Even though I talk to anime fans about many other things, it’s hard to divide those conversations from anime as a whole because more often than not, anime fans use anime avatars. On Twitter, I used to distinguish my spam followers from real ones simply because all the followers with human images were spam, with the exception of famous people (not my followers, people I follow).
I know that a lot of people use images from their favorite shows or of their favorite characters. Some stick with the same avatar forever (ghostlightning since settling on the skull leader toy; chii’s had the same one on every site as long as I’ve known her). Others change their avatars every season to whatever their favorite character of the season is (Fall ’10 seemed like mostly Ikamusume, and Spring ’11 seems like mostly Kyuubei).
No matter the case, these images aren’t chosen at random. It could be that they’re simply the best-looking image a person found of whatever character, but I think more often people chose images to represent a certain aspect of the character that they appreciate most, or one that represents their favorite moment featuring that character. (My co-blogger Thoughtcannon chooses his Twitter avatars from memorable scenes in current shows.) There’s a reason that GL is using a blurry picture of a dusty action figure for his avatar rather than just a piece of series art. (I suspect it’s the same reason he has a twinkling space background on his site.)
I’m definitely one to dramatically overthink my choices of header, avatar, etc. (big surprise there). I don’t want to talk about it all day, so I’ll stick with the avatars and site header that I currently use.
1. Tsukuyomi Komoe-sensei with a cigarette and a beer.
Used as: Facebook avatar, MAL avatar, Image on this blog’s intro page, Twitter background
A few months ago I decided that Tsukuyomi Komoe would become my “mascot character,” because she’s the perfect representation of my bias. Komoe is one of my alltime-favorite anime characters in spite of being a decidedly minor cast member in To Aru Majutsu no Index. (Just so happens that her big moment in episode three is one of my favorite scenes ever.) I’ve already explained exactly what my bias constitutes in my post about her, and this image shows everything I love about her at once, which, combined with being from a great artist, makes it my favorite Komoe-sensei image.
2. Tsukuyomi Komoe moeblob version
Used as: Twitter avatar
Another part of using Komoe-sensei as my mascot character has to do with changing my theme colors from darks to lights—more specifically from red to pink. Red has been my theme color for a long time because I feel all of the emotions derived from red perfectly describe my personality, especially in writing. However, I’ve calmed down a lot and become less intense and more chill about things, so I want to lighten up my image. Because of this, I’ve shifted focus to cute, brightly-colored images. This image was chosen for being very pink and for being recognizable even at minimum size.
3. Remilia Scarlet over the bay of blood
Used as: Gravatar, Scarlet Monochrome header
This is my oldest avatar currently in use, and I’m unwilling to change it on Gravatar simply because Gravatar effects such a large number of sites. Remilia Scarlet is my favorite character (no matter what I may say otherwise), and while she has an infinitely vast wealth of spectacular fanart, this was one of the first pieces that I saw and first used as a desktop background on my old piece-of-shit mac. It was some time later when I came up with the phrase “scarlet monochrome” that this image took on a special meaning.
Scarlet monochrome is a vision I have of the world as “black, white, and red.” (I realize that “scarlet monochrome” inappropriately describes such a concept, though black and white will exist within the spectrum of scarlet monochrome). I’ve totally latched onto that phrase and use it like a sort of genre title for my work (like Guitar Wolf calling their music “jet rock and roll,” or Static X calling theirs “evil disco”). Because the term is so important to me, it became the title of my personal tumblr; the image followed. I find it captivating, and of course, besides Remilia, the whole thing is literally set in scarlet monochrome. I also used this image as my custom badge for Otakon 2010, since I always use a symbolic image. (Accordingly, the Komoe-sensei image will be my badge for Otakon 2011.)
4. Konpaku Youmu examining her sword while naked for some reason
Used as: Header for this site
If you never visited the intro page before I put Komoe-sensei up, then I bet you didn’t know Youmu was naked in this pic! There’s a fun story behind this one: I went to gelbooru and searched the tags “loli sword absurdres,” which turned up two pages of images, not one of which was worksafe. Not even the official Shana art. I needed an image that showed the character’s face and their sword close enough together, but without having to include any naughty bits. I also didn’t want the image to take itself too seriously, since the aim of this site design was more relaxed. That I happened to find a cute picture of a character I like examining her sword at eye level was a tiny miracle. I can imagine her saying to herself “my sword is unbelievably dull!”
That about covers my active images—I try to be consistent so it’s easy to tell who I am wherever you go. Do your image choices have any personal significance?