Round 2 Matches 5-8

Anime|Otaku vs Draggle’s Anime Blog

Those Damned Cartoons vs Baka Laureate

In the event of a draw, both blogs will advance through to the next round to compete in a 5-way match in the group stages.

Caraniel’s Ramblings vs Anime Picks

Ani-Gamers vs Beneath the Tangles

46 thoughts on “Round 2 Matches 5-8

  1. And this is the round where my laziness about following up on comments and promises made bite me in the ass. Whelp.

    • It looks like you’re getting a lot of support anyway! We’re the exciting match to look out for. I love what you write. I’m not even watching the new Lupin, nor am I even your assumed audience, but I hang on to every word in your episodics. Fantastic stuff. All the best for your blog in the future, regardless of outcome.

  2. Draggles versus animeotaku… I like pipes, but not in the label or key field of a blog. Draggles drags the Texas episode of Space Bros through the mud as it should. Slight preference for that kind of stuff.

    Baka Laurates I already read, but Damned Cartoons did a good job with Fujiko #4 by talking about Maria Callas. If someone wrote about tablets instead of smartphones I would have made this a simple choice. Instead it’s a bit tricky.

    Cara and anime picks…well I like the diversity of the topics on Anime Picks but it has one of those cursed bottom bar thing, and the design kind of want to make me hit the back button asap. It also doesn’t quite look like a blog per se.

    Kind of a toss up between Ani-gamers and Tangles for me. To me the Christian shtick is not a minus but I don’t think it makes for much either. The writing is quality but it does all the things that makes me question the earnestness of the content.

    • “The writing is quality but it does all the things that makes me question the earnestness of the content.”

      Like what? What makes you question the earnestness of the content?

      • The fact that I cringe, like, all the time, reading that blog I guess. Of course, that doesn’t mean the content is honest or dishonest, it more so seems like slapping some artificial label onto something arguably pretty simple (fanfiction, looking for random stuff in anime, etc) and that just makes me wonder why someone is approaching Christianity this way.

        • Ah, thanks for explaining. I understand your point of view now. Our perception is not the same, but I ‘m glad I can see your perspective.

  3. I voted for Those Damn Cartoons based largely on being friends with Bradley, but both his blog and Baka Laureate deserve to win this round. Bradley is a true critic, which I always appreciate, and from my skimming of Krizzlybear’s blog, there’s a lot to like there, too. The discussion of Serika from Space Brothers really surprised me, since the post was still a great read despite me having not seen the show. (Usually I find that bloggers jump right into their discussion assuming that everybody is watching along with them.)

  4. More reviews, with a bit on content too.

    Anime|Otaku
    Post frequency here is over the max acceptable 7 days (IMO). This guideline is excusable if content is very valuable and unique, so I went ahead and read some. From what I see on the front page, a significant amount of writing reads like it belongs in a journal. Maybe some people enjoy that stuff, but not me.

    Draggle’s Anime Blog
    This site uses that default/common WordPress theme, though because of readability, I don’t mind. There are no walls of text in the 5 posts that I checked, and images are used well. Seems like Draggle understands readability better than most. Things I like:
    – Sidebar has Recent Comments up high.
    – Social networking icons are prominent recognizable, and there’s even a MAL link matching the size of the others.
    – I like your email obfuscation technique in About. It’s quite certain that bots cannot harvest your email address from that.

    “‘Michael’ hasn’t posted any pictures of himself on the Internet, unlike open minded people such as myself”
    It has nothing to do with being open-minded. I use this alias specifically because it’s not linked to my real identity.

    Those Damned Cartoons
    Oh god those walls of text (screenshot). I see that new posts load on-demand when one gets to the bottom. Neat trick; DuckDuckGo does this too. Unfortunately navigation still sucks on this site. Sidebar is useless just having Tweets. It could have useful widgets like Archives, Categories, and Tags.

    Baka Laureate
    If it’s possible on WP.com, link front page images to posts. In the sidebar, I think Recent Comments needs to be higher.

    As for post content, images are used well. Paragraphs are borderline though. I say cut the lengthy ones in half. Lastly, the Smartphones post uses headers (h2), while Precure posts incorporate bold-faced text and numbered lists. Props for throwing in some formatting!

    Caraniel’s Ramblings
    I like the compact listing on the search results page, but it’d be even better with thumbnails. Also, the sidebar’s search box could use better labeling than “type and press enter”. It isn’t preceded with “Search:” or anything. In About, the “50 Questions” link opens in a new tab. Please never do this. I use middle click to open new tabs when I want to.

    Posts: The “Spring 2012: First Impressions” ones have the same image. C’mon, at least grab a unique screenshot from one of the series detailed in the post! As for content, image quantity is good, but paragraph length turns me off. More line breaks would definitely help readability. They’re trivial to add, so why not?

    “.. have been drinking since the age of 13”
    Oh~ someone likes to indulge.

    “I am a fantastic driver (even if I am sort of fascinated by the high numbers on the speedometer)”
    I like this girl already. Awesome favorite video game too, but we all know that Super Metroid is the best.

    Anime Picks
    I agree with draggle’s comment about the color scheme being “blinding”. Colors are too bold on this site, and perhaps too varied. Also, this site has a persistent sidebar on the bottom. I hate shit like that.

    Draggle is also spot on in saying that it’s “hard to see quickly what’s new”. The Latest News section doesn’t stand out as much as it should. There needs to be an unmistakable place for visitors to focus their eyes. Mine are all over the place on this site. Also, Latest News is lower than it should be for some unknown reason.

    The sidebar is too ‘busy’ with all the colorful images. It really distracts me when I try to read a post. So even on single posts, my eyes are all over the place. Anime Picks is art over functionality. I would have left immediately had I not been writing a review.

    Ani-Gamers
    This place has the one of the most thought out designs of all of the websites so far. I like Related posts; it’s compact and quite relevant to the current post. I see nothing to pick on, except that…

    The content suffers from walls of text (screenshot). Come on guys — be generous with the Enter key.

    Beneath the Tangles
    Now this one is unique.

    Is Beneath the Tangles about anime, or is it about Christianity?. After combing through several articles, it’s apparent that anime is secondary to the discussion of faith. I think Beneath the Tangles is better suited for a “religiblog” tournament rather than an aniblog tournament. Since religion is one of two things I don’t want to see on anime websites, this blog is not for me.

    • Hey, thanks for the review! I was pretty disappointed to see so few people providing feedback on this poll. You make a good point about the walls of text. I try to break them up, but sometimes they slip past me. I appreciate the reminder to keep on top of that.

      • I found one thing to pick on: the date in post meta / post header. I think it should stand out more instead of looking small and washed out.

        I have to say.. this layout is my favorite out of all the Aniblog sites so far. I especially like the “Explore the Site” section atop the sidebar. Such a good idea.

        • Hmm, good point. In the past I’ve considered moving the date to the little metadata pane on the left side of the header to make it stick out more. I’ll see what I can do about that.

          Wow, thank you so much. We just underwent a big redesign and a shift to my own custom-built blogging platform (called “Tofu”). In addition to introducing annoying backend bugs because my code is kinda wonky, the new system has allowed me to get a lot more flexible about the way we present information. We used to use Blogger, which, as a programmer-designer, was really stifling.

    • I can see the functionality of having header images link directly to the posts, and have considered implementing it, but if the post title already has a link, and so does the “read more” button, then putting a link on the image feels redundant, personally. In fact, I highly doubt that this feature is a universal standard amongst blogs in general.

      I know that the AOL network blogs (engadget, joystiq, etc.) use that feature, but a lot of other high-profile independently-run blogs (particularly run by writers/novelists, see Jeff Vandermeer, Chuck Wendig, and Holly Lisle’s blogs in particular) omit them entirely. For the most part, their audiences are the kind that visit primarily for the writing, which is my primary intention as well.

      It’s also feels a bit inelegant to have different formatting for the header image compared to the rest of the images in my posts if the other pictures click to enlarge, then I would like the header image to do so as well; however, the picture properties remain the same after click-through, meaning that when you’re in the post page itself, the picture still links to the post, but no longer can enlarge. I don’t want that.

      In fact, If I were ever to link header images to posts, it would be in a situation where that image is the lone one for the entire post. I don’t feel confident enough in my writing to actually do that, but perhaps in the future, I will end up doing as such.

      As for the sidebar, ugh, I’m probably more pissed off about it than you are. I really want to do the 3-column format just to squeeze more stuff in there, but I already know it’s a mess as it is. There’s way too many unnecessary widgets on it. I think I’ll remove the twitter widget and replace it with a lone image linking to my twitter account. I’ll re-order the widgets from top to bottom as follows: RSS, Twitter Link, Recent Comments, Categories, Archives, Blogroll, Creative Commons, Meta. I think that’d be a more ideal ordering of the sidebar. Fuck sidebars, really.

      Thanks a bunch for the feedback. Good to know that my aesthetic choices aren’t going unnoticed. All that remains now is that I don’t let my “Themes ADD” kick in, which does happen from time to time. I really am the worst.

      • Gotta agree with you here on the post images. As you said, you already have two links to the post, and having the image link there too is a little counterintuitive (despite the Weblogs, Inc. precedent). I know when I click an image I expect something directly related to that image, not the post that it’s in.

      • Wow, you think a lot about the layout. Pissed about the sidebar? I only suggested moving up Recent Comments.

        I don’t understand why Creative Commons needs to be in the sidebar. Why not put it in the About page? Next: Meta is useless / redundant since you have both post and comment RSS links on top.

        As for front page images linking to the posts, yeah, it’s debatable. Most people probably click on the title hyperlink. Your post titles are big and easy to click, so it’s not a big deal.

        “It’s also feels a bit inelegant to have different formatting for the header image compared to the rest of the images in my posts”

        This idea doesn’t apply to single posts; only the front page.

        • CC in the about page works. I’ll have to figure out the formatting to replicate the widget functionality, but I think it shouldn’t be too hard.

          Meta is useful to me only. Cookies don’t get saved at my work, so I’d rather log in directly from my blog than by going to wordpress.com; I actually own multiple blogs (some inactive), so Baka Laureate dashboard isn’t the default screen upon login. I’ll have to see if there’s something faster. However, just by being at the very bottom, I don’t think it gets in the way at all anyway.

          What I meant by that quote is that, for a given post, all of the other images in that post except for the header image link to an enlarged version of the image, whereas the header image only links to to the post (as per its appearance on the main page), losing the click-to-enlarge functionality. I tried messing around with the “Feature Image” settings for wordpress posts, but it doesn’t play well with the theme (or perhaps all themes), since the image ends up located above the post title, which just seems wrong to me.

    • Oh great, thanks for taking the time to leave some feedback; I was beginning to think I’d be going another round without any constructive criticism.

      I hadn’t noticed my search bar was unlabeled – fixed that.

      The choice to have the same image for all my First Impressions posts is deliberate – I prefer posts with the same purpose to have a uniform look. For First Impressions posts I’m only giving a knee-jerk reaction to first episodes, so the posts are short & to the point. The only posts that have a screencap opening are my episodic posts everything else generally has a topic banner instead.

      Regarding paragraphs – I stick to one topic or point per paragraph, I won’t add them in just to break up the text as I find taking unnecessary line breaks ruins the flow of the text, making a post look more like bullet points than a flowing article. Line breaks should happen naturally and not just be inserted for aesthetic reasons. I am given to ramble on, but I do try to stop myself before I get out of hand.

      I like that you’ve picked out my fondness for alcohol & driving…….rest assured I do not indulge in both at the same time!😄

      • On paragraph spacing, I think there’s an appropriate middle ground between you and MotsuCQ. Yes, arbitrarily splitting paragraphs breaks the flow, but often if your paragraph is too long, you might want to consider reworking it a bit so it can be separated into multiple ideas (and thus paragraphs) without breaking the flow of your writing. Since we’re all writing blogs for a popular audience, readability IS fairly important.

        • I do have a rather lengthly editing process as my first drafts are often well over 1500 words & nigh unreadable to anyone not called Caraniel – guess watching the length of my paragraphs is yet another thing I need to keep an eye on!

      • Breaking up a paragraph on one topic can easily work if it has images above and below. Take the “Tsuritama – 02” post for example: there are 3 images (one large, 2 small) and then a lengthy paragraph. You could break up the paragraph and move those two side-by-side images below it.

        I understand your line of thinking, but I think what applies for high school English papers does not apply to websites.

        http://sixrevisions.com/usabilityaccessibility/10-usability-tips-based-on-research-studies/
        This site breaks up topics into multiple paragraphs. Do you think it works? I think it looks fantastic. Point #4 on that page briefly mentions paragraphs.

  5. Voted for Anime|Otaku (clean design and a writing style that embraces the personal nature of a “blog”), Those Damned Cartoons (very interesting content), Anime Picks (strong focus on content), and Ani-Gamers (one of my favorite discoveries of the tournament; great design and articles). Good luck to everyone!

  6. I’m constantly amazed by how well Beneath the Tangles does, despite people automatically disliking it because of the religious content. Some of the shit I hear people say makes me ashamed to be an atheist. While I doubt many people will be able to look past their prejudices, I’ve got my fingers crossed for TWWK.

    • How bad has it been? I’ve seen some people respectfully question the connection between religion and anime, but I would hope people aren’t being assholes about other people’s faith. Also, “Some of the shit I hear people say makes me ashamed to be an atheist” describes my general experience as an atheist pretty well.

      • Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately, as you know, “angry, confrontational atheist” has become almost as set in the culture as “unreasonable, judgmental Christian.”

        Btw, Evan, I think wavedash might be referring to Whiners.Pro, which has my site pegged pushing propaganda and encouraging pedophilia, among many other things. Truth be told, though, he has plenty of vitriol for almost all aniblogs, and we didn’t even get the worst of it!

    • Probably the most useless of useless feedback, but the site doesn’t display properly on my browser at work. Then again, we’re forced to use IE8, so yeah, lol.

      • IE8, huh? I thought I got it usable on IE8, but then again I was only using an online emulator thing to check it (I’m on a Mac). I’ll look into fixing that, since I know a lot of people are still stuck on IE8 in work. Thanks (and no that wasn’t at all useless)!

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