So I got nominated for this the other day by Irina, who also reminded me that Karandi had nominated me for the same award back in 2018 (which I had completely forgotten about, sorry). I am both surprised and overjoyed to be nominated, both times, and, yeah, I should probably get this done before I forget again, so let’s get to it!
Here’s how we do this:
1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that persons blog.
Massive thanks to both Irina and Karandi, you’re both pillars of the community and this little corner of the internet wouldn’t be the same without either of you. Irina is the queen of fun and thought-provoking posts, while Karandi is a master reviewer with a ridiculously good work ethic. Both are incredibly encouraging and, again, this place wouldn’t be the same without you. If anyone isn’t already following their blogs then you need to, right now.
2. Give the story or history of your blog.
I’ve mentioned parts of this before, but I don’t think I’ve ever put the whole story in one place. There’s basically two routes that led to the creation of this blog, the first comes from my ever arduous path to becoming a full-time writer (one day it will happen!). At the time I only had one short story published and was looking for a way to stretch my writing muscles, to challenge myself and build confidence in my own voice.
I was inspired by the UnshavedMouse blog, I created a character to hide myself behind, the Infallible Fish, and I even came up with a back story.
Cursed into the form of a talking cartoon fish by a half-mad deity known only as the Writer, the Infallible Fish has no idea who he is, or where he comes from, all he does know is that he has a burning urge to watch some animated stuff.
The plan was to review animated films and series with the occasional comedic skit featuring Fish and the Writer, with the potential for an ongoing plot, but I dropped that idea fairly quickly as I felt more comfortable reviewing stuff just as myself, though I kept the Fish for my title cards.
If you want to know where the name for my blog comes from, well, for that we have to time travel back to my college years where, one day, I happened across an ad in the paper that would form one of the cornerstones of my identity. The ad featured a usb stick in the shape of a fish, with the words ‘Never Argue with a Fish’ printed in bold above it. Somehow this was an advert for a car, I think. To this day I have no idea what the thought process behind that ad was and that’s why I love it, that eternal, unfathomable mystery of what’s going on inside someone else’s head. It’s weird, absurd and just outright hilarious to me, so I took that as my name on the internet.
However, I said there were two routes to this blog, while all this stuff was in my head I needed a trigger to get me off my backside and actually start writing. That trigger was Frozen. I had…issues with Frozen and while I’ve come to terms with them over the years, the need to talk through my feelings with someone became the basis for the very first review of this blog, HERE.
3. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
Ah, now we arrive at the part of this post that has me sweating a little bit. See, I’m not a very good blogger. I mean it still surprises me that people read and like my reviews, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started thinking about what to do with this blog outside of what my next review is going to be. It’s only recently that I actually started following people and expanding the list of blogs that I read, so I feel really under-qualified to be giving out advice, but I’ll try anyway.
Don’t get obsessed with stats – This is a piece of advice from the writer in me and something I struggle with myself. When it comes to likes, shares and general popularity, don’t worry about it. Sure there’s always that nice little buzz when someone likes something you put so much time and effort into, also growing your audience is a part of your job, but it’s not your whole job. If you spend all your time on twitter, facebook and wordpress, then when are you actually writing? Make plans for how to improve your blog, certainly, but remember to focus on your content too, write what you want to write without worrying about how people will react to it. If you start worrying about what people will think or if it’ll be popular you’re likely to give your writer’s block, trust me, I’ve been there. Speak in your own voice and sweat the rest later.
Get involved in the community – Something I’ve been learning recently, talk to people. Read blogs, like posts, comment if you have something to say, even if that’s just to congratulate the blogger on a great post. I know it can be a bit scary at times, but the blogging community here on wordpress is really supportive and nice. Talk to people, you never know what might happen, you may even end up writing a blogger recognition award post.
4. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link their blogs.
And here we are, as I said I’ve only recently been applying myself to expanding the number of blogs I read and follow, I’m not even sure if I follow 10 blogs without checking (I told you I was bad at this). I know there are many, many, many great blogs out there and while I’m in the process of catching up on all the ones I don’t already follow, here’s the ones I can wholeheartedly recommend for you to check out first, and if you have any other suggestions please drop them in the comments.
The Otaku Author – Lynn is a fellow author and does some great episodic and seasonal reviews, as well as fun little side projects, like the Saturday Spin-off, where he flexes his creative muscles.
www.crowsworldofanime.com – Crow is another pillar of the community, super supportive, and if you want to know what the greatest moment of a given episode was, check out his reviews.
Mechanical Anime Reviews – Scott often puts together interesting and heartfelt posts, it’s always a joy to read his work so make sure you do. Also no matter how much he tries to deny it, we all know he’s the master of mecha around here.
Iridium Eye Reviews – Ospreyshire’s blog where he reviews things that, 9 times out of 10, I have never heard of before, which is partly why I like his blog so much. His reviews are always packed full of details and trivia so make sure to check them out.
Umai Yomu Anime Blog – I’ve only just started following Yomu’s blog, but what I’ve seen so far has me impressed. It was the School-Live! review that got me to follow them, but I will also recommend the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai character analysis.
Jon Spencer Reviews – This one I feel a little guilty about, because I’ve known about Jon’s blog for a while but its only recently that I’ve started reading his work on a regular basis, which feels like a massive mistake on my part. From insightful reviews to the Creator Showcase, make sure to follow Jon.
Confessions of an Overage otaku – Another recent follow and a fellow author! Lots of fun and interesting posts to be found here dissecting anime, though I’ll be honest it was the Kill la Kill posts that got me to follow.
ANIME FEMINIST – This mostly goes out to Marion Bea for their posts on Shonen and how the genre needs to better serve both its female characters and female readership, though really any and all contributors to the site can answer this if they want to. I’ve only just started following, but what I’ve read so far has been really insightful and thought-provoking.
littleanimeblog.com – Elisabeth and Dominic have a site packed with the latest anime news as well as fun little posts either reviewing, analysing or just musing on all things anime. Definitely someplace everyone should be checking out if they don’t already.
unshavedmouse – Lastly, it only feels right that I include Neil Sharpson here, you know, being an inspiration and all. I’ve followed his blog for a long time (though only recently pressing the actual follow button, you may have noticed a pattern here). If you’re after witty reviews of every Disney film going, sentient maps and communist crows as well as input from the immortal warlock Walt Disney, then this is the place to check out. Also, you know, he has reviewed a few anime in his time, though I fear Mysterious Girlfriend X may have broken him.
Phew, made it. Thank you again Irina and Karandi for nominating me and thank you to everyone for reading so far, I hope you’ve had fun. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some more blogs to read, or was I supposed to be getting my own writing done? You know, I may have just found a conflict in my own advice.
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.