At antiotaku, we’ve seen lots of anime. We’ve seen the ultra-trashy filth, the hackneyed, cliché-ridden snoozefests—and some works so brilliant they deserve a spot in everyone’s DVD collection. What we want to is identify some of the gems of the medium, but also explain some of the weirdness of anime and explore the cultural differences that make anime a distinctly Japanese creation.

Anime is foreign, literally and figuratively. It’s from a culture which is both Western and Asian at the same time, with some additional oddities that seem to come from some other world entirely. We want to make that foreignness more accessible, whether you’re just starting to enjoy the medium, a long-time watcher who is curious about some of the “behind the scenes” aspects of how anime is made, or just want a more critical take on a series. 

How we review shows

antiotaku leans away from a review style that just recounts the content of an episode. Major plot points are explained as needed, but the point of our reviews is to go deeper, to do more than just recap the plot and say whether or not we liked something. We might comment on prominent themes of the work, how a particular episode fits into the context of a wider story, or the strange cultural milieu that anime is made in. We might talk about some of the considerations that go into creating anime: how an element is intended to appeal to the target audience, what studios do to cut costs, or how a voice actor can affect how you perceive a character. Sometimes—all too often, in fact—we have to explain why a particular show is just plain awful, which is both the best and worst part of our job.

If you couldn’t tell from the site’s title, we are united in being critics of otaku culture—the peculiar and nerdy subculture that is the primary consumer and creator of most anime and manga. Like much of nerd culture in general (and all of us here are acknowledged nerds), there’s a fair amount of escape into fantasy, often at an unhealthy level. Unlike much of nerd culture, that escapism often is expressed much more openly within anime and manga itself, making appearances that have to be explained.

The format

We write introductory reviews to most of the shows that air each season, and then typically choose five or six shows to cover on a regular basis. Typically, these are either what we think will be the best shows airing, or the ones most likely to explore otaku culture. Very, very rarely, these categories overlap. These criteria mean we’re unlikely to cover many comedies (which typically lack enough substance to write about on a regular basis), children’s shows, or anything that features cute girls doing absolutely nothing interesting. We’re looking for the exceptional: the rare and especially good shows, or the rather more common enormous wastes of everyone’s time and money.

We also write the occasional review of an entire series, whether it’s a show we happen to have watched recently or something that is important or special to one or both of us. We’re not above the occasional post explaining a concept we can’t digress enough to cover in an episode review (although some of us don’t believe it’s possible to digress too much), and our season-end awards may or may not be eagerly anticipated by every studio in Japan, determining their personal and societal worth solely on our curt nods of approval. (Sad reality: they are not.)

If you like what we’re trying to do, or disagree with what we’re trying to say, please comment on the posts. We like to hear back from like-minded fans or the rare internet denizen capable of polite criticism. If you want to write for us, or have any questions or comments, you can email us at antiotaku@live.com or find us in the comments.

  1. September 23, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Hi, nice to meet you !

  2. Naurizt
    January 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Hey, I just found this blog through your Oreimo episode write-ups and those along with some other posts have really made me think about how and why I watch anime. Since I haven’t read all too many anime blogs I can’t really say this with any kind of authority, but I haven’t really come across writing as incisive of the whole culture surrounding anime before. Do you (bear and 3HM) have any personal recommendations for similar blogs/writing?

    Very good stuff, and I hope you guys keep it up!

    • January 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm

      Sorry, I really can’t. I started this site in part because I couldn’t find anywhere else that took a thoughtful approach to thinking and writing about anime. If there was someone else out there, we’d probably be writing for them instead.

      But thank you for getting what we’re trying to do, and for thinking about anime yourself. If you have something you want to say, feel free to share it with us.

    • threeheadedmonkeys
      January 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      For my money the best anime blogger was Omni of Random Curiosity, who almost always found a good mix between episode summation and thoughtful commentary. He didn’t cover anime/otaku culture in the same way we have, however, and in any case he retired from anime blogging around the same time we started.

      Random Curiosity is still one of the inescapable anime blogs, arguably the most prominent one, because of the consistency and speed of their posting. I think their reviews aren’t quite as good now as what Omni did, but I’m sure part of that is because Divine (the new head blogger there) and I have very different tastes in anime.

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