Yearly Digest

Day 12 of ’12 Days of Anime’ – [See other posts in this series]


Well here it is folks. The end of 12 Days of Anime 2017. You probably won’t see another flood of content like this in your feeds until next December. That’s supposing I’m still around for it. I could always be on one of my many hiatuses.

But enough hypothetical’s. The reality is that if this post has seen the light of day, then I have successfully created 11 articles to precede it. The complete list of submissions is as follows:

  1. Etoile, The rare case of gender non-conformance in Arslan Senki
  2. A Tale about Windy Tales
  3. Anime Characters Have Great Fashion Sense
  4. Visual Storytelling techniques in Nagato Yuki-Chan
  5. Ghibli’s Castles in the Sky
  6. Card Captor Sakura and “The Silent” – My Anime Time Capsule
  7. A Generic Anime Quiz
  8. The Fate Series & the Impact of…Delaying
  9. Guessing Anime plots from the OP
  10. Short, Obscure and Commercially Unavailable Anime
  11. Oh Baby, All I want for Christmas is…
  12. Meta in Review

Now last year, I tackled the retrospective quantitatively and with a degree of generalization. This was partly because my goal back then was to just get writing, which has always been a problem for me, but this year I want to be a bit more thorough. So screw page views and character counts, lets take a look at each post individually through it’s influences, accomplishments and failings. From the top.

[Day 1]

Etoile, The rare case of gender non-conformance in Arslan Senki

Poking the fire is my specialty. Despite my frequent attempts to assuage potential counter-arguments prior to release, it is undoubtedly hard to create a bulletproof case without the character explicitly saying “I’m Trans”, which is unlikely to happen from both an authorial angle and a fake-history angle.

There is also a sizable contingency of people who adamantly reject any attempt to explain a story through queer perspectives. I’ll admit that I also used to be reluctant to proclaim those elements were present unless it was explicitly spelled out to the audience. However a trans person once linked me to an interesting essay particular to gender non-conformance titled the “The Null HypotheCis” which you can read here. It basically highlights the hypocrisy in cisnormativity, which manifests in how we place a burden on trans people to prove their status, while not applying the same to cis people.

I made sure to keep this essay in mind when talking about Etoile, because while there might be gaps for alternative interpretation, if you want to say Etoile is cis then you better damn well prove it. If arguments are constructed to the contrary on a foundation of cisgender-as-default then I hope my explanation here highlights the problems with that.

How the post performed:

While I expected some controversy, there was none to be found. For the most part people just ‘liked’ and moved on. The few comments I did get were supportive but didn’t have anything specific to add to the article. I would’ve liked to see reactions to my piece from trans readers, but you know that’s not something you can force out. I could have tried marketing it to trans people on anitwitter, but I held back from doing that because it would be weirdly discomforting to push it in their faces just because they happen to be trans.

It is also worth noting that on the 20th December (or Day 6), the post was included in a link round-up by Anime Feminist. This is the second time I’ve been featured in a post from their website, although the first time in such a prominent manner. According to wordpress this contributed an extra 20 views to the post, when it was initially plateauing at at around 40 views total. A nice little boost. Although it still seems low to me, I think that has something to do with how few people click on links in the middle of an article. I know that whenever I typically include them, looking at the stats, maybe less than 5% of readers actually open it. Such is the nature of things.

[Day 2]

A Tale about Windy Tales

For as much as I gush about Windy Tales, it sure did take me ages to finish the show. I started watching it last year after stumbling upon an obscure AMV while browsing youtube. You can view that here. I want to bring up that detail because it had a weirdly profound impact on me. I don’t care much for AMVs overall and this one is no exception, but I loved the song, and I ended up associating my feelings for the song with the show itself. That then inspired me to watch “Fuujin Monogatari”, which after a passage of time has created content for the blog. Forgive my sentimentality but being able to so clearly trace back a form of butterfly effect in your life is quite beautiful.

How the post performed:

While this wasn’t strictly as interesting or accessible as other posts throughout 12 Days, it still performed reasonably well. A few commentors mentioned how the show had now entered their radar, and it also received likes from people who don’t normally visit my blog. That’s about as much as I could’ve hoped for when recommending an obscure anime such as Windy Tales.

[Day 3]

Anime Characters Have Great Fashion Sense

Day 3 marked a dip into less serious territory. The original vision involved singling out different kinds of outfits that get worn in anime, while trying to bring it all together under one cohesive point. This might have involved using one particular article of clothing as the talking point (e.g. shoes, jackets, hats), but in the end I found it hard to find examples within such a short timeframe. Not only would I need to remind myself of all the shows I’ve watched, I’d also need to find screenshots so people can see what I’m talking about, which aren’t always available from a simple web search.

I have toyed with the idea of making this a recurring series that I could run, but I think it needs refining first. This post while not awful, is a bit eclectic and lacking in detail at times. It might also be better to talk about one outfit and one character per post in order to cut down on the length, which would then free up space to justify my thoughts and feelings more thoroughly. I’ll shelf that discussion until next year though.

How the post performed:

Again, there was very little discussion around the post. This is going to be a running theme, given that the viewership for this blog is incredibly low to begin with. Auri reminded me that Yuri on Ice exists and I feel ashamed to say that I didn’t even give it a passing mention. If I am to return to this concept, then that is a show that will almost certainly get a feature.

[Day 4]

Visual Storytelling techniques in Nagato Yuki-Chan

My intention wasn’t to present these visual techniques as unique to only this show, but rather to demonstrate that the creative direction was far more thoughtful and skillfully designed than it gets credit for. It’s one thing to casually appreciate what you see on screen, and a separate matter entirely to explain what makes it tick.

I initially encountered a problem with writing this post, in that it’s (unsurprisingly) hard to talk about visual storytelling techniques just by telling people what happens. At some point you have to actually show something to demonstrate the point. Since I didn’t know how to create gifs or do any complex video editing, I got stuck in a rut.

The compromise I reached was actually (read: not at all) genius if I may say so myself. I had been so fixated on what I couldn’t show with screenshots that I kind of overlooked just how much material didn’t need video illustration. I’ve always been averse towards putting too many images in a post relative to my writing, but posting screenshots with in-depth annotation turned out to be the best way to overcome the limitations of my chosen creative direction.

I still want to revisit this subject again in the future, because there is so much I didn’t get to cover that fully deserves praise too. I can’t exactly force people to fall in love with this show the same way I have, but regardless of that fact I’m willing to street fight anyone who dares say the staff didn’t put 110% into making this show special.

How the post performed:

Better than I had anticipated. As I mention above, nothing I said was designed to be so theoretical that you’d all be shocked and amazed by my intellectual prowess. Although I acknowledge that here, there wasn’t much opportunity to do so within the post itself. This meant that I steeled myself before anyone could chime in with an “excuse me, but you’re not as smart as you think you are” -esque comment. Fortunately I avoided that vitriol, but given how attention grabbing the title is, I won’t let my guard down.

[Day 5]

Ghibli’s Castles in the Sky

Originally know simply as “Laputa Review”, I envisioned a more standard format criticism for the film than what it eventually became. I’m usually not too disappointed when my plans go astray, because I typically only deviate from the beaten path when I’m certain that it will result in a better end product. I’m not sure how confidently I can say that here.

I want to blame the choice of topic I made, but in reality it’s the writing itself that bothers me. The way I repeatedly fallback on words such as “social”, “political” and all their variants bogs down the article and makes it something of a chore to read. That’s actually a relevant matter that has bothered me throughout all of 12 Days this year. While each post is readable on a standalone basis, as the writer, I have been constantly reminded of my extremely limited vocabulary.

I haven’t discussed this before, but whenever I write an article I always put any keywords through a search engine. This is not only to make sure I don’t miscommunicate my thoughts and feelings, but also because it introduces me to potential synonyms that might better navigate a point made. Yet even despite these extended efforts I go through to reinvent my writing, I still tend to get stuck in similar patterns of language and sentence structure.

This post, alongside reading other bloggers throughout 12 Days, has reminded me time and time again of that uncomfortable truth. As I Have A Heroine Problem said it quite eloquently on twitter:

I’ll try to do better, but I fear that without careful and empathetic guidance I’ll end up falling down the same rabbit hole. Time will tell I guess?

How the post performed:

Social interaction shot up, page views shot down. I’m not exactly sure how that works, but given the temperamental nature of smaller sites it’s not terribly surprising to encounter fluctuations like this. I tend to value comments more than views anyway, because the feedback can be insightful, and you at least register what folks are thinking. Knowing that people read what you put but refuse to comment or like the post can sometimes make it feel like they rejected it, even though I realize how self-defeating and problematic that assumption can be.

The general tone of responses was that with critical distance and educated perspectives, films like Laputa still have a place in our history. As Andrealinia put it, we can use problematic films such as this “as a springboard to say “why wasn’t that okay?” “. That has to be the most productive way to contextualize the issue.

[Day 6]

Cardcaptor Sakura and “The Silent” – My Anime Time Capsule

For the longest time this article was titled “The Smile”, because after so many years I had even forgotten the name of the clow card involved. That should give you some decent context when looking at the how and why this article was made.

Out of all of the ideas I generated for 12 Days, this was one of the first I conjured up. I knew I needed to watch the episode for my own sake, but found it hard to motivate myself for a trip down memory lane, of which I could not rightly predict how it would effect me. The possibility of recording my emotions down helped mediated these concerns, but honestly, I still tried to forget it was even happening until the fated day arrived.

In the end I can’t say I’m too happy with how it turned out. I feel for something as significant as this was, I should have had more to say, with a better structure and direction to boot. Instead it became a repeat of some fun facts about my life attached to a generic review of the episode. For all the significance surrounding the article, it was a lukewarm result for sure.

Yet I don’t think this was necessarily a symptom of time or creative constraints, because even 6 days later I don’t feel as if I could’ve done better. Perhaps this is another case of expectations surpassing reality, but I’m unsure how that can be quantified in a way that satisfies me. If the me in 6 months time is a better writer, I’ll ask her to clean up my mess.

How the post performed:

One of poorest performing articles throughout the entirety of 12 Days. While the title might peak some peoples interest, you wouldn’t really have any reason to care about this post unless you were a massive Cardcaptor Sakura fan, in which case your attention is probably directed at the new series coming out next season anyway.

I’m not terribly mad about that fact, because this was something I had to write for myself first and foremost. Popularity was not the name of the game, and while I didn’t fall in love with what I wrote, I’m glad I don’t have to think about it anymore.

[Day 7]

A Generic Anime Quiz

This ‘article’ took a hell of a lot of effort to make. In future I should try not treating concepts as throwaway tasks before I’ve had first hand experience with it. I thought writing a quiz would be easy, and now I appreciate just how hard it can be.

I’ve seen in excess of 600 anime, yet even with that massive wealth of untapped knowledge, I really did struggle to write a mere 30 questions required for a quiz of reasonable length. Quiz writing requires you to pull up specific details about a show, keeping it tame for enough people to get it, while still making it challenging to do so.

Personally I ended up leaning on a bunch of meme questions, most of which you’d only really get if you float around those circles. Likewise some of the questions were plain mean, such as the music question that requires you to know 4 shows with a certain level of familiarity, while remembering the specific characters and the roles they played. In hindsight, I could have been fairer.

How the post performed:

Easily my finest work, even if I don’t want it to be. It’s just the nature of light content like this to ultimately surpass stuff that you’ve worked far harder and more passionately on. The bottom line is that it is accessible, it’s quick and it’s universally appealing. You can’t fight that.

I will chuckle at the fact that people with far bigger audiences than mine shared my more complex articles, and yet even with their gracious contributions, a dumb and relatively thoughtless quiz dominated all else. You want the secret to success? It’s right there.

[Day 8]

The Fate Series & the Impact of…Delaying

This is perhaps one of the oldest ideas I ever had for an article since I started writing here. Back when the site first launched I was still struggling with finding topics to talk about, so I turned to online mutuals for guidance. One responded with an answer that was simply “write something positive about shounen anime”.

Truthfully I didn’t know from what angle I would tackle that prompt, but since he was one of the only people to answer the call, I pushed it up the production queue. After much thought, the idea I finally landed upon was a tribute to the Ufotable Fate adaptations, and the mind-blowing action sequences contained within.

I was averse to gushing though, so what this eventually turned into was a tripartite on animation fundamentals, that I loosely understood as ‘delayed action’. Unfortunately my writing sucked back then, and so I struggled with creating a coherent analysis for quite some time. Then when I first left the blogging scene, the article died with it.

Jump ahead to 12 Days of Anime 2016, and I was going to publish it as one of the 12 posts. Obviously that never happened, because once more I struggled to find the right words to explain it, and the pressure of timed schedules only exacerbated the problem.

Now, this year, I finally put it out to the world. The twisted irony being that it became one of the shortest posts in the series. All that time I spent trying to make an epic could have been and was squished into a small but still readable space. I’m sure someone could build a case to say I didn’t go into enough detail, but for what it is, I’m content. Oh, and if you were wondering what the title picture is all about, I simply couldn’t find a more relevant image to use.

How the post performed:

You know, this is one of the few posts where I’m happy for people to just click, like and move on. It’s similar to a “would you like to know more?” pamphlet. The idea is that you passively enjoy fight scenes in a number of anime, then hop on over to this post and learn in detail how (at least one) of its components works.

One person pointed out how the title could be confused with delays in licensing, and now that I think about it, my attempt at being smart with the wording doesn’t click the way I initially believed.

[Day 9]

Guessing Anime plots from the OP

This was a refreshing post to write. I hadn’t suspected just how much I missed doing this kind of experimental theory crafting until I picked it back up. I think it works better on new shows, when nobody knows just how the story will go. That way you have something to look back on, rather than trusting in-the-know people to tell you whether you got it right.

I remember not liking Mother’s Basement’s OP videos for a reason similar to that. Somehow covering the detail in an OP after you’ve finished watching the show takes a lot of the mystique out of it. Retroactively assigning events and symbolism to specific imagery becomes mechanical without the crucial element of uncertainty.

How the post performed:

If anything was primed for discussion, it was this post. Since it relies on people chiming in to say what I did or didn’t get right, you can expect to hear about it. Turns out that I actually got a wide range of points correct, but missed the mark on some important details. That’s a good result altogether, and I want to thank everyone who let me know.

[Day 10]

Short, Obscure and Commercially Unavailable Anime

I give the pretense this article was made under in the first few paragraphs, but I don’t really explain the “why now?”. That really boils down to wanting a clear draft section. Not the best of reasons for a creator to create, but it was enough for this post to be brought to life.

Making this post taught me that it isn’t really a concept that I would want to pursue again. Open recommendations just aren’t as functional as ones tailored to the individual. If I’m going to say “watch this” I’d rather know what kind of anime the person in question normally enjoys. Makes sense, right?

I can now happily delete that half-baked recommendation list. Trust me, it’s for the best.

How the post performed:

I think that if people were going to watch any of these anime, they likely wouldn’t comment about it. I’d call it piracy stigma, but it can also just be about not having the time/interest to respond. So yeah, very little reaction to this post. I don’t like it as much as the others though so maybe that’s a good thing.

What applies to this entry (and what I forgot to mention about the Sakura one) is that the posting schedule cannibalized many of the potential views it could have got. In both cases, I posted them close to midnight, then released the following day’s work the next day (less than 12 hours later) so one kinda buried the other.

[Day 11]

Oh Baby, All I want for Christmas is…

YOOUUUUUUU!

This was both easy to write and of fairly decent quality. I got to vent about some of the problems we’ve had in the western anime industry without going too far into angry rant territory. The best part was that I managed to come up with this idea only two days prior, because I came to understand that the first plan wasn’t something I could reasonably push out in a day, that being my approach to writing and communication. If that sounds vague and self-indulgent, it’s because it was.

How the post performed:

Given that it was Christmas Eve and less than 24 hours ago at the time of publishing this, I can only say it did about as well as you might expect. People have other priorities, which is partially why I didn’t shuffle a more serious topic into the Day 11 slot. At the earliest indication, it will be on par with everything else in this series bar the Arslan Senki and Quiz entries. Good job, me.

[Day 12]

Year in Review

I hope you enjoy how meta this section is as much as I do. It’s not entirely for laughs though, because it’s actually hard to find a place outside of social media to discuss the development and finalization of this semi-autobiographical essay.

I never set out to write as much as I have here, and it only became apparent to me how big it would eventually become when I passed the 4000 word mark. By that point I knew that I didn’t just want to talk about 12 Days, but also everything else I’ve done this year. It came to me that I hadn’t even talked about the history of the blog before and that was something I just had to cover. What better place to host those conversations than a yearly review.

Now as you can see (or will come to see) the article is split up between 12 Days/Old Goals/Previous Posts/Personal Life/New Goals. That’s a lot to cover even with 12,000 words. If you find yourself only wanting to know about some but not all of those things, feel free to skip around. Pictures and border lines section off each sub-topic, so the world is your oyster.

I only hope that you enjoy it!

How the post performed:

Since there are resolutions towards the end, I’m going to decide the result of this at the conclusion of 2018.


letter


Last Year

Now that we’ve gotten that out the way, we should probably address the elephant in the room. That being last years goals for 2017. Of the seven that I set out for myself, I’ve not accomplished a single one legitimately. The only one you could really make a case for is the very last one, which hasn’t yet been confirmed, and was a bit of a cheat in the first place. However I owe it to both myself and you, the lovely audience, to explain why things didn’t exactly go to plan.

Collaborate with another blogger

This became a goal for me partly after seeing the efforts of other bloggers who had worked together on articles. I can think of a few that I saw through The Lilly Garden that got me thinking I could do similar. In the end however, I have yet to directly collaborate with another blogger on an article. I don’t really have an excuse for this honestly. I never reached out to anyone, and despite my period of inactivity, I still had plenty of opportunity to make it a reality. I suppose I could recycle this goal for 2018, but I don’t think that will fundamentally fix the issue that caused me to default on this one.

I really need to both reflect and acknowledge what happened here and strive towards a better, more productive, mindset in the future.

Release the Belladonna of Sadness paper or reach 30,000 words on it

This obviously didn’t happen. In fact I think I only wrote an upper estimate of about 300 words on top of last years contributions. That evidently means that the paper is still nowhere near completion. I’m still not entirely sure if I’m tackling it from the right perspective, but I think that is secondary to just getting it out to the world. Again, no excuse, but I did manage to read the book it was based on – “Satanism & Witchcraft” by Jules Michelet. Turns out it wasn’t that relevant. Most of what he writes is extremely dated at this point, and I had naively hoped it might help guide my interpretations of the film. I’m still confident in how I ‘saw’ Belladonna of Sadness, so barring my own personal motivation, this project can proceed as normal.

Write at least one article every month

Oh boy. This one started out really well. For the first four months I not only posted one article a month, but two, with January alone having 5 articles – more than one per week! I made one final post in May before I took one of my signature hiatuses. So ended the dream of writing every month; you can’t accomplish anything when you’re not even around. In the end I managed to write during 8 out of 12 months. That’s not awful, but also not the goal I set for myself. I have to own up to that. Taking a leave of absence is probably the best excuse you can give, but at the end of the day it’s still an excuse. This is actually a goal I’m going to set for myself again next year, because failing all else, I at least have a record to beat.

Finish Naruto & Gintama

This was a weird one in retrospect. I don’t suppose many of my readers have seen either of those shows to completion, let alone both, but I suppose the goals didn’t need to be instantly relatable. Ultimately I finished Naruto (which actually meant the Shippuden sequel) but barely made a dent in Gintama. 50% of a goal is okay I guess. Seasonal anime and the poll/competition anime distracted me too much, which I’m actually not too mad about. It created content for the blog and kept me sane, so that must count for something. Going forward I don’t think I’ll be making a promise like this unless there is a deeply personal reason to justify it, rather than say, “just because”.

Stay up to date with fellow bloggers

Some of you might think I achieved this one. Especially if we met during last years 12 Days of Anime. I don’t really agree though, because again, my months long departure from the anime scene should count against me. “Keeping up with people” shouldn’t entail ghosting them for long periods of time like that. I’m sorry for that folks. While I’m sure you don’t mind, because I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with a collection of truly remarkable people, I’m still giving you my unconditional apology anyway. This is definitely a returning goal for 2018, and I’ll try to do better this time.

Hit 500 views on a new article

Well this is an easy one to answer. No, I did not achieve this goal. I got to 340 views on an article from January, while an old post exploded from single digits to 440, but still not quite there, even if it was counted. However I did say in the previous yearly digest that the number itself didn’t matter, so long as there was a clear marker for the blogs growth. That is a much muddier question to answer, because recently my views and interactions have been lower than they were before. Technically I got more views on articles this year than I did last year, however that came almost exclusively from people bigger than me sharing them on social media, which didn’t really generate a lasting effect beyond the initial retweet. I haven’t hit any follower, likes or comment milestones so I guess this one comes up a bit short as well.

Counting this one as a failure, which doesn’t bother me much because of how little audience size matters to begin with.

Make someone happy

So this goal is the cheat one, because really, you’re all far more supportive of me than I’m truly deserving of. I still won’t check this one off the list until someone says as much, because I don’t want to get lost in my own delusions, but I also won’t be terribly surprised to see a “ganbatte!” in the comments.

To whomever this applies to; I’m glad I made you happy this year. If I’ve spent anytime at all with you, then there is little doubt that you are an extraordinary human being. That it is to say, I keep to myself most of the time, so I tend to get few opportunities to interaction with other people. Despite that, I’m still hugely selective with the who and the how, yet here we are now. You’ve successfully overcome the barriers that I put up, and you’ve found happiness, however temporary, in your engagements with me. Thank you for that. It takes two to tango, and obviously we’ve tango’d to our hearts content. Lets do the same again next year!


vlc_2017-12-16_14-27-04


This Year

So now what do I have to say about this years articles? That’s right, I’m not just going to talk about 12 Days in this post. It is a yearly retrospective after all. Let’s start from the beginning…

FEMINISM, ANIME AND ME

This was my first official post of 2017 and one of my proudest posts on the blog overall. It is technically nothing more than an A-D style order of events, but I don’t think many people really knew about all the noise that went on before AniFem was a thing. I’m glad I sat people infront of the screen and brought them up to date with all the messy details, because I think it is important that people realize just how much the environment has changed since early last year.

This post was explicitly directed at Amelia, which couldn’t be more relevant 12 months later, where I now have even more things to be thankful to her for. Enough to write another article for sure, but that won’t be happening this time around. That’s partly because many of the specifics are private information, but it’s also because I don’t want to make a habit out of repeatably using a public platform to praise someone.

So without fanfare I’ll just quote the closing line one final time – “Thanks, Amelia.”

DEFINING ART AND OUR APPROACH TO CRITICISM

Probably the most esoteric thing I’ve ever made. I stand by it though. For all the recent hoo-hah between critics and commentators these days, I think this article has never been more relevant. There is currently way too much dictation over who has the right to speak and how those who qualify should present their voices.

I get why people work themselves up over other peoples opinions. I’ve done it myself and will probably continue to do so in the future. However I think assertions that people aren’t conceptualizing their own perspectives ‘right’ fall into redundancy. You can absolutely think people have bad takes, but so often the conversation turns to invalidation rather than consideration. Far more effort is exerted into discounting certain modes of viewing outright, rather than measuring what it means, how it might have been informed, how it can better your own understanding and finally how much weight it should be given in a wider scope.

A kid telling me that the latest transformers film wasn’t good because it didn’t have enough explosions, is fundamentally a basic line of thinking, but my god is it still valuable. There’s just so many discussions that can be propelled from such a seemingly simple position as that. How integral are explosions to the transformers cinematic franchise, and what legacy does this leave? What would be accomplished by an extreme lack or excess of explosions? How does the prevalence of explosions impact engagement from different categories of viewership? What constitutes a ‘good’ transformers film if  not for the explosive action, and how tied up is that with conventions of cinema? Should the explosions in the film be quantitatively proportional to other entries in the broader franchise, such as the anime and graphic novels? What else can we juxtaposition with transformers to test the boundaries of this idea?

A kid’s mentality spring-boarded those thoughts. Maybe that amateur blogger can do the same for you if you give it a chance. You’re still welcome to disagree and nobody is saying you have to invest the time, but why bother pouring so much energy into a ‘rules of criticism’ if you don’t at least try?

DYSTOPIAN-HORROR SUBTEXT IN ONE ROOM

Ah, I love this post. It’s somewhat dated by the fact that most people probably forgot One Room existed months ago. I’ve yet to meet someone who does not enjoy ripping on this show though. My particular brand of mockery was inspired by a twitter thread trying to make sense of who exactly this show was catered towards. It’s so painfully robotic and lifeless that it’s a challenge to imagine it even appealing to an audience of uncanny valley fetishists.

What you may not know about One Room is that it actually has a ‘brother’ show called Room Mate. Rather than (allegedly) cute girls, you get (allegedly) cute boys. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I have toyed with the idea of doing a cross-series comparison to analyze the differences in how the shows were made based on expectations of target audience. How can you not find that a fun endeavor?

I’M STILL ALIVE AND I CANNOT APOLOGIZE, NO

An update post, which instantly off-puts me and I’m not even the ‘reader’ in this scenario. It’s still an important talking point though, because it was in this post that I highlighted my intention to stop responding to blog awards. The reality is that they make the rounds far too frequently, and while the typical Q&A delivery isn’t unappealing, I already have other platforms for that (see: curiouscat). Plus you know that if I did make those posts, they would outnumber all other content on this blog 10:1.

I also mention in this post that I had made my first pitch for freelance work. Now that some time has passed I don’t mind admitting that it was for Anime Feminist. I made five suggestions, that were then narrowed down to a discussion on how transformers presents gender, which is interesting because, hey, why do alien robots need a concept of gender? I was super excited to investigate this question and got as far as watching the entirety of the G1 cartoon, reading most of the wiki, speaking to transformers fans and checking out the graphic novels.

However in the end the pitch fell through. I’m not really sure why, because I kind of got ghosted (haha) but I also understand that these things can happen. I wasn’t in any circumstance owed a response nor an explanation for why the pitch was rejected – I just needed to move on, which I long since have. Although at this point I’m fairly confident that I don’t want to write for Anime Feminist anymore, which isn’t a reflection on the sites content or my experience with the pitching process, I’m just not convinced I still have the interest.

CHOOSING WHEN TO ARGUE

I should repin this to my twitter timeline. Once more I stand by everything I say here. In fact I should probably bash a few people around the head with it. It’s been 11 months since I wrote this article and yet I can count dozens of occasions since then where friends and strangers alike have fallen victim to, or been transgressors on, all of the points that I bring up.

There’s no shame in that. I say as much in the post. That said, the only way any of us will improve our behavior is to have a constant reminder. Habits both good and bad form from patterns of activity as opposed to solitary events. If you find yourself in need of change, make sure to remember that.

PIRACY FOR HISTORY

This one will never be less than a hot topic. That isn’t to say that I set out to make something controversial. In fact it was a case that I saw Jim Sterling make for video games. My memory is fuzzy, so I’m not sure if we had the exact same thought process, but it would have required adaption to a different medium regardless.

I care a lot about preservation of cinema, and that equally transfers over to anime just so that we don’t confuse the issue. I’m under no illusion in thinking that having an archive will automatically make me or anyone else return to watch an older work, however not having that possibility is infinitely terrifying. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I’m already quite saddened by the massive loss of art and history during world war two, which while quite widespread and systematic, can be fairly scaled down to modern media loss. ‘History is Art, Art is History’ and the permanency of losing it should not be understated.

It took over 30 years for Belladonna of Sadness to be licensed and publicly distributed. Prior to that it only had one original copy left in the world. I can easily imagine a timeline in which the film wasn’t rereleased, and where the last remaining copy was lost or destroyed. Without trying to sound grandiose; the world would be lesser off for it. That’s why I care about ‘Piracy for History’.

WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE LIFE OF HARUHI (AND WHY I HAVEN’T POSTED IN AWHILE)

Yet another update post. This isn’t even the last one either. It wouldn’t be so bothersome if I posted more often, but who can we blame for that? Yes, me.

I had mentioned going into Casino’s on twitter long before bringing it up on the blog, but so that no one missed it, I mentioned it in this post. I could talk about what happened with that, but it gets addressed in a later blog post so there’s little reason to mention it here. Coincidentally the same applies to the part about difficult life circumstances. Well sort of.

STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM – [REDACTED] FT. [BLANK] & [UNAVAILABLE]

“This post is entirely about me” – I say it at the start and it’s fitting. I mostly use this post as an opportunity to explore identity and expression in online spaces. That makes it sound terribly important, but it’s also not totally inaccurate either.

There is a certain way I approach online interactions that has been informed by my life experiences. I have been subject to a bunch of unpleasantry over the years, some of which is indirect and could be about anyone had it not been about me, but many of it still has been directly related to who I am as a person. This has made me a guarded individual that frequently holds back my true feelings. I don’t always say what I need to when I need to. I fail to reach out to people who can and will help me. I maintain distance when it’s unnecessary and I obscure details of my personal life that I should really be fine sharing.

This post was a battle cry. I wanted to be public about my desire to change and demonstrate at some level – a commitment. This manifested in quite a few ways. Firstly I did a face reveal, which I then adapted into a profile picture. I’ve let the world see what I look like and that is vulnerable enough to count as a big deal. In turn I’ve also gone from being  mysterious over the topic of gender to being “yeah, I’m a woman” which still isn’t a consequence free thing to say on the internet. Unfortunately.

The recent creation of my private twitter account has allowed a special selection of friends and followers to see my completely unfiltered emotions. It may seem bizarre to mention a locked account as an example of transparency, however it should go without saying that any of what I say on that account could land me in hot water if shared publicly. Any one follower I accept has the potential to exercise that power. No one has and hopefully no one will, but I would be remiss to ignore the implication it has for my vulnerability and my relative openness since making the aforementioned post.

TOP FIVE CHARACTERS THAT DID NOTHING WRONG

The April Fools post. Clearly the best work I have ever produced. It’s probably not worthwhile to dedicate a lengthy anecdote to a post made entirely in jest. I will mention some semi-interesting tidbits though.

I made Griffith the header image primarily for the subtly points, but secondly because I didn’t know how to include him in the post without spoiling his story arc. I’m not entirely sure anyone got the One Piece reference, because I barely know people who’ve seen the show despite its immense popularity. I guess the list itself is pretty hard to get into if you haven’t watched more than one of the shows.

As a final note, I should totally deliver on “Top five anime characters you’d regret having casual sex with when you wake up the next morning” in 2018.

TIPS FOR SUCCEEDING ON PATREON FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER SUCCEEDED ON PATREON

Ahh, I have mixed feelings on the so-called ‘tips’ I produced. Considering it sits at roughly 3000 words, I certainly can’t be accused of skimping out on my explanations, however I think the problem is more insidious than that. Ultimately the points are far too generalized and maybe even obvious to be that helpful to most people.

How pretentious can a person be to present “make regular content” and “interact with your audience” as revolutionary information. Apparently I sought to fit that bill with this post. I mean, it’s not actually wrong, but is that really the gold standard here?

The only defense I have is to say that if I had the perfect formula for success, I’d probably be selling it (or taking advantage of it) rather than churning out guidelines for others to follow. That happens to follow into the painful reality of these ‘tips’; you are not guaranteed success. You can do absolutely everything right and still not find the results you were looking for. Patreon isn’t entirely sustainable, especially if the most recent flip-flopping is anything to go by, so don’t treat it as such, okay?

THANK YOU, READER-SENSEI!

It’s explained in the post itself, but this was the result of a series of reader led polls to decide what anime I would watch. In exchange I would produce content for the blog. So far I have made three posts as a result of these polls, with a continued promise to deliver on the remaining three.

If I’m proud of only one thing this year, then this little mutually beneficial exchange would probably lead the competition. Not only did it get people involved with me and the blog, it gave me a clear direction. Thanks to this interaction I always had an answer for “what do I produce now?” even if that only involved watching the selected anime as preparation for articles.

My post on The Great Passage turned out much better than the ones for NieA Under 7 and Soul Eater, however I’m happy to feature all of them on blog. They represent a side to writing that I wouldn’t mind toying with again in the future.

TO MAKE A DICTIONARY

Speaking of the poll, To Make A Dictionary was a play on the central focus of The Great Passage. I’m not entirely sure people were able to appreciate or understand what I aimed to achieve with this lexicographers dream. That isn’t necessarily to blame the audience for not ‘getting it’, since I tend to find that problem to be a fundamental symptom of inaccessibility instead of intellectual deficiency.

Perhaps you need to watch the show to understand my need to relate words with personal experiences. That notion is counter to what I had hoped for here, but looking back now the explanation fits shockingly well. The characters in The Great Passage spend a large amount of time defining words by finding relatives. The main character is initially tested by having to define East & West without using Right & Left, which he accomplishes by ascribing direction to body movements. I was entirely enraptured by this thought process, and so I wanted to try something vaguely similar with the titlecards used throughout the series.

I didn’t wholly avoid obvious synonyms and existing dictionary definitions when I attempt this experiment, but I still think I did the show proud just by testing my understanding of a word on the road less traveled.

YOKO CASE STUDY: EXPLORING THE VISUAL REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN’S BODIES IN ANIME

This is a remake of an old article I produced while I was absent from the anime community. I still have a copy of the original, which is dated back to August last year for reference. It was the definition of ‘truly awful’ and I’m glad only a handful of strangers ever read it.

It had a bit of everything. Unnecessary callbacks to The Mary Sue, frequent and explicit tautologies, misplaced references to ‘cosplay is not consent’ movements, appeasements, blog updates (again) and shout outs to Amelia Cook (I promise I’m not obsessed).

In it’s current iteration I’m mostly happy with it. I think a part of me will never be 100% comfortable when I enter typical ‘discourse’ territory, because that’s the horrible land of endless arguments and excessive policing. I haven’t exactly received opposition for this post though, which I guess is a good sign? It either means that the wrong people haven’t seen it or they have nothing to say, and I’m happy with either of those possibilities.

P.S. No comments? Really? Huh.

REMEMBERING WHAT THE SUN LOOKS LIKE

Blog update #5153463.

I hope by the time you finish reading that you’re as sick of seeing them as I am.

So remember that casino career I was pursuing? Turns out I quit. It wasn’t so much ‘throwing in the towel’ as it was “yeah, this isn’t for me”. I laid out a dozen reasons to leave in the update but to pinpoint a particularly potent reason for leaving; the casino work environment is incredibly toxic. That toxin is pervasive and infectious. I didn’t want it to corrupt me and given how all-consuming the casino lifestyle is, that was bound to happen eventually.

Also: I can now report that the sun is in fact nice to look at. Just not for long periods of time. Or directly.

RATED UNDER 7

I mentioned to A Carriage Return that this post was voted into creation, yet didn’t have a clear audience, and that sums up how I feel now a short month later. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad about that point, just puzzled and a little disorientated. Firstly, how did such an obscure and narrowly recognized anime win a poll with something mainstream like Wake Up Girls!? Secondly, if those people did want NieA Under 7 to win, where did they run off to by the time I released the article?

I think that will forever remain a mystery.

As for the content of the post itself…well I did my best with what little I had to work with. The show isn’t exactly great to begin with and probably far too old to feel fresh anymore. I think the truly noteworthy lesson I can extract from my time with the show, is that (like with my critical approach analysis) it’s not hard to get something meaningful out of an experience if you put the effort in. I doubt that if I hadn’t promised to write about the show, that I would have asked the questions I did, or explored the potential behind its production. I need to remember that the next time I casually blast through a show without taking a moment to reflect.

MY LAST ANIME CONVENTION

Hibanacon. It clearly wasn’t that long ago but it feels chronologically misattributed to say that I went to an anime convention this year. It’s on paper though, so I can’t really deny it. Such a bitter disappointment.

But in an effort to make something productive out of my time there, I want to mention some things that got cut from the final retrospective. One key point is that I met Amelia (I PROMISE I’M NOT OBSESSED) for the first time. That was fun considering the previously discussed history we share. It not only ‘put a face to the name’, but also forced me to confront some facts about myself that I don’t often share with people. I think if I’m going to give the convention an unflattering appraisal, I should mention those opportunities it created for me.

Would still rather do private meet-ups but hey-ho!

EXCALIBUR: IS IT A MAN? IS IT A SWORD? NO! IT’S ANIME’S GREATEST HUSBANDO

A gag post? And it’s not April Fools? Have I no shame?

If I could have avoided doing it then you can be assured that I would’ve. I never promised a particular kind of content when I hosted the reader polls, however I think the clear impression was something more substantial than what you see here. I can only apologize for that and hope that the next 3 posts don’t stoop any lower.

That isn’t to say I hate what I’ve written or that even the readers hated it, but I think Soul Eater deserves a more conversational write-up than a joke about Excalibur. I even mentioned beforehand how little I see people talk about Soul Eater despite its success and popularity. The fact that I only contributed to the problem, or at least didn’t alleviate it, bothers me more than it reasonably should.

Frankly I simply had nothing interesting to say from an analytic angle. I certainly didn’t want to slip into the regular review format because that is so rarely what my writing is about. Despite that, the most intriguing elements about the show were left unanswered and neglected, so even the things I wanted to latch on to led into dead ends.

Not sure how I would remedy this in the future, however it does present an interesting dichotomy to before. If the poll got me thinking constructively about a show I wouldn’t have previously, then on a similar note with Soul Eater, it also got me straining to find noteworthy discussion in something that I could’ve moved on from otherwise.

Overall

The trend with this year has been plain and simple. Developed writing, diverse topics and less pressure to perform.

During the last 12 Days I made a post about “Slaying the Ego of Aniblogging“. In it I highlighted ways in which I prevented myself from writing by projecting failure long before putting any pen to paper. As it turns out I managed to change my ways. I can’t think of a single post this year that failed to see the light of day because of self-confidence issues. As a result I produced some quality articles without any sort of reservation. Has anyone judged me for it? Hell no. That was all ego and I’m glad it’s behind me.

On the matter of writing style, I can only say I’ve improved. I’m not entirely sure how it happened so I’ll chalk it up to practice and iteration. That’s not to boast my skills per se, frankly I don’t know how I measure up to other writers, however these days I do tend to say more with less. People find it easier to understand what I’m saying and fewer academic terms has kept my work accessible.

As for topics, well, I covered a fairly diverse range. Piracy, feminism, convention culture, Patreon, art history, community drama and of course anime. Compare that with last year, where I only really talked about seasonal anime, one manga title and fanservice. I can only hope to have a similar range of talking points next year. Perhaps it’s time to bring manga back into the fold…

Beyond all that jazz, I’m happy with the direction the blog has taken in the last twelve months, and I look forward to seeing what form it will have taken by next December. Onwards and upwards!


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My Year

With all that out of the way, we can now take a step back to discuss what’s been going in my life outside of the blog. Feel free to skip this part if you want, but at this point it’s no secret that the content I make is largely anecdotal, so if you’re still around it’s probably because you don’t mind the author being the selling point.

I try to maintain a certain degree of composure on social media. The overwhelming majority of people have come to know me as a quite upbeat individual who will only ever say nice things about others. In the past I’ve had people tell me I’ve motivated them to accomplish something, which is really the epitome of this aura of positivity I give off. But this post is just as much about introspection as it is about retrospection. That statement has be made clear now.

2017 has been one the worst years of my life. There is no purpose in hiding that fact. However you as readers don’t yet have a point of reference for just how bad it’s been. I wish there was a clear timeline I could take you along but frankly a lot of what has happened can be described as an ever-spinning whirlwind. Consider each subject title your trigger warning.

On alcohol abuse: For when conventional painkillers no longer work. I found my salvation at the bottom of a bottle far too many times this year. It’s a sign of immaturity to use alcohol as an escape from your problems, but the most deeply troubled of us never usually have the advantage. You know it’s not helping when you’re tossing away the second empty whisky bottle of the night, yet just for a moment, you feel like a better version of the polite and reserved person life has you presenting as.

On drug abuse: It’s weird how stress and anxiety tests the limits of your natural aversions. You know that drugs are bad, because that is what you’ve always been taught, but if that’s true then why does it feel so good?

No one looks pretty snorting cocaine in a bathroom cubicle during those few quiet moments when nobody is watching.

But everyone looks good on cloud nine.

On panic attacks: When I was younger I found the idea of panic attacks to be a bit silly. I was conscious of the various ways anxiety manifests itself, but the concept of losing your senses was hard to imagine. After all, my own experiences at that point had told me that when you’re anxious the reverse is true; to be anxious is to be hyper-vigilant of your own presence and the miasma it creates.

When I woke up in the middle of the road at 3am the first thing I noticed was the cold. Someone who passes out in such a dangerous place obviously doesn’t care about warmth or shelter, and on that night it was close to 0°c. I stumbled over to the nearest pathway and immediately checked my phone. Lots of missed calls. Apparently I had run off. It was only when I checked the fitness app that I found out where I had gone, 5 miles across the city.

The next time it happened I just collapsed. I vaguely remember staring at an open high-rise apparent. I became so focused on it that I could see the people on the balcony more clearly than the paramedics around me.

Coincidentally I don’t need to imagine what panic attacks are like anymore.

On suicide: If there was one feeling that connected each attempt, it would be how familiar it felt. You might be used to imagining it as a peculiar low-point or a desperate extreme. For me, it was about as isolated as my day-to-day had been.

Depending on your personal philosophy, it is either a blessing or a curse that dying is so difficult. Depending on your personal philosophy, it is either a blessing or a curse that people keenly feel pain. Depending on your personal philosophy, it is either a blessing or a curse to be in a world that creates without reason.

I am not a number. I could’ve been.

On family estrangement: What a cruel fate it is. If by giving birth to us our parents are responsible for all the joy we then experience, by equal measure they are responsible for all the hardships we endure. Either way, the decision is made by prior arrangement before you are even you.

As much as a train does and does not exist for its passengers, such is the same for those who we call family. You don’t choose the circumstances of your being, but perhaps you can choose who gets a share in it.

On health issues: They sing songs about my healthcare system. I did too. Once. Now when people head to choir I scan the room. I archive every last one of their faces, so that I may quietly resent them when it suits me.

Only the hypocrite judges individuals for not knowing everything about everything. But like the taxi driver waiting at the airport, there my name stands tall and in all its glory. If there is one myth I want to rid the modern world of, it would be the fallacy of “doctor knows best”. Failing to provide care is to, in fact, succeed in withholding the parachute.

On job complications: Wealth is cyclical. That’s not something school textbooks tell you. No, it’s written in the the cracks of the pavement and the crackheads of the house next door. Poverty begets poverty. Nothing makes you feel more revolutionary than when your CV breaks the illusion of capitalist meritocracy. Now if only we had the change to bring about change…

On identity crisis: The dictionary defines ‘other’ as someone or something distinctly different or even alien to oneself. But ‘oneself’ doesn’t refer to you, it refers to them. The ‘ones’ who tell you to accept, but train you to reject.

The truth is that everyone is an other and that there are no others. But the world doesn’t run on truth, it runs on polarity, so please…take your seat and strap in.

On: much more that I fail to remember.

Some might take that list as a cry for attention, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified to bring it all up. Where is line between honesty and oversharing? How do you know if people would support something that broken? What if people become afraid to act normal for fear of how I might react? How can I be seen as weak when people look to me for motivation and support themselves?

In my post titled “Started from the Bottom” I describe a certain tiptoeing that can go on when people get the full picture of who you are. The tone of that post might have been blindingly hopeful, which I don’t intend to revise, however it scrapes my mind every time I think about the unwanted consequences of openness. All my life I’ve been taught that my feelings are secondary to everyone else, and that has often been reinforced in peoples reactions to my vulnerability. It’s a truly painful history that I’ve only just started the process of recovering from.

This year I’ve been more public about the things that bother me. Especially recently, with comments on both public and private accounts. The truth is that as much as I work to uplift others, my legs are weak and my back overburdened. That’s not literal of course, but by sharing the details, I’m letting you see the blood, sweat and tears that go into bringing my inner cheerleader to life.

I struggle. I really do.

When I force a running gag out of my own hiatuses, you can know that even I realize how silly it can be. In the past friends have told me that it’s okay to take breaks and that withdrawing is not something I need to be ashamed of. While I don’t necessarily disagree, I don’t want that to be the solution I always run to. It clearly hasn’t been working too well for me so far, so any fix I try from here on needs to have greater permanency to it.

Ultimately that is what this disclosure is all about. Letting everyone in the world know what I’ve gone through is a way of making me accountable. Again, I don’t exactly expect that anyone would be outright angry with my choice of catharsis, however I think mentally, knowing that everyone is aware of it forces me into action. Whether any of this works…I guess we’ll find out, but I need to at least try.

If you have read this post, or one of the many others I’ve produced.

Thank you.

If you have talked to me on twitter or shared my content.

Thank you.

If you have messaged me online or met me in person.

Thank you.

Your actions are what fuel me right now. While a brighter future is something I alone must be responsible for, you folks will definitely receive the credit you deserve. I owe you that much. To a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Kanpai!


vlc_2017-12-16_14-43-56


Next Year

Wow. This post is exceptionally long. We’re on the home stretch now, I promise. We’ve taken a fairly comprehensive look back on everything I’ve done (or not done) in 2017, so now it’s time to create some goals heading into 2018.

Write at least one article every month – I said I would reset this goal for 2018 so here we are. Last year I said it wouldn’t be too hard to write once a month and yet I still failed to do it. That should be a good lesson on overconfidence for anyone watching. Still, I’m going to try again. I will forever promote the benefits of blogging as a means of recording your life, even if it only ever concerns anime and manga. Digging up old posts you made on social media is a chore, but scrolling through your blog is much easier.

But even then it’s just something to be proud of. Writing thousands of words for publication, time and time again, is not easy. This is especially true for those like me who don’t see a single penny for the articles that get posted. I suppose productivity and success applies to any kind of hobby, but blogging is my chosen outlet, so to do it justice I will try to keep writing each and every month.

Stay up to date with fellow bloggers (and twitter friends!) – The second handover for the new year. As you can see I’ve made a little revision for people I only know through twitter. I supported any kind of social upkeep off the back of last years goal but I want to make it explicitly clear anyhow.

You can expect this to mean that I will occasionally spam your notifications, @ you with dumb jokes and possibly message you privately as well. For 2018 I am thoroughly determined to make you sick of me. Are you scared by that? You should be.

Make it to 2019 in one piece (not the pirate kind) – I’ve mentioned how hard this year has been for me. There is no guarantee that next year will be any different, much as I might work to change that. So while this is another goal that is technically easy, I want to include it anyway. With this objective I hope to see you all again for next years 12 Days project, giving you another set of goals and thoughtful reflection.

Meet another anime friend in real life – I met two people this year whom I had previously known from purely online interactions. My interest in anime has always been insulated from those local to me, so I instead use the internet to connect me with people I wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I am thankful for that, but it’s incredibly impactful when you get the opportunity to close that artificial and physical distance. I’d love to repeat those encounters next year with even more people in the community. I love you all too much.

Try something new, inspired by fellow writers – I’ve seen a wide variety of content this year that isn’t even remotely related to what I do. It has been a fascinating learning experience that was provided by many of the people that might be reading now. I loved Heyitszel’s architecture posts, which proved unique thanks to her professional and educational background in architecture. I loved Inksquid’s gradual push towards bilingual content, creating an avenue to train his language skills through writing. I loved RemyFool’s eloquent gushing over the idols of Love Live! Sunshine!! and his commitment to the community at large.

I could go on for just about everyone I actively follow. The point is that these people are producing a bunch of content that I have never tried before – but probably should. That isn’t to say I intend to copy anyone. In fact I’m still unsure which way I’m going to approach that subject. All being well and good, I want to take inspiration from someone next year, and attempt to follow in their footsteps. Whether this will take the form of a homage or running series, I don’t know, but I think there is a wealth of untapped articles just waiting to be made in 2018.

Make a new friend – Because there is no such thing as too many friends right? In the spirit of community, I think it will be a noble goal to pursue. Social supports are more important than we give them credit for, and having one extra person on your side surely won’t hurt. In truth I just want to follow the example I set last year. I say it a lot but 12 Days got me connected with so many new and wonderful people that I’d be happy to see it happen again.

If you’re reading this and we haven’t yet talked then please do say hi! I don’t bite, and I’ll probably fall in love with your personality in 5 seconds flat. Why not be friends!

Develop a new skill or hobby – I recently reconnected with an old anime friend from my days as an avid /r/anime user. We haven’t exactly known each other for more than a few years, but that is still far longer than I’ve known anyone in the blog-o-sphere. He was talking about how a sudden illness made him step back from anime this year, and how this resulted in him pursuing new hobbies to make his life more interesting. Keeping it hush hush, he found results for that, while still loving anime, and in turn I found that the path he took is one I too could reasonably follow.

So now I want to find an additional hobby, or instead develop a new skill. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or noteworthy. It only has to be something lasting. A hobby that I keep up for at least a year, or a skill that lasts a lifetime. Whatever fits the bill. Interests make people interesting; and I want to be interesting.

Kickstart change – No, I’m not talking about the kickstarter website. What I mean is that I want to be partly or wholly responsible for making waves within the anime community. I’m often racked with guilt over how frequently I choose to be silent when important issues come up in debate. To my shame I sit out on far too many conversations that I care about, which is especially troubling when vocal advocates are required in order to see any change.

This coming year, I want to flip the switch on that pattern on at least one occasion. I want to stand up and be vocal, no matter how much I hate the nature of online discourse. If something needs to be said, then I should be the one saying it. I can’t keep letting other people take the bullet while we supposedly support the same viewpoints.

2018 will be the year of productivity

Apparently I’ve learnt nothing from last years mistakes, because that makes for a total of 8 goals, one more than before. I’ll probably do 9 next year just for the fun of it. Then I can either do 1 or 10 the year after. But I’m getting ahead of myself. These are now set in stone, so I must try to accomplish them within the space of 12 fleeting months. Failure is not an option. The cabal of anime friends will surely bring about my demise otherwise.

Wish me luck.


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Your Year

WELL NOW.

This is the end of the post. Don’t worry, it’s not a trick, you can check how far down the page you are to have some reassurance. While Inksquid did float the idea of splitting this post up to cover multiple of the ’12 Days’, I ultimately decided against it. I’m not sure how serious he was being, but I think writing as much as I have here while creating 11 posts in the meantime is a super refreshing accomplishment.

Given how unmotivated I can be sometimes, I decided to latch onto the drive I’ve felt recently and wrinkle as much out of it as I can while it yet remains. Whether that effects anyone other than me isn’t obvious. What I do know is that the Haruhi of last year would not have had the willpower to make it 10,000+ words into a retrospective. She would’ve filled spots on the 12 Days calendar with throwaway messages and haphazardly thrown together bullet points. She’s not an insincere person mind you, but she probably wouldn’t believe anyone who said she’d trump her own work a mere year later.

And that’s ultimately what this post has been leading up to. Because really, how much of this monolithic text is relevant to anyone but myself? It’s a whole lot of writing directed at the very individual who brought it to life. 12,000 words is a lot for anyone to read through, and given that I’ve had to proofread and edit this post a number of times, I doubt anyone will remember its content as vividly as I do.

That probably isn’t a bad thing. In truth I’m still reeling in shock that I’ve managed even a fraction of this at all. Let alone with any semblance of quality. It seems so far apart from who I have come to know myself as, that ‘All Hail Haruhi’ no longer feels like the original author. So if you’ve made it all the way down to the end without skipping a beat, I want you to know that firstly I’m impressed, and secondly grateful.

That means you too, Haruhi. These words are here just as much for you as they are for them. Don’t let yourself forget that.

And to avoid signing off this yearly digest by talking to myself like a poorly put together caricature of a human being, this one goes out to you non-haruhi’s of the world. As always, and with much love…

Thanks for reading!

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7 thoughts on “Yearly Digest

  1. Haruhiii

    You truly are the cheerleader we don’t deserve.

    I’ve said it before but you’ve really made a meaningful impact on my life. I don’t that I would be at the place I am if not for meeting you and I certainly wouldn’t have finished the 12 days last year or this year. And I know that this wasn’t just the case for me.

    As bad as I am at showing it, I really care about you Haruhi, as a big fan of your writing but most of all as a friend, which is again something that I’m certain that I’m not alone in feeling. It always makes me happy to see you comfortable enough to share the better and worse parts of your life and I honestly hope that next year will instead be one of your best years.

    Congratulations on completing your 12 days this year and here’s to 2018! Looking forward to seeing you around.
    And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. /tears/

      /more tears/

      Thank you Carriage~

      It’s nice to know all that I’ve done for you, and how it has helped better you over this past year. I certainly didn’t set out to be all those things for you, but I’m happier for it as a result. It has been an immense privilege to know you, and to watch the ways you have grown over these short few months. I hope this is only the first step towards you becoming the person you want to be, and that I get to see steps 2, 3 & 4 as well.

      Likewise, well done to you. 12 Days is harder than it looks. Now you can take the time to watch anime again.

      To 2018!

      /sea of tears/

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This is an excellent way of reminding people to place their comments on the previous 12 Days of Anime posts you’ve made, in case they forgot to (*cough cough*). And in general, for newcomers to look at your past repertoire and take an enjoyable dive (*cough*).
    An amazing effort, and a wonderful read. Excellent work, Haruhi.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you.

    I can’t exactly detail want I’m thanking you for, so I hope you didn’t want that. Thank you for your content, for reading my content, for talking to me, for being someone I refer to as a friend. Thank you for being you.

    ALSO I’M SORRY IF THIS GETS REALLY LONG.

    Please do more fashion posts! I’ve never seen anything like it and it was one of my favourite of your 12 day posts. I’d love to see more like it and your thoughts on taking one outfit and going into more detail sounds really interesting. (also that quiz was crazy hard but I enjoyed it)

    Your retrospective reminded me how important a comment can be. I usually only comment when I feel I have something to say, but sometimes just an “I like this, please do more” is important. A like is hard to distinguish between the aforementioned and someone scrolling to like and move on without reading.

    You last year goals sounded tough (not that this years sound any easier, but I’m taking this in order so that’s jumping the gun). I very, very rarely hit my personal goals. I got sick of feeling like a failure so I stopped calling them failures. I didn’t meet my goal, but I didn’t fail because in the process I learnt something about myself.

    I guess that leads quite well into the next section.

    Story time, when I started my anime blog I created a new email with a non-identifiable name. I scrubbed my twitter account before transforming it into my anitwitter and I took every step possible to remove my identity from it. I have never suffered from online harassment.

    One of my friends asked me why I was going to the “extreme”. All I could say was I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I didn’t want that risk.

    Your “face reveal” prompted me to stop that detachment. If you could do it, I could too. So I did and I’m glad. I don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing on twitter (that’s why you didn’t know about Budapest!) but I’m starting to get there. I still worry it’ll back fire.

    This isn’t to make it about it. My struggles last year don’t really compare but even when you’ve not known it, you were there for me. A source of inspiration, for strength, that I hope I can return for you. When you took that hiatus and I messaged you a few times, I was sure it was probably irritating if you read it but I wanted you to know I was there. Just in case.

    I’m tearing up writing this so I should probably end this ridiculously long, open-letter comment!

    Just one last thing.

    Maybe your kickstart change is for something more drastic. Maybe you’re happy with smaller ripples, if so you did that for me in 2017 so I’m sure you’ll do that again in 2018. And in case it takes them just as long to say it, maybe this one will count for you.

    Also I’m totally going to volunteer for a meetup!

    Sorry, it took me so long to get around to reading, I think keeping up to date with reading should be one of my goals too.

    You’re amazing, by the way.
    In case you didn’t get that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah~

      Thank you for the compliments & appreciation. I’d definitely consider us friends ❤

      Long posts are fine! I mean, that's basically what you had to read through just to get to the comment section haha. For whatever reason this got stuck in the spam filter so I'm glad I spotted it!

      You make some good points about commenting and personal goals. It reminds me of how insightful your input always is. Like with your remarks on the Ghibli post, you have a knack for building on any of the ideas I put forward. It just hows attentive you can be.

      I'm very honoured that my openness has given you the courage to push boundaries in your own life. I've always wanted to bring the best out of people, so the fact that you've been happy with the changes you've made makes me happy in turn.

      I think I've mentioned it before but I absolutely did appreciate the messages and they were not at all unwelcome. In fact, the realization that I was missed was a big reason for me even deciding to come back. Thank you for that!

      Don't worry about taking your time to read and comment. This is neither an easy post to read or respond to, and prior to it you were busy with your own 12 Days/Holiday season stuff.

      I've been smiling the whole time while reading this, so I better not ramble on any longer. That said, your final comments melted me, and I'm so very very grateful!

      Liked by 1 person

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