Concerns of an Anxious, Introverted Reviewer

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Hello, WordPress. It’s me. The True Lystria.

A lot of what you see on this blog are my honest thoughts and interpretations of anime I watch. And to be completely fair, I try not to hold my opinion back. However, a lot of what you read is coated with sarcasm to hide the ranting and criticism I have for things I actually dislike, which often confuses people into thinking that I am very optimistic. That part isn’t true. So if you’re going to call out my shenanigans, you could say that even The True Lystria lies!

But maybe that’s what I like about posting my thoughts in that honest, free-flowing, often sarcastic, and sometimes heart-wrenching style. To my readers, I may very well be lying. In fact, I omit a lot of thoughts I have about details that everyone else would rather talk about when it comes to, well, everything. But to me, what I express is my true self. It always has been.

So why am I bringing this up? I’ve been critiquing a lot of Maria Lugones lately for another project, seeing how I am a philosopher and that’s what philosophers do even after they’re done with their classes. They critique philosophy. And one thing that comes to mind in how I process stuff is her view on multiple social realities. In other words, there are multiple versions of me depending on social context and perceptions from others views, regardless of if I think of myself as one person.

Now I’d go through a great deal of what Lugones is talking about in her theories about “world”-traveling, playfulness, anger, social structures and anti-structures, pure and impure communities, and her overall view on decolonial strategies and coalitions, but I think you’re better off reading it from her instead! You’re reading this blog post because you want to know what goes through my head when I’m writing reviews. What goes on “behind the scenes,” when I’m not blogging or talking about stuff I like or dislike. And let’s face it, I am doing both at the same time. But a lot of it is implied, and I prefer to think that my audience’s intelligence will pick up on that.

I limit what I post on my blog to relatively complete thoughts, mostly about anime. Most of the ideas stem from conversations I have off of my blog, usually with close friends that I meet or have met in person, frankly because I don’t trust information coming from complete strangers. If there is any limitation as such that I put into my writing, it does come from a bubble of sorts. But even then, I get requests from friends, suggesting how I can improve my blog. I do take some of their ideas into account, but ultimately, I think a lot of them are either absurd or I’m personally uncomfortable doing them.

One of my friends did suggest that I publish more of these personal, spiritual thoughts, seeing how I post a lot of those on my Facebook, because she thinks that my ideas can be very helpful for other writers. So if she’s reading this, I count this as a shout-out to her (YAAAYY… let’s move on). So in that spirit, this will be the first part of a series of thoughts about stuff people (mostly friends and acquaintances) have asked me to do as a blogger, and why I have yet to do them, if at all. And if you must know, there is a common theme in all of these: I’m a human being! I treat blogging as a hobby, not a business. And for the time being, I’d like to keep it that way. So without any further ado, here we go.

Can you cite your sources?

Recently when I did my Tribe Cool Crew review, it occurred to me as I was talking with a colleague of mine about the series: what is crumping? Well, to be perfectly honest, I don’t know! Here’s a Wikipedia article about it. Does that help? (And yes, just realized that I misspelled it).

So my explanation of crumping falls short of credibility, seeing how I’m no expert in what it is, nor of hip hop in general. I’ll take the blame for being somewhat ignorant about it. However, a lot of my opinions and references come from personal experience, enough to at least get an impression on what it’s about from my own perspective, and when you grow up with a lot of Black people, Latinx people, and other groups that are not your own, you start to develop respect for them and their personhood. At least, I hope you do. It’s called adaptation. I may not know everything there is to know about hip hop culture, but I’ve worked alongside Black activists to –at the very least– understand its historical significance.

Of course, since I have no sources to prove that I do, you may go ahead and say that I’m lying or that I’m not doing enough. In fact, the truth is probably closer to the latter.

I hang around a lot of academics outside of this mysterious realm we call the Internet. We’re freaking nerds when it comes to small details and finding more information to conciliate our curiosity. Maybe if I was intending my blog as an informative site, I would use more of them. But I’ve gone through at least 10 years of schooling past high school, and I’ve learned at least one thing from personal experience: dropping quotes says nothing about a person’s intelligence!

Okay, let’s be fair. Quotations mean different things to different people, and even in my field, the greatest philosophers will miss details from other philosophers when they’re referencing them. So did you just one-up the writer for knowing that? No, because a lot of times, they are intentionally pointing out a flaw in both the original work and how we as ignorant human beings understand it in whatever ingrained social context we are given.

For my reviews, I offer a link at the end to watch the show that I’m talking about, because frankly I think you’re better off coming up with your own conclusions by watching the show for yourself. In other words, DON’T RELY ON ME to tell you what to think!

As for the other stuff that I should be citing like special terms and anecdotes in my reviews, those come from at least three sources: the anime in question, my personal experience, or your preferred web browser.

How about making videos? They’re easier for people to understand.

Several years ago when Youtube was still very young, I did produce videos. But when it comes to videos, let’s be real: I suck. I don’t really like the sound of my own voice or having to go through all the editing to make it look or sound pleasing.

And besides, I found creative writing to be my most comfortable way to express myself. Poetry, novels, 1 1/2 Pokemon fan fictions, reviews, the quality of my content may or may not have changed, but it has gotten easier. Why try something different to make things easier for others and harder for yourself?

Yeah, maybe writing is a dying form for the mass majority who stop reading after a single paragraph, and getting people to read is becoming increasingly harder with pressure from business and marketing to keep things simple and concise. Hell, I use anime (not necessarily manga) to reinforce concepts that I’ve learned in school. The Perfect Insider helped me with logic, Log Horizon helped me with Sartre, even Kiznaiver helped me with my discussions on Lugones when I took a course on her works in Spring of this year. How could I still be writing when my ideas come from videos, blasphemer!

This is a trickier thing, because you will find purists of both kinds, saying that ideas must be kept in the form of writing, or ideas should be simplified in the form of videos and memes, and both of them offer all kinds of problems anyway. But I prefer to call for both and have my own, synthesized dialogue about what they mean to their respective media, as well as their limitations. But whatever, the point is, I spew these thoughts out in writing because that is my style. No videos necessary.

Why haven’t you talked about [this anime that I incessantly like] yet?

That’s a good question. When I’m not fielding ideas for myself, I turn to people I can trust for ideas on my next reviews. And seeing how I’ve completed over 300 anime since 2011 when I started this insane hobby, there are a lot to choose from.

But with the exception of some of my reviews, I have a couple of ground rules that I set for myself:

  1. Only review completed anime series, or a significant chunk of the anime has been produced.
  2. Give your honest opinion about the series itself.
  3. Only give reference to other shows if necessary. Do not compare them for quality.
  4. Popular discussions don’t matter.

Yeah. I guess you can say I’m an elitist of sorts. If there is anything I have grown to hate about anime fan discussions, it’s talking about the same old shit. Every. Damn. Time.

Action. Girls. Fan service. Tropes. They’re a lot of fun to refer to, especially when everything else about the world sucks. Now I have to say this very clear, because someone is bound to get butthurt: I’m not saying that anime should stop using these elements. They do help the story move along, and keep the audience engaged. But if that’s all you have to say about anime, that gets boring really fast.

That’s not to say that I don’t review anime that plays exclusively on fan service or even review popular shows on impulse. Comical Psychosomatic Medicine was one of my favorite comedies from last year, and all of its humor stemmed exclusively from all forms of fan service. One Week Friends left a very strong impression on me and other fans, and I wrote it back when I thought being impressionable was important. But when I decide on what to talk about and how I talk about it, I have to ask myself: am I doing this for my audience, or me?

Talking about what’s hot in anime can be very exciting, but I find that impressions only last so long now. I let shows mature before I start tackling my thoughts and opinions on them now, but hopefully not too long in order to stay relevant. Why is that, you might ask? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my reviewing style allows my opinion to be very volatile. That doesn’t mean that my opinion is going to change drastically, but sometimes, those surface impressions we have of a series aren’t what’s most valuable about it. Sometimes, the real value of a series sticks with you long after you finished watching it. Or I just need a second opinion. Who knows?

Like I’ve said before, I like to think of blogging as a hobby, not a business. It’s a chance for me to exchange ideas with folks I may not ever meet in person. But call me arrogant on this one thing, but I have a responsibility to keep true to myself, if no one else.

Link: Concerns of an Anxious, Introverted Reviewer Part 2.

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