Anime Blogging is a weird hobby. It introduces you to all sorts of perspectives that would never occur to anyone otherwise. This can be good but it can also be not that great.
Lately, I have been thinking that one of the problems with our Brave New World isn’t only the fact that information comes at us at such speed and in such amounts that we don’t have a chance to process it, but also that it’s heavily curated.
We fill our feeds with people and sources that tend to validate our biases. When we read something we consider nonsense we take it out. We end up with very partial views of the world that rarely challenges us.
Up to a certain point, I think that applies to us annibloggers in a very peculiar way. The fact that anime fandoms are stilted and a bit weird is nothing new. But even when you don’t account for those, anime bloggers breathe a very rarefied air.
See, I don’t keep up much with what the greater anime fandom does and thinks. I’m not super active on Reddit and MAL or even anime Twitter. I don’t watch anime YouTubers and I usually get my anime news from other bloggers. So what I hear from the bloggers I follow ends up being my general impression. And once in a while, it was skewed.
For instance, I really liked Demon Slayer. I reviewed it with Crow and we both had a blast. But when reading a lot of my fellow bloggers, they were less than charmed. A few liked it but in general, most of the bloggers I followed were not into it and got less and less into it as the season progressed.
Similarly, I saw a lot of negatives about both Tower of God and the God of Highschool among bloggers. For the record, I thought GoH was fine and I really enjoyed ToG.
In any case, I was left with the impression the all three of these animes were flops. In fact, I have seen my fellow bloggers declare ToG and GoH huge flops so it’s not just me.
Taking this into account, I was a little surprised that the last anime convention I went to was absolutely bursting with Demon Slayer merchandise and cosplays. Since then I realized that it actually was quite successful. Something I should have figured out by how much interest my Demon Slayer screencaps were getting.
I got curious about the GoH and ToG anime as well. Since these were interesting projects on many levels. Some of the first anime directly funded (produced) by Crunchyroll and based on webtoon originals, the outcome of those series will probably have some impact on the future of anime. Both on how source material will be regarded and the likelihood of foreign funds getting injected into the industry on a production level.
I quickly hit a sort of soft wall in my research. What the heck does flop mean in anime? Like how many people liked it? What the critics thought? How many people watched it? Is it moving merchandising or generating interest for the source material? I couldn’t find what metric my colleagues were using to measure the success of any given series.
Now I know anime bloggers weren’t crazy about these shows but well, anime bloggers aren’t exactly the core audience. Most of us are a bit older than the middle school to early high school demographic. Moreover, a lot of us tend to watch a lot of anime and have developed peculiar anime palates if you will. Finally, a lot of anime bloggers are specialists. They started their blog to discuss particular types of anime or particular aspects of anime. Therefore series that fall outside of their specialty don’t interest them as much. This tends to play heavily against shows produced with a general audience in mind and that don’t cater to any particular niches.
But still, there was a span of several months were I couldn’t open my computer without having a blogger I know either post or tweet about how bad these shows were or how bad specific characters were. It had to have a grain of truth, right? And yet, they were still watching these shows.
Anilist tells me that ToG and GoH were respectively the 3rd and 4th most popular animes of 2020, with only Kaguya-sama and Re:Zero getting more viewership in the entire year. However, when we look at average ratings they are considerably less impressive. ToG has the same rating as Somali. Higher than SoA, BOFURI, Love Live, ORESUKI, DanMachi, Villainess… All of which were regarded quite positively. GoH is considerably lower but still above the midpoint for the year.
Ok, so I know that both shows also did generate huge interest for the webtoons. But does that mean they are a success or a failure? I don’t know because the limited impression I hear about doesn’t match the numbers.
For the record, Noblesse is an abysmal 10 points rating under GoH and is much less popular as well, but I have read that it’s a success? I mean I like Noblesse.
I use this information in my posts occasionally and I realize that I have no way of backing it. I sometimes read bloggers discuss latest controversies and am under the impression that most fans are foaming at the mouth over something only to have my readers tell me they either never heard of it or that most people don’t actually care at all.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with bloggers writing about subjects they are passionate about or presenting impressions and information from a personal standpoint. On the contrary, I think it’s a good thing. It’s up to me to do the work if I want to get a more global understanding of a situation. That’s perfectly normal.
I’m just saying that sometimes I forget that I am actually the exception as an anime fan. I don’t necessarily represent the majority of watchers and neither do my fellow bloggers. As such, if we just talk amongst ourselves we can get the wrong impression sometimes.
My little example about those specific anime was just to illustrate the situation. I just went to get numbers. If I really wanted to get the entire idea I would also have to collect the impression of viewers keeping in mind that viewers who have negative thoughts are usually exponentially more vocal online than those who have positive ones. And then, I would have to somehow figure out what the studios and producers were hoping to achieve.
So bloggers and dear readers, I do hope you keep on reading my blog and all the other ones you are enjoying. But remember, that we are not necessarily the authority on a subject. Many times, we are sharing personal impressions and subjective musings. And that’s what makes the posts unique but it also means they are up for debate and interpretation…
I guess what I’m saying is, fellow bloggers, don’t listen to me too much!