There’s a bit of a blogging meme/game/carnival/Olympics/circlejerk floating around involving an Interrogation-style game. It started with Iso from Nabe!!, who spread the game to a number of bloggers, and in a neat pay-it-forward type of scheme, the concept finally reached me, 3 bloggers removed. I was tagged by Starburst from Daifuuku (and subsequently, kevo from Desu ex Machina). I’m quite grateful to be mentioned reasonably early on in the meme, and I can’t help but oblige in participating.
Before I begin, here are the rules, ripped straight from the source itself:
1) Each person is supposed to follow the rule of fives. You are allowed to ask 5 questions, after which you can tag up to 5 bloggers by hyper-linking to their blog; 5 questions because it’s not too many to flood another blogger and occupy too much of his/her time, but yet a large enough number to ask your most important questions, and 5 bloggers to avoid spamming. Hence, prioritize your questions, and who you wish to ask!
2) Those tagged are obliged to answer the questions in a blog post, and after which, they are entitled to create their own 5 questions and tag 5 other bloggers, so on and so fourth. You should answer your own 5 questions as well. You are allowed to tag the person that tagged you in the first place. Also, copy and paste this section on your blog so others can understand how the game goes.
In the case where a blogger strongly refuses to answer a question, he/she must instead post a nice anime image, wallpaper or cosplay picture, et cetera in response to that question.
3) To make things interesting, a blogger can include wildcards in his/her 5 questions by placing an asterisk, (*), after which those tagged are obliged to reveal something interesting about themselves that others did not previously know. There is no limit to the number of asterisks one can place (which means there can be up to 5 wildcard questions).
4) Anyone can feel free to start the game; you don’t necessarily need someone to tag you. Just create your 5 questions and tag your 5 people of choice. However, the catch is that you must answer your own 5 questions as well.
5) To potentially prevent an endless game, this round of games will end on the 8th September 2012, 12pm JST (GMT +9). After which, no more bloggers can tag others to answer their questions.
Sounds quite reasonable enough, but knowing how ranty I can get when talking about myself, this opportunity seems like a challenge to write a fairly long post which will probably end up getting ignored due to the sheer length of it; to hell with anime-related images! I’m up to task!
Questions From Starburst
1) How would you define your own (ani)blogging style? If any, who or what has influenced/inspired your style?
Looking back at a number of my posts, especially those that were the most well-received from my readers, I find that my writing style is constantly in flux. I drift from piece to piece without actually settling down on a single type of blogging focus or angle. One day, I’ll be comparing Anime tropes with western media, and on another I’ll be sharing my personal experiences related to the anime I watch, and on another, I’ll be completely meta and write self-referentially about the blogosphere. I’m a bit all over the place.
Being a bit all over the place is a bit weird, as it makes the task of capturing the interest of prospective readers all the more difficult. The moment a reader grows to appreciate one aspect of my blogging ability, they’re subjected to something completely different. At the end of the day, however, variety is the spice of life, and I think I provide that sort of writing in a way that many bloggers restrict themselves from doing.
By not settling on a schtick, whether it involves a specific subject matter or a specific type of post (editorial/episodic/etc.), I allow myself the flexibility to talk about pretty much anything and everything, as long as it interests me.
When it comes to inspirations and influences towards my writing, I can’t put my finger on any single individual in the aniblogging community, as my approach to writing have been in place to opening up Baka Laureate. I used to be part of the World of Warcraft blogosphere, but even then, I didn’t particularly draw my style from any singular writer. I did form strong comeraderies with other burgeoning writers back then, which probably influenced the subject matter of which I wrote, but our writing styles were entirely our own.
If I had to pin down a writer in general, it would probably be Bill Simmons, a sports writer for espn, and the head honcho for his own pop culture and sports website, Grantland. Popularity backlash in the sports writing community has netted him quite the negative fanbase who believe he’s not a real journalist for sports, but regardless of his credentials as an expert in the field, he can write well, and he can write entertainingly.
He wrote sports and pop culture colloquiums before colloquiums ‘existed’ in the aniblogosphere. His rants are long-winded but calculating in his quips. He spent several thousand words talking about handball in the Olympics. He talks about the basketball offseason in relation to major quotes from Game of Thrones. The guy is a great writer, and I often find myself trying to emulate him, probably a bit more than I ought to.
While it’s probably unwise for me to aspire to be the x-writer of y-genre, but to be the Bill Simmons of aniblogging would be pretty damn cool, and if you’re a fan of Bill’s as much as I am, despite the fact that I think he’s a quack as a sports analyst, then you would probably want to write like him too.
2) Other than the Anime/Manga fandom, what other fandoms/interest do you have?
While I’m not particularly drawn to or connected with the League of Legends community as a whole, I’m a huge fan of the game, and play it rather religiously despite not being particularly skilled at it. League is a game that has quite a bit of complexity to it as far as gameplay is concerned; teamwork is an important aspect of it, and the sheer number of playable characters makes for a remarkably deep game, such that you rarely play the exact same game twice.
A game that pits two teams of five against each other, each role on the team is defined, much like the different archetypes of a typical RPG party; there’s an offensive spellcaster that deals a lot of damage through magic attacks, there’s a ranged attacker that uses physical damage in the form of projectile weapons, there’s a bruising melee fighter that can tank a lot of hits, there’s a utility support that can alter the tide of a battle with spells that benefit allies and cripple enemies through means other than damage, and lastly, there’s the cunning assassin-like role that ambushes unsuspecting foes from hidden terrain.
And unlike traditional turn-based RPGs, the struggle between teams occurs in real time. The complexity of good positioning and tactics can and do determine the outcome of a chaotic fight involving entire teams. Every playable League of Legends character, also known as a champion, has his or her own strengths, weaknesses, and abilities that bring unique dynamics to the fight. Using a champion’s ultimate ability is similar to a shonen anime character busting out their ace in the hole, and unlike the tendencies of shonen to showcase battles one-on-one, team-fights in League can result in upwards of ten different ultimate abilities used at once. Pretty fuckin’ rad, if you ask me.
3) What is your taste in music?
Looping all day, every day.
4)*(Wildcard Question! Reveal something interesting about yourselves that others did not previously know.)
I like to dance! And by dance, I don’t simply mean I like to do that horse-riding dance thing from Gangnam Style in my living room every morning before work. I’m interested in learning a number of different dances, ranging from ballroom to weeaboo. As a member of a rathare large Filipino family, I’ve participated in a number of Debut parties, and learned a number of different dances as part of various cotillions.
Name a ballroom style, and I’ve probably learned the basics for it. Swing? Yep. Cha-cha? Easy. Tango? Name your pick, as I’ve learned Argentine and Filipino. Waltz? I’ve learned the one from The Sound of Music. The laendler waltz is probably clichéd in many critical circles, but when it’s such an ingrained part of family tradition, I can’t help but enjoy it immensely. Waltzing is as natural as riding a bike.
As for the weeaboo thing, somehow I feel that my rite of passage into anime fandom was learning the Hare Hare Yukai dance (it’s one thing to have seen it, and another to actually know how to do it). Some odd years ago, the North American release of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVD was promoted very aggressively, and the English cast made its rounds around the anime cons across the continent, and Anime North was one such stop.
In celebration of the DVD release, AN hosted its inaugural Hare Hare Yukai dance-off, a contest in the vein of America’s Best Dance Crew, except with teams among teams of weeaboos (you could say the event was…teaming with them), and the judges were none other than the English cast. I attended the contest by myself and joined the first group that needed a 5th member. We didn’t win the overall group contest, but I did win an individual award, which the judges deliberately added at the last second just so my *cough* talents would not go unwasted.
So yeah, my fondness for dance and anime netted me Volume 1 DVD of Haruhi, signed by the English voice cast. Oppa Haruhi Style!
5) What is a limit that you would challenge yourself to push?
My greatest worry is that at some point in my life, I will look back at everything that I have ever written and simply regret that I haven’t written more. Too many nights have passed where, instead of nailing away at the keyboard and bashing my head in due to inability to craft the perfect sentence, I’m actually nailing away at the keyboard and bashing my head in due to yet another loss in League, or some other computer-related activity.
There’s an adage among writers that the first million words that anybody ever writes is complete crap, and that anything else after that point constitutes as your true writing ability or potential. That amounts to about ten to twelve novels, or several thousand blog posts. Time-wise, that’s probably about a decade’s worth of writing.
While I don’t particularly agree with the magic number of one million, but I do understand the sentiment of writing as much as possible in order to improve. Assuming that this is the actual intent of the original quote, all of those instances not spent blogging or writing fiction (or even fanfiction for that matter) did not contribute towards my own betterment as a writer.
That said, it might seem odd to you to see me put emphasis on quantity over quality. I can appreciate the nuances behind the perfectly crafted tweet, and how less is often more, but coming from a fiction-writing background, the average post length (which I presume to be somewhere between five and fifteen hundred) is but a speck in the length of a novel or even a novella. As a proud participant of NaNoWriMo, getting things written is better than getting things right.
As such, I wish to simply write more words, and if this particular post is any indication, I wish to challenge myself to simply write more, even if it might come at the cost of posting less often.
Paying it Forward
I’m going to skirt the rules a little bit. The original stipulation was that one could tag up to five other bloggers. I’m only going to tag one person, and that person is none other than AJTheFourth from Altair and Vega. I do apologize to AJ for putting her on the spot like this, but I do enjoy her writing immensely, and due to our ongoing conversations on writing, I figured that this type of activity serves as a fun little opportunity to give her something to think about.
1. What is your favourite school festival episode/arc?
2. What is your favourite romance trope, and what is your favourite example of said trope from an anime?
3. Who is your favourite supporting character in anime?
4. What is your favourite high school club in anime?
5. Who do you think will win Saimoe?
As per the rules, here are my answers!
1. My favourite school festival episode is from Heartcatch PreCure. In the episode, the girls organize a fashion show as their activity in their school’s festival. Due to circumstances in the episode, the school’s light music club is forced to cancel their concert; however, Erika makes a quick collaborative decision to incorporate the light music club’s performance into the fashion show.
The resulting show itself is perhaps the defining moment in the episode, and arguably the entire Heartcatch series. It is a culmination of the main characters’ efforts surrounding the club, and exudes all of the confidence and achievements that they have gained throughout their experience as PreCure. It is a celebration of their high school goals and, overall, is a delight to watch.
2. In anime, my favourite romance tropes are the Valentine’s Day and White Day exchanges. While Christmas is arguably the more romantic holiday in Japanese culture, Valentine’s Day and White Day are the two holidays that provide the clearest opportunity for romantic expression. The effort behind making chocolates, as well as the meaning behind certain types of chocolate (honmei, obligatory, etc.) carry different meanings and its inclusion into a romance story brings the most interesting developments.
That said, my favourite usage of the trope is in Lovely Complex, my favourite romcom series. My fondness for this particular example doesn’t necessarily pertain to the trope itself, but rather the show as a whole, in which usage of the trope was inevitable by nature. The will-they-or-won’t-they nature of Risa and Otani was punctuated by different plot points that drove their relationship forward, but somehow still brought its audience along for a hilarious ride. The Valentine’s Day episode was excellently done, and was one of many heartwarming yet amusing developments in the story. LoveCom is truly a one-of-a-kind romcom.
3. My favourite supporting character in anime is (under the loose standard of being classified as a supporting character by MyAnimeList) Hinata Hyuuga from the Naruto series. It’s a bit weird for me to consider Hinata as a supporting character, as the intensity of the fandom (and by extension, the Naruto/Hinata shipping fandom) puts her in such high regard that it’s easy to forget that she’s not necessarily the focal point of the series, and exists purely in relation to Naruto.
That said, there’s a lot to like about her, and her shyness throughout the series is endearing to the point where I simply have to root for her to one day break out of her shell. The best part is that she is shown in this regard, particularly during that one moment in Naruto Shippuuden. I’m not one to mention spoilers, but that one moment is probably my single favourite moment of the series, and definitely one of my favourites in all of anime and manga. It was just perfect, simply because of all the series-long buildup that led to it.
4. My favourite high school club is the Kiyosumi mahjong club from Saki. I chose this particular club on the basis that not only do I like the characters, but they actually engage in a substantial amount of activity pertaining to their club. I could have picked the SOS-dan from Haruhi, the Light Music Club from K-ON, or even the go-home club from Azumanga Daioh, but they didn’t do enough of what their club entails for me to pick as such (the SOS in particular, isn’t so much of a club, but rather a group of paranormal students making sure that Haruhi doesn’t destroy the universe).
That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Kiyosumi’s mahjong club with regards to just how much they play mahjong; watching them play together always gives me the urge to play a few rounds of tenhou myself. But playing mahjong online really isn’t the same as being in a group and playing the game in its physical form. Also, the members of Kiyosumi’s club are so likeable, from the hilarious tacofetishism of Yuuki, to the super-cool bancho aura from Hisa. Round that out with the amazingly blatant lesbian vibes between Saki and Nodoka, and the result is a remarkably entertaining group of moeblobs who play a ridiculously fun game. Oh, there’s a guy in there too, I guess.
5. I think Akari from Yuru Yuri will win this year’s SaiMoe. While the odds are rather stacked in the Saki franchise’s favour due to sheer numbers alone, I still favour quality over quantity. As prior tournaments have indicated before, while Saki is capable of thriving purely on quantity, they don’t have the same commanding presence that a series like Madoka does, which is why I’m picking the best representative from a somewhat smaller show, Yuru Yuri.
I estimate the odds of Saki having the best odds of winning compared to other individual series, but I would still bet on rest of the field. It’s just a matter of which other anime to pick. With a currently currently airing show and a rather average bracket, Akari has a very intriguing route to the elimination rounds. If she does, she has a very strong chance at making a run for the championship. Moe is serious business.
So um, yeah, have at thee.
I apologize for the 3,000 words. No I don’t. Later.