Below are recommended blogs of friends and/or critics that I look up to in the anime-related blogging community. They’re nice people that publish insightful posts, and they deserve more traffic to their sites and more folks reading their writings. I’ve given some poignant to witty reasons for why they’re good and smart, so if you haven’t visited their blogs in the past, be prepared to lose an afternoon or several.
Atelier Emily’s for me, in full bloom: Of the myriad techniques writers can utilize to add that extra amount of gravitas into their work to interest readers, she employs the personal. Her most moving pieces beautifully weave narrative media to lived experience. They get people to empathize with stories from a resonant level by illustrating and demonstrating how deeply those stories touch her. Self-reflections can be difficult to write because they ask us to reveal difficult things about ourselves. Stories not only ease these troublesome aspects about our lives out of us. They also give us advice for how to address them and move on.
Bobduh’s Wrong Every Time: Honestly, his writings have been one of the biggest influences on my decision to blog and the style of my blogging. The first time I came across them, they were articulate to the point of mesmerizing, and just as intelligent and thoughtful (to the point of causing me to reconsider my worldviews at times). I used to idolize him, and I still respect his editorials — even if I’ve long past the point of agreeing with every point in his arguments, and even as my authorial voice has developed beyond my previous imitations of his work. We’ve never really interacted that intimately with other, and he’s since moved on to greener pastures (or perhaps more fragile fields as he’s homesteaded onto full-time anime blogging). If he recognizes my username nowadays, it probably would invoke vague and fleeting memories. Nonetheless, I am immensely thankful to him.
Frog-kun’s Fantastic Memes: The narcissistic toad refers to his blog after himself nowadays, but it used to be called (and his banner header still refers to his site as) Fantastic Memes. To cut the difference, Frog-kun’s a fantastic friend who can be counted on for varied content galore, ranging from smart editorials to amusing shitposts on Japanese culture at large, otaku subculture as translated, otaku media analysis, self-reflections, gushing ship x ships, trashy and not-as-trashy light novels, and pretty good to entertainingly embarrassing fanfiction.
goldensneer’s The End of Eternity: He reads visual novels and then writes about them with an analytical sharpness that makes the casually informed question what they’ve done to deserve such kindness. Visual novels are a little harder and less affordable to come by professionally translated than your episode-series-formatted-show. The literary quality of many visual novels leaves a lot to be desired, and the content of some are simply depraved. But then there are those visual novels that straddle the line between the blatantly exploitative and transgressively interesting, that create deeply affecting atmospheres and richly layered characters– elevated as they are and become by those touches of audio cues, visual illustration, and limited interactions enmeshed between words and words of reading text. Visual novels are worth writing about, he believes.
iblessall’s Mage in a Barrel: My eternal foe in the eternal conflagration between optimism and cynicism, and also one of the first anime bloggers to reply positively to my writing when I was starting out. He basically, inadvertently, propelled me to continue this thing that we call blogging. His taste in anime is kind of shit, but the guy’s passionate about what he likes. He can articulate his arguments and musings pretty well, and he’s successfully translated that fandom passion and writing prowess into a personally fulfilling and pocket-filling career. He’s a machine. He’s human. He also puts up with my shit.
The Backloggers: A trio of anime critics that produce a fairly regular stream of podcasts and a more irregular series of essays. I wish that they would write more frequently (not that I’ve been one to talk), but the content that they have written so far have been interesting posts about anime and stuff related to anime. On more than one occasion, they’ve broached and explored subjects to the kind of variety and extent that I like but can’t provide on my own blog. With that passage, hopefully this recommendation will encourage them to be more prolific.
yaochongyang’s Pause and Select: I used to watch many anime video bloggers back in the day. As the ways by which I interacted with media became more complex, I’ve ended up having a falling out with most of them. Few of these video bloggers tackled anime with the kind of literary and academic analysis that educated as well as entertained. Much as I appreciate the evolving sophistication of anime blogging today (especially in the realm of sakuga), few still really scratch that educative itch of mine in the humanities and the social sciences. One exception is Pause and Select, a video channel whose offerings combine excellent editing skills with analyses of literary themes and interviews with accredited scholars to create informative and digestible content about anime and us.