A Rising Tide Raises All Ships
Back on January 21, 2018, I published the first Other Posts to Crow About. My goal was to share my favorite posts from other bloggers with you. There’s a ton of good work out there, and I want as many people to see it as possible!
Since then, every week, I’ve shared my favorite five (sometimes more!) posts. I check all the sites on my Massive List of Anime Sites, which currently has 377 active sites. I really like how it keeps me up to date with the anime blogging community.
I recently published My Favorite Sites from 2018, as measured by which sites showed up most often in Other Posts to Crow About. Now, it’s 2019’s turn!
While every site out there publishes work that deserves attention, I found that five sites consistently provided my favorite posts. Please let me present my five favorite sites from 2019!
Other Sites to Crow About – 2019
I’d like this to be a completely positive experience, but just as with my 2018 post, there is a site in the top five that is technically no longer publishing. Let me first present it as honorable mentions in the hope that a) the blogger is still out there happy and healthy and b) that they know that I miss their work.
Would Have Been Number 4: 100 Word Anime
We already talked about how worried all of us are about Karandi. So first, let me do the professional thing and say that of all the 2019 posts I liked from her site, her review of Midnight Occult Civil Servants resonated most strongly with me. Sure, it was nice knowing that someone saw the series in the same light I did. But I really thought she articulated her perspective in a way that invited others to enjoy the series.
On a personal note, I’d really like to know if she’s okay. I’m too old and have too many responsibilities to just up and fly to Australia looking for her. I wouldn’t know where to look even if I could; it’s a big continent. Plus, there’s the whole “Dude you’re acting just like a stalker” angle I don’t want to explore. But she was too talented, she put too much effort into her site, and she contributed too much to the community to just disappear.
I’m a dad. I worry.
Top Five Favorite Sites from 2019
Number Five: The Otaku Author
The Otaku Author kicks off the 2019 list at number 5. The blog’s owner, Lynn Sheridan, approaches reviewing anime from a perspective that I have a lot of respect for: he watches series in part to get insights into how to be a better writer. Believe me, I understand that perspective! Lynn had several outstanding posts in 2019, but one in particular stood out for me: the post titled Shelter (Space is the Place Blog Tour). It’s a beautiful piece about Shelter, which was a heart-breakingly beautiful short work. Please, watch the 6 minute Shelter video first, then read The Otaku Author’s take on it.
If that review is any indication of what Lynn has learned from anime, I expect to see his fiction on the best-seller’s list in the near future. You can’t have those kinds of insights without it informing your own writing!
Number Four: Shallow Dives in Anime
Shallow Dives in Anime prides itself on, as its masthead proclaims, giving us “bitesized thoughts on anime.” Dewbond’s site distinguishes itself not only by providing easily consumable posts. It offers maybe the widest variety of posts of any of the popular sites. On one hand, it’ll provide a refreshingly insightful character analysis of Issei Hyoudou from High School DxD. On the other hand, it’ll talk about the delightful aspects of a series like Monster Musume — with equal ease and insight. Based on those two series, you might get the idea that the site tends towards the adult, and you’d be right. The site even reviews an occasional hentai title!
That’s one of the great things about our ani-blogging community: there’s a great diversity of focus and topics. This site makes such diversity look easy. It’s certainly fun to read!
Number Three: Mechanical Anime Reviews
Scott runs Mechanical Anime Reviews, and as you might expect from the title, the site specializes in anime dealing with mechs. It’s an anime genre with a rich history, and I think that Scott had done a great job with his focus. For example, one of my favorite posts from this site in 2019 was “Martian Successor Nadesico: Of Conspiracies, Wrong Genres, and Media Literacy Problems,” one of the most illuminating and interesting posts I’ve read about Martian Successor Nadesico. I’ve read a ton of posts about the series, and Scott’s is the only one to dive into the series’ humor. In fact, I found the argument he presented about the show’s true genre to be compelling.
But that’s not all the site gives us! It also gives us some thoughtful and thought-provoking essays like “My Perspectives Of: Fanservice and Character Agency.” Fan service in anime can be difficult and divisive to write about, but Scott pulled it off just as easily as he did the mech posts. The site’s core focus, plus it’s forays into other anime topics, helped it land at number 3 for 2019.
Number Two: Confessions of an Overage Otaku
One of the first things I noticed about Dave D’Alessio’s writing on Confessions of an Overage Otaku is that all of the posts are interesting, and the posts about the craft of writing or crafting fiction are particularly interesting. He was equally adept writing about the intricacies of the character interaction in Ergo Proxy as he was at overlooked plot elements within Cowboy Beebop. Let that sink in for a second: Cowboy Beebop is one of the most scrutinized anime series like, ever, and he still found a new angle to bring to light! My favorite post of his from 2019 was his discussion of the level of meta in Re:CREATORS. Hint: The level was high.
But wait, you might say. You might point out that I love Re:CREATORS so much that I’ll just pick any old article about it to celebrate! Not so. Yes, I love Re:CREATORS. It’s probably my favorite series — anime or otherwise — ever. But that means my standards for posts about it are correspondingly higher. When I saw that Dave D’Alessio’s Re:CREATORS post is good, I mean it’s really, really good. That post was just one of the ones that helped Confessions of an Overage Otaku place at number two.
Number One: I Drink and Watch Anime
There are three things in the anime blogging world that are difficult to pull off. The first is publishing daily. Even when you take the easy route like I did by writing short, seasonal reviews every day, it takes time and focus. The second is publishing interesting, thought-provoking, and uplifting posts every day. That means being on your A game every day, seven days a week, 30 days a month, 35 days a year.
The third is even harder than the first two. The third thing that’s hard to pull off is writing interesting, thought-provoking, and uplifting posts every day for years. And that’s exactly what Irina of I Drink and Watch Anime did to earn the number 1 position for the second year running.
She’s equally at home writing about Beyond the Boundary (itself a tough series to write about), the top five anime to mend a broken heart (anime and psychology!), or the importance of the color palette in ACCA-13 (art direction!). Like I said in my list of favorite sites from 2018, I’m still trying to reverse engineer how she can break down complex topics so easily, while at the same time writing some astonishingly inviting prose. Need proof? Check out the number of comments. We’re in an era where the number of comments on most sites is on the decline. Not so on I Drink and Watch Anime. Those traits earned the site the number 1 position for the second year in a row.
Tip of the Iceberg
These sites were my favorite during 2019, as measured by the number of times the sites placed posts in Other Posts to Crow About during 2019. I think you’re probably already following these sites, but if you aren’t, you’re really missing out.
These five (well, six) sites are just the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of anime sites out there, and I maintain a list of them here. They’re all worth checking out!
Did I include your favorite sites here? What’s your experience reading the posts from these sites? Let me know in the comments!