As a whole, I don’t think the anime blogsphere is too cynical. I do, however, think that it lacks certain perspectives.
Truth be told, this is a topic I’ve wanted to write about ever since I took up blogging. But I am no blogging veteran – I’ve only been writing consistently about anime for two months or so – and so much of what I say comes from the outsider, newbie perspective. I haven’t fully integrated myself with the aniblogger community, although I have for some time been observing it through Twitter and through reading blogs. So a lot of what I have to say is necessarily quite limited in scope and possibly even grossly ignorant.
Yet I also believe that there is some value in my opinion. My views are probably more aligned with those of the average lurker, whose thoughts are never heard because they are too hesitant about commenting. And since I do write posts about anime myself, I think I have at least some insight into how it feels to write articulately about anime and to engage in a close-knit community of like-minded individuals, which is what I essentially perceive the blogsphere to be. I sincerely hope what I write here does not offend any blogger or reader of a popular blog – I intend my words with all due respect and with no personal hard feelings. I’m fond of the anime community and I read blogs regularly, and this is why I choose to even comment on it at all. I’m genuinely apprehensive about opening myself up to criticism and outright dismissal because of this post, but I want my opinion to be heard anyway. So please forgive me; it is not my intention to be rude about others.
In this post, I’m going to make some generalisations about bloggers and their interests, based on my observations. These generalisations are obviously not going to apply to everyone. I’m focusing more on the popular blogs that cater to a wide reading audience over personal blogs written for purely self-satisfaction. Speaking generally, I do not think that the blogsphere is too cynical or that bloggers dislike anime – what I do think is that many bloggers are not the target audience of anime. This tempers their viewpoints and what they ultimately get out of the hobby.
How do I know this? Firstly, I can find out how old some of them are because of the personal details they sometimes note down on their About pages or on their MALs, for instance. Secondly, it is possible to discern the worldview and maturity levels of people through their tastes (according to me). In any given season, compare the results of the APR rankings to what scores highly on sites like MAL or ANN: blogger tastes lean heavily towards seinen and josei over shonen, shojo and otaku appealing material. Incidentally, anime that is popular with teenagers but also becomes popular with bloggers are the titles that have intellectual sophistication along with their “pandering” elements (Fullmetal Alchemist, Steins;Gate, Gurren Lagann, etc.) Many bloggers, it seems, are in their mid-to-late twenties or older. (One particular blogger is definitely too old for anime!)
Why are anime bloggers generally older folk? Because it usually takes a few years for a blog to establish a regular reader base, and so the blogs with longevity power are maintained by writers who have aged alongside their blogs (e.g. Kurogane’s Anime Blog, Star Crossed Anime Blog, etc.) I also think there is a correlation between a person’s age and their writing skill. Older people have also had more time to watch a greater variety of anime and gain a broader perspective on the medium, so there’s that too. In short, it takes maturity to be a good blogger, because unlike other social platforms like Tumblr and forums, blogging is often a one-sided discourse and people will only keep returning to your opinions if they are consistently well-articulated and well-informed.
Thus, it is easy to mistake a critical mindset for cynicism when writers are forced to admit to themselves that the majority of what they are watching is not made to appeal specifically to them. It just goes to show what an enormously diverse appeal anime has at all, which is why I find the opinions of older anime fans to be valuable in and of themselves. But the fact remains that most anime produced is not made with a seinen/josei audience in mind. Most bloggers seem to have acknowledged this, though, and criticise what they watch in terms of its execution and not its premise. But compared to the younger viewer who has not yet learned to discern among their tastes, a blogger’s opinion will seem quite harsh and “elitist”. Although this is emphatically not the case.
As an aside, I have only come to realise what, uh, dorks a lot of anibloggers are on Twitter. They joke around, they have fun with themselves and with anime and in general just come across as if they’re having a grand old time, even when they don’t actually think the anime they are watching is any good. See Shinmaru’s tweets for a good example of this. There is nothing quite like watching other people have fun that makes you have fun yourself.
So no, having come to understand and to accept the mindsets of popular anibloggers, I do not think they are elitist or that they hate anime. (Seriously, what a terrible thing to say to a fan.) But it does open up a problem with the blogsphere, and one that I think is more at the heart of the matter: It is not very accessible.
A significant percentage of commentors on blogs are bloggers themselves. These same people also carry on conversations among each other on Twitter. Bloggers generally know each other’s tastes very well and some of them often endeavour to meet up with each other IRL. Even regular commentors who don’t blog themselves tend to have a strong rapport with the owners of blogs. Despite its broad appeal, observe how in The Cart Driver nearly every post is commented upon by the same readers. It has a very loyal but also very insular readership. This very fact has actually deterred me from commenting on that blog myself. (I suspect this is how many lurkers feel.)
But in terms of exposure to the community, being a lurker is worlds apart from being a regular face, and lurkers tend to have rather different perceptions of bloggers because they are not interacting with them on a familiar level. A lot of tongue-in-cheek humour loses its effect on the average lurker. Good-natured snark can come off as asshatery. Bloggers can come off as too cynical to those who don’t get the joke. And this seeming negativity can be off-putting to those, especially younger readers, who just want to read good things about the anime they like – why overthink it all?
Why do I say this? Because this is how I felt. My main impetus for taking up blogging at all was because I wanted to express good things about shows other bloggers were either ignoring or saying nothing positive about. I am nineteen years old – of course I am going to have different tastes from other bloggers. I would not be so surprised if other teenage viewers, less driven to write creatively without reward than I am, choose to shun the blogsphere altogether and just stick to Tumblr or Facebook for their social interaction. I suspect personal blogs will always be written, but blogs written by younger people with a tangible audience in mind? Not so much.
This is probably why, so far in my blogging career, I’ve found it easiest to connect to blogs written by people in the same age group as me: Chromatic Aberration Everywhere, Limit of Questions, Shiizumi’s Anime Blog, to name a few. Unfortunately, the lack of accessibility in the blogsphere has meant that the number of blogs like these that are willing to take up the mantle of their precedents is quite few. Frankly, I think the blogsphere – like any thriving community – needs more diversity of opinions, and when the voice of anime’s own core audience is largely absent from the critical response, I can’t help but think that’s worrying.
Yes, there is always Random Curiosity, which generally caters to the mainstream fanbase of anime and, because of its high author turnover rate, is fairly immune from the problems that come with authors changing their own tastes, but RC has always been a separate beast. I think a good number of its readers regard it as a site and not necessarily as a blog, per se. It escapes the trends of aniblogging by not being personalised, but that also means it has little bearing on what I think is the bigger issue of the blogsphere in general.
The anime blogsphere isn’t too cynical, it’s just too inaccessible to those outside of it. It’s too much of an in-group. While friendship among bloggers is perfectly healthy and constructive, it does prevent them from addressing issues they have with each other’s writing, for the most part. And it also prevents authors from helping each other develop their writing skills. I suspect older bloggers have seen too many younger blogs come and go to bother investing time and effort into networking with inexperienced writers. And that’s a real shame, because younger anime fans have a lot to learn from the veterans. There’s a wealth of knowledge and perspective to be gained from reading blogs, but it is a world that is – increasingly – becoming ever more difficult to truly break into.
But hey, as long as anime exists and as long as people like writing about it, blogs will probably also exist in some shape or form. Or would you accuse me of being TOO OPTIMISTIC, eh?
So how would you suggest we become more accessible?
I like posts like the one you did a couple of months back about connecting in the community. It was really helpful and inviting to me, who was only lurking at the time.
I also think that it shows in the small things, like the way bloggers construct and address their posts. With the ones that have a strong regular readership it can often feel like the writer is addressing the same people with their posts. The trick is probably in just tweaking the wording of one’s posts a little and thinking questions like “What will the random casual fan think of a statement like this? Is it too esoteric?” After all, there’s not that much you can do about lurkers – they will always exist.
I actually think your blog is one of the more accessible ones out there and it shows in your readership. It’s one of the first I actually mustered up the courage to comment on, if that’s any indication to you.
One thing. Don’t apologize before you’ve written anything. This is generally a bad move and self-deprecation is just a flimsy defense against criticism before it even happens. Chill and have more confidence in your writing, dude.
The blogosphere isn’t nearly as insular as you claim and it’s always been a melting pot of otaku taste. It’s diverse and colorful. A uniform collective response, positive or negative, to any show is extremely rare and the only one which comes to mind is well, Guilty Crown. When it comes down to it, there is no real requirement to join the blogosphere. Hell, you don’t even have to have a blog. What it all comes down to is working up the guts to be honest and being willing to engage in discussion, hopefully without being an asshole. To most bloggers, there’s nothing more gratifying than comments. Don’t be shy.
Also, while there’s certainly a target demographic for most shows that doesn’t mean it’s at all exempt from criticism from other groups nor does it mean that it can’t be bad. Genres and marketing are hardly the sole determinants of enjoyment for certain communities. If anything, APR proves this since nearly every season the top shows are a varied bunch from different genres. That trend towards josei and seinen on APR ballots doesn’t exist.
Okay, thanks for the criticism. It’s good to have some open discussion like this and glad to see you’re not chewing my brains out :)
My take on the APR results is that it has a lot to do with how anime itself is so varied and has so many different genres. The ones that gain a following on the APR are the ones, if you examine them closely enough, have messages for or can be related to by older viewers. Often, the dual audience of a particular anime is at play. This doesn’t mean that everyone thinks the same (I certainly did not say that) but anime that can only appeal to younger viewers (i.e. teenagers) typically never gain a following at all. When josei/seinen shows exist, they tend to be rated highly. The thing is that not many of them DO exist, which is why the APR results are so colourful and varied. Bloggers supplement their tastes by watching a bunch of shows that are not targeted directly at them and pick out their favourites among these.
As for why I think the blogsphere is insular, it’s less a matter of what bloggers actually think or how they perceive themselves and more to do with how others perceive them. No blogger in the world would be averse to having new readers. But lurkers have a way of seeing things differently and that’s the point of view I tried to explore in my post. There’s no doubt in my mind that the blogging community is full of nice, friendly and personable people. I’ve observed that for myself. I’m not shunning any of you for the warm welcome I’ve received :)
I hope that clears up some of my ideas to you.
I think the reason why Anime bloggers aren’t as cynical compared to people on Anime forums, social media, etc as we can express things more thoughtfully than on the whim. I think most of this has to be because an average fan who blogs about Anime is done with his/her teen years and usually have more free time (although it depends on his/her job and other stuff). Not only that, they are usually the ones that watched a good amount of Anime throughout the years. While I have been a long time fan of it, I didn’t start getting into it more until I started blogging about it and discovered other shows. Still, I usually have an open mind when it comes to watching anything and won’t drop a show unless I can’t enjoy it what so ever.
At the end of the day, the Anime Blogosphere is rather diverse in opinions compared to other mediums. However, it takes more work writing a blog post compared to a forum post or a tweet as it requires more though. There will always be instances where 140 characters won’t be enough, so blogging will still have a purpose.
You’re right – the range of opinions in the blogsphere remains extraordinarily diverse and the benefits of blogging far outweigh the negatives. I think there will always be a purpose for blogs, however much they may evolve in future.
Someone once told me the average anime blog lasts about 2 years.
I usually have it worst, since I primarily write a manga blog (which can mean “OH NO HE NO LIKE ANIME”), though I cover anime series based on manga. I understand that many young fans don’t like to over-think about series, though I try to keep it simple when I talk about certain topics.
It is tough when everything in manga land is the big three in Shonen Jump. But I do enjoy a lot of the stuff the kids like and write about it. I just try to keep an open mind about it. In a sense, I’m still a young brat at heart. My blog is actually hosted on Tumblr, since I figured it would be the future. I’m probably one of the few text-based blogs on there.
Anime/manga blogging dying? If all other blogs of different topics died, then probably that will happen.
A blog hosted on Tumblr? That’s really interesting – I do agree with you that the future of blogging lies with Tumblr, although the lack of text blogs is not something I’m sure will be changed. I haven’t explored too much of the community, so you might think differently than I do.
I empathise with your problems. I’m not much of a manga reader myself, but I think in a lot of ways manga is much more diverse than anime in terms of storylines and styles. So it’s just as worthwhile to read different perspectives on it.
It is more diverse. There’s not too many manga blogs out there. Most are just chapter reviews of the Naruto/BLEACH/One Piece and other hit stuff though. People might forget that if manga goes down, there goes a huge source of anime material down the drain.
Oh, there’s one manga blog I like that is pretty good! http://whatismanga.wordpress.com/
Heh, I wonder if A&V comes off as inaccessible. Hmm…intimidating, maybe?
Ah well, there will always be a diverse range styles to cater to various readers.
Not all lurkers refrain from commenting due to insularity. I used to be a regular commenter at The Cart Driver too about…3 or 4 years ago, but that was before the advent of twitter. Before scamp comes in and starts with his TWITTER KILLED COMMENTING spiel, twitter has just changed the nature of commenting for many of us bloggers. Commenting used to be our primary means of socializing, but those of us who’ve become quieter are, like you said, on twitter. That’s where we socialize now. Commenting for us older folks is a means for addressing the topic or thesis of a post, and we may not always have something to say.
I put a lot of care in crafting the particular message of whatever I write, making sure the thesis is clearly communicated. But in doing so, I tend to not get as much active commenting beyond simple “I agree” or the more common “YOU’RE WRONG AND THIS IS WHY.” That might be why people resort to “liking” posts on editorial pieces more often nowadays.
What do I mean to convey with this comment here? I don’t know, actually. It’s 3am and I…actually can’t remember the last post I commented on. Pardon me.
In my opinion, Altair and Vega is among the pinnacle of aniblogging and intelligent discourse. And yes, yes I believe it is intimidating to casual fans. There’s not a lot I think you can or should do about that since the target audience isn’t casuals to begin with. I’ve never once commented on the blog despite reading it regularly because I often don’t feel like I have much else to contribute. I see you touched on this in your comment, too, and you bring up a good point about it. I too often resort to “liking” a post instead of commenting.
I’m actually very honoured that you’d take the time to comment at all here! So thank you very much – and I will keep your words in mind for the future when it comes to how I approach and read other blogs. I appreciate the insight.
Yep, that seems like a pretty good explanation of why I mostly lurk rather than comment on stuff I read. :|
Yeah. Bloggers don’t bite but it can be really intimidating jumping into a popular blog where it seems like everyone else seems to have much more to contribute to the discussion than you. I often find smaller, more personal blogs to be much easier to comment on.
With blogs that have a lot of comments it’s easy to feel like yours gets lost in the shuffle. Also, by the time I’ve read a post I’ve often found that other commenters have said all the things I wanted to add. It’s a drag to want to join in a conversation when all you can think to write is “Me too.”
But it’s good to keep in mind what Click said. This world of animeblogging is diverse, more like a bunch of little neighborhoods than a single, scary entity. You just have to find a neighborhood you like.
Thanks for the comment. I agree that aniblogging is very diverse and I’ve found blogs I like to regularly comment on. They’re often not the popular ones, though, which was what brought on my thought about popular blogs and the trends within them. So by no means do my thoughts represent what I think of the entire blogsphere, just the viewpoints that get most bandied around through the most influential people.
As a side note, I find episodic blogs difficult to find comment on. I suppose it’s just easier to look through the posts, find the other person’s opinion, and just be satisfied with knowing that, rather than carrying on a conversation about it.
If you think about it, it’s actually much easier to write cynical and negative posts. Showing enthusiasm and positive attitude will always be more revealing than criticising things, and most Internet dwellers love their anonymity.
Write “X is shit”, and at worst you get called a hater, which doesn’t sting one bit. But when writing “I really loved X”, you must be prepared to hear lol moefag/lol narutard/lol fanservice shit/lol shoujo etc. It’s just part of how the Internet works, but most of us don’t like having out tastes criticised.
I do think making the effort to write from a less cynical angle is worth it, as those are often the posts that point out new, interesting things. But the temptation to take the safe, cynical position will always be there.
Not only is it easier to write cynical posts, there’s a bigger audience for them, since both fans and haters like reading those kinds of things. I know that I like reading negative, critical reviews even of shows that I adore. It’s morbid curiosity that draws me in, but it’s good to see a variety of perspectives too.
That said, I don’t think bloggers (the widely read ones, anyway) are overly negative because they do address what they like too. Writing positively about something reinforces their own positive feelings and writing negatively reinforces negative feelings, and I think a lot of bloggers who have been writing for a long time have realised this. Write only negative things for a while and you burn out on it. I feel the trend in aniblogging these days is a desire to go back to the basics and write about what you like, to go into shows WANTING to like them. I’ve seen a few posts address this very idea and the high number of views this post got indicates it’s a question that’s at the forefront of a lot of bloggers’ minds. No one wants to burn out because of writing about the very subject they claim to like.
“I suspect older bloggers have seen too many younger blogs come and go to bother investing time and effort into networking with inexperienced writers.”
I never would have discovered your great blog here if I did that XD Even though I guess I’m what you’d call a veteran blogger/fan at 27 years old and blogging for over 6 years, but I’m always up for taking interest in a new blog if the author writes posts I enjoy – editorials like this as you’ve probably guessed XD
I understand what you mean when you say a lot of blogs are “inaccessible.” They’ve created their own communities, with the same people commenting and the same other bloggers they’ve formed a sort of clique with, and the more cynical and humor-striving ones often end up catering to their same readers and the bloggers they know with in-jokes and running gags throughout their posts and tweets that unfortunately do end up alienating potential new readers. Even as someone who’s been around the blogsphere for a while now, I encounter a lot of blogs like this. I respect them and all, but don’t really feel “welcome” – like the bloggers already have their established readers who “get” their writing and wouldn’t be interested in a brand new down-to-earth reader.
Which is always what I’ve tried to do for my blog – be honest, sincere, and down-to-earth with how I write so anyone with an interest in anime can read a post of mine and totally get it without having to know me, my tastes, or overall writing style. Despite that, I’ve still managed to create a decent amount of dedicated readers (time helps with that too) and have made nice acquaintanceship with a lot of other bloggers even if I don’t regularly read their blogs nor they mine. So yes, I totally get what you’re saying and I would recommend just writing the types of posts you enjoy and eventually people and other bloggers who like what you write will find you (like I did!) What I’ve found out after years of blogging is that even if I do feel alienated from many other bloggers in the ‘sphere because of our different styles and opinions, I don’t care because I’ll just establish my own readership and fellow bloggers I can easily relate to. It may take time for them to show up but they will~
Oh, no worries! Your desire to be accessible and open with your blog has led to it becoming one of the easiest aniblogs for just about anyone to jump into. Speaking from experience, editorial blogs like yours are probably the easiest for lurkers to come out and express their own opinions.
Thank you for the encouragement, also – although speaking about my own blog, the size of my own readership wasn’t really a question that bothered me when I complained of inaccessibility. I was speaking more from the perspective of a lurker. Overcoming my own shyness and commenting on other people’s blogs was what made me realise what interesting and friendly people a lot of bloggers are, even the ones I’d been intimidated by in my lurker days. I think there are lots of people, young people especially, who feel intimidated by the in-group thing, but in the end it really comes down to the reader taking the first step. I think it’s worth it, personally.
[…] I’ve grappled with this question many times in my mind and every time I can’t help but think that there is merit to both approaches. I’m going to ignore the status of professional critics and just focus on what it means to be critical as a fan. I’m not talking about haters either. While it’s this thing among butthurt fans to accuse critics of not being a “true fan” of anime when they criticise a significant proportion of anime, especially popular titles, I don’t think that’s a reasonable objection. (I addressed this question obliquely in another post.) […]
I do agree that anime blogs are inaccessible, but personally that is primarily because my anime taste, as you commented before, “conventional by anime standards but certainly unconventional by every other standard”. I have yet to find any aniblogger who has similar anime tastes with me, which is very frustrating, but highly understandable. Then again, this should not be a deterring factor for me. Perhaps one day someone will appreciate my tastes.
Most anime blogs are run by veterans, so they tend to be quite critical of new anime as a general rule of thumb. But I do think most bloggers are nice people who don’t judge others negatively for their tastes, so I hope you don’t feel deterred from engaging with them and their writing.
As for a blogger who shares your tastes, I suggest you check out atelier emily’s posts. She’s written a couple of posts about why she loves Aikatsu:
I read both of them multiple times and they reinforced my thoughts of how the anime is well written. Thanks for sharing, though.
It’s very hard to not get deterred when shows that interest me gets utterly thrashed during seasonal previews just because of their genre or initial premises. Then again, most anibloggers are adults who seek different things and having different attitudes of watching than me so I can understand how the reviews are presented, yet this also makes me unable to find genuine first impressions over things I like and what to initially expect out of them.
Maybe I should try to break my silence when Fall season comes and see if someone would see my views in a different yet respecting light instead of thrashing my taste. The mostly negative reactions towards Gundam Build Fighters’s announcement reminds me to not have high hope on that, though.
The issue of accesibility… it does tie in with the other post about discerning tastes. The thing is that I believe most of us try to write about our tastes and what comes easier to us. I’ve been called an elitist and I acknowledge that I am generally a hard-to-satisfy person, but it’s not like I do it to piss off people. These I like and those things I don’t. This fact might make me inaccessible, but I can’t help it much. I wish I was more liberal, because it can be frustrating not being able to enjoy what most people do and have very few people if none to share your fangasm.
Then there’s the thing with language and readership. Can any of these two really be helped in the end? Many people use a somewhat intricate vocabulary, but I’m sure that some of them don’t even realize they do so. That’s just the way they talk; that’s perhaps their study field where it’s so common to use special vocabulary. As for the readership, I have two things to say: 1. I don’t find a good idea for a writer to change just to appeal, since writing must be a joy for him/herself; plus can we change our style which in the end reflects our character? (I possibly can’t write negative and sarcastic posts all the time, even if many bloggers seek ‘drama’), 2. a blogger can’t control who reads and comments on their blog (I don’t mean in cases of spam and trolls, I mean the readership base) much more than the language they use. I mean, should they shoo their casual readers? Explicitly invite new ones to comments? -wouldn’t that be rude? I am a lurker myself and I can understand what is intimidating or not really motivating, like when I don’t have much to add. At the same time things are the way they are and I many times am not sure I want them to change. When a blog doesn’t have similar taste or not a good writing or too tough to get it, I will go to the next one. If the commentators make a comment before me and I feel like I have to say sth first, then I’ll try to follow the blog religiously (I haven’t done this tbh since I’m not interested in it).
Ah, I agree with you. There’s not a lot you can do about inaccessibility without sacrificing some of your authorial integrity. And that’s not really what I would ask of mature writers like yourself because it’s often their very maturity that attracts me to their blog in the first place. But I also think it would be useful for a writer – any writer – to take a step back when they edit and consider how others would perceive their work. Often, the only thing it really takes to be more accessible is to tweak some wording here and there, not forcing discussion where there is not or “dumbing” down your content. I didn’t address how to fix this inaccessibility problem in my actual post and I feel a bit stupid for it, actually. But yes, I really don’t think the answer is some radical shift in the way bloggers approach things.
What a terrible post this ended up being, all bark and no bite :)
(As a side note, coming from a long-time lurker on your blog, I like how many of your posts are framed as an analytic, literary discourse on a specific element in a specific series. Most of the posts that I click ‘like’ for, which you can see on this blog’s sidebar, are analysis posts of this kind. When I started blogging, I wanted to do every post just like that. I branched out, though, because there are a lot of different ways of analysing and interpreting anime and I think each method has equal merit.)
No, it wasn’t a bad post. Sometimes we don’t have the answers and thus we want to find it together with others. You want to evoke discussion.
Thanks for the compliment! But you know… you call me mature and I may have been in the blogging thing for 4 years now, and still I’ m not sure how to do this ‘step back’ :/ I haven’t studied journal and in literature classes in school and uni the things we learned weren’t that useful. Even in the essay lesson, we talked more about different kinds of paragraphs, logical arguments and the advertisement lingo, but not about correcting and making better (with what standards?) our text :/ I can only try to avoid and give advice about the things I don’t like myself, like long-winding posts without any pics and paragraphs of over 10 lines.
It’s very difficult to do only editorials without any break and produce it constantly. Yes, everyone has a different style and that’s cool! Keep on the hard work~
Ironically, it’s discussion like this about the insularity of the anime community that tends to bring out the most of it. I’ve actually found several blogs I’m going to check out with the comments.
As a previous lurker (aren’t we all?), I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Especially since my first times commenting were over at Fawfinder’s blog, where I completely missed out on some of the jokes and felt like an idiot afterwards. I have a nagging feeling he still thinks badly of me, although that might just be because, like you, I think we’re on different ends of the “anime appreciation” spectrum.
I also really feel the twitter thing (as Vucub Caquix points out). It has essentially moved a lot of commenting into a different medium, and does make the non-twitter user on the anisphere feel a bit isolated sometimes. I’ve avoided it forever because I know it’ll be another time suck, but I shaping up to take the plunge since the community seems so fun. What’re your thoughts there?
Indeed! I felt the same thing myself after I published this post, which makes me quite ambivalent about the effect it’s had. (Probably went on a bunch of bloggers’ shit list for this too haha :’D)
Flawfinder’s blog is one of the most referential aniblogs of all, so I totally get your concerns there. I don’t think he looks down on you, though, since that is not his style.
As for Twitter, I’ve only been using it for a short time. It only takes up about fifteen minutes at most for me per day, mostly because I only go on it once or twice a day to make a tweet and reply to what someone else said. It’s brought me a lot of traffic for my blog, though, mostly from others retweeting and discussing my posts. So I say go for it – just be careful to use it in moderation if time’s a concern for you.
Me look down on people? Hahaha no. I only look down on bloggers when they give me the “it’s fun. Isn’t that enough?” excuse or if their name is SeventhStyle. I actually kind of wished people would point out the problems I had in my early days because I was busy experimenting with different styles back then and…most of them were kind of a whiff. I even recently bumped your position on my blogroll (will probably do the same for Frog-kun too).
Also, Twitter is great. Get an account!
Well, now I have to get an account, right? I’ll probably try and set up shop when I get back from Japan this summer.
Thanks for responding, by the way – that actually does take a small load off, since I’m a regular reader/lurker :).
[…] just how far a devoted anime fan and aniblogger is willing to go to defend his likes against the general consensus of the anisphere. Regardless of the result, it should at least be interesting, […]
[…] Additionally, I think I’ll be indirectly asking whether these are fundamental dichotomies or things that we sort of make up, even if we don’t do so consciously. I’ll also try and use them to explain a couple other concepts, and talk a little bit about (and imply) how they influence the general anisphere (as far as I can tell; interesting discussions on that topic abound – I personally enjoy A_Libellule’s posts on the subject, as well as Froggykun’s thoughts). […]
Your so right! I was wondering about this issue to and found this post. Your right. I have only begun blogging for over a year now and some of the aniblogging community is really inaccessible.
I can’t help but find this worrying too. I don’t think it is just the anime blogosphere either. You should read some of the reviews on ANN (Anime News Network). Some of the reviews they write are just a tad on the cynical side. As young blogger myself can’t help but believe if it wouldn’t be better for their to me more perspective. The fact that you also believe this to be true is very telling. Very great write-up.
This is a super late reply, but I can’t help but wonder about the part where you mention a lot of anime bloggers being older than the average fan.
Honestly, I’m a few months younger than you, and thinking about this scares the crap out of me. To be really honest, I’m that lurker who finds most blogs elitist and cynical. Do you think that’s because the “old” bloggers are old, or because the old bloggers got into anime at a different time? I’m asking because I’m afraid of turning into one of those guys.
I think the stereotype of critics as cynics as a bit problematic. Unless someone tells you that they’ve lost enthusiasm for anime, you have no way of knowing how much they enjoy the hobby. People express their passion differently, and even if someone sounds less enthusiastic about something than you are, that shouldn’t diminish your own passion.
At the same time, I think it’s understandable you don’t want to lose enthusiasm for your hobby as you age. Your tastes will inevitably change as you get older. (My tastes have changed since I wrote this post, for instance.) But I don’t think that sort of change is something you should fear. Even if you come to dislike some anime you used to like, you’ll be able to appreciate other things with fresh eyes. Growing older can be exciting too. As long as you remember the passion you have for anime, you’ll still be able to reconnect with it.
Anyway, the most important thing to remember is that if you don’t want to turn grumpy and cynical, you probably won’t turn out that way. And it doesn’t matter how others see you as long as you know within yourself that you’re passionate about the hobby :)
I use the word very incorrectly to describe anyone who complains about moe, light novel adaptations, fanservice, and who prefers older series. Yeah, it’s terrible labeling, I admit. But if you don’t like anime as it is now (and despite the huge variety of anime that exist, I still feel that moe, fanservice, and LNs are “typical”), I feel like “anime fan” without qualifiers is a little disingenuous. It’s like calling yourself a rock fan but only listening to indie or classic. Just feels like you’re misleading people.
I just don’t want to wake up in 2024 and realise I don’t like any titles from after 2017. At that point, might as well not be an anime fan.
Anyway, I have a real tendency to seek out people who are brave enough to articulate the things I want to say but in a clearer manner. I first found your post on postmodern anime. Fucking awesome. Also, you translate light novels, which is really cool.
I have to disagree that having different taste from the mainstream means you’re not a “true fan”. You’re a fan as long as you think of yourself as one. No one else decides that for you.
If you can’t consider yourself an anime fan because you no longer like the majority of the current releases, that’s fine. But not everyone else sees themselves that way and I think it’s important to respect other people’s tastes, just as I’m sure you’d like your otaku tastes to be respected.
But in any case, I’m flattered that you like my posts :)
Also, just thought you might be interested in this post, which addresses your concerns: https://fantasticmemes.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/i-miss-being-a-filthy-casual/
So… is this a common problem most (personal ani)bloggers have during the first months? I can totally relate to this, frog-kun. And to some degree I can’t believe you had the same experience with big blogs.
This post sure brings back memories! Yeah, I remember feeling very intimidated by the older bloggers when I was starting out too. As I started talking more with bloggers, I realised they’re not scary people at all, mostly just a bunch of college dorks ;)
Somehow, I get the impression this isn’t an anime blogger thing, or even a blogger thing. It’s something everyone experiences when they’re observing a group of like-minded friends. It takes some time to overcome your own shyness, but I don’t think the community discourages different opinions or new faces at all.
But yeah, I can understand why the more established bloggers can feel intimidating. I wonder if I come across as intimidating too…?
I guess it’s a matter of perspective!
To be honest, I didn’t do enough lurking on anime blogs before I started blogging. You see, I was clueless of the world that I chose to go into. XD
But from the time I wrote posts and actually went to comment on some blogs, I felt the weight of not getting acquainted of the first steps or know-hows to aniblogging. I didn’t write an intro and goals post, or something akin to that.
Your blog is actually the first ones I ever visited, so I didn’t feel too intimidated, compared to when I saw the other big names of anime blogs. Although I am slowly opening up to them, I still feel very shy to drop my thoughts on the other blogs because, as you mentioned, I often feel like I don’t have anything to contribute. It also has to do with my shyness, though. >///<