May 2017: Blog Update
This update is just an explanation of what I'll be doing for the near future. I usually keep my blogging plans to myself. I also have a long history of going back on, and not living up to, said blogging plans. So I thought, if I publish what I'm going to do with this blog and let people see what I'm planning to do, I will feel more accountable.
Lately, I've been struggling between the desire to create new content on one hand and the need to evaluate old content and improve old Hubs. Spring cleaning, if you will. New content about more recently created anime is important, but I feel like I also want to shine up my older blogs.
The Original Format
How I did this blog originally was:
I got a master list of anime from TV Tropes' Sugar Wiki: Gushing About Shows You Like: Anime page. That means, instead of going to snobby theory experts, I got my list from regular anime fans. Anything somebody gushed about got on there. Since this was in 2010 or so though, that list is frozen in time, so following that list has the drawback of making it harder to keep up with current anime.
I also excluded the top shounens like Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. I have many reasons for that, including:
- I don't especially like those sorts of shows.
- If I expressed said dislike, the fans of those shows would attack me. O_O
- It's impossible to keep up with shows like that when they're constantly updating. I deliberately took out anything over 100 episodes, save for Legend of the Galactic Heroes.
- People are already talking about those big-name shows. I want my blog to primarily serve the niche of helping people find under-appreciated anime. People have already heard about One Piece.
- I like the idea of challenging myself with anime content that's more obscure or intellectually stimulating. I mean, anyone could make money writing about what's already popular, but I prefer the intellectual challenge of finding things that are good, but not popular.
From that list, each week or so I would randomly select 3 anime, watch the first 5 episodes. Then:
I would create a blog page titled "Anime Review: Title A, Title B, and Title C" featuring my first impressions of each show.
At the time, I was one of the only people doing anime reviews on the internet on a regular and consistent basis. I had no idea what I was doing, but my writing skills improved a lot. What I want to do now is go back and take a second look at all of those. I think each title deserves its own review, even if I don't have time to watch all of them.
Enter, the "At a Glance" page.
At a Glance At a Glance
So, the idea behind an "At a Glance: Title" anime review is that I'm essentially taking those "Anime Review: A, B, and C" pages that were originally scanty first impressions of three different anime series chosen at random, and giving each one of those series their own separate page. I think that's better, because it has focus and more depth. It means, if you like, say, Elfen Lied, you'll prefer my review of that one by itself, and you probably won't care about my opinion of Cardcaptor Sakura or Hoshi no Kaabii.
It's called "At a Glance" because they're initially based on the first 5 episodes of an anime, but what I'm realizing is that because anime series vary in length so much, that isn't a consistent percentage of the content. I should be instead in the future aiming for around 20% of the content. So if a manga title has 100 chapters, I'll read 20. If an anime has 50 episodes, I'll watch 10, if it has 26, I'll watch 5 (rounding), and if it has 13, I'll watch 3 episodes (rounding again). 20% of the content seems like a way of judging each anime more fairly, because 5 episodes of a 12 episode anime is different from 5 episodes of a 50+ episode anime.
For me, a "First Impression" review means just a review based on the first episode, future "At a Glance" is a review based on the first 20% of content, and if I'm reviewing the whole series, it will say either "Anime Review", "Full Series Anime Review" or "Anime Series Review" in the title. I do want all the full series reviews to get one of the above as the standard, so I may go in and change all their titles one day, but until now it is what it is. Since I have so much anime I want to talk about, it makes more sense for me to divide anime up like this than to try to do a full review of everything. Maybe I'll have time for that when I'm old.
Just because something got only an "At a Glance" or "First Impressions" review does not preclude it from ever getting a full series review. In fact many series do get a full review, when I finished them. My basic format remains the same, regardless. The only difference is how much of the content I'm basing my judgment on. So, an "At a Glance" judgment might be later changed when I see the whole thing, considering how much endings can affect the way we view a work of fiction. But the same basic format I'm using for all reviews is:
- Introduction to the series: What it is, why I'm reviewing it.
- A table with information about the show in the middle.
- Review and conclusion: What I think about it.
In the middle of this format is room for expansion, to add space to talk about characters and themes, but I prefer to move that discussion to its own page if I can. So I have some pages with "Character Discussion: Alice" or "X in Y Anime Series" titles, and those are separate from the main review. For me, the purpose of a review is looking at it as a commercial product. Would I buy it? Should you buy it? Who should buy it? Those are the primary questions I hope to answer in my reviews. Thematic discussions are much more like a literature or art history class, so they involve more in-depth analysis and academic language, so I think they belong on a separate page from the review, generally. I might have a blurb in the middle about "hey this is philosophically interesting too because...", but that's not the main point of a review.
This Blog's Future
What I want to do with this blog in the short-term is:
- Make a new "At a Glance" page for everything, finishing my deletion of all the old "Anime Review: A, B, and C" pages. Content will be moved from the old pages to new, but also expanded. I have 58 titles to do this with left, so it's a pretty big undertaking, especially considering that I feel that in order to do this well, I have to re-watch the first few episodes of each one again.
- Either go back and delete or edit old Hubs, especially to improve under-performing or badly written ones. This could include giving all the full anime series reviews a standard title convention. I want to improve previous hubs and also impose upon them the order I'm currently imposing on current anime Hubs' structures.
From then on, after getting that daunting 58 "At a Glance" reviews done, and that editing of old Hubs, I could then begin to do more with new anime, and move forward with watching anime on my current list of anime. I would also then be interested in going back to finish unfinished Hubs. That will take me a while, since I have many of those. I feel like until I get these At a Glance pages done, I can't really move on to new things, and yet every month the list of things I want to blog about grows and grows.
It's sort of like gardening, how you have to thin out plants that are overcrowded. In order for my future stuff to breathe, I have to get this done.
Scheduling these 58 is difficult. I don't know how many "At a Glance" reviews I can reasonably do in a day. Perhaps 2 is the most reasonable goal. I know that some weekends I will need off. If I did 2 per weekday, that gives me a total of 10 a week. That means I would be done with them in 6 weeks. Right now, I'm hoping I can do that.
That means, if I start now, on May 8th, I will be working on this "At a Glance" project until June 16th. I will delete this Hub when I'm done with all that. I'm just doing this to have something to stick onto my profile so that people know what I'm doing with the blog right now and why. Some days I may publish many pages in a day, but I'm not going to keep up that pace forever. I just want to finish all of these "At a Glance" pages. Then I can move on to other things.
In the latter half of June, when I'm done with that project, I plan to talk about stuff I've been too busy to get into really, in terms of new/recent anime. I want to talk about certain anime from 2016 and 2017. I will definitely be talking about the new season of Attack on Titan when that's finished. I want to cover a lot of things, I just feel like I can't really move on and move with the anime, until I clean up my old stuff. I promise to work hard. :)
Well, thanks to everyone for supporting my blog by reading! I hope you enjoy the next month or so worth of content! Thank you guys!