Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Otakusphere: The Anime Blog Awards

So when I came back from my hiatus, I had a whole bunch of hits coming in from some page called the ANIME BLOG AWARDS. I thought, "Huh?" I mean, the last time I'd heard about Web Page Awards was back in the mid to late 90s when every Joe, Bob and Martha with an established Web site had an award saying, "So and so, thought my site kicked ass and so should you. Here's a cookie. What? You can't block it? Um… yeah… why exactly is that my problem?"

And then over time, I saw those types of awards become fewer and fewer, until they died completely off. But I'll admit, I always thought they were kind of cool. Someone with no vested interested in a Web site went out of his or her way to give this person a pat on the back and a flashy jpeg. In all honesty, that kind of recognition is hard to come by, especially in the cutthroat/apathetic world of the Internet.

So I followed the link over and checked out the page. Honestly, it's a really simple concept. You sign up (if you have a blog). You nominate within specified categories (that may or may not be the best things ever). And then you move on. It's an almost streamlined process. Except that I had to wait for my password. I hate waiting for my password. It drives me up the wall. It's like having to take a number when the deli counter is empty and having the kid behind the counter count up to your number.

Yeah, that's a kind of petty complaint. Okay, it's a really petty complaint. However, I read through the blogs there. Checked out a few that I didn't know. And nominated in a couple of categories. If you want to know who I nominated, then go to the Web page and look for iniksbane. (No I'm not telling you what it means. Just that no matter where I sign up, I can guarantee it hasn't been taken.)

I did exactly what those sneaky masterminds over there wanted me to do. And every so often I go back and look at some of the other blogs I don't know. Now, I may or may not read them consistently. But anything that drives traffic to sites that don't have a big following deserves some praise at the very least.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I have been nominated in two categories (Rookie of the Year and Best Editorial Blog). I don't expect to win. Hell, with the competition I got I don't even expect to place. But it was a pleasant, if strangely surprising, thing to see this blog even on the same list as omo, Jeff Lawson, The Animanachronism, The End of the World and bateszi.

But every good idea has its problems. Impz wrote a fairly long Q&A post over on T.H.A.T. Animeblog, answering all of the various concerns. But I wanted to throw in my two cents. Is this a beauty contest? Sure. I don't know how anyone can expect it wouldn't be. The larger (and older) blogs have more readers, more experience and let's face it, probably deserve to win. Hell, RIUVA's been around since Christ was a corporal. Bateszi and Martin just celebrated their two year anniversaries. The one time omo linked my site, I got 20 hits just from him alone.

I'm not surprised that they got nominated. And I won't be surprised if they win.

That said, if you're sitting around your little corner of the Internet sulking because the other guys are getting the love then you're missing the point. If you're missing this opportunity to step out of your personal box and say, "Hey look, I think you're missing this other guy, who's good and deserves attention" then well, shucks, that's no one's fault but your own. In the end, yeah the system's got problems, but any system is going to have problems. But if you choose not to participate because it might not be the most perfect thing in the world, I think you're missing out on a grand opportunity. In fact, I encourage everyone to step out of their little section of the playground for a minute and pick a blog at random off of the list. Any blog. Make this contest your own, because yeah, the big guys might win, but that doesn't mean they're the only game in town.

Here, let me help with some blogs that I don't think get nearly enough love.

Claiming Ground – I came across this one a bit ago and it has a lot of promise. Mostly he does straight reviews, and he likes Nausicaa, which isn't necessarily a high point for me, but I think it's worth reading.

Criminally Weird – Part of that network. It's part personal blog, part anime blog and largely the inspiration for at least two of my posts.

Baka-Raptor – Probably some of the most cutting reviews and remarks about anime that I've seen. He's got a quick wit and he's not afraid to lampoon anyone. Including himself.

Anime Almanac – Seriously, Scott is one of the best voices talking about the industry right now. I don't always agree with him, but I do think the guy's got some great points. (Some of which I've made myself.)

Koji-Oe – Definitely an interesting blog. Again part personal, part anime, part gamer, it has got some interesting insights into the geek world from someone studying Japanese.

So those are my thoughts on this. Honestly, I know the Internet thrives on drama (and I refuse to call it dorama), but this is something I don't think deserves it.


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