Tomorrow is November 14, 2017—eight years to the date that I started this blog.
I was 22 then, getting my Master’s in Print Journalism at American University. I had temporarily broken up with my college boyfriend (who you know as my husband, John), and a lot of things were up in the air. So when my professor instructed us all to buy domain names and start portfolio sites, I thought, why not start a blog? There’s never a right time, anyway.
Otaku Journalist was first called LaurenRaeOrsini.com. It was supposed to be a general portfolio in hopes that I would be palatable to the largest number of employers. But when I graduated with my MA to zero job prospects except retail, I decided to treat my blog as my job, writing about my favorite topics in anime and fandom analysis. In the following eight years I’ve worked a number of freelance and traditional writing and web development jobs, but Otaku Journalist has always been the place at which I center my core interests and identity.
This year is the first one, I think, where my career is finally where I want it to be. I’m self-employed with income so stable I no longer think it’s helpful to write income reports. I’ve come a long way and I have a memory like a sieve, so it’s great to review my top 20 most popular posts as the “cornerstone content” I’ve come to be known for. Last week I reviewed posts 20-16. This week I’m going over 15-11:
Nov 5, 2014 | 10,882 pageviews
Getting into the five figures! This topic is so important to me that I wrote an updated version for Forbes last year: Am I Going To Get Arrested For Bringing All This Cartoon Porn Into The US? I sort of hammed it up in the title here, but I actually did bring back doujinshi with me—I just mailed it from the Shinjuku post office to avoid getting stopped with it at the border.
Generally, I wrote this piece because I was hearing a lot of sentiment that people getting arrested for hentai doesn’t apply to fans of nonpornographic anime. But since authorities have mistaken PG manga for porn, and adult manga for child porn, this is a problem for everyone. I’m just grateful the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has our backs.
Aug 21, 2013 | 11,317 pageviews
This is certainly one of the most provocative post titles I’ve written on Otaku Journalist. Even though this post is 4 now, people still talk about how anime isn’t as good as it used to be. I refined this same idea in a 2015 post: The “good old days” of anime.
But this post also has a second prong, and it’s that we need to be kind to new fans. If the Anime Origin Stories project has taught me anything, it’s that we were all newbies once. If we are snobby about new anime compared to the old classics and turn our noses up at people just discovering anime for the first time, nobody’s going to want to be an anime fan anymore.
Oct 21, 2013 | 13,233 pageviews
This article was John’s idea. It was still a few months before we started Gunpla 101, and he suggested that I keep testing the water to see if people were interested in Gunpla content from me. I probably didn’t have an idea to write about this week and went with it, because this is not the kind of deep analysis I preferred to do in 2013. But hey, it was popular!
By the way, you’ll notice that a lot of these older popular posts have exactly 0 comments. That’s because I switched to the Disqus commenting system per reader request in 2014, which overlaid a lot of the WordPress native comments that were here before. If I look at the editing screen for this one, for example, I can view eight comments that used to be here.
Feb 12, 2014 | 13,721 pageviews
I rarely allow guest posts on Otaku Journalist—in fact, I think I have only allowed one guest post ever. This essay by my friend and neighbor Grant is the only post on Otaku Journalist that I didn’t write myself. Not only is it a great piece by a talented writer, but PBS Idea Channel linked to this essay in their video about Kill La Kill, and the views for this post skyrocketed.
I just notified Grant that his essay is one of my top 20 most popular posts, and when I did I asked what he’s working on now, since he’s also a professional writer. He said, “an essay on Gurren Lagann and libertarianism for a pop culture anthology.” Pretty cool. Still, not sure I’ll ever do guest posting again, because it means putting somebody else on my top 20 popular posts list!
Nov 17, 2014 | 15,179 pageviews
This is why picking the correct SEO keywords matters. The posts that say “gift ideas” and “holiday gifts” may be more PC, but they never get as much traffic as when I say “Christmas” because when it comes down to it, that’s what people are typing into Google.
I really enjoy putting together this list every year because as anime fandom gets increasingly mainstream, the merchandise gets so much more varied and better designed. I remember when I was 14 and the only, I repeat only, anime T-shirt you could buy at Another Universe was the Nerv logo from Neon Genesis Evangelion on a black background in a men’s size large.
It’s still NaNoWriMo, so once again I’m going to conclude this post with my word count as of the night before this post went up: 20,730. Almost halfway there!