The Other Side examines autism and its abundance in the anime fandom.

Episode Title: Activating Your Aspergers
Episode Count: 
Run Time: 
Cody Baier, Alex Schmidt, Sandro Kaiser
Executive Producer: Sean Russell
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Opening: “Getcha Life Right” by Krizz Kaliko

In the anime fandom, it seems like autism is everywhere. It permeates the fandom, it swarms the internet, and it even drives the creation of many, many anime that we know and… well we know of them. So what IS autism? Why has it led to so much strife within fandom? Why are so many people jumping on the bandwagon to self-diagnose themselves? Why is autism the new geek chic? To find out, Cody gave his usual co-hosts the boot, and sat down with two well-adjusted autistic folk to discuss what autism is, why it’s so prevalent in fandom, and the difference between what someone with autism can become if they try, and what they become if they use it as a crutch.

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About the author

The ever-controversial shock jock of Anime3000, and host of The Other Side (alongside Andrew Erickson and Max-Vader), and frequent guest on the A3K Podcast. Blunt, unfiltered, and politically incorrect, Cody's podcast appearances are not for the thin skinned. And be sure to check out his 90's cartoon throwback comic, Cloudscratcher!
  • Ravuf

    Yay new people

  • Jahmere Durham

    Oh man that picture. Nightmare fuel.

  • Pen

    I was weary when I heard about this episode’s future release on the A3K podcast, but you did a fan-fucking-tastic job discussing this topic! I don’t have aspergers, but I do have a generalized anxiety disorder and the two can relate and contrast greatly. I’m am just shocked at how accurate all of this was, and the two co-hosts did a fantastic job.

    There is, without a doubt, this type of problem existing in fandoms like Doctor Who where people thing it’s completely acceptable to run around with a “get out of jail card” and act like pretentious asses over a television show/cartoon. I even want to cosplay as the 11th Doctor for Momocon but the sheer stigma of the fandom is making me hesitant (but the outfit is so adorable goddammit).

    People like this allow whatever is wrong with them to fester in this obsession and become their aspergers/anxiety/depression/mood disorder. It’s not healthy and even though I get into a pit of “I’m just going to wallow in self pity.” I get my ass back up. So far, I’m an honors student who can do amazing presentations despite my anxiety. There is literally no excuse.

    I’m sorry for writing a shit-ton, but this relates to me on a really personal level and I just have to thank you for doing a great job discussing this. I’ve been a long time fan of this podcast and this just reinforces that fact.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I’m glad you guys tackled a very delicate subject here. It otherwise brought back some painful memories in my lifetime as I was often stuck in those type of special ed. classes in my childhood too. They never diagnosed me as autistic but said I was “autistic-like” (perhaps at the time this was being done, the term Asperger did not come into parlance since this was the early 1980s). I was stuck in those type of classes simply because they did not know what to do with me. I recall being in these classics called “MH” (multiple handicapped) and feeling very different from those peers I was with that couldn’t talk coherently or had physical disabilities like one person I knew who had that deal where your middle and ring finger fused together so it looked like you had four fingered hands instead of five. After a few years of this I was moved to “SBH” (Severe Behavior Handicapped) and had to put up with people that basically had a “Beavis and Butt-head” mindset especially when they were in their high school years (talking about sex, doing drugs and other gang-related crap I’m glad not to have been a part of). It was during my junior high years when I started being “mainstreamed” into normal classes and eventually got out of the whole program by the time I was a junior in high school. I felt I made a great improvement in my life then and managed to graduate from public education this way, though my college life was another story (a dropout pretty much). In later years, I felt I grew out of whatever I may have had as a kid, but there’s still a part of me that doubts how my life has been up to this point. I pretty much am unemployed and still haven’t quite find that fulfilling life that I sorta felt I would eventually get like everybody else. The only problem I have there was believing in that world that PBS and schools use to show me as a kid and the entitlement that never happened because I didn’t face reality the same way everyone else did. People are assholes, plain and simple. And yet I still bother to get up every morning, dress myself and go out into that world and be social about it. I tend to be very optimistic when everyone else feels like “why bother?”. I still get by one day at a time, especially after having gone through some depressing bumps in my life like the death of my mother to alcoholism and losing several jobs I had along the way (and yet I never succumb to alcohol or smoking so I’m glad I’ll never be a part of that statistic). And yet I still treat everyday like it was my first. It’s best to have that mindset I feel. To this day I cringe when someone wants to label me with the “A” word just for any number of reasons and I don’t claim to be one or try to pretend to. I’m glad for not feeling I have to go there out of no hope.

    Interesting to hear one of you guys are looking back on the “Disney Afternoon” stuff. I hate to admit that was one thing about the whole furry/anthro stuff I ever liked was to have appealing characters/stories and less on the adult material that otherwise ruins these things for everyone. Though I suppose as a kid, I always thought animals in cartoons were more appealing than they were in real life, if only due to the way we can alter and exaggerate the way they appear, feel, act and the like simply through “anthropomorphism”. As a kid, I enjoyed stories like Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in The Willows” simply for that reason, but at the same time, the same story could also be told had the animal characters simply be human beings instead, but because they’re animals acting/being human, we open that door to an interesting area to tell stories or create characters that don’t have to be tied down to one species or to deal with real-world matters like racism, sexism and what-not. Of course I tend to think most of that should “stay on the paper” and not put into social/reality the way many claim the fandom as a “lifestyle”, that part just bugs me quite a bit. I was into it more for the artwork than anything else.

  • DarthYan

    I have minor aspergers, and a cousin who is really really really autistic. As in, really really severe autism. But yeah, thanks for handling this maturely.

  • Normality

    Speaking as one with Aspergers (I was diagnosed when I was three), I can relate to these problems. Then again, most people don’t even know I’m autistic on first glance, so who am I to say?

    • Cody Baier

      If you’re autistic, and people can’t tell, that’s always a good thing and mad props to you.

      • Normality

        Thanks Cody. Helps that I have a job too.