The vast majority of anime bloggers are in their late teens or twenties, and this is the period when boys and girls grow into men and women. The transformations that take place during this period are drastic and everyone starts displaying certain traits and losing others.
The biggest change is probably the increased maturity bringing about an ability to look at an issue from multiple angles. This much-lauded trait reduces conflict and increases uniformity/peace. Those who present arguments solely from their angle are deemed "childish" and dismissed. Hot topics of discussion quickly extinguish due to everyone agreeing with each other. I find myself always falling into the trap of confusing "political correctness" and "maturity". Do I agree with the majority for fear of offending them if I do not? Or do I really agree with them?
Why am I talking about this? This is of course, related to the blogsuki fracas. There are too few dissenting voices on blogsuki, not just that, everywhere as far as anime blogging is concerned. I enjoy a multitude of opinions and a good verbal jousting now and then. But anime blogging simply does not provide this. Look at the sheer number of posts which agree with each other. The general trend nowadays is one of elitist uniformity, where everyone thinks they are correct and mature, and the few who disagree lack the mental capability to follow the former’s preferences. There was a post by Jeff Lawson on Lovehina and the collective opinions of people on it, entitled, "My favourite shows sucks.". In that article, he slams the general community for their "conventional wisdom".
I just proved my point on a lack of dissent by totally agreeing with that post. Anyway, I do feel this is the biggest problem plagueing the anime blog community, not an "oversaturation of blogs". There is no such thing as too many blogs. It is the monotony of uniformity that is the killer. I’m going slightly off course here and shall revert.
Hiding the Truth
Adulthood brings with it the inherent urge to avoid conflict. It is childish to fight, our parents chide. People would much rather suppress their true feelings just for peace and harmony. Kids do not feel this way and they regularly bare it all (hey lolicons) with reckless abandon. Look at the threads on Bleach and Naruto. Most anime bloggers, "mature", scoff at these posts. But I see one bright spark in them – Passion and Honesty. Hey that’s two bright sparks.
Raw passion wanes with age. A kid is more likely to go gaga fan mode than an adult. The adult will probably set up a site, gather some like-minded friends and discuss. A kid will go "COME ON UKIYA SHUN AND CLAUS!!! LAST EXILEEEEE IS THE BIBLE IN DISGUISE!!" or something. Both have their virtues but I’m lamenting the fact that many of us no longer show the passion buried deep inside by the rubble of growing up. A grown-up , faced with a situation where everyone thinks his favourite show sucks, will quietly sulk in a corner or just go along with the flow, influenced by others’ opinions. An anime blog is truly a weapon of mass influence, so we need our writers to display fervent passion that makes them not susceptible to outer pressures. It seems now, because all the blogs agree, all the readers agree. And the minority who don’t get stamped down or ridiculed. I have a friend, his name is Xak and he loves Mai-otome. In our real life anime circle, most of us do not like it and think it is what comes out of cows’ rectums. What happens is, whenever he makes a comment about MO, the others bite into him like the plants of Jyu Oh Sei. So Xak soon stopped talking about MO. I would have much preferred it if he continued even if it causes the ire of the others.
Honesty is the other bright spot. We, readers, want to know bloggers’ true feelings! Not some politically correct, conflict avoiding, conformist article. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or are we really sheep with few individual opinions. Adults say stuff they think people want to hear. Kids say what they want to say. I know the price of honesty is high. It may cost you your place, your readership, your RSS listing, your reputation and even your pride when people do not agree with your honest opinions. But what good is a blog if all it has are yet more boot-licking content? We have all to behave like normal adults in real life so treat blogging as an escapade from it. At work, I constantly have to lie and manipulate my superiors so I get less work or looser deadlines. I also have to agree with them since I don’t want to spend 2 hours hearing them re-explaining why they are right. I no longer want to come back home, and spot the same attitude on blogs. I really admire honest people but they just do not survive in the real world. But on the blogging realm, they will. The most honest person is Hanai from School Rumble and he’s thought to be an idiot. He should start a blog, "The Yakumon Love Love Page". It’ll be popular.
Tangible Stamps of Achievement
Adults also seek tangible ways to justify their efforts. In society, unlike what our teachers say, the end result is of absolute importance and processes don’t matter much. I’m sure when people cry for a "purer" approach to blogging, not caring for pagerank and readership, they mean a reversion to the age when fun was of top priority and nothing else mattered. However, realistically, this is no longer possible. Adults have a job, university which they cannot flunk because it affects their career, family matters and other issues that are really a hell lot more important than their hobbies. When they do take the time and effort to indulge in hobbies, adults will want some sort of tangible achievement besides the enjoyment they get. Take golfing as an example. Why don’t they just scrap the scoring system and just say, "Hey let’s play for fun! Points don’t matter, skill don’t matter. Our combined love for golfing brings us altogether!"
In the case of blogging, you can still see the above ring true. It’s pure idealism to think that you can have a mature and analytical blog that does not value its readership statistics. I may be cynical, but I certainly do not believe it totally when people say that they do not care about hits at all. They surely do, even if it’s to a lesser extent.
The youngest blogger I know of who maintains a high standard is Darkmirage. This tinytot (15 when I first read his posts) is wise beyond his years and armed with skills many adults would dream to have. He seems more of an adult than a kid but he does show the kiddy attributes of honesty, passion when he blogs on Mai-otome, Lacus etc. Blended with more analytical posts on a variety of other topics, his blog is well-balanced and is one of the more unique ones out there.
The majority of youngsters however, possess the raw passion and honesty but lack the ability of thought and maturity to craft articles well. This is because of their age and I’m sure many of the "ZOMG NARUTO KING KING WINNNNNN BLEACH THE LAMME" posters will graduate to create articulate and interesting blogs of their own someday. Or Not.
I feel old really. Yet at the age of 20, I’m in the process of losing my status as teen and expected to behave like a true adult, that is, a boring workaholic who drinks and plays golf. Reading pictorial books with cartoon girls, watching cartoons, playing with cartoon girls made into PVC figurines and now, killing virtual monsters and completing virtual quests in a fantasy online world, are not exactly things one expects an adult to do.
I’m sure ALL anime bloggers, with their undying love for "childish" things, can dig out the powerful values of honesty, bravery and passion, and can unleash their very own unique opinions and say what they truly think in their hearts.
As I said in my previous post, this site will be undergoing a radical overhaul in terms of content packaging. Expect cruder terms and a complete lack of "safety pruning", the act of re-reading a post to spot for points that may incite hate or anger.
To mark this transformation, I proclaim what I think of that grossly overrated show – Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. C’mon fan boys, stop wetting your pants over it. It is not Eva standard, it isn’t even the best Haruhi show around, that title belongs to Ouran High School Host Club. Suzumiya may be God, but Fujioka Haruhi makes her look like Dog. Other than that excellent first 2 episodes, S Haruhi has been steadily in decline. The beach episode was rubbish. Even the much heralded animation is slipping. It is nothing worth drooling over. From this season alone, I can name 4 shows that easily surpass it. Ouran, Black Lagoon, Jyu Oh Sei and SR season 2 easily thrash S Haruhi to pieces. If the animation wasn’t done by Kyoani, if the designs weren’t Itoh Noiji, would S Haruhi even be 10% as big as it is now? It is pure fluff. The slick animation, fashionably moe/loli/tsundere/weird characters and the Winner of an ED propels it into the realm of Ultima Level Anime popularity but I am disgusted that it is supposed to be better than the NeoBible, Last Exile , Eureka seveN, Gatekeepers etc. It’s not a bad show but just overrated as much as Steven Gerrard is.
Oh please discuss.
Fujioka Good, Suzumiya Rubbish