Since I’ve seen this damn post at least five times already posted on wherever, I might as well comment a little something on it. Basically it seems that nobody wants to blog about anime anymore. Can’t blame ’em. Should we be concerned about this development? No, because this should have been obvious since the beginning of the sphere.
This fate of anime blogging is hardly a surprise to anyone who knows three things about this shit. Anime blogging was cool at a time when the Singaporean/SEA bloggers made it somewhat big with industry gossips and about five billion figurine/merchandise posts. The critical period was 2007-2008, during which becoming an anime blogger was cool because you could at least pretend to be some bigwig like Danny Choo, DarkMirage or TJ_han. I also began my blogging career at this time, in early summer 2007. The Western moe-scene was thriving thanks to all the KyoAni’s otaku-pandering shows, the foundation of the boorus, and whatnot. By establishing a blog to say banal things about stuff one barely even understood and showing off the collection of three overpriced figurines from J-list, one could build a nice online character of a badass scene expert.
And then it all stopped being cool. People realized that blogging wasn’t actually all that awesome. It required effort to actually stay afloat and have people pay attention to the Generic Anime Blog #250960954323. There was no return on the investment either – just more and more time sunk watching shitty shows just to have something to write and painfully processing through a stack of 200 screencaps. Episodic blogging was the norm, and it was merciless – the number of bloggers covering whichever show was staggering and one had to be both fast and accurate to get at least a teaspoon worth of the cake. On the top of the pack the ancientfags could just sit back and watch the struggle below, as they had long since reached a status that guaranteed them notoriety the scrubs had to bitterly fight over.
“But Nova, you’re saying that bloggers only care about their readership as a numeric value! Surely you are only applying your own motives to everyone else in the sphere!”
You know, I wish that was true. But I’ve come to understand that up to a certain magical point every blogger out there is quite concerned about his or her development visualized by a stats graph and comment rate, regardless of what they say. This magical point of notoriety is a subject of debate but personally I follow TJ_han’s opinion on the matter – 500 views a day is the line at which a blog may consider itself as something more than a tiny, worthless speck of dirt under the rug. Everyone under this is striving to improve and everyone above this has reached the nice and easy cruising altitude of oldfaggotry.
So what happens when you’re soaring high in the silent and lonely company of other elites? Nothing at all. You just might notice that you haven’t checked your statistics in more than three weeks. What does it matter? They keep coming anyway. That’s the endgame, folks. There’s no prize, you don’t get invited to industry seminars, or get to go out for a drink with Wakamoto. You just stop leveling. Or you may keep leveling in a sense but you just can’t be assed to care about it anymore. This is the killing field where nerds are sorted out of the boys – only the most lifeless, stubborn, and bored individuals can continue on. The rest will soon find themselves something better to do, like hookers and blow.
The anime blogging endgame is the point at which you will realize whether you’re actually cut out for this shit – you still have to find the pleasure and fun in it, which is no longer provided by the excitement of squeezing a few more hundred views out of a month. Essentially it’s like an MMO – once you reach the max level, you have to find something else to do than killing ten billion rats you’ve been doing so far. You can still keep grinding but it gets you nowhere and thus there is no motivation left to continue. Otherwise blogging becomes a mechanical exercise and a habit that’s neither pleasurable or productive.
Some time back I asked Kurogane how much views he can rack up in a week or a month, and he responded with something like “I don’t know, I don’t care“. He simply wasn’t interested. At the time I found this hard to believe but now that I’ve all but broken that magical line of 500, I understand. It just doesn’t matter to me that much anymore. Same goes with comments, it used to be a big indicator for myself and I took my time trying to answer each and every one. Now I just don’t give a shit, since most of them just parrot whatever I just wrote or voice disapproval in a way that hardly deserves a response of any sort except an arrogant snort.
The novelty of elitism crumbles soon enough too – sure you may dwell in the perceived superiority of some noitaminA shows for a while but soon the emptiness creeps in. There comes the realization that after all, anime is nothing much more than cheap bulk entertainment for the masses, and that trying to take it for more than what it is ends up in embarrassing nerd arguments full of futility. Once this phase is clear, there are paths to some common oldfag archetypes. One can become like Aroduc and voice disgust at anything that even tries to do something and take equal opportunity hatred to a whole new level. Just attempting to be anything becomes a sin that is punishable by the strongest guns an amateur critic can bring to bear, and the vast /a/-grown masses rejoice. The other side of the coin is the Kurogane-type, letting the entertainment roll on its own weight and mostly ignore the more ambitious prospects. Some may find themselves taking the path of the Author and focusing on metablogging, which makes sense since often the scene/sphere is more interesting than anime itself.
None of these paths are wrong to take. The question is whether a blogger ever reaches the point where they begin. That’s the cutting line, and past that only the cruel, the cynical, the desperate, the bored, and the lifeless can tread on. The rest of you, keep the fuck out.
I guess this steam conversation summarizes a lot of it:
14:20 – Lupus-sol: why do you involve yourself in the local scene if you hate it?
14:20 – NovaJinx: not like I intend to
14:20 – NovaJinx: I like hanging out with the elites
14:20 – NovaJinx: I just hate everyone else
14:23 – NovaJinx: just like I like to hang out on #AB but /a/ and animesuki make me want to puke
14:23 – Lupus-sol: herp
14:23 – Lupus-sol: I guess we’re technically elitist fags
14:24 – Lupus-sol: or maybe we’ve just gotten so secular that no newfags last long
14:24 – NovaJinx: I guess it’s both
14:24 – NovaJinx: but hey, we’ve been critically watching anime for years
14:25 – NovaJinx: cynicism is the only thing that can logically follow
14:27 – NovaJinx: becoming an anime blogger is like becoming a magical girl in Madoka, except that you don’t even get a wish
14:27 – Lupus-sol: you do get your wish granted
14:28 – Lupus-sol: if your wish is to waste 2 hours a day writing things that don’t make any real difference
14:28 – Lupus-sol: and to make a bunch of elitist friends online
Do I regret all these years of blogging and this cynical realization? Am I going to announce the death of Jinx! right here and now? No. I’m an unemployed bum from central Finland. I spend my days playing EVE Online, watching Japanese cartoons, and chatting on IRC. If I’m not suited for this job then I sure as hell don’t know who is. I love blogging as much as I have always loved it, even though I have admittedly neglected it recently. It has gotten me halfway across the globe to meet a lot of awesome people and see things I could hardly imagine at the start of my career. This is just the beginning – remember these words when Jinx! is the last proper anime blog left in the world.
Also, in the other news I’ve received something that looks like a strict demand from FICORA, so I guess I will have to migrate to a new domain next week. I don’t know how long they will give me to transfer, so keep an eye on my twitter in case I have to be quick about it.