The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Category Archives: Administrative

Reflections on 2020, Welcoming 2021 with the Girls und Panzer 2021 Calendar

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” –Winston Churchill

That 2020 was a bit of a rougher one is probably an understatement. In a year where the world was ravaged by pestilence, unrest, uncertainty and misinformation, it seemed a challenge to find any positivity to define the first year of a new decade. Amidst provisions to keep distant from unknown contacts to slow the ongoing pandemic, the closure of businesses and services, and a segment of the population’s adamant refusal to adhere to these provisions, 2020 saw the world tried by challenging times, and while adversity has often brought out the worst in people, 2020 demonstrated that it could also bring out the best. For every individual who claimed the provisions were an infringement of their rights, two more individuals did their part in keeping society safe, understanding that rights only exist because of the attendant responsibility. Doctors, nurses, front-line responders and healthcare staff worked tirelessly to look after those who contracted the virus, while countless more individuals in science, engineering, technology, services and trades continued doing their utmost to keep society going. 2020 thus demonstrated that, while the selfish are vocal, the selfless remain the majority; humanity is still resilient, and still optimistic that hard work will allow us to overcome the challenges that we face. It is with this hope that we thus enter 2021: 2020 has affected all individuals on the planet, and for me, exiting 2020, the biggest take-away I got was to count my blessings. 2020 illustrated how the things we often take for granted, but cherish, can be taken away in an instant, and for me, I exit 2020 relatively intact. In terms of personal growth and career, I continued to operate as normally as I could. Working remotely for much of the year, I strove to deliver functional, clean software, and in the process, contributed to my workplace’s ability to weather out these tough times. Keeping distant from friends and society alike has meant that one of my own aspirations, to reach a point where a kokuhaku was possible, ended in inevitable failure. 2020 was about resilience and survival: I count myself lucky that my career outlived 2020, and on matters of the heart, I’ll pursue that path once the time is appropriate. However, even in a year like 2020, some things also thrived, with this blog among them. 2020 was a record-breaking year for Infinite Mirai: I ended 2020 with a total of 263 868 page views and 184 099 unique visitors. 739 likes and 428 comments were accumulated over 144 posts, which averaged around 4269 words each. Over the course of 2020, I ended up writing 614 790 words, became more engaged with the anime blogging community and hosted three separate collaborative events. 2020 wasn’t all bad, and now, here on the first day of 2021, the hope is for the new year to be successful, as people find their stride and put in their best effort to bring the globe back on its feet.

Every year, I make a variety of resolutions for the New Year that are big-picture oriented. 2021 is no different: from a professional standpoint, my goal for 2021 is to keep an eye open for opportunity and discovery. Having personally overseen no fewer than iOS five apps completely through from design to release on the App Store over the past four years, I finally feel comfortable implementing any iOS app from scratch myself, from the UI to the business logic, from wireframe and unit testing, to preparing certificates, provisioning and navigating the App Store submission process. Of course, there is much to learn, and 2020 demonstrated that when it comes to Core Animation and method swizzling, I remain a greenhorn. As such, my goal this year will be to continue my journey with Swift and CocoaTouch, all the while being open to whatever opportunities arise that require my skills. From a personal perspective, I strive to maintain strong relationships with those who matter to me, such as keeping in touch with old friends. In addition, I will aim to do what I can to improve my fitness: I haven’t done a proper bench press or squat for over nine months, and I’m sure I’ll be as weak as Kirito by the time fitness centres open up. Discipline and effort will be needed so I can build myself back up to where I had been entering 2020. I have no specific fitness goal in mind, but I will count it a win if I can return to a regimented, regular lifting schedule. For games, I’ve already alluded to this in an earlier post: instead of expending money on studios and publishers who waste their resources on battle royale, I resolve to make a dent in my backlog and appreciate the games I still have yet to properly give attention to. Finally, for this blog, I aim to continue providing useful and relevant articles for readers. With this, I leave with all readers, and the folks part of the anime blogging community, a Happy New Year 2021!

A Milestone at the Nine Year Anniversary, On the Merits of Anime Blogging as the Premier Means of Reflection

“Blog beats forum! Blog beats SNS! Blog beats everything! I could do this all day!” –Unnamed UNSC Marine, Halo 3

In 2011, the iPhone 4S was released, and NVIDIA had launched the GTX 560 Ti. Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Elder Schools V: Skyrim, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolutions launched to critical acclaim, and I had been an undergraduate student back then. The biggest anime that ran during the fall 2011 season would have been Haganai, Tamayura: Hitotose and Shinryaku?! Ika Musume. It was here that this blog began its life, originally as a secondary outlet for me to write about anime and games in a much shorter, quicker format than I had at my old website. Over the course of nine years, as I explored WordPress and its capabilities more fully, this blog would come to displace my old website as the preferred venue for housing my various reflections of the series and games I’ve experienced. Along the way, I began hearing back from readers who were excited to offer their own perspective on things or otherwise had stories to share. Over time, I became closer to a group of peers who shared a common love for anime and writing. With encouragement, support and feedback from my peers and readers, I found the inspiration and motivation to continue writing – it is no exaggeration when I say that credit lies with you, the reader, for having helped this blog to endure for nine years. This ninth anniversary belongs to everyone, and you have my heartfelt thanks for your continued support. Anime blogging, especially in recent years, has been one of the most positive and inclusive forms of expression available on the internet. Starting and maintaining a blog can be tricky: the biggest hurdle new bloggers face is building up their audience and finding their place in the community. When a blog begins its journey, it is oftentimes discouraging to see one’s hard work yield nothing as site metrics indicate low readership, and well-written, well-researched and well-presented posts receive no comments or likes from readers. The fact is that building up this readership and community takes time, which may not be worthwhile to individuals who simply want to get their ideas out there. It is for this reason that forums and social media have proven to be popular alternatives to blogging: one is immediately assured an audience, and building a following for an account where feedback as as simple as an up-vote or re-tweet can be very tempting. For their ease-of-use, however, forums and social media remain the inferior option for folks who really wish to express their appreciation and enjoyment of their interests to others.

  • There are four simple virtues that I aim to adhere to when it comes to blogging. The first is to be fair to my readers. This is a very broad virtue, since being fair to readers means to treat everyone justly and impartially. To this end, I am very open about what comments are allowed here. Anyone is welcome to comment, provided their intent is to have a conversation. Further to this, I will never write about something that is inaccessible to the reader (hence my unwillingness to write about pre-airs and disdain for folks who do things like travel to Japan to write about an anime movie): this is so I can have a discussion with readers on an even footing, and opens conversations up to perspectives from all sides of the spectrum. If readers coming in have the same opportunity to engage with something as I did, then I can listen to what they have to say, rather than holding the only complete picture.

  • Next, I aim to be thorough: while brevity is valued now owing to how quickly conversations can move, I find that the best way to understand different perspectives is to be as complete as possible in my discussions. This way, the reader comes in knowing precisely where my opinion comes from, and therefore, can understand how I reached the conclusions that I did. While there is a balance to be maintained, (i.e. being thorough does not correspond to being long-winded), this sentiment is not always shared in the community:

You also seem to be under the impression that “effort” (which seems to mean “word count of the post”) makes an argument more valid. It doesn’t. If I said 1 + 1 = 2, and you spend twelve pages explaining why 1 + 1 actually = 3, you’re still wrong even though you put more “effort” into it. (Which isn’t to say that this sort of criticism is objective and universal like math is, but still. “You didn’t use enough words” is not a valid criticism of an argument.)

This particular bit of criticism had been levelled at my blog some time ago, and was made in bad faith: the individual in question believed that they were entitled to dismissing other opinions with sentence-long posts on the virtue of reputation alone, and to this end, I should have paid deference to their opinions instead. This is a flawed way of thinking: in general, someone who is thorough may require more words to fully explain themselves, but those who take this route are more effective in convincing me of why they felt a particular way about something. A few words or meme reaction cannot convey an idea as effectively as a properly fleshed-out reply, and as it stands, Tweet-sized responses are a sign of disrespect, that someone is not worth time or effort.

  • Third up is to be truthful: while I largely write for my own enjoyment, I strive to ensure that posts published here contain what users seek. From location hunts with links to corresponding spots in Google Maps, to details surrounding how a particular technology or piece of equipment works, I wish to make certain that what I am saying is correct. It does readers no favours if I argue something on the basis of emotion alone, and so, featuring hard facts to back something up whatever I say serves both to improve the clarity of what I intend, as well as leaving readers with something interesting that they can take away from the post, regardless of whether or not they agree with my conclusions.

  • Finally, the last virtue of being a blogger is positivity. I’m in the blogging game to discover and connect, not to give myself unnecessary stress and worry. To this end, I do not particularly enjoy expending time on works and experiences I do not enjoy for the sake of tearing it down later, and would much rather focus on doing the things that I love, such that I may share them with readers. Being able to find the bright side and remain optimistic is the biggest reason why this blog has lasted so long, even amidst the occasional bit of controversy I find myself entangled in: for instance, more recently, my very existence drew the ire of one of MyAnimeList’s biggest and most renowned reviewers, who thought it prudent to block me on social media for a slight I do not recall committing. However, rather than worry about this, I’ve been directing my time towards more productive, positive activities instead – now that this post is done, it’s time to catch some sleep and then return for today’s feature presentation on GochiUsa: BLOOM.

For sharing experiences and enjoyment properly, the blog remains superior to both forums and social media. A blogger has near-total control of their content, and provided they remain within the terms of service (e.g. not writing about topics prohibited by law or encouraging illegal activities), one can express any opinion or thought in any manner of their choosing. A blogger is not stymied by the limitations of a platform and do not need to forcibly constrain their thoughts to fit with formatting or social constraints associated with forums and social media. Posts can be as long or short as one wishes, written at one’s own convenience. There is no need to constantly push new content and farm for retweets or upvotes to stay relevant. By being able to write posts just the way one likes, blogs offer the maximal amount of freedom for users, and in this way, one can express themselves in their own manner of choosing. This is why, in an age where instant gratification is prevalent and mirrored in use of things like social media, blogging has endured. When I blog, I have no concern about the over-zealous forum moderator or conceited senior member who believes their one-sentence response holds more weight than my one hundred words. I am not limited by a 240-character count, and I won’t be shadow-banned or downvoted into oblivion if a handful of my works falls below my usual standard. Blogging frees the individual, allowing them to immerse themselves wholly into enjoying their media, and this alone makes maintaining a blog worth it. Through consistent effort, and a drive to make the most of things and have fun, blogging is the ultimate means of expression: it may be difficult in starting out, when the traffic and comments are slower, but once the blogger finds their community, the tightly-knit group and the meaningful interactions make it all worthwhile. For me, that means you, the reader. Without your feedback and readership, this blog would have likely folded long ago. It is with your continued support that I have managed to keep this party going, and this deserves a warm thank you!

A Milestone at the Eight Year Anniversary, and Defining An Analytical and Critical Approach on Positivity

“When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the centre of every constellation, and people want to be near you.” –Shannon L. Alder

This blog began its life on a cold, grey October evening eight years ago – while feeling like yesterday, eight years is a nontrivial amount of time. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with and learn from other members of the anime blogging community as I built up this blog further. In the process, I’ve made many discoveries surrounding blogging styles, and even with respect to the medium itself. Without a community to offer feedback and suggestions for me, to augment my own understanding of different series and their underlying mechanics, it is doubtful that I would have continued to blog as I have. You, the readers, deserve a sincere thank you for having stuck around for this long. Anime blogging is a rather time-consuming and mentally taxing hobby: in addition to watching a series, one must then work out what they have to say about it and then craft this into something that conveys a certain idea to their intended audiences. The process is further compounded by a conjunction of anime fatigue, in which anime appears to become more derivative and unexciting with time as one becomes familiar with the themes and design choices anime share, as well as the oftentimes overwhelming feeling of negativity amongst the community as a consequence of fatigue. The anime community therefore can feel like a spiteful, vitriol-filled place where people content themselves with tearing down anime and treating the number of anime dropped as a medal to display proudly on one’s chest. To be an anime blogger in such a setting is understandably exhausting, and so, on this blog’s eighth anniversary, I would like to share with my readers the technique I have employed, that has allowed me to find enjoyment in the things that I end up watching and writing about. I am an ardent proponent of optimism and positivity. My priority, whenever I deal with something that was intended to be fun, is to figure out how to have the most fun when I go about doing it – until the day that the secrets behind immortality are unlocked and accessible, my contention that life is far too short to spend on tearing down things and pessimism, is something that is indubitably and unequivocally true.

The key to finding enjoyment in something begins with making an honest and genuine effort towards understanding what that something was intended to accomplish. If it sounds like what I’m doing entails critical thinking and literary analysis, it’s because this is precisely what I am doing. However, there are key distinctions: critical thinking simply means “applying one’s own judgement towards making an assessment” and certainly does not entail making criticisms of everything. Similarly, an analysis simply is a logical examination of something, and one need not mention of Freud or Jung to be conducting analysis. In my approach towards anime, this takes the form of appreciating what characters learn throughout the course of a story, any corresponding changes to their outlooks as they experience different things, and how their world shapes these changes. Determining the witherto’s and whyfor’s in a work, at a systems level, helps one empathise with the characters and understand why they take the actions that they do: certain choices and actions make sense in retrospect, and so, looking at something as a sum of its part is much more meaningful than attempting to look at the parts in a vacuum. For instance, one of the most common reasons to tear down a work is because the story appeared incoherent, or the characters’ actions did not make sense. However, when the wider context is established, things make a lot more sense, and one is more inclined to empathise with why an individual may act the way they did at a given time. Empathising with the characters is a luxury afforded by being able to see the bigger picture, and for me, it helps me to determine what lesson I am supposed to walk away from a work with, and for me, if a series can succeed in giving me a particular message, then it has succeeded as a work of fiction. Rather than entering a series to with the intent of seeing if I will enjoy it or not, I tend to enter a series with the goal of figuring out what makes it tick, and this is why I tend to write favourably about almost everything I watch: I come in with an open mind and the intent to learn, rather than criticise and judge. The mindset that every series has the potential to be new and refreshing, even if it is treading on familiar ground, is precisely how I’ve continued to run this blog for eight years. The elevator version to the question of how I get by in a world dominated by negativity, criticism and hatred is that I actively look for reasons to enjoy something. I’d say that this approach has been moderately effective, considering that I’ve been watching anime for over a decade and writing here for eight years.

Five ways to find positivity in (almost) anything

  • The biggest key to enjoying something is to enter it with an open mind and approaching things from a big-picture perspective. Rather than forming a conclusion about a work within a few episodes or individual moments, enjoyment comes from taking everything into consideration in drawing a conclusion. Taken out of context, a particular scene may appear irrational or irrelevant, but when considered as a part of a sum, its presence may augment or strengthen a particular idea. Seeing the bigger picture is a fun experience for me, and this is why I almost never look at moments without the context.

  • Making an honest effort to understand the characters and their backgrounds helps one determine why their actions are what they are. Often, folks are quick to mark a character’s actions as being irrational or illogical because said actions are judged from their perspective (resulting in endless griping on forums about how characters’ actions don’t make sense). However, when one looks at the character’s background, personality and whatever external factors there might be, their actions are considered in the greater context, and any mistakes an individual might make may actually end up strengthening their growth in the long run. It is especially rewarding to see characters mature and learn from their experiences.

  • Immersion is another factor I look to for enjoyment: if I can feel like I’m part of a world, I’m more likely to be engaged and immersed with a work. In anime, a vividly-presented world with rich artwork, or a unique setting that feels authentic contributes greatly to the fun factor. In a game, I am immersed when the world is so well-designed and constructed that it feels convincing. A part of partaking in fiction is exploring another reality, and so, if a world can captivate me, I am almost certain to be having fun.

  • The next item on my list of ways to have fun is to ignore attempts to bring the so-called intellectual discussion into a series. While fiction may bring philosophical, social, political or technical elements to enhance immersion and drive the theme, focusing singularly on these elements results in a discussion that is dry at best (if the individuals are qualified to converse on such topics) or misleading at worst (if the individuals have no experience with the topic at hand beyond a five-minute Wikipedia session). Excessive focus on these intellectual elements may also give rise to the feeling that one is missing something “obvious” when the reality is that they simply saw something different in a work, and it is only in moderation that such discussions may be fruitful.

  • The final, and most important part about having fun with entertainment is to always make one’s own decisions. The hottest anime or games may not be up one’s alley, and there is no sense in forcing oneself to pick up a series that may be considered excellent if it is not to one’s interest. Time is limited, and I’d rather spend it doing something for myself, rather than counting the enduring of a series I may not like and then negatively critiquing it as a “service” to others. However, if and when I am involved in stepping out of my comfort zone, I still have four points to look for, and it is extremely rare that something will fail completely on all fronts as to produce something disappointing. This is the joy of having a positive outlook on things – there are almost always ways to have a good time.

While I’ve made an effort to exude optimism and positivity through my blog, what I end up doing is putting words onto a screen. I therefore hope that these feeling are conveyed to the readers, as well. With the sheer volume of negativity out there on social media, I strive to provide opinion and commentary that encourages excitement and enjoyment of a given work. It is my hope that I am able to offer a modicum of joy for readers who want to simply learn about what something entails and decide for themselves what they will or won’t pick up, and if this blog succeeds in helping even a single reader discover a work that they come to enjoy, then this blog has been successful in its objectives. I constantly want readers to walk away from my posts with a better understanding of what happened, whether the work is suitable for them, and/or even learn something that might be completely trivial (but fun) in the process. I hope that I will be able to continue maintaining and raising this standard for my blog for as long as I remain active. Long have I considered retiring this blog, and while I cannot claim to foresee the future of the blog with any certainty, I am certain that I will keep writing so as long as it remains fun for me. I would therefore hope that you, the readers, would continue to accompany me on this journey, sharing in whatever adventures and discoveries that follow – thank you for having come this far and making eight years of blogging possible!

Reflections on 2018, Welcoming 2019 with the Girls und Panzer 2019 Calendar

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” –Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Depending on one’s perspective, the rapid passage of time is either a blessing or a curse – for better or worse, 2018 is in the books now, being a very eventful year that saw the 2018 Winter Games, a partial thawing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and the launch of the Parker Solar Probe, amongst others. Back home, Cannabis became legalised, and the nation remained quite divided over the future of energy. Looking closer still, it was a busy year for me personally, as well, culminating in a job change. Life continues to throw unexpected surprises as it always has, and with the past year’s experiences, I can reaffirm that the only real absolute in life is that there are no absolutes. 2018 was a similarly difficult year as 2017 was, but a persistence and determination to make things happen, in conjunction with friends and family, allowed me to endure and build out a solution. As such, 2018 was a vivid reminder that no man is an island: with support, I knew that with an honest effort and grit, there would be a dawn to look forwards to. Life is full of surprises, and things can change in a heartbeat after long periods of effort and little to show for it. The Calgary Flames have certainly shown this to be true: during a match against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 12, the Flames were down 5-3 in the third period. In the last two minutes, Andersson and Monahan managed to score, bringing the game to a tie and forcing overtime. Gaudreau would score 35 seconds into overtime, giving the Flames another comeback win. The lesson here is that until it is truly over, the worth of each drop of sweat cannot be understated, and that one really must keep the pressure on until the end. The Flames certainly did, and were rewarded with their seventh comeback win of the season. This sort of mindset has been helpful for me in the final months of 2018, and entering 2019, I am considerably more optimistic about where things are headed.

I’m going to keep doing everything I did last year, but better. I will continue to make the most of whatever happens, and further to this, I will take responsibility for what happens.

This was the resolution that I made entering 2018, and in retrospect, I fulfilled this. I needed a change of scenery and then took the initiative to realise this wish. During my business trips with my previous company, I put in my best effort to deliver precisely what was asked of me, and for my troubles, got an opportunity to travel a little, as well. With this in mind, for 2019, I aim to approach everything I do with a full and complete effort, putting my best foot forwards each and every time. Time passes by very quickly, and I firmly believe that life is very short, to the point of where positivism and effort is the most enjoyable (and for me, proper) way to make the most of things. Finally, for The Infinite Mirai, a blog that now has seven years of history, my goal will be to continue running this programme even as things get busier and even if I post with a reduced frequency; being able to write and reach others is something I enjoy doing, as it gives an opportunity for the community to really connect and share. I am very happy to be a part of the positive, insightful and energetic community of WordPress Anime Bloggers. Having said this, whether you, the reader, are a part of that wonderful community, or a passerby, I would like to wish you all the best and a Happy New Year 2019. It’s a blank slate again – let’s go exploring!

A Milestone at the Seven Year Anniversary and An Introspection At A Thousand Posts

“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.” —Seth Godin

Unlike earlier anniversary posts, today, the shortage of things to say this time around is not an issue. On a cold, grey October evening seven years previously, I published the first post to Infinite Mirai. At this time, this blog was intended to supplement a much older website that I had written to previously, but with my increasing familiarity with WordPress and its features, I began using WordPress in a much greater capacity, finally retiring my old website and transitioning here full-time. Seven years since then, this blog has certainly lasted much longer than was initially anticipated, and exactly six months ago, reached the one million views milestone. Today, at the seven year mark, Infinite Mirai reaches another milestone: I have now written and published a thousand posts, as well. A thousand of anything is a nontrivial number: with a thousand dollars, one could have 235 coffees at Starbucks, buy 33 hard cover novels, 12 triple-A games or go out for a nice steak dinner every day of the week for three consecutive weeks. 1000 square kilometers is enough to comfortably fit the entirety of my home town, and 1000 kilometers is roughly the distance between Calgary and Vancouver. For bloggers, a thousand posts represents a serious commitment to their topic of choice and a profound love for writing: on the journey to a thousand posts, there are no shortages of learnings. The first learning is that any post takes some time to conceptualise and write out: on average, my posts now average around 3500 words, up from 1120 when I began utilising WordPress more frequently. Each post takes two to three hours to write, and with the site metrics, I roughly average 1000 views per post. I do not write with a predefined frequency or schedule, and I almost never use the WordPress editor directly because there’s always a risk that my browser crashes, I accidentally hit the back button or unintentionally refresh the page. A thousand posts later, I can reasonably say I’ve learned a thousand things, as well, ten of which I will share here as the summary of something called 日积月累 (jyutping jat6 zik1 jyut6 leoi6), which means “to accumulate gradually” in my tongue.

The biggest learning, however, is that the readers deserve full credit for allowing this blog to reach such a milestone. It is a joy to writing for people who will read the content and come away from it with a positive experience. The current WordPress anime community is simply put, a very positive, inviting one and I am very grateful to be a part of it. Every blogger takes their own unique approach towards writing: from my lengthy discussions to the more concise, focused talks other bloggers publish, there is no shortage of insight, friendly discussion and appreciation for different perspectives among the community. Looking back, the main reason why this blog has endured seven years is because for me, writing about anime and games, then injecting small remarks about my life (and my attendant thoughts) is no different than maintaining a journal for mental health. When I was much younger, I kept journals for school assignments and also to improve my English (contrary to expectation, English is not my native language); this practise fell away by the time I reached secondary school, but with the advent of my anime hobby and increasing stresses associated with life, I’ve found blogging to be an immensely cathartic experience, helping me keep things in perspective and also keep my blessings in mind. Thus, at the seven year mark, rather than say that I’m not sure as to whether or not I will continue blogging, wisdom would suggest that I will continue to blog as long as I find it useful and enjoyable, even if things are now sufficiently uncertain so that I can say with certainty that my frequency will be reduced in the foreseeable future. For taking the time to read this blog, and doubly so for putting up with the very unusual way that I run things here, I offer a big thank you to all of my readers for keeping things exciting and fresh.

Ten Lessons After Seven Years and One Thousand Posts

  • The biggest challenge all bloggers will face is getting the views when they are starting out. A new blog is not indexed in Google, will have no followers initially and must exist in the shadow of other blogs writing about similar topics. However, this should not be an impediment for bloggers: don’t worry about traffic and focus on getting content, as well as developing your voice and style. When I opened my blog seven years ago, I averaged 9 views a day and rounded out 2011 with 828 views. The year after, I saw a gradual increase in traffic, from 19 views a day to 188 views a day. However, when I really began focusing on writing here, traffic increased to around 300 views per day. Time and exposure will increase visibility.

  • Finding interesting subjects to write about is another impediment bloggers of all experience levels and disciplines face. With the relative ease of posting one’s thoughts, being original can be very tricky, as someone might have already expressed your thoughts precisely as you envisioned them. In the realm of anime, for instance, reacting to events in episodes and writing about one’s feelings is an admittedly dull and tired way of writing. I tend to focus on big picture elements and their relevance to reality, especially in relation to my own experiences and beliefs. Because of this personal element, my voice becomes different enough to be noticeable.

  • Blogging regularly and consistently is essential to keep readers returning for more, but so is good quality content. Similarly, mixing things up also can draw in readers: I typically do series reviews and discussions in a standardised paragraph and commentary format, but occasionally, there are some topics that allow me to break the mold. These special posts have done very well because they are distinct and offer unique content that occasionally draws attention from folks on Reddit, Quora or even Wikipedia, who link here and bring traffic with them. My favourite examples of exotic posts include one where I do a discussion on the size of the school ships in Girls und Panzer, as well as my location hunt posts.

  • It takes good planning to blog well. A lot of folks tend to follow a schedule and promise to blog on certain days of the week, but during slower times, don’t have anything they feel that they can share. I operate in a different space, writing only when I have things to talk about: when an idea comes to mind, I usually run through it in my head for a few days, then draft out a concept. If I can return to the draft later and still see where I was going, then the topic was worth writing about and will be turned into a full scale post. This applies to a majority of my posts, although there are cases that for topics fresh on my mind, or those that I am particularly connected with, I will be able to write those much more quickly.

  • Another discovery I’ve made is that the anime blogging community in its current form is very supportive and approachable. When I began, the likes of Behind the Nihon Review, Anime History and Dark Mirage dominated the anime blogging community, flooding it with purple prose-filled posts about the shortcomings of every show under the sun and putting down all who disagreed with them. These days, largely thanks to the tools available, more people have joined the realm of anime blogging and with it, positive attitudes have prevailed. As such, don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers and ask them for feedback on your content, or to discuss with them ideas you may not agree with. We are a friendly group open to different ideas, a far cry from the juggernauts of old.

  • Understand why you wish to maintain a blog: blogging can be a professional occupation, and even in its hobby form, can still be very time-consuming and demanding. If there’s a good reason that you are writing for, whether it is to simply share your thoughts, or because you are writing for folks important to you, or like myself, it’s a release from the challenges of life, then your inclination will be to continue using the blog to communicate with and share with others.

  • Don’t do controversy: fighting flame wars is stressful and counterproductive, even if it brings in traffic. I typically do not stray into the realm of controversy, and where I have opinions on things where I align with one side, I tend to be subtle about it (such as on the infamous journalism ethics in video games culture war some years back), or else I will address both sides of the argument (such as in things like Sword Art Online). Stressful blogging is a deterrent for putting out more content, and so, I personally prefer maintaining positivity where I can to ensure that I am always happy to come back to writing for this blog.

  • I’ve mentioned on several occasions that I blog when I feel it appropriate, rather than according to a set schedule. Writing when I have something to say always progresses more easily than if I struggle with a topic, and on days where I have no inclination to write, I am not likely to put out anything useful for the readers. It is similarly okay to take breaks from blogging without guilt.

  • In an age where common courtesy and civility is rare, I nonetheless strive to be polite to all of my readers, encouraging folks to disagree with me and also to think for themselves. Being polite to readers will encourage readers to return: the point of a blog is not to lay down one’s views as the only views, but to present one’s views as one of many. Having good discussions with other readers is always a big plus and may even lead to ideas for more posts. I admit that I am not always adhering to this, occasionally drawing on outrageous perspectives as topics for my posts to shoot down (e.g. Mythbusting in Your Name) and calling out random folks from across the ‘net for their perspectives on a series.

  • My ultimate learning is to be yourself, which I previously mentioned in my Million Views milestone. A lot of bloggers wonder what approach they must take to run a successful blog, and I’ve noticed that a successful blogger is someone who is concise, focused, polite and above all else, true to themselves. They write with their own voice, choice of words, on the topics they enjoy writing about, in the manner of their choosing. While it is important to consider one’s target audience, ultimately, readers will stick with the blogs that stand out. For me, this means making random wisecracks about the Marvel Cinematic Universe in posts about beach volleyball, compare history’s greatest survivalists to a group of high school girls who love camping and finding similarities between my favourite NHL team and a series about girls who ride tanks as a sport. It means occasionally thinking about food when I’m supposed to be writing about anime, and disappointing viewers when I write about how to have a good time in The Division or Battlefield when viewers would much rather read about pantsu in Strike Witches. Sorry, folks, but one does not keep a blog for seven years by being inconsistent: having a well-established style means it is easier to write things down, and perhaps I might reach the two thousand post mark at some point with my current approaches.

At the seven year mark and one thousand posts, I now have 1.1 million views and some 1750 comments. Akismet has blocked nearly 40000 spam comments, and I’ve got around 1.9 million words in total across the thousand posts. With these numbers in mind, “where is Infinite Mirai headed in the future?” is the questions readers invariably ask. To this, I have no definite answer: life is mutating, unpredictable and ever-changing, and circumstances always arise to both accommodate and reduce blogging. Having said this, because of the beneficial aspects of writing for me (for one, it keeps my mind focused and also helps me hone my writing), I am going to be sticking around even if I write with reduced and more erratic frequency. My focus predominantly deals with slice-of-life series, anything telling a particularly noteworthy story about life lessons and the oft-maligned military moé genre, as well as various video games I’ve experienced, and this will not be changing in the future. I still have plans to write about Girls und Panzer Das Finale, Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?’s third season, Strike Witches‘ Road to Berlin and the Hai-Furi movie, for instance. Battlefield V, Metro: Exodus and DOOM Eternal also look to offer some interesting points of discussion. With the community’s support and encouragement, I will be continuing my journeys and see where things take me. I’d like to thank everyone again — you readers and fellow bloggers mean the world to me, and whether you’re a regular who shows up whenever new content is published, or if you’re here by chance because my idiosyncrasies tend to mess up search engines, your readership is precisely what keeps things going here.