The 2013 Liebster Awards

liebster

We interrupt my usual pontificating to indulge in a heartwarming surprise and a bit of camaraderie. The very articulate Artemis was kind enough to nominate Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories for a Liebster Award! I had no idea what this was until I was nominated, but that just means I had the pleasant humbling pride of being complimented by a blogger I respect AND getting to do the research I’m ever-fond of. For the fellow uninitiated, here’s a rundown of the rules:

The Liebster Award is intended to give some exposure to small blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you

3. Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers

4. Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination

5. Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.

My 11 questions from Artemis:

1. When did you first start blogging, and do you realistically see yourself still blogging in, say, 10 years from now?

This blog is a foundling thing, only in the works since October 2013. I did a bit of on and off blogging as a child, but this one is my first truly concentrated attempt at providing a reliable schedule of content. As for the future? While this version of the blog might not always be around (who knows with the ever changing internet, right?), I think blogs are an invaluable tool for writers to keep in touch with an audience. That’s the part I’d like to hold onto, even if the content or platform evolves.

2. Describe your favourite country in the world in 3 words.

America: Inexplicably, chaotically home.

3. You have to pick one country in which to live for the rest of your life, but it can’t be a country you’ve already lived in before. Or Japan. Where do you choose and why?

England! And more specifically, Stratford: it’s about the same size as my hometown, with a pleasant populace and a jawdropping wealth of available theatre; it’s also only a few hours by train to London, and there’s this killer bakery that has enormous £1 desserts every day at tea time.

4. White, milk, or dark chocolate?

Dark

5. What was the first television series (anime or otherwise) you ever fell in love with? Nostalgic merits aside, do you still love it today?

My love for The Muppets was unshakeable as a kid. For the longest time I had one tape with a handful of episodes, and I watched it over and over and over again. And while some of the Very Special Guests are a bit baffling with history, a lot of the bits and the cleverness of the humor hold up really well across generations and audiences. I even liked Jason Segal’s love letter to the characters.

6. What’s been the single best and worst television series (again, anime or not) of 2013 so far?

Let’s go with anime, because my western television this year mostly consisted of older shows and The Daily Show.

BEST – I’ll be dully predictable by shouting out Attack on Titan. I know this show has been hyped to death and back into a shambling undead state of meme-life, but it really captivated me. The Berserk-esque thick-lined art and oppressive soundtrack, the excellent pacing and true feeling of isolation and entrapment, gave this show a solid sense of atmosphere that’s damn rare. The characters were varied and complex (impressively so for such a large cast, that each felt distinctive enough so as not to leave me grinding my teeth at one individual receiving more or less screen time), and blessedly outside of the normal fanservice paradigms 99% of the time. And most importantly, I thought the tone was successfully dark without becoming bleak, retaining a sense of hope and determination that kept you invested in the future of the characters and the world.

WORST – Hands down, no show left me in a frothing rage this year like Devil Survivor 2 The Animation. The game it’s based on is near and dear to my heart, and the first episode of the show did an excellent job of translating the world of the game into a believably tense and atmospheric aesthetic for a non-interactive medium. They then proceeded to squander every advantage it had, starting with a truly baffling sense of pacing that seems almost as if they were writing week to week with no overall planning session (four episodes on the first day of an eight day timeline? In a 12 episode series?). Rather than streamlining the game’s large cast it introduced everyone with the express purpose of more meaningless carnage, like the X movie without the lovely visuals, and reduced the morally grey, pragmatic and increasingly Protagonist-admiring Yamato to an icy yandere making cardboard Rule the World speeches (and let us not even discuss what they made of the previously charming and capable Io). I am actually feeling some residual rage even as I type.

7. If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?

Mind melding, man. While flight is tempting I have to assume it wouldn’t come with the necessary subpowers like surviving the icy temperatures and thin air. But joining minds with somebody plays right into my awkwardness at interpersonal communication, teamed up with the allure of being able to convey thought as a visual image.

8. What did you want to be when you grew up, and would you still do that if you could?

It changed every so often, but ‘writer’ was definitely on the list. So I’m pretty happy.

9. Do/did you play any sports?

…Does bowling count?

10. Have you ever spent more than a couple of days in the hospital?

Y’know, I don’t think I ever did. Not even that time when I cut my toes off as a kid.

11. In a world without internet, how would you probably spend the majority of your free time?

My brain went way deeper than the question was probably intended with this. The surface answer is that I’d be an academic, since it would allow me to do the same sort of batty analysis I do already and to hang out with likeminded individuals. But without internet,  I’m not sure I’d be the same person at all. Don’t get me wrong, I had a happy family life. But I grew up in a small, isolated, and homogenous town, so no internet means no comfort from knowing there was a queer community out there somewhere, or being exposed to a wide variety of different beliefs from a young age, or being able to easily obtain unusual movies or goods. The thought’s actually a bit disturbing to me.

My Nominations:

You’ll notice my list is a bit shorter than 11 – this is because several of my picks are already on Artemis’ list (and she’s one herself). You can check her list out here.

Anime Tantrums

Blogging done by an English speaker living  in Japan, writing with the purpose of contextualizing anime in the culture it comes from. While this blog hasn’t been active in a few months it’s still well worth checking out. Her essays on The Flowers of Evil alone are standing ovation-worthy in their thoughtfulness

The Classy Shipper

Run by the blogger behind the excellent recap-and-analysis blog Femservice, this is the fun aspects of fandom discussion put through the rigors of good writing and thoughtful discussion (the stark no bashing rule is a blessed welcome, for example). There’s a good engagement between author and audience, and reader-submissions (providing they’re of good quality) are accepted for credited republication.

Caraniel’s Ramblings

A sometimes essay, sometimes episode recap anime blog that keeps its content sharp and to the point (while also sticking with its shows all the way to the end, which is no mean feat). An excellent choice for keeping up with the current season.

Thealogical Lady

A blog that attempts to blog about spirituality from a feminist perspective. This isn’t a topic that will appeal to everyone, but Kate’s sensitivity and warmth about the topic makes it a thoughtful and engaging read.

Moeronpan

Another episode recap blog, but one with both a consistent schedule and a sizable back library of shows to sort through. Its commentary is pleasant and good for getting the general idea of a series’ appeal (from one perspective), and it’s one I always enjoy reading.

Lost My Thesis

An essay-centric blog on anime old and new, which covers a variety of unusual and engaging topics from the influence of certain actors to profiles of under-the-radar series and exploration of big themes like masculinity, humanism, and gender.

Moe Sucks

As the title might impress upon you, this is a blog more on the critical end of the spectrum. It ranges from thematic examinations of shows to reviews to episode-by-episode critiques. And most importantly for a critical blog, the writing is well worded and specific in its reasoning. Basically, if you want to feel cathartic about a show this is the place to go.

Questions for the Nominees:

  1. How did your blog get its name?
  2. Would you rather your blog have a bunch of silent readers or a small but involved community? Why?
  3. Are text posts a matter of preference, or convenience? Have you ever thought about a video style?
  4. Is your favorite author now the same as it was ten years ago? Five?
  5. What movie or show are you most looking forward to next year?
  6. What do you look for when picking a new series to watch?
  7. You have one consequence-free day. What do you do?
  8. Who’s your favorite director?
  9. Have you ever realized your love for something was mostly not-too-sturdy nostalgia…but only halfway through trying to show it to someone else?
  10. What’s the worst spinoff or adaptation of something you really love?And finally, just because of this blog’s occasionally particular focus:
  11. What do you know about Lupin III?
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4 comments on “The 2013 Liebster Awards

  1. […] stop reading now. At this point, I’ll just answer a few questions I’ve been asked by another blog since this seems like the most convenient time and place to do […]

  2. Artemis says:

    Replying to your questions here – I hope you don’t mind! 🙂

    1. How did your blog get its name?
    I wanted to pick a name that would reflect my desire to talk with people about anime and other forms of Japanese culture – hopefully reasonably intelligent conversations, but definitely informal conversations as opposed to academic or ‘highbrow’ ones. Since I had already decided to talk about the roots of the word ‘otaku’ as a first post before even creating my blog, and because I view a lounge as a room where people can feel comfortably casual, Otaku Lounge seemed to fit pretty well.

    2. Would you rather your blog have a bunch of silent readers or a small but involved community? Why?
    The latter, absolutely. I want to have actual discussions with people as opposed to having a blog that simply directs words towards people – actually, that was the main reason I began blogging in the first place. Compared to that, the number of people that follow my blog or the amount of page views I get seems relatively unimportant.

    3. Are text posts a matter of preference, or convenience? Have you ever thought about a video style?
    Both. I have thought about video style, but it just doesn’t feel like my kind of thing. I’m certainly open to the idea that I might change my mind about that in the future, but for now, what I’m currently doing feels like it fits who I am and what I want to achieve.

    4. Is your favorite author now the same as it was ten years ago? Five?
    Not ten years ago, because my current top favourite author (Patrick Rothfuss) only published his first novel in 2007. However, some of other favourite authors are still the same as they were ten years ago – particularly Sherryl Jordan, Lian Hearn, and Juliet Marillier.

    5. What movie or show are you most looking forward to next year?
    Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. This is of course assuming it actually finally comes out sometime around its scheduled release date…

    6. What do you look for when picking a new series to watch?
    I don’t know that I look out for any one specific thing above anything else. Usually, it’s a combination of things that draws me into a new series rather than a single element.

    7. You have one consequence-free day. What do you do?
    Since the time limit pretty much rules out free travel, I’d probably just hire someone to assassinate a dictator or ten. Someone like Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-un would be fairly high on the list. Not that I think their deaths would necessarily change anything in the long-term, but it sure would be nice nonetheless.

    8. Who’s your favorite director?
    I don’t know that I have one. There are a lot of directors I very much respect – Miyazaki Hayao, Watanabe Shinichiro, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, the Wachowskis, to name a few – but I’ve never really favoured one particular director above anyone else.

    9. Have you ever realized your love for something was mostly not-too-sturdy nostalgia…but only halfway through trying to show it to someone else?
    I can’t say that I have. I know for a fact that there are things I love mostly for nostalgic reasons, but as far back as I can fully recall, I’ve always been aware that I’ve loved them for that reason as opposed to more objective ones. I’ve also showed things to people that I don’t believe are objectively good, but only when I think that particular person will like it anyway.

    10. What’s the worst spinoff or adaptation of something you really love? And finally, just because of this blog’s occasionally particular focus:
    There have been so many terrible spinoffs and adaptations of things that I’ve otherwise loved that I can’t possibly remember them all. Probably in most recent memory, one of the worst things I can think of right off the top of my head is the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime and it’s god-awful second half. Its film sequel, Conqueror of Shamballa, was so bad it wasn’t even laughable. (Thankfully, FMA: Brotherhood came along several years later and almost immediately became one of my favourite anime of all time, probably second only to Cowboy Bebop.) There’s one adaptation that beats even this out though, and that’s the live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s so terrible I can’t even talk about it – it’s The Movie Which Must Not Be Named.

    11. What do you know about Lupin III?
    I know that it’s a manga first published in the late 1960s about a master thief of the same name, and that it’s since been adapted into various other manga, several televised shows, a number of both animated and live-action films, and a bunch of different video games. I also know that the franchise is still quite popular and extremely well-known in Japan, and that it has an enormous legacy which could probably take up a whole thesis all on its own if someone had a mind to write such a thing (assuming this hasn’t been done already). However, much to my shame as an anime fan, I’ve neither read any of the manga nor seen any of the anime adaptations.

    • Vrai says:

      Perfectly happy to have them here! And great answers, as I might’ve expected. I’ll be looking forward to Sin City as well, if more for the dazzling aesthetic than the story (Sin City and afterward Miller doesn’t impress me, not least for his misogyny). I’ll have to give Rothfuss a look-see as well.
      And lo, the last answer is the reason I started this blog to begin with. For such a great and momentous thing to be so whisperingly forgotten in the west just about kills me (not that I blame people – it was damn hard to get hold of for the longest time, and the older stuff hasn’t aged well in the visual department). I’d planned on taking on the 2012 anime next (by far the best known of the post-Cagliostro stuff), so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

  3. […] My 11 questions from Vrai of Fashionable Tinfoil Accessories […]

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