Gimme some fried dough.
Y’know, I think of carnivals as I think some think of fairs, which may or not be… fair. Rides and fried food and shitty games with shittier prizes. Once upon a time, I won two goldfish at such a thing, and named them after my school’s mascot collectively. One somehow managed to break a bone in its tail and died because it couldn’t swim properly, while the other one either contracted a mold growth or had it pre-existing, and so died fairly quickly, too. The moral of the story is, buy one of dem new Furbys.
I think I’ve already broken the first rule of the Blog Carnival – don’t wander off-topic. But it wouldn’t quite be me if I failed to do so, now would it? Perhaps I’m not the best person to do a post as part of this series (if you are unfamiliar with it, click the previous link as I have zero intention of explaining it)… in fact, if I’m being wholly honest, I’m probably a very poor option for a post of this nature, as I am one of those cantankerous anibloggers who doesn’t read many other blogs and pretty much has a “if you don’t like it, well, fuck you” attitude about readership. On the other hand, hell, maybe that’s the kind of attitude necessary to grant wisdom to newer and prospective anime bloggers, as I find that the ones who last longest are the ones who approach it exactly as they themselves wish to, with little regard for number of hits per day, etc.
Anyway, enough of my zig-zagging gas-bagging; I probably sound crabbier than I mean to anyway. With one last note, this all, but of course, applies exclusively to English-language anime blogs:
What I Like to Read and Why
Presumably this is a query limited to what I like to read in terms of anime bloggage. This is, admittedly, a touch difficult as I simply do not read very many anime blogs – like I said, cantankerous, might as well toss in set in my ways and crabby. Of course, this is also simply born out of the fact, too, that I read a lot of blogs hailing from different necks of the woods (primarily religious and political blogs) and there are only so many hours in the day, so…
I can say that I typically find episodic blogs to be dull, particularly if they are blogging the same thing everyone else is. Quite frankly, for most shows there is only so much that can be said; some defy this (“things directed by Ikuhara” are my best example), but most do not. I think there is also this tendency amongst newer bloggers to gravitate toward such a format, as it seems the easiest way to gain views is to blog episodically something that is popular. As such, I think it ends up being even more uninteresting and boring, since there seems to be a school of thought that the best approach is to simply summarize and to avoid making negative remarks. Additionally, by forcing this sort of format, blogging becomes a chore very, very quickly for many of these newer voices, and when something is a chore, it is approached with increasing lacks of enthusiasm.
This isn’t to say that I dislike episodic blogs out of hand, but simply that 9 times out of 10 I will dislike the episodic blog. So I suppose I prefer editorial types.
If you prefer to know which blogs are my favorites: Moe Sucks because the writers are intelligent, thoughtful, and unafraid to call bullshit as it is, Okazu because Erica Friedman is incredibly knowledgeable and, like with Moe Sucks, will absolutely call a spade a spade (I also respect Ms. Friedman in a manner that I just do not any other anime/manga blogger because she actually has professional involvement in the North American industry and since she’s been blogging for over ten years), and Digimon: System Restore because, seriously bros, who on earth is blogging every single episode of Digimon other than A. R. Pulver? Less facetiously, while that is true and that is part of why I love that blog, the Digimon franchise was a huge part of my earlier years as an anime fan, and I still consider Digimon Tamers to be one of my favorite anime series, so I enjoy reading a blog so devoted to reviewing every single episode of it, and not in a manner which merely mocks it at its silliest.
What Do I Do When I Discover a New Blog
Hmm. Good question. I don’t really discover new blogs very much; once in a blue moon I’ll look over the first few pages of Animenano to check for any interesting-looking posts, but this is fairly rare. The last blog I “discovered” was the previously mentioned Digimon: System Restore, and I found it in the manner described. Since I enjoyed it based on a few posts, I kept checking it for updates twice a week, and then ultimately added it to my blogroll. This seems roughly familiar for my approach with recently discovered blogs, now that I think on it, as this was the process that occurred with Moe Sucks, too.
What a Good Anime/Manga Blog Must Do
I was tempted to be pedantic by starting with “well, but what is ‘good’ anyway?”, but I resisted my baser instincts. This is the easiest question of the set for me to answer: a good anime/manga blog must have material that the writer(s) actually care(s) about. Absolutely everything else is secondary – grammar, layout, spelling, coherence, etc. The fact is, if a writer is bad, they can improve, and the only way to improve is to keep writing. But if a blogger just writes about what they think others will care about, then they never will improve, because they will come to despise the blogging process. If you are not interested in the material you choose to cover, you will become bored and you won’t want to bother anymore. When you have ceased to care, that is the point at which you cannot improve, because you won’t feel any necessity to improve.
“This above all – to thine own self be true.”
Annoying Blogging Behaviors
Again, I’m limited here by the fact that I don’t read very many blogs, and those that I find irritating in some fashion I drop rapidly enough that it is difficult for me to recall precise examples of what I find obnoxious in blogging habits. Actually, to be honest, I think my examples are somewhat outdated, as they hail from when I read a wider array of blogs.
First off, passive-aggressive bullshit sniping. I don’t notice this as much these days, but when I was first cutting my blogging teeth it was practically epidemic.
Secondly, bloggers who, dispensing with the passive-aggressive bullshit, write counter-posts which exist simply to shut down discourse. I don’t mind posts that disagree with other posts if they are well-written and thought-out; that isn’t shutting down the discourse. These are posts that are nasty and knee-jerk, and which are stabs at trying to bully and intimidate another blogger. I actually used to get these response-type posts done in direct opposition to posts of mine, but it seems the individuals who did these sorts of things either don’t blog these days or finally got that I couldn’t be bothered with such stupidity (I guess trolls have become less amibitous, limiting themselves to leaving incoherent ravings or short phrases typically including the terms ‘dyke’ and/or ‘fag’). In fact, there was a bit of a cottage industry in blogs that existed solely to do this sort of thing quite a while back, but, hey, guess its the Golden Age of Aniblogging, because I can’t think of a single example of this type anymore… although, eh, maybe its just my unwillingness to bother with most blogs these days that leads me to believe this.
* * *
But, actually, I don’t really think that’s quite right. I honestly do think that there are a lot more solid blogs around than there used to be, and, specifically, I think we’ve got a lot more blogs that wish to approach anime in an intelligent, even quasi-academic fashion. I may read fewer blogs than I did a few years back, but I also find myself enjoying the blogs that I do read more than the larger quantity I used to follow. I do think part of this stems from a greater degree of dialogue and community amongst anime bloggers; I know I certainly feel spurred to write a post in reaction to another blogger’s post or just their comments in conversation much, much more often than I ever did before (in fact, I’d hazard that I never wrote posts like that earlier than two years ago). Some of you may call this a circle-jerk, which, fine, whatever, although I would call your reaction knee-jerk. I just see it as a natural result of the internet becoming more greatly connected (i.e. not just communicating via blogs, but other outlets available such as Skype and Twitter these days), and I think the result has, largely, been positive for anime blogging.
Dialogue, ducklings, is good. It forces us to see things from different angles, or, at the very least, forces us to contend with the fact that not everyone sees things from the same vantage as we do. The only thing we must remain wary of is of becoming just another echo chamber.
And if you’ve made it this far, and you’d wondered at why my post started out with the motivational-type poster image that it did, it is this: if you are reading this, and you have been thinking about starting a blog or have wanted to start a blog, go for it. Don’t worry about what other people think, don’t worry that what you have to say isn’t relevant; fuck all that. Forget all the reasons why not to do something, and just spring for it. I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy it or that you’ll be wildly successful, but you won’t know either way if you don’t give it a go. It is better to regret having done something than to regret having done nothing at all. And as far as chances go, starting an anime blog is a pretty low stakes one. Go, go, go.