Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

As of today, my time aboard the good ship Wave Motion Cannon is at an end.

I suppose I could just leave things there, but, since I’m dusting off this old blog, I might as well give it a decent workout!

I came to this decision in November, after weeks of struggling internally. Now that the last post I was working on has gone up, it’s time to officially announce this.

Our breakup is mutually amicable. There are no hard feelings; no, more than that, those guys are some of my best online friends I consider those guys family, and that’s not going to change. But, I can’t be a part of the site anymore because I can’t be a day-to-day runner and admin of the site anymore. If I was in any way a part of WMC, I’d be trying to run it, trying to make decisions, because I am very very emotionally invested in this website. And it’s that very emotional investment that is one of the root causes of why I need to leave.

The past year, trying to run this website has…not been very much fun, to put it lightly. Obviously, 2017 was a bad scene for everyone for a whole bunch of different reasons, most of those far more important than comparatively trivial “anime site runner” stuff. But, stress is stress, pain is pain, and, whether or not they are the world’s greatest tragedies, the people-related issues that were the bulk of my WMC experience this past year took a deep spiritual toll on me.  Consider our last twelve months:

  • overly ambitious project barely gets completed, behind schedule, and exhausts all involved (my idea…still kicking myself)
  • a writer has to leave the site for 9 months or so due to job-related issues; incidentally, after this 9 month period the writer could not find time to get back in the groove and also lost their job near the end of the year
  • another contributor lost their job much earlier in the year, had to move, and then became unable to take part in podcast production due to changes at new job
  • a writer was pretty sick through much of the fall
  • another writer began working three jobs for family reasons and the amount of time they could contribute significantly dwindled
  • we gained a new writer and then almost immediately lost them due to them being a poor fit
  • another writer struggled to simply get the medication they needed, for a good portion of the year, due to insurance ridiculousness
  • yet another writer was lost…they just poofed out of online existence one day and didn’t return for a long time; they’ve since officially parted ways with the site amicably
  • and yet another writer had an important person in their life commit suicide; they haven’t been the same since…

I love our little, tight-knit staff. I was on Discord many days and nights last year with these folks trying to talk with them and help as best I could. Yet, life ravaged us again and again, and it was hard. Life made it difficult to create. Being a small team, when a couple of writers are unable to contribute, the site’s output is noticeably effected. And, at any given time throughout the entire year, at least a couple of writers were experiencing hardships that made them unable to contribute. I did not ever begrudge the staff taking time away. The situation, however, allowed me to expend an unreasonable amount of mental and emotional energy trying to figure out “what we were going to do”.  My brain was being poured into how we could overcome the difficulties set before us. All the time. I am diagnosed with OCD, so I truly let this shit take over my headspace.

Due to all of the personal shit alluded to above (and more!), sometimes the “working environment” wasn’t really super positive, let alone enjoyable. Our numbers have also been steadily declining this year, even before we had to stop posting translations.

All of this is to say that the personal cost of being editor-at-large for WMC has become too great for me and my dumb brain.

Like I said, I am emotionally invested in this website and by extension the people who are its staff, and eventually, the cumulative mental and emotional effect of all this became something that negatively impacted my life when I wasn’t online.I was thinking about how to make WMC better, banging my head against a wall over it. In some dark moments I am ashamed of and deeply regret, I resented other staff members in my heart because I “knew” they weren’t going through this same emotional hell and didn’t care as much as me about this website. What a prick, right? I am a fucking selfish idiot-baby, and I can only hope those guys can forgive me for any time my words or actions may have betrayed those foolish thoughts. WMC staffers, Josh, Jimmy, Jared, Grant, CJ ibcf, Pat, I consider you guys family. I love you. I am sorry for the times when I didn’t show that.

Right, let’s talk about “fun”. What had been this super exciting and creative and really just fun thing became largely a source of stress. Yes, it was and is an important thing to me, but at some point I had to remind myself that, once upon a time, my reason for actually wanting to create content was because it was fun to do. I want to keep being a part of the online anime-and-related-stuffs fandom as a creator, but I want that to be fun again.

Besides, I am a weird fit for this site. Always have been. I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to write here and be a part of this, but in some ways I stick out like a sore thumb. For reasons I still can’t wrap my head around the WMC “”””BRAND”””” became and remains closely tied to animation analysis and fact-based attempts at aiming for objectivity. Perhaps it’s that the biggest pieces WMC has are those sorts of things, but I tried my damndest to promote the idea that WMC’s approach to anime is holistic and inclusive, that it is a place for different kinds of writings and different sorts of writers.

That notion never stuck. As such, people came for pieces that folks like Tamerlane wrote and Josh wrote and ibcf wrote. I had an audience, to be sure; and it grew thanks to WMC. People read my stuff and listened to my stuff, for sure, but my voice seemed to sort of get swallowed up by the site and what people wanted from the site? Though I was getting readers, the actual numbers illustrated to me that the vast majority of the site’s audience didn’t come to it for my stuff. I mean, I was regularly publishing riff tracks of bad anime for Christ sakes…not really something people associated with WMC (or even knew about, quite frankly).

What I’m trying to say is: content-wise I don’t think my going away is a huge loss to WMC. I produce overly long, self indulgent, variety show esque podcasts, do those dumb riff tracks I mentioned, and occasionally write something. If anything, me going allows the “””BRAND””” to become more streamlined.

OK, so enough of the negative. The above is just my sad attempt at trying to convey the different reasons I’m leaving WMC. Contrary to what you might think, my time at WMC was not all dreary and taxing! Not even in 2017! I really did enjoy myself. I grew as a writer, an editor, a producer, and a person. I forged relationships that truly mean the world to me. I have talked to so many amazingly cool people in blog comments, on Twitter and in Discord that enjoy WMC and, wonder of wonders, enjoy my work. That last bit is truly an incredible feeling. As I said, I am so grateful that I was fortunate enough to be a part of Wave Motion Cannon. On balance, it has done me so much good, and, while I have to leave it, I will remember my time with it fondly. The opportunity it afforded me doesn’t come along to many people, and once again, I am so blessed.

I want to thank Josh Dunham in particular for allowing me the use of the platform he has funded and created. He is a man of nigh unlimited generosity. He believed in me enough to buy me my first decent microphone. People give a shit about what I have to say about cartoons in large part because of him. Thank you, Josh. It was an awesome ride, my friend.

Also, special shout out to Grant, an amazing friend and life coach. Because of him, I was able to lose 35 pounds in 2017! Follow him on Twitter, talk to him, get the good words.

So, now what? I don’t plan on riding off into the sunset…so….What am I going to be up to?

Warui Deshou first and foremost. WD is the thing that has always remained fun for me. It is my favorite thing, and I plan on happily lavishing my attention upon it going forward. Expect a Stream of Thought on Darling in the Franxx, more full length episodes, bonus episodes, Companion Piece episodes…we’ve got a lot in the works already. Super excited to continue with this. I thank WD fans and supporters from the bottom of my heart. Let’s make 2018 the best year of podcasts yet!

Speaking of podcasts: I am starting a second one! Shadon and I (and any guests that would like to contribute) are going to be starting a podcast devoted to covering visual novels. We call it Bad End Theory, and we will be releasing the debut episode soonish, talking all about The Fruit of Grisaia. I am super duper excited for Bad End Theory and hope that some WD listeners will come along for the ride (but if VNs aren’t your thing, that’s cool). Keep an eye on my Twitter for further details.**(EDITOR’S NOTE we’ve since expanded the scope of the podcast to include all kinds of games. We’ve changed the title to Narrative Resonance to reflect our shift to a broader focus)

I don’t plan on doing writing in any regular or official capacity outside of my manga/comic reviews for Library Journal and School Library Journal. These are pretty short, but Ithat’s what I can handle right now. Podcasting (and possibly YT-ing?) is just a format in which I have a much more fun and fulfilling time expressing myself. Writing is hard, and it is lonely. Thus, in 2018, I am dropping it!

If you’ve made it this far, you’re a real trooper. Thank you for caring enough about me or my work to read all of this self involved word vomit. It’s been a tough year and this was difficult to write spit out. I hope you will stick with me in 2018 because I plan for it to be as fun for me as it will (hopefully) be for WD/BET listeners. Here’s to new beginnings!

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do


eurekaDear Readers, I have an announcement to make.  First, put your tissues away!  I’m not hanging up my aniblogging pen or closing the blog.  No worries, there.  In fact, you will be seeing quite a bit of content from me; however, most of it won’t be on rayout.

I have been asked to serve as a writing contributor and media creator at Wave Motion Cannon.  This is a great honor for me, as I will be working alongside a team of pretty talented people.  I’ve already posted my Anime of the Year thoughts, and I’ve got several things coming down the pike that I’m sure rayout readers will find enjoyable.

Perhaps the thing I’m most proud of doing over at WMC is hosting a podcast along with a couple of friends.  Warui Deshou is a personality-driven, anime discussion/analysis show.  The first episode is a sort of get-to-know-us thing, with episodes focused on a single anime following thereafter.  I hope you guys have as much fun listening as I do making these.

Let me reiterate: rayout isn’t going away.  Not everything I produce will fit at WMC.  Although updates won’t be as frequent (ha!) as they have been during my peak writing periods, I will still put stuff here.

Thanks so much for reading.


Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 11: Asuka Tanaka and The Reality of Inconsistency

imageI recently marathoned through KyoAni’s outstanding high school drama, Hibike! Euphonium.  One of my favorite reasons to watch was the character Asuka Tanaka.  When I took to Twitter to talk about my experiences with the series, I discovered, to my great surprise, that she is far from universally beloved among the fans.  Some even refer to her as an out-and-out bad person.  This is a claim that I simply can’t get on board with.  However, at the same time, Asuka’s behavior is so inconsistent that it’s difficult for me to put forth a competing characterization.  Though I feel we won’t truly grasp what makes her tick until season two airs in 2016, I believe that the thing that makes Asuka so fascinating is, in fact, this very inconsistency.

Warning, this piece hits a few spoiler notes.

Continue reading “Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 11: Asuka Tanaka and The Reality of Inconsistency”

Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 11: Asuka Tanaka and The Reality of Inconsistency

Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 9: The Two Stories of Diebuster

nono1I absolutely cannot believe I waited this long to watch Diebuster.  I have never been more annoyed with past-me accepting the views of other critics as gospel truth, regardless of how “big time” the critic or how vehemently expressed the opinion.  In many ways, this notion of freeing myself from previously held biases and expectations has been the story of my fandom in 2015.  It was a year of trying things I’d been led to believe were not good and…and actually liking them.  By the middle of the year, I was re-evaluating a lot of my previously adopted standards and filters.

BUT…that doesn’t have much to do with the anime at hand.

So, I did a kinda scattershot podcast about Diebuster in late November.  I shared a lot of my opinions about the series there, but I didn’t exhaust my thoughts on it by any means.  So, I’m going to briefly discuss one of the coolest aspects of a show with tons of coolest aspects, namely its ability to be read as two separate stories.

Continue reading “Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 9: The Two Stories of Diebuster”

Twelve Days of Anime 2015 Part 9: The Two Stories of Diebuster