I got into this whole anime blogging thing in a similar manner to how most other people once did. That is, having found a hobby in anime/manga, I merely wished to express it in some form (and if possible, with minimal faggotry).
The question I often ask myself is “why a weblog?” What strange deranged forces from the depths of hell could possibly have impelled me to create this abomination of various unicorns? Perhaps more importantly, why this particular format? Why not just go to a forum to engage in what the cognitivists call speculation and what the theorists call discourse? Why spend hours recounting the latest episodes with screenshots, summaries, and reactions?
To try to answer that question, I found myself looking at something else that I happen to be a huge fan of. As most people are aware of by now, American football season is upon us. For me, that means checking up on player stats, browsing the injury reports, hounding the latest highlights and previews, and of course, spending three hours on game day watching our punter shine.
One of my favorite football personalities is Paul Allen, radio play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Vikings. Here are some of his calls. The man has the uncanny ability to lace his words with power and urgency. Often times, I feel as if I’m not only listening to the game, but actually part of the game itself. I guess if there was anybody I wanted to imitate when starting this whole anime blogging deal, P.A. was the guy. Someone who spoke of the seemingly ordinary in an extraordinary manner.
Of course, on the national level, people are more likely to know the big names. You have the game-time commentators such as Cris Collinsworth, Al Michaels, or the retired John Madden who provide us with real-time play-by-play.
You have your big name analysts and network personalities. These include the guys who run Fox NFL Sunday, whom we tune into before and after the game to receive their opinions, insights, and overall thoughts.
You also have your high-profile columnists such as NFL.com writers Vic Carucci and Michael Lombardi. These people break down the games, the teams, injuries, roster moves, and predictions (with rigorous detail I might add). They are the de facto source for which most of the off-shoot discussions stem from.
What really strikes me as interesting is how similar the commentary and discussion revolving around American football resembles that of anime blogging.
Back in 07-08 when the Michaels/Madden duo was still the voice of Sunday Night Football, I used to watch them all the time. Despite the monotony of a nationally televised game from a commentating point of view, I still enjoyed their stats, and occasional insights. It’s a pragmatic format, with the basis of commentary being formed around “summary” and “reaction,” but it works. The anime blogging community has its fair share of Al Michaels and John Maddens; those who give recounts and “color commentary” for the latest football broadcasts (replace football with Japanese cartoons).
The community also has its Michael Wilbons and Tony Kornheisers; the satirists and entertainers. The Terry Bradshaws and Deion Sanders; the popular personalities. And last but not least, the Vic Caruccis and Michael Lombardis; the analytically inclined, the theorists, and those who dig a little bit deeper than usual.
With the way the community is shaping, I’d argue that our popular discourse resembles that of professional sports more so than that of literature, film, or academia. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up for debate.
This seemingly exhaustive hierarchy exists for many reasons, but I believe a huge contributing factor lies with the fans themselves. Football and Japanese cartoons are too vastly different things, but they both have dedicated fans, many of whom don’t spend their time bickering amongst themselves on the internet. Why don’t we mute the TV if the commentary is simply rehashing what’s happening on-screen as the replay rolls? Well I’d imagine it’d be a rather dull experience. How about all these blogs that supposedly do the same thing with Japanese cartoons and screen-caps?
I won’t try to legitimize this post by implying there exists some point we should all take away from it. There isn’t any. Only random observations that flow in and out of my stream of consciousness as I wait for my Vikes to lock up Adrian Peterson.
In the end, I still don’t know why I have created this abomination of various unicorns. But I also don’t think these unicorns are without merit either. We do what we do because the format works, to a degree. Certain detractors may say otherwise, but what they’re really doing is ruining a perfectly good game of FOOTBALL!