Fri 14 Dec 2007
While Dio and I were coming up with a better way of handling stuff for our year-end blowout after our music post sort of slipped and fell on its rump by being a huge wall of text, I came across a fun little post by Owen S over at Cruel Angel Theses about the Anime Blogging Collective. In reading it, he proposed a fun, unofficial project with the idea of for the 12 days leading up to Christmas do reflection posts about anime, manga, light novels or what have you.
I rather enjoyed this idea, as it has been a while since I got to do anything semi-serious aside from that fansub debate post, which I think hit the internet about two weeks too early considering thanksgiving week the big Justin Sevakis open letter to the industry came along to really push things into the hot button zone. (I felt no need to respond since my opinion is there 16 days in advance of Sevakis.)
That said, it’s kind of hard to come up with 12 different reflection topics, and at the moment I’m not exactly in a “talk about ANIME” mood. I just finished my last final in undergraduate college today, and I’m feeling a bit more introspective. Thus, I’ve decided to use my first reflection post to reflect a little on my first year of blogging.
I think the idea for the blog first surfaced in my mind a little over a year ago. Me, the ever vigilant anime fan that I am, had been watching alot of anime. I had known anime blogs existed well before hand, a former roommate having shown me several a few years back, but I never was much of a blog reader. That said, in a fit of boredom I had started looking for other folks opinions on things like Haruhi and Ouran. After several blog hopping jaunts through much of the internet and seeing the huge variety of folks, especially enjoying things like Karura’s parodies, Jason Miao’s reaction-styled posts and Novastorm’s reviews, the idea of starting my own sort of latched on to my mind like a spark of an idea latched on to Haruhi’s.
After all, just like I said in my first post, I felt I had the right qualifications to start a blog.
1.) I could demonstrate an ability to speak incessantly about anime.
2.) I had formed a strong opinion on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.
So come January 2007, I mention to a friend of mine who would later take on the alias Dio Bravo my idea, and he decides to attach himself to my mad plans like Koizumi goes along with whatever Haruhi says with unflinching dedication, and the two of us start coming up with ideas.
The name Whiskey Tango Foxtrot came out of my tendency to use that slightly more obscured variation of WTF when encountering something weird but not of the level to actually drop an f-bomb. That name also led to me coming up with my main gimmick: find weirdness in anime and talk about it.
The initial idea for the blog was… not something I’m fond of looking back. A random nexus for myself and friends to write whatever they damn well please, with doses of weirdness every Wednesday.
Of course, when I became the only blogger with any drive at all on this site, and I found myself not really liking the practice of writing episode summaries, I sort of fell out of writing practice and, quite frankly, the blog started dying on me. Not even the weekly does of weirdness could really do anything.
Several things have helped this blog come alive.
First was my first major discussion-esque post back in midsummer on the pitfalls of shounen. A mostly belligerent rant on a stale cookie of a genre that I no longer want to really eat unless it’s got scrumptious frosting and goes through my system quickly (read, it’s fun and fast, wow, that analogy made me hungry, brb;) my views on the topic have pretty much remained the same since I wrote it. (That said, Nobuhiro Watsuki’s latest series, Embalming, is off to a good start with its first two issues, as it has Watsuki’s typical style combined with a fairly fun take on both of the old Frankenstein stories. It’s nice when I can still enjoy shounen… just not mainstream shounen, I guess).
In writing this post and looking at the response it got, both from friends and wandering strangers, I had more fun writing that single (but huge) post than I did for all the posts before it. The editorial format was more fun to write than the boring old episode summary posts. WTF moments were still fun to make, but no one really read them. This was a new, fun experience, and it was something I decided I’d have to come back to… when the time arose.
Hammering out a review and an essay about Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann over the course of two days was the second major understanding of what was starting to make this blog tick for me. I enjoy writing reviews of series, but it’s not as interesting a read as essays. Two reviews later and I observe that people can get reviews anywhere, and so while I like writing my opinions on a series (much more, in fact, than simple episode summaries) I determined that in the end, writing essays is just more interesting as a whole. I think from here on I plan on doing analytic essays instead of reviews, and I will request the same of my fellow bloggers on this site.
Next, to kick off the fall season I decided I wanted to focus around the gimmick that previously was limited to one day rather than do what everyone else was; emphasize one of the things I liked doing and make it something a bit more. Yes, making Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Wednesdays into Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Weekdays was one of my better ideas for the concept, and kicking things off grand with a marvelous post mocking Dragonaut helped me come to realize just what I wanted to do. This post was the birth of the Thumbnail Theatres I have been having such fun creating over the course of the season, and while I haven’t done WTF Weekdays as much as I would like to, I’m starting to get a better feel of where I want to take the blog.
Finally, I think one of the best things to happen to the blog was being discovered by Epic Win, and thereby learning about the way they handle things. Orion and Guff’s fun-loving attitude really inspired Dio and me, and the fact that they don’t mind us so shamelessly stealing their tag-team style has really let us take off here. We’ve sort of turned the tag team idea into random sick twisted comedy with absurd cameos, so we’ve made it our own thing, too. It’s helped evolve both our writing (and it let Dio get back into the game) into the twisted mess it is today… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
All said and done, looking back on the blog, I’m starting to see where I want to go in the future.
Firstly, I’m going to emphasize two kinds of posts: humorous madness and serious response. The humorous madness posts work best for us in the conversation style, be they the craziness that is Thumbnail Theatres (and I only hope more series worthy of Thumbnailing will appear) or just our usual WTFs. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m going to work a little harder on making these posts faster. The serious responses will vary between conversations (us reacting to something particularly neat, like Mirai Nikki, or doing our ‘lists’, which we’re revamping) and single-writer posts like this and analytic essays. In general, focus on what I perceive as our strengths.
Secondly, I plan to get this site layout improved. I’ve wanted something better for a while, but I have less than zero eye for site layout. It will be upgraded in the future to something more fitting with our goals, though, so keep an eye out for that. To make the Thumbnail Theaters more readable, I want to work out a way to get the image and the text to be in two columns.
And finally… from this point on, I completely encourage any and all constructive criticism. One of the long standing goals of this blog has been to improve writing of various types for myself and the other posters, and so any and all constructive criticism is welcome.
With that, I open this up to this question to those who have been willing to wade through my wall of text: What kind of things do you think this blog could do to improve?
Conclusion: On the first day of Christmas, 2007 gave to me, A Blog with a spotty history.