Yes, the site is ugly. If I had any design talent, I would draw anime, not write a blog in my underwear.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Obligatory Masturbatory Opening Post

What am I doing and why am I doing it?

I aim to write reviews and recommendations for anime series. I have watched a good deal of anime in the four years (Jesus Christ, four years!) since a friend told me about a neat little show called Cowboy Bebop and have started thinking about re-watching a number of the shows I have seen. I won't restrict myself to re-watches, and indeed the very first review coming up this weekend will be of my first viewing of Texhnolyze, but after this I anticipate returning particularly to shows that stood out for whatever reason in a haphazard fashion. I don't watch all anime, but I do watch a fairly wide array of what the genre has to offer.

Why am I doing this?

Right now I have a bit of a list of shows that I have heard good things about and intend to watch, but about a month in every three or four I find myself scrolling through the descriptions on Hulu looking desperately for something that is A) good and B) fits my mood at the moment. While there are plenty of recommendations out there, a lot of them are repetitive and most of them provide very little information about the show itself. This is not to fault any one on the internet, and probably I just have never stumbled upon the right sites, but it is a problem.

To that end I will be following a game plan:
  1. Write a little announcement that I am beginning a new show. If it is a re-watch I will post brief recollections and thoughts, but these posts are mostly for those looking to play along at home.
  2. Watch a show beginning to end. I watch one show at a time, interrupted only by my weekly veneration of One Piece and the recently departed Fairy Tail (and Dr. Who when in season).
  3. Write a review of the show to tell you the ways in which it was enjoyable, boring, or shitty to hopefully give a sense of what quality of show you are about to experience. That will be followed with a more art/craft discussion of what, in my mind, worked, what didn't, what stood out, and whether the show succeeded on its own terms. Finally, the review will conclude with recommendations tailored to aspects of the show. Something like "for a similar, but more romantically focused show, try [show], or if you got any enjoyment at all from this check out the similar but substantially better [other show]".

Why am I doing this?

Ethics and morality and philosophy and such is hard, so one of the lessons I have simply decided to accept in life is "If you are ashamed to talk about what you have done, you have probably done something bad". Note that this works both ways: if you have done something clearly immoral, you should feel bad any time you talk or think about it, but on the other hand, if you are ashamed to talk about something even though it is clearly not a bad thing, you need to ask yourself if you have strange hang-ups.

I am ashamed to talk about anime.

I will talk to my co-workers about the news and my cats and the weather and dumb clients and good books, but I would never, ever admit to them that I watch anime. In conversation, I even catch myself and elide my anime watching time from conversation, i.e., "I was watching... uh, Breaking Bad.." (I have seen all of two episodes), "Yea that, when my cat jumped off the table and...".

There is nothing shameful about anime. 

Sure, there are some pretty terrible shows, shows that made me feel dumber for having sat through them (Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero being a shining example of that), but the average anime is, if anything, more intelligent than the police procedurals and sitcoms that fill the American television. The very best anime reaches the peak of storytelling genius and can stand comfortably alongside the greatest works of Hollywood and the written word. Anime is art in the highest sense of the term.

And yet here am I. I live in Austin, TX, a center of music, gaming, tech, and hippy-ism. I went to high school at a science magnet program full of nerds. I went to college at a school whose biggest club was the Sci-Fi / Fantasy Association. And yet I sit here, about to embark on a fairly ambitious project in the position of the Victorian Pervert, perfectly content to indulge within the home but racked with guilt and shamed into silence.

Is this the worst thing in the world? No. Cockroaches are the worst thing in the world. But this is the thing about myself that I will tackle, and I will tackle it by writing reviews of anime.

Why am I doing this?

Somehow, deep in the back of my mind, I have gotten fixated on the notion that it is really hard to be a good, well rounded, successful person if one is not a good writer. I am, in my better moments, mediocre, and most of the time I am simply verbose. The only cure I have ever heard of for bad writing is more writing. Intuition would suggest that this would simply lead to more bad writing, but I dunno, magic.

I wrote a miscellaneous blog before I began this project, but the fact is that I kept getting distracted watching anime. So por que no los dos, mi amigos? 

Why am I doing this?

Hell, why not.

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