When it comes to uniting fans, Nico Nico Douga and episodic blogging have quite a bit in common.
Nico Nico Douga is a popular Japanese streaming video site which helped push popular Japanese memes such as the fusion of voice synthesis and moe, Hatsune Miku, and creating a small revival in the career of gay porn actor Billy Herrington by making clips from his videos running jokes among the community. Its most notable feature however is its unique comments system, where user comments are scrolled from right to left as the video plays. For some it’s an annoying feature which gets in the way of watching the video, but for others it’s the very lifeblood of Nico. Despite most of its content not being live, the comment system allows site users to experience a sense of “community” within the comments, by seeing what people had to say about a particular video at exactly the right moment.
Episodic blogging, or the act of reviewing and discussing individual episodes on a blog, usually as they are released, is even more removed from the concept of “real time,” but just like Nico Nico Douga it has the ability to unite fans by actively engaging in the very zeitgeist of internet fandom itself, by experiencing a series almost as it is airing, and having the format feel a little more permanent and a little more focused than simply sharing talk on an internet forum.
However, the ideal of episodic blogging is not often met, and in some cases this has to do with the shows being blogged about not being particularly good for the concept of episodic blogging. These are the kinds of shows where the blogger might simply go, “Eh some stuff happened this episode. It was all right, I guess.” While knowing that an episode of some show might be average is still something possibly worth knowing, after a while it bogs down episodic blogs as a whole.
Now if there is one current show that I think is very well-deserving of episodic blogging, it is Durarara!
Here you have a show where every episode is so packed with information that the normal custom of summarizing the episode extensively can become a great boon, especially when it comes to recalling the events of a previous episode. It’s also an ideal show for episodic blogging because the theme of the show itself is related to “living in the present,” and practically reflects upon the online anime fandom itself (which is no doubt helped by having a couple of characters who are otaku). Most importantly however is that while the show is an on-going story, its structure is such that each individual episode stands as something to be scrutinized and discussed, with the next one building on top of that.
So for those bloggers out there who have been tackling Durarara! episode by episode, keep it up. It’ll be particularly interesting to see just how your opinions and predictions change over time if at all.