The Evolutionary Path of an Anime Blogger and Static vs Dynamic Content

From an highly analytical conversation and examining the recent spate of fansub vs industry posts, I have come to make a certain hypothesis about anime blogging. There are certain trends, evolutionary patterns and social castes which can be seen. Do comment on whether you agree or not, but certainly I feel this way.

Every blogger holds an egg in their soul.

When some Dorama such as the fansub one appears on the horizon, 3 types of bloggers will arrive on the scene. They are the "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!" newspaper boy, the wise old man with insight and then there are the bandwagon hoppers.

The newspaper boys always appear on the scene first with a bunch of hyperlinks, providing little or no value add. Regardless, they are a core component of the blogging cycle as the old wise men and the bandwagon hoppers won’t be surfing the news on the dorama without the hyperlinks.

The wise old men make stands which are reasoned and most importantly, FRESH. Despite old men being NOT FRESH and having an oyaji smell, these online old sages ([Jeff Lawson], JP Meyer and obviously that Justin guy from ANN) qualify for old menhood by virtue (wow I just quoted a Gundam name) of their original ideas and opinions. The key qualifier here is originality actually.

The bandwagon hoppers are then the hordes of clones who pop up and rewrite what the old men have written, be it in boring, passionate or humourous forms. Needless to say, I myself am a bandwagon hopper, albeit one with 3 penises and toilet humour. Bandwagon hoppers generally don’t have the nous, life experience or wisdom to create an intelligent, original view. What they always think is their view, is actually the views of others whose works they have read. Read enough of others’ opinions and you’ll think it’s yours.

The anime blogging scene is growing exponentially, with Maestro giving out free animeblogger accounts like Azuma Kazuma makes bread. Not a bad thing obviously, but there lies the increasing difficulty of "becoming BIG!" as Kawachi says. Why am I referencing Yakitate! Japan? Because I’m rewatching it at the moment and it is fucking good. Ever since I got into Food Science, I’ve been able to understand the show a lot better. The first 26 episodes are certainly one of the shining examples of Oudou Shounen anime. But again I digress. So it’s difficult to become big, since there are tonnes of competitors, in that sense.

It’s like we are all rivals for Cool and Spicy Hinamori Amu.

While most people would think using the word "competitor" or even "rival" for fellow bloggers is a bit overboard, the truth is that readers = consumers, they have a right to pick who to read, and limited currency in the form of time and attention span. If a blogger wants to get readers, as is always the case but nobody really admits to it, he should tailor his blog to meet the market demand.

You can blog for your own vanity, like "Oh I’m so clever, I write deep posts with big words like Curdmurgeonic Psionipathic Amino-butyric Encelopathy" but if nobody reads it, you’re only satisfying yourself. Which may be fine if that’s all you’re looking for, but I’m sure most bloggers are after something bigger. A suitable analogy would be the current anime industry in Japan. They are not changing their business model, they are rigid old turds who blame the consumers for seeking alternative sources because their own products are marketed in a poor fashion. An expensive R2 DVD purchase can be equated to spending 1000kJ of energy reading through some long winding text, which may have good content, but is difficult to read. The blogger who writes such a post may complain, "But it’s the readers who are stupid! They can’t understand the wonderful text I wrote painstakingly! It’s their loss!". Too bad nobody else will feel the same way.


Going  on to a hugely unrelated note, I would like to talk about the above mentioned evolutionary pattern. All bloggers, it seems, when having existed long enough, evolve. But not according to Darwin’s theory. Let’s see a step-by-step process guide on evolving.

Worst costume out of the 3. My favourite is Spade.

1. Start off by creating a blog. We shan’t concern ourselves with the administrative evolution, such as moving to new domains and all that. This is the birth phase.

2. Upon writing on blog, all bloggers will establish some sort of aim and scope which they will write on.

3. Writing these sort of articles, the blogger will get better at them and perhaps, attract an audience. Or, these sort of articles don’t appeal, and bloggers loses interest. He may then choose to quit blogging, or to write about other topics. This is the attrition phase, where the unfit are weeded out and those who survive are the adaptable ones with enough motivation to overcome their shortcomings.

4. There is a purification of blogging topics going on at this phase and the blogger will focus on this effective and well-liked topic/format. The blogger will be defined in this way for the rest of his blogging career. For some, it will be episodic summaries and reports, for others it will be editorials. Or figure reviews.Take for example my case, where most people seem to think I’m some sort of figure reviewer blogger, even though I post figure reviews once a month which means approximately 1/30 of my posts are figure reviews. This is known as the stationary phrase, where optimum perceived evolution has occured. The blogger is now considered in his golden age.

5. Here is the tricky part. After stagnating in his pet topic for perhaps a year or so, he will start to feel bored whether or not his readers feel the same. Doing the same things over and over again, he loses the drive which made him put in a lot of effort in the first place. This is where he starts to move onto dynamic blogging, which is the final phase until he moves on in real life.

First, let us learn about static content and dynamic content, as defined by me. Static content is basically stuff that you actually plan to write about, where research is done, pictures are taken, and the theme is something which is evergreen or has always been there. For instance, "How to Date an Otaku Girlfriend" or "The Science of Figurine Materials" or a review on Gatekeepers. Static content requires a lot of effort, time and is preferred by most readers since these articles can be found on Google and still be relevant.

Dynamic content is quite the opposite. [Kurogane] is a staunch advocate of dynamic content, and the age of his blog provides a clue to the reason why. Dynamic content is something a blogger feels like pouring out, perhaps after watching a poignant scene in his favourite anime, or seeing an opportunity for a post. The content is generally short, without pictures or just the one, and done without research. In other words, it is a rant/rave but do not let the negative implications of the word scare you, because dynamic content can be well-reasoned and articulate. What makes it dynamic is that it is spontaneous but quickly dies in terms of relevance. Examples include my recent Neuro post, and almost all of [Kurogane], Jpmeyer, [Jeff Lawson] and Alex [Moy]‘s posts. One issue about dynamic content is that of "branding". Even if a certain dynamic post was not considered well-written, people still comment extensively, if the blogger is a famous one. A good example is [Danny Choo], who gets hundreds of comments for posting a picture of Japanese erm something. This sometimes irks the lesser-known bloggers still in the stage of static content, who have spent good man-hours producing a masterpiece but have no one to read it.

It is true that people read bloggers who they know and have come to like, even if their posts are poor by absolute standards. A good example is how I always read [DarkMirage] and JP Meyer even if they are writing about some angry juvenile love issue or in the latter’s case, Naruto Yaoi.

Look, 3 Pom Poms!

Now having explained the concepts of the two forms of content, we can very easily observe that the older the blogger, the more likely he uses dynamic content. There are several reasons for this.

The blogger has run out of static content. This is very true in most cases, there are only some many otaku culture issues one can talk about before it gets old. In fact, most of the editorials of the new bloggers just repeat what the previous generation has said in their own static content editorials. It’s not to say that the new birds are copying, but the pool of static content is very small and it takes a creative mind to source out what hasn’t already been said by the plethora of other bloggers.

The blogger has grown tired of the efforts needed to blog extensively. Dynamic content is short, sweet and to the point. It is the crystallisation of the blogger’s desire to express the pent-up emotions and opinions LOUDLY, at its summit. Like if I’m crying when watching Yakitate Japan because it’s soooo good, I’ll write up a short 3-4 paragraph post which will feel very different from a longish essay that is reasoned and balanced. That is the reason why I’ve never written any reviews about my favourite shows, GitS, Gintama, Last Exile and Planetes. When I really want to write a proper review, the powerful feelings which have been generated have all but dissipated. Sometimes, these impromptu mini-posts serve to influence readers into liking these shows more effectively due to the powerful positive feelings channeled through the dynamic content.

The blogger is now too busy in real life. This applies to many, in particular working adults, many of who are the more respected bloggers.

In conclusion, all bloggers generally follow this path of evolution. There is only blogdeath after the dynamic phase. Or worse, monetary blogging, where you keep going for the sake of your adsense or TLA.

30 Responses to “The Evolutionary Path of an Anime Blogger and Static vs Dynamic Content”

  • I believe BRStick is super dynamic.

  • Not a bad post. Pretty much sums up the usual progression of many animebloggers, i would say.

    Personally, to speak, I do wonder how much longer will I last. Blogging, to me, has become somewhat second nature, and sometimes I have to constantly stem myself from blogging every damn thing I come across, lol.

    I probably don’t have the motivation to write static content anymore, except in extraordinary cases, say maybe a localized issue, or event reports. Hell, even commenting or blog-reading isn’t really on my to-do list lately.

  • Quite well said, though it’s not only the blog’s content that matters when it comes to popularity. It’s like in business life; even a great innovative product with significant market potential can fail miserably if it just doesn’t reach the consumers. Poor marketing and inability to deliver the product are essential and this sort of works in blogging scene as well. Just a random blog hosted on a free blogging service or even more isolated blog running on paid hosting with no attachment to communities will have very little audience no matter what or how much the author writes. Of course, the content matters a lot when you’re within the reach of the “consumer market” but getting there in the first place is something that can prove rather difficult.

    Many bloggers start their blogs just to have something to read and laugh at later on in life, such as personal rants and diary-entry type texts that don’t especially interest anyone else, or for a reason such as improving their language skills (initially the driving factor in my case). I guess I’ve ended up in between – I want to write stuff that interests people but I find it very difficult to write when I don’t feel like it and about something I don’t care about. This is mainly the reason why I don’t write anything with even a loose schedule such as episode reviews on airing series which appears to be the bread n’ butter on majority of anime blogs. If I have no special interest or inspiration on the matter, it’s almost impossible for me write anything.

  • It feels like the stellar evolution… just that you get to choose how you want to end it off.

  • i gotta agree to a certain extent. I believe most of us do dynamic contents most of the time. It once in awhile where we’ll write static content. In the case of BR stick, its considered Static but with Dynamic content. It sorts of takes static content to another level by portraying dynamic content in a different way. To me, it isnt about complying to readers or anything, you first have to be satisfied with yourself first. Readers DO have a choice to read what they want anyway and we have NO right to diss them if they disagree with us or anything.

  • This was a great post to read solely because I understand being one of the bandwagon hoppers at this point.

    I think, even better though, was your step by step of a blogs life. I’ve had personal, to work, back to personal, and then to anime when it comes to blogging. Many times my posts on personal would be absolutely random and did not align with anything I had previously written… and then indeed I got bored and figured I didn’t have time for such thing. But is there a step when you try again? Oh well, must be one in a million. xD

  • I’d even venture beyond that and say it’s just the habit of a website…I already hit every phase and this blog thing is now the last phase because I’m pretty busy IRL.

  • I guess my blog has never really gone through the evolutionary path. I guess I tend to go on a long hiatus for a extended period before I can ever continue far on the path.

  • Thanks for the interesting read!

    I’m a noob in the Anime blogging world and I am already losing my drive after a few month. I’m not a great writer, my tastes are pretty biased, I rather be a hermit and play and watch I want myself, but I want people to enjoy what I enjoy… That’s the only thing that keeps me going, and probably what motivates the all the bloggers.

  • I figure that most every blogger who’s not simply out for attention and nothing else wants, deep down, to progress to the dynamic phase.

    If I’m reading it correctly, the dynamic phase is a distillation of the basic impetus for blogging: I Have Something To Say, And I Will Say It To Everyone. I’ve found that the static content seems to be a kind of hook, such that there would be an “Everyone” for the blogger to proselytize to; perhaps a dressing up of dynamic content to satisfy the readers or oneself that one is not simply shouting inanities into the wind. The shift to more dynamic content might signal an increase in apathy, which, if left unchecked, would result in abandonment of the blog entirely.

    I’m not sure what phase I’m currently in; my original scope was “I want to advertise Card Captor Sakura so that everyone knows what a good show it is”, and I haven’t come up with anything else to replace or add to it. I also haven’t really encountered an attrition phase, which may or may not have anything to do with my blog only being less than a year old.

  • I couldn’t understand anything.. I was more concerned with the Shugo Chara pics.. tsk.. my mind is going to mush.

  • Kurogane: Yes, once you get the nirvana, nothing stands in your way of world domination.

    Crest: Hence their placement, which is to soothe the aching minds of passersby.

    Dkellis: Static content is fun as well, but the main draw to writing it is probably to win accolades and comments. Dynamic on the other hand, is an expression of self.

    Bjorn: You are quite right in that sense, because the LianYL does draw out whatever he feels like on the spot. BRstick is probably more dynamic than static, yet it still touches on otaku culture which is a static content type.

    Novajinx: Marketing is important too as you said. RSS aggregators, blogrolls, comment links, references etc.

  • There’s nothing wrong with being a bandwagon hopper! It’s all in good fun. I totally agree with this blogging EVOLUTION thing. I already see myself following a similar path some time in the future. It’s common sense that real life will eventually take over a hobby like this. Does it matter? It’s not like anime blogging is SERIOUS BUSINESS lol. Also, this post is officially cool and spicy.

  • Over the last year or so I’ve forgotten how to write. Do you know how hard it is to reteach yourself? It’s pretty hard. Particularly when I look at old posts and have no idea what the hell they even mean, or how I could logically flow from point A to point Qwert.

  • I want to progress into that dynamic phase, but I think at the moment, I’m worried that what I would be able to say isn’t really that important or moving. Or something like that. Most of the time, I feel like I have to say things in more paragraphs than I need to really. But oh wells. :P

  • You missed out a subspecies, TJ; writers who know their inferior skill in writing won’t get a single reader if they strike out on their own, so instead they attract the attention of established writers and trick the latter into inviting them to join the latter’s writing team. That way, these parasite bloggers can write drivel all they like while still riding on the brand name of the established blogger.

    Hell, I mean, I’m a prime example. :p

  • Hmm I wonder where I am at this point. Prolly around the same place as JPMeyer, except I still do episodic posts – but not really episodic SUMMARY posts. More like 1 screenshot thoughts about the episode…I just don’t have the patience to summarize anymore unless I really wanted to tell the world what happened in the episode.

    I actually enjoy doing my manga review posts more these days because more seems to occur while in an anime it seems the same shit like drags on for 24 minutes (see Naruto Shippuuden.)

    And on another note, I’m the one always bitching at JP to write a post, so any Naruto yaoi related posts are prolly me going “lol look at this Naruto dorama going on -why don’t you write a post.”

  • I love these anatomy of an anime blogger posts you do.

  • You should probably add that some anime bloggers would choose to jump directly into dynamic blogging because of their tl;cbbtw (can’t be bothered to write) attitude (like me).

    I should advise readers considering approaching Maestro after reading this post: Be prepared to ‘tang ku ku’ (transliterated: wait long long).

  • Daijoubu represents the perfect equilibrium of newspaper-wise-old man-bandwaggon-static-dynamic perfection! HaHaHa :P

    In all seriousness though, MegaDaijoubu is a way to have a (badly) illustrated form of dynamic blogging.

    And you’ve missed the Metablogging phase (or is that just a variation of dynamic content?), of which you are the consummate master!

  • DS: I understand my site currently has a problem with the commenting for some reason. Makes people post multiple times. Metablogging is not strictly either dynamic or static, it’s the actually content of the post which matters. For instance, the post after this on the Nyoro, is a great example of a metablogging dynamic post while this post itself is a metablogging static post.

    Alex: Welcome back man. Which rock have you been hding under? Ayers?

    Hinano: You need to make JP watch better anime. Can you watch Gintama?

  • The idea of Tripeman busting out of someone’s chest egg frightens me…

    Do blogs always go to a dynamic phase? I feel like I have been writing summaries forever, and I don’t usually post up a dynamic post (as defined in this essay). There is comfort in structure.

  • I would like to think I do dynamic blogging, but I really don’t know if that’s for me to say. Though I think the more you post about obscure series and don’t care at all if you get comments, then the more dynamic you’re becoming. Or something like that. I’ll agree to being a bandwagon hopper.

  • Wow, this is absolutely 100% how my blog has progressed. Part of the reason why my posting is down from about a post per day to a couple a week is because I’d run out of static content after about 9 months. Now I’d say that out of the 10 or so posts per month that I do, probably one 1 is static content. And I totally agree that this is why a lot of these posts get kind of dull when newer bloggers post about them, because we feel like we already wrote about this a year ago. I totally felt that way about that whole gender in anime day from a couple months ago. Hell, I used to have a freakin’ gender TAG on my blog because I wrote about it so frequently. A lot of this was my static content, of course.

    (Also, I will get around to watching Kintama some day. I even put it under “To Watch” on My Anime List! I have a long ass commute to work so I get to watch about 10 anime episodes per week like this).

  • Odex killed my ability to churn out static content. And with school and all, I don’t even have time for dynamic content. Oh the woe.

  • I could never write good static contents, so i prefer to stick to dynamic instead.

  • I feel bad that i didn’t bother to read any of what is written, and simply concentrated on Amu-chan…

    Amu-chan is so moe~

  • The fact that it had Amu-chan in it lead me to read this post. Only to find out that I was more interested in the images themselves.

  • The part about evolution sounds like you ripped off the dialectic process ….

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