EVE Online's latest war is being fought over anime

How a controversial ban on anime is fueling what could be a major conflict.

Credit: Queenz

Wars in EVE Online have ignited over everything from personal vendettas to the dire need for resources. But the galaxy of New Eden has just seen the opening salvos of its first ever anime war. Understandably, it has the entire galaxy wondering where the hell things went so wrong for the hardcore space MMO. EVE Online players have a new threat to worry about: weebs.

The origins of the conflict date back months ago to a private Discord server for the WAFFLES alliance. As CEO Reza Najafi tells me, the alliance had previously been using chat programs that didn't support displaying images. But Discord does. Unbeknownst to Reza at the time, WAFFLES was harboring a considerable population of anime fans (or weebs as they call themselves) who were spamming anime memes in the Discord at all hours of the day. "The chat was flooded with so much anime, we had to ban it in our main channel," Reza tells me.

"The chat was flooded with so much anime, we had to ban it in our main channel."

Reza Najafi

WAFFLES's anime fans were understandably crushed by the blow and, for a while, the anime menace seemed to have been quelled. Fast forward to the beginning of April and Reza was asked to be a guest on the Crossing Zebras EVE podcast. There, he planned to talk about his alliance's struggles of living in low security space, a place typically thought of as a haven for pirates. Another guest on that show, Jin'taan, had other plans.

As a member of the Council of Stellar Management, Jin'taan is the closest thing EVE Online has to a politician. This democratically elected official is a part of a small group of players-turned-consultants who assist developer CCP Games in designing new features and making changes to the delicate ecosystem of EVE. That means that, perhaps more than any other player, his opinion matters.

If EVE ships were anime girls. Credit: Tenten Kugisa.

Without getting too bogged down in the nuances of EVE, Jin'taan tells me the two were incapable of seeing eye to eye on certain matters and he wasn't exactly diplomatic about it. "I came off as a massive cock," Jin'taan admits. "I believe I opened by calling Reza a 'disingenuous piece of shit' for lying when he tried to make his opening statement." He tells me he thinks Reza took it rather personally, which would prove to be the spark that would set the anime kindling ablaze. There was one thing Reza, WAFFLES, and the entire galaxy couldn't expect.

Jin'taan is also a weeb.

It's not clear how Jin'taan's entertainment preferences were leaked, but it became the straw that broke the camel's back. Aside from being an elected official of the CSM, Jin'taan is also the head fleet commander of Curatores Veritatis Alliance, a distinguished null-sec entity that has lived in the region of Providence for years. Reza explains that while CVA is sitting on some valuable territory, Jin'Ttan's very public disrespect and his anime-loving tendencies were just what Reza needed to justify an invasion.

Being the leader of his own storied alliance, Reza is also somewhat of a tactical genius. Seeing the rift anime was causing throughout the ranks, he decided to weaponize it. During his "State of the Waffles" address to announce the invasion of Providence, Reza told his soldiers that if they kill Jin'taan 10 times and bring him 10 corpses from the wreckage, he would lift the ban on anime. This upset those that were in favor of the ban, so Reza decreed that if those who were anti-anime worked together and brought him 20 corpses, the ban would become permanent. In response, each group has began calling themselves Team 10 and Team 20. Regardless of whether anime culture lived or died in WAFFLES, Jin'taan had just become one of the most wanted men in EVE. 

Jin'taan depicted as Moses liberating his "people" from Pharaoh Reza. Credit: invisusira.

Anime at the gates

Immediately following the decree, players dubbed the emerging conflict World War Weeb and the propaganda wheels began turning. For a few days, the EVE Online subreddit was flooded with anime as the conflict quickly spread beyond just WAFFLES and CVA. Sympathizers from all over the galaxy have raced to Providence to kill Jin'taan and donate his corpse towards banning anime forever or letting it live free.

For something as contentious as anime, the larger community of EVE players seemed to have let out a long sigh and rolled their eyes. Within hours of the EVE subreddit temporarily becoming dangerously close to an anime forum, posts began springing up imploring the moderators to issue a ban on anime posts. In response, the moderators have created a filter to hide all anime-related posts. "Apparently every alliance in EVE has problems with weebs," Reza says.

"Apparently every alliance in EVE has problems with weebs."

Reza Najafi

I spoke with Matterall, the host of another EVE podcast called Talking in Stations, to get his perspective and learned of Weebfleet, a haven for culturally exiled anime fans. During the quiet hours of yesterday evening, he was able to sneak me into their Discord channel. Unsurprisingly, it's bursting at the seams with anime memes, discussion over who is the cutest waifu, and a whole channel solely dedicated to hentai. It's unclear whether these exiles will organize to push any kind of political agenda at this time. For now, they're too busy discussing the most bittersweet visual novels.

It's not clear how large World War Weeb will grow as the conflict is just beginning to catch fire. Reza is convinced that WAFFLES will be able to push Curatores Veritatis Alliance and its allies out of Providence. Considering WAFFLES is allied with Pandemic Legion, one of the most formidable armies in EVE, that could be a very real possibility. "Yes, I think the South [where Providence is] will be on fire," Reza says. "There are many smaller conflicts happening and it's heating up. There's potential for a southern war in the next months."

As for the fate of anime in WAFFLES, those who want it banned appear to have a lead. So far they have turned in five of Jin'taan's corpses while the weebs haven't collected a single one.

We'll have more on this historic conflict as it unfolds.