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You Asked and I Answered: Blerdy Otome 5 Year Anniversary Q&A

So, remember back in August when I did a call for questions? Yeah, me neither. 

I kid. 2020, was the year that I celebrated my 5th Blogging Anniversary and since it’s such a huge milestone, I decided to do a Q&A  post, since a lot has changed since I started this site and there are quite a few new faces… I figured this would be a chill way to get to know me and have a bit of fun. But, one thing lead to another and months went by and here we are in December. So before the year ends, here is the promised Q&A post~ 

Thank you to everyone who submitted questions, some of these were tough… but I had a lot of fun answering these and I hope they live up to expectations!! So, without further ado, here are my answers!! 

Favorite 2D Husband (and wife)?  – Anonymous

So, we’re kicking things off with a tough question. I tend to change favorite characters often, so my favorite character today might be different a few months from now. But, right now, as far as 2D husbandos go, I LOVE Mineo form Collar x Malice; he is just such a chill guy and one of the few otome love interests that I really feel like I could see my self dating in real life. Also, Cove Holden from the indie game Our Life is definitely my new 2D love; he is perfection.

As for waifus, Saki Inafune from Sweet Fuse is perfection; she’s sassy, smart and she keeps a level head in life or death situations and she is not afraid to give folks a piece of her mind. They just don’t make otome heroines like her anymore LOL.

Saki

Do you consider Bara and BL as separate genres in the context of anime, manga, and games? – ThatRandomEditor

This is a really good question. The short answer is yes. While they both focus on mlm relationships, their conception and focus are fundamentally different. When I think of BL I think more of yaoi, which was traditionally created by women with the express purpose of being consumed by a female audience—which makes them much more akin to shojo media (at least to me). Yaoi media has come a long way over the years, buuuut they usually focus on bishounen characters who most often don’t identify as being gay entering into “romantic” (read: sexual) relationships with other men. There’s a lot more emphasis on the emotional trials of starting/maintaining a relationship.

yaoi south park

While Bara (at least to my understanding) is usually created by men for a gay male audience and from what I’ve seen from the genre, these stories tend to revolve around big buff (or chubby buff) guys. And all the bara I have ever read tend to be short stories that focus more on sex than telling a “story” or establishing a relationship. But, even saying that, you have series like My Brother’s Husband that delve into more realistic themes and experience faced by gay men.

With games, there aren’t very many “bara” titles making their way to the west. Off the top of my head Black Monkey Pro/Herculion and Y Press Games are two of the main game devs actively producing Bara game. The vast majority of mlm games in the west (whether indie or otherwise) have much more in common with yaoi or BL.

New here but I really like your blog! Who are your favorite “bratty prince” characters? – mint

Bratty prince characters… now that’s a character archetype that I don’t usually gravitate towards. The only one I can think of is Sakuya Le Bel Shirogane from Hatoful Boyfriend. Now that’s a high maintenance bird… He claims to be descended from French royalty and he considers everyone else beneath him…

sakuya-hatoful-boyfriend

What’s one anime (besides Haikyuu!!) that you often find yourself returning to, either in a rewatch or just in thought?  – Takuto

Oh, dang. Taku you know me very well, because under normal circumstances I definitely would pick Haikyuu. But, since you specifically said I can’t…

Hitorijime My Hero is the only reason I login to my Prime Video account. I love this series to bits, I must have watched this series at least a dozen or so times and no matter how many times I watch it I never get bored. I am a sucker for cute boys love series and I LOVE Masahiro and his relationship with Kousuke is adorable.

Mushishi is episodic, so I can watch it in any order without having to worry about an overarching plot. The story is really chill, kind of a “monster” of the week set up with mushi master, Ginko traveling around Japan helping solve issues between mushi (please don’t ask me to explain what mushi are) and people who unwittingly cross pass with them. Some of the episodes can get pretty intense, but there’s an overall chill vibe to the series and I really like learning more about mushi… and of course seeing more of Ginko, because he is GORGEOUS!!

What are your favorite tropes in otoge? – Meg (@PearlyShelves)

I plan on doing a full article on this in the near future, so I will keep this pretty general. But, my favorite otome tropes are (in no particular order):

  • Heroines with their own distinct personalities and motivations. I’m just not a fan of the blank slate heroine.
  • Childhood friends, there is just something really cute about those romances and I am a sucker for nostalgia feels~
  • Love interests that can cook, there is something really sexy about a man that can feed me…
  • Guys that know when to shut up and let the heroine take the lead.

Do you have any preference between EOLVN or Japanese VN? If so why? Who are some of your favourite VNdevs?  – AdoxTalks

This one might be a bit obvious (or maybe not), but in recent years I’ve been much more drawn to EOLVNs over Japanese otome games/VNs. The reason for this is very simple—I’m not Japanese, so there are some cultural norms that I just don’t relate to. Western games tend to have more defined female protagonists who seem to have much more agency in their stories. They aren’t just self insert POV characters, rather they’re active participants in the story.

Trope heavy love interests is a universal concept, but I like that there is a great deal more variety in the types of LIs you’ll find in EOLVNs. Also, as a Black female gamer, I like that EOLVNs tend to feature more diverse characters and LGBTQIA romance options.

Distracted Boyfriend Otome - Blerdy Otome

As for my favorite VNdevs, here are some of the indie devs who I consistently play games from:

  • Jellyfish Parade – Black female dev with imaginative stories and PHENOMENAL BIPOC representation.
  • GB Patch – Versatile game dev that likes to experiment with stories and genres (also BIPOC representation).
  • Ertal Games – Some of their story elements are controversial, but I love their range of stories and characters.
  • Lunaris Games – Immersive stories and gotta love that sweet sweet BIPOC and LGBTQIA rep!

What is your favorite otoge?  – Sharon

Collar x Malice, this is one of my fave localizations and I will sing the praises of this game for as long as I live. For more details read this and this

Who would you pick as your otome Best Boy for Real Life and Best Boy for in-game? Eg, Real Life Best Boy would be great in the real world too and is someone you’d love to introduce to family/friends, whereas In-Game Best Boy may not be so much, but he’s probably hot AF and you can’t resist that –  @SleepyProse

I wrote about this once upon a time: Swipe Right: Otome Guys I’d Totally Date in Real Life

But, if I had to pick one guy… it’s Mineo. He is the love of my life. He is my ideal man, no complaints at all. He’s the kind of guy that I could really see myself with—he’s down to earth, he has no problem admitting when he is wrong and he is just such a dork.

What was the toughest time in your five years of blogging? – Eggsandwich04

Oh wow, way to hit me the heavy question. 

Everyone has been bemoaning 2020 as the worst year in the history of forever and for many this has been a challenging year, but for me my lowest point was between 2017-2018. Real life was kicking my ass—I was bouncing between temp jobs and I cam very close to getting kicked out of my apartment, which as you can imagine didn’t help get the creative juices flowing. On top of that, I was just burned out on otome games, and the thought of playing another game filled me absolute dread. Trying to be the “first” to cover a game burned me out to the point that games stopped being fun. I was constantly taking breaks and putting this blog on hiatus while I desperately tried to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life and with this site.  

Because I never want to feel like that again, I’ve got some unofficial rules for myself: 

  1. DON’T rush through a game for a review… it’s okay not to be first, folks will still read your content. 
  2. If I’m not feeling a game, I can quit. The world doesn’t end just because I hate a game. 
  3. If I need a break, I take a break. I don’t need to explain myself, because my mental health is more important than getting a review done.
  4. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. I’m not gonna force myself to chat with folks who I just don’t vibe with… It’s OKAY to keep it casual with folks online. As long as you have your tribe (however big that is) you’re fine. 

What sort of dateable characters would you like to see more of in otome games? What sort of player characters would you like to see more of? – AdoxTalks

As far as romanceable characters, I tend to gravitate towards guys who are sweet and funny or just the megane guy, since they tend to be the most chill characters. But, I would love to see more megane characters that aren’t just the “smart one”, give me a sweet adorkable guy with glasses and I am down for the count!

diversity

When it comes to heroines, there is literally one thing I want more than anything: 

MORE BLACK AND BROWN OTOME HEROINES

But, I acknowledge that isn’t gonna happen in Japanese otome games, however *looks at indie otome games* when you broaden your horizons a bit you find that what you want often lies elsewhere… 

What would be the worst otome game for you to get isekai’d to as the heroine and why? –  Krystallina

Oh, well… can I say High School? Going through high school once was MORE than enough for a lifetime. I mean who wants to deal with immature teen boys if you don’t have to… and I would hate to have to deal with group projects and weird standardized tests…

What would you see is the key for making your blog last several years? – Pinkie

A blog is supposed to be your space where you talk about things that you love with other people who also like similar things (though a healthy debate is great every now and again). So, the key for making my blog last is writing about what appeals to me, because if I’m excited about something that really comes through in my writing… and in turn that energy resonates with folks that read what I write. 

Instead of chasing views or likes, I just write what I like, when I want. Oh, and taking breaks. Sometimes I’d rather binge all 13 seasons of King of the Hill than write a game review… I’m human. 

What has been your favourite experience in these past five years of Blogging? – Pinkie

So, there’s not a single favorite experience per se, but I love it when I get DMs or comments from other folks who resonate with what I do here on Blerdy Otome. This is going to get personal, so bear with me… but, growing up in in the south, I was constantly having my Blackness checked because I didn’t “act” like a stereotypical black person. I liked anime, manga, and playing video games and while I had friends who liked those things too, they weren’t Black like me. So I was always, kind of felt like an island. 

Love Gif

Since creating this blog, I was able to connect with so many people from all over the world and I am super grateful for all the friends I have made. But, I always get especially happy when a fellow Blerd reaches out to me to thank me for creating a space where I am comfortable being Black and liking the things that I do. It’s easy to get discouraged and feel like no one really reads your content, so those DMs and comments really mean a lot to me, because they affirm that what I’m doing here means something to someone… and it creates a space where they feel comfortable being true to themselves… 

Could you tell us something memorable that happened to you personally? (like outside this blog) an event that took place in these past five years! How is the person behind the blog? – Pinkie

Ah, well shucks… 

Well, it all kind of seems so mundane… but I got my Masters, which was definitely an experience. I’m a published author in a Public Health Journal. Um, I got to go to a Con as Press, which is a whole different experience than being a regular attendee. I got to see FLOW live in concert and boy was that an experience… FLOW defined my early anime experiences so it such a phenomenal opportunity.  I also got to see TM Revolution’s glorious abs in person~

Oh, I got to interview Luna Haruna and Konomi Suzuki–which was a HUGE learning curve what with the translators and the managers sitting right there (remind me to tell y’all about the moment of panic I had when I asked a question and everyone’s faces went serious and they ALL started talking in rapid fire Japanese…). 

I got a real job, no more temp gigs… so now I have health insurance like a real adult. But, yeah, totally mundane… 

Hello! I’m another new reader but I love your blog, you’re such a good writer! Can I ask what your day job is? Of course if that’s too personal there’s no need to answer. Congratulations on the five years and I hope there are many more years to come! – An Anonymous Fan

Awww, jeez, you’re making me blush! Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you like my site!! *virtual hug*

Oh, that’s totally an okay question. I work for a Pharmaceutical Sciences non-profit in their membership department. 

Not a question, but I recently saw on your Twitter that you were interested in getting back into the Voltage fandom and I just want to say, do it! Their recent titles are really strong, and they’re catering more to their Western audiences so we see some fun spunky heroines. I found your blog through a Voltage review (admittedly somewhat recently, so I’m a little late to the game) and I’ve been reading every post ever since. Congratulations on the five years!! (also, the strike was resolved with a good ending for everyone as far as I know. So we can support them in good conscience) – Eden

I keep saying I’ll go back, but man if it isn’t intimidating staring down my Voltage backlog… I hardly know where to start… but from what I’ve seen, the new stuff looks AWESOME, leagues ahead of their old stuff.

And now for an actual question. How did you start blogging, and how did you grow your readership? Any advice on starting? Reading this blog may or may not have inspired me to write one myself someday… – Eden

LOL you know, my blogging origin story is actually kind of funny when you really thing about it… *sits in a leather wing backed armchair*  So, this is from my Blogger Recognition Award post I wrote back in 2015: 

So I actually created this blog about a year ago, but never wrote anything! It just kind of sat there like a piece of unnamed internet dark matter, collecting dust and cobwebs (or whatever neglected pages do on the internet)…Then I started graduate school…

I’m finishing up my final year of my Masters in Global Health, which means I do a lot of research writing. Mostly about infectious disease, health policy, advocacy, and other public health stuff. Don’t get me wrong I love the health field, especially mental health in developing countries, but sometimes you just need a break! So I started this blog as a way to appease my inner procrastinator. I often get really distracted when I have assignments, the bigger the paper the worse it is, so I came up with a brilliant plan! The idea was that as long as I was going to procrastinate on that important research proposal, I might as well do something semi-productive….I mean procrastinating is fine as long as I’m writing about something.

So when I had to come up with a name for my blog I turned to TV Tropes for inspiration! The trope Nice Job Breaking It, Hero comes about when the good guy does something they think is right (ie. defeating the villain) at the time, but ultimately makes everything worst. Life is like that you think you’re doing the right thing, when you just seem to make everything worse, but the mark of a true hero is that they never give up. So despite a few screw ups here or there you just keep going, plus I like the irony of the whole thing!

Then I had to come up with something to write about, I played around with games, Pokemon, food, otome, graduate school woes, and just trying to be an adult…it was too hard to narrow down my interests to one thing so i didn’t! I write about what ever I want, mostly otome/otoge and Pokemon, but if I like something and I want people to know about it, I’ll write about it. Besides none of my friends like otome games, most think I’m crazy, but hey it is what it is…So its super nice that I can talk about them with fellow bloggers that share my love of pixel men!

Blogger Recognition Award 2015

The real answer is, I started this blog on a whim and kept with it over the years because I’m nothing if not determined… I went through a rebranding in May of last year because it was time for a change, I had outgrown my old blog name ages ago, so it only made sense to make the leap. 

As for growing readership… I’m still figuring that out myself, but one thing I recommend doing is talking to other folks who like what you like. Create a community of people that you can converse with, not just for views, but people you can really fellowship with about your shared interests. Also, you gotta be your biggest marketer. Don’t be afraid to share your works! Tell friends… because the internet is vast and at the end of the day, if folks don’t see your content they can’t read it. 

pretending to write

But the BEST ADVICE I can give you is write. Sometimes we get caught up in our own heads about things and that stops us from taking that first step. You don’t need a perfectly crafted post or idea just yet–hell I know I didn’t when I started this blog, I just wrote what came to me and the rest is well… history. I still go back and re-read my early posts and as cringey as they are… I have a special place in my heart for them (and they keep me from getting too full of myself). Hope that helps and DEFINITELY let me know when you start your site, I want to read what you create! 

Do you like youkai in otome games, as love interests? – Saeryen

Ah, yes. I really like supernatural fantasy in general and there is something really sexy about romancing a (potentially) dangerous supernatural being… Enchanted in the Moonlight and Ayakashi Gohan are some of my fave games!! 

Why do you blog? – @itseverythinganime

And closing things off with the mother of all tough questions… 

Why do I blog? You know I have been blogging for over five years and it wasn’t until recently that I had a real answer to this question. Like I said in my answer to Pinkie’s question, growing up I didn’t know any Black folks who liked nerdy stuff like me. It wasn’t until I went to Howard University that I really found my tribe. I took Japanese, joined the Japanese Culture Club (was even the president at one point), went on runs to the local Japanese Market, had anime watch parties… game nights… and even now I STILL call them up to rave about anime stuff or just to fangirl about games.

But, for a lot of folks it can feel like you’re the only one of your kind out there and even with the increased visibility of Black content creators there are still spaces where you feel like you’re alone in your fandom. During FujoCon Mouna created a Black BL Fans meetup and I remember being in awe of how many of us there truly were and I met some amazing people in the process. And now my social media feeds are filled with Black Fujoshi (and I love it). I loved that feeling of belonging and I wanted to create that kind of space here with otome games and indie games. 

I’m a 30 year old Black girl gamer who likes to play romance games in my spare time.  This is my space to be an unapologetically Black gamer with an (un)healthy obsession with games and if that resonates with you on some level, Blerdy Otome is a safe space for you to come and chat, while enjoying fun content! 


Thank YOU for the Love and Support!

I want to close things off by saying a huge thank you to all of you! Whether you’re new here or one of the folks who stuck it out with me through the awkward early years; I want you to know that I am extremely grateful for all the love an support I have received over the years.

There have been times when I was discouraged and wanted to quit, but because of you’re kind words and encouragement I was able to not just keep things going but to grow!

Whether you actively engage with my content, share my posts on social media, or lurk in the shadows, you dear readers are the real MVPs here at Blerdy Otome! And I hope that you decide to continue on this journey into the future… wherever that leads!

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Gush about cute otome boys~