My pasttime of wikiwalking on TV Tropes is constantly exposing me to interesting fandom quirks I normally would be unaware of or maybe under-aware of, though that sounds like a loaded term given some of what I've run into lately. Take for instance shippers. I've known that there are people out there who have opinions about who should end up with who in shows with some level of romantic tension. I also know that there are people out there more than happy to write slash or fanfiction pairing up characters like some sort of porno roulette. What amazes me is how invested some people are in certain couples to the extent that it's like watching an internet slapfest with salvos launched in the form of fanfics and photoshopped pictures. It's almost like watching a demented political campaign.
One example I've read about recently involving the Naruto universe is the gargantuan 'ship-war of Naruto-Sakura vs Naruto-Hinata vs (it wouldn't be the same without this one) Naruto-Sasuke. Each faction is absolutely devoted to the idea that Naruto ends up with whoever they're advocating or at least argues that no matter what does happen in cannon, their choice would have been the better fit 'in reality'. If you're for Sakura, Hinata is a weak-willed, pansy, wallflower without a spine and if you're for Hinata, Sakura is a violent jerkass who may in fact have a penis. I have no clue what the Naruto-Sasuke shippers are up to other than something amounting to girls are icky.
It's just amazing to read summaries of this and realize that people are spending so much time duking it out over which fictional character ends up with who. It's only human to read/watch these stories and develop a preference, but it just seems funny to become so involved it's like you're running a campaign to get your candidate elected. All of this made me think that maybe part of this is just fueled by the fact that all of us view anime, novels, tv shows, movies, etc through a slightly different lens and focus. Take me for example, when I like a story what moves me is the plot, the story itself. I like thinking about the strategy or machinations of the characters and the twists and turns of what happens. Other people are more interested in the characters themselves and their interpersonal relationships and yet others fixate on the quality of the art or the wordsmithing.
As an example of the latter, I found a page mocking Quality animation with large sarcasm tags around 'quality'. I was looking at the pictures and I found most of them amusing but despite having watched some of those episodes the stills came from, I never noticed any of them. I just don't pay all that much attention to the animation. It's not like I wouldn't notice if something truly screwy happened, but I just don't notice the small errors that other people pick up immediately. Maybe I just don't have the right appreciation for it. There's a reason I don't read much manga and when I do I tend to breeze through it, more concerned with the text and story than the pictures. A lot of it's just lost on me.
I guess in the end, it's pretty remarkable that people can get so many things out of one piece of work be it manga or anime or tv or whatever. Everyone tends to focus on that which they care about most and then it's off to the races thanks to the internet. Amazing.