My Anime Community

I’m not often specifically asked to write a post. Since the beautiful world asked, I’ll be participating in their “blog carnival,” and talking about community.

The idea of this carnival is to talk about one’s local anime scene, which is a funny proposition, because I think a lot of anime bloggers would consider the blogosphere itself to be their anime community. I don’t think I’d spend so much time on the computer if I had a lot of friends in the meat who not only shared my incredibly specific anime viewing tendencies, but also liked to talk about them.

I know a thing or two about Virginia Beach anime fans, because how couldn’t I? But I’m not the guy to ask about any sort of local community. I’ve never participated in any anime clubs, even though I was aware of them—and I avoided or didn’t talk to the many fans that I was aware of in high school and college. We weren’t interested in the same things. (Also they were a bunch of huge ponces.)

There are a good deal of anime fans in this city. The word “anime” is pretty ubiquitous here—even talking to the occasional adult, none of them are unaware of what the word means, since their kids or the kids they have to deal with are always gabbing on about it. In high school and college, there were a lot of hipsters who all watched anime to varying degrees, and therefore most of those hipsters’ friends had seen at least one or two shows, or were aware of them.

However, this is based on one high school, one college, and my incredibly limited number of personal encounters. My frame of reference could be so small that I’m basically talking out of my ass here.

We do have two local anime conventions: Nekocon, which every person my age whom I’ve ever been in earshot of has attended; and Anime Mid-Atlantic, which I’m pretty sure is also right here in Virginia Beach. These may be really shitty cons, but they must get some level of attendance, as they’ve both been running for a long time.

If you’re a social anime fan living in Virginia Beach, there’s no reason you shouldn’t find groups of people to do shit with, or things to go and do. We have at least one store with a decent selection of manga and figures (and an asston of obscure 80s toys), and you couldn’t hit someone with a stone without them getting amnesia and forgetting what “anime” is.

Plus, my best friend exists—the only guy I know who’s seen way the fuck more anime than I have. It was an incredible act of fate that he and I ever met, considering that I met him the day before he left school for good, and he was a hikkikomori and I was a borderline hikkikomori. Point being, two of us exist in this city, and close enough that we managed to meet each-other with absolutely no social networking involved. Kinda impressive.

Suffice it to say, of the five friends I have (not counting my brothers), at least three of them are fans of anime, and at least one of them is as big a fan as I am. We don’t do much of anything together, so I don’t think we can claim to do “activities,” nor be a “community.”

Shit, I flew around the world to the Philippines to hang out with an anime fan, and we did karaoke and attended a toy convention with a bigger group of anime fans than the number of friends that I have. Now that’s a community.

I don’t even know where I stand in the anime blogger community. I feel like if I was really a member of it, then I’d at least be reading the aniblog tourney instead of just showing up to vote for each of my friends. I’d also probably participate in the SCCSAV and play Draw Something and comment on ghostlightning’s blog and know about things like a blogger circus without the person running it having to ping me, and I’d even have a post or two on Altair and Vega.

I don’t know what I’m getting at here. I do know that I went to Otakon for the last four years, but I’m not going again this year. Otakon has always been the biggest sense of community that I get out of anime fandom, and this year, I won’t be a member of that community.

1000th Post: The Titles Keep Changing, But the Intent Is the Same

Might’ve been more romantic if this came a month from now on the site’s fifth birthday, which is also two days before my blog debuts in the second aniblog tourney, but what can I do? I can’t pass up making a special 1000th post. 1000 posts! That’s a lot! This is including the 87 posts that I have set to private, though not including the 54 drafts. When I published my last post, WordPress told me, “this was your 999th post!” so as far as I’m concerned, it’s an unambiguous 1000th. At least the birthday and tourney should get pure content posts.

Figuring out how to run this blog is difficult. I’ve moved away from being an “anime blogger” at present, having spent more time in the past two months blogging My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and, on this site, writing as much about video games as I have about anime. What am I now? What I’ve always been: just a blogger, only now one who’s less focused on one specific subject.

In this post I’ll explore what I should do about my sites, what my dream is as a writer/blogger, my future in anime blogging, and why I want to be more than just an “anime fan.”

I had a dream: of escaping anime fandom

And I succeeded. You’ll remember that two months ago I stated the following: “…there’s an extent to which I think my anime fandom isn’t so much more massive than my other fandoms as it is more inescapable and easy to be a fan of.” I then successfully escaped anime fandom without even trying. I didn’t watch any anime for almost two months, and consequently didn’t read anything about anime (unless it was by otou-san or ghostlightning because I read their writing indiscriminately). Meanwhile, I stepped into My Little Pony fandom in a way as massive as I’ve ever stepped into anything in my life, if not more so.

I didn’t stop being an anime fan, but I stopped being, “Digibro the anime fan.” For a while you could’ve called me, “Digibrony the self-explanatory,” and there’d be no reason for debate since ponies had a totalizing effect on my life that even anime never achieved. I couldn’t have seen that coming, but I knew that things would even out at some point, and then I was wondering… will I just become an anime fan again? Will I be “Digibrony the anime fan?”

It’s too early to say, because I’ve only re-emerged heavily into other cultures for the past two weeks. However, I didn’t find myself getting hard back into anime as though I’d been unknowingly harshing for a fix (as I’ve done after breaks in the past). I thought I’d end up diving into a new season like I’d missed out on a bunch of shit, but I didn’t react much to the things I watched, and while I remembered love here and there (Zetman), I didn’t go crazy back into otaku mode. I imagine that the effect of Japanese sounding weird to me all of a sudden will go away soon and I’ll remember why I liked some of these seiyuu that right now I’m going uuuhhrrrggg about, but what I also see is a long-broadened horizon waiting to be walked. Right now, more than anime, and even more than ponies (because I’ve almost consumed everything pony that there is, so now it’s more keeping up with new shit), what has my attention is video games. Who knows where this could lead?

I have a dream: of establishing a personal canon

For years I’ve tried to perfect my favorites list. I’ve known forever that favorites lists are meant to evolve constantly, but now I understand that they key isn’t in a list per say; it’s in having a personal canon.

What is a personal canon as opposed to a favorite’s list? Here’s what four entries in my dream canon would look like, roughly sketched.

What makes this so different from a favorite’s list? Importantly, it’s mixed media, and more importantly, it can contain anything. This would be a literal canon of *everything that I care deeply about, period.* It would all culminate into something like this thing I’ve already started on, only minus all of the stuff outside the “favorite things” section.

My dream is for everything I do to tie into one central canon. I want one location that is a hub for absolutely everything: a singular website that is host to everything which I care about. This raises the all-important question:

Is that place here?

Even though working towards a total canon is my god-tier ultimate dream, it would hardly contain all of my writing about creative works. None of the posts I’ve written since coming off of my last hiatus, for instance, have a place in this canon. Yet, the posts within this canon certainly have a place here (after all, the whole site has been structured around perfecting it). But to what extent?

Video games and anime posts feel right at home here. My Little Pony and music posts don’t. This leads me to think of a separate central location for my canon which would link to posts on all of the separate sites that I use to talk about different things. I already have more than one central location of that sort, and while their purposes aren’t quite the same, they’ve all proved a cumbersome and unappealing system.

The problem is that I like this site the best, and I still have the hardest time reconciling what I want it to be against what I insist on making it. I’ve always said that this site was meant to be the ultimate hub of my output; yet, I have a site for pony posts, I have a site for personal posts, and I have sites for about nine hundred million other things (including, of all things, manga!).

The fear of integrating it all here is diminishing, however. For one thing, my readership is already more than well-established. For another, I never write a post expecting people to read or reply to it, and if I do, I go around publicizing the shit out of it. I’m not terribly concerned with netting new readers is my point, and I trust my readers won’t unfollow my blog just because it becomes varied. (If anything, it could have the positive consequences of 1. not forcing people who just like to read whatever I write to go all over the place, and 2. possibly interesting those people in new things through my writing).

The main post feed of the site isn’t even a thing of great importance. You come here, and there will be tabs, reading “music,” “games,” “anime,” etc., and you can damn well figure out what you’re looking for.

My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull has a long and storied history. At no point was it solely an anime blog. One of the first posts I did here was a review of the Halo 3 beta. I’ve talked more about myself than I have about anime, written about many different aspects of the subculture and surrounding cultures, and all the while deluded myself into thinking that this site was somehow focused. (Myself and probably no one else.)

Where does the site go from here?

It should be obvious: the answer is to condense all of my godfucking ridiculously innumerable blogs into two sites: the Digibro Canon (My Sword Is Unbelievably Dull), and the Digibro Creative Output Center (Modal Hsoul Productions). MSIUD becomes a center for many subjects, though, full-stop, it probably will mostly consist of anime and ponies (and possibly video games if the trend continues).

But what of the community? The people who want to read shit about anime, so they come here, and I go read their blogs or whatever? Look, I’m done watching and blogging current shows beyond the occasional impressions/analysis. I’ve been done reading anime blogs outside of the <10 I subscribe to for a long time. I’m done with the idea that I’m writing for anyone but myself and those who care to take a peek. If anything, I think that the readers who really enjoy me will be happy to see me writing more meaningful articles like the ones I’ve put out maybe once a month in between all the other shit I’ve been crapping out these past seven months.

What can you expect?

– More of the same, since that’s never going away

– More of all the stuff you see listed in that canon image

– More pages

– A site once-over (the site will go down sometime in the next 48 hours and I’ll add shitloads of shit to it)

– More things that aren’t anime

In other words, expect what this site has, at heart, always wanted to be. (animekritik.wordpress.com).

Where I’m Reading About Each of the New Shows

Follow marunouchi to the following blogs~

This is shaping up to be a really fun summer season, and the coolest thing about it is that the shows I like are all being covered by my favorite bloggers. This increases my chances of actually following the shows, and hopefully my support of these bloggers will inspire them to continue their great work blogging these shows.

Continue reading

Shaking Hands and Trading Jerseys: Congrats, Yi!

So, today my run of the Aniblog Tourney came to an end. It was quite a shocker, too, because I was keeping a pretty wide lead for nearly four days, totaling around 450 votes, which is close to the amount of votes I had in all my other matches combined XD. But Yi made one hell of a comeback and took the win, and I’d definitely like to hear about how she did it. It was a fun match for me, and put an end to a fun tourney (since now I don’t care about who wins any of the matches :p), and overall, I was glad for its existence. Sure it was both a massive circle-jerk and a crybaby drama at times, but I still think it brought the community together as much as it will ever actually come together, and I know a lot of people discovered and rediscovered blogs from it. (Hell, I rediscovered Listless Ink!)

Also, brofisting.

My awesome run in the last match had nothing to do with myself. It was actually all my dad’s doing. My parents have been constantly keeping tabs on this tournament, being as they’re incredibly competitive people who’d love nothing more than to see a signifier that my blog is actually worth a damn. My dad campaigned hard through his Facebook account, with the powerful assistance of some guy with 5,000 friends who was also telling his own friends to repost the link. According to my dad, he hadn’t pulled out all the stops just yet. He wanted to save some of his campaigning for the next two matches, and was confident that we had this one in the bag, but he shouldn’t have turned his head away when it counted. That’s how great empires have fallen!

Anyway, I’m glad I lost to Yi. It’s a lot better than losing to Kurogane or Sea Slugs, neither of whom I read at all. (Star Crossed wouldn’t have been so bad as a final match, but still not as fun as going up against someone who actually reads me, and whom I read back.) I definitely hope that Yi can keep up that momentum and win the next match as well. She’s obviously got a lot of tricks up her sleeve, and after making such a massive comeback, I wouldn’t think we’ve seen the end of what she can do ;)

EDIT: And while I’m being meta anyway, I think I’ll give a heads-up. You may’ve noticed that there haven’t been many posts coming down the pipe lately. This is probably going to continue for a while, because right now I’m trying to write my first novel. I don’t know how long it could take, but I’m off to a great and very confident start, so you may not see much of me here. I’m still going crazy on Twitter though, lol.

Baka-Raptor Is My Destined Rival

Baka-Raptor is my destined rival in anime blogging. We stand on opposite sides of a battlefield – a lolicon against an upstanding citizen; a man who demands ‘plot’ against a style hound; a self-depreciator against a self-aggrandizer (hint: I’m the latter). And yet, we are great friends, always offering inspiration and competition to one another.

…or so I believed.

Continue reading

Responding To Some Amazing Hidamari Sketch Posts by 8c (Part 1)

One of the greatest sins of my blogging career has been that I’ve never properly posted about Hidamari Sketch (and similarly, one of the greatest sins of my anime-watching career has been that I never watched any of it past the first season/read more than 1 volume of the manga) – Both of those in spite of considering it one of my alltime favorite anime, it having formally introduced me to favorite director Akiyuki Shinbo, and it being a large part of re-introducing me to anime. Well, you know what they say, the early bird catches the worm – I kept my mouth closed so long that someone else spoke out before me, and now I’m actually glad that I never said anything, because 8c knocked it out of the fucking park!

Continue reading