Yeah it's a pixie cut, want to make something of it?
Karen Mead, in one of her rare jaunts outside

This was originally the personal blog of Karen Mead, writer, geek, and over-analyzer supreme. Once she was a newspaper reporter, and wrote about things like plans for new sewage treatment plants and legislative redistricting. Then she woke up one morning and thought “Wouldn’t it be more fun to write about anime, and games and comics and stuff?” and started doing that.

Now, after many years of blogging solo, other people are joining Karen at Otakusphere; is it time for a whole new era of anime/manga/whatever blogging, or will it be just lots of yapping about which figures and hug pillows we want to buy? We shall see.

Why “Otakusphere?”

The main reason why this blog is called Otakusphere is because Karen heard the word once and thought it sounded cool; it would be nice if there was a more interesting story behind it, but that’s what we’ve got.

However, considering that we cover material that can run far afield of typical otaku interests, it may be useful to think of a kind of “sphere of interest” that Otakusphere attempts to cover. In the dead center of the sphere you have anime, our main focus, and as you get further out, you get Japanese games, visual novels, cosplay, Jdrama, and so on. At the periphery of the sphere you even have Western stuff that can’t be considered otaku-media by virtue of not being Japanese in origin, but has enough commonality with otaku media that it’s likely to be of interest to some of the same fans.

Basically, most of what we cover fits comfortably under the label “anime blog,” but we cover some other stuff if we’re passionate about it and think readers would enjoy it. There are limits though; you will probably never read detailed episode recaps of Knight Rider on Otakusphere. Probably.

Our Approach to Analysis

We like to think of ourselves as fans first, critic second. Some might assume this means that we’re easier to please than most critics (which may be true), but that’s not really what it means. When we say we’re fans first, we mean we want to write about the show– or the game, or the manga, or the book, or whatever. If writing about the piece happens to involve academic-style criticism, because it fits, we go with it. But we never write about anything with the purpose of making it fit into any kind of critical framework, which is where we think a lot of critics screw up.

If you favor one particular style of critical analysis, be it feminist criticism or close-reading or what have you, you’re always partially writing about the school of criticism itself instead of the piece of media in question. A lot of criticism seems to be about justifying itself, whether consciously or not on the part of the writer. To us, that’s a distraction from everything else that we’re really interested in.

We added this part here because while we may sometimes write things that seem anti-criticism (although hopefully not anti-intellectual), we’re not opposed to using the tools of academic analysis when we feel like they’re the right tools for the job. But that’s all they are, tools, and they don’t excite us; the media itself does.

Now, if you want to talk about tools exciting someone, try taking Karen’s dad to Home Depot; Now there is a man who loves his tools.


Need to contact us about some special project, that will hopefully entail billions of dollars? E-mail Karen at Karen {a} rangoric.com. Okay, billions of dollars don’t need to be involved, you can just say hi if you want.