How Much Do You Need To Know About Anime To Write A Blog About Anime?

I know what you’re thinking, if you go by my example, then you don’t need to know all that much at all. And you may have thought that was one of my self depreciating jokes which really trouble some people (you guys are such sweethearts, really!) but it’s not. It’s my actual answer. Some base knowledge just so that you can actually figure out what you want to say is useful but beyond that, I don’t think you need to be an expert to discuss a subject.

anime detective

isn’t she cute?

Now let me be clear, it is great to listen or read someone discuss something they are very knowledgeable about. No doubt there. But I find there’s value in the novice’s point of view as well. If for nothing else than fresh eyes bring on new perspectives. Not to mention that anime specifically is art and art is just not all about facts. Impressions and speculations have an important lace in artistic discussions and you can have those even if you know next to nothing about anime.

This is all theoretical. How about I take it down to a more personal level.

I am occasionally told by new bloggers that they “don’t know as much about anime” as I do. This is of course false in most cases as I am by no means an anime specialist or anything. I approach anime very much like a hobby and a merriment? I’M not sure what word I’m looking for. Basically, anime is an emotional experience for me. I watch it, I take away an experience, I occasionally discuss it here and that’s about it. I do love to learn about anime and animation but I don’t have the drive towards researching it the same way I have spent hours reading all the biographies of the authors BSD characters are based on. I’m not sure why.

Bungou-Stray-Dogs-s3

I might have a clue why…

What I’m saying is that my knowledge about anime as an industry, anime history and the mechanics thereof, is not that impressive. As for my knowledge of anime “culture”, as in the happenings in the fan community or public opinion and the like, that’s downright dismal. Half the time, I don’t even know when a new season of one of my favourite shows is scheduled to air and I have a delighted surprise.

And this is me now. As in this is my current knowledge of my base subject matter after years of writing this blog. When I started the blog I probably would have been hard-pressed to name more than a few studios off the top of my head and I had never even heard of Natsume’s Book of Friends. Was I ever that young? And you know what, some of my early posts are still some of my favourites.

Sure they were a bit naive and there was clearly some pieces missing in my information but that was part of the charm. Since I wasn’t writing a scientific or journalistic blog, my purpose was never to teach people. I took it for granted that my readers would be at least as informed as I was, if not more so. Instead, I was having a conversation. I expected to be corrected (or ignored if we’re completely honest) and what I wanted to do was bring up questions not give answers. Or share weird tidbits I had noticed that were of no particular import. That’s still true today. But of course, that’s just me.

Natsume-Yuujinchou-image-natsume-yuujinchou

What’s this? An excuse to post Natsume fan art!!??!! (found here)

This said, I do read a lot of blogs and I enjoy those that give me details on personal experience or that relate anime back to the writer’s own life, just as much as those that go through detailed production backgrounds and technical explanations. Of course that’s a question of personal taste.

Still, I think there’s something valuable in learning together. When someone who is not an adept in a field talks about a subject, they approach it differently than a master would. When one doesn’t have all the answers, then all the possibilities are opened…or something like that. I know that basic writing tips and just general advice for presenting anything to an audience is to talk with authority and confidence. And maybe I’m way off on this one. However, I think you can have confidence even when you are discussing a topic you aren’t that versed in. I can confidently tell you that I know nothing about the financial situation of a particular production and just as confidently tell you whether I enjoyed it or not. But even then, I sort of like uncertain writers from time to time. There’s something charming about a blogger that wants to know what you think and not just wants to tell you what they think…. or at least I think so….

Basically, this is a very unnecessarily long winded way of saying, you don’t need to know everything there is to know about anime to write about it. If you ask me, you don’t need to know that much at all. You just need to have something to say about it. That probably applies to most topics. So if you have been thinking of starting a blog and are worried about your personal expertise, don’t be. It’s fine to start off a little more superficially. It can be really interesting and rewarding to learn about a subject alongside your readers. As long as you’re not selling classes on it or anything.

As usually, this is only my very personal take on it. What do you guys think? Is it better to write only on topics you’ve mastered? If you’re here I figure professionalism is not something you look for in a blog but I may be the exception and you usually like more knowledgeable authors. Once or twice a year I do research a post, do you like those?

Rini 2020 (4)

she might be my fave

 

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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32 Responses

  1. Sheazer says:

    Thank goodness. I’d be screwed if I had to have a catalogue of knowledge first.

  2. You know those “power level” evaluations you often get in shonen? (“It’s over 9000!” and that.) Everyone’s “power levels”, when it comes to approaches and topics, are different and there’s no way there can be telepathy long enough for someone to always think the same thing as someone else (unless it’s a case of plagiarism, which is a different can of worms). That’s why, my opinion is that – for anyone considering wanting to throw their hat into the aniblogging ring…to quote a certain Shia LeBeouf, “just do it!” Heck, you might not even know what you’re writing on /is/ anime. Do it anyway!

    …You can think about how to make your blog sustaintable or pretty (or just less regrettable) later.

  3. ManInBlack says:

    Being “knowledgeable” and being an “expert” are two separate things in my view, as an expert thinks they know it all, whereas knowledgeable people are always keen to learn more, which helps them form a more open and balanced opinion as opposed to believing one’s opinion is fact.

  4. If I had to be an expert to blog about something, I’d never blog.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everyone in some degree is an expert in something or another. My expierince comes from the years i’ve watched,read or played and the amount of hours online i’ve read about the behind the scenes stuff online from even more obscure sites like the fansites you could find on angelfire.
    In terms of speacilaity you could either know whats up with the history of anime,the team behind it like the mangaka or director,the studio or the process that goes to animating the show.
    We are all still learning as time goes by with stuff that even the most seasoned anime or gaming fan probably wouldn’t even know about.
    -K (rogueotakugamer)

  6. I always think of my blog as a forum to seek out other people’s opinions. I don’t need to be an expert to say “I liked this book”, or “I didn’t like this book”. As long as you’re not going on claiming to be an expert, it’s just a place to get your thoughts on things that you love or hate. Whether it’s anime, books, movies, etc…. it’s a place to state your opinion, and hopefully get the opinions of other, to make connections with those who have similar interests! In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have as long as you own it and don’t pretend to be something you’re not. We all learn in time!

  7. Inskidee says:

    For me, I think Masters and novices alike should be open to blog about what they like. For readers, I think it offers more variability – especially if you put the two side by side. Wow, that sounds kinda negative on the novice’ side… Okay, I don’t mean there’s gonna be the largest power difference the internet has ever come across if novices are caught breathing near the experienced or whatever, it’d just be interesting to experience the perspective of someone who’s been along the anime ride for a while, and someone whose only begun. Variety, y’know? Or at least that’s what I think. This is really just my personal taste in what I read now that I think about it…

    • Irina says:

      I completely agree and that would in fact be a great post – A long time fan discussing an anime or even an episod with someone who’s watching anime for the first time and wondering why some dude just got a spontaneous nose bleed…. I want to read that now

  8. There are moments where I feel like my knowledge of anime, games, ect. is very limited, but I think if you someone is going to create a blog, I feel like they should do it because they love it, no matter how much experience or knowledge they have on the subject. I think blogs are a tool to grow no matter what level of knowledge you have. That being said, I also think that no matter how much knowledge/ experience you have on a certain subject, everyone’s input/ opinion matter since it might make you see things in a different way. With the topic of anime itself, it’s made to be enjoyed- not to be full on professional about it. Like people, there are so many types of anime meaning many types of experiences and levels of enjoyment. So I strongly believe that everyone should enjoy what they do and not stress too much about whether or not they have “enough”/”too little” experience (of course, I am working on that as well since I still tend to compare myself to other bloggers on anything that I write, but I’m starting to re-find that enjoyment in writing and watching/playing/ listening everything that I write about).

    • Irina says:

      I’m so happy you’re rediscovering your bliss! A writer that enjoys writing is so infectious and I find it irresistible

  9. Pinkie says:

    I think everyone is an expert in their own way. One will talk about the producer and the studio, while the other looks for a hidden meaning. yet another is good at explaining why an anime is so enjoyable.
    You .. or I for that matter may not delve deep in the technical aspects or history of anime but we tell more about a personal experience. In a way I

    do not think you blog about anime, you blog about your experience with anime, that is a different subject and one you are defiantly an expert at.

    I would say I do not blog about games, anime or Pokemon.. I blog because of them but I’d say I blog about my geeky life.

    i do think one should not blog about things you are not an “expert” at. For example if I would suddenly make articles focusssing on the techniques on drawing anime or compare anime how they stack up to all time greats I’d be making poor content, because I watch anime very casually and lack the tools to do that. Yet what defines expertise is debatable.

    I mean credits to you if you can name the entire voice cast for Fruits Basket but would I call you an anime expert? Not really. What matters in anime is if you enjoy it or not expertise doesn’t help with that it doesn’t make articles better it makes them different.
    The more facets of the subject matter you control the more you can make your blog more distinguishable from others but honestly I don’t think we are that community.
    Not you not Scott, not Lynn, not Crow.. we do not write about anime in such a matter expertise matters. We write about what we think of it.. when it ultimately comes down to it the subject matter is us and those who follow and read have already accepted that.

  10. This is something that I suspect won’t be the most popular opinion, but…honestly, I think if you want to blog about anime, all you really need is an opinion. You may not be an expert, or your views may be shaped by something other than the material, but if you have a strong opinion ot put pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – that’s enough. You’ll likely find people pointing out errors or other views mind you, but hey, that can be fun.

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