So the second of the two awards given to me nearly at the same time, Infinite Zenith has noted that the Sunshine Award had branched off from the Liebster Award sometime in 2008. It would seem it probably goes further back than that but he’s hit a roadblock when looking further. That said, I’m following the format he’s used for it, if only because the Sunshine Award is the third award I’ve ever been given, and the second to actually do.
Anyways, the rules for the award:
- Extend thanks to your nominator
- Answer the questions provided
- Nominate other bloggers (the number is of your choosing), notify them, and generate some questions for them.
So for that, I would like to thank Infinite Zenith for this award. He was one of the first blogs, anime related blogs I should say, I looked into, and his blog was one of the early places to generate traffic for this little corner of the internet back when I was a very active commentator at Random Curiosity. That said, he had some questions for me.
What factors motivated you to begin writing about anime in your blog?
I think the main factor, or rather, the one I keep telling myself at least, on why I write about anime in my blog is because of my job. As I’ve admitted recently, I now work for the Federal government, and I do try to respect the distancing of myself and my politics. But in reality, I guess because I want to just write about shows that caught my eye. That’s why I’ve blogged about shows that were the darlings of the anime blogs, and some which weren’t. The blog went from writing about my day and my thoughts on a political event (my post after the 2012 election result is still the most viewed post), to one where I write about an anime I like.
For me, Aniblogging is one more item in the schedule, something I did in an equal mix of enjoyment and work. I push myself sometimes to put something out there for friends to enjoy, and to illicit some thought and conversation on Facebook or Skype. Something to keep my creative juices flowing as I get older and saddled with more growing up responsibilities.
What aspects (for instance, story, artwork, voices) constitutes a masterpiece anime in your opinion?
Okay, there is more to be honest. I think the defining thing to me would be artwork, characters, story. Anime is of course, an animated medium. Y’know, the whole ‘fizz’ doesn’t really work when you have to explain what the ‘fizz’ is. I can’t say I’ve found a ‘masterpiece’ per say, but I’ve seen many come close to perfection.
The artwork should at least be ‘good’. That said, ‘good’ is subjective to each person. There would be some that would remark that the late 1970s and early 1980s art style would be ‘pretty’ while the more, how should I put it, ‘mass-produced’ art from the turn of the century and the current movement of mix CG and computer-shaded artwork lacks a soul. Or vice versa. To me, what makes an show’s animation great is how close have they gotten to something believable without losing that sense of wonder. A show like 08th MS Team will give me the fizz, especially in the one episode where Shiro was spending five or so minutes trying to get his RX-79[G] Gundam Ground Type’s ankle mechanism to work. And again, this goes to what Infinite Zenith talked about magic moments some time back with the Stark Jegan pilot. It is where animation like that it comes together for me.
For characters, there are many examples I could use, but I’ll use a pairing that to me, was a romance done right. Jinto and Lafiel from Crest/Banner of the Stars. It wasn’t rushed, and it was a nice play on differing social classes and opinion. You have this Imperial Princess, sheltered and always living her life as a princess, finding some sort of common ground with the son of a recently annexed planet’s ruler who was elevated to part of the conquering race’s nobility. That unlikely duo became the sort of, ideal fantasy relationship for me when growing up. A character’s personality for me is an even more fuzzy concept. It just clicks or it doesn’t.
Least but not forgotten, is the story. I guess Space Operas catch my fancy more readily than most shows nowadays, but it’s been spoiled, slightly, by Legend of the Galactic Heroes. LoGH has a plot that one can’t help but feel the vastness and struggle of each man, woman, and child is nothing compared to the titanic struggles of a few men on either side, only to be reminded, in the beginning of each episode, that it is merely one more page in history. That kind of grandiose plot I’m a bit of a sucker for, something to really dig in and chew. That doesn’t mean I’ll thumb my nose at slice of life shows. Shows like Kiniro Mosaic and Lucky Star I loved because they were slice of life shows that allow me to relax.
So I guess that’s as best I can describe why a show gives me that ‘fizz’. Sometimes that ‘fizz’ is in a mainstream show, sometimes it isn’t. I’ve been accused by some relatives to be a hipster because I don’t like the show they’re into, but like how it took me some time to try to explain this sentence, I just go with “whatever suits my boat”. Of the anime I consider great, a few comes to mind and mainly because they captured that ‘fizz’ that’s taking me forever to try to explain:
- Legend of the Galactic Heroes
- Crest/Banner of the Stars
- Kino no Tabi
- My Neighbor Totoro
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Porco Rosso
- Mobile Suit Gundam: 08th MS Team
- Lucky Star
If you recognize a region in an anime, would you be interested in visiting that location?
Before I ramble, to put it simply, I hold an interest, but that interest in the meantime is low. Some locations would be high up on the list, sites in Japan most definitely. It honestly depends. I am a bit enamored by Porco Rosso‘s fantasized view of the Adriatic Sea and would like to take a cruise there, in the same way that Top Gear’s many road trips make me yearn to jump into the vehicle of my choosing just to visit the amazing locales. So yes, I’d wanna visit them, but in my own time and choosing.
If you have attended an anime convention, what would you suggest to first-time attendees? If not, will you consider attending one?
I won’t say ‘have fun’ because it’s up to you to be happy or be an Eeyore at a convention. So let’s stick with the basics, or rather, my basics. This can go for all types of attendees, the fans, the cosplayers, vendors, and panelists.
- Ensure you got your stuff together: It can be as simple as forgetting the printout with your ticket or as horrifying as leaving your laptop full of notes for a panel you’re presenting. Before you board the train or drive to the con. An experience I had of this lack of having my stuff together was actually not at the con itself. Another event I wanted to attend was happening 50 miles away at the same dates, so I put aside one morning to get there. Imagine my surprise, having reached the end of Washington D.C.’s Orange line, I had left my car keys back at the hotel room. Talk about a waste of 2 hours.
- Follow the 6-2-1 Rule: Like seriously, you may be having fun, but for God’s sakes, do not neglect your body. Sleep at least six hours, shovel some form of food twice a day, and shower once a day. Preferably in the morning. You can’t really have enjoyed the con when you’re crawling to the hotel restaurant desperate to eat some fancy biscuit and meat that costs 30USD. Now, some people can get by with four hours of sleep or something with regular catnaps, but most can’t, and there will be a time where the caffeine will not be enough. 6 Hours is my recommendation. Enough for the 3am ending to most of the late night panels and the start of the con the next day at 9am.
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!: Four bottles of water a day. If you’re a cosplayer and you can get away with it, use a CamelBak or some other hydration bladder. Or use a pouch to contain at least those small water bottles. And I meant water, not alcohol, which leads me to my next point:
- Drink Moderately: If you have to be drunk at a con, please be moderate with the drinking, and be mindful of who drinks. Cons are very sensitive with local and state laws. Do not give the state or the venue a reason to not agree to hosting the place again, or opening their hotel rooms to the con again. This also isn’t recommended unless you address the previous two rules. Because at the heat some cons will go up to just by sheer body heat of the people inside, let alone actual weather, being drunk and having a heat stroke is a bad deal.
- Be Mindful on your Money: This goes back to rule 1. Be mindful of what you buy from who you buy. And ensure you have a clamp on your assets. Your fun can come to a screeching halt when you go to pay for some merchandise and realize you don’t have your wallet.
- Be Respectful: Ask before taking a picture of a cosplayer; do not do stupid shit; don’t fight, even play fighting; walk left, stand right on elevators; don’t gaggle in front of a booth or a meet and greet; don’t jump queues. That sort of thing.
Others will have more comprehensive lists out there, some tailored for specific types of con goers, but those are my six rules of attending an anime convention. That said, I’ll be attending Anime USA 2015 this upcoming Halloween weekend.
What are your opinions on anime reaction blogs, whose sole purpose is to posit a controversial opinion for the sake of increasing their readership?
If it works for them, it works for them. The haughty person in me would thumb my nose at them simply because they’re akin to the type of muckraker that recently landed themselves in trouble over at the Philippines. It isn’t something I would agree with, but again, if it works for them, it works for them. I wouldn’t mind an increase in viewership, but I wouldn’t like how it came about. I’d like people to come here, read what I have to say about the episode of the anime I’m following, and state their views. I’m not generating views for an advertiser, so there’s that as well.
I don’t want to go and be like the dude who yelled fire at a movie theater, only to illicit a reaction. I want an engagement. And one where both sides are talking about the anime or event, and not constantly being the internet tough guy or anonymous wannabe. Those might bring about some nice tidbits of the work, but I like to keep my blood pressure low to be honest.
Now that I’ve answered the five questions from Infinite Zenith, I’m gonna nominate the following for the next set of awards:
And the five questions I’m gonna ask of them:
- Do you see yourself blogging for another five or ten years? Do you think you might fall under the ‘blogger burnout’ as Professor Reynolds at Instapundit calls it?
- What got you interested in anime?
- What got you interested in blogging?
- If time and money were not a factor, is there somewhere you want to go or do?
- Recycling Infinite Zenith’s question, but what aspects (for instance, story, artwork, voices) constitutes a masterpiece anime in your opinion?