Ogiue Maniax managed to overcome its opposition in the third round of the Aniblog Tourney, in a match so close that a mere image macro could have swung the vote either way. I thank chaostangent for a fine match, and I really enjoyed seeing people talk about how they preferred one person’s style over the other. Voting for content, that’s what I want to see.
My fourth round match is against Tenka Seiha, a popular episodic-style blog which also has a doujin game translation arm attached to it. Or maybe the blog is attached to the translation. One likely event is that the match will come down to the pseudo-dichotomy of “episodic” vs “editorial.” I hope that doesn’t happen, and again, that you read at least some of the content before you vote. I already have primers for the Ogiue Maniax style here and here. I’ve also included a couple of my favorite posts below.
The Aniblog Tourney has seen many of the criticisms that other popularity-based tournaments have had. First, similar to Saimoe, vote results are considered “irrelevant” by some because the number of people voting is far less than the number of blog readers out there, let alone anime fans. Second, like the GameFAQs Character Battle, accusations of snobbery run against cries of appealing to the lowest common denominator, resulting in overwhelming indictments of the personalities of both the writers and the readers.
The first issue revolves around a simple question: What would it take to get the people who read anime blogs to vote in a tournament about anime blogs?
If it were a contest of favorite anime characters or series, then I think people would be more willing to participate. The act of discussing anime is one step removed from actually experiencing it, and to be reading the thoughts of someone who is watching anime creates even further distance. And the more you go along this path, the less likely people are going to care. In order for more blog readers to vote, the competition has to be somehow relevant to them; they have to want to be involved.
That leads to the second issue, that of elitism vs mob mentality. Here, there seems to be trouble relating to the other side, perhaps even a strong desire to not want to relate to the other side. I want to bridge that gap, and I will do so with an extended metaphor.
Imagine you’re at a restaurant eating a cheeseburger. Every bite makes you want to take another. What are your thoughts at this time? Perhaps you’re thinking that it’s simply “delicious.” How delicious? You might compare it to cheeseburgers you’ve had in the past that stick out in your memory. You might begin to wonder why you find this burger delicious, or why the people who hate cheeseburgers do so. Or maybe you’re wondering if you’d eat it over an expensive filet mignon. Why do we eat the things we do? How has the act of enjoying food affected commercialism and vice versa? What of the cattle that went into the beef? Or maybe you’re not even “thinking” at all, and you’re just savoring the flavor, the wanderings of your brain temporarily shut down so that you can fully engage the beef and the cheese which lies melted on top.
Are there any thoughts from your burger experience that you want to share with others? If so, which thoughts? What is your purpose behind making people aware of cheeseburger and cheeseburger-related topics? Do you want to recommend the place to others? If you’re going to compare it, do you compare it with other items on the menu or with other cheeseburgers? Or do you want to talk about the concept of the cheeseburger and how ubiquitous an icon it’s become?
Clearly there are some topics in my cheeseburger metaphor that when translated into anime blogging clearly lean towards the side of the “episodic” blogging, while there are others that would clearly be considered “editorial.” But there’s also this gigantic middle area where the division becomes increasingly tenuous. Some can easily exist in both types of blogs, and it all just comes down to what it is about anime that interests you, what you want to say about it, and what kind of discussion you expect from it, if any at all.
Anime can be emotional. It can be intellectual. It can be sophisticated and it can be visceral. It can be all of those things and none of them, and there’s no clear definition of which is which or how things “should” be enjoyed. Irrespective of any notions of quality in either the anime being watched or the blogs being written, people have real reasons for liking the things they do, even if it’s as simple as “killing time,” that’s still a valid reason. Similarly, someone who has gotten to the point of analyzing the cultural effects of anime and not the anime itself may risk being too far-removed from the anime itself, but it’s still a decided direction. You may not like either reason, but that doesn’t mean that the first person is a mindless sack of waste, nor is the second necessarily incapable of talking “normally.” And just as you can respect someone else’s approach to anime, someone can respect yours, even if you disagree entirely.
It’s easier to understand each other when we’re not being so aggressively defensive.