Man, it sure is hard to find anime blogs that don’t suck these days.
Despite being an overabundance of anime blogs in this wonderful age of Internet 2.0, the fact that every Johnny F. Weaboo has the ability to create a free website where he can share his own terrible opinions about terrible Japanese cartoons just means that in order to find anything worth reading, you have to sift through a lot of shit. Despite Colony Drop’s favorable reception triggering a new wave of anime blog sites in late 2008, this brave new world of Internet opinion has done little to produce blogs that we would actually recommend.
But wait, there’s hope yet!
Despite my predilection for historical American anime fandom minutiae, I still can’t recommend Dave Merrill’s let’s anime enough. In a crowded Internet of me-too blogs, Merrill actually comes up with something new by looking into the past. Far beyond Colony Drop’s own fascination with 1980’s Japanese cartoons, Merrill often focuses on early anime and anime fandom from the 60s to the 70s, as well as the beginning of American anime fandom in the 80s. The best part about reading new posts by Merrill is that you’ll probably read about something you’ve never heard of before, like anime cosplay in the U.S. from 1983 or Pat Robertson’s connection to anime. If you’re not interested in anime beyond the latest Japanimation bittorrents you probably won’t give a fuck, but let’s anime does a great job of helping educating fans on the early days of anime, even if most fans probably don’t care.
Japanese words of anime fans, by anime fans, for anime fans
I’m not sure why “epic” always comes to mind first when I try to think of adjectives to attach to bangin’s blog on anime fan lingo. Nay, these are not copy-paste jobs from Encyclopedia Dramatica, but rather dispatches from Nippon itself– the bleeding edge of anime fandom so to speak. On a startlingly regular basis, host bangin leads you through the inventions and dimensions of the latest anime slang tearing it up in Japan. As a native of the country and proven fan as exemplified through his prolific cosplaying, bangin brings a level of insider’s knowledge and insight to his subject that beats out even the most creepily devoted expat blogs. An ever-so-slightly cryptic approach to English and judgment calls on which terms to cover lend Japanese words of anime fans an even more off-kilter feel. In a blogging niche clogged to bursting with more of the same, bangin brings the goods. An anime blogger’s anime blog.
I discovered the works of Patrick Macias about six years ago, when I randomly came across his book TokyoScope: The Japanese Cult Film Companion. It introduced me to the wild world of Sonny Chiba, Takashi Miike, and dozens of other movies that all blew my mind in rapid succession.
After that, I kept seeing this guy’s name pop up everywhere: back issues of Pulp and Animerica, DVD inserts, this book… just who was this guy?
For those who don’t know, Patrick Macias is “living the dream,” hopping back and forth across the pond and writing about anime and Japanese pop culture. He’s published multiple books and is the editor-in-chief of Otaku USA. For my money (or lack thereof), his finest works can be found on his blog, which is more “free-form,” to say the least. Not strictly anime-related, Macias blogs about whatever wild scraps of pop culture seem to be on his mind. I’m a big fan of Macias because he’s always a blast to read, keeps his head above the current “industry angst,” and knows what the hell he’s talking about. For double the fun, check out his podcast, Hot Tears of Shame, where he braves the darkest corners of Tokyo with only a tape recorder…
Do you ever wish that you could learn Japanese and travel the Glorious Nipponese Blogosphere, searching for juicy tidbits of industry and fan-culture gossip? Then you’re a horrible, hopeless nerd. The rest of us can read Canned Dogs and pretend that puts us in-the know. Whether it’s the hobbies of the Akiba knife attacker, a comic artist’s legal battle against his incompetent publishers, or tracking the popularity explosion of the Touhou franchise, Zepy’s got all sorts of odd little tidbits pulled from Japanese news sites and message boards, handily summarized in English. A lot of them have to do with the goings-on of Japan’s PC games market – i.e., really poor art.
The author of this blog notes that just as television rots the brain, the overzealous reader risks becoming an insufferable prig like him. As readers and authors of anime blogs, we all face a similar brain-melting menace (and it is not the monster from Roots Search): the overuse of screenshots. Hasn’t it happened too many times, dear reader, that you’ve come to an anime blog to read about an anime, and come away with twenty words, half that many emoticons, and three times that many screenshots? Hasn’t it made you feel a little less smart? Well, that’s why you need the Animanachronism. It’s the thoughtful anime blog, the wordy anime blog, the lit student’s anime blog. There is insight! Food for thought! Thoughts you might not have thought of on your own! Sure, it’s recently died, but that’s why you need to read the archive before it disappears. If you don’t, and it does disappear, and you continue to read anime blogs, you run the very serious risk of your grey matter melting into goop and spending the rest of your life sitting on the floor of an anime convention holding a hug me sign. Now that’s Most Dangerous, and not the good kind. Be warned.
The depressing truth discovered in this team-effort is that it was a lot harder than we thought to find five blogs worth recommending. Hopefully this post introduces you to some blogs you’ve never read before, but feel free to comment and post up any blogs you think we missed.