I feel that my experiences talking with the anime community have forced me to acknowledge too many flaws in shows I used to enjoy, thus lessening my enjoyment of anime. Do you think this is a necessary consequence of engaging with the anime community?
The process that you’re ascribing to the internet here is basically “forcing me to apply critical thinking to my media”. To me, this is the opposite of a bad thing; stress-testing my opinions on and off the internet has helped me become a more discerning and critically-minded human being. Moving from simply enjoying or not enjoying a show to appreciating the thousand pieces that make up its artistic DNA is like stepping out from black and white Kansas into technicolor Oz.
There are so many shows that really reward a deeper look, and you can still enjoy any show you connect to while also being aware it’s not a perfect work. In fact, sometimes I actually enjoy shows for their flaws – often what a director was trying to say is most apparent in the way their show fails or overreaches, and if I weren’t looking for things like this, I’d just think “bad” and miss the humanity of the show. For me, a critical eye for media only enhances my appreciation of anime.
On the other hand, I think the specific point that discussion on the internet has helped me realize is that enjoyment and aesthetic respect or appreciation are two very different things. I can enjoy mediocre shows because they appeal to me while acknowledging they’re mediocre; I can respect well-crafted shows that don’t appeal to me without feeling obligated to watch them. Being able to look at media critically shouldn’t stop you from liking what you like.