The Meta Effect: How Anime Blogging Messes with Anime Watching

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Sometimes anime blogging can not only change your reader's perspectives but also your own.

Not even only from the commenting, or the discussions. Writing about a hobby, somehow, can manage to change how you view it as a whole.

It's kind of similar to the age-old discussion of "going pro" in a sport or other passion, touched on by shows like Doujin Work. You can enjoy doing something, you can be good at doing something, yet somehow things just shift dramatically when you actually start doing it for a living.

Anime blogging may not be the same since there are not really huge rules to abide by, or money to be made from it, but those who feel a certain need to provide content for an audience certainly are aware of that creeping feeling of "If nothing happens in this latest episode, what the hell am I going to write about?"

Not to say that it's a bad thing or a good thing that I'm beginning to look at anime in a different way; just more of a statement. Pretend it's Lucky Star, or something, just something where you feel that need to say "Y'know what I think?"

And, then, y'know, devolve into some random geek-topic related rant. As proof, here's one of the inspirations behind this post:

"This is one of those screenshots that is just dying to be taken out of context and posted somewhere for epic lulz."

Although, that might just be a fault of the internet in general.

I think one of the biggest changes that writing about anime, or anything, is that one develops a much larger 'critical eye'. Again, it might just be the fact that I've expanded my plate of anime from one simple-formula harem series to more than ten simple-formula harem series, but after a while one starts hearing an almost Mystery Science Theater-like voice in their head:

"So I suppose someone's going to come along, misinterpret this as a budding relationship, and go all depressive again."

"Hello, my name's Hinako and I'd like to file a change-of-harem request."

"I really wish I could play guitar as well as they do without moving my hands."

It's all in the name of good fun but sometimes it just seems kind of sad that some supposedly serious moments just can't be taken serious anymore. Part of this can be blamed on the whole "Oh look, another overly moe girl who's probably actually in a coma" effect of the same genre over and over, but I think a large part of it is also because of the want to have something to talk about on the blogpost days.

And of course, everyone knows, taking things out of context and making funnies are the easiest way to write things. There's only so many metaposts out there.

On the other end of the scale, when one is trying hard not to just write another post in meme-speak, there's an amusing effect of trying to find depth in where there is just really none. Or even, digging too deep into established pools of depth.

There's depth, there's meta, and then there's just messing with heads. It's really something to look at a show like Aria and go "I need to write something other than 'It's a relaxing show. I like relaxing. I also like water. Thus, Aria = good. Also, implied yuri'," or, to look at a show like Kanon and ponder, "I wonder if the teacher's two-second line about Schroedinger's Cat has anything to do with the similar paradox of Ayu's Backpack."

Anime blogging also makes you do a lot of funny things, like compare everybody to everybody else's sister's osananajimi's stalker's robot's fluffy thing. Whether it's one of those awesomely random lists like "The top 50 reasons why Nagato is awesome" or one of the more general comparison posts like "Why Myself;Yourself is completely unlike any other anime ever, except the twenty before it", comparisons seem to be a way of life around some places, if only because 1) they're fun, 2) comparing things helps make them more concrete (i.e. yay, order!), and 3) they're great for getting people to counter-post just why you are wrong.

Likewise, one starts getting things mixed up in the anime you're watching. Flip open to any slice-of-life and the first thing most people will do is bench it to something like Azumanga. Harem watchers begin smoking out the childhood friend, the dead girl, the strong and silent.

And sometimes I just wonder what Nagato is doing in Myself;Yourself with a large chest. (Purple hair, yellow eyes, glasses, likes books, you tell me I'm wrong.)

Above all, to end on a light note, anime blogging makes you crazy. Not only the scrutinizing the details, and the comparison charts, but the Mystery Science Theater and the random references to sports/memes/whatever it is when you try to write a funny post littered with in-jokes catering to an anime community. Certainly writing about a passion really awakens you to a lot of things about it, both serious and non-serious.



I tend to both agree and disagree with you in some aspects, though I was crazy to begin with so that may make my argument kind of null.

I blog because I tend to get ahead of my friends in a series, so it basically makes me feel like I actually have people to talk to about the series with spoiling the whole thing to them. You're points are valid, but I think a lot of it is also dependent on the reason why you blog.

Then again, I'm still relatively new to the blogging world (even though my blog has been around 10 months now, I just really recently starting using it) so what do I know?

Blogging, like TVTropes.org, will ruin your life.

Mostly the biggest change I've experienced since I started blogging was the need to clean up my thoughts for general consumption. When I'm watching an anime, I mentally snark my way through it, but I seldom actually mean any of it. If someone writes something down, though, especially without the benefit of mood indicators like facial expression or tone of voice, everything takes on a sense of dead seriousness.

And so not only do I have to watch what I say or write, I also have to watch what I think. This makes anime-watching a fair bit more tiring than before, when not only will nobody ever hear my internal comments, I don't even need to save those that are worthy, meaning that I could forget about everything I thought about after the episode ends.

Also touched on in your post is the urge to be able to present something to the viewer, whether original content for them to read, or simply to dress up the anime in question to be more appealing (or, for certain bloggers, unappealing) to interested but undecided viewers.

I suppose one reason I'm still blogging is because I treat my blog as a reference for "wait, what the heck happened in this episode? I forget". Also, I like to talk about myself.

I think it only makes people crazy when they get too sucked into their hobby. Like you said, searching for depth when there is none? That's my cue to go into the kitchen and make chocolate chip cookies.

ace: Yeah, I suppose there are a lot of reasons to blog but I think one of the main ones is, like you kind of said, being able to talk about things and have people actually get it.

griever: I suppose being addicted to something in general can make you a little off in the head - at least to the non-addicted. Get me some of those cookies while you're up, by the way. :P

dkellis: Ah, TVTropes does have that strange power to cause random shifts in the time-space continuum, where you click for a bit and suddenly you're an hour in the future.

That's a good point you raise about cleaning up thoughts before posting; I enjoy playing the sarcastic lead just as much as anyone else and so a lot commentary on any one episode, for me, will be 'witty' one-liners and references.

At one point, I actually tried writing down my thoughts on episodes as they progressed, but that turned into a pause-and-unpause fest.

Maybe that's why I do so many series reviews rather than episode reviews. (Aside from the whole "been there, done that" feel of them) XD

I'm loving it. Your observation about being more critical is absolutely correct -- I've noticed how much more reflective I am on things now, to say nothing of how the various other opinions that I read inevitably force me to reconsider my initial thoughts, and/or follow up with a stronger comment/second post elaborating on my opinion.

This way anime blogging hasn't seemed like a chore to me at all -- rather, it enhances it beyond measure. I now have a view that's tempered by various others, balanced and healthy. It's assisted me in the uphill task of looking at an anime from different angles, and I'm all the more richer for it.

I agree completely on the whole becoming more critical thing. Before I started blogging, I used to enjoy mindless series for their surface appeal, no matter how generic or boring they may have been. But when you actually have to say something about said series with a fragment of your online reputation at stake, there's really nothing left to do but bash it.

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