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Wading through troubled water August 21, 2007

Posted by bettynoire in anime, community, ranting.
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Man, it seems the anime blogging sphere is rife with quitters as the summer season winds down.

Teasing aside, there has been a rise in the amount of people mumbling about “taking a break” and “hiatus“, seemingly having lost the flames of passion they once had for the medium. Or whatever. Situations like this tempt relationship metaphors far too easily. Or drugs, if that’s your preference. Is anime blogging like rock and roll — it’s all about sex or drugs, depending on how you look at it? I’d say that is a marker of our hobby, but honestly I think it’s more a marker of being human…. finding another sort of “hobby” to build a relationship with/get addicted to.

Speaking of relationships, the concept of 2D crushes was brought up recently, the question being — why is it so rare that people remain “faithful” to a single, ultimate favorite character of all time. His answer to his question sort of baffled me, because it kind of ignored the question. Ok, so it takes a particularly unshaken individual to maintain such passion for a fictional character (in essence, loving them without caring about the impossibility of being loved back) but that really doesn’t explain why that kind of personality is so rare at all. Insight into the mindset does not provide the reason for that mindset’s existence.

Frankly, the answer, to me, is simple: it takes out all the fun of being a fan. One of the best things of starting a new show is picking out your new favorite, the character you want to root for most of all. In harem shows, it’s about rooting for the girl to get the guy, or vice versa, whichever kind of harem it may be. Most often romance is the motivator for liking a character, but often it can be purely aesthetic, or merely about attitude. Sometimes it’s about a reflection of one’s self the viewer finds in a character. If all you ever think watching a new show is: Damn, all these people suck compared to Kaji/Shizuru/Kamina/Yuki/Manabi/whoever — where’s the fun in ever watching anything but that one show?

It is interesting to note though, that it’s easy to find patterns in a list of people’s favorite characters. Even if most people do not always love one specific character above all other forever, it’s fairly common that a person’s favorite characters can, for the most part, be categorized under the same general ‘type’. Amusingly enough, “types” have also been a topic of late. One of these day’s I might, out of curiosity, make a list of my favorites and see where the bell graph lies.

Pardon me, but here begin’s a bit of a rant.

If you’re willing, walk backwards with me about two weeks, and relive the honestly-not-that-great group discussion episode of the Anime Blogging Circle (ABC™?), incited by none other than Owen. The headache this escapade left me with lasted long enough to postpone my entry to now — despite my initial interest, the experience proved to be more trying than enlightening. Though inciting discussion on a topic from numerous bloggers shouldn’t necessarily be considered a bad thing, I must say that discrediting tj_han’s “miss” was Owen’s imperfection, and not particularly associated with tj_han’s aim, or lack thereof.

Asking an inherently flawed question in order to see the different ways people will go about defying a straight answer is cool in theory, but frankly, there weren’t ever more than three possible answers to begin with. Yes, no, and sometimes. Yes and no being the answers of people who cannot regard things in the grey area that artistic evaluation requires, and the sometimes being the generic answer for everyone else, albeit quite simplified. Though maybe tj_han was missing the point of the social experient in saying that people should write on seperate subsections of the same topic, he definitely did manage to propose something that would have been more interesting. There are a billion shades of gray, but they’re just muddy nothingness if you don’t give each one a shape and substance of its own to create the peices of a whole picture. Or you can take tj_han’s food metaphor, whichever works for you. In essence, what you had as a result, was a bunch of “lengthy, informative posts” that all (or most) of which said essentially the same thing. Owen’s social experiment might have been interesting in terms of just that — an experiment — but when you merely look at the results in the context of conclusions on the subject matter itself and not the logical fallicies or motives of the minds behind those conclusions, than frankly it’s all just very, very dull. Which is something, if I’m not mistaken, is something bloggers have to try to avoid.

Though perhaps my mild bitterness on this matter is a bit incensed by unfinished business I have with Owen with regard to Kanon ’06, I couldn’t restrain myself from at least saying this much. I do hope to see more group discussion, but I should hope in the future the methods of organizing one will be a bit wiser. Perhaps not quite the same as tj_han’s lovely suggestion, but I’m sure someone who considers it easy to “spout academic jargon” and uses words like “obfuscate” in an online journal about animated tv shows can figure out a way around that.

On that note, perhaps I should stop for today.

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Comments»

1. Mike - August 21, 2007

I need to clarify–I’m not taking a hiatus because I’m losing interest in anime or getting tired of blogging. Far from it. I just have a TON of schoolwork I need to finish and almost all of it is due at various points next week, and it won’t let up until August 31st. I carefully defined my hiatus to last until the end of August and am posting scheduled old posts from my personal blog about anime until then. It’s a temporary break in order to get other things done.

Personally I can’t wait to jump back in. I ain’t quittin’ on ya yet. :)

2. bettynoire - August 21, 2007

That’s what the “whatever” was for. :-p I just felt like pointing out the trend — part of it is definitely due to school starting up, like it is for you, but it’s intriguing nonetheless that people who don’t have that as a reason also seem to sort of burn out around this time as well, for other reasons. Perhaps it’s a seasonal psychological thing? Like depression because it’s getting colder or some such.

I actually rather liked your idea of opening the “vault.” Detailed old, unseen posts are better than no posts at all. Plus it keeps those essays from going to waste on an trafficked blog :-p Kudos to you man! I hope to see fresh posts from you in the future, whenever you manage it, earlier or later than planned :-p

3. TheBigN - August 28, 2007

It seemed like the point of the first attempt by the ABC was less about the conclusion and more about the processes getting there. Because the question is close-ended, you’re kinda stuck with what you can say. Which is why open-ended questions/topics are better.

There also wasn’t any discussion on what people were going to write about, so we found that things were pretty similar to each other as a result. For the next topic, the topics were given to prevent overlap, and hopefully provide a more entertaining read for everyone involved. :P

4. Danny Choo - August 31, 2007

I guess its because there are too many cute 2d girls.

5. bettynoire - August 31, 2007

TheBigN: Hopefully it’ll be better this time around. :-p It wasn’t all bad last time, but it was certainly not everything it could have been. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of the new and improved group-think.

dannychoo: Ain’t that the truth.


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