live-action adaptations ignore it in favor of a more familial approach.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: Even if you were a relatively innocent kid that wasn't aware of of the original when it come out, it's best not to mention the dub, let alone that you like it, to most fans, as many consider it to be one of the worst anime dubs ever made. This is mostly due to as while the Americanization and removal of any romantic relationships (even the heterosexual ones) in a mostly ROMANCE series wasn't bad enough, in an effort to make to show gender-neutral (read: suitable for a male audience), they cut out any episodes not focused on Syaoran to make him a co-protagonist with Sakura (possibly even make him the main character over Sakura). Even simply referring to the series as Cardcaptors is enough to set fans off.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • If you ever decide to bring up Dragonball Evolution to fans of the franchise, there are only two options you have regarding it, that you either say you hate it, or you say it doesn't exist.
    • Do not compare Goku to Superman, and if you don't want to die at the hands of the fandom, don't suggest Superman is stronger.
  • Gurren Lagann: Do not tell a fan that you were okay with Nia's death at the end of the series, just one reason being it coming out of nowhere during Simon and Nia's wedding of all things.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Don't tell a fan that you enjoyed the Endless Eight arc of the anime, or you'll be praying to Haruhi herself for a way to stop the hate mail.
  • Hentai: To hentai fans, the two biggest sins that a hentai can commit are "NTR" and "Ugly Bastard", both things despised by fans of the genre. Saying you approve of such themes will cause fans to tear you apart.
  • Infinite Stratos: The fandom has a rather big one: if you even dare to make a microscopical amount of criticism to Charlotte Dunois... Well, may God save you from the backlash you will suffer.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Speedwagon is a beloved character in the fandom and is considered nigh untouchable when it comes to criticism. However, if you trash him and certain users know where you live, it's best to move out of the country.
  • Love Live!: To put it simply, don't insinuate that any character is anything short of a lesbian to the fandom. Just don't. And if you draw porn of the characters having sex with dudes, prepare to be punished even more by the fandom, and we don't mean Nozomi's "washi washi".
  • Naruto:
    • The general consensus with fans of the series is that Sakura is useless. Telling a fan otherwise can have some pretty bad consequences for you.
    • Bringing up Sequel Series Boruto to the fandom is not a good idea as they don't have a high opinion of it. You may be able to get away with saying positive things about the Boruto manga, however.
  • Pokémon:
    • Anime fans tend to despise the show's use of Floating Timeline, so saying Ash staying 10 years old is a good creative decision will cause fans to hurl torches and pitchforks at you. The creators of the anime themselves repeatedly get a ton of flak whenever they'd re-confirm his age.
    • Saying that you liked Pokémon the Series: Black & White or that it's your favorite part of the anime will cause the fandom to get angry, as it's derided for various problems such as reverting Ash back to a novice Trainer, Iris (and sometimes Cilan) being considered The Load, how Team Plasma was handled in the anime, and more. Even just bringing up the Meteonite Arc that had to be dropped due to the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011 will cause fans to get angry over how it ended up ruining the saga as a whole.
    • Fans do not want to be reminded of Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened due to the fact that it introduced a second Mewtwo in a situation where the original would have fit in perfectly. If you want to piss them off, claim that you liked the movie or its Mewtwo. note 
    • Bringing up the end results of the Kalos League will cause a ton of hate from the fandom to erupt at you, given the major controversy over the outcome. For bonus points, claim that you approved of Alain's victory over Ash. It’s okay if you say you like Alain, as he does have his fans. It’s also okay to bring up the other League losses, as they didn’t get nearly as much backlash as Kalos did.
  • Re:Zero: Rem is a character that's held in very high regard by the fandom. Because of this, saying anything negative about her can earn you the fandom's ire. Same thing goes for approving Subaru choosing Emilia over Rem.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Saying that you liked the Seisouhen OVA will get you in trouble with the fandom for its Happy Ending Override. Most fans and even Nobuhiro Watsuki himself, who didn't write it, deny Seisouhen's existence.
  • Sailor Moon: Suggest that Sailor Moon Crystal is any good, or that it's your favorite adaptation. Even if you acknowledge its flaws, be ready for a slew of screaming about the animation and the characters being "ruined" and accused of supporting heteronormativity and misogyny, as well as a tirade on how Crystal is the cancer killing the entire franchise.
  • Sword Art Online: Say what you want about the series as a whole, but mentioning the scene where Sugou Nobuyuki rapes Asuna in any way will incite the rage of the fanbase. But only if you do so while implying that fans enjoyed the scene, as even they despise that moment and sincerely wish it never happened.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: It's not a good idea to mention any of the film adaptations to fans, especially Fantastic Four (2015) due to its Ashcan Copy status.
  • Judge Dredd: Do not say that you liked the 1995 Sylvester Stallone film, just one of the reasons being that the titular character took off his helmet, something that is considered sacrilege by the fandom.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): It's not a good idea to ever mention Ken Penders, mainly due to the fact that his lawsuit against Archie Comics over his characters and concepts not only lead to a Cosmic Retcon-induced reboot that got rid of any characters created by former writers, but also eventually led to the cancellation of the comic itself and even has had repercussions throughout the entire franchise as a whole. Speaking his name will lead to trouble.
  • Spider-Man: Professing fondness for One More Day will get you lynched by the fandom, as they despise that story for undoing Peter and Mary Jane's marriage via Ret-Gone, which was Joe Quesada's main goal with the story.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future: Criticizing the sequels is understandable, but criticizing the original or calling it a "bad film" will get you drawn, quartered, and hanged by everyone, their parents, and their grandparents.
  • Citizen Kane: The quickest way a critic or film school teacher can kill their street cred is to trash this film. This is ironic since the film itself was an Acclaimed Flop in its day, and it only became Vindicated by History in the 50s and 70s, so if Kane has that reputation, it took a while to get there and did undergo "the test of time".
  • Ghostbusters: Do not speak positively about the 2016 reboot to fans of the series, as they view it with absolute disdain.
  • Godzilla: Criticizing the original film. No matter what your opinion of all the other films are, you're asking for an ass-kicking if you insult the original on any forum. The only possible criticism you could get away with is the voice-acting and editing changes in the English dub, and even that's pushing it.
  • Indiana Jones: Never bring up Indy nuking the fridge in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to fans of the series due to its controversial nature, unless you want to start a riot in the fandom.
  • Space Jam: Regardless of opinion toward the original, say something not negative about Space Jam: A New Legacy and you might as well have signed your death warrant.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • LazyTown: Don't ever say anything negative about Stefan Karl Stefansson or say that the "We Are Number One" meme is unfunny, overrated, or dead after Stefan's passing in 2018, since said meme was used for Stefan's GoFundMe for a cancer treatment.
  • Pro tip: Do NOT, in any manner insult Mister Rogers!.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Joel/Mike sides are set, and it's notorious fuel for a war, especially in the pre-Tropes days (aka the mid-1990s). It doesn't help that Joel Hodgson and Michael J. Nelson have been known to ignite these flames time and again.
  • Scarlet Heart: Go up to a fan and say you think Moon Lovers is better than the original series. Go on. Try it. Even fans of the remake almost universally agree the original is better.
  • The Wild Wild West: Go up to a fan of series and tell him/her you thought the movie was fantastic. Just make sure to put your affairs in order first.

    Toys 
  • amiibo: Don’t even THINK about taking an amiibo out of the box, as collectors of them despise such a practice.
  • Transformers: Saying that you liked the live-action movies is something you should never say to fans. Even just mentioning them is enough to cause outrage.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry: Just mention DmC: Devil May Cry to a fan. Expect to be torn apart over things such as the changes to Dante and the Take That!'s to the original continuity.
  • Dwarf Fortress: Anyone who doesn't share the fandom's opinion on elves and necessary unnecessary violence will be accused of this sooner or later, and then subject to traditional dwarven punishment by magma... erm, "unfortunate accident".
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: When it comes to discussing various theories about the series to the fandom, don't even think of bringing up the idea that the entire series is just the hallucinations and fever dreams of a brain-damaged child, unless you want to experience the fury of a thousand suns.
  • The King of Fighters: Saying to the fans that you liked K9999 is generally a bad idea, as even SNK despises the character, eventually removing him from the game, and replacing him with the character Nameless.
  • Kirby on its own is already a Sacred Cow, but among fans the biggest way to get yourself crucified is to criticize Kirby Super Star. The game is considered one of the best in the series and claiming that it's a bad game is sure to get you murdered.
    • Depending on the fan it is possible to get away with saying the Updated Re-release, Kirby Super Star Ultra, is better than Super Star.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Do NOT criticize Link to the Past or Ocarina of Time to the fandom due to their Sacred Cow status. You're going to get CR-UC-IF-IED! Debating over which of the two is the better game, however, is a different story.
    • On the topic of Ocarina of Time, the Water Temple is notably infamous for various reasons and considered to be the worst dungeon in the entire series (even Shigeru Miyamoto apologized for the dungeon). Saying anything positive about the Water Temple will get you on the fandom's bad side.
  • Mass Effect: Do not mention the original ending to the third game around fans of the series. To put it lightly, it's widely disliked.
  • Mega Man X:
    • Speaking positively about Mega Man X6 or saying it's one of your favorites in the series will likely get you yelled at by the fandom, mainly due to its severely rushed state (in America, where it came out first, Mega Man X6 was released the same year that Mega Man X5 was in that country) and unforgiving difficulty.
    • Bringing up Mega Man X7 in a positive way is sure to rile up the fandom due to the various problems with the game, mainly the gameplay. If you say you like it or that it's one of your favorite entries in the series, angry fans will want you to "BURN TO THE GROUND!"
  • Metal Gear:
  • Metroid
    • Criticizing Super Metroid. It's unanimously considered a landmark game and a masterpiece of level design and craftsmanship by fans and critics alike. Decades after its release, it is still considered the best game in the entire series and one of the greatest video games ever made, so if you go after it, prepare to get a whoopin'.
    • The first Metroid Prime is another game that's considered risky to criticize, since it's often considered to be in the same league as Super Metroid in quality.
    • If you say that you liked the gameplay of Metroid: Other M, fan opinion is mixed enough that you'll get some amused scoffing at worst. Say that you liked the story on the other hand, or (Chozo forbid) that it is one of your favourite entries in the series, then expect a complete derailment of the conversation as seemingly everyone in the fanbase arrives to scream how wrong you are. At one point, hate for Other M was to the point that even suggesting that the game had the potential to be good garnered the same result.
    • Just mention Metroid Prime: Federation Force to fans of the series, particularly that you think the idea of playing as the Federation Space Marines is cool, and you might need to equip the Varia Suit to resist the flames. In fact, hate for Federation Force was strong long before the game was even released.
  • Paper Mario: Even so much as mentioning Paper Mario: Sticker Star around seasoned Paper Mario fans is enough to make said fans angry at you, for reasons such as dumbing down the story or having generic Toads all over the place at the expense of other NPC Mario characters note . If you imply that you think Sticker Star is better than any of the first three games (especially 64 and The Thousand Year Door), you're in for even more of a world of hurt from the fandom.
  • Persona: Don't mention the Beginner and Very Easy modes from Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden, respectively, let alone state that you're okay with the existences of these modes, to fans of the series. And if you hold the opinion that it's okay to play on these modes, point out that they're optional, or worst of all, play on those modes, well...let's just say it's too bad Trafuri doesn't exist in real life.
  • Pokémon
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Go ahead and say that you didn't mind the NPC trade with Mindy note . Fans despise this in-game trade mainly due to its trollish nature.
    • Pokémon Sword and Shield: While there's nothing wrong liking anything else about the game, saying that you're okay with "Dexit" (where not every Pokémon can be brought into Sword and Shield) will cause the fanbase to yell at you.
    • Opinions on villain teams and villain team leaders are quite mixed and stating who is the best/most evil/etc. will at worst lead to debates over your answer, but even thinking about saying anything positive about Team Flare (unless it's the anime version of them) will not go over well with the majority of the fandom. For some reason, it's been decided that they are the worst villain team. If you do, expect many people to say you are a child for liking their plan or saying you are no real fan.
    • "We want each region to feel unique." This statement has been used by Game Freak to justify the removal of several beloved game mechanics and quality-of-life features from game to game (the DexNav, walking Pokémon, the PSS etc), often only to replace them with far less-liked replacements. Agreeing with this line of logic is subsequently a good way to get yourself raked over burning coals by the angry fandom.
    • Given their lore, abilities, and powers over time, space, and creation, Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, and Arceus are considered to be the most powerful Pokémon. Canon-wise, stating an opinion of any Pokémon being more powerful than them is not a good idea. This can also apply to Ultra Necrozma to a lesser extent.
  • Ridge Racer: Fans of the series really care whether Reiko Nagase is included in a game, to the point where the games that don't have bombed. Because of this, don't tell a fan that you're okay if Reiko is absent from a game.
  • Sly Cooper: Saying you approve of Penelope's Face–Heel Turn in Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time or the ending of the game will garner the hate of the fandom, many of which have even disowned the game to preserve the happy ending of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. Some fans even apply this to the entire game overall.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Star Fox:
    • A good way to get yourself lynched by the fandom is to criticize Star Fox 64, as it's considered a Sacred Cow and the best entry in the series, with none of the entries that came after able to match it.
    • Bringing up the quality of Star Fox Zero will irk a number of fans, but speak positively of the gyro-based controls the game has, and fans will blast you without warning.
  • Touhou Project: When it comes to the fandom, something you shouldn't do is criticize Sakuya Izayoi or say she's a bad character. Otherwise, expect lots of angry fans, especially those that are fans of the earlier Windows era games such as Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, to send dozens of knives your way.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Treating Xenoblade Chronicles as anything less but one of the best games ever or opposing Shulk being in Super Smash Bros. does not sit well with fans.
    • For Xenoblade Chronicles X, do not mention the censorship to fans. note  The resulting backlash can put Cauldros to shame.

    Visual Novel 
  • Danganronpa: It's not a good idea to say anything positive about the third trial from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, due to reasons such as Mikan Tsumiki's motive being the much-maligned Despair Disease, the fact that it would have been impossible for her to pull off both murders in the way and timeframe she did, that Hiyoko Saionji's murder wasn't elaborated upon, the rushed nature of the trial itself, or most infamously, Mikan's execution.
  • Tsukihime: When it comes to the fanbase (as well as fans of the Nasuverse as a whole), never mention the anime Shingetsutan Tsukihime. In fact, there's no Tsukihime anime as far as they're concerned.

    Web Animation 
Happy Tree Friends: Never mention "Youtube Copyright Law" to fans of the series, as it's seen as less of an episode of HTF and more of a punishment for uploaders that get a copyright strike on YouTube note .

    Web Original 
Youtube: It's best for you not to say you were fond of any Youtube Rewind from 2018 onwards, as they're despised by viewers of the platform and contain far more dislikes than likes as a result.

    Western Animation 


Alternative Title(s): True Fan

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