This is going to be a super quick post and mostly is just an announcement that in two weeks I am going to be heading off to Tokyo!
As you can guess, I’m super excited about this.
Now mostly I’m getting to go to Japan because someone I know has been over there the last few months for work and I’m visiting (not that it would take much to convince me to go to Japan). As a result I’ll pretty much be staying in Tokyo for the couple of weeks I am there other than the occasional day trip elsewhere.
Still, I absolutely love Tokyo and I’m really determined to spend some time exploring it this visit and maybe visit some of the less touristy places when I’ve got the time to wander about.
What does it mean for the blog?
Well, I don’t really know. With the Winter season ending right before I leave I don’t know if I’ll start reviewing the Spring anime until I get back (unless the internet connection I end up with over there is better than I’m expecting in which case business as usual).
I’ll have some prepared posts that will go out but given how behind I’ve been in my normal posting, unlike previous trips away, I haven’t prepared daily posts in my absence.
I am hoping to update with some very cool photos of my trip while I’m away. Though that will depend on the internet again.
That said, I’m not letting it stress me. I’m really going to have fun on this trip and if I can’t maintain reviews while I’m away then I will catch up when I get back. Hopefully readers will understand and hopefully I’ll still be able to read blogs and post updates.
So that’s all from me and I’ve got two weeks to brush up on some basic Japanese, pack my bags, and then I’m off.
By the way, did I mention I’m super excited?!!!! (Yes, multiple exclamation points excited.)
A rather intriguing question this week and one I am keen to get into. I’m also excited to know what other people think of this one. As always though, if you have a question you’d like me to tackle please feel free to complete the survey below or follow this link.
If you could reset your memory of two particular anime series — one that you don’t mind forgetting about forever and one that you want to re-watch again without prior knowledge — what would those two series be?
Okay, let’s start with the one that I wouldn’t mind forgetting about forever… the thing here is I actually don’t mind having watched most things even if they are bad. That is because it gives me something against which to compare stuff that is only kind of okay and stuff that is actually good. So forgetting something terrible would just make me more critical of stuff that is actually kind of competent.
Still there’s a definite temptation to throw Hand Shakers into this one. I just couldn’t find anything to recommend about that anime and it was an incredible time suck that gave very little back. Diabolik Lovers would be another anime I’d like to just pretend I hadn’t given in to temptation and watched it.
However, anime I’d like to rewatch again without prior knowledge is actually a harder question. There’s quite a few that I’d love to experience again for the first time.
The one that immediately springs to mind is Natsume Yuujinchou. I love that anime and I’ve rewatched the earlier seasons a lot of times and it certainly doesn’t have diminishing returns as that lovely relaxing and calm feeling as well as the general cathartic nature of the anime really hits home each and every time. But the first watch was something special. Watching it was genuinely like experiencing falling in love and while the anime remains amazing after repeated viewings having that initial rush of emotions and that unexpected blossoming love would be amazing to re-experience.
The other anime I’d like to throw in here (though there are plenty of others) would be March Comes in Like a Lion. Meeting Rei for the first time and seeing his growth all over again and how he struggles, moves forward, falls back, is lifted up and helped by the sisters, finds his own feet and moves forward, to continue to struggle… there was just something really incredible about his character journey and while rewatching March Comes In Like a Lion was a great experience, seeing it the first time was almost overwhelming emotionally.
So those are my two picks for the second part of the question. But again, I’d love to know what my readers would choose so be sure to leave us a comment and if you have a question for me it is as simple as completing the survey below.
Part 1 of the review of the blog looked at the general stats for the year but numbers are just kind of that. As 2018 draws to a close I’d like to take a moment to reflect on some of the posts I wrote this year that people read and to wish all my followers a wonderful night and success in 2019.
Most Viewed Episode Review
This one is and isn’t a surprise. It is the post most often hit by search engines so it kind of explains the sheer number of views this post has gotten. Anyway, this one managed to become my second most viewed post ever on the blog: How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 2: Fan Service and Boobs in Fantasy Land. Part of me kind of wishes my most viewed post for the year was one that was slightly better written than this one but still I’m glad that an episode review did get some attention.
Most Viewed Light Novel Review
Again, not so much a surprise with the anime release, but my light novel review of Goblin Slayer Volume 3 ended up being my most read review this year. Timing really worked in this one’s favour but it is a shame because of the first three volumes, volume three was definitely the weakest and the review meanders because of it (it is always hard to review things you have a luke-warm reaction to). Still, I’ve continued reading this series and I am looking forward to getting more light novel reviews out in the new year (and manga reviews as I continue to work through Natsume Yuujinchou).
Most Viewed Inquiring Minds Post
Turns out there are some topics all bloggers are a little bit interested in and one of those is how to gain followers. I wish I knew the answer to that one myself but I did my best to answer the question about how I gained the followers I have. Of all the post series I’ve started on 100 Word Anime, I really enjoy the Inquiring Minds Posts because the topics are so varied and they usually force me to think about things I would otherwise be writing about or just think about something in a different way. They have been some of my most challenging posts to write and I certainly don’t always get them right, but I’m really glad I started the series and hope my readers continue to send questions my way in 2019.
Most Viewed Series Review
I was absolutely thrilled to see that this post that came out in early January ended up being my most read series review of the year. It is an anime that is so close to my heart and I just love it (and where is the next season already). Noragami Aragoto was a delight to watch and I had a lot of fun writing the review. Given the responses, clearly a lot of my readers love it as well.
Most Viewed Feature
I’m noticing a trend with this and my most viewed episode post. When you write a feature about fan service in anime discussing the currently popular fan service filled anime that is already blowing up your views because you used ‘boobs’ in a post title I guess it is to be expected it will get views. I’m not big on click bait so while I get that these sorts of topics get views, I’m not about to start filling my blog with them because while they have their place it isn’t my main topic. Still, this feature may have garnered some click bait views but it also gained some fairly decent discussion in the comments and that was something I was really delighted about. My most viewed feature of 2018: Is Anime Doing It’s Fans a Service?
Most Viewed Top 5 Post
My most viewed top 5 post was looking at my favourite dubbed anime. I’m not much of a dubbed anime viewer (and having recently watched the Yuri on Ice English dub now that I’ve finally got the DVD’s I’m standing by my usual stance of sticking with the Japanese versions of most things), but occasionally there are English dubs I quite like. Clearly lots of people have opinions on this one as it is one of my most commented posts and it remains a post that regularly gets found by search engines.
So that is my look back on 2018. I’ll be looking at my plans for 2019 very soon as Irina has asked me a fun question for my first Inquiring Minds post of 2019. Once again, I hope all my readers have an excellent night and get to welcome in the new year.
This one is a really quick update on Patreon. As you may have seen on Twitter, during December I am running a ‘special offer’ for new patrons who sign up to the $2 a month or higher for December and keep the subscription until at least the first of January or for ongoing patrons who are already paying $2 a month or higher (or choose to upgrade for December and January).
It’s not huge, but pretty much anyone who signs on during the offer will get a shout out in the dedication of my ebook ‘Thoughts on Anime 2018’ which will be released January 20, they’ll also get their name and link added in the thank-you on the bookshop page on 100 Word Anime.
Of course, they also get access to the episode reviews that have been written exclusive for patrons this year. So Darling in the Franxx episode reviews as well as my first attempt at a video review for the whole season, Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi episode reviews and second (fairly dodgy) attempt at a video review, and the current episode reviews for Bloom Into You. You’ll also get a copy of the ebook once it is out as a thank-you for being a patron (and all patrons are offered a copy of the 2017 ebook on sign up, even at the $1 a month level – all existing patrons prior to December will be offered the 2018 ebook).
Next year I am going to continue to try to build content for patrons, though it is a tricky balance because I do want the majority of my content to remain freely available to my readers. I really appreciate everyone who follows my blog and engages with my posts.
For those who would like to support the blog next year but aren’t really wanting to sign on to patreon, you have two others options. You can buy me a coffee or use Paypal donate for a one time payment rather than an ongoing one. I can’t actually run an official special offer on either of those, but if you do use either of these options in December and spend at least $4, I will include you in the book dedication and once the book is available I will offer you a copy via email as a thank-you (which means you will need to leave the means for me to contact you).
As I said, I know it isn’t much, but I am hoping to continue to grow next year. I’ll hopefully be running the blog’s first real competition with actual prizes next year for the anniversary in May (continuing to work on building up some items to use for that – and saving money for postage because I’d like to make sure all of my readers can participate). I am also hoping to continue to try out audio and video posts periodically and let my patrons tell me what I need to work on. While these are definitely side projects at the moment and fairly sporadic given my ongoing work schedule, the dream is to make the blog a full time project and I’m continuing to work toward that.
Please consider becoming a patron, even if only for a short period as it really does help make the blog more viable.
You know, when I started taking questions, I kind of thought people would ask me what my favourite moment was for Sebastian in Black Butler or questions about anime and stories in general (and I have had a few of those). However, far and away the questions that get thrown at me are about blogging or the industry or fans, and wow some of those are hard questions to answer in any meaningful way given I’ve only been blogging two and a half years so don’t consider myself any kind of expert and as far as the industry is concerned, I’m more interested in the product (anime) than in the goings on in the background. But I guess that’s the point with this sort of content. It is the askers who get to decide what they are interested in.
And I’m thankful for every question that someone has taken the time to send me and I do try to answer as best I can. If you’d like me to have a crack at answering something, or you are just curious about something, fill in the survey below or use the link in the sidebar and drop me a question. If neither of those work for you, use the contact form and just send me your question.
Question: How do you amass such a huge following on your blog? From Rebel.
Okay, there are a couple of points here that probably need to be addressed separately. The first is that while my official follower count for WordPress is at around 2400, that many people do not follow my blog. A large number of those (I’d estimate nearly 2000 of them) hit the follow button and then never again came anywhere near my blog. So while it looks like a really nice number, and I was certainly happy to see the follower count grow over my first two years, realistically, I’d say I have maybe 100 – 200 regular followers who occasionally interact with my content and about 50 who regularly interact with me.
And that’s fine. I really love the community I’ve built around my blog and it makes me smile when I see one of the regular visitors has left me a comment. I love it when someone who occasionally comments feels strongly enough about a post to leave a comment, and when someone entirely new drops by the blog and enjoys the content that is definitely cause for celebration. And while I’m certainly working to grow my blog, I’ve definitely realised number of followers is not the measure I want to use. As Irina regularly says in her advice posts, it is quality over quantity, and the followers who really engage with me here are definitely the best.
Still, the question of how I grew to 2000 followers probably needs to be addressed and I’m going to confess I just don’t really know. When I started this blog it was mostly a half-baked idea, a whim based on a half-joking suggestion from someone, and an undefined desire to write something and to embrace my love of anime simultaneously. I don’t think I ever really thought anyone would follow so when my blog started growing I was as surprised as anyone.
Realistically, I think a couple of factors helped my blog to grow and even now help people find it:
01. I post multiple times every day (even during my incredibly busy week last week I had at least one post out a day) which means my blog shows up in the reader for existing followers, and for anyone following tags like anime my blog shows up at multiple points during the day which helps wordpress readers find it. I also try to ensure most of my posts are reasonable (I’d love to say I make sure they are good but to be honest some of them really don’t get there).
02. I try to just write what I want to write and what I feel strongly about rather than trying for click bait or jumping on the bandwagon. While it might get my blog a couple of instant hits, it isn’t going to build a relationship with my readers if I’m just writing whatever is going to get me clicks.
03. I spend a lot of time on other people’s blogs reading their content and engaging with them. This one really is important and I cannot emphasise it enough. If I back it statistically, last week I received 600 less views than the previous week. Two things changed last week. One, I wasn’t posting as often, but the second one was that I only had brief moments to read a few other blogs in my reader and I didn’t get a chance to comment on all that many. I certainly wasn’t spending any time searching for new blogs and content which I normally give a block of time to because I like reading new content and I like finding new blogs.
So, while none of these are really a particularly interesting answer or a guarantee of followers, that’s really the best answer I’ve got for this one.
So let’s throw the question back to the readers: Do you do anything to gain followers? Any tips of clues? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and if you have a question, please fill in the survey.
I do believe this week’s question is going to get me into trouble, and I so carefully avoided answering this on Twitter, though at some point I was going to make a top 5 post about this so I guess now is as good a time as any to wade into this one. Thanks Tommy for the question and remember if you want to ask me anything please just complete the survey below or use the link in the sidebar.
Question: What is the most overrated anime? From Tommy
Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of calling things overrated. If people like them, they like them, whether I agree or not is another story. I am aware my tastes don’t match everyone’s and some things I like are pretty weird and some thing I don’t like are actually quite good. That said, I know that when I was first asked this question on Twitter the answer that immediately sprang to mind was ‘Your Name’.
Kimi no na wa is ranked second on MAL and has a score of 9.16. Now, I will agree that this movie is really beautiful. Like gorgeous. Just look at the sky. It is dazzling. But everything else about the movie is… well, ordinary. The characters don’t get fleshed out anywhere near enough, the overall plot is pretty basic, and there seems to be a lot of scenes in there just because rather than because they advance either the plot or the characters.
I remember how excited I was when I found out Your Name was going to be on Anime Lab to view for members for a short period. I’d heard so many amazing reviews about it and there was this endless hype about how it was the best movie ever (at least best anime movie) and I remember watching it and just kind of feeling unmoved. I didn’t hated it. My review did point out that this movie was fine but that I didn’t really click with either of the lead characters and didn’t really like some of the plot devices, but that it was a movie worth watching. And it is – a movie worth watching. Should it actually be ranked second on MAL though?
Well, clearly the MAL users who have rated it believe so. So while I disagree and feel it might be a little bit over-inflated and potentially overrated, I don’t really have an issue with this one sitting so high up. Then again, I feel a lot of shows when they come out get a wave of praise that gradually dilutes as time passes and there are plenty of popular shows that I just don’t really get the appeal of. Also plenty of popular shows I love.
Okay, at some point I will get around to that top 5 list of overrated anime and I’ll limit myself to anime series rather than movies, but for now, I think Your Name is probably the anime that I feel most captures the idea of being overrated.
Right, would you like to make me think? Have a question you’d like discussed? Be sure to fill in the survey below. In the meantime though, I’d love to know your thoughts on the question this week so drop me a comment.
This week the question really threw me because I kind of disagree with the basic premise of it, but here we go and I’m a trying to take in on anyway. I’d love to know your answer to the question and remember that if you have something you would like for me to answer, please fill in the survey below.
Question: When compared to the anime in the past, these days it is really hard to find a good anime that can stand neck to neck with all the classic hits. Is it because the studios now-a-days are concentrating in releasing more no. of anime each season rather than 1 or 2 good, quality anime? From anon
Okay, there’s a lot to think about in that question but underlying it is an assumption that modern anime is not as good as the classics. Which is an argument I’ve seen a lot of but don’t necessarily agree with, no disrespect to whoever asked the question. While there are certainly some amazing titles that have left a legacy and influenced a large number of modern anime, to assume that the titles coming out today aren’t that good or won’t have a lasting impact is something that seems a little overly pessimistic.
More importantly, are modern audiences really after something enduring or do they simply want something that moves them in the moment? With the plethora of media available to be streamed instantly, it really does seem like most people are moving away from the idea that something needs to be watched over and over and be enduring and more that something needs to start a conversation in the now and then we’ll find something new to discuss. What qualities are we looking for in a ‘classic’ or a hit and are these actually things that can be compared over time given changes in technology, society, and the way we consume media?
The other issue is that people remember the stories that worked in the past, but conveniently forget all the duds of anime history. And there are a lot of them. Some have hung around and can still be viewed for the amusement of the interested but most have simply disappeared into the nebulous past and won’t be mentioned again as they have no reason to be. So while there are certainly a large number of anime coming out each season, and a lot of them won’t be consider enduring classics or modern masterpieces, this isn’t overly new. The only thing different now is a general larger volume and while that means there are certainly a large number of titles we can point to if we wished to make a case about the declining quality of anime, that overlooks some of the truly extraordinary stories that anime has brought us in the last decade.
Ultimately, each viewer is going to decide for themselves whether they prefer the older and more stately classics, or whether it is something newer and shinier that will push their buttons, or some combination of the two, but there are strengths to older and newer anime as well as weaknesses. So while that doesn’t really answer the question I think it explains why the question itself isn’t necessarily something that can be answered if the underlying assumption that modern anime aren’t as good as older ones is disagreed with in the first place.
Right, would you like to make me think? Have a question you’d like discussed? Be sure to fill in the survey below. In the meantime though, I’d love to know your thoughts on the question this week so drop me a comment.