So The Pantless Anime Blogger is now two years old. Look at that. I’ve managed to last this long. I’ve considerably slowed down on my journey to one thousand reviews but this is still a moment for celebration.
A lot has happened for me in this short time. I recently got a really satisfying job, I am trying to slowly become a more social animal and my reviewing skills have grown considerably. Seriously, I scare myself as well because I really don’t do anything special when I write a review. I don’t list things down in a notebook when I watch and it really just takes me a good three hours to write one. For some reason though, I find myself writing eight pages worth of a word document that I find a bit alarming. People still gravitate to my severely long reviews though so I’ll try to scale it down. I think a good amount of repeat visitors already know what to expect with my reviews though and I thank you all for that. I’m really just glad that this site is growing. It’s actually steadily on the rise and I thank you dear readers for the support. I look back to the time I first celebrated my first anniversary and it was a really triumphant moment. I was actually so happy that I wrote a really long top ten list to summarize my journey during that time. Coincidentally, my latest reviews are even longer than that so let’s see how drawn out this one will be. That’s right. I’ll keep the tradition going and post another top ten list.
This is another top ten list of things I learned after blogging and reviewing anime for two good years. This isn’t a ranking though. Like last time, it’ll just be a list of my experiences structured in a list for easier consumption. First of all though, let’s put out some stats. Personally, I have written 339 posts in this little site of mine. That’s considerably smaller than last time. I finished with two hundred and thirty posts in my first year. I used to crunch out five or more reviews in a week and it’s really because I have a lot of free time. I no longer have that. I actually have some free time at night and I can stay up late most days but I often find myself in a routine that includes sleeping before twelve that I can’t break out of. It’s weird. I can still manage to write one review a week and I’m trying to find a way to push two a week but it’s really hard. As long as I’m not stopping though, you can bet I’m going to inch my way into a thousand reviews even if it takes two more years.
Yesterday as well, I finally hit half a million views. I was going to write a celebratory/bragging post about but I also hit two years old so I’ll just mention it here. I have a steady amount of visitors and I really appreciate the support. I’m not like those big blogs with a community of its own but I’m just happy that people find my reviews useful even if they’re just skimming and staring at the pictures. It’s all good. I plan on doing something more once I reach a million views but I’m pretty sure that’ll be a long while. So for now, huzzah. I got half a million.
Here’s the scary part about this blog. It has a lot of shares. At first, people were just posting GIFs I made on forums and it sucks out the bandwidth of my photobucket so I decided to upload them in wordpress. Everybody loves GIFs as much as KyoAni loves school clubs. For the past months though, people are actually sharing my reviews. I’ve written 270 plus of them so it’s no big deal if I get 300 shares or so. 870 shares are pretty damn awesome though. Again, thank you. I’m not really sure if you’re laughing at my efforts or mocking the things I write but this many shares can only mean that I’m doing something right and I sincerely thank you. When you know this many anonymous people are visiting your blog, it does feel like your efforts are being appreciated. This really motivates me and it makes the journey to one thousand all the more interesting.
Alright. I’ve popped my shoulder out of the socket trying to pat my back too many times. It’s time for the top ten list. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion and things I learned as I blog as TPAB so please, if you disagree, I understand but don’t tak1 things seriously.
1. A Social Life and An Otaku Life are Inversely Proportional to Each Other.
I think most people actually know about this. It’s a fairly obvious thing. When you’re consumed with your personal life, you really have no time for anime. I actually had a “plan” that I would employ if I was ever forced to enter the working life. It’s a plan that ensures I still have time for anime even if I was doing something else. When I was watching Gonzo’s Zettai Bouie Leviathan though, I wasn’t forced to do anything. I looked at how my life was going so far and I did not like it. Gonzo made me re-evaluate my life and I seriously promised to lose weight afterwards. In the gym, I met a lady that actually offered me a job. I accepted. I am now part of the work force. I promised myself to stay as far away from the monitor screen as I can while also making sure I indulge in anime at certain days. I now look back and discover that it’s really impossible to balance the two things.
I used to prioritize anime. I had no job and I wasn’t forced to find one so I just reviewed anime. I can finish five anime in a week and I was like a machine. When I had a job, I could barely finish one. There are a lot of contributing factors and, surprisingly, work related stress isn’t one of them. When I got a job, I now had a financial responsibility and I was asked to take care of our house. It’s just me. I clean it and I’m saving money to fix it. For some reason, when I go to bed and about to watch anime, my mind would just give up. I was still awake and I drink coffee but my interested just wasn’t there. The energy is fixated on something else and I was really surprised about it. Me, of all people, turned down anime. That’s like a fat kid saying no to a chocolate cake. I am currently resetting everything but it’s pretty clear. You can’t be an otaku watching anime when you are consumed with other things like work, personal problems and for me, just my everyday chores and routine. I thought it was just people being dramatic but it’s actually true. When someone writes a post about why they are not updating their site, they are seriously consumed with other things. It might be more complex than my situation though but anime is really out of the question when you’re an active person. When I was a NEET, I was all about anime. Now, I’m not.
I’m not giving up though. I will find a balance between the two and I’ll have the best of both worlds. I discovered that it involves shutting one out while being completely soaked with the other. It’s a hard thing to do considering how much mental power is needed to write a review while also making sure the money you earned can last you through the next paycheck.
2. I Still Hate Otome Anime
There I no befriending this beast. Otome anime are visual novel adapted shows where the main character is a girl and she is surrounded by a bunch of beautiful guys hoping to get her affection. The story of these shows are much like any visual novel adapted anime, they suck. The unique thing about otome anime though is that it offers a different kind of fan service (that I personally do not like) and each one of them is virtually the same. When you watch an eroge adapted show, there is at least variety on how the supposed story would play out. It’s like a teaser for when you play the game. It’s the best compromise for any VN anime. For otome games, the story just shatters into dust. It becomes directionless fairly easily and the episodes become a bland experience similar to watching paint dry. I understand the short comings but I’m baffled that various studios never try to fix it. They just do the same thing over and over. It’s frustrating. The sole reason is because their audience doesn’t really care for a story. Their audience just wants hot guys and it’s a shameless side of the industry that I really don’t support.
Hentai has a story.
Yaoi has a story.
Reverse harem shows adapted from visual novel games doesn’t?
It’s annoying. My anger for these shows recently got re-ignited when I saw Brothers Conflict. It was vapid. It was a dull otome experience but Animax Southeast Asia is subjecting poor souls into watching it. This damn channel is making kids watch such a vapid thing. It should be a crime. God damn it. The cherry on top of this cake is that they are now going to air La Storia della Arcana Familia next. Holy flaming Pickachu, think about the children! Won’t somebody thing about the children?! I grew up with GTO, Chobits and Kino’s Journey. Animax taught me the beauty of the anime medium. Now the same entity is introducing the new batch of anime fans to Otome anime. What happened? Who hurt, Animax?
3. Being Objective is Poison
I am not objective. I try to be as impartial as I can when I write as review though. My reviews are actually longer because I can now evenly point out how much an anime severely sucks and how entertaining it is as well. I used to hate saying bad things to an anime because I used to believe that ALL anime is good. I seriously believed that and I once claimed that I’ll defend an anime to the end when cynics try to diss it. I don’t read my previous reviews anymore mostly because my misplaced passion baffles me. As much as I believe that all anime is good, I also believed that a good review discusses the good and the bad of a show. It took me a good while to finally say that AKB0048 sucks because it really does. When I finally do that, I can now defend a show but also rant about it at the same time. It’s a glorious thing but it’s has a downside. I soon realized that being objective is actually a dangerous thing.
It’s bad for the reviewer because being objective is giving out your own opinion and then writing your own counter opinion about it. If you do that for a long time like me, it means that nothing will impress you anymore because you can be impressed but it’s also your job to shoot that down as well. I seriously didn’t think that my “defend every anime” belief would ever change but it did. Being impartial often sucks the enjoyment out of what you do but it’s also a good sign of how good of a reviewer you are. You can easily tell how certain cliché works for a show or how the lack of one affects the overall enjoyment. You can tell if a character is lacking depth and you can tell if a studio is redoing something they have already done. Being impartial is a sign that the readers know that what you’re saying isn’t something you pulled out of your ass. It also means though that your personal love for anime might be altered as well. It’s like abandoning your mortality to become a higher being. For all the reviewers hoping to better themselves, it is a golden rule that impartiality is a must but you must also never lose your love for the medium that made you a reviewer in the first place. It’s a hard thing to balance but a good reviewer can easily do that.
Then again, nobody watches the entire lineup of a season like me so maybe it’s just me.
4. My Readers are Perverts
It’s not really a surprise. It’s been a fact ever since people read this site’s name out loud. It is a definite and irrefutable fact that people really love Ecchi anime. Every poor bastard that ever used a search engine has searched for something dirty and they’re directed at my site. It’s not surprising that the top five most viewed posts in this blog are all perverted anime. The shock has long vanished. It’s nice to see Gokujo, Highschool DxD and Hagure Yuusha unmoved in their peak positions. It’s funny though that Date A Live is in it. I recently reviewed this anime and I just don’t understand why it’s so popular. For some reason, people just love it and maybe it’s because of the high perversion the anime is known for. It can’t be because of the kuudere, can it? It has some really awesome eye candy so I’m guessing the announcement of the second season made people curious. For it to gain five thousand hits in less than a year is a bit interesting though.
It’s a bit funny that this site doesn’t cater to just male perverts. Seriously, I am laughing out loud at this one. Sure, I personally indulge in perverted anime myself and I’m proud of that. I noticed though that I really write a lot of bishie shows as well. During the past months, I saw a huge rise in numbers for my female oriented shows. My reviews of Brothers Conflict and Hakkenden are also heavily viewed in this site. It’s not as huge in numbers like my Highschool DxD post but I’m not surprised if the top views will soon be a mix of bishie shows and ecchi shows. I personally think that’ll be awesome.
To all the shameless people who visit this site to look at pictures of beautiful anime characters. This one is for you.
5. People Hate Video Game Adapted Anime
I have yet to see an anime that originated from a video game that has received a positive reception across the board. I soon discovered that such a thing is impossible. It is a known fact that people really love video games. Some of these fans are rabid and crazy and totally faithful to the original so any adapted version of it easily comes under fire. As an impartial reviewer, I really enjoyed the recent works of Seiji Kishi. He did a wonderful job at Danganronpa and Devil Survivor 2 that I really want him to make more video game adapted shows. He has a knack for making really entertaining ones that makes him a really talented director. When I heard from other people that they hated his video game anime, I was shocked to learn that it’s because “it didn’t compare to the original”. I understand their stance that you can’t really capture the beauty of the game but there seems to be a special kind of hatred for video game adapted shows. Fans come off as experts of what they play and they are very vocal of how the anime missed the mark. To be fair, his adaptations aren’t perfect and the video game is superior by default just like how a manga is superior to its anime adaptation. VG anime is different. The hate is more concentrated but the reasons are often shallow. “It’s not like the video game”. People who hate it just chalk it up to that. Ask any further and they’ll say “you wouldn’t understand unless you played the game”. I call bullsh*t on it but that’s just me.
I think video game adapted anime are really just easy to hate. I will personally tell you why an anime sucks and why it’s awesome but it’s not so black and white for VG anime. Fans just don’t like seeing any game they played turned into an anime, I guess. Despite being near perfect in their adaptation, Seiji Kishi’s Danganronpa and DS2 is currently one of the most hated anime there is simply because the original source is a video game. I’m starting to feel like hating it is a natural response nowadays and liking them is the unpopular choice. I don’t really care. This doesn’t affect my reviews but I’m just a bit sad people can’t appreciate good anime for what they are. Instead, they shower it with hate. I don’t approve of such methods. A bad VG anime is easy to spot. Have you seen the BlazBlue anime? That sucks. Danganronpa the animation, on the other hand, is fudging awesome. A little open-mindedness can go a long way, people. C’mon.
6. Scoring an Anime is Tricky and Unexpectedly Complex
Recently, a bunch of people asks me to create a page where anime is grouped by their review scores. The reason I don’t do it is because my review scores are heavily flawed. I do not have an earthly idea how to sum up the quality of an anime in just a number. I have actually spent a good amount of my time figuring it out. A number based review is something I don’t really like. I once considered using a scoring system of 100 but then I realized that giving out a satisfying rating number for an anime’s story is harder than giving the entire anime a decent score. I have gone through my old reviews and actually changed their review scores frequently because my opinion of a review number changes a lot. Also, I have tried the decimal scoring system and that’s just a stupid way to score a show. Most of the time, you use it because something as awful as AKB0048 has enough numbers equal to something good like Love Lab so people score AKB0048 a 6.1 and Love Lab a 6.5 score. It is stupid and basically the same as a 100 scoring system because they know as well that some anime are truly hard to rate.
I am slowly coming up of a good way to score anime though. Right now, I’m just using my anime gut to score a show. If you’ve seen and rated as many as I have then you can easily see an anime that deserves an 8 and those that deserves a 4 below. The problem right now is those grouped in the 6, 7 and 10 scores. A score of five means that the show is “plain”. It’s not bad but also not good to truly make a mark. Safe bet is that it’ll be easily forgotten when more shows like those come along. A six and a seven is different though. I don’t really know how to tell each other apart. It’s all the more confusing when most shows I’ve seen are grouped in the six or seven. If a five is “mediocre”, does it mean that a six is “good” and a seven is “great”? Sometimes, it’s not that easy especially when you realize how diverse of a group the shows are in those scores. I’m giving up at the moment until I come up with a good answer. Right now, I rely on words to base the quality of a show and this method is proving to be effective.
A ten is an enigma though. Right now, there are two anime that I ranked as a ten. It’s “Steins Gate” and “Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica”. I think back and I have no idea what makes them a ten. I once said that “long lasting appeal” and “satisfying ending” is what makes them standout but it’s still something I can’t explain properly. I can easily tell though but I just can’t back up my feelings with the right numbers or words for others to understand.
I’m gonna need help with this one so please share your opinion below. I’ll also need beer but you don’t have to help me with this one.
7. The Anime Industry is Far From Dying
When people say this, I’m assuming they’re talking about the state of the industry. Since anime’s popularity is somewhat dwindling, people assume that the lack of refreshing and bold ideas is slowly crippling the industry. When people say Studio Trigger will save the anime industry, I’m guessing they’re talking about it metaphorically because if numbers are concerned, anime is actually steadily growing. I’m not really sure what drives the anime market. I know for a fact that the Japanese audience is the sole focus of anime. How Japanese people receive it is how the industry is affected. I also know that they aren’t as taciturn as western audiences. When they like something, Japanese people tend to support it all the way and it’s something not that common elsewhere. Despite anime having a small percentage in the overall media consumption, it’s still pretty damn clear that the anime industry is alive and well.
I know this because I watch a lot of anime. In every lineup, I try to watch everything Anicharts has listed. One thing I noticed is that the amount of shows compared to last year has scarily grown double. If the anime industry is truly dying then there is no reason for studios to release this many anime in a lineup. Back in 2011 and 2012, Spring has the most anime with twenty plus shows released. It comes back down to twelve or so in slow seasons and then picks up again in the next. This 2013 though has studios releasing two anime in one season making the lineups go up to thirty. I find it surprising. How can they have this much to give when the reception has mostly been weak? Most of the time, it’ll be small time studios like Brains Base or AIC releasing double. Production IG used to release anime in intervals but now they’re giving us one per season. The same goes for KyoAni so it does make me wonder if the industry is truly dying. Maybe the phrase is just old. I’m guessing we’re at a transitional phase now in the industry where moe has finally been sealed shut in a coffin and there is renewed enthusiasm for the product. Or maybe, the industry was never in trouble. I have no idea how it works in Japan but it is clear that the western anime industry is as weak as it always has. Based on how f*cking large the list of shows are turning into, I really don’t think the industry is in the red. Ever.
8. Less Than Five Minute Shows Has the Best OP/ED Sequences and Songs
I refuse to call them anime shorts. I want to be cool and call them something different and hope that it catches on. Also, anime shorts sounds like a joke coming from the pantless anime blogger. Anyways, these shows aren’t really that good. Some of them celebrate mediocrity and I actually hate the fact that more of them are popping up like weeds in your farm when you play Harvest Moon. One thing I learned after watching these things though is that they often have some of the best songs ever released in an anime. I guess it’s a way to make up for the lack of quality in the actual show so they make the song sequences flashy and awesome to watch.
Have you seen Miss Monochrome’s ED sequence? It’s pretty damn awesome. I find myself often playing the sequence when I’m bored. It’s a bit cute because Miss Monochrome looks like a dancing plastic doll and her dance sequence is a bit hypnotizing. Listen to the song though. Combined with the dance, it’s something you’ll watch again and again without realizing it. It’s a special kind of treasure you won’t find unless you look for it.
What about Yami Shibai’s ED sung by Miku Hatsune? It’s as creepy as the anime but it has an added appeal of having this unsettling rhythm caused by Miku voice as she sings about a bloody jealous baby.
Let’s go obscure and watch my favorite ED sequence in a flash anime. Most of you have probably never heard of Double J but that ED is really something I would call epic.
By far, my favorite of all has to be Recorder to Randoseru Mi’s ED sung by IA. She is like Miku. Um, what do you call her, an utauloid or something? I am seriously addicted to this song. The rhythm is very infectious and IA’s voice sounds natural. It’s not as synthetic as Miku’s and I guess whoever wrote the song knows how to make IA sound awesome. The lyrics aren’t anything special but I really wake up and then listen to this song as I prepare for my day. I’m that addicted to the song. I have tried other IA song and this one just sounds the most impressive for me. To think, I found it in the miserable final installment of a mediocre anime.
9. People Use Search Engines in a Weird Way
Some of the things that make me smile everyday are those that people search for in a search engine. The thing I love the most is “pantless reviews” which immediately directs them to my blog. It tells me that people are actually looking for my site but it has a long name so people can’t remember it. I do plan on changing it when I get out of wordpress and get my own domain but I don’t have the money for that in the meantime. Right now, just seeing people google my site makes me happy. Again, thank you.
Another thing that makes me smile includes those weird things that people type in their search engine. Two years’ of running a blog can expose you to some deeply dark things that will make you wonder what people actually get out of anime.
It’s pretty entertaining sometimes and I admittedly get a good laugh out of reading these things. I also shake my head in complete shock and disbelief though. I consider it a perk for when you run an anime blog.
10. There are Three Kinds of Readers
While reviewers are half glass empty and half glass full, there are also different kinds of readers of an anime review. I recently learn about them through the comments I receive and it gives me an idea just how diverse the anime fandom is. The first kind is the type that truly reads a review to get an idea if it’s worth watching. These are people that aren’t sure if they want to watch a show so they read a review first. Some of these are really new to the medium and they’re often feeling things out. Just looking at the pictures in my review can give you an idea if it’s good or not and I made sure that was true in every post. They often reply back thanking my review because it convinced them to try an anime out and I feel happy knowing my reviews help people out. If they aren’t new fans then they’re people that dropped or put a show on hold and want a good reason to pick it back up again. I guess they realized that I sat through every anime I review so they figure if I can rough it out then they can do it as well.
The second kind of reader is those that want a good reason NOT to watch a show. They often look out for the negatives in a show and just want more reason to not watch an anime. They’ll go “I knew it” and live on completely satisfied with their choice. I recently learned of these people and I find it interesting they exist. I guess a review can also help you to not watch a show but I never figured that negativity is what they actually like. Whatever happens to watching something because you want to be entertained? This is a whole new level of cynicism that I am just trying to understand. Hey, whatever floats your boat, I guess. This means that those super negative reviewers are actually catering for a specific kind of people and really, it’s fascinating to me.
The last kind of readers is a fellow anime enthusiast that reads a review to see if they can agree or disagree with your opinion. It’s a different kind of reader that actually finished the show and looks out for the things they already knew of. It’s a bit complex but there are people that really love or hate a show and they’ll check my review to see if I felt the same way. I actually avoid these kinds of readers. It’s the reason why I review anime one season late so people are already invested in new shows while I pick apart recently finished ones. As this site picks up speed though, there are reviewers that really love to share their two cents. I actually like these kinds of readers because they give different perspective and constructive opinion on an anime but I still purposely avoid them. It must be my ego or something. I am a pantless anime blogger so who the hell knows at this point.
I’m sure there are other kinds of readers. I have yet to meet them so I now new experiences are out there for me. I can’t wait for another awesome year.
So that’s my top ten. It’s been awhile since I did one and I now remember why I don’t do these things. They’re exhausting. The same amount of effort to the reviews I write and I’d rather go for reviews. Anyways, I want to say thank you again. Thank you for the two years of support and thank you for the half million views. This journey of mine isn’t fun without the people that enjoy them as much as I do. Thank you very much.
Let’s all enjoy them pants-less.