This post of Annalyn’s highlighted an oddity about aniblogging: it adds a degree of stress to a formerly relaxing activity. Anibloggers naturally need to have opinions in order to write, yet this leads to people approaching Excel’s Saga like it’s Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Hemingway’s The Man and the Sea. (Yes, my dear readers, I’m guilty as charged.) This approach to anime exhausts one after a while, and I often find myself turning off my critical mind. I’m a fan before I am blogger!
Like eating, there are three distinct steps to creating an informed opinion: tasting, chewing, and digesting. How many judgments can I make while still tasting the story? Five really: I love it, like it, don’t dislike it, dislike it, or hate it. Purely emotional judgments which do not elucidate anything about the show itself! The next step lies in chewing on the show: What led me to the reaction I had? What themes does the story seem to be pursuing? How well does the animation compare to other shows? Is the soundtrack anything special? What are the characters’ motivations? Does the show seem to be alluding to other works of anime or literature?
The reason I cannot do episodic reviews is because I’d hate to have to ask the above questions every episode. Instead, I watch episode after episode chewing on these ideas and waiting to see if something strikes me about the show–which mode of viewing leads to the kinds of articles you see written here most often. It might take many episodes indeed before I can stop chewing on the show and it begins to settle in my mind. Sometimes, I never get to that point.
It is in the digestive stage where good objective judgments are formed. Certain stories even resist digestion until the second viewing! (“To read a text once is not yet to begin to read a text,” as Professor Jackson used to tell us.) In order to facilitate my digestion, I will read what other bloggers are saying about the show. So that I do not merely echo, I compare their judgments to mine and consider what their reasoning behind that judgment might be. You’ll find that bloggers will criticize a show based on the expectations they made for it or praise it merely for the visceral pleasure it gave them. I will not claim to be immune from either fault!
And so, it takes me a coon’s age before I lay down a final judgment on a show. (Otherwise, I write a negative article like this only to have the show grow very high in my estimation.) Most bloggers have already given their opinions on a season long before I give mine. I am certain that my judgments would be deficient if I wrote sooner: “…in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:4).
So, what do you think, my dear readers? Does blogging take some of the fun out of watching anime? Does it make you more prone to be cutthroat in your evaluations?