This week I caught up with popular online blogger Artemis, owner and operator of Otaku Lounge. We discuss her life as an anime blogger, her thoughts on various films, and advice for anyone looking to get into the blogging world.
Artemis brings her wit, creative content ideas, and excellent writing ability (not to mention a PhD) to the anime blogging world and really makes some amazing stuff.
How long have you been blogging about anime?
I first started Otaku Lounge in April 2013, although for a couple of years before that I had been writing about anime on my personal blog on LiveJournal.
What is your overall philosophy about anime blogging? (Why do you do what you do?)
Anime has been a passion of mine for many years, and sometime after finishing my PhD on the topic of representation of sexuality in anime, I decided I wanted a space where I could write about anime in a much more informal and less academic way. I also see anime blogging as my way of being part of a wider community. I was never one for posting on forums or directly involving myself in any specific fandoms, but blogging probably gives me a similar sense of belonging.
What do you like about anime? Like, what sets it apart from other mediums like western television or film?
Even after all these years, that’s still a question I struggle to answer. Part of it is definitely the distinctive aesthetics, which attracted me to the medium as a kid long before I knew what anime even was or that it was a product of Japan. And although this is becoming more common in Western animation, I also like that mainstream anime – sometimes even those aimed at quite young audiences – isn’t afraid to deal with themes that would often be considered too complex or too mature for its viewers. Basically, I like that anime doesn’t try to talk down to its audience.
Do you have a favorite director in the medium? Or a favorite studio?
If I listed all of the anime directors I admire then we’d be here a long time, but I think Miyazaki Hayao truly is one of the greatest of all time. I also have an enormous soft spot for Watanabe Shinichiro and Yamamoto Sayo. I don’t have any solid favourites when it comes to anime studios; sometimes studios I tend to love produce duds, and sometimes I’m surprised by how much I enjoy a title from studios I tend to dislike. However, I will say that Production I.G., Bones, and MAPPA have all produced some pretty great titles over the years.
Do you have a favorite sci-fi anime film?
There are a great many that I have a lot of respect for, but purely in terms of personal enjoyment, my favourite to date would probably have to be Time of Eve. The 6-episode series preceded it, but I like the film (same content, just different packaging, so to speak) just as much.
What are five anime sci-fi films that you would recommend to my readers?
Many readers may have already seen these, but aside from Time of Eve, I’d also recommend The Place Promised in Our Early Days, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Memories, and the Mardock Scramble trilogy.
What are your thoughts on the original Ghost in the Shell? Have you seen the new film?
I understand that the original Ghost in the Shell, both the anime film as well as the manga on which it’s based, is a classic, and I can certainly see why it’s labelled as such. Personally though, the only part of the franchise I’ve wholeheartedly enjoyed so far is the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series (and a good part of that enjoyment stems from the amazing soundtrack). I haven’t seen the new film yet, but I probably will eventually just out of curiosity. If nothing else, I hear the visuals are pretty good. Otherwise, I don’t expect to like it much.
What are your thoughts on Akira?
Again, total classic of the medium and for good reason. I should probably watch it again at some point, since the last time I did was probably a good decade ago and my views on anime have changed a lot since then. I wouldn’t list it as one of my favourite anime films of all time, but from a historical and cultural perspective, I can’t help but admire it.
Do you have any advice for any new bloggers looking to break into the medium?
Just do it. Don’t plan it out too much or overthink things – there’s always time to refine what and how you write, but if you get stuck in the planning stages then you’ll never write anything at all. Don’t be afraid of how others will see you, either. It’s fine to write just for yourself at first and then think about how to better appeal to whoever your target audience is later on. And finally, be involved yourself on other blogs that post about similar topics. Not only is this how you’ll get far more page views and comments than you otherwise would, but what’s the point in blogging if you’re only talking at people rather than with them? If you want to be part of a community, you need to be willing to actively participate in it.
It was great for Artemis to take time out of her schedule to be interviewed, especially considering the fact that she lives in Japan and is on a totally different time table than this Minnesota boy.
If you want to check out her blog, (I highly recommend it, if you even moderately tolerate my blog, you will LOVE hers.) Here is the link to the main page: https://otakulounge.wordpress.com/
Here are a few of my favorite posts of hers:
-This post digs into her top 5 favorite feel good anime, because who doesn’t need a pick-me-up every once in awhile? https://otakulounge.wordpress.com/2016/11/30/top-5-feel-good-anime/
-This post is the first part of a four part series that digs into the history of anime and how I has evolved over time.
-As someone who loves to experience the joy of watching something truly horrible, (one of my favorite movies of all time is The Room (Wiseau, 2003), this list was AMAZING, and filled with good recommendations.