I’ve managed and participated in a few websites exclusively related to Japanese otaku media. Does that make me a journalist or a reporter? What’s the difference between a blogger and a reporter, anyway? A degree? I’ll let the Specialists decide that.
My first foray into “aniblogging” started with The Anime Guardians (2011-2014), where I wrote reviews on whatever it is I happened to be watching. (The title was a reference to the fact that in earlier Halo games, I would often be killed by “the guardians” in the middle of a multiplayer deathmatch.) The website was a place where I eventually wrote essays that fleshed out my undergraduate thesis, Establishing a Posthuman Identity through Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell and Innocence Films.
Operating The Anime Guardians allowed me enough street cred to start writing for GoBoiano (2012-2013), a now-defunct website trying to bring otaku news and culture to the American masses. I wrote reviews for half a year before deciding to focus on my academic future, but I did get to attend Comic Con with a press badge, and I even printed out some shitty business cards from my own computer.
After GoBoiano, another former staffer and I launched Project Otaku (2013-2014), a website that pretty much did the same thing as GoBoiano but allowed me to write more creative and thought-heavy work. (I’ll upload that content eventually, as Project Otaku isn’t an active site anymore.) After a year and some change of that, I think I was burnt out by the thought of aniblogging. Combined with an increasing workload in graduate school, I called it quits on such projects for some time.
Eventually, I found myself married and living in my first apartment. I began purchasing scale figures of Japanese characters, and realized there were people online who posted photos of their own collections. That was the start of PVC Waifus (2019 – Present), a website dedicated to displaying these figures. Our team also writes fan fiction stories of these characters, in addition to listicles and other fandom pieces. Of all the things I’ve worked on so far, PVC Waifus is the most mature, so I wouldn’t browse it if you’re sensitive to adult content.
One takeaway from all this is that I like participating in communities that share my passions. Most of us do on some level or another. I use blogging, along with more direct forms of social media, to mediate the spaces that allow me to creatively thrive. In that sense, the initial question about being a journalist is a firm “no” for me. I guess I’m closer to a curator. And that sounds a lot cooler, to be honest.