A Guide on Writing About Seasonal Anime by a Blogger Who Struggles with Writing About Seasonal Anime

Hello! I’m Remy Fool from The Lily Garden and I sporadically produce content on seasonal anime. There was a time, however, when I would publish a handful of episode reviews every week while occasionally posting articles which were a bit less focused on singular episodes and more concerned with general themes.

I only brought up my checkered past in order to demonstrate how unqualified I am to be considered an authority figure on writing about seasonal anime. Alas, this is the kind of topic that I latch onto after midnight when equal parts desperateness and self-abandonment cause the words you see now on your screen to manifest. So please regard everything you read here with caution.

Conditions to Keep in Mind

There are three things to remember at all times when it comes to writing about seasonal anime.

How much value do you place on speed?

If you want the highest amount of clicks or if you want your content to go viral, then you have little choice but to accept that speed will likely make a considerable difference. Pushing out your post before others have had their chance to is often a way to make sure readers find your content first.

However, the associated bonus with being quick is completely undermined if the post is riddled with errors. Don’t sacrifice accuracy for swiftness.

There’s always exceptions, however, since there are successful blogs out there who don’t immediately rush out content and instead choose to abide by their own pace and rules. I still would claim that they may lose out on potential viewers in doing so, but I digress.

Who is your target audience?

Just like how anime has a target audience, your seasonal anime content also has a target audience. As a result, you have to consider if you want your focus to be accessible to people who aren’t even following the series you’re covering or if you want to be a bit more thorough and a bit less like a play-by-play commentator.

More on this when we discuss episode reviews.

What’s your stance on spoilers?

On a similar note, you need to figure out where you stand in regards to spoilers. Do you want your content to feature spoilers or do you want to avoid spoilers entirely? The answer you reach will undoubtedly affect how others approach your content.

I’m really simplifying the situation here, but if you try to keep away from talking about what happens in the most recent episode, then your content may end up becoming vague or shallow. Or at least more vague and shallow than it could have been. Your language has to be modified to accommodate your need to keep details under wraps and may ultimately reduce the impact of whatever it is you’re trying to say as your words turn stiff and awkward.

However, the inclusion of spoilers will certainly drive away potential viewers. The ones who plan on watching the series but presently cannot will likely skip your content, as with the ones who are behind but plan to catch up. There’s no guarantee they’ll come back to read your content after they’re caught up, either. It’s the price you pay in order to be more forthcoming with key details and moments.

Choosing a Show to Focus On

There are usually three trains of thought when it comes to deciding which shows to write about.

Aim for Controversy

This one is a no-brainer. Everyone’s abuzz about the polarizing show. Some people hate it. Some people like it. Some people are caught somewhere in the middle. It only makes sense to try to jump on the train, right?

Well, hang on. Before you do that, you should try to make sure you have something to say other than summarizing what happens in the episode and mentioning how viewers have to adopt a wait-and-see approach. Otherwise you get what we saw last week: the enormous amount of Citrus first impressions, most of which feature exactly what I just mentioned. I believe Kokkoku is the current hotness.

Follow Your Heart

Write about what you like watching. Talk about your favorite show(s) and let your passion do the work. Believe it or not, passion can be felt in what you write. Let your passion preaaaaach!

Unfortunately, everyone’s tastes are different so what you like may be decidedly unpopular. You may feel like you’re just mumbling into The Abyss if that’s the case. Fortunately, there’s almost always a niche audience for everything, so maybe you’ll scratch that itch for that select few.

The best case scenario is when this category overlaps with the previous category, obviously.

Accept the Wide Spread

Y-you want to talk about everything you’re watching?

Well, go for it if you’d like. Do keep in mind that this sort of post can easily get extremely wordy which means most people keep the individual sections for each show short at one to two paragraphs. Or they turn to Twitter.

Just remember that there’s no shame in not talking about a show you’re currently watching. It may get a little hard to find another way to say a “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” show is adorable by week 9, after all.

The Types of Seasonal Anime Content

Here it is! This is why you tolerated over 800 words of utter nonsense! It was all for this moment!

…So I’m sorry to disappoint, but this isn’t a complete list by any stretch of the imagination. As long as there are still anibloggers, I firmly believe there are novel ideas (in regards to presentation, subject matter, etc) out there to be tapped and explored and presented. Be that as it may, here’s a partial list.

Episode Reviews

This is sort of like the go-to for seasonal anime content. It’s simple in its concept and design, too: write about what and how you felt about what happened in the most recent episode of a series you’re following every week.

It’s also easy to fall into common traps. Too much play-by-play to the point that readers might as well be reading summaries on Wikipedia. Too many pictures to the point that readers might as well just scroll through the image gallery instead of actually watching said episode (this was something I personally struggled with, admittedly).

Back when I was doing episode reviews for Sakura Quest, I learned that some people who don’t even watch Sakura Quest were following my episode reviews. Which led me to think that there’s two types of posts: posts which can be fully enjoyed by non-viewers and posts which can only be truly appreciated by viewers (who probably aren’t interested at all in recaps and just want you to jump into the juicy analysis).

So in short, this type of post really requires for the blogger to balance spoilers and summarization. Handle with care, please.

Your mileage may vary whether an episode review should embrace the wait-and-approach or whether an episode review should treat any individual episode as a separate entity without mentioning upcoming episodes or bringing up the series’ possible direction.

Oftentimes the content creator keeps going with episode reviews until the end, but sometimes they’ll drop the series (which means the episode reviews also stop), stop doing episode reviews while continuing to watch the series, etc.

First Impressions

It’s more or less the same as an episode review except there’s (generally) no follow-up episode reviews and there’s usually more of a trend to “introduce” the anime to readers. Excess summarization wouldn’t be out-of-place here and is typically expected.

Midseason impressions and final impressions are also published, but are quite a bit less popular.

This Series Is About…

Usually posted before the series is completely finished airing (unless, of course, if all the episodes for said series is released all at once in a batch), these types of posts offer speculation on the series’ themes and general message.

Hyperfocused Specifics

These posts often revolve around one particular detail or aspect, like the meaning of the flowers seen in a scene or an episode or the types of cuisine which appear in a restaurant. They’re usually great fun!

Weekly Round-Ups

These posts are like individual episode reviews except a lot of shows are being talked about all at once. As stated earlier, the individual sections pertaining to each series is often condensed so the reader isn’t overwhelmed. After all, this type of content is just supposed to offer some brief thoughts on the current episode (and perhaps the direction of the show).

It’s rather unlikely for these types of posts to become incredibly popular, but I imagine filling this out every week is satisfying and allows you to talk about a show you wouldn’t necessarily dedicate an entire post to.

Weekly Spotlights

These types of posts are dedicated to showing some love to great content on seasonal anime week after week. Of course, great is subjective and the execution of these sort of posts can feel exclusionary. But that’s the wrong angle to take here. Don’t feel insecure of your ability to write if you’re not consistently featured. But do feel proud when you do get featured and shared because you were able to stand out among many other quality content pieces. Or something like that.

And that’s all I have to say, folks. I obviously can’t tell you exactly what to write about, but I sure did try to cover the type of posts people tend to publish and my thoughts on such things.

This post was partially inspired by TIPS FOR SUCCEEDING ON PATREON FROM SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER SUCCEEDED ON PATREON, which was written by the lovely All Hail Haruhi. Her post is a lot more thorough, however.

Incidentally, if you liked reading this post and would like to support me financially, then please consider donating to my Patreon. Thank you.

33 thoughts on “A Guide on Writing About Seasonal Anime by a Blogger Who Struggles with Writing About Seasonal Anime

  1. I’d rather do episode reviews, even weekly reviews, through Youtube. I find it very difficult to write my thoughts out on an episode I only recently finished, as I either have nothing juicy to say or can’t find the exact words to explain my thoughts. At least with a Youtube video, I can just spew out my thoughts without worrying about a script too much – using notes is fine, though.

    But yeah, you definitely hit the nail on the coffin here; really good post. Personally, I couldn’t do it because of the pressure to release posts IMMEDIATELY while the iron was hot; burnt myself out pretty quickly. I still want to do episode reviews, but it’ll be in a different format and with a “unique” approach.

    Right now, I’m more focused on recommending series to people than whether if a show is a masterpiece of literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m much more of the hyperspecific type. I tried doing a weekly impressions-type thing in winter 2016 and it didn’t really work out. Plus from trial and error I’ve done, I already know I’m late and don’t churn out good-quality content when I do episodic posts.

    That said, I’m working on a (very wordy) first impressions post for this season and I have a monthly round-up post series going already, so I think I’m fine as I am.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s hard to keep writing reviews on episodes. I tried and it was too much. So I like to write half way through the seasons and then my final thoughts of the season. It made it easier for me

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoy episodic reviews, not so much because they are good posts given they get very few views and I try to keep mine very short (that 100 word thing that I never stick to) but I enjoy them because they help clarify to myself what I’m thinking about a show and they usually act as a starting point for a conversation with other bloggers also watching the show. That said, I spend far more time writing the other content on my blog and my episode reviews tend to be fairly reactionary even though I do give myself a couple of days between watching the show and posting in most cases so I have time to think my reaction through.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, to be fair, keeping episode reviews to 100 words is a nightmare.

      Mmm episode reviews sure are great for giving yourself and other bloggers a place to start from. And now I’m realizing this post was far too vague after reading your thoughts on reactionary episode reviews (I do recall that you have mentioned that taking a few days to write an episode review on a seasonal has helped you be a bit more fair a few times) and I might have to go into my thoughts on episode reviews, but that’s for another time.

      Thank you for dropping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I haven’t tried to do seasonal anime reviews per episode, but as my blog is multi-topic, it just isn’t suited for that. So I do my reviews only for shows that I have completed in it;s entirety. That said….this is a very helpful guide that you have written here. If I were ever to change my mind, I’m definitely returning to this post! Great job Remy 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeaaah I think episode reviews and the like wouldn’t really mesh with your blog. Which is a shame since it would be nice to hear your thoughts on seasonal anime. It’s a good thing that you’re so active and that you’ve started watching seasonal anime! That makes up for it, haha.

      But thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post Remy! 🙂 Definitely things I’ll keep in mind when and if I decide to venture back to seasonal reviews. I’m probably the first impressions type and then individual reviews – but let’s be real, I don’t write too many reviews to begin with, which hopefully I can change this year. I realize i’m not much of the episodic reviewer though, sometimes I don’t glean a lot of information from a singular episode, or I read too much into it and overanalyze therefore voiding out my enjoyment of the show…i’m complicated…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Zel!

      Well, it’s not like you have to do episodic reviews. Just do what works for you! Aaaaand it already sounds like you have a good grasp on what that is. Anime should first and foremost be fun!

      Looking forward to seeing your reviews in the future (should you get to doing them! No pressure~)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. i dont really claim to be an expert, but these are my thoughts:
    – speed: i gave up on speed pretty quickly when i started writing episode reviews. at the end of the day, it’s adding unnecessary stress by forcing you to wait for episodes to come out (which becomes worse when it’s amazon) and your schedule becomes inconsistent. plus, i dont suspect it has as big an impact in blogs. even if it did, the people who know japanese will always beat you.
    – target audience: id agree with this section. for episode reviews, i usually try to keep the first paragraph general and spoiler-light. if i write a post targeted at a particular idea in the episode, i will always try to explain the context (like my recent post on kino no tabi).
    – spoilers: i touched on it above, but i dont usually pay any mind to spoilers. as i said, i try to keep the beginning of the post lighter on spoilers so people who randomly view the post will be less likely to come across a spoiler. i like talking about specific events, so i dont usually consider it.

    – choosing shows: “follow your heart” is probably closest, but it’s not completely correct. my choices are largely arbitrary, so maybe “wide spread” is closer. i dont write about everything im watching because that would be impossible, but i tend to select my shows and stick with them whether i end up liking them or not.

    – types of content: ive only ever really done episode reviews, so i dont really have anything say on the others. this is a nice summary of post types, though. it makes me want to try some of these other types of posts in the future. but back on the topic of episode reviews. i agree on the idea of balancing summary and spoiler. i think i have a post where i talked about how a heavily summary-focused post could be appealing, but i would agree that a balance would give you better reach. and your experience with sakura quest is something ive had happen too, where i realize people who arent watching a show are reading. ive been trying to get better about explaining the scene im referencing rather than just saying “oh, that one scene” and moving on.

    this comment makes me wonder why my blog posts are always so short

    Liked by 1 person

    1. – speed: I can’t really disagree with what you’re saying here. Except for the impact factor. But it’s hard to truly prove either way, isn’t it?
      – target audience / spoilers: I like the idea of keeping the first paragraph light in case someone stumbles upon your post.
      – Mmm I’m glad we agree on episode reviews. It is a bit more difficult to explain the scene so that people who aren’t following the show can understand, but I think it’s worth the effort.

      Hmmm maybe you could change that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nothing really empirical…i can give the example of my own experience because i have stats from when i changed from immediate posts to scheduled posts, but it doesnt really prove anything. i agree on that.

        im not fully convinced it works because wordpress shows every image in the preview, but it’s an attempt to help.

        and man, i sure hope it’s worth the effort 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This was a great point In the direction for people who maybe want to write about seasons anime. I am no expection with seasonal. It’s been this back and forth process with me Andover seasonal for ages now. Even though I’m reviewing citrus for manga Tokyo right now I’m not minding writing episodic reviews honestly. Probably because of the layout they do it in. Where come to write seasonal on my blog happens on the rare occasion. I just do what I feel when I feel like writing about seasonal. Would like to get into the scene more this year though but taking the approach of focusing on a particular theme would be my way. But informative post rely XD

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is an awesome post! I have been writing more about anime on my blog (teaching myself to not be so damn shy, lol) and I am currently in that place where I’m trying to decide how I want to chat about seasonal content. I enjoy doing First Impressions quite a lot. I’m thinking after that, a Weekly Round-Up may not be so bad. I think the best way to figure out what works best for you is a lot of trial and error, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Helps you and your blog grow. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this! You’ve helped me in trying to figure out how I wanna proceed with seasonal content.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, I’m really glad to hear that I could help you figure out what to write for seasonal anime. You’re right, there’s nothing wrong with trial and error! I hope you can find something that works for you!

      Liked by 1 person

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