It being the end of the year and all, I felt it to be a suitable time to make a quick stop and do a recap episode, similar to Code Geass episode 8.5 or the many Gundam Seed Destiny ones. For the sake of new readers unfamiliar with this community/medium of anime discussion, I shall now go into a bit of the history, lingo and styles.
Not sure if there’s an official anime blogging history book, but the first anime blogger seems to be Jeff Lawson, who has since moved on to a new anime blog. He pioneered the style of reviewing and recapping every anime episode he saw, adding comments and analysis in a blog-like style. This was unheard of back in the old days of 2-3 years ago (?). Forums were no longer sufficient in satisfying anime fans worldwide’s appetite for the latest anime stuff and this new format was a welcome addition.
Anime blogging caught on and soon, there was a substantial number of people from all over the world doing episode summaries and reviews, with the occasional editorial. These blogs were all linked by blogrolls but could not be truly considered a community. Then it was the age of RSS aggregators, which collect the latest posts from many anime blogs into a single page for easy browsing and thus a community was born. Bloggers started linking and referring to each others’ posts and the anime blogosphere became far more connected. The most prominent of aggregators was Anime Blog Toshokan, which later became Blogsuki early this year. However, as more and more anime fans started their own blogs, there was a new need for a far less exclusive aggregator site which would have options for filtering. Hence, Hung, of Basugatsubakuhatsu, started Animenano.
Besides these two, there’s also the Animeblogger antennae, which lists a lot of sites as well. AB is the host for many anime bloggers, including Tsubaki’s Anime Desho Desho and Random Curiosity. AB is a free service created by Maestro4k, paid for out of his own pocket. It’s the single largest group of anime bloggers actually.
As more people started blogging, individual styles started to shine through. This site, RIUVA, typically focuses on figurine news and reviews, and when an anime series is either really awesome or plain bad, I’ll talk about it. Other faucets of Japanese modern culture, such as cosplay, jpop etc are also covered here occasionally. Once in a while you’ll see quizzes, joke posts and other fun and games too. For new visitors, read this article on the truth about the Japan anime industry.
Now let us look at the various blogs and what they are known for. This could be a good list for new readers to start with. I’ll use my blogroll as a base to work with.
- Anime Desho Desho? Tsubaki’s blog. This 19 year old film major with a coconut haircut is very in-tune with Singaporean readers, doing special features on local events, deals and people. It’s a good site to read when you want to find out the latest gossip, sensationalised news and even find out more about the people behind the blogs.
- Basugasubakuhatsu Hung is the resident computer whiz and the God of Animenano. This American specialises in reviews and first impressions of anime series, especially when the new seasons arrive. Recently organised a karaoke competition, which I actually entered and hope to lose badly. He’s also the host of the Animenano Podcast, a weekly session of anime discussion, together with Hinano and JP Meyer.
- DarkMirage A 40 year old in a 17 year old’s body. This 17 year old Singaporean is an avid ero-gamer and has achieved the status of JLPT 1, making him probably the blogger most proficient in Japanese around here. His forte is doing crazy stuff (ONLINE) like registering a Code-Geass.com domain and spoofing the Haruhi website. Also a cult hero of the Haruhiists worldwide, for his contributions in getting the Noisy one immortalised in Yahoo’s time capsule project. You can spot him on the street with his "Hi, I’m Darkmirage" t-shirt.
- Ex-Fansubber Hitori Goto Hinano is a Real Girl. That’s so rare on the internet! She’s an American with some Russian blood and loves Asian guys. Recently cosplayed as Suzumiya Haruhi at some American convention. Her site is one of the quickest when it comes to the review of the latest anime episodes, long before they actually get subbed. Why? Cos she was a fan subber!
- Hontou ni Taihen desu Stripey, Shocking Siscon! This middle-aged Singaporean has a penchant for loving younger sisters, and is the Subject Matter Expert on the internet for this. Check his site out if you think you love younger sisters too. He is partners (not literally) with Zyl.
- Houtou ni Sou Omou Zyl the Lunamaria festishist. Madly in love with the Gundam "female warrior", he owns at least 20 Luna figures and 30 posters. Also a middle-aged man in Singapore (HAH), he occasionally delves into very complex essays on anime fandom, with issues pertaining to sexism in anime, evolution and even quantum physics.
- Ikimashou! Digiwombat’s News Site! For the latest figurine and anime news, check this fat American’s site out. He weighs 200 kg but nevertheless trawls the net for the latest news and updates in the Anime Kingdom. Very useful when you are just too lazy to do your own research. He also runs Oniichan no Ecchi!, which is a platform for intelligent discussion in the world of adult doujinshi.
- Kurogane is one from the 2nd generation of anime bloggers. A first year university student in Malaysia, he provides a great look into the anime affairs of that nation, as well as being in-tune with the latest 4-chan memes and fads. A good way to know about the dirty part of animedom without actually getting dirty.
- lolicontrol Kwok, the psycho lolicon. If you have attained a certain nirvana, you can now read this 20 year old Singaporean’s site. Officially one of the Akiba-sub species of human beings, he favours 2D drawings over real girls, Touhou soundtracks over all other music and draws his own CG and doujinshi. With razor sharp wit and sacarsm, he also has great jokes to laugh at. But only updates when he surfaces from the more serious hobby of anime art and Touhou shooting.
- Matthew’s Anime Blog is one of the first bloggers. He covers reviews, news and almost anything. Especially magical girls.
- Memento This is probably the site you would go for anime episode reviews. Featuring very detailed reviews and comments, it’s also one of the most widely-read anime sites on the net.
- Minaide Hazukashii John Paul Meyer, aka JP Meyer the Grad Student of Anime Studies. He’s doing his PhD at NYU and it involves a lot of academic research and papers on anime. He’s part of the 3rd wave of blogs, similar to this site. Browse his site to find out why he’s widely known to be the king of anime editorials.
- Moetron is a news site as well, which focuses more on anime news. It’s also the only anime blog to have been featured in a Japanese magazine, in a two page spread in Ican’trememberwhat mag.
- orz We have the avatar of Internet rage here. Drmchrso is permanently angry and ranting at anything that moves. His pet peeves include Hongfire, fansubbers, ODEX and Jason Miao.
- Happy Soda Widely known to be the best figurine photographer around, his indoor sets have attained divine cult status. Be sure to read his tutorials on indoor photography!
- Random Curiosity Along with Memento, RC sits on the throne of episode reviews, thanks to the crew’s comprehensive, well-capped and detailed summaries.
- Wakaranai Washi the Australian is most well-known for his and friends’ amazingly indepth dissection of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
Based in Japan
- Danny Choo is a Storm Trooper who prowls the mecca of Tokyo, for the latest in figurine, gadget and Japan news. He also does a mighty fine job of reviewing them too! Danny is a good example of someone who strived hard to succeed in Japan as a foreigner, so budding Japan-workers, be sure to check out his About page.
- Heisei Democracy Shingo, who is about to leave his current job as an English teacher in Japan for work in the eroge industry, is the authority on all things Moe and Akiba. His indepth articles, especially on the subject of the famed M word, has garnered attention even in the commercial world of anime.
- Akiba Blog For the latest info on figurines, Akiba blog (fully Japanese) is the place to go. They get their figures to review even earlier than the release date.
- Urban Attic Funan the IT Mall’s figurine and toy store.
So what are the advantages of adding anime blogs to your internet reading list?
- You get to keep up to date with the latest series straight from Japan.
- You will know which series are good and bad, thanks to these nerds watching anything that resembles a Japanese cartoon and talking about it.
- You get to meet a lot of new friends, some even offline!
- Your new friends will talk to you about your hobby much more than your reallife friends can.
- Your knowledge will improve by leaps and bounds, and you can impress all your n00b friends who only watch Naruto and Bleach.
- You will know so much, that you can actually answer the quizzes on this site.
- You will see so many pretty pictures, funny parodies and hilarious posts that you’ll never want to go back to forums ever again!
- You can save time on surfing forums, because those are less organised and full of trolls.
- You will no longer need to scour around the net for news, as everyone talks about the latest stuff.
- You can even skip the anime itself, since some summaries are so indepth, it’s like watching the show.
- You can become famous just by posting comments on well-read sites.
Go read some anime blogs right now! And for those who already do, post a comment on your favourite blogs, who got you started and anything else!