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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.