The Road Goes Ever On and On
Four weeks ago, bear informed me that he would be retiring from anime blogging. With that knowledge, I had to make the decision whether to try to keep antiotaku running on my own, or let it die a graceful death. I had, during the spring season, taken over posting duties completely, but that was during the victory lap portion of my graduate degree work, followed by two months of comparative vacation. Making four posts a week regularly took a greater toll during the summer season, when my new job officially started, and writing five to six posts a week, which keeping this site afloat would require, seemed particularly daunting.
I decided to review every new show this season as a stalling technique, a way to keep content flowing at the production speed I would need to maintain year-round. That, I figured, would not commit me to covering any particular series until I made my decision. It would also provide me with the knowledge of whether I could consistently put in the 12 or so hours each week that it would take to keep five posts coming. Having done that for the month of October, I found my answer.
It is with sincere regret that I announce this will be the final post on antiotaku.
Signing up for antiotaku seemed entirely natural at the time. When this blog started my most prolific online conversations were with bear, and nearly all of them centered around anime. When he announced he wanted to start a blog, I figured that it would be an interesting challenge, a great outlet for writing, and a way to start looking seriously at an interest that was taking an increasing amount of my time.
Having gone at it for close to 19 months, I do feel like I’ve accomplished all those goals. In particular, I feel like my tastes in anime have evolved for the better over time, as I’ve been forced to express exactly why I like or dislike something in ways that have to make sense written down.
There’s this great scene in the currently airing Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai where one of the characters, who has improbably become an dating sim enthusiast, is expounding to her skeptical associates about how the depiction of the relationships in the game is high art. One associate then argues that if what she says is true, she shouldn’t have any trouble reading the script aloud. The otaku is then reduced to blushing shame as she reads off line after line of misogynistic rape fantasy, before fleeing the room in tears.
Writing seriously about anime is sort of like that: It forces you to really look at what you are watching and ask yourself the reasons why. That was the entire point of bear’s reviews of Oreimo (tellingly, by the same studio that’s giving us Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai), which was a exploration of bear’s own mixed feeling on the show, and a discussion about how the show itself was prompting the same sorts of questions, even if it wasn’t sure it wanted the answer.
I’m grateful, then, that bear offered me the opportunity to think about what really makes anime good (or not). I’m thankful for the opportunity to have seen so many new shows, occasionally discovering gems I never would have noticed if not for the work I did here. I’m grateful that, although I have covered one or two stinkers from start to finish, most of the series I’ve covered have been worth every word I’ve written about them, and that I’ve had more series truly worth writing about each season.
I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I’ve come to like anime less as a result of becoming more critical towards it. Right now I am following a mind-bogglingly high number of shows from the new season (12, about half of those which started airing), and anime takes up a greater role in how I spent my free time than it ever has before in my life. With the increasing reach of simulcasting thanks to companies like Crunchyroll and the work of American licensers like Viz and Funimation, following anime has never been easier.
And, to a certain extent, I don’t want it to be over. I want to talk about how Un-Go manages to be one of the most eccentric shows I’ve seen in years, an almost unclassifiable mix of genres, but also is extremely thoughtful in how it approaches sociopolitical commentary. I want to talk about Bakuman as I pick back up the story of Moritaka and Takagi, a story I grew to love.
Yet my greatest regret about my time here is that I got so bogged down with episode reviews that I never had the time to talk about some of my favorite anime from previous years, shows like Monster and Cross Game. Everyone who isn’t allergic to anime deserves to know about the beauty of Haibane Renmei, or Honey and Clover, and I wish I had found a way to tell you about them.
And so, I hope that I led this post off with a lie. I hope that this will not be the final post on antiotaku. I hope that sometime in the future, months or years ahead, I’ll be able to have one final post, inviting old viewers to the site where I’m writing now, and welcoming viewers from my new home to look over old shows with fresh eyes.
Will that ever happen? I have no idea. I wouldn’t have predicted any aspect of my current life three years ago; I won’t try to predict what will happen in the future. But I hope.
So, for now, farewell. Perhaps we’ll meet again.