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For Every End, A New Beginning

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen, Raph, lvlln | Tuesday 10 April 2012 12:30 am

If I recall, I started writing for this blog about four years ago.  In that time, there’s been a lot of ups and downs.  I wrote, got burned our, wrote again, and then blew up in the hanger.  Nevertheless, I’ve made a lot of memories and several good friends through this blog.  But with lvlln and Raph officially moving on, I think it’s high time I do the same.  It’s time to let go.

I’m starting from scratch and writing for myself.  I know at the very least, Space Brothers has ignited a spark that’s made me think about writing again.  Hanging out over at Metanorn has given me motivation as well.  I will hopefully continue writing under my new WordPress blog, Derivative Paradise.  Or I could be completely talking out my ass again.  Who knows?

To all of you, past, present, and future, who have read this blog, thank you for your time and participation.  Special thanks to those of you who still have this blog on your reader after all these years.  I wish you all the best.  I have no intention to allow any more posts here.  However, this blog will continue to exist as a testament to both successes and failures.  I think anything less would be a disservice to myself, my compatriots, and the readers who still continue to stumble into this space.

Until we meet again,
~Rakuen


Moving

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Raph | Monday 12 March 2012 4:37 am

I haven’t exactly posted here in six months, but hey! I’ve started up a seiyuu blog at Maji Gachinko, where I’ll be posting my seiyuu season previews (and hopefully other things) from now on. Thanks very much to everyone here who read my posts and/or commented so kindly on them, and to CJ and Rakuen for allowing me to write for them. Hope to catch you on the flip side.

 

- Raph


Happy New Year, and Farewell

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Real Life Stoof, lvlln | Monday 2 January 2012 7:34 pm

I’ll make this short. I’ve joined the team over at Metanorn, and I’ll no longer be a part of Borderline Hikikomori. Thank you to all readers and commenters. It was a lot of fun being a part of this team, and it was gratifying to be able to reach and interact with so many people. I learned a lot about blogging and writing in my time here, and I thank Rakuen (and the now retired CJ) for taking a chance on me and giving me such an opportunity.

Anyway, since everyone’s been putting together lists, here’s my top list of all the anime I blogged in some capacity here:

1. FLCL (10 years later retrospectives)

2. Evangelion 2.22

3. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya

4. Bakemonogatari

5. Magical Girl Madoka Magica (My last episodic here)

6. Durarara!! (Substituted in for Rakuen a few times)

7. Yet the Town Keeps Going

8. Arakawa Under the Bridge

9. Ookami-san and Seven Companions

10. Dance in the Vampire Bund (My first episodic here)

11. Amagami SS

12. Black Rock Shooter

Please pay me a visit at Metanorn some time. I’ll be active with a couple episodics this coming Winter 2012 season.


Happy New Year, and Farewell

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Real Life Stoof, lvlln | Monday 2 January 2012 7:34 pm

I’ll make this short. I’ve joined the team over at Metanorn, and I’ll no longer be a part of Borderline Hikikomori. Thank you to all readers and commenters. It was a lot of fun being a part of this team, and it was gratifying to be able to reach and interact with so many people. I learned a lot about blogging and writing in my time here, and I thank Rakuen (and the now retired CJ) for taking a chance on me and giving me such an opportunity.

Anyway, since everyone’s been putting together lists, here’s my top list of all the anime I blogged in some capacity here:

1. FLCL (10 years later retrospectives)
2. Evangelion 2.22
3. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
4. Bakemonogatari
5. Magical Girl Madoka Magica (My last episodic here)
6. Durarara!! (Substituted in for Rakuen a few times)
7. Yet the Town Keeps Going
8. Arakawa Under the Bridge
9. Ookami-san and Seven Companions
10. Dance in the Vampire Bund (My first episodic here)
11. Amagami SS
12. Black Rock Shooter

Please pay me a visit at Metanorn some time. I’ll be active with a couple episodics this coming Winter 2012 season.


We Want You to Write for Borderline Hikikomori

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen | Friday 4 June 2010 12:00 am

This new team of Raph, lvlln, and myself has worked out pretty well for the Spring season.  However, we’ve talked it over, and we’ve decided to look for another writer or two to beef up our ranks.  In addition, this Fall I will be starting an internship, in addition to school, so I’m suddenly going to lose much of my time.  It would be great to have a few other writers with experience from the Summer season under their belts to fill in the gaps, should I have to disappear for a while.

Now, I could give you some great speech to motivate you to write for Borderline Hikikomori, but in this case, it just isn’t my style.  If you like reading this blog, and you want to contribute more directly to its future, then you should apply.  If you have always wanted to write about Japanese culture, but starting a blog on your own felt too daunting, then you should apply.  If you feel like you have a distinct voice or opinion and you want to get it out there for others to read, then you should apply.  Everyone is welcome to try out, regardless of skill level or interests.  We play nice with new recruits, I swear.

What does a Recruit have to do to apply? Click past the break to find out!

With the pep talk out of the way, it’s time for me to lay some guidelines.

1)  Introduce yourself.  Tell me a little about yourself, such as your interests in Japanese culture, your favorite anime or video games, and really anything you want to include.  Personalize yourself to me.

2)  Give me a sample of your writing.  It can be on any topic related to Japanese culture, and you may consider it your first post to the blog if you are accepted.  It should also be something you have written recently.  Please don’t give me to something you wrote in 2007, because what you wrote three years ago is not who you are today.  Including it in a formatted Word Document would be great if possible.

3)  Tell me what you want to write in the future.  If you like writing episodics, then point out the anime you would write on for the blog.  If you’re more into editorials, then give me a few ideas for posts you’ve been kicking around.  Honestly, if you can make a good sell, I am open to other ideas as well.

4)  Relax!  No one is perfect when they first start writing for a blog.  I know I stuck myself into a rut of episode summary when I first joined this blog, and looking back on it it’s a bit embarrassing in some ways.  We will help you start out and pick you up if you make mistakes.  I’m looking for good writers who have passion for their work.  If you can deliver, then you should be fine for consideration.

5)  I prefer someone who can make at least one post per week.  Of course, more would be great.

Once you’ve given me your submission, I will look it over myself.  If I feel you’re a good fit for the blog, then I will forward it to Raph and lvlln for their consideration as well.  I will try to offer at least some constructive feedback for every submission if my time allows.  That way, even if you are not accepted, you will at least have some ideas for how to improve any future writing calls.  Remember, anyone with interest in Japanese culture is welcome to apply, regardless of your previous experience.  Sound good to everyone?  Awesome!

You can submit your application to me by sending an email to bhcomments@gmail.com .  You may also send any questions you have about the process or the blog to that email address.  I will answer everything to the best of my ability.  I will, however, be gone all weekend, so responses will be no earlier than next Monday.

Cheers!


Aniblog Tourney Opening Soon

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen, Scamp, aniblog, tournament | Saturday 17 April 2010 3:43 pm

About 3 weeks ago, Scamp had the grand idea to start an anime blog tournament.  Unlike the now defunct Otaku Elimination Game, this tournament is meant to be a for-fun popular vote to see which blog reigns supreme.  It should also give some attention to blogs people would normally pass over without any attention.  Scamp outlines all the details in this post, so read it and then subscribe to the tourney blog on your reader of choice so you can participate more easily.  Borderline Hikikomori is in this as well, and we have a first round bye.  We will go up against the winner of Jinx and 2DT.  I can’t speak for the former much, but I love 2DT’s blog, and it’s even on BH’s link page.  So, go check out those blogs and be ready to vote.  The tournament should open in 2 days!


Taking the Wheel

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen | Friday 2 April 2010 6:28 pm

Well, it’s been a hectic two weeks for me, for multiple reasons.  It’s still not even over yet as I have obligations to attend to all the way through Tuesday.  The pressing matter today, though, is my inheritance of this blog.  I’ll be honest, when I had it offered to me, I really didn’t know what to do.  I had one track in my mind that said, you know what, this blog has had a decent run, and the winter season is a good place to lay it to rest.  The other track said screw that, let’s keep it going.  This post’s existence means I decided on the latter.

So, what exactly changes in this shift of power?  Well, I get admin privileges, which means that I can now directly edit the blog.  You might have noticed a few cosmetic changes to the blog over the last few weeks, and as I notice aspects that I can improve, I plan to continue that process.  I will make this blog CSS bend to my will… eventually.  Outside of that, Raph and Lvlln will be writing with me for the next season.  I believe we will cover six series between the three of us if all goes as planned, though that might decrease depending on opening episodes.  Manga Monday will likely end up on indefinite hiatus.  I can’t speak for my fellow writers, but I just don’t read very much manga myself.  Finally, if you have any comments, suggestions, or observations, feel free to leave them here.

Business continues as usual.  I appreciate all of you that have stayed on this wild ride until now, and hope you will continue with us into the future.  Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!


Reality Check

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, CJ, Manga Review, Real Life Stoof | Monday 29 March 2010 2:21 pm

Blogging, simply put, is the defining tool of a new era of journalism, both inside of geekdom and outside it. It puts power in the hands of the underdogs: no matter who you are or what your education is, if you start a decent blog and pimp it hard enough, you’ll get your word out.

It also provides for discussions and social interactions unlike any other media form out there… and that’s why I started blogging. August 2007 was the month I began homeschooling, which did quite a number on my RL social life, obviously. I was determined to meet other people fascinated with Japanese animation and comics, just like me. Needless to say, that experiment worked pretty well: I now have some of the greatest friends in the whole world, and my baby is getting 25,000 pageviews a month with 250+ RSS feed subscribers.

But now I’m walking away. A third-degree existential crisis hit me yesterday, and though most of it was mainly about real life stuff, some of it was about my blogging. To sum it up, I’ve hit the point where blogging isn’t doing anything for me anymore, and it’s conflicting with my RL goals. I really hate to leave this behind, because I don’t want things to change; I don’t want to move on. But it’s happening, and this post goes a bit more into why. It’s a little tl;dr, but I’m explaining it all in hopes that maybe it’ll prove to be inspiring for someone else. I don’t want anyone else to quit aniblogging, obviously, but the emotions and logic in this post are fairly relevant to a lot of things besides blogging.

And in the words of my AP US History teacher, no, this ain’t gonna be a “sit around the campfire and sing kumbaya” post. (Of course, I guess that depends on your definition of one…)

My retirement has been a long time coming. Since October (or even before,) blogging has become a chore to me, to put it bluntly. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to watch the anime, per se, it was that I had begun not seeing the point of summarizing or reviewing the episode. Before that, I hadn’t blogged as much simply because of a lack of time – volleyball was in full swing, senior year had just started, I’d been taking college classes, and OH YEAH, I had mono. That was fun.

This whole spiral began with a disenchantment with the anime that were premiering at that time, and grew to a general discontentment. I became more and more interested in people and things IRL, and began reading and watching various entertainment sources less. This wasn’t too much of a bad thing, and I knew it was mainly happening because it was my senior year of high school. (For anyone who hasn’t been a senior in high school yet: it will be worse than you think it’s gonna be. Trust me.) Multiple hiatuses occurred, both formal and unannounced, because my priorities had shifted. I didn’t know why, at the time.

The drama over the past few months wasn’t even all that disenchanting; as I said on Twitter, I know I have my allies and my enemies, and that’s that. But as I sat down to blog Durarara!! late on Saturday, I suddenly wondered:

Why does this even matter?

I won’t explain the train of thought that finally put my emotions into words, because really, I don’t think I can. I just suddenly got to thinking about my real life goals, and what blogging’s really about, and how blogging can help me achieve those goals. It hit me pretty bluntly that honestly, it looks like blogging can’t do much else for me.

Don’t get me wrong: Blogging over the years has been absolutely amazing. I have loved making new friends and improving my writing skills, all while feeling like I was kinda “giving back” to fandom. I was homeschooled when I started this blog, and writing here was kinda what kept me sane. I loved it for a long, long time. I loved paneling, I loved conventions, and most of all, I loved the art form that is anime.

But now the entertainment has worn off. I’ve grown up quite a bit. I almost wish I hadn’t.

I’m now trying to pursue a double major in Criminal Justice and Japanese. I want to be an FBI Special Agent or something like that. I have real-world goals now, and real-world friends and values. It’s not that you guys aren’t important, it’s just that I need to step back and really refocus on using my talents to the fullest. I’m at the point where I’ve ended up asking, “Is there a point to blogging, especially if I’m no longer enjoying it?”

There’s a point to blogging, of course, it’s just not right for me anymore. And it’s not even that I don’t love anime anymore; I just love other things more. I want to love writing and the social aspects that come with them, but when I compare those things to the RL things that matter more, I can’t keep spending 5+ hours a week managing a blog.

As I’ve made clear over the past week, I’ve stopped caring about the social aspect of blogging… and that’s turning out to be a good thing. If I’d had this epiphany back in December or so, I probably couldn’t have handled it. But now I’m simply looking at it and wondering, “Wait, why DO I care about what 100-odd quasi-anonymous people think about what I think about Durarara!!’s fictional characters each week?”

I want the aniblogosphere to thrive. I want it to be full of people that love journalism and anime, and combine those two loves into something useful and beautiful. I just don’t want to be a part of it, anymore, because it’s not in line with my real-life goals and loves. It’s crowding out my other, more useful loves; and while hobbies are good to have,, they’re also supposed to be fun and beneficial to your real-life health, intelligence and relationships. This one’s only helping the third, and it’s pretty minimal, at this point.

I’m rambling, at this point (sorry ^^; ) and I guess I’ll just summarize the changes that are probably going to happen with me and the blog:

Am I deleting the blog? Heck no. xD
Am I leaving the blog to Rakuen? Yes, but not effective immediately. Him and I have talked things over, and I’ll tie up a few things I want fixed (in old posts, etc) before fading into the background. I’ll still be around to fix typos and such, and maybe chip in for a convention post, if I go to any more (see final question.) But for 95% of the posts, I’m done.
Am I leaving because I’m mad/sad/disappointed? I’m disappointed that I’m not having fun anymore, and that this all boils down to the fact that I’m growing up. But other than that, there’s no negative feelings here.
Am I going to stop reading manga and watching anime? Oh, heck no. I’ll probably cut back a fair amount; but despite being fiction, anime and manga are art forms, really, and I can’t just abandon them. Besides, subtitled anime is good for reinforcing the Japanese I’ve learned. <3
Am I leaving Twitter/LJ? Nope. I’ll make my Twitter a lot more RL-oriented, probably, and LJ will probably become that way as well. But I’ll still make fangirly tweets and posts when I discover shiny pretties or an episode of something simply blows me away.
Am I still going to write fanfics/make icons/do cosplay? 90% no to all 3. It seems sudden, yeah, but… Anime is fiction, and for me, making it a huge part of my lifestyle is ridiculous. I might bring out my Rohfa or Ema Skye cosplays one more time, but no more; fanfiction is pointless to me now, and LJ icon-making will only happen if I find extraordinarily shiny pretties. (Which is all too possible. MARIIIIIIIII <3)
Am I going to go to conventions anymore? … This one is harder to answer. I have already committed to doing Anime Blogging panels at Matsuricon this fall, but after that, I’m not sure. I might just go to Ohayocon as a fan and relax a lot more, and not worry about cosplay/panels constantly, especially since Ohayo’s a great place for me to see my friends.

In summary… this hurts. I’m reaching the age where I have to start living more rationally and prioritize more, and even though blogging’s not as fun as it used to be, I’d love to stick with it. It’s an escape of sorts, for me, but it’s an escape that I don’t think I need anymore.

I love you guys a lot. Rakuen, Crisu, Jenni, Dave, Icystorm, and our newest members lvlln and Raphael… Thank you so much for being here for so long. The experiences here have made me a better writer, fan, and administrator, period. I know the things I’ve learned here will help me in the long run, even if it’s not truly worth continuing. No matter what happens to this blog, you guys have all made a difference in fandom and to me.

To all of our readers… Thank you. Thank you so much for supporting me and my project and allowing me to make new friends. Everything here was worth my time for 2+ years; and it’s not anything y’all did or didn’t do that’s making me want to leave. It’s my own conscience. I hope you all will keep reading and supporting our other writers, because they’re talented and passionate about writing and anime, even though it’s time for me to distance myself from those things.

Best wishes,

CJ Blackwing

PS- No, I swear this is not an elaborate pre-April Fool’s joke. It’s not a joke at all. Sorry about the crappy timing, though… XD;


Coming Clean

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen, Real Life Stoof, dorama, drama | Thursday 18 March 2010 8:30 pm

I had hoped for a long time that I would never have need for a post like this.  Unfortunately, hopes only get you so far in life.  I have avoided “the Janette issue” for some time, but in view of recent events, punctuated by this comment, I believe I must respond.  I will make two promises to you in this post.  First, I will be honest.  Second, I will handle myself with as much maturity as possible.  I present the post in a Question and Answer format because that is the way concerns have been presented to me, therefore it makes the most sense to use it.  Do note that the remainder of this post is quite long and directly relates to drama.  If you would like to turn back now, you are free to do so.

1) Were you ever romantically involved with Janette?

Yes, I did have romantic interest in her in late 2007 and early 2008.  I never went out on a personal date with her but I have been over to her house once, amongst friends.  I also spent all of Anime Punch 2008 with her.  The relationship did not work out for several reasons that are frankly none of your business, and I would appreciate it if you did not try to pry.  We remained friends until around Matsuricon of 2008.  Following that, we had a blog-related dispute, and in the aftermath, I cut most ties with her outside of a professional nature.

2) Did you join Borderline Hikikomori to win her back?

No.  I will admit that I found out that CJ was looking for writers from her, when she linked me to the blog in an IM conversation.  However, I joined for my own personal reasons.  I thought it would be something new and fun to try, and that it would give me something to pass the time when I had nothing else to do.

3) Why did you quit/stagnate in writing then?

What can I say?  I burned out quickly.  I picked two series that ended up leaving me nothing to write about.  Oinari-sama sucked so hard that I could not bear to watch it anymore, and Himitsu had such an irregular release schedule that I could not follow it.  From there, it was a long time until the next season, and though I started trying to write again, I just never got back into it.  I could attribute some of that to that time being a transitional period, where I started to have many new experiences in quick succession.  Despite that, I never lost touch with CJ.

4) Why did she leave? / Why did you kick her out?

Really, the best way to put it is it came down to management of the blog.  CJ and Janette had a discussion over a blog feature we were going to do, and unfortunately, it escalated quickly.  Words were said behind closed doors that never should have been exchanged via IM, text, e-mail, and phone.  This included Janette calling CJ’s cell phone 29 times in a 2-hour period.  This eventually culminated in Janette posting about internal blog problems publicly on Twitter, after which CJ told her to cease and desist from airing our dirty laundry, as it were.  She then proceeded to make a post on this blog, which we deleted –  not to prevent readers from finding her new blog, but because it was made in bad taste.  Consider that one of the tags on the post read, “I hate you,” which I found in our tag cloud during my Reorganization Project.  You can decide whether telling your boss that you hate him or her is a notice of quitting or a reason for firing for yourselves.  Beyond that, again, the ordeal happened behind closed doors and thus I will not post any more than that.

5) Have you ever attacked her or her blog over this matter?

Yes, on exactly two occasions.  The first occurred when she made a public post about the situation on her own blog.  She deleted that comment and started a rather long and drawn out private message chain on Facebook with me.  Once again, emotions ran high and we exchanged many words behind closed doors, and I will not make that public.  The second time occurred on a mutual friend’s wall on Facebook, where she again publicly brought up the blog drama.  I realize that I should have just let it slide; however, I publicly confronted her about it on that same wall.  I have not attacked her in any way since the Facebook wall incident.  In addition, it must be noted that on both occasions I did things in a domain in which I had no control.  I have never used this blog, my twitter, my LiveJournal, my Facebook, or any other means under my direct control to attack her.  Whether or not this post constitutes “attack”, I leave up to you to decide.

6) Have you ever seen the emails, logs, or texts CJ has in her possession?

No, I have not.  I also feel it is better that I never personally see them.  I realize I have claimed to in the past.  An aspect of battling with information is that as a rule, you never know who knows what until an exchange actually occurs.  Thus, it does not matter if I have access to information, as long as it appears I have it.  It is a simple tactic used to bluff your way into acquiring information or getting a look into the mindset of the other person.  In the end, it failed at the former but succeeded at the latter.  That is all there is to it.

7) Has she ever attacked you or your blog over this matter?

Indeed, she has, on several occasions.  Besides the farewell post, she has made several comments on this very blog encouraging trolling and attempting to flame us.  We have deleted them or marked them as spam, but screenshots persist forever.  She has made numerous posts on Twitter about us, which have come to my attention through various means.  I have seen disparaging comments on blogs that I read, some of which the authors have deleted.  CJ has also told me of harassing text messages she has received in the aftermath.  I cannot speak for the contents of her Facebook or LiveJournal and will not speculate on the matter.

8) Do you stalk her or any of her outlets?

No, I do not.  Of course, it would be foolhardy of me to say that I have no knowledge of their existence.  On the occasion that someone notifies me of a posting relevant to this blog or me, I do check the source to verify information.  Beyond that, I do not read anything that she writes.  In fact, when it came to my attention that my accounts were still following her on sites such as LiveJournal, deviantArt, and Myspace, I removed those network links of my own volition, even though some of have sat unused for quite some time.

9a) But you are blogging the same series as her!

If you really want to use that as evidence of stalking, you have about 50 other blogs to suspect as well.  That said, I will tell you my reasons for selecting my series during the Winter season.  I have documented my love for school comedies quite well on this blog, so Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu was both my natural and first choice.  I also stated that I had interest in Sora no Woto, since it is the first of an ambitious project to make anime with no source material.  When no one picked it up by the end of the first week, I grabbed it myself.  Finally, I selected Katanagatari because I felt I could devote the time to a series that only airs once a month and I enjoyed the storytelling and verbal play.

9b) But you read and comment on the same blogs as her!

Again, you have many other people to hit up if you want to use this line of reasoning.  Reading other blogs is a necessary component of existing in the aniblogosphere, and one that I neglected entirely until this year.  The first blog I started reading was Bokutachi no Blog, which you can find in our blogroll.  I found them because I did not know about Chartfag at the time (shock and awe, I know) and needed a list of series for the Winter 2010 post.  From there, I have slowly branched out to other blogs by clicking random links on blogrolls and checking the personal sites of frequent commenters.  Additionally, there are a few blogs out there that have us linked, and when I notice those incoming clicks, I naturally check out their blog.  I read blogs because I enjoy what is written and I comment to show my appreciation and facilitate discussion.

9c) But you stole her blog design!

*sigh* Okay, this is in reference to my Hiiragi avatar, and CJ’s Anri avatar.  About two months ago, I joined Speed Demos Archive.  After a while, I decided to get an avatar for the site, and I did not want to use the same one I had displayed everywhere for the last half year.  I was watching Hanamaru Kindergarten and I saw her in Detective Conan cosplay.  My favorite character in the series is Hiiragi, and I thought it was adorable, so I captured it and made it my avatar.  Then I decided to spread that to other places, because as I mentioned, I had used the same one for half a year.  When CJ saw mine, she decided she wanted an Anri avatar and capped her own.  That is all there is to it.

10) So, what brought you back into writing?

It is no secret, Janette accounted for many posts in 2009.  I actually did the math out of curiosity.  She made or contributed to 150 posts constituting 62.5% of the blog in the span of a year.  By comparison, I contributed a paltry 10.8% of posts.  When faced with statistics like that, the only options are to step up and fill the void, or just let it roll over and die.  I decided upon the former course of action.  I launched into my Redesign Project which still steadily continues today, started participating more in the aniblogging community, and rediscovered a passion for writing.  I also find writing to be a cathartic release in some ways.

11) Do you have a goal of wiping her out of the aniblogosphere?

I suppose that might fix many problems.  However, the answer is no.  I do not care about her.  I do not care about her blog.  If she enjoys writing and people enjoy reading her writing, then more power to her.  It is always good to have more voices in the aniblogisphere.  I do not care who her friends are.  If people want to be friends with her, I have absolutely no issue with it.  I know not all of my friends get along, some of them even hate each other, but it does not stop me from being friends with them.  The only thing I have ever wanted is for the public harassment to stop.

12) What, then, is the purpose of this post?

Frankly, I made it to present my side of the issue.  I ignored it for a long time, but as events continue, I no longer feel that I am able to do so, nor that ignoring it is in my best interests.  Yes, I have handled some things poorly, and I have done things of which I am not proud.  I freely admit that.  Even so, I feel that I at least take some aspect out of every mistake that I can use to make myself a better person and I hope it allows me to avoid further mistakes in the future.  I hope you have all approached this posting with an open mind.  Whether your view of me changes is entirely up to you, for better or worse.  I respect any decisions or comments you might have.  I hope this is the first and last time I will ever have to address this topic.  Thank you for reading, and good day.


CJ’s off hiatus, got her college stuff worked out, and got some new writers~

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, CJ, Conventions, Manga Review | Sunday 7 March 2010 2:36 am

First, the obvious: I’m off hiatus. Expect a few fun new things from me within a day or so.

Secondly and slightly more importantly, I got my college plans worked out… and I will be attending school in-state! This means good things for my convention schedule, because I will still be able to attend Matsuricon and Ohayocon each year. Theoretically, I’ll even be able to add Sugoicon, Anime Punch or another Midwest convention, if I can get rides. ^__^ Paneling, especially Anime Blogging 101 and 201, should continue, and maybe I’ll even manage to work with Rakuen, Dave, or others to do a new panel or two.

The bad news is that I have to start classes in the summer… but that’ll be okay, since it’s Japanese 101 and 102, which I could have tested out of but decided against because there’s big holes in my writing abilities. ;_; Sigh.

Thirdly (and even MORE importantly~) Borderline Hikikomori has two new writers! Raphael will start posting shortly, but lvlln jumped in already with a Dance in the Vampire Bund post since I dropped the series. We’re all looking forward to working with them and the fresh insights they’ll bring us!

~CJ

PS – Spring Preview will be up by Monday!


CJ’s going on hiatus, but at least we’re looking for new writers~!

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, CJ, Manga Review | Sunday 21 February 2010 7:53 pm

Title says it all! CJ’s facing scholarship and other college-related drama over the next two or three weeks, so she won’t be doing Durarara!! posts, Manga Monday or any of the Catch-Up posts she’s been trying to do. Sorry guys! Luckily it’s gonna be a short-term break just to get stuff back on track, and it wouldn’t even have come to this if my work schedule weren’t so nuts…

The good news is that we’re accepting applications for new writers~! It’s nothing serious; just send a review/news article sample to CJ’s email (cjblackwing -at- gmail -dot- com~) with a bit of info about yourself, what series you like, etc. We’re not picky about writing skills, as long as you’re coherent and quasi-committed to this whole blogging thing (help with Season Preview posts, Shameless Shipping and 12 Days of Christmas series as needed; besides that, do whatever you want~)

Anyway, CJ will hopefully survive the scholarship crap (Please be kind to me, WUSTL~!) and manage to get back to new writers within 2-3 days after they email her, so you don’t have to worry about her leaving you hanging for 2 weeks. Don’t be scared; let us know if you want to join us~!


Anatomy of an Episode Post

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Ohayocon, Rakuen, metablogging, writing style | Saturday 30 January 2010 7:00 am

As the blog software publishes this post, I am likely at Ohayocon, presenting one of our blogging panels.  However, I realize that a lot (if not all) of our readers may not actually attend the convention.  Therefore, I put this little post together to give you a little view into how I go about writing an episode post and to have a little metablogging fun.

First, I have to get a copy of the episode I’m going to watch.  Unbelievably, this is actually the hardest part for me, for two reasons.  One, sometimes the subbed episodes aren’t available when I need them, due to technical issues or slowness.  No, I don’t know Japanese, and every passing day further decreases any chance of that changing.  I’m not complaining, and I completely realize they work hard to give us this service.  I’m just stating fact that sometimes things don’t work out like you want.

The other problem is my motivation.  I’m the kind of guy who likes to watch an entire series in a marathon style format.  Waiting for a new episode from week to week and then having to write about it is a chore sometimes.  This is what killed me in the past: I just ran out of steam to do it weekly.  However, this season, I’m determined to cover not one, but two anime all the way through.  So far, so good, as you can see in the posting log.

Next, I have the easiest task on the list, actually watching the episode.  My first watch of an episode is always on normal speed, and if I feel the need to watch it again, I’ll kick it up to 2x or 3x.  I make mental notes for important scenes I might need later, but I don’t take any physical notes while I’m watching. I should probably change that because I spend a lot of time referencing material.

After watching logically comes writing.  You’ve probably picked up on the pattern I’ve settled upon for now.  My first paragraph is a very brief summary of the highlights of the previous week’s episode.  This is partly for my benefit to make sure I remember everything, and for yours so that we’re all on the same page going into this.  Maybe you missed last week’s episode, or forgot what happened.

The next few paragraphs are the actual summary of the episode.  For those of you wondering, there is no “magic” amount of text, you write as much as you feel you need and whatever that is, is the summary.  That said, I try to aim for 2-3 paragraphs and 200-300 words.  If I do less, it feels like I just skimmed the episode, but if I do more it feels like I’m saying too much.

The last paragraph is my personal impressions.  I tell you what I feel was good and bad about the episode and what I might hope to see in the next episode(s).  I don’t assign an individual score to episodes like I used to, because it feels like it makes everything incredibly arbitrary.  After this, I do a quick word count and edit check of the document.

I’m almost done making the post, now I need to find images.  Reading a long block of text is, frankly, boring, especially when pictures are clearly available.  I try to find parts of the episode that coincide with my paragraphs.  Then I have to convert them to a reasonable size and upload.  Sometimes the caption I add is a quick joke to lighten the mood.  Other times, it’s insightful or poignant.  Finally, I put all of it together in WordPress, do another edit check, and publish.

The total time this takes from the moment I hit play to the moment I hit publish is usually between 1.5 and 2 hours.  Yes, anime blogging is a fair time commitment, which is why I’m currently not blogging everything I watch.  It takes 20-25 hours to cover an entire 12 episode series, plus a review post at the end.  So, for those of you thinking about getting into this, keep that commitment in mind.

That covers my posting process.  If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll read it once I return.  Enjoy your weekend everyone!

~Rakuen

Final Ohayocon Paneling Schedule~!

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Ohayocon | Monday 18 January 2010 2:44 pm

We’re finally all set to do three panels at Ohayocon this year!

First off, we have our brand new Resonance: A Soul Eater Panel! Rakuen and CJ will be doing this panel on Friday, January 30 at 8 pm in “2nd floor D Panel room” (whatever that means.) We’ll be talking about the Soul Eater anime and manga for a full hour, so bring your weapons and your meisters (try not to get into any fights!) and we’ll just chat about everything that makes the series awesome.

Anime Blogging 101 is scheduled for 2 pm on Saturday in Panels 10, with the brand-new Anime Blogging 201 at 3 pm in the same room! Rakuen and CJ are doing 101, but Jenni’s dropping in for 201 to discuss some grammar stoof. (No, she won’t put you to sleep, I promise.) 101 will be more of a primer for people who don’t hang out in the blogosphere much, while 201 is for long-time lurkers (or graduates of 101!) who need to get to know the details. Both will be fun and informative, and yes, Rakuen will keep CJ from going off on any rabbit trails hey look my Death the Kid figurine is on its side when did that happen I bet it was aliens who did it…

Overall, Ohayocon 2010 is gonna ROCK!!! Major thanks to the staff for making everything work for us this year!

The Blog Reorganization Project

Posted by Author | Anime Review, Blog stuff, Manga Review, Rakuen, organization | Saturday 26 December 2009 5:35 pm

First, I’m announcing the Winter Preview will be out by the 31st of the month, so that gives you something big to look forward to.

Now then, I got the idea in my head to do a major organization overhaul.  After getting approval from CJ, I spent most of my Thursday going through every post of the blog for this project.  This post is about the in-depth changes that I made, mostly to the categories structure.  That would be that drop down menu on the right side of your screen.  If you’re not interested in reading about that, suffice to say everything now works as intended and it should be easier for you to navigate.

The first order of business is the Anime and Manga categories.  To understand the change I made, you have to know how we used to use these.  Originally, we applied these to any post that did not have its own series category, a sort of catchall for miscellaneous posts if you will.  Naturally, this made perfect sense to us, since we’re the ones writing this stuff.  However, I felt it was very counter-intuitive for the reader.  I imagine that when you click on the Anime category, you expect to get every single post about anime in sequence.  That expectation is completely reasonable, so I decided to implement it.

The majority of my work on Thursday was going through every post by hand to apply this behavior.  Additionally, to make them easier to find, they’ve been placed within the Media container, which has also been moved to the top of the category search.  Cosplay will be joining them in that container, I felt it made more sense there than in the Conventions container.  Now because of the behavior Anime and Manga used to have, I have also created a wealth of categories for individual series.  Any series that has had at least one complete post devoted to it will show up in the list.  If one of us simply mentioned it in passing, I ignored it.  These changes should make it easier to find what you’re looking for, both in general and specific instances.

The next matter of business is the Review category.  This is supposed to apply to reviews of an entire series, a volume of manga, or a stand-alone work, such as an audio CD.  This behavior hasn’t change, and we feel that it’s the best way to handle it.  Rather, the problem was we were wildly inconsistent about applying our own rules.  Sometimes individual episodes were tagged as reviews, sometimes a full series didn’t get the treatment, and that can become very confusing to the reader.  Additionally, the criteria for a review requires it to cover everything, including the plot, characters, animation, music, voice work, and so on, usually ending in a more concrete score.  I have restored our intended behavior and properly aggregated all reviews.

The last major change involves the creation of a new Feature category, Commentary.  I intend for this type of post to talk about a series or a news event.  An example of this in relation to anime would be talking about the characters in an anime and their relationships, rather than the actual series.  For news, this would be giving personal thoughts on an event, rather than really providing the news story.  I hope that that’s easy to understand, if not, let me know and I’ll come up with a better example.  The criterion for this is arbitrary for old posts.  I tagged posts that I felt were sufficiently commentary-ish.  This category should really find its own niche in future posts.

The rest of my changes are minor.  I found a wealth of posts that weren’t properly attributed to their authors, especially back toward the beginning of the blog, so I properly marked those.  I merged Jpop into the Music category, as I noticed most of those posts overlapped anyway and there wasn’t sufficient difference in the rest to call for its own category.  Finally, I went through and deleted all empty tags and categories, which shortened the list a fair deal for both.

The result is a much more manageable blog for us, and a much easier to navigate blog for you.  Everyone wins.  What’s next?  I don’t know.  If you have any suggestions, please, leave them here and we’ll consider them.  We want this to be a blog that is easy to work with and enjoyable for everyone.

Finally, by way of suggestion to you all, if you have your own blog, take a minute to look at your navigation system.  If you think anything needs changed, do it now, because it will take you forever if you wait.  Trust me, I know.

http://mataime.deviantart.com/art/Ashton-Anchors-147933468



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