Today, December 20th, marks the 1 year anniversary of my anime blog. And since it’s in the middle of the 12 Days of Anime, let’s double up this anniversary with an appropriately themed 12 Days post. The topic for today is about something central to the beginning of my anime blog and something I learned over the course of this year. My whole system of classifying anime through the tags of Brain On/Brain Off never really made sense, caught on, or was used by others. You could even say: it was never a good idea.
Before starting my anime blog, I tried to invent or recreate a system for how I’d categorize the anime I watched and into a ranking system of sorts. One of the first things I noticed with all the anime I liked was that there were some enveloped me in their characters and stories, made me think and then rethink, and inspire me in various ways. And then there were some dumb fun anime that were the embodiment and manifestation of entertainment, making me laugh and amused and generally joyful or elated. Both anime have completely different styles, positives, and are even different in how we watch and evaluate them. It was then I decided to separate these anime based on their styles with the story/character-driven anime were given Brain On and the entertaining/relaxing/guilty pleasure anime getting Brain Off. It was hard to identify some but deep down, you knew which one belonged in which category.
With this simple new system in place, I decided to use it with my anime blog with hopes that it would catch on and that others would use it, too. I realized at the time they were delusions of grandeur but I went ahead with it and tried to make a post explaining the difference between the two with examples to clarify. And the system was fine at first but these coined terms were never really utilized to their potential when I began finding interest in writing various analyses and tangential posts on various topics. And then came the anime that were both story/character driven and had high entertainment value that was the one big flaw in the system. Where do they go? And what about anime that change overtime, how do they fit in? With me using the terms less and less and only for tagging purposes, it’s no surprise the terms were never picked up by others. Why would they use these systems when the creator of them wasn’t even using them? Eventually, they’ve grown to become a forgotten relic of when I began my anime blog a year ago today.
So after this first year of anime blogging and watching roughly 50 new anime, I’ve learned a thing or two. The biggest mistake I made was with the Brain On/Brain Off system but there were others, too. I never really excelled or grew proficient with my creative writing ability like I had hoped for. I still struggle from time to time with certain analyses and often make wrong predictions, a reason why you won’t find any post about Mami in Madoka here (since I brushed it off and thought it was just an elaborate act planned by Kyubey and Mami, so I never found the scene shocking). And something I flat out don’t make sense or go on rambles that don’t add to anything besides my word counts. But the good thing about making these mistakes and identifying from them is that I’m learning from them and that I can improve. I made a ton, almost an unimaginable amount, of progress during the past year, too. But I tend to look at my mistakes and work on them as areas to improve and better myself with. And after one year watching anime, blogging about it, and connecting with other anime fans, I look back and see where I can make myself better. Now the next step, what I will do in this upcoming year, is taking the action to improve. Let’s see what we can do in 2012!
#1 by Justin on December 20, 2011 - 7:30 PM
Do not fear, my one year brethren. We go through a development stage, just like everyone else, and we learn some things, especially on the fly. But as we keep going on writing each day or days, we get better^^
But of course, I give you my congrats for also surviving one year. Now survive another one!
#2 by avvesione on December 20, 2011 - 8:51 PM
Thanks for the kind words. I have noticed an improvement in pretty much all aspects of my blog over the course of the year and have been happy with its current format this entire season.
Gratz on your 1 year anniversary, too.
#3 by kiddtic on December 20, 2011 - 8:46 PM
I do have to say I like the Usagi Drop screenshot :3
Congratulations on one year as an Anime Blogger, its good to know you are learning from experience its the best way to learn…kinda i.e you will never forget it.
#4 by avvesione on December 20, 2011 - 9:02 PM
Thanks, this whole blogging experience has taught me so much, not only about writing and anime but about other people, their passions, and their goals. I’ve improved as a writer, a thinker, and a person over this past year but I’ve also made a few mistakes along the way, too. But the fewer mistakes I’m making means I’m getting closer to where I eventually want to be, so that’s a good way of looking at things.
Also, that Usagi Drop one was one of my favorite screenshots this whole year and I had to use it again. Today’s theme certainly was one of the most appropriate times to use it, so there it is!
#5 by Joojoobees on December 20, 2011 - 8:51 PM
Congrats, but I don’t think Brain On/Brain Off was such a terrible idea. It acknowledges that we can enjoy shows for different reasons (some for Brain On reasons, some for Brain Off reasons). I enjoy mostly Brain On shows, but I also am in the mood for Brain Off shows at times. Frankly when I get in the mood for Brain Off entertainment I often bypass anime and go straight for a kung fu flick, or something with a ton of explosions and other special effects. I do appreciate good action scenes in anime, but that (to me) isn’t the real strength of the medium.
#6 by avvesione on December 20, 2011 - 8:55 PM
Interesting that you seek out kung fu/action movies when you want something with high entertainment value and low art value while anime is the opposite. I guess everyone has their own reasons for watching anime, their own watching styles, and their own ways of evaluating anime and critiquing it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
#7 by tomphile on December 21, 2011 - 3:11 AM
It’s fine to make wrong predictions. The fun is in the discourse!
#8 by avvesione on December 21, 2011 - 8:56 PM
True, that’s one way to look at it. But it’s more fun when you make the correct predictions and then can gloat about them, too!
#9 by SnippetTee on December 23, 2011 - 5:40 PM
Maybe I’m a bit late but I’d like to say congratulations!
I also often struggle and make mistakes with my predictions. However, I still keep on doing it because once I get it right on the next time around, it becomes more rewarding. As for watching anime, I enjoy both brain on and brain off. It’s just that because of my limited time, I can only select a few to watch. For blogging purposes, I usually go with an anime which I think I’d be able to say something whether it’s brain on/brain off anime. Don’t know if it’s only me, but sometimes with brain on anime, I feel I’m so brain off when writing a post. And for brain off anime, the otherwise.
#10 by avvesione on December 23, 2011 - 7:33 PM
Predictions don’t usually bother me but sometimes they can end up being pretty embarrassing or deflating depending on the outcome. Still, they’re fun to make since it shows that we’re thinking and shows what we’re thinking.
What I said about the whole Brain On/Brain Off thing was that it never really caught on with others as terms to use. I like each type of anime for its own reasons and still use the terms in my mind but I think I’ll retire them from my blog at the end of the year since they’re not really useful in any meaningful way. Glad to know you also like these types of anime for different reasons, too.
For blogging, I used to try to take 2 anime of each type but just randomly pick now from a pool of shows that I like or are interesting. Might try another anime I don’t like again just to challenge myself again.
Thanks for the input! Glad to hear your thoughts on a couple of these topics.