Is the anime blog dying out?

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Meaningful red herring screenshot

Consider this to be an addendum or a side post to Scamp’s fascinating post on the life-and-death of an aniblog.

The decline of the anime blog

My RSS list is heavily weighted towards older blogs. Blogs that have been around at least a year. That’s partly due to when I started writing and paying more attention. And partly due to the ranking exercise I undertook for the aniblog tourney. But one of the things I do occasionally is troll around on Anime Nano to check up on some of the newer blogs that have entered the fray. When you have 100+ blogs on your list, it makes it harder for new voices to stand out, but a couple of the younger blogs that I like are Visual Violence, an episodic blog that seems heavily influenced by RandomC, but is well written, and Seanver, which is what I guess I’d call a moe/ecchi-appreciation blog, and is unique in that it also summarizes games and books.

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But one of the things I noticed as I’d check up on the list of new blogs is that it seemed like there were less and less new blogs showing up on Anime Nano. So I went back and did a count by month, and lo and behold, my suspicions were confirmed – 2010 was the worst year for new anime blogs since Nano started.

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After the initial aniblog gold rush in the 2006 and pre-2006 era (Nano only came to being in the middle of 2006), 2007 was a bit of a dud, but then came a second gold rush of aniblogs in 2008 and 2009, before interest dropped off a cliff in 2010. Admittedly, Nano isn’t the perfect arbiter of blog birthdates, since they’ve usually been around for at least a couple months before joining, but I think it’s a good measure of the level of activity that’s going on out there.

anime-blog-trend

And the trend isn’t just on Nano, because we see a similar drop in search activity for “anime blog” on Google Trends, down over a 1/3 since it peaked in 2008 and 2009. This is interesting, because a lot of those 2008 and 2009 blogs are right in the thick of the 2-3 year death mark that Scamp wrote about.

A year of deaths

Many of those 2008 and 2009 blogs have already met their demise. Some like Grand Punk Railroad, Low on Hit Points, Epic Win, Exce7ion and heck even Chartfag suffered slow, drawn-out deaths. Others like Hontou ni died unexpectedly (although Zyl moved to Sea Slugs). Ha Neul Seom pulled a Subculture right at the two year mark. While others like Mikotoism actually did die, before being reborn (proving that sometimes you can’t walk away). And there are still others are just a hiatus explanation/”I’m not dead!” post away from sticking a fork in themselves.

What if this is the real normal?

What if 2007 and 2010 were the norms and 2008 and 2009 were the aberrations? Maybe the better question would be what drove the spikes in 2008 and 2009? Was it the shows? 2008 was the last hurrah of the mecha era apparently, with Code Geass R2, Gundam 00 and Macross Frontier all taking their turns leveling up mechas. Spice and Wolf, Aria the Origination, Soul Eater, Toradora, Clannad Afterstory and DMC rounded a pretty solid year. In 2009, we had the return of Haruhi, the revamp of Brotherhood, and the original K-ON leading the way, while shows like Bakemonogatari, Eden of the East, and Umineko provided a surprising level of diversity. Not nearly as strong as the 2008 lineup, but a good number of genre busters, and a surprisingly trollish year, with Endless Eight pissing off Hitler, the anti-moe crusade waging war against K-ON, Senjougahara Fascination and Ryukishi trolling errbody in sight.

Meanwhile, 2010 can only be considered a disaster in comparison. K-ON 2, Nodame Finale, Angel Beats, Arakawa are probably the only shows that received critical and popular acclaim, and none of them were as big as the 2008/2009 shows. Shiki, Kuragehime and the Tatami Galaxy were all good, but too niche to gain much broad popularity. None of the 2010 hits carried the imagination like the hits from 2008 and 2009. And I don’t think any of the winter 2011 shows, nor the spring shows will reverse the tide. So barren times will probably continue.

What if the next Aniblog gold rush is… Twitter or Tumblr?

anime-twitter-trend

Maybe anime blogging just isn’t sexy anymore. It’s not like people have stopped talking about anime. On the contrary, the discussion has moved to other places. To Twitter and to Tumblr largely. This has its plusses and its minuses.

Twitter is about as close as you can get to liveblogging a show with a roomful of geeks (except for those Skype folks, who actually are in a chatroom together). It’s instant gratification. And when you’re tweeting back and forth with a bunch of people about something that happened on a show, it’s a really cool experience. But the downside of Twitter is that it’s insular, and it’s transient. It’s insular, because you have to be a.) a member and b.) really active on it to get much out of it. It’s only slightly more open than a chat room or an online forum. Unlike reading a blog post, it’s harder to enjoy Twitter passively, because each tweet has so little information. If you only spend a few minutes a day checking it out, it’s like hearing a snippet of a conversation. Or just watching the promo scenes of an anime. You only get so much out of it. Twitter is just too transient. A shelf-life of a blog post is about 3-4 days. That’s when most of the visits and comments come in. But there’s a long tail of readers that will read posts that are years old and occasionally even leave comments on it. In contrast, the shelf life of a Tweet is 3-4 hours. A string of conversations might last an hour. And after 24 hours, consider it all dead and gone, never to be seen by anyone again, except maybe you in your loneliest moments.

But while I see value in Twitter, to me, Tumblr is a wasteland of wannabe anime-themed LOLCATS. Tumblr, in a strictly technological sense, is set up to be more enduring than Twitter. It’s not as full-featured as say WordPress, but there’s a lot of stuff you can do with Tumblr. Unfortunately its turned out to be the most unstructured discussion platforms of them all. It’s become an imageboard home for anime memes, random screenshots and fan art. It’s like if 4chan had user accounts. There are some really amusing Tumblr’s, the bad anime subs tumblr is the funniest blog/twitter/tumblr/thing you’ll ever read and even though it’s not exactly Tumblr, I love all the seiyuu soup.io miniblogs like Cowboybibimbop, Seiyuup and watermelon soup.  But they’re rare. For one good Tumble, there’s 500 Tumbles of utter garbage. And unlike Twitter, Tumblr isn’t ideal for conversation chains. There’s only so many ICanHasAnimeCheezburgers this world can handle. If anyone has good Tumblr examples that are different from the typical aniblog style, and aren’t just imageboards, I’d love to hear about it.

But not every anime blog dies

But even if the number of new anime blogs doesn’t pick up this year, we probably won’t have any shortage of blogs anytime soon. The elder blogs Scamp highlighted: Star CrossedKur­ogane, Sea Slugs THAT, Blog­suki, Omonomono, Baka-Raptor, Karm­aburn, Batezi, Anime Diet, Hashi­hime, are all still going strong, and I would dare say are better now than ever before. Ran­dom Curi­os­ity nearly died, but was saved in the last second by a white knight and even though Omni’s gone, I think Divine and his crew haven’t missed a beat.

And of the 2008 blogs, some of the blogs that successfully crossed the two year threshold and into red alert territory recently include Mono no Aware (edit: 4+ years and in the free and clear if you count its previous incarnation. Thanks to gl and iknight below for the infoWe Remember Love, Eye Sedso and Scamp himself (and I guess myself too).

But there’s hope for those in red alert state. Looking back at the aniblog tourney list I had, there were 22 blogs between 2-3 years old when 2010 started. And over the past year, only 3 of them died, with another 3 I’d classify as dying. Which means more than 70% have successfully escaped red alert territory. Who were some of the blogs that escaped the state of red alert and crossed the threshold into 3+ year land, where boys become cherry boys, girls become fanservice fodder, and anime blogs become immortal? Hanners, Canime, Listless Ink, The Null Set are some of the recent ones. And Baka Raptor’s a month from reaching immortality.

So maybe the 2 year mark isn’t as bad a death knell as I might have thought. I still think it’ll be interesting to see if the number of new aniblogs rebounds this year, but give credit to modern medicine, not only is it extending our lives, it’s extending the lives of anime blogs. Or something like that.

104 Replies to “Is the anime blog dying out?”

  1. Whoa, that’s some pretty good quantitative analysis! I would generalize it further and ask: “Do most people lose interest in anime after 2 years?” I mean, people blog about anime presumably because they like it. If they get bored after 2 years, they stop writing about it.

    Personally, I got a bit jaded with the unoriginality of anime. It felt like I had seen all there was to see. That and I got super busy. Only recently have I started to watch (and finish) some shows (Angel Beats, Amagami SS).

    Perhaps in a few years you can analyze which anime blogs die and then come back! Though it’s probably much more often that they die and stay dead.

    1. The “2 years” seems short, but at some point, some people do get bored of it and move on. But I looked at the google trends data for just “anime” and while it’s been on a slightly downward trend since 2004, it’s held pretty steady over the past four years. But I do wonder how the latest batch of animes impact the likelihood of people wanting to share their opinions about it – and by extension blog about it. There’s a lot more fodder for discussion with shows like Haruhi, Death Note and Code Geass than in many of the recent shows. And it seems like even some of the better ones – Arakawa, Kuragehime – require you to have a more “insider knowledge” about otaku terminology and anime tropes to understand all the jokes behind it.

  2. The AnimeNano trend could be explained by the blogs joining in the earlier days might have been many years old already. More ‘older’ blogs join as the site gains popularity before reaching peak point in 09. That said, the drop is too low for that to be the case and the google trends is a much scarier sign that maybe you’re onto something here…

    The thing about twitter and tumblr is they are conversation platforms. Those who might have blogged as a form of conversation starting migrate to those places anyway. I think twitter certainly takes away from what could have been an anime blogger. It offers what the writer wanted in the first place, so I guess it is killing the blogosphere.

    On the other hand, tumblr is finally going away from taking away from the sphere. It fails as conversation and as a blogging platform and only works as a silly single specific purpose blog or meme generation machine anyway. I think the trend of anime bloggers turning to tumblr instead is dying now, sorta exemplified by otou-san leaving and restarting Shameful Otaku Secret.

    That brings me onto the phoenix-like attributes of anime blogs. You don’t think you were the only person checking up on the health of the tourney blogs now, do you? The number of those that have stopped updating is around 16 out of 96, but many of the blogs that looked like they stopped updating started up again at various intervals. From digitalboy’s site to Eternal to fangzhao to Null Set (who was only added into the tourney at the last minute because he had started updating again) and back to otou-san, blogs return quite a bit.

    Team blogs add to that as well. They rebirth in new forms (THAT, RanodmC, Bokutachi no Blog) and can sometimes revive old bloggers, like Epi, Zyl and even Halfadeckshort moving from old blogs to Sea Slugs. Heck, even if you look at the blogs from the tourney, there was the likes of JPHinano who had technically been around a lot longer. Their respective blogs had gone but they started anew on that site.

    I still think the two-year death has truth in it. As for “is the anime blog dying?”, I feel I’d have to have been around longer to watch the transition myself. That’s part of the reason I’m still keeping track of the blogs from the tourney. I’m fascinated to see how the aniblogsphere changes in between those two years.

    Anyway, great post. And I’m not just saying that because it references mine so much =P

    1. Those who might have blogged as a form of conversation starting migrate to those places anyway. I think twitter certainly takes away from what could have been an anime blogger.

      Effort to put up a blog post – 1 hour. Effort to tweet several tweets – several seconds. Likelihood to receive comments on blog post or responses vs. tweets? Probably about even. So yeah, it makes sense that if you’re looking for a conversation platform, you’ll move away from blogs and more into Twitter. I’ve always looked as blogging as providing value from both information and conversation platforms, and I weigh the info side to be slightly more valuable to me, which is why I tend to gravitate more towards the blogging side.

      You don’t think you were the only person checking up on the health of the tourney blogs now, do you?

      You mean, there’s more than one stalker-sans? 😛

      I’m interested in quantifying the growth of team blogs over the past year. It’s in these cases I wished archive.org wasn’t a useless piece of crap. But anecdotally, over the past year, I think there’s been an increase in the number of team blogs, as well as an increase in the number of writers per team blog. So potentially, those writers who joined team blogs could have been “at the cost” of 10-20 new blogs.

      The one thing we haven’t mentioned too much is that, in reality, a large number of blogs die well before the two year point. I started doing a count until it became too tedious, but for the first fifty blogs or so, I think I counted about around 40-50% gone already, and many of them gone within the first year. Two years is a milestone that requires a good level of commitment and probably a fair amount of popularity to keep you motivated.

      Yeah, I’m interested in seeing how the aniblogosphere evolves too. What’s the true death rate for blogs age X-Y? Does an episodic blog have only so many posts or shows covered before they tend to die out? What’s that number for a non-episodic blogger? Is a peak in traffic or comment traffic a major factor for blogs getting through the growth phase and then dying in their “maturity” phase? And so on.

      1. Twitter is killing the aniblogosphere!!! It gives people what they want in regards to discussion far better than blogging could do. Yet, despite fully acknowledging that, I can’t bring myself to hate twitter for doing so. I guess it’s because I’ve found my peace between what goes on twitter and what I blog about.

        Team blogs are the way of the future. I remember Sorrow-kun mentioning that back when I moved from Bokutachi to Cart Driver and I think I’ve been won over to his way of thinking. That said, it would have to be an extremely tightly run ship with writers I all get along with to even consider joining a team blog

        1. Yeah, don’t get me wrong. I like Twitter. Maybe Twitter activity comes at the cost of some blog activity, but in many ways it’s fostered the community better than blogging ever could.

          Team blogs are the way of the future.

          Consolidation is one of the predominant trends when economic industries mature. I find it kinda amusing that aniblogs may end up mimicking the “real srs biz.”

  3. As for the aniblogosphere, well there is going to be a period of blogs dying. There are many reasons like it’s taking too much time, lack of motivation/interest or life issues. There are going to be a select group of bloggers that are dedicated that they will go on for many years. Even so, there will be new blogs that will take the place of the old ones.

    As for tumblr, it’s more of a social and personal platform than blogging… The lack of a built-in commenting system without having a tumblr and the limitations makes the platform so problematic, especially for an Anime Blog.

    As for me, I have been blogging since 2009 and now hitting the two year milestone. What motivates me to blog is share my passion about anime and also, practice/improve my writing skills. Then again, I can’t really share my thoughts about one episode in 120 chars and need to use a different medium like a blog to achieve it.

  4. Like I mentioned in my comment on Scamp’s post, my blog is one of the older ones, having been created in 2006. It did suffer a couple of long hiatuses from late ’07 to mid ’09 when I was away at college (I did post a little during vacations), but since mid ’09 it’s been going stronger than ever (I’ve managed to keep a steady 2-3 posts per week just about all that time). Though I sometimes have trouble thinking of good blog posts, I haven’t run out of ideas yet. Since I don’t to episodic posts and tend to write more general anime posts, the type and quality of anime released each year doesn’t affect my blogging.

    What you said about Twitter and Tumblr is exactly why I could never use them to replace blogging. Twitter is fun to share instant little blurbs about what you’re feeling at the moment, and have little makeshift IMs with someone, but you can only say so many significant things in 140 characters. You can say things in Twitter but you can’t elaborate with detailed paragraphs and explanations, nor a chronology of pictures. I’m not very familiar with Tumblr, but from what I’ve seen it looks kinda like LJ. If you have a blog, why do you need a Tumblr when you can organize all your posts better with a blog? (plus lots of other things)

    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see where anime blogs go from here =)

    1. Do you feel like your hiatuses were beneficial to you? Did you come back from your hiatus with a different focus, or a different style, or maybe just more refreshed? I have the hardest time thinking of “editorial” topics to write about and then an even harder time trying to motivate myself to gather my thoughts and take the effort to write a post, so I’ve always been impressed at those who are able to constantly create a new stream of things to blog about.

      1. After my hiatuses I got into blogging more than ever starting in late ’09 and I would say that I developed a much better style than I had before. My writing skills improved, I became interested in a more “philosophical” approach such as what you’ll see in my many editorial/analytical topics, and my anime reviews got more focused as well. Of course, this could just be the result of me being older and better educated and experienced that I was before, and not ’cause of the hiatuses 😉

  5. Funny that despite the deluge of less-than stellar shows that have been released in 2010, the soundtrack scene has been great with many anime soundtracks being better than the shows themselves. Guess that means I’ll definitely be staying in business for awhile longer and the three-year mark for me should come and go with little fanfare beyond a peep saying that Anime Instrumentality is still alive and jabbering away.

    The slowdown in new blogs worth following has been noticeable though and I just haven’t really gotten new ones to consistently follow. Krizzly’s gig looks promising and I have enjoyed the Ambivalence/Ambiguity one. It’s not hugely sustainable replacement number if it weren’t for the fact that blog deaths haven’t been as severe as feared.

  6. Keyword: insular. My target audience is random bored people on the internet. Twitter, Skype, and GRSI won’t get them to me. I don’t know much about tumblr, but I don’t see anything there I’d want to leave my website for. I also like having absolute control over my site. Can’t get that anywhere else.

  7. I don’t even know you, I think, ahahaha. (Which is quite a sign that you are probably new yourself – apart from that fact that you did not mention the fabulous Memento which died a long time ago.)

    And, what can I say, I love Tumblr. I mainly browse design blogs though, i.e. most of the stuff I look at are images, and my own Tumblr is more like a collection of stuff I randomly found interesting on the internet. So you might be right about the possibility that tumblr is not as suited for serious anime blogging (as it kills all sorts of in-depth discussion – if you want that, you could just as well have a WordPress blog).

    1. Haha, I don’t know you either. I feel like I’ve been around a while, but looking at your posts, I’m still a baby compared to you. So yeah, you could say I’m “new”. 😀

      My aniblog historical knowledge is very spotty. I came along well after Memento’s reign, although he is familiar by name to me. Everything I learned, I learned from THAT’s post a few years ago. I would love to see an update to that post one day.

      1. If I’m not entirely mistaken, everybody is “new”, considering that most of the blogs which were around when I started mostly died. 😀 I’m sure in 1-2 years, you can just as well write the update yourself! (Uh, I’m an “early adopter” huh… story of my life.)

        I wonder if there are are any archives of Memento. He used to spend a lot of time and effort into putting his great episodic reviews together, and it would be sad if those write-ups were not available anymore.

        There is one curious thing about Tumblr. Take Ani Nouto where I, amusingly, am still a feature even though I have only thrown in a random comment for the first time in a year or something. It’s a “normal” blog, but the short text and not too fancy images are just like in Tumblrs. On top of that, most of what author does are “reblogs” with comments, exactly what is happening in Tumblrs. Though his blog certainly is no meme wasteland and, at some point at least, has fostered a LOT of discussion despite him turning off comments.

        1. I would be very interested if there was a memento archive as well. Memento was my gateway into anime blogging. The first 3 blogs I remember following were Memento, Blogsuki though I believe it was derailed by then, and RC.

  8. I’m still trying to get the lay of the land on this thing we call the anime blogosphere, so I found this entry (as well as Scamp’s over at thecartdriver) pretty helpful in explaining the shifting winds around the scene. I knew that a few of my favorite bloggers had fallen off over the past year, but I didn’t realize that they were part of a bigger trend. I guess it’s inevitable, but I hope it doesn’t mean that the community is inevitably doomed to becoming a diminishing cycle of people coming in and bowing out of the hobby in shorter and shorter periods.

    I guess I’ve got about a year left before my scheduled burnout (though with full time school on the horizon in another 6 months, it could come early).

    1. I don’t think the community is doomed due to people coming in and bowing out of the hobby in shorter periods. If anything, I think the blogs that have gotten started are lasting longer. The only worrying part is that there’s less new voices being heard, which results in an increasingly insular community.

      Oh, and thanks for commenting! I wasn’t familiar with your blog before this. You’re a new voice to me. 😛

  9. This is definitely one of the most detailed posts on the anime blogosphere that I have seen. In my opinion, it is relatively easy to create a new anime blog, I mean, wordpress takes less then a few minutes to sign up for, however to get the motivation to actually continue the blog after a week or two would be tedious to a fair few people and they will drop out.

    I can say this because it happened to me when I started my anime blog…. Originally I started in May 2006, and after a week I got sick of it and dropped out…. thankfully I got up the motivation to come back in October 2006, however I am not sure if every blogger would be able to do that.

    I suppose anime blogs are not something you can start up because you want to join the “Blogocrowd” but instead you really need some sort of reason for doing it (Eg. Improving writing skills, want to add your 2c to every anime that is being released etc). I mean, I wouldn’t even call my blog an anime blog anymore since I have kind of dug into several other areas (Manga, gaming etc).

    But hey, I think we can all agree that the demand for anime blogs is not dwindling and will not for anytime soon… and who knows, maybe it is just AnimeNano signups that are down and not the actual numbers :mrgreen:.

    1. Whoa, you’ve been around a long time! Actually, I’m always a little amazed when I see how long some of the animeblogger blogs have been around and still active. Many of the “ancients” that I’ve seen are blogs that started on AB. I wonder how much AB’s decline hurt the new blog community. I know they haven’t accepted new blogs for a long time now, but getting an AB blog seemed like plugging right into an instant community. Whereas venturing out into WordPress, Twitter, etc. is a little more lonesome in the beginning.

  10. Starting a blog is easy, lasting long is another.

    Frankly, blogging is a bit like masturbation for me. I’ve only manage to keep it up this long because it’s become a habit and I feel a release upon talking about shows that I enjoyed. My trick is to not force myself to blog EVERYTHING I watch, you burn yourself out extremely fast doing that.

    1. Habit is a good way to put it. I’ve never thought of blogging as a race, so I’ve been able to keep my interest and maintain any sort of consistency by not going overboard. I’m amazed at how some people like aroduc can churn out posts en masse and on time, but I realized a long time ago that just wasn’t me.

      1. I must admit, I have to agree with you RP, I tried churning out post after post but in the end I ended up almost quitting after a week is was so tedious xD. I blog the stuff I want to…. if it is stuff that was blogged a few days prior by the masses then *Shrug*. Might as well put all that energy into something that pays really well like an actual job and treat blogging as a good way to relaxing and add your own opinion on things :).

        I mean RP, you have a lot of really good quality posts and even if something isn’t posted every day, it is not like I would avoid your blog or anything cause it is not updated with a review for a title that was aired five seconds ago…

  11. What a very creative analogy Kurogane =P

    But yea, I fully agree, no one would willingly want to blog a 26 episode anime if every episode was painfully boring. This why I jump around between several different fields, blogging about the same titles over and over gets boring real fast.

  12. Mono no Aware was started in ’08, but Martin/Concrete Badger was blogging strong and more often back when his blog was still called The End of the World. IIRC that was from ’07 or even earlier.

    WRL should last longer if everything the founders are planning comes halfway to fruition. Xs fingers.

    1. Cool, thanks for the info guys. I’ve updated the post.

      GL, if you don’t mind my asking, are you planning to go for a more teamblog route in the future? Or do you have something else in mind?

      1. At the very least I want more guest posts, so yes if I could get more people to write for WRL I would.

        The plan is to not let WRL waste the effort I put into making all its content and building the network of readers, commenters, and fellow bloggers it enjoys — as it’ll serve our project of launching an online OEL manga site (launching artists and writers from the Philippines to begin with).

        I also want episodic posts on the rare robot shows that air, and since I don’t have the time nor energy to do it myself, I’m hoping that others can on WRL (even if the contributors don’t start writing about robot shows immediately, I want them to ease into the writing process and habit). This perhaps is a real big reason for why I want regular writers.

        1. Wow, that’s very cool. I didn’t realize the Phillippines had a flourishing OEL manga scene. Are you planning to build a manga review type of site, or will it be an actual showcase/promotion site?

          1. Showcase. I can’t really say it’s a scene, but there are a lot of artists here and there’s definitely a big following for (mainstream) manga. We’ll showcase AND distribute it. We’ll need all the publicity we can get when the time comes.

  13. When I first saw that pic on my RSS, I thought you were gonna pull a Subculture.

    …that’s the pic Totali died with.

    …wonder if I could actually last 2 years myself.

  14. The real question and analysis we have to do is maybe “how many of the blogs on animenano are still ACTIVE”, that would give us a more meager figure I suppose…

    1. My guess is less than 50%. I started counting and got through maybe 50 before getting sick of counting, and I found about half of them as inactive.

      1. If Hung does not purge Nano, the percentage of active has to drop. Think about it. If an average blog lives for 3 years, and Nano exists for 6 years, 50% is right there. And the longer Nano exists, the more deadweight it gathers. But when Hung was culling last time, it drew complaints. And I think he himself moved on by now.

        1. The deadweight on Nano is probably well over 50%. I think the average “dedicated” blog lives for 3 years. A good 40% don’t even last the first year. But I’m ok with the deadweight on nano. It’d be nice to move those blogs into a graveyard section or something. But it can be pretty cool taking a walk back into time to see some of the older blogs that joined and deserted – assuming their web site is still up (+1 for the immortal wordpress here).

          1. I was being semi-sarcastic about WP’s immortality. But if WordPress ever died, I’d imagine archive.org would create a similar special archive as they did for geocities. Much better than letting your host expire and getting deleted.

  15. It IS kind of sad to see the amount of anime blogs being created is no-where as big as it was back in 08 (when I started reading them).

    Having a lower amount of interesting projects popping out and eventually becoming worth writing about is definitely an issue. That and the fact that I have been meeting and hearing what I will call elitist fans just ignoring whatever is new and sticking to old anime or to dinosaurs (think Naruto, Bleach, or One Piece) that are still running. Add to that the fact that twitter and facebook are blog-killers, and things should get interesting with blogs in the next five years…

    Thank you for the mention by the way. 🙂

    1. Well, the elitist fans will always exist, with or without blog. Although not to sound terribly elitist, the new shows do suck compared to the “old” shows… from 2006 and 2007 that is. 😛

      It’s funny you mention Facebook, that’s the one thing I’ve seen that hasn’t really taken off within the anime community. I did an informal twitter poll on this, and it seemed like the big reason is that just about everyone uses an alternate persona on blogs, twitter, while obviously facebook requires your real name. It seems FB crosses reality too close for comfort.

      1. Most do suck… I blame the amount of tightly packed stories as of lately (fear the twelves!).

        I’m fairly new to the anibloggosphere, but I know of quite a lot of former anon bloggers who moved on to a life of mere updates through their real identities via twitter/facebook. I just assumed anime blogs MIGHT be suffering from that as well. Blogging in general is just not as popular as it was two years ago.

  16. If anime sites are really going the way of the dodo, then that’s fine with me. All it means is that when I’m the last one standing I’ll feel like I’ve won something. And oh… It’s not a blog it’s an ISSS.

  17. Seems like every once in a while, someone talks about anime blogs dying. Yet I keep seeing all these new blogs and old blogs stick around. The anime blogosphere will always be there; the blogs themselves might come and go, but there will always be people writing. It’s too much of a habit for some (like me), and the allure of having your thoughts read is too attractive for new bloggers.

    The rush of new blogs does seem to have died down though. That, or perhaps newer blogs just don’t know about nano and other ways to actively insert themselves into the “blogosphere.”

  18. I’m a bit torn on this. Nowadays I prefer the instant gratification that Twitter provides. Because it’s centralized, there is a huge chance that someone would read my ideas and thoughts, and potentially follow-through by replying or retweeting them. There’s also the issue of intimacy with your audience. Because you personally pick who you follow and when they follow you back, you’re quite sure that you are able to reach the people you want to share your stuff with.

    This was the same ideal I had with my blog years ago, but then times have changed not only because of web 2.0 and social networking, but because of being more busy with real-life stuff. My blog as of today, despite the sporadic and inconsistent posts I make there, still renders hundreds of hits a day. However, I’m not sure who exactly I am reaching there, I can only peruse blog stats and ‘assume’ what kind of content they liked from me, and the occasional rare comment pops up as well.

    As you stated though, Twitter is instant gratification that sometimes has no real lasting value – an idea made in words would disappear in the archives in mere seconds. I would like to think about anime blogging as having more staying power – not like the levels or literary quality of something like a novel, but at the very least I want to be remembered somehow, or quoted sometime, for an article, a blog post that could stand the test of time. If there were some way to update the Anime Nano/aniblogosphere paradigm to highlight or present each one of us bloggers, or our posts, in a better way, I’m all for it.

    For now, the reason I can’t keep up is because there’s too many of us “still”, and because I’m busy.

    1. What I struggle with most is that I really only have time to jump on it a few minutes at a time ever couple or so hours. And it’s very difficult to sustain a conversation or develop any strong connections with people that way. So it’s a bit odd. It’s low effort in that it only takes a second to write a tweet vs. an hour for a blog post, and it’s intimate in that you have a much more direct connection with the other person, but the irony is that I think you need to be on it for sustained periods of time – regularly – to really get the most out of it. The people who are tweeting 20, 50, 100 times a day? I have to imagine they’re spending as much time on Twitter as someone writing a blog post every day, if not more.

      I also agree that I like to think about anime blogging as having more staying power. I wish there was an archive.org specifically for anime blogs. I still go back to old posts from RandomC to look up information about a specific episode, or to find a screenshot or something. Or posts like THAT and Riuva’s history of the blog scene to learn or jog my memory about something. I hate to think that there could be a wealth of good content or discussions that eventually disappears into the ether.

      1. You could submit links to comments to @ghostcomments and I’ll post them here:

        https://welovecomments.wordpress.com/ “The Ghosts of Discussions”

        Since I admin this site, I can only be vigilant with the comments in WRL, but I care about comments too much to have them disappear to the aether so if you find one from ANY anime/manga blog no matter who left it, I’ll archive it in GoD.

        (It archives waaay better than shitty tumblr)

  19. Really, really interesting stuff. I’ve been enlightened! 🙂

    *adds his blog to the list of new ones from 2010*

    Only about…18 months to go before it dies… 😛

  20. Despite my low profile in the blogosphere, I’m almost around for three years already and I’d say one of the reasons I sometimes feel jaded is because almost, of course not all, I first knew when I started blogging already died (to mention, blissmo) while others are in indefinite hiatuses which I don’t even know really if it’s still hiatus or not. Those who often go and read my posts aren’t there anymore. Same as those that I read (I especially miss Scrumptious). Then again, just like what you’ve said, it’s pretty much around the 2 year mark that anime blogs die. Even though I’m struggling with RL, I won’t abandon my blog, probably.

    I guess I’m thankful these days that I’ve found some new companies.

    1. Most of the people I’ve broken in with, or at least gotten to know along the way are all still around, but I can see how seeing the people around you drop out can make it a drag. On the upside, I feel like Twitter actually becomes an ideal outlet where even if you’re on hiatus or not blogging, it doesn’t mean that you’re totally disconnected anymore. You can still maintain the relationships and camraderie that exists.

      1. well it’s fine if they’re active in twitter. The thing is, they’re not. I can only mention around 2 or so among the first bloggers I knew that are still active in twitter.

  21. Sometimes I wonder about this two year mark myself. While my blog is only reaching a year old, I’ve been blogging for around 2 years. I had a long hiatus at the end of 2010 that coincided with the 2 year mark but I came back earlier this year feeling fresher and more motivated.

    I think a hiatus does wonders and in a team blog, you have some leverage on getting some rest in terms of backup.

    But still, the 2 year mark has always been in the back of my mind and I hope that I will avoid it this year. I’m still aiming to make it to the next Aniblog touney so that’s a good goal to keep me motivated (not to mention my need to expand the Eyeshield 21 love among manga readers)

    Those booms seem to happen during years which released great anime. I myself first broke into aniblogging due to watching shows like TTGL, Code Geass and Samurai Champloo, which all were released around the same year-ish.

    To be honest, since then I’m still waiting for anime that I can safely categorise in that class. No luck so far, so I’ve been sticking to manga mostly but I’m still hoping for the next big thing to arrive.

    1. As an individual blog owner, blog life and death has been something I’ve thought about even as I’ve added new writers, because I realize that as far as rabbitpoets.com goes, the success of it really depends on my dedication to it. At least the way I have it set up right now.

      But I think the challenge is similar, in a slightly different way for team blogs – if that makes sense. Run well, other writers can provide cover for each other’s breaks. But I’ve seen too many blogs add writers as a way to extend its life as the founder fades away, except it rarely works like that. Usually, the founder fades away, and then the new writers fade away and then at some point the founder writes a “I’m not dead” post as his goodbye. I think the only blogs that I’ve seen successfully navigate an ownership “change” have been THAT and RandomC… and maybe Bokutachi no Blog potentially (if Scamp was still there we’d probably be seeing it).

      So I think the challenge with team blogs is similar, you need to find a really strong set of writers. These are writers that are not only good “technically”, but also very dedicated and have a good sense of community. Bad writers are worse than no writers. Then, I think you need to set up the infrastructure where if the founder dropped out, someone could step up, and nobody would miss a beat… So, how goes the new writer search? 😉

      1. Pretty good so far. Have my eye on a few people 🙂

        For a good example of leadership change, you should check out Metanorn. That one was handled really well and the new leader Kyokai has been running a super tight ship since she took ownership of the blog. They redesigned, got a new crew and changed hosts etc all out of Kyo’s wallet. And the blog now has been really on the up and up

          1. Around the mid-year point of 2010 the transition began. Kanzie hired Kyo but then went AWOL all of a sudden, leaving her all alone. After months of harassing her for admin rights, Kyo finally got it and made drastic changes and created her own team after confirming that Kanzie was stepping down for good.

            It’s pretty much now Kyo’s blog and she’s been managing it really damn well

        1. Yeah, Metanorn also has to be given credit for thriving after an ownership change. The founder-fade with an attempt at recruiting pretty much always fails, because no one wants to put effort into a ship that is sinking from the start.

          1. That reminds me, I know the number of shows you cover varies season by season, but have you ever taken a break in Sea Slug history, or have you been constant the whole time?

  22. Two other things:

    1) The first big bump in anime blogging occurred in 2006, which comes as no surprise since that was also the peak year in anime production.

    2) The decline in anime blogging can also be somewhat attributed to the rise in fansubbing. Anime blogging started out as mainly consisting of blogs that posted episode recap summaries back around 2004 or so, and that model really endured for years despite becoming increasingly obsolete. There was a demand for these since not everything was being fansubbed and what was being fansubbed could still take a while to come out. And when I say a “while” here, I don’t mean being butthurt over it taking a couple hours for subs to come out. I mean taking weeks to show up.

    As a concrete example, people Garten and Momotato got large audiences when they would post episode summaries of My-Hime because the subs for the show were almost two months behind and it allowed (the many) people that were following raws to understand the parts of the episode that they couldn’t follow purely based on the visuals alone. Subs still weren’t really coming out for everything (or in a quick turnaround) until around 2007 or 2008, so there was a need for these recap blogs to provide a place with information about shows.

    I would also attribute the constant decrease in anime production as a source of declining need for anime blogs since it’s a lot easier now to watch everything that you want to watch in a given season. We noticed that we were writing episode summaries for something like a dozen shows per season back in 2006. Right now, there’s only about 4 or so shows per season we even watch.

    Additionally, Wikipedia took a while to take off. Nowadays, there are pages for anime up well before they even air. My-Hime didn’t even have a Wikipedia page until it had nearly aired, so if people wanted to find out about it, it was blog time. It’s almost like why there are no “fan pages” any more. There’s just no need for them. Similarly, there’s no point for most people to write episode recap blogs any more. People will have seen the episode.

    Finally, has anyone ever really stopped to think if maybe the whole “anime blog” thing is kind of weird? I’m really having trouble thinking of some sort of equivalent for Western TV and film. It’s more like Television Without Pity-ish forums, or posts on professional sites which basically serve more as a comment thread for people to talk about the show like they would in a forum. I never see stuff like “Here are my thoughts about moe, and by moe I mean women in Ice Road Truckers. And then tomorrow I’ll ‘interpret’ Dancing On Ice With The Stars.” Or “Here are the plots of this weekend’s movies”?

    1. There was a demand for these since not everything was being fansubbed and what was being fansubbed could still take a while to come out. And when I say a “while” here, I don’t mean being butthurt over it taking a couple hours for subs to come out. I mean taking weeks to show up.

      This! This explains so much! It fills a hole of big hole of ignorance of mine. I started watching on a weekly basis when subs were readily available. So I never understood why blogs like RandomC and Subculture had such detailed summaries of each episode. I wondered, can people really not wait a day or two to watch the episode themselves? Do they really care about the summaries? And this explains it all to me, it makes perfect sense now. It also explains why episodic blogs seem to be moving more to the straight “reaction” style, and cutting out much of the summaries – less need, and a breakaway from the randomc style.

      Finally, has anyone ever really stopped to think if maybe the whole “anime blog” thing is kind of weird? I’m really having trouble thinking of some sort of equivalent for Western TV and film.

      I noticed this as I was searching for some inspiration for my last season preview post. I tried searching for just general American-TV blogs, and I couldn’t find a damn thing that was comparable. My guess is that it has to do with English speaking anime fans being such a small and unique subculture within the entertainment sphere. So the community tends to be denser and more intimate. An independent film blog scene might be comparable (if such a thing existed). On the flip side, are there such things as a Japanese-language anime blog scene? Or to mirror our experience, are there such things as a Japanese-language American-television blog scene?

      1. The detailed summary is less in demand with the increased speed and sometimes simulcasting of subs, but summaries are still useful. You mention yourself that you sometimes still look up information about old episodes. This info can be tough to find after the initial run of a show, and the motivation to rewatch for a snippet of info (especially if you are not sure which episode it was from) is low. This is one of the reasons I stay committed to providing a summary; also I think a summary sets the table for discussion.

        BTW, what you refer to as “randomc style” is really “Omni style” as Divine doesn’t provide summaries; his posts are nearly completely reaction. Too many people who do not read Random Curiosity regularly make this blanket statement and it’s not really fair.

        1. Really: summaries- Yeah, I agree that the summaries are usually a launching points for the reaction. It can be a little jarring otherwise, especially when you go back to a post after a while. So I’ve tended to weave in key summary points as part of my posts because I had a tough time separating the two into distinct sections in my writing. It’s hard, at least for me, to write reaction without rehashing summary. Although the distinct sections are more user friendly.

          Re: Omni style vs RandomC style, that’s a good point. I don’t tend to read posts for shows I’m not following, and I tend not to read summaries unless I’m going back to fact check something, so I keep forgetting that they dont write summaries anymore. But their wall of screenshots serves that purpose for me, like a visual summary. Useful when the episode is fresh in my mind, but probably less so if I returned to it in the future.

    2. Oh, the one other thing I’d add that’s unique about the “anime blog” fandom is that we tend to be displaced. If I could have talked about anime with real life friends like I did about South Park or the Simpsons or whatever, there’s no way I would’ve felt a need to blog about it. If I didn’t get to talk about it enough in real life, I probably would’ve been satisfied with a lesser engagement like forums (which I actually was in the early-mid 2000’s when I was a huge Bruce Timm/Paul Dini DC-universe fan).

  23. Oh, one more thing:

    In fandom studies, one reason that fans are drawn to fan activities and purchasing memorabilia is an attempt to extend the pleasure derived from the object of one’s fandom. Think about if you’re a fan of say, Firefly. You watch the show a few times, but then if you want more Firefly-related enjoyment, you’ve gotta do other things than watch the show. I’d wager that part of the growth of anime blogging had to do with there only being so much accessible anime back in the day (even if the amount produced by Japan had been higher), so people needed to come up with other things to do if they wanted some more “anime experience”.

  24. I almost didn’t make it through 2010 in terms of my blogging, it really is less motivating to blog when all your friends die out themselves. I’ve been blogging since 2007, which is crazy to me and althought I post once a week, I think it’s better than none, right? But ya Twitter and Tumblr are definitely, and already are, the future of “anime blogging”, but for those who are left, I guess we just have to stick together!

    1. Heh, I think once a week is plenty and a long way from dying out. 😛 I would hate to see you leave the scene. The “anime princess” moniker stood out to me from when I first started following blogs and writing.

  25. Twitter is a good place to get to know other bloggers better~ I rarely see any discussion of anime other than OP/ED songs or it could be that I’m not following enough people 😮

    I think blogs nowadays are going to last longer thanks to Scamp’s death post, those who passed the 2yr mark will feel like they accomplished something 😀 ah well sooner or later we’ll all quit~ not like anyone’s crazy enough to keep going till they’re 40! XD

  26. Twitter is never for me to begin with. I enjoy reading and mostly spend lots of time brooding before expressing anything. Plus, my free time is very limited and unpredictable. I don’t think twitter will ever replace blogging, they are completely different; one for readers and another for talkers.

    I just crossed my 3 years mark and still going fine because I don’t post too often. It’s like having mini-hiatus all the time 🙂

  27. Last year’s funniest blog death was mef’s. She had such a fast turnaround that a lot of people didn’t know Paper flower died for a day. What resilience!

    Also, I am still dead. The living dead, that is!

  28. Excellent post, RP, and sorry for the late reply.

    Well, I think there’s a few different things driving the recent decline of anime blogging:

    1. Competition with anime message board/forum posting. I personally find that when I’m VERY active on anime message boards/forums, I just don’t have time for blogging as well. There’s a definite inverse relationship between the two for me. Incidentally, that’s why I haven’t been here much on RP over the last two weeks – just so much Madoka Magica discussion going on keeping me busy.

    2. Perhaps there’s a level of satisfaction with all the established anime blogs that are out there. People thinking about blogging might be thinking that they have nothing new to add to what’s already there. Now, the good thing is, if this is a major factor in the decline, then we should see a cyclical upsurge in anime blogging sometime in the near future as with old blogs dying off or becoming less active, people will start to see a niche that needs to be filled and some new anime blogs might start up.

    3. A decline of anime shows that are good for episodics. Perhaps a lot of the more prominent recent anime shows just aren’t good for episodic reviews. I do notice that plot pacing seems to be a bit slower now compared to the days of Code Geass, Gurren Lagann, Nanoha A’s, Ga-Rei Zero, and Haruhi 2006. I can’t think of many recent anime I’ve seen that had really brisk pacing where so much happened each and every episode that it would be easy to write out long reviews for each one. While I’ve somewhat enjoyed Star Driver, for example, doing episodics for it must feel like doing episodics for Sailor Moon, as both have a lot of that “Monster/Enemy of the Week” feel to them.

    4. And, I hope it’s not this, but maybe the anime fandom is in decline, or the overall quality of anime is in decline? I hope not, in both cases, but who knows?

    Anyway, that’s my thoughts. 🙂

    1. Heh, I just realized I posted about #1 below. The one thing I will say in addition is that forums predated blogs. I don’t know if anime forums predated anime blogs in popularity, but the my guess is that it did. So I don’t know if forums would impact the rate of blogging at this stage (unless you consider twitter to be a forum, which I guess you could).

      But my guess is that a mix of 2, 3, and 4 are all causes for the lack of newer blogs. There’s also the broader trend in which blogging is supposedly down across all demographics, at least in the US, that definitely can’t help.

  29. I’m quite new in English blogsphere so I can’t say too much but I think This might be because Today’s otaku has almost all anime of the season in a few days after it is released in Japan. Years ago People searched more on anime blogs to get info about animes that I could’t get on that moment and spend more time on fandom. Now anime is more like watch and drop in order to see a new one, people forget to search opinions, images etc for those animes so Anime blogs are lossing their meaning.

    Another thing is that there exist little fandoms all ver internet cause there are not 1 hit series that everybody has watched like time ago.

    I guess things are changing. Let’s hope this does not end worse.

  30. I’ve been a long time reader of blogs since I love reading different opinions and views of the shows I follow and it’s only recently that I’ve decided to be a little more pro-active in discussion of my hobby. I’ll probably continue blogging as long as I have the passion and time for it. It’s definitely understandable that bloggers simply lose interest over time or other commitments just become too demanding to spare time for blogging.

    As for the discussion that blogs are becoming irrelevant, it’s definitely true that the different mediums of IRC, forums, boards and twitter as sources of anime discussion may have a much greater flexibility and advantage of being real-time etc. But the advantage of blogs generally is that unlike those mediums there’s a sense of static order in discussion and you won’t lose track of what’s going on as easily because of multiple conversations going on, quote pyramids etc. Also what are people’s thoughts on podcasting and vlogging? It’s prevalent but it’s certainly under the radar in the scheme of things.

    1. Hey congrats on the start so far! I just read through your posts and I like your style; you’re a good writer; very clear and concise, little bit of soul. 😛

      For pure discussion, I wonder if blogs are necessary if a “static order in discussion” is what you were looking for. It seems like the perfect avenue for that would be a forum. I know blog comments can sort of unfold similar to a forum posting, but rarely have I seen that happen. Usually, it’s a comment and a response. Whereas forum posts do tend to pile up and branch out more often.

      I think podcasting and vlogging will always be a niche thing, because a.) it’s hard to do b.) it’s not user friendly (more passive and time consuming than reading) and c.) if the content isn’t that good, the suckiness gets amplified. I’ve said this before somewhere, but the next interesting podcast or vlog I come across, will be the first.

  31. I’m pretty new to blogging, but I don’t plan to give up, even if blogging in general tanks. I write for fun, which was the whole incentive for me to start a blog. In fact, the longer I’ve been blogging, the more I’ve enjoyed it.

  32. I don’t think that anime blog is dying because there are lots of babies out there that are born everyday so there are no chance that anime world is dying. Just produce a good article and be updated on what’s the latest update. 😀

  33. I guess it all comes to a problem of both saturation and overall blogging motivation. Even when you are passionate about anime, writing and writing and writing about it without receiving anything in return can “unmotivate” anybody; and thus, after 2 years of writing for nothing but some comments, you say “meh, screw it, I could be spending my time doing something else”. I believe that in order to do something really worthwhile as an anime blogger you have to either:

    1. Monetize damn well your blog
    2. Team up with more bloggers and work together on a bigger authority site, which could discuss other anime-related stuff like games, manga, figurines, japanese culture, etc, etc.

    That’s my personal opinion. What you guys think? 😀

  34. People realized running your own website takes a lot of effort … even when it’s only a “blog”. Keeping up an episodic format .. and heaven forbid super detailed summaries … takes up a lot of time. Not to mention blogging multilple series can make things pile up awfully fast. Things required to run a blog besides actually writing posts:

    a. capturing screenshots … with that comes uploading … organizing … renaming files
    b. post formats … images correct size, spell checks, grammer checks .. etc
    c. marketing … twitter … submitting and making sure google is indexing
    d. paying for hosting … updating wordpress, themes, css … with that having a somewhat unique looking blog …

    Of course writing a post alone can take a while … even with something as “simple” as a what happened post … some shows are needlessly complex and have no comprehension when its all said and done in the first place …

    it’s no surprise team blogs are still up and running …

  35. When you say Memento it means designchronicle.com/memento right? Because I don’t know how long I haven’t checked that site only to find out that it closed. I’m not really a fan of anime blogging but I do appreciate it. I used to check out http://www.robertsetiadi.net/anm/ and designchronicle.com/memento back in high school (around 2004-2009) to check what anime to watch and when I got to college I never got to check it as frequently as before.

  36. I’ ll say something short and sweet 😛
    First off nice blog congrats and second love your cover photo it helps illuminate the place.! ^^

  37. Pingback: Anonymous

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