Anime & Blog & Me

Not so much introspective as yet another yard sale-style meandering of what’s on my mind. You’ve been warned?

Garden of Akizuki Ritsuko

1. Journalism. I’ve been writing for Jtor for a while now. I always kind of regret the amount of output I hand out over there. I feel that there are a lot of things I can write about if I can square off chunks of time and focus on writing it in a way that fits that particular media outlet. Over time I feel that this is not a productive way of looking at things. I think it is true that the average editorial that I post here on this blog will require a lot of reworking. I look at blog posts like this one more like a set of stairs or more like, better put, a car lift or a jack, where I put some ramp under the “narrative” and work hard and push it up so it gets to where my idea actually resides, in a way that forms a bridge of understanding for some unfortunate person reading said unfortunate blog post.

So it’s not a surprise to me to see someone reddit my Sasami blog post because the bridge itself is what I want to express in that particular effort. I wanted to explain the things that explain what the hell was going on. But this is rarely the case. Which is why nobody reads this blog, relatively.

And I think in a lot of ways, this is really where we’re stuck at, since 2008. I joined Jtor because it’s one of the few real “blog” style sites that can make a difference in terms of what I see is out there, what people wanted, and what I wanted. Stuff that goes in between Sankaku Complex and ANN, basically. It’s got people who get what I mean when I talk about blogging. It’s got some readers. It’s got some actual cred, most importantly.

Since then CR News has been probably the closest thing to what I’m looking for. Unfortunately they are basically stuck gleaming off the same 2ch matome pipe that ANN runs off of. It’s too Gawker, not enough bloggery-ness, for my taste. Their coverage is pretty decent although I can nitpick a lot in terms of their editorial qualities. Well, nobody is perfect.

The reality of the situation is highly complicated by the revenue picture. I think an important thing to realize is that to produce quality news-editorial content in a reasonable quantity, at least at the levels I’m talking about, you basically have to full-time hire someone. Probably a few people at least. And we’re talking beyond just administering the platform. Nobody really has this much money. And this is kind of a fundamental problem in the anime space. We’re too hooked on the usual social networks (namely things like forums and 4chan and 2ch and twitter etc) to really let these pro journalism sites grow. At least, the market opp is pretty difficult to outline.

This is partly what I’m talking about at least. It’s like when you write a post, you might expect that a good chunk of your readers are not cold dialing your URLs, but rather they’re referred from established communities and familiar with existing discourses that are subscribed by those communities. That’s the “road” or “surface” level where the jack has to be to establish that sense of engagement.

In some sense I feel this is why ANN is as successful as they are today–they can give that less damn. Their forum is a pretty good example as to why it might be a good idea to keep it that way. To keep writing news like news.

The flip side, of course, is that if you want people to have better experiences, better engagement with your content, you gotta do more. Rely on fansubs to review new content. Talk about japanese fan meta crap. Stir up controversy. What have you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Which is why I call it a jack or a car lift, not an escalator. Because that’s where the hard work is.

You get all that? I’m assuming that is what the word journalism really means. Well, maybe it’s beyond just journalism. More like, how to write about something in a way that engages the reader with the subject matter?

Speaking as a reader, on the other hand, I think a lot of the community are simply way too quick to judge and not open-minded enough to welcome new people. Often we don’t see the long-term value of sites like Sankaku Complex (or Seventh Style, which I just like more by far, for different reasons) or ANN’s forum. And I can go on. There are not enough people who engage these venues with a mind towards improvement and how we as individuals can make these places better. If 4chan can change, anything else can. And I’m not even saying we should aim that high. All I’m saying is that we have to be responsible for our own mess and do something about what you don’t like within the community.

I wonder if anyone can change Colony Drop.

2. Blogging. I think when people talk about blogging they’re talking about the platform. Nobody really seriously think of twitter as “microblogging” (and if you do…please get a life). When people say blogging I think “how the hell can I save allllll my data from Google Reader by Monday” and not, say, Gawker or Facebook or most actual blogs. Well, maybe I think of anime blogs in the way that we have had anime blog tournaments, but that gets down to introspective and existential semantics. The wordpress.com things out there. Blogger. What have you.

I think we, as a people on the internet, have long gone past the point where we’re still hung up on bloggers being something or someone doing what. The average RC post acts both as a thread in a giant interweb forum and as a blog post to remind me what happened in episode 10 of Valvrave without loading up the video. That’s great. Just like the set of numbers in Psgel’s episodic posts that tells you basically all you need to know about what he tries to say every week. Or what image walls that typify your average Metanorn or Kurogane dump, and the comments underneath. It’s all good. They have their audiences and uses.

But is there someone, like, looking at all of this and think to themselves what’s wrong with this picture? How can it be better?

What I see is a bunch of ships in the night. I think there are some great stuff out there, but there’s no good way to connect the people who like A from A and B from B. With Goog Reader dying that’s just another tool to do so going away. Yeah, I’m going to whine a lot about this, because what I used it for, nobody has done a better job reproducing it.

Over the years I found things like the Tournament and twitter being the most useful things to discover blogs. Animenano, surprisingly, is a close second. But I also read that feed and click on things that seems interesting, as a way to discover new writers and their baggage. It makes me wonder how people go about doing the same, their own way. Would be nice to know!


13 Responses to “Anime & Blog & Me”

  • minato

    Cool. But every website has it’s own way of posting whatever they want and a way to express themselves. Like ANN, CR, and SeventhStyle, those are the only three websites that provide ‘Anime News’ to keep the readers engage. I wished CR only adapt to anime only instead of all japanese culture.

    • omo

      I kind of addressed this in the second part. No site lives in a vacuum. And who says you can only read one site? I read a lot of them, and even still I find a lot of things simply not existing anywhere regarding anime/japanese otaku related things. But they exist, say, for just about every semi-mainstream entertainment/pop culture niches that I know.

      Just want to draw attention towards the big picture, tis all.

    • minato

      @omo – Of course, no sites lives in a vacuum. There’s alot of anime news websites and anime reviews. But the thing about animenano, they have they’re own template from wordpress. That’s the only thing I dislike about animenano because each and every anime reviewers websites that’s on there, have the same template.

      I have like 26 different websites I go to almost everyday. And on another note, you said you wrote for jtor? What is that? Japanator? Did you get paid?

    • omo

      Use tools like readability or a RSS reader to make everything look the same but just as you like it lol.

      I do write for Japanator. I’ll dodge the “getting paid” question for the time being.

  • schneider

    I am blessed with a decent trickle of commenters, many who have blogs of their own, so I visit them too. I end up liking what I read, so I interact with them more (prolly adding them on Twitter if I haven’t) and add them to my blogroll.

    I also know that this isn’t the best way of doing things, but I don’t trawl AnimeNano as much as I did in the past because of all the noise and SeventhStyle posts (ugh). Maybe what I can do is fix that, and tweet some of the cool posts I read more (which is what I’m doing to some extent).

    Part of me wants some kind of overarching thing like the tournament (but something more permanent than just an annual thing?), but I also fear that it could introduce more drama and stuff (which the tourney had).

    Oh, and GRSI (and now GReader) WILL NEVER DIE IN OUR HEARTS

    • minato

      I don’t understand your blog to begin with. This blog is for news and reviews? because the way you’re writing is based on ‘first person’ and expressing opinions. What are you trying to achieve?

    • omo

      GRSI will live forever. I still resent Google for killing it by the way.

    • schneider

      @minato

      To shed light on various topics, to facilitate discussion with editorial-style posts, to entertain. All in all it’s a blog about anime and other stuff.

      I like making posts that interest me, and people seem to be interested in them too, which is good.

  • Manga Therapy

    I remember seeing that Cart Driver post about anime forums and a majority of them really are cesspools. I do agree that they need to be improved, since the “same old people” are the only ones who seem to care or want all the attention.

    What you said about journalism reminds me of what I’m trying to do with my blog. I know most anime/manga fans don’t care how anime & manga can shape their lives, but there’s a niche out there that might like that type of content. I could care less about plot to a certain degree and talk about how characters’ personal issues are relatable to people’s personal issues.

    I think there’s something wrong with the picture. It’s like we have “content farms” just like the Huffington Post and Bleacher Report.

    • omo

      I’m glad you made the connection between what Scamp said and what I’m describing here.

      Re: content farms–that is okay. I think reporting on simple facts and news, be it ANN or CR news or Sankaku or whoever, allows us to begin to discuss whatever that it is. It’s like seeding the discussion/discourse. But I think the problem is that we’re not really going anywhere beyond the initial point.

      I think this can be a really big problem. ANN is a pretty good example–a lot of the times they would report on something but not give enough context so people understand what it really means, what the impacts are, etc. This is especially the case when they’re reporting on what 2ch is also reporting.

      Compare that to their domestic legal coverage of the various copyright-related or freedom of speech-related items, which is a lot better (but still a far, far cry in quality compared to just my local newspaper). If not for Kanemitsu I’m pretty sure their coverage of the various censorship-concerning bills would be pretty horrid.

      But enough picking on probably the best reporting crop in the bunch. It’s about time to start actually explaining what we’re reporting.

  • Manga Therapy

    Totally agree. ANN is ANN. We should focus on what we can do and inform responsibly.

    • minato

      Any anime blog has its own meaning to begin with. ANN provides anime news, upcoming anime series, previews, and support Crunchyroll too. Crunchyroll, on the other hand, provides only news of japanese culture such as anime, idols, and of course streamings. SeventhStyle, thirdly, focuses on all anime contents such as reviews, anime news only, anime series upcomings, previews, and more.

      Take a look at animenano, which provides anime blog directory, those sites are just reviewers.

      Your site is your site, but remember, try to keep it updated almost everyday so your ‘dates’ won’t be too distant.

    • omo

      Meaning for you, perhaps. I’m not so sure if what you say holds true universally.

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