Once again, if you see me criticizing something about your blog, it’s nothing personal. I tend to tear apart people’s websites when I do comparisons such as this, so just keep that in mind.
Round 2, Day 3
Match 5 – #8 Tenka Seiha vs. #57 Open Your Mind
Design: I guess there is nothing inherently wrong with Tenka Seiha’s theme. It might be nice if the RSS link were higher on the page maybe, and, again, I’m not much of a fan of such a dark design (but you do have a choice between 3 color themes too!) but there is nothing which just screams at me. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a good design, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. Open Your Mind uses a pretty common design, but is on wordpress.com, so there is only so much they can do about that. However, I don’t really like how far down the page the categories list is, and an RSS links seems to be nowhere to be found. Also, and this is kind of a pet peeve of mine but… *whispers* no one cares how many visitors you’re getting…especially not enough to put it as the 3rd thing on your sidebar! *ends whispering*. Having a monthly web stats post or something…OK, fine, it’s once a month. But on the sidebar? And so high on it? I think this may be the third time in a row, but I think considering the two designs, I’m going to make this one a push again. Winner: Push
Post Rate/Style: Neither blog appears to have an issue with posting rate, so that’s good. For posting style, I’d think it’d be a bit nice for Tenka Seiha to perhaps have a bit more in their preview text. Otherwise I don’t really see anything wrong with the post style. It pretty much consists of the thoughts on each episode and then the gallery. With Open Your Mind, again, posting style is typically a picture and a couple of paragraphs, so I don’t really see anything wrong with it. so far, and not very much to distinguish the blogs. Winner: Push
Content: Tenka Seiha’s typical amount of content for their episode review posts is about 2 paragraphs of thoughts, then the image gallery. That seems to be running on the low side, for me, especially since that seems to be the standard. However, Open Your Mind seems to have even less content, which is compounded by the fact that it set up to be an editorial blog. In fact, it’s lack of content is why I voted against Open Your Mind in the first round, and it’s the reason why it appears like I’ll do the same in the second round. Winner: Tenka Seiha
Overall: Well, I didn’t find either of these blogs to really stand out all that much, but Tenka Seiha had more “there” there.
Winner: Tenka Seiha
Match 6 – #25 Borderline Hikikomori vs. #89 2-D Teleidoscope
Design: Other than the dark design, there isn’t very much to say about Borderline Hikikomori. I guess I do have to say that the search box is so dark, it almost gets lost, and the RSS link is toward the bottom of the page, but otherwise it seems OK. 2-D Teleidoscope has probably the most bland design in the history of the web, though I guess it doesn’t necessarily hurt anything. My big problem with them is this: no links to archives. No links to categories. No links to RSS. Nothing. While I’m not a huge fan of their color choices, I still think BH still handily wins this category. Winner: Borderline Hikikomori
Post Rate/Style: Both blogs have a pretty decent posting rate, with Borderline Hikikomori doing a little better, but probably not enough to make a difference since they’re episode blogging and 2-D is editorial blogging. BH uses the dreaded IPIP (Image-Paragraph-Image-Paragraph) post format, though in this case, the larger font and the smaller images makes it at least bearable, since the text doesn’t just get lost. 2-D does the IPIP thing a little bit too, though they typically have at least a couple paragraphs together at a time, which makes it better. I think as a result, 2-D might take this category by a nose. Winner: 2-D Teleidoscope
Content: BH seems to have quite a bit of content per post, which is always good, though it seems to depend on the author how much of it is recap and how much of it review. Meanwhile, 2-D Teleidoscope also has some pretty good content as well, and when it comes to several paragraphs of episode review vs. several paragraphs of editorial, given similar writing quality, I’m pretty much going to give the edge to the editorial blog, unless the review site has enough actual thoughts by the author to make up for it. Winner: 2-D Teleidoscope
Overall: This match might be the hardest for me to decide on so far. 2-D won the content category, which up until this point, has pretty much decided to winner, but in this match, they didn’t really win it by much. They also won the Post Rate/Style, but again, not by much. The only category Borderline Hikikomori won was the design category, but they won it by a larger margin than 2-D won either of their categories, but it’s also the least important category out of the three. I think BH has just enough “review” in their episode review posts to make the content category close enough, that their design win can overcome the content difference and the post rate/style difference. But it is just.
Winner: Borderline Hikikomori
Round 2, Day 4
Match 7 -#9 hontou ni vs. #73 chaostangent
Design: hontou ni has a pretty good design to their blog. It’s very clean and organized. All the important “sidebar” things are easily accessible (RSS, Search, Categories). It’s just an overall excellent design. I’m trying to find something to criticize about it, and about the only thing I can come up with is maybe the order of items in the sidebar. But that’s still a personal preference. They order they have things in still makes sense, depending on what way you think is the easiest way for people to find content (I personally like to put the search box first thing, but you don’t have to). However, they go up against perhaps the blog with the best conceived design of the entire first round, and perhaps the entire tournament: chaostangent. It really is hard to say how impressed I am with chaostangent’s design. The one noticeable missing item, however, is that I can’t easily find a link to the RSS feed. I can’t find one on the page at all actually. I mean, I can find it by adding “feed/” to the URL, but a visitor shouldn’t have to do that. I also never really got why people have RSS feeds from other sites on the sidebar, but that’s just me. (and you have no idea how far I’m having to reach when it comes down to criticizing that).
However, why I think I’ll end up putting choastangent first in this category is this: hontou ni took and modified a standard wordpress theme which, normally, would probably give you a great shot at winning the design category right there. However…I have no idea what theme – if any – chaostangent is using. The only thing I could gleam from their code was that they are using WordPress, but that’s about it. However, given the author’s background, and what I saw in the code, I wouldn’t be a least bit surprised if he built his design from scratch. I think it is this, which ultimately leads me to picking chaostangent here. Winner: chaostangent
Post Rate/Style: Neither blog has a problem with post rate, so that’s a non factor. There isn’t anything particularly wrong about the post style at hontou ni that I can really see. Nothing that particularly annoys me anyway. chaostangent has a minor case of IPIP, though it’s more like IPPIPP, so it’s certainly not as bad, and most of the paragraphs have some beef to it, which make it even better. They also have a little insert on their post, which is something I haven’t really seen anywhere else. At least not in the anime blogosphere. I just like chaostangent’s post style a tad better, especially with that little added uniqueness. Winner: chaostangent
Content: Unfortunately for hontou ni, it’s primary author, Zyl, now writes for Sea Slugs!, meaning that a good deal of the posts nowdays is a picture, with a link to the Sea Slugs! post about that episode. Indeed, 4 of the 10 posts on the homepage are currently like that. However, that doesn’t mean that there still aren’t some pretty good posts on the site. However, even with that, I just think chaostangent runs them off the road with content. Perhaps the only thing bad I can say is that he occasionally writes about non-anime things, but for now, he does it with such infrequency, that I can’t really hold it against him very much. Winner: chaostangent
Overall: I think the main thing that hurt hontou ni is just the fact that Zyl is doing most of his episode blogging over at Sea Slugs! now instead of here, and that takes a good chunk of the site’s good content away. Maybe it would have had a better shot at winning otherwise, and I think against a mere mortal opponent, hontou ni may very well have won, but as it is, I’m not sure how I can give this match to him. Meanwhile, the more I look at chaostangent, the more I feel that it is going to be quite a formidable out for anyone who faces it in the future.
Match 8 – #24 Ogiue Maniax vs. #88 Caraniel’s Ramblings
Design: Ogiue Maniax’s design is pretty, well, black and white, but there isn’t anything that I’d say is glaringly wrong with it. I think the sidebar headers (the light green) is kind of hard to see on the white background, perhaps, and the site is unusual for having the sidebar on the left instead of the right (not that there is anything wrong with that), but other than that, there isn’t much to note other than just the general lack of colors. Ogiue Maniax, along with Caraniel’s Ramblings, is hosted at wordpress, so there is only so much I can say about the designs. For whatever reason, I kind of feel that Ogiue is a little easier on the eyes, so I’ll go with them. Winner: Ogiue Maniax
Post Rate/Style: Ogiue has posts pretty much daily, which, for an editorial blog, is quite impressive. They don’t use any kind of annoying post styles, so that’s also a plus. Caraniel’s also posts quite a bit, which appears to be a mix of episode reviewing and other writing, so that’s a non-factor in this match. Maybe the only thing I have to say about Caraniel is that they use some of the IPIP style in their episode review posts, and since pretty much everything else in this category is equal, I think that pushes it over into Ogiue’s favor. Winner: Ogiue Maniax
Content: This is where, I think, Ogiue Maniax starts showing some chinks in the armor. Not because of writing quality, because it’s good, or necessarily because of writing length, because the posts are of a pretty decent length, especially for an editorial writer who is writing almost daily. Where I think the chinks come in is that there are sometimes topics which aren’t necessarily anime related, and that is something that I decided I would look at. It normally isn’t an issue, but it does come up eventually. For an example, on the current homepage, I think I counted 3 out of 10 posts which had no relation to anime, even tangentially, and another couple where the connection was tenuous. There’s nothing wrong with it…it is their blog. I just wanted to point that out since it is something that I explicitly stated I’d look for (and have already before). Caraniel’s Ramblings has a pretty good level of content, though half of it does deal with episode reviews. So the question comes down to this: does Ogiue’s main anime-related editorial content overcome the fact that maybe a quarter of what they write isn’t anime related? I think in this case it does, but it was close for me. I went through a bit more of the archive to get a better feel for the blog, and I just kind of felt that, even though there was some of the non-anime content there, most of the other posts did seem to make up for it. So I’m calling this one for Ogiue as well. Winner: Ogiue Maniax
Overall: Despite this being a sweep, Caraniel’s Ramblings is hardly a bad blog. I think it’s still a pretty good blog. I just think that it ran up against another blog which was a tad out of it’s league in this round.
Winner: Ogiue Maniax