I enjoy the beginning of each new anime season (or cour, if you wish). Every aniblogger gets that new shiny anime love glow, leading us to post more often, even getting the old and crotchety of us to dust off the cobwebs off our WordPress accounts to write again. I confess to refreshing Crunchyroll’s website a couple of times an hour, sending them psychic messages from my brain and willing them to release a new episode of anything quicker.
I’ve watched several of the new series over the weekend: Devil Survivor 2, The Severing Crime Edge, Zettai Bouei Leviathan, Hataraku Maou-sama, Suisei no Gargantia, Muromisan. From that selection, it’s a mixed bag; I enjoyed a couple, still on the fence on one, and dropping the rest with no hesitation. There’s a couple of series that haven’t been released on CR or other legal streaming sites so I’ll hold off on my opinion till they’re available.
One of the more interesting quirks of anime bloggers (and this is a very sweeping generalization) is the race to be the first one to write about a show. The advent of simulcasts has changed the landscape a bit, but I still recall downloading the raw files, despite my elementary knowledge of the Japanese language, just so I wouldn’t be spoiled by bloggers who’ve written about that episode hours ago. I’m not sure — and I’m certainly not picking out bloggers who still do this — but I had a feeling most of the people who downloaded the raws didn’t know any more Japanese than I did. It was just that important to be the first person to make the screencaps and to summarize the episode based on what they think happened. If they made a mistake in the summary, it was easy enough to back and revise the post. There you go, no problemo!
The anime adaptation of Flowers of Evil, in my opinion, has certainly suffered from this initial bad PR. When screencaps featuring the character designs started showing up, I had a feeling that it turned off a lot of people who were initially excited about the series. It had seemed that some weren’t even going to give the anime a fair viewing; they knew that the anime wasn’t going to match their expectations from the manga so why waste their time? I’ve read a couple of volumes of Flowers of Evil last year, it didn’t appeal to me so this show was a definite pass anyway — nonetheless, I still find it interesting to look at aniblogger group behavior and influence and to watch how quickly an opinion or idea spreads and how the group interprets and filters it.
How much does the opinion of the anime blogging community affect your own choices?
I’ll only speak for myself since I’m the only person for whom I can speak with the most certainty, but I do think I mostly follow the crowd when judging on what series are worth watching. I would scan Animenano, pick out a few random posts about the series in question, maybe go to MyAnimeList and see what the mean rating score is. I sometimes also go on twitter and scroll through people’s first impressions/liveblogs of certain shows — that’s definitely trickier but I can get a lot more opinions faster that way, so… Most importantly (maybe), I have a handful of blogs whose tastes and opinions I value — I visit their sites and see if they’re recommending it or not.
For these “node” blogs, I selected them based on the quality of the author’s writing, their similarity with my own personal tastes, heck even the background and personality of the author. (That’s why those ‘About’ pages are so important!) There are no hard and fast rules, and the node blogs could change at any time.
I’ve flitted in and out of the anime blogger community over the years, and while the individual players may have changed, the game is still the same. We are all here and we all do this because we are opinionated individuals who care about anime enough that we’re willing to spend our time watching anime and then writing about it for other opinionated individuals who think and act the same way. I’ve always thought that was cool.