A lot of people are doing some retrospective posts for the year around this time, and considering that I just completed my goal, this post will be sort of similar. I half expected to not be able to write this post, and it may have come down to the wire, but I can proudly proclaim that the challenge I set for myself this year has been successfully completed!
When I started this blog back in July, I knew I wanted to talk about anime. It had been a longtime interest of mine and was quickly growing into a passionate hobby. But how could I think of myself as an otaku given how limited my anime experience was?
Those of you who read the post where I started my challenge will know all this, but I’ll summarize for newcomers here: I decided this year to beat my lifetime record for anime series by watching 30 titles to completion. This blog was initially a way to keep a record of my thoughts on each show by reviewing them, but soon review writing became just as much (if not more) a part of my challenge as watching.
This challenge was retroactively meant to take place over the course of a year, considering I had finished the first series, Your lie in April, back in February. I didn’t get the idea to start a challenge until early July, and posted my first review at the end of that month. The majority of my challenge thus took place over a 5 month period and pushed me harder than I thought it would. I suppose I could have extended into February 2017, but how lame would it be for me to make”2016 challenge” posts with a 2017 timestamp?
Now that the challenge is complete, here is a look back on what all this has meant for me.
Series completed: 30
Episodes watched: 611
Time spent watching: 9 days, 18 hours, 54 minutes
Reviews written: 30
Words written: 123,143
Considering I finished watching the shows on my list on Dec 15, I did have some time to add a couple more to my list that. The other two series I finished have been added to my progress bar below:
Adding those two brings the series count to 32, episode count to 635, and the time spent to 10 days, 4 hours, and 30 minutes.
The time I spent writing, though, was far more than that. I have no good measure of how much time I spent, but especially in these last few weeks I put all my free time into these reviews. I think I spent more time writing this year than I spent model painting. And I love model painting!
You know what I don’t love? Writing. I was never confident about my ability to write well. Adding to that, there seems to be a disconnect between my brain and fingers, as though the thoughts and feelings I want to express simply don’t come out. I started this blog primarily as a way to improve that. Now that I’m done with my challenge, I don’t know how much I really improved, but I did at least write much more than I ever have before. 123,000 words is legitimate novel length. I wouldn’t have believed anyone who told me at the start of all this that I would write a novel by the time I was done.
This challenge did more than give me some writing practice though. I pushed myself, hard, to complete a goal that I didn’t think I could do. I broke a long trend of giving up on projects that required a lot of time and energy. There were so many times I thought I wouldn’t make it, and even resigned myself to failing. I told myself that just finishing the viewing challenge was the original goal, but in the back of my mind that always felt like a cop out. If this was going to be a way to push myself, the writing had to be part of it. Now that it’s all over, no matter how trivial this might have been, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
If you missed a review or are a newer follower that hasn’t seen some of my earlier work, all my reviews are available on my Reviews Page, linked here. I don’t have one for Izetta or Yuri yet. Those shows were not part of my original challenge, and I have to draw the line somewhere!
I said in an earlier post that no one was going to care if I didn’t complete all this before 2017, except me. By being so stubborn about this challenge I made things harder for myself and the Super Otaku Busters. I apologize to KimmieKawaii for that. She deserved more time than I gave her during all this. Still, she patiently edited each and every review. Without her help, I’m sure they would be utter garbage. In the end though, being the angel that she is, she became just as invested in this as I was.
Mozart gets no apology because he was never any help, as always. Plus he would just step over and lay in my lap whenever he wanted to anyway, so it’s not like he lost any attention from me.
The most unexpected outcome, which really made this more worthwhile than anything else, was how much I would grow to enjoy and appreciate this community. In stark contrast to my wife, who named her blog Inner Thoughts of an Extrovert, I have a horrible time reaching out to people. Probably second to writing, that is my biggest weakness as a person. But in writing on this blog, from the very first trickle of readers to the great group I share my thoughts with on a regular basis today, it’s been an absolute pleasure interacting with you all. You all made writing fun for me, because it meant sharing our love of anime together. I would never have completed this if I didn’t have your support and encouragement. For that, you have my sincere gratitude.
Now that this is over, I’m going to be taking it easier in the coming weeks. I have a lot of stuff planned for the blog next year. I’ll be doing another post soon detailing some of the upcoming features and changes, but for now I need a little break to enjoy other things, like reading all your blogs!