Why Do Anime Blogs Insist on Covering Simulcasts?

This topic came up on Jon Spencer’s Discord channel after a convo got massively derailed, so I want to think about why this is the case.

A lot of anime blogs have what is basically an obligation to cover simulcasts, to the point where you can roughly define a blog’s reputation by “they cover simulcasts” or “they don’t” – by the “they don’t” group, I mean certain blogs will wholeheartedly say “we only cover [so-and-so period in the past] anime” and stick to that. (Good on them for doing that, because I don’t think I could.) The fact a blogger doesn’t have to follow simulcasts is already a testament to the choices they can make regarding the sorts of people they talk to immediately or gain exposure to first (virtually) which can affect the entire direction of the blog, but it seems even people who only ever bingewatch still cover simulcasts.

The most obvious benefit to a blogger is that it drives traffic and discussion to the blog. Certainly, regular posting on backlog can do that too, but posting about seasonal things causes a higher level of frequency (and possibly consistency). Possibly the only times this has been done asynchronously are blog projects such as #AniTwitWatches and Yomu’s Konobi project, where people, by virtue of participation, agree to basically read each other’s stuff during the allocated weeks and drive traffic up that way, but even those have less spheres of impact than simulcasts because these events have their limits. Notably, #AniTwitWatches is on Mondays so I was able to put a ToDoist reminder for myself to work on it, which encourages this pseudo-simulcast system even more, but it also bundles a few episodes together…which, for the normal system of simulcasts, generally only happens with special debuts, con preview screenings or ONAs/OVAs.

One other benefit would be that it’s a meeting of interests that benefits both parties and the snippet format the internet has become reliant on – not only do readers get to read bloggers’ (possibly unfiltered?) thoughts on the latest and greatest in simulcasts hours after it initially airs (given said blogger has a subscription to their streaming services of choice or they live in Japan…haha…*sweatdrops*), but the blogger gets new stuff to watch and add to their list (list making is probably another social ritual I’ll have to pick apart at some point, given Karandi is basically the only blogger I’ve heard of who doesn’t have a list). By “snippet” format, not only do I mean Twitter or single article sorts of communication snippets as part of a wider experience about an anime, but the general breaking down of anything into smaller bits since even the internet itself is reliant on data packets to deliver stuff to your screen…(okay, I’m getting metaphorical here. Moving on.)

The last, but not least, of these reasons is that it keeps bloggers accountable. Blogging weekly about things puts the blogger into a routine, encouraging the other benefits to happen in the process. (Heck, from my own experience, I can still recall Wednesday is Boueibu day and Friday is Death Parade day, and these were the shows I tackled in winter 2015!) Of course, this routine only sticks if you’re consistent and I haven’t for the past 2 seasons, what with Fate/ in winter and COVID-19 now, so…uh…maybe I shouldn’t be talking…

Notably, I avoided talking about myself a lot because I was thinking in terms of blogger/reader divide, but I probably missed a reason…or two…or five. Can you think of any reasons why covering simulcasts is favoured by bloggers?

5 thoughts on “Why Do Anime Blogs Insist on Covering Simulcasts?

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  1. Yeah. I’ve been forced to come to terms with the fact that the format doesn’t suit me. I’m simply too longwinded and, alas, that means I wind up taking far too much time when I have a million other things to do. But it was honestly never our intention to make simulcast reviews a focus, so we’re slowly starting to back off of it to do more of what we wanted to do from the beginning – in-depth commentary and original content. It’s been… liberating. I still *watch* seasonals, of course. But I don’t really like feeling obligated to talk about all of them, let alone watch the ones I’d otherwise not be particularly interested in. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just have my short thing because it allows me to have a thing on a Monday while focusing more attention on other things. I do also enjoy watching new seasonal series too, so having a small time or place to talk about those series is a bonus.

    Not like that Monday post always gets views. I mean, the thing only got 7 views yesterday when it came out so I guess I can call it a bomb.


  3. I think you’ve pretty much nailed it.

    Seasonal and newly airing shows get a large boost of search engine traffic, which I’m guessing is both people who are trying to find online streams of the episodes and are disappointed to stumble upon blog posts, and people who actually want to read other people’s thoughts on an episode.

    And then there’s even that second wave of views that comes with the release of a dub for any newly airing anime, making it even more appealing for bloggers to cover the most popular newly airing titles. Getting a second round of views for free, basically!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well you know my thoughts lol. Thanks for mentioning my stuff as well. I did enjoy reading this 🙂

    For other folks, there’s value in covering what’s hot if your view is to drive traffic. If you want to make money, it’s one of the more reliable ways to go about things. However, if you are just in it for the passion, then there’s really no need. In reality, covering things that excite you will always be better for both you, and your readers long-term because that passion comes through. Not only that, but it’s easy to burnout otherwise.

    Liked by 3 people

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