Saturday, November 24, 2012

Golden Ani-Versary of Anime: HOMEWORK TIME

It took us a little less than three weeks to completely fill out the Golden Ani-Versary of Anime roster. Our listing has a pretty good cross-section of bloggers and reviewers, writers and scholars, Ph.Ds and underclassmen, and I'm proud as fan to be a part of this deep analysis into the history of anime. The past fifty years have been both glorious and rocky for the medium in terms of critical acclaim, commercial success, and global acceptance, and considering its dependence on both human genius and electrical energy, the output in the next fifty years can be anyone's guess.

Now, it's time actual homework. A project this big is going to need some standards.

As the editor for this project, I've been debating many different aspects for our essays. After a few questions to the Tweeting public (and a mechanical pencil to the palm to get my thought process moving), I think we've come up with a general rubric for the blog's entries.

Essay Content: I had first suggested a ranking of the important anime in each year, but we've come across problems with that format.
  1. Some years simply don't have enough shows to produce a ranking of five, let alone ten, programs.
  2. An essay ranking ten shows may spread the content too thin for a 750-word entry.
  3. Some people just don't DO rankings.
Therefore, the content of the essays will be a bit vaguer than a mere ranking. The point will be to select the shows that you think defined the year in particular. Did the show set a benchmark for future shows to follow? Did the show challenge the existing parameters of anime? Was the show infamous in the manner that it set back a genre?

In short, if history books were to chronicle the past half-century of televised anime, what shows would belong in it, and why?

As the blog editor, I will try to include a supplemental for each year that will show how the industry has grown. Each year will have a timeline that shows important releases, studio movement, and momentous occasions relevant to anime in Japan.

I want to stress "in Japan" in the previous statement. In order to cover a particular show for a particular year, the episodes in question must coincide with their televised release in Japan. Considering some shows were released in other countries years after they were released in Japan, please be sure to cover content relative to your year. For example, the first season of Ranma 1/2 counts as a show from 1989 (its first year of Japanese broadcast), not as a show from 1993 (its first year of American distribution).

I've also gotten some questions about coverage. Do we cover only TV shows? Do movies count? What about OAVs? This is a sticky subject, since we're covering 50 years of televised anime, but if there is a particular movie or straight-to-video release that rocked the foundation of anime itself, by all means that can be included, as well. Just be aware that we're trying to keep things in the realm of television, as anime started on movie screens long before Tetsuwan Atomu.

What about second seasons or sequels? If you feel that Strike Witches 2 was more ground-breaking than the original, by all means, that argument can be used, but let's try to treat shows with consecutive cours as their initial year of release. This could be tricky, as this would make One Piece a show from 1999, but if you consider an arc from 2003 as its high point, I wouldn't argue against it. Some shows, after all, got better with time.

Schedule and Deadlines: The plan was to stretch this blog out, perhaps opting for a weekly post, but demand has shortened the project's length to a half-year. We will post two articles a week, every Tuesday and Friday, along with two historical timelines for the years covered. We will start with 1963 on January 1st, and the article for 1964 will be posted the following Friday, January 4th. We will go in order chronologically until we reach 2012 on June 21st.

I will send out reminders to people for their deadline, but in general I'd like to get essays a full week before they get posted. In other words, if you have a May 31st deadline, please be sure to get your article to me May 24th. Therefore, if you have volunteered to write an article, please send me either a direct message to @GoldenAni or @GTebbetts on Twitter or an email to with the year you are covering and the best email address to contact you.

I will have a general calendar up on the blog's website, so be sure to pay attention to your deadline!

Essay Format: Length is definitely an issue with these articles, so let's try to not go crazy. We will put the minimum length at 750 words (about three pages, double-spaced). There may be colorful writers out there, so 2,000 words (six to eight pages, double-spaced) sounds like the absolute maximum. We also encourage people to submit their own pictures to use with the essay, but it's not a deal-breaker if you don't.

I also encourage people to have their works peer-reviewed before we post them. I'll help with editing as much as possible, but don't consider me the only resource for editing. Please consider your audience, as well—profanity and suggestive language should be held in check, although we could make things work if a valid argument is made.

If you have any additional questions about content or the release schedule, please let me know by using the above contacts. I'll try to address as many as possible and get feedback about gray areas.

That being said, I encourage people who want to start writing to start writing! I'll accept essays any time before the one-week deadline, so if those creative juices are already flowing...BANG! The starter's pistol has been fired!

Remember that we'll be putting these submissions on the GoldenAni blog, so be on the lookout for out official first post soon!

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