Inquiring Minds Want To Know #40:How do you gain a following on your blog?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #39: Most Overrated Anime

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

Your Name anime movie

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.

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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.

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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.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #38: Comparing Modern Anime With Classic Hits

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

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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.

Yuri on Ice Episode 8 Yuri and Victor

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #37: What is the longest series that you have finished, that you regretted watching afterwards?

Thanks for another great question to deal with this week. As always, 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: What is the longest series that you have finished, that you regretted watching afterwards? From Yomu

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This is a hard one to answer mostly because generally speaking I drop long anime long before I start regretting watching them. Of course, that means I have a number of long anime that I just haven’t finished. Hunter x Hunter, which I was meant to finish last year is still in my unfinished list and I’m really close to the end I just haven’t completed it. Fairy Tail is another one where I got about 70 episodes in and didn’t actually continue.

Fairy Tail - Natsu Sick on Train

Now, neither show actually made me want to drop it. They are both really fun and there are some great characters and great moments in both. However, what I find with longer anime is that events get dragged out, there’s a lot of bloat in the story-lines, there’s arcs that focus on characters or events I’m less interested in, and ultimately I tend to just veer away from these or put them on hold and forget to get back to them.

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If I’m going to look at slightly shorter stories, I’d probably have to say the original Full Metal Alchemist anime was one that I regret watching. Mostly because it doesn’t really end and the movie follow up is actually a little painful to get through. Brotherhood doesn’t do the beginning of the story as well but the conclusion is significantly better and so I end up with a much better feeling about the story overall even though realistically the original series does a much better job in the set-up.

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Thanks Yomu for a great question this week. Over to the readers now and I’d love to know what long anime series you have watched that you regret (if any). Otherwise, please remember if you have a question for me, just fill in the simple survey below and I’ll hopefully get to it soon.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #36: What kind of fantasy setting do you find most appealing?

Inquiring Minds Want to Know - Ichigo

Another week and another fantastic question. I’m still seeking questions to keep this series going a little longer so if you have something you want to know, be sure to fill in the simple survey below and I will definitely get to it.

Question: With Goblin Slayer being one of this season’s most talked-about shows for various reasons… what kind of fantasy setting do you find most appealing? Traditional Tolkienesque? Witcher-style dark fantasy? Or something else altogether? From MoeGamer

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This is such a great question and the answer is not so straight forward because it really depends on my mood and the medium I’m engaging with the story in.

For books, I’m very old school in my fantasy preferences. Give me a classic sword and sorcery style setting, maybe with a bit of Tolkien in there but I prefer a bit of humour so Eddings stories with their dry sarcasm in the narration or Pratchett with his absurdist humour really work for me and I love the worlds they create. Still, I had a real fondness for the Dragonlance books as a teen and scavenged second hand booksellers to try to collect as many of the titles as I could. My collection is still very much full of holes.

That said, when I’m in full work mode and I don’t have time to get 100% absorbed in what I am reading then I need something a little lighter and I find modern urban fantasy a bit more my thing. Still I find a lot of these books very much a consume once and move on kind of deal and that’s more or less what I like about them. They don’t take a lot of my attention.

Goblin Slayer Episode 1

In anime, I’ve settled for isekai stories, that watered down vaguely fantasy-esque setting they hit us with in almost every show. The few real fantasy settings, like the one found in Chain Chronicles, was really appreciated and I liked the darker nature of the world and the conflict even if the story didn’t exactly rise to meet the challenge of the world building required to pull it off. But these are few and far between. Still, Goblin Slayer isn’t isekai, it is straight fantasy, and while there are undeniably some game-like mechanics to the world building, it isn’t as blatant as some light novels and that’s a large part of why I really enjoyed it as a book and I’m really looking forward to what the anime does over the coming weeks.

In movies I find fantasy very hit and miss. While there are of course classic kids fantasies like Labyrinth and the Neverending Story, adult fantasy movies that really work aren’t exactly common. With that said, I’ve kind of settled for more steampunk themed stories because these ones tend to look visually pretty amazing and still give quite the fantasy feel. I really liked the world created by The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (even if again the story was a little lacking).

And finally onto gaming where we are back to straight sword and sorcery D&D style fantasy. Baldur’s Gate 2 is still my all time favourite fantasy game. Though I do enjoy the world’s constructed in Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII.

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So long answer, but I really had fun. Thanks MoeGamer for such a great question. Remember if you have a question please just respond to the survey below and in the meantime, I’d love to know what your favourite fantasy setting is so leave me a comment.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #35: What do you think of Chinese Co-Productions?

Another week and another fantastic question. I’m still seeking questions to keep this series going a little longer so if you have something you want to know, be sure to fill in the simple survey below and I will definitely get to it.

Question: What do you think about Chinese co-productions? Do you think they’re necessary for anime to reach a global community? From Aria

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I honestly haven’t given much thought to co-productions either between Japan and China or Japan and America or Japan and anywhere else for the simple reason that I like stories when they are told well so I’m more concerned with the quality and entertainment of the finished product than who may or may not have been involved in its production. However, after getting this question and thinking it over, I have to admit, a lot of the shows I know to have been Chinese co-productions have been very rough around the edges (even Spiritpact which I ended up thoroughly enjoying).

That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea of co-productions. I love anime for the wide variety of stories it tells and different ways it presents them and co-productions bringing in different people from different backgrounds and cultures seems like a great way to ensure the medium continues to include a large variety of ideas. Whether or not individual co-production efforts have yielded anything good is a subjective discussion and it is kind of like discussing whether live action anime adaptations are good or bad because there will be a lot of different opinions and sure there’s plenty of evidence of ones that don’t work but occasionally there’s one that does and there’s hope that going forward they’ll improve.

As to the second part of the question, I don’t believe they are necessary for anime to reach a global community but I do think that money coming into the animation industry from outside of Japan may very well help long term given we all know there are issues in the industry and co-productions can certainly help with distribution of a title. There’s plenty of benefits from collaborating and very few benefits from assuming the closed position some anime purists might that anime much be produced in Japan by Japanese people.

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Another great question and as I always, I’d love to know the thoughts of my readers so be sure to let me know in the comments below what you think of Chinese Co-Productions. And if you have a question for me, be sure to fill in the survey below. 


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Inquiring Minds Want To Know #34: How did you decide on your avatar?

Another week and another fantastic question. I’m still seeking questions to keep this series going a little longer so if you have something you want to know, be sure to fill in the simple survey below and I will definitely get to it.

Question: Perhaps someone asked this at one point, but how did you decide on your avatar? Did you draw it yourself, and does that reflect in any way what you look like? From Moyatori

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I think I’ve mentioned it somewhere before on my blog, but my avatar is just kind of there. Honestly, I didn’t expect my blog to last very long so I didn’t put a lot of thought into it when I started. I’d previously been trying to discuss anime with people in the Crunchyroll forums (with incredibly limited success) but one day someone started a thread for people to create an anime version of themselves and post it. I don’t even remember what I used to create the avatar but she’s designed to look like a cuter version  (much, much, much cuter version) of me when I was in my teens.

The colour of the hair and clothing is pretty accurate but the eye colour is way too bright as mine are closer to blue-grey or blue-green and pretty pale. The chin is too pointy and the nose is well just totally wrong. I like the accessories she’s wearing in her hair and her necklace because they kind of fit with what I was going for as a teen, though they are a little bit dated for me nowadays.

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I actually really liked how it turned out though as I’ve thought more and more about making my blog a full time thing, I’ve started to think I need something designed specifically for the blog (if for no other reason other than not being sure about whether or not I’m supposed to be using that image the way I do). And that is why I set up the account with Ko-Fi as my goal with that is to have enough to commission some art that is made for the purpose of the blog.

I think if I ever do reach the goal and look at getting an avatar made specifically for the blog, I’d probably like her to look a little bit older (I am in my thirties after-all) and while the book is a cute prop, it really doesn’t have anything to do with being an anime blog. There’s also a specific style pendant I’d love to have included as I wear it almost continuously.

On that note, if you are or happen to know someone who is looking for an art commission, I’d love it if you could pass their name along and some samples of work because it is something I really would like my banner, logo, and profile pic to all kind of look like they were designed purposefully and not just kind of thrown together. While I’m not at a point where I can pay for this yet, I’m working on it so research is always good.

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This was a great question and as always I’d love to know about my readers as well. So, how did you decide on your avatars?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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