WTB Good Industry Blogs

I know they are out there, somewhere.

I figured this is the place to ask since people who read blogs…know blogs. And if you come across mine from somewhere I don’t know, odds are you’ve been to other places I’ve not on the vast internet worth visiting. So I beseech you: Where are all the good English-language anime industry blogs? I’ve seen glimpse of manga blogs that are actually helpful and insightful, but anime? What’s anime? LOL?

Heck, even if it’s just PR nonsense. Good PR nonsense, to be specific. For a while I read Broccoli USA’s blog because that’s what a good (maybe “good” is too vague of a term…a blog worth reading?) industry blog should look like. I stopped only because about 1 out of 30 entries (and I think I’m being generous) contained anything I really cared about, as, you know, most of it is just manga news and I barely read any manga. I usually take a peek there before going to a con though…

But yes, anime-related please. In my limited knowledge most anime-centric industry blogs look like this. And it’s kind of, well, sad. Not that it’s bad or anything, but I might as well go read AoDVD, at least I get something useful out of them.

Which is to say AoDVD’s own blog effort is lolz, but that’s fine since the main purpose of the news/review site runs the same way as a good amount of bloggers. It’s a whole different business to run a news/review site as a blog, and if things comes down to that, well, oh well. They have an active forum community so it makes up for it. But it doesn’t read like a blog, and the community is different enough that I’d not want to get tangled up with it too much. Maybe AnimeNation’s community or ANN’s community is better, but I fear for their astronomic SNR.

Speaking of ANN, with the open letter nonsense, I found these blogs. I guess if you host it on your secure server Google is going to have problems indexing it. Forget about pingbacks and trackbacks. And why is it like that anyways? That said those blogs are less than 2 months old, so it’s kind of an unproven effort. But at least they have cool pictures. And the same Broccoli blogger writes this, I’m guessing. Pretty nifty I’d say.

I would link to the old Geneon USA blogs if they were still around, just so you know how sad American anime industry blogs are. I know the past couple years podcasting has been tried (Rightstuf puts out the only one worth listening to but others put out random con-related stuff too), but I don’t listen to podcasts really. Especially pretty much all but two English-language podcasts about this stuff are weaksauce.

AAAANNNNYWAYS. Do you know some cool industry blog that I don’t know? Please do tell! And it doesn’t even have to be actual industry. Just ones with real industry bloggers going at it would be fine. If it’s worth reading.

18 Responses to “WTB Good Industry Blogs”

  • Owen S

    I know you said no manga blogs, but have one anyway. Enemy of Translation is the LJ of Andrew Cunningham, and his userinfo has “Translator for Kino no Tabi, Boogiepop, Missing, Gosick, the Death Note novel, and Parasyte.” so I guess you could say he has industry street cred.

  • omo

    I read very few light novels but if we were to look at the raio in terms of what’s out and what I’ve read/am interested, that’s way more than manga. Cunningham’s blog may prove to be interesting enough for me to follow after all.

  • Andrew F.

    Andrew “Avatar” Kent does DVD subtitle work for various companies and has a lot of great war stories from his days at ADV. I wouldn’t exactly call his blog an industry blog, though, more like an ordinary anime blog sprinkled with dirt about the industry.

    The only other one I can think of right now is Clyde “tomato” Mandelin’s livejournal. He does translations for Funimation and other stuff on the side, but his LJ isn’t updated that frequently.

  • omo

    Ah, good o Avatar. Even if his ego is lol large, my perspective on a lot of things are similar to his…probably not a great thing.

    And poor Patrick. I think he’s got the stuff but still needs to work on his delivery if he wants to make a living out of it.

  • wildarmsheero

    I think his real blog is better, but the Otaku USA one is more industry, or something.

  • Shizuki

    Sorry we (I) stopped updating the Synch-Point blog, which is an anime industry blog. Hopefully you’ll like the Industry Babble blog at dot-anime.

    Here’s another translator blog, One Potato Two.

  • omo

    If I had not say so already: nice links everyone. And Shizuki you’re actually making a big difference with all those blog updates, propping up the industry side of things for the fans (mostly by yourself!). I appreciate it. And I like the slightly different tack you’re taking @ Industry Babble.

    Anime fans are pretty trendy when it comes to the internet. I’m somewhat sad that so few (and this includes manga and everything else) industry side folks in English-Speaking Land partake in all this jibber jabber the Web 2.0 way on their own volition. (Or maybe they are and the general public is just not invited.) Sometimes I’d come across a post and it reads like as if someone’s boss put “keep so-and-so blog” in their quarterly goal and they do it just because it’s part of work. That’s not gonna fly well.

  • Avatar

    Heh. Don’t need to pimp my own site if you people are going to do it for me. ;p

    The reason that there’s very little “official” industry net presence is that it’s a tremendous pain in the ass screening it for trolls. Remember the last time Manga put up a forum? Every person who’d ever had a complaint went screaming straight for it, turning it into some kind of Boschian hell at speeds exceeding that of light. Then Manga deleted some of the posts and everybody started screaming “censorship”. Seriously, what was the advantage that they were getting that made it worth going through that? (Obviously not much, they killed it shortly thereafter…)

    AOD’s forum is more or less the unofficial industry forum. It’s a fairly nice place, kept within the realm of sanity by Chris and a tireless army of moderators. Industry folks can post stuff there without having to worry about being the heavy if some raving lunatic decides to try to blame the 9/11 bombing on their dubbing practices. Most of the advantages, few of the disadvantages, Chris is a nice guy who’s reasonably easy to keep happy. Hell, I do reviews for him in my spare time these days.

    Even so, there’s a lot of stuff you just can’t talk about. I don’t necessarily mean hard facts like sales figures, either. You can sit there and say “look, the information I have shows this,” and people will come back with “lol u r liar” – there’s no point in arguing with fourteen-year-olds with unlimited amounts of free time. ;p So you can’t really say anything that’s informed by knowledge of stuff you’re not supposed to talk about, because you’re inevitably going to run into somebody denying it’s true and demanding you post figures they know damned well you’re not allowed to divulge.

    And when it comes to production, what are you going to say, exactly? The boring bits aren’t particularly exciting – I can say “woo, I’ve timed a volume of Lucky Star in two days, it’s beer o’clock!”, but that’s not going to drive a lot of readers to anyone’s site. But the interesting stuff usually involves somebody screwing up – either someone at your company (and then publicly humiliating them is going to make for a really fun Christmas party!), or someone at a different company (ditto, cons), or someone in Japan (less likely to notice, but is it really worth maybe losing a contract in the future?) I mean, shoot, you pick up that kind of story even just contract subtitling!

    There’s a little less industry engagement as a whole these days, but frankly, I understand why. There’s fewer people doing more work, so their free time is down; honestly, a lot of the news hasn’t been good until lately, so it’s depressing to spend your free time on it; and the people who are left are generally pretty cynical veterans by now (which is to say, they’ve got absolutely nothing to prove by going online – not saying that they don’t listen, but every time your head pops up, it just becomes a target for some unreasonable fanboy looking for justification for stealing your work…)

  • omo

    So, in other words, I am right? :p Most anime industry folks are nubs at internet? And of course they’re too poor to hire any real PR people who has experience taking care of it. Nor is it necessary, with Chris and his goons doing the work for everyone, I guess. But that’s going to come and bite that snug community in the ass at some point if people don’t branch out sooner or later.

    To be honest that’s not even the kind of industry blog I’m looking for. Don’t people enjoy watching anime? They can talk about that. That’s street cred worth its weight in gold.

    Admittedly if you’re just a subtitler and all you got dibs on is insider gossip, it wouldn’t make great blog material anyways–no more than some of the proto-anime bloggers who first scrubbed sites like 2ch and moonphase for news to translate. You can break news to get readership, and you don’t have to break news (and just do one of the million other things) to get readership. It’s a pretty simple web 2.0 concept…

  • Avatar

    Well, the entire idea of “getting readership” isn’t something I obsess over. I have a blog to vent, and so that I don’t write these multi-page comments all over everybody else’s blog; a few people read it, that’s all I’m worried about. ;p

    Precisely how would it bite someone in the ass, though? Like I said, there’s a significant penalty in doing it yourself. At least in real life, people are generally socialized enough to avoid screaming the word “fuck” at the top of their lungs in a crowded room; on the internet, there is no such limiter functioning, and plenty of unreasonable anime fans for whom there is simply no point in arguing with. I mean, sure, you can pay a guy to do nothing but take flak, but it’s not like there’s any value-add in that – you can’t convince anyone who actually knows anything to do it, since they’re not stupid (nor noobs… not hanging out on the ‘net is a function of how busy they normally are, and not wanting to worry about dealing with random bastards with too much free time.) So you’d just get the kind of content-free blog that nobody cares about anyway.

    As far as industry insiders blogging about anime, what are they going to say? Unlike you or I, who can blog about whether a show is awesome or sucks until the cows come home, someone actually working for one of the companies does that only at their own risk. I can say “gawd, the art direction for this episode was done by an epileptic drunk” because I can safely assume I will never have to meet that guy, nor anyone he’s ever talked to. Anime company people can’t DO that. If you say “these character designs were sub-par”, what are you going to do when you’re trying to get an interview with that guy for an extra on some other show?

    There’s also a “sausage factory employee” element to think about. Working for an anime company cuts down on your recreational anime-watching big time. For them, anime watching is work; even if the particular anime you’re watching isn’t work-related, it could rapidly become work-related. (And then there’s also the issue of picking at releases you didn’t work on – there are a few shows I can’t really watch because of an inferior subtitling job, for example.) When I was laid off, it was two or three months before I watched any anime at all – and this was back when the company was still sending me some freebies, mind you. I didn’t really get back to someone you could call an “anime fan” for almost a year.

    So to be blunt, it’s not that they’re unaware of the value of having an internet presence. They know pretty well that it’s -zero-. By and large they’re uninterested in feedback because the vast majority of it is uninformed and stupid – people asking for things they wouldn’t want if they had them, people demanding things that aren’t remotely possible, people assuming that because an opinion is shared on a ten-user forum, it’s gospel truth worldwide. It’s like panning for gold in the sewer – you might find a nugget once in a blue moon, but you’ll be covered in crap the whole time.

    Mind you, paying attention quietly can let you know what people are thinking about this or that feature or whatever, but that’s easily done from stealth mode, as it were. The moment you open your yap, suddenly it becomes “let’s communicate stupid stuff to the industry guy” time, which isn’t a terribly valuable way to spend your time.

  • omo

    I think your points are all valid but mostly inapplicable, as in I don’t think you know what I mean by Web 2.0 (well, yes I cheat; but then again YOU are the Time Magazine person of the year a year ago, so that says something…). Here’s why:

    1. A blog is not “www.advfilms.com” unless you are in the business of doing that (whatever ADV does) with a blog. It’s like livejournal. It usually has a personal dimension to it. If you read some of the popular press blogs they all read that way, compared to merely a publisher putting out articles written by the exact same people which are more distant and professional. For example. Some people I know keep a work blog on top of their personal blog, and whatever company they work for has their own PR beeswax that incorporate both a professional face and a personal face regarding the particular product/service/project and in relation to their existing customers. In other words, blogs for corporate PR means tailoring to different relationships with different people. It’s just more effective, more powerful marketing.

    2. Internet presence is not zero. Obviously everyone has a website these days (so internet presence is worth the bandwidth, domain name and IT bills at the very least) and the idea behind blogging is a “paradigm shift” in the “kind” of presence you have. I call it street cred in my previous comment, because it’s similar to that. Sure, if you get buddy-buddy with the scene invariably you will encounter poop. If you open a forum you’ll encounter poop. And that’s where experienced internet PR people (like, a manager for talent agency) come in–they can deal with it very effectively. This is why I call people noobs, as only noobs don’t know how to handle poop. I’m not really great buddy with Fred Gallagher but it takes no effort to mod his forum on top of a full time job (I commute 2 hours a day by the way), and to be honest it doesn’t take a whole lot for him to get people to mod it. It only takes some interpersonal skills as applied on the internet, and knowing what to do to get the ball rolling. I guess while YMMV it’s something you either have or don’t :p

    3. Blogging is personal to the extent that a community forum (like AoDVD) isn’t–as in, on your own blog you get to make your own rules, but you also pay for it and support it and keep it up as long as you like. Chris B is not on anyone’s payroll but he’s just a guy, a fan. He and his satff may love the stuff to death but you can’t count on AoDVD for being around until whenever. Who knows it may go down if he gets sued for something. If you’re pro about your business, it’s just not cool to rely on handout/charity as a major part of your PR (especially if a significant amount of revenue comes from pet fanboy projects, which is fickle to internet whims).

    Just an example, I come from the legal arena and the ideas I listed above has seriously transformed the way lawyers use the internet in the US. The same pitfalls you listed applies (like badmouthing so-and-so and a year later so-and-so is a judge overseeing your case), but it just means you can’t act like an idiot fanboy like you and I. I think Shizuki is a good example of a proper industry blogger, in the way she writes. It’s not too personal but far from being a PR jukebox most other industry “blogs” are.

    Boiling it down, if all you do is make a photo blog of your work (and censor out anything that’s not cool for release), and put down a minimum amount of text, your blog will get readers if you are good at taking pictures and take interesting stuff. Even if it’s just every time you went out to a new restaurant. I just described like 80% of the voice actress blogs people read. And this can be done by anyone, any industry, for any reason. If you can’t even see this then I suggest you go befriend an average American teenager and see what life’s like for them.

  • Avatar

    Not to be impolite to Shizuki, who is a good friend, but her company hasn’t released anything in a while and is not honestly expected to ever do so again. Different circumstances, dontcha know. ;p

    Chris hasn’t been “just a fan” for several years now, if you want to put it like that. But still, what’s the difference? You’re suggesting that a company doesn’t have to spend all its time on idiot cleanup, because it’s easy to recruit others to do it for you; okay, well, there’s Chris and the gang, performing the same service at one remove. There’s no functional difference except for the domain name at the top of the screen. Sure, Chris is willing to rag on anyone who drops the ball, but in a way, doesn’t that give him extra weight when he’s happy with something? I don’t see how a company-driven PR would be any better, except if you’re releasing crap and screwing up constantly…

    There’s also a good amount of fan-fatigue involved. I mean, I get that way and I haven’t been doing this for all that long, just a few years. The real industry veterans were that way before I even signed on, and things sure as hell haven’t improved on that front since. They’re also mostly a generation older, have families taking up time now, and just aren’t into it anymore. I know a few of them who used to show up online on a regular basis, but the incessant nag-nag-nag from idiots got them to the point where they decided it just wasn’t worth it as a leisure-time activity. (And as far as a work-related activity, these are the people with full schedules and no time to do the things which it is essential they do in order for the shows to keep coming out; you do NOT want them to divert work-hour effort away from that, I tell yez.)

    I just don’t see the value-add in paying some know-nothing to pretend that he’s keeping his finger on the pulse of the industry in public; it’d be a farce, and probably look like one. And the people who aren’t know-nothings are too busy actually doing the important things to spend time blogging about them, and even had they a few moments to spare, years of unpleasant experience has conditioned them against that sort of thing. And they’re not gonna pay me to do it. ;p So seriously, what’s the benefit to be had, aside from “Omo would like to read this stuff”?

  • omo

    It sure won’t put money in your pocket (unless you make it a full time job much like what Chris and other self-sufficient bloggers have done), if that’s what you’re getting at. Why do you blog, then? Why do companies like Microsoft and Google (and other, smaller, cheaper but nonetheless ‘big’ companies) pay their key employees (which are, as far as dollar-figure goes, worth several anime industry employees at any level) to blog? It’s worth something. You are right in saying (even if you are not saying it outright) that you can’t make someone blog if they don’t want to or can’t (because they don’t know this internet stuff or don’t have the time), but that shouldn’t stop anyone who do if they want to, or if they can turn that into something positive.

    I can’t help but to feel that you’re only saying so because you’ve had otherwise a negative experience with dealing with fans on the internet. Perhaps that is the overall consensus from the anime industry side (probably because since they’re all too busy the past few years to realize what’s going on), but there are enough success stories from other fields to say that it doesn’t have to be that way with anime. Or maybe you are just being overly sensitive since all you are really saying is that the typical person working for the industry doesn’t know how to handle publicity on the internet?

    I just want to see more anime industry folks using the internet like it’s the 21st century. Does that do you any benefit? I have no idea, but somehow I think there’s a theme in a lot of criticism with the anime industry being stiff-necked and backwards in an age of fast changes and internet piracy.

  • Avatar

    You’ve got it backwards. It’s not that I’ve had particularly bad experiences with fans on the internet, per se. EVERYONE in the industry has had that. It’s practically obligatory. Hell, if anything, I had a bit of an easier time because I was never very far up the totem pole, and because as a subtitler I was (am, I suppose) one of the nominal “good guys”. ;p And sure, I was also a good bit more visible online than most people doing my job, but I’m the argumentative sort; there’s plenty of times I would hop into a fansubber channel and max out my typing speed keeping up with five or six conversations at once, several of which aren’t printable in a family publication.

    The idea that these are people of low technical sophistication is also kind of funny. My boss would wear his DeCSS code T-shirt to work. (Mind you, he was the head DVD author… that ought to give you an idea of things on that front, heh.) I don’t blame you for thinking that, perhaps, but I can say you’re off base on my personal experience here.

    My contention isn’t that the anime company employees don’t want to blog – it’s that they are correct in not wanting to blog, that the aversion isn’t just “ugh, talk with fans, no thanks” but a rational calculation of the potential benefits (damned few), the potential problems (legion), and the annoyance factor (tremendous).

    You’re waving the “oh, it’s the 21st century now” flag at me, but when did you think I was working for the industry, exactly? Precisely what has changed in the last two years that makes blogging a more-attractive option? Seriously, I’d like to know. And specifically, not in the “Microsoft and Google do it” sense. Anime companies don’t have billions of dollars in market capitalization, they can’t afford to flush money that way. Why would it be good for anime industry insiders, specifically, to blog more?

    If I’m engaging in a discussion online, and I don’t like the tone that it’s taking, I don’t sit there and yell, I just go away. If people don’t want to be civil, they can do it without me there. But when it’s your blog, you can’t “go away” – you either fight back or quit blogging. If that sort of thing started to happen on my blog, I -would- quit blogging. And nobody is sitting there thinking “heh, it would be fun if I posted a comment saying ‘when will you fuckers release Shuten Doji on Blu-Ray?’ to 200 different posts” when it comes to me. ;p

  • omo

    Just because you wear a DeCSS shirt doesn’t mean you know anything about blogging–in fact that’s what you are not getting. It’s not a technical issue. It’s an understanding social change issue. I said befriend teenagers, not coders… After all it’s them that will buy and watch anime. (They’re the bulk of people with the disposable income and time to want to waste it on that stuff. In a few years they’ll all be in college, and you really want to nail them then. But hey, that kind of blogging is not what I’m talking about.)

    In fact how you respond to “when will you fuckers release Shuten Doji on Blu-Ray?” betrays your lack of understanding. If I was you I’d just moderate my comments and delete those. It’s a very Web 1.0 response. There’s no need to quit or be defensive; trolls are trolls. If things get out of hand, just disable comments. Be reasonable and trust your readers; there are always more people who read blogs and not comment than those who do. Of course the bigger problem is trying to get 200 comments that say that in the first place. I’d elaborate also how you’d treat those comments differently on a blog versus on a forum, but that’s for another day.

    Well, I’m not going to argue with you regarding people’s choices. I understand your logic but at the same time I think it’s pretty much misplaced by old presumptions of how things worked. A year of real life is like 10 years on the internet, so things may have changed drastically while some people weren’t looking. I am not saying everyone should blog (and not everyone should), but if only one person tries it out after all of this and likes it, then my mission is more than complete.

    I will just say that the weather is great and the water temperature is just right, so come join us for a swim if you ever get tired of your high horse.

  • Avatar

    What? I -do- blog. Not arguing my own position here; most of the downside arguments don’t particularly apply to me, so there’s no reason why not. ;p

    All that I’m saying is that the situation functions very differently when there are significant numbers of people who hold grudges against you for no good reason (or, at least, no reason you could possibly do anything about.) The task of physical upkeep and idiot patrol goes up significantly, while your time resources don’t. You know what kind of purely malicious vandalism anime fans are capable of. You’ve SEEN /b/.

  • omo

    I’ve also seen people fended off /b/ too. Remember I mod the most hated OEL manga forum online :p /b/ is not as scary as you think. For that matter there are tools to do all kinds of stuff to render them mostly useless against a blog, that doesn’t apply to other kinds of sites.

    But quit arguing not-your position :p

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