The Infinite Zenith

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

Category Archives: Administrative

An Introspection At A Million Views: Reaching A New Milestone

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” –Brian Clark

The Infinite Mirai is roughly six-and-a-half years old now, and it is at this point where I’ve crossed the million-view threshold. Seeing this number on the all-time views metric leads me to reflect on what this means: a million of anything can be either a lot or a little depending on one’s perspective. A million milliliters of water would weigh a million grams (a thousand kilograms). A computer display with the resolution 1280 by 800 would have 1024000 pixels, and a million one-dollar USD bills would weigh a thousand kilograms (USD bills weigh one gram). It would take 11.57 days to count to a million if one incremented once every second. This is where the Infinite Mirai currently stands, and this milestone is the culmination of the readers’ continued interest – it is no exaggeration to say that readers are the singular reason why the Infinite Mirai has a million views, and consequently, it makes sense to give my thanks to all of you for having helped this blog reach such a milestone. Taking a leaf from TheRadBrad’s page, you’re the best readers ever, so thank you – I know you’ll probably get sick of me saying it, but thank you for giving me the inspiration to watch and write about things for you guys. It means a great deal to me, and without you, this blog would probably not be what it is now. There’s quite a bit of road that was covered to reaching a million views, and this post represents a break in tradition from what I usually do.

  • Every time I did a milestone post, I said that I might quit. Six-and-a-half years in, I think that it’s safe to say that this blog is likely to stick around in its current incarnation, using the methods that I’ve found that work well enough for me. Over the past year, I find that I’ve been a lot closer to parts of the WordPress anime blogging community, and it’s been a fun experience to interact with other WordPress bloggers, all of whom have their own strong points, struggles and experiences with both life and anime.

Up until now, I have not particularly been keen on sharing my site metrics, nor have I given any suggestions and learnings I’ve accumulated to other bloggers. The reason for the former is simply because my traffic does not and should not impact what I do: while professionals bloggers need to be mindful of their visitor count for good reason, I blog as a hobby, and as such, it matters little if my posts reach ten people or ten thousand people. As for advice, I’ve long felt that in the population of casual bloggers, the number of ways to run an operation equals the number of members in that population. In other words, speak to ten bloggers and you’ll likely get eleven different approaches, all of which are functional. However, with this million views milestone, I’m breaking the tradition: first, all readers now know that a million pages have been viewed in some capacity, and basic arithmetic means that I get around 416 visitors a day. There are a total of 943 posts excluding this one, so each post averages 1060 views. Of course, these numbers are quite skewed – my earliest posts are not visible on search engines, and since I started my blog in October 2011, the years 2011 and 2012 are characterised by a very low visitor count, corresponding to my not using this blog to its full capacity until 2013. Looking through the archives will show just how different my style is now, compared to what it was when I first started. As an aside, I was secretly hoping that I would reach the thousand-post milestone close to when I reached a million page views, but as I’m still some sixty six posts out, that certainly won’t happen now. Having now dealt with the hard numbers about the Infinite Mirai, I move to the next topic which has hitherto not been covered here: any learnings that I’ve accrued over the past six-and-a-half years.

  • This is what things look like from my dashboard. Rudimentary statistics from my site are shown here, and I share a few interesting points: compared with the remainder of the community, my site has a much smaller number of followers, fewer comments and fewer likes. While I cannot say anything definitive about traffic for other blogs that I enjoy reading, the Infinite Mirai enjoys relatively consistent viewership coming from social media, Reddit and other platforms, as well as a high search engine visibility (try doing a search on Google for “Kantai Collection” and “Frostbite Engine”).

The list of things I’ve seen both professional bloggers and fellow anime bloggers present is a large one: suggestions have included tips for extending one’s presence and promotion, how to maintain consistency in one’s content, what sorts of topics to cover in anime reviews, and even how to pick a suitable layout for one’s blog. I’m going to say this openly: none of this matters unless one is writing for a professional blog, where search engine optimisation and inbound traffic corresponds with advertisement revenue, which keeps the lights on. For non-professional blogs, I have a very simple credos: be yourself. Traffic is not the end-all for us, and the joys of blogging are community building; it is a joy to be able to talk with other individuals sharing similar interests, and the close-knit nature of anime blogging in this age means that differing perspectives are eye-openers, instructive, rather than fuel for flame wars. With this in mind, one might then ask, if I’ve not followed any particular approach that both professional and casual bloggers advocate, then why is the Infinite Mirai as visible as it is? After all, searches for certain keywords will find the Infinite Mirai at or near the top of Google searches. Some folks have even remarked that my blog appears almost everywhere in searches related to slice-of-life and military-moé. The answer to this is that I’ve been unknowingly doing a form of search engine optimisation: I take a very unusual approach to my anime and gaming discussions, comparing things that seemingly cannot (or should not) be compared (e.g. comparing Les Stroud’s survival tips with what is seen in Yuru Camp△). I also dabble in conversion of Japanese information into English articles, write about games and reference various shows that I watch, and in general, approach things differently enough so that search engines can find the content, and that people end up finding what they sought when encountering my content. This is how I roll, but it wasn’t how I always rolled: it takes time for bloggers to find their structure and workflow, so when I say “be yourself”, I refer to finding a workflow that one should enjoy using, and then applying their own take on things. This is what keeps blogging enjoyable for me, and the reason why I’ve stuck around for a non-trivial period of time.

  • So, on a quiet April evening, where the winter weather has finally given way to the warmth of spring, I pass a milestone that, like my all-exotic loadout from The Division, I never really expected to reach. From what I’ve heard, this blog’s contents have been somewhat useful and mostly enjoyable for readers, so I’m very happy to have been able to positively impact a number of individuals out there. It is my belief that positivity is a choice, and in a world where negativity can be overwhelming, I aim to bring a piece of happiness into whatever it is that I do. Blogging is no different, and as such, I find that the best way to enjoy entertainment is to be open-minded; while some folks prefer the challenge of assessing what they don’t like, for me, life is too short to be doing this unless one is doing so in a professional capacity, so I stick with reflecting on what I like. Having said this, what would you, the readers, like to see from me in the future?

The lingering question for readers then becomes what will the future have in store for the Infinite Mirai. I’m not sure whether or not the Infinite Mirai will be around long enough to hit the two or ten million view mark, and on that note, I’m similarly uncertain as to whether or not I will reach the two or five thousand post mark. With that being said, there are some things that are a bit more certain. This blog has proven to be unexpectedly resilient, and I’ve said this previously – I will keep the party going here until there’s a suitable endpoint for this blog. In the meantime, readers can expect more of the same from me: unusual, unorthodox and unconventional approaches to talking about anime. I will continue approaching shows from a high level and exploring who a given show is for, as well as what aspects about people the show is trying to present. I will continue referencing the obscure or unusual, and I will continue to have a good ol’e time with those who participate in discussions. As for fellow bloggers who have begun their journey, I will note that the million views milestone is merely a part of the journey, and would encourage them to stick around; by the time one’s blog reaches a million views, they will have encountered a host of interesting individuals and ideas, and have created content that’s likely helped someone, somewhere with their own endeavours. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of the visitors and fellow bloggers alike for having done so much to inspire and motivate me to continue writing, to the point where a milestone I once thought unreachable is now something that is very much a reality. ありがとう!

Reflections on 2017, Welcoming 2018 with the Girls und Panzer 2018 Calendar

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

We’re now a short ways into 2018, and before we begin busying ourselves with making the most of another year, I’m going to take a few moments to look back on what 2017 entailed, especially pertaining to some of the learnings that were accrued over the past year. Most of these learnings apply to the workplace and interpersonal skills. It is always bewildering as to just how much one can learn in the space of a year, and during 2017, I came to appreciate the importance of good emotional maturity and problem-solving skills in individuals to be far more important than any technical skills. It was a strong reminder for me that being able to professionally and courteously interact with people is by far one of the most important traits that one can have: regardless of what profession one is in, our occupations ultimately deal with doing something of value for people, and as such, moving into 2018, I’m definitely going to be mindful of this as I work harder for a company whose aim is to generate more revenue and is looking to expand. 2017 was a bit of a difficult year that had also seen its share of enjoyment – from the challenges at work to the days spent in the mountains and my travels to Japan and Hong Kong, I’ve come to really appreciate maintaining a good work-life balance. I continue to lift weights and do martial arts, while at the same time, make time to sit down with a good book or game. Last year, I simply resolved to let things happen as they happened, and in retrospective, that didn’t turn out half bad.

As such, my resolution for 2018 remains quite unchanged: 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. I’ve heard folks remark that resolutions are usually vague and pointless in keeping, but looking back at last year, I did manage to keep all of them (I did end up volunteering for a pair of science fairs, for instance). As such, I contend that resolutions are not entirely unnecessary, and I’ll likely keep up the practise of being a bit more introspective than average in New Years posts graced with anime calendars so as long as this blog continues to be maintained. On the topic of The Infinite Mirai, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the blog has proven to be this resilient, and in the upcoming year, I will continue to write for it. That leads me to wish all of you, my readers, a Happy New Year 2018. While I’m not certain of what exactly this year will entail for my blog, I am immensely thankful for your readership and feedback. Let’s get it!

A Milestone at the Six Year Anniversary

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.” –William Barclay

Today marks the six year anniversary to the chilly October evening when I opened discussions with my Hello World! post. To put things in perspective, World War Two lasted six years from the moment Nazi Germany invaded Poland to Imperial Japan signing the surrender documents on board the USS Missouri, and it took six years to build Surrey’s Port Mann Bridge, which is the world’s second widest bridge and was fully finished in 2015 (although it opened to traffic in 2012). Six years is also the lower limit for the average student to complete their undergraduate program and conclude a Master’s degree in Canada; a great deal can happen over six years, and therefore, it is something of a milestone that Infinite Mirai has reached this year. The site’ continued endurance over time is largely in part thanks to an immensely loyal and well-read reader base such as yourselves. I cannot emphasise how large of a role you’ve played in motivating and inspiring me to continue writing content for this blog – thank you for continuing to stick around. This blog has lasted well beyond its projected lifespan in part because of all the interesting discussions that continue to be provided courtesy of our readers. While some blogs have been around for a much longer period, they also have had the advantage of several authors: Infinite Mirai is a solo act, and I write only as time allows. As I continue to move forwards in life, I foresee my time becoming directed towards other pursuits, but for the present, I’m still going to stick around, presumably, to the displeasure of folks where the name “Infinite Zenith” is synonymous with “disturber of the peace”.

  • There’s something about this particular wallpaper that makes it particularly appealing; the composition of the sky and the girl’s expression gives off an indescribably serene quality. I don’t often run with anime wallpapers for my desktop or mobile devices, but this one’s the exception. At this year’s anniversary mark, I’ve opted to do things a little differently, so the endless stats about my site for 2017 so far are not so endless. So far, 120 posts were written this year (including this one), and the largest post we’ve got now is the Kimi no na wa review, which has a total of 14401 words and 100 screenshots. Site traffic is also down 30 percent from last year, and the top post is the location hunt post for Garden of Words.

  • Now is a good as a time as any to note that for the remainder of 2017, blogging will proceed as usual. In 2018, I’m planning on easing back on the throttle: I’ll be returning to the twenty screenshot, “after three and whole series” format for any new shows that I follow. I’m also thinking that, once I finish with Girls und Panzer: Das Finale‘s discussions, it’s likely time for me to ride off into the sunset and pursue my other interests. With this being said, Girls und Panzer: Das Finale is likely to last quite a while, so I’m not going anywhere yet.

For this anniversary post, I am deviating from my usual modus operandi and will take the remainder of this post to address my particular approach towards writing about anime. While I’ve long counted myself to be someone who watches anime purely for entertainment, I find additional enjoyment when an anime aligns with challenges facing the real world – this allows me to compare and contrast real-world issues with their portrayal in anime, and the value comes from watching how people address these concerns. As a fictional medium, there is a great deal of freedom in portraying the journey that characters undertake. Their learnings, in forming the theme for an anime, can provide some insights as to how the authors see the world and ultimately, mirror how they might go about seeking out solutions for problems, in turn enriching perspectives. This is the main reason why I place such an emphasis on the big picture in my discussions: I am not particularly worried about minor details if they have little relevance on the overall outcomes of a narrative. If the entire story follows logically from the presented sequence of events and yields a message that is consistent with what has occurred, then I will view an anime favourably even if a few details are amiss. The recent trend on fixating in minor details and inaccuracies is incongruous with what might be considered good anime discussion, and this is why I have taken the approach that I do towards discussing anime. It ends up being much more fun this way, and moving into the future, I do hope that you, the readers, will continue to find the contents here both enjoyable and informative even as my posting patterns continue to shift.

Reflections on 2016, Welcoming 2017 with the Girls und Panzer 2017 Calendar

“New Beginnings are in order, and you are bound to feel some level of excitement as new chances come your way.” – Auliq Ice

While news outlets, tabloids and popular media has painted 2016 as a particularly poor year for a variety of reasons, 2016 ultimately turned out quite remarkable despite a slow beginning marked with uncertainty was to what I would do during the transition from being a student to full-fledged member of society. On all counts, things went very smoothly: I finished my thesis defense and paper shortly after being offered a software position, and convicted back in November to close off my academic career. En route to the finish line, I travelled on several occasions — once to lend a hand to the Giant Walkthrough Brain in Kelowna, and twice to international conferences. With this in mind, I’ve completed not only my resolutions from last January, but I also managed to fulfil a dream I’ve had since 2014; travelling with a clearly-defined goal proved to be wonderful experiences, and after yesterday, where I had the opportunity to watch the Calgary Flames defeat the Phoenix Coyotes in a 4-2 victory in regulation time, 2016 draws to a solid close. 2017 opened with shrimp cocktail and champagne; following a short sleep, it’s time to read through my post from last year, note that 2016 was pretty damn amazing in spite of popular belief, and consider my resolutions for 2017.

From a life perspective, my main resolution for 2017 is to put forth my fullest efforts for my work as a software developer, learning all of the necessary skills to be effective at what I do. Beyond this, I will take a leaf from Calvin and Hobbes: It’s a Magical World and Pure Pwnage: Teh Movie — I’m just going to let stuff happen, take it in stride and make the most of whatever circumstances and situations I encounter. This will apply to health, career, finances and even relationships. Besides the more serious goals, I will also aim to diversify my activities in 2017: on top of resolutions carrying over from last year (finish reading my unread books and the games I’ve not yet finished), I will also see to volunteering for different events, bring back my old hobby of pencil sketching and, in the spirit of letting stuff happen, maintain an open mind to what I can be doing with my newfound time now that I’m no longer required to write conference papers or plan tutorial sessions. This brings my New Year’s post to its conclusion: I’d like to bid all of my readers a Happy New Year 2017, and thank everyone again for having stuck with this blog for so long. Without your readership, I probably would not be able to summon the motivation to put posts out, so here’s to everyone for making this blog a reality, and I look forwards to seeing what this New Year has in store.

A Milestone at the Five Year Anniversary

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” —John Quincy Adams

I’ve been sitting here, staring at WordPress’ “edit post” screen for the past thirty minutes, trying to think of something to say for this blog’s five year anniversary. It makes sense to begin by thanking all of my readers; without your support and feedback, it is unlikely that I would have continued to find the motivation to continue writing for this period: five years is quite a bit of time, and looking through some of the older posts in this blog, it’s quite astonishing as to how much has happened in the past five years: I’ve finished two degrees, flown around the world to present my research and have begun working now as a member of society. I’ve stared down and defeated the MCAT, had my heart broken twice, went from a probationary to fully qualified driver, and wrote more journal and conference papers than I’ve cared to count. I’ve also become bit of a poutine connoisseur and have driven out to the towns over just to try a small restaurant’s poutine. Concurrently, this blog has grown from its humble origin as a backup website for me to write short articles: I’ve now retired my old website (itself approaching its ninth birthday) in favour of the infrastructure that WordPress provides. In reading some of my previous articles, I wondered whether or not I would be able to continue blogging, and it seems that, for better or worse, I’m sticking around in the foreseeable future — even the increased workload of being a graduate student (and time spent in pubs) appears to have done little to alter this blog’s pacing. With this in mind, if I do decide to lower posting frequency, I’ll simply let the readers know.

  • Five years is a lot of time, although it’s also blazed by in the blink of an eye. While I sometimes do find myself wondering what things will be like five, or even ten years down the line, one of the bigger things I’ve learned is to enjoy the present, as well. This lesson is something that I’m ever-mindful of, and it is in part a consequence of watching so many Iyashikei that I’ve begun slowing myself down to take in a moment more completely.

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  • If and when I’m asked, as to how I manage to find time to blog in conjunction with everything else I do (work, cook, clean, lift, read and game), I do not think I can offer a concrete answer in that I’m not too sure, myself. However, I imagine that good time management comes from having a seemingly contradictory combination of both being able to plan well in advance for something and adapt to roll with a moment whenever things change. In this manner, one can make the most of every moment, whether it’s writing code, doing a kata or kicking back and breathing in the autumn air at the top of a hill, without overwhelming themselves.

So, five years after I kicked off the Infinite Mirai with the obligatory Hello World! post and followed up with my first post (a five-minute discussion of the K-On! Movie trailer), this blog now rocks some seven hundred and thirty posts. There’s more than a thousand comments (something I never thought would happen), and the built-in anti-spam system has defeated over 33000 spam comments. The average post takes around two hours to write from start to finish, and the largest post to date is my Girls und Panzer: Der Film discussion, with ninety-five images and some eleven thousand words. The most popular post, based on view count, is a location hunt talk on The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. Said post was made after a request from a reader who wanted a comparison of real-world locations against those seen in The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and but lacked the means to view sites in the Shift JIS format, so I rebuilt the page in a more user-friendly manner and soon, got more requests to do location posts. These are just some of the numbers surrounding this blog, and moving forwards, this time, I’m not too sure what the future’s going to look like. I am certain that I will continue writing for the near future: I’ve to finish Brave Witches and Kimi no Na Wa, as well as Gundam Origin‘s finale episode. Again, I’d like to thank everyone for their support and feedback — you readers and fellow bloggers mean the world to me, and with that being said, let’s get it!