As usual, 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. If you want my input about about the three categories I’m using, read the first page of this post.
Go below the fold for the goodness.
Round 2, Day 9
Match 17 -#2 Random Curiosity vs. #63 Behind the Nihon Review
Design: Random Curiosity uses a pretty standard theme, which I think will hurt them a bit since they don’t have to. I don’t know if it’s standard because other people have just used the same theme they did or what, considering they’re such a popular blog, but it’s always nice to change things up after a while too. The first thing that I really don’t like is the banner ad. I can take ads in the sidebar, since they’re out of the way. But a banner smack in the middle of the page? No thank you. Other than that, though, it has an OK design. Behind the Nihon Review doesn’t have a wild design, but it is a bit of a different design than what I sometimes see around. Again, despite my hatred for tag clouds, their swirling one is kind of cool, and I like their rollover Category/Authors/Archive thing. Winner: Behind the Nihon Review
Post Rate/Style: Random Curiosity most definitely doesn’t have a problem with post rate. In the first round, I was concerned about BNR because they only had 6 posts in the month of April. They already have 7 in May, so they’re doing better, with a post about every 3rd day. Random Curiosity has a pretty standard post style: a whole bunch of pictures, then their write-up. Unfortunately, I think a well-done blog should probably do the reverse, at least if they’re going to have so many pictures. (having a few before the text is fine, but you don’t want to overdo it). The font also seems to be a bit on the small side. BNH has what I would almost consider the ideal layout for an editorial blog: A long writeup with a few pictures thrown in, but not so many that it breaks up what you’re writing. So in this category, BNR is only on track for about 10 posts per month, which is in the moderate category for me, but I’ll take their posting style any day. Winner: Behind the Nihon Review
Content: Random Curiosity, if it’s not known for anything else, is known for this: getting episode reviews out faster than anyone else. They aren’t perfect. I think on a couple occasions, even yours truly has beaten it out with a review, but chances are, if you want to see a review as fast as possible, you go to Random Curiosity. I haven’t really been able to fully evaluate how much this is still the case now that it’s under new management, though some quick anecdotal evidence suggests they’re still pretty fast. On top of this, they appear to write some pretty lengthy and well written reviews. I already noted in the first round how well I thought the articles on BNR are written. I think Random Curiosity wins the content, but just by a nose, and only because of the speed factor. I think the actual content on the two blogs are pretty similar. Winner: Random Curiosity
Overall: OK, here’s the thing about Random Curiosity for me: they certainly hold up very well as an episodic blog. They post quickly, and they post a lot of review content (as opposed to recap content), so they can pretty much hold their own against pretty much any editorial blog they might come up against in that respect. Having said that, I have three things I want to point out.
First, while speed is nice, it can sometimes be a hindrance. One of the problems with posting so fast is that, sometimes you’ll post things before the fan subs – even fast ones – are out. If you don’t care about this and want to read a review asap, then RC is probably the place to go. However, I kind of found that I don’t visit RC for that very reason. If they’re writing a review of a show I’m interested in, it usually comes out before I even have a chance to see it. And by then the comments tended to be so full that there was little point in adding my own. Reading the thoughts is interesting, but I actually thought the speed almost hurt my wanting to go to RC than helped it. But that’s just me personally.
Second, I really, really think RC should rethink their posting style. Screen shots are nice, but I don’t really want to scroll through 40 pictures or whatever before I can even read anything. I also thought that the font was too small – or maybe too light – or something. I just seems like, even though the text is all together, it still gets overpowered by the stack of images you just had to scroll through to get to it. Finally, the banner ad. I thought banner ads died a horrible death years ago. I don’t mind ads. Heck, I had text link ads on the sidebar of my blog. But at the very least don’t put the ads in the most annoying place on the page. Yes, I know that probably earns them the most money, but it also makes me want to leave before I even read anything.
I think these problems may still not be enough for me to vote against Random Curiosity if they came up against a mediocre blog. However, Behind the Nihon Review is, I think, one of the better examples of how to do an editorial blog out there. Yes, Random Curiosity has more content, but it’s not like BNR has nothing, and I think those weaknesses for Random Curiosity more than make up for the very close win they had in the content category.
Winner: Behind the Nihon Review
Match 18 – #31 Xebek’s Blog vs. #34 Listless Ink
Design: First thing I noticed on Xebek’s blog is this: HUGE banner. It pretty much takes up half of the vertical space on my screen. They also seem to have some frivolous things on their sidebar, but other than that, there is nothing particularly good or bad about it’s design. Listless Ink has a pretty white design, but it’s still pretty good I thought, though I think the contrast in the nav under the banner could be better. I can’t say too much, though, since it’s on wordpress.com. The one thing I didn’t really like was having the categories and archives at the bottom of the page, but they’re at least there, so they do kind of have their own quasi-navigation on the sidebar. I think I’ll give this one to Listless Iink by a hair. Winner: Listless Ink
Post Rate/Style: Xebek doesn’t have a problem with post rate, but Listless Ink, as can sometimes be a problem with editorials, does seem to have one. In the past year, they’re averaging only 5.5 posts per month. On the post style, Xebek has a similar problem as RC above, in that they pretty much have a load of pictures before you even get to any content (sans a very brief – usually a sentence – of recap). Listless Ink has their own problem, however, with it’s tendency to do some IPIP in their posts. I think since both blogs has issues in style, I’ll go with post rate, which goes to Xebek. Winner: Xebek’s Blog
Content: I thought Xebek had a good amount of review content, which was well written and thought out from the pieces I read. Listless Ink also has some pretty good content. However: 1) I don’t think the quality is any better than Xebek, 2) I don’t think the actual original content per post is any more than Xebek. Listless Ink does have the advantage of having a somewhat original slant to their posts, but I just think they post too infrequently, and there isn’t enough quality difference to make up for it. Winner: Xebek’s Blog
Overall: I think if Listless Ink posted more or wrote more per post to make up for the infrequency, they would have done much better, but I think that Xebek writes enough actual review to pull this one out.
Winner: Xebek’s Blog
Round 2, Day 10
Match 19 – #18 Mistakes of Youth vs. #47 AstroNerdBoy
Design: Mistakes of Youth seems to have an OK design, if a little narrow, though I thought that his sidebar was kind of hard to read, with dark blue and gray on, well, bluish-gray. AstroNerdBoy also has a pretty narrow blog, but the green is kind of overpowering. I also don’t really see any category or tag list. I think, end the end, Mistakes of Youth wins this category. Winner: Mistakes of Youth
Post Rate/Style: Neither blog has a problem with post rate, so that’s not an issue. Mistakes of Youth seems to have a pretty normal posting style. Nothing good or bad. With AstroNerdBoy…I still just think the images disrupt the flow of text more than they could otherwise, either by being separated from the text or being floated to the right instead of the left. I just think I like MoY’s style a bit better. Winner: Mistakes of Youth
Content: Mistakes of Youth, along with his comic, has some art posts, as well as some editorial and reviews. The posts that are written (ie, the editorials and reviews) appear to have a pretty good amount of content as well as an OK quality. AstroNerdBoy does largely anime episode and manga chapter reviews, as well as some posts about other random things, nowdays usually relating to Angel Beats. I think MoY and ANB’s “content” posts were pretty equal, but I think MoY’s other posts win out, especially since some of this are his own art, and then you have the comics. Winner: Mistakes of Youth
Overall: Well, this is a toughy for me since I like AstroNerdBoy and we comment on each other’s blogs, but I’ve tried to keep things like having more interactions with certain bloggers or which blogs I visit more often out of decision making. I think these blogs are pretty close, but I just think AstroNerdBoy has some design weaknesses that Mistakes of Youth doesn’t have, and Mistakes of Youth has some original content that AstroNerdBoy doesn’t.
Winner: Mistakes of Youth
Match 20 – #15 Drastic My Anime Blog vs. #50 GAR GAR Stegosaurus
Design: Drastic My Anime Blog has a pretty decent design, though they’re on wordpress.com, so I can’t say too much about it. Categories seem to be awfully low on the page, though. GAR GAR Stegosaurus is also on wordpress.com, but the design is rather dark. That isn’t necessarily inherently bad, but I think lighter designs are better. They don’t really have a category list, but they do have a tag cloud, and it’s higher on the page. I guess, in the end, there isn’t a lot I can say since they’re hosted, and the things they can control, both sites have a couple of issues, so I’ll make this a push. Winner: Push
Post Rate/Style: Drastic has a moderate amount of posts, though in his post about the Tourney, he notes he’s still in school, so I can certainly empathize with trying to post while still taking classes. The post style seems to be pretty standard, with nothing particularly good or bad about it. GAR GAR appears to have a somewhat similar post rate, so that doesn’t look like it’ll be much of an issue. Much like Drastic, there isn’t anything about the posting style to really make a note about, so I think again, we’re looking at a push. Winner: Push
Content: Boy, this is a tough one too. I’d be tempted to call this a push except, the other two categories were a push and I kind of need to find something to distinguish these two blogs in some way. Both write more editorial style or reviews. Both write a lot in their posts (generally) and both seem to write pretty well. I think GAR GAR might have just slightly more content overall, so I guess I’ll have to go with them.
Overall: I think I pretty much just said what I wanted to say.
Winner: GAR GAR Stegosaurus
Round 2, Day 11
Match 21 -#10 Omonomono vs. #74 Fuzakenna!
Design: I’m not really sure one can call what Omonomono has a design, since there pretty much isn’t anything there than text. It doesn’t even have a sidebar. Part of the problem with this (though it doesn’t have to be) is that there isn’t any category list or anything. Fuzakenna!’s design doesn’t seem to be much better, but it is better, with categories, archives, and rss right there at the top of the sidebar. Winner: Fuzakenna!
Post Rate/Style: Omonomono has a pretty good posting rate, which bumps up against where I usually stop counting. I guess not shockingly, his post style is as simple as the blog design: usually a single picture and then the rest of the article (not that there is anything wrong with that). Fuzakenna also doesn’t have a problem with post rate. While this isn’t always the case, Fuzakenna seems to have an issue with IPIP. I think given that, Omonomono wins this category. Winner: Omonomono
Content: Omonomono certainly has quite a bit of content per post, so that’s a big plus. Fuzakenna on the other hand…I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem like they write as much, and the fact that it’s all broken up between pictures doesn’t help. I think I have to go with Omo on this one. Winner: Omonomono
Overall: I obviously have an interest in this match since, if I win my own match, I’ll be facing the winner. I personally think Omo would be the tougher match for me in the 3rd round (though I also personally think it just might not matter who I face, except for determining the final margin). Having said that, while Omonomono has a bland design, everything else about it seemed pretty good.
Added note: Perhaps ominously, the vote I just cast for Omo just broke a tie and put him in the lead 51 to 50 lol.
Match 22 – #23 Josh’s Anime Blog vs. #87 Oishii Anime
I’d been debating about how to deal with my own match up for a while. Do I just review it like normal (and what if I conclude my blog is the one which sucks lol)? Do I just review my opponent’s blog (though there would be an easy claim of having an interest in dissing it if that’s what I did)? What I think I’ve decided on is just a short post on why I think people should vote for me, in each of the 3 categories, without necessarily doing a full review.
Design: I think my design is simple and effective. I try to keep the more important things people are looking for high on the sidebar, as well as in the nav. For example, see the “blogged series” link, where you have easy access to the categories for the series I’ve bloggged. Or the “anime reviews” nav link, where you can find the series reviews I’ve written.
Post Rate/Style: I try to post something every day, though I”m not always 100% good at it. I also try to fashion my posts to be read easily, and to be easily accessible. (for example, while I haven’t done a full out season preview post for a while, I used to make them with links to each series at the top of the post, so people could just click down.)
Content: I try to mix up what I post, having episode reviews, series reviews, new DVD and Manga releases, and anime credits (and I’m fishing for another idea to fill my Friday slot, assuming I can ever get around to posting Working!! on Wednesdays like I mean to).
Overall, I just hope people like my blog to vote for it. Of course, if you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them on this post.
Round 2, Day 12
Match 23 – #26 Reverse Thieves vs. #39 Cross Channel
Design: Reverse Thieves definitely has an interesting logo, even if they have a rather non-design design. Maybe the main thing I would point out is that I think their font may be a bit too small. Other than that, I guess there isn’t anything particularly bad about the design. Cross Channel uses wordpress.com, so there isn’t much I can say about it, and they have categories, etc. I guess I’ll give this to Reverse Thieves cause they have a cool logo. Winner: Reverse Thieves
Post Rate/Style: Reverse Thieves’ posting rate can go up and down, but on average it seems to be about in the moderate range. One thing I don’t really like about how they post is that they seem to mix a lot of topics into a single post, like in their Ongoing Investigations post. Cross Channel seems to post up to about my cut-off point (or they did in April anyway). They were a bit below that in March, and seem to have slowed down in May. They still post more than RT, but not significantly more. RT’s post style appear to be, generally, a single photo then the rest of the post. Sometimes other pics are thrown in, but they’re well paced. CC appears to post in a similar style, so I think that’s a push. Since CC posts slightly more often, I’ll give this category to them, and because of RT’s topic mixing. Winner: Cross Channel
Content: Reverse Thieves seems to do something which I haven’t really seen done before: not only is it a team blog, but from the looks of it, they team post as well (meaning several writers contribute to a single post). They have their Ongoing Investigations segment which, I’m not really sure what’s going on with it. I guess they’re just talking about what they’re following or watching for the moment. Cross Channel seems to have a lot of good content as well, though I’m not sure it personally interests me too much. I think on sheer content, Reverse Thieves probably wins this category. Winner: Reverse Thieves
Overall: So here’s my problem here. I think Reverse Thieves has better content, both in quality and amount, but I think a good portion of their content is in a format that isn’t easily digestible, ie, in their Ongoing Investigation segments where one might has to wade through a lot of unrelated stuff to get to something you might want to read. The question for me is, is this enough to counter their advantage in actual content (or do I dismay Author again by voting for CC again). Well, actual content is the most important factor, and I think RT does win that category by a significant amount, in my opinion. So I think how they do some of their posts is problematic, I’m still going to go with them
Winner: Reverse Thieves
Design: I don’t see anything particularly good or bad about hashihime’s design. It’s on blogspot, so it’s likely a template (you CAN make your own template on it for free, unlike wordpress.com, but doing so is still a pain in the ass. Believe me, I did one for a project at work). ∑Xce7ion seems to have a pretty nice design. They also have one of those funky tabbed things on the sidebar. While I think they’re cooler in concept, I still think they have a couple flaws, such as the mystery meat tabs and, at least in this case, the font looks way too small. ∑Xce7ion also has a pretty large header, both image and the stuff that’s above it. I barely see the top of the content section in my browser. I think I like the general idea of ∑Xce7ion’s design better, I think hashihime’s is executed better. Winner: hashihime
Post Rate/Style: The rate that hashihime writes is up and down, but it seems to average out to a somewhat moderate about. It also looks like their posting style, while maybe not the best, isn’t too bad. Meanwhile, ∑Xce7ion hasn’t posted since early April, only 4 times since the start of March, and only 12 times this year. Otherwise, the post style seems OK, though there does appear to be some occasional IPIP. However, ∑Xce7ion’s post rate is killer. Winner: hashihime
Content: hashihime appears to be mostly a blog about seiyuu (or largely about them) which we had, I think, one other blog about that topic in this tournament (can’t remember who right off the top of my head). Not necessarily my cup of tea, but they seem to have pretty good content given the focus. ∑Xce7ion, when they actually do write, seems to write a good amount, and with good quality. I think on sheer content per post, ∑Xce7ion wins this category. Winner: ∑Xce7ion
Overall: OK, so we have ∑Xce7ion, which has, I think, more content per post, but hasn’t posted in a month and a half, and posted sporadically before then, and hashihime, who may not have as much content per post, but posts consistently. I just don’t think ∑Xce7ion’s content per post is good enough to make up for the fact that they just don’t post.