12 Moments of Anime #6: Saya’s Song, Google’s Hegemony

by eternal on December 20, 2009

Saya no Uta 2009


If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard of Nitro+. You probably also played Saya no Uta when it was translated at the beginning of the year.

If you have done those things, then chances are high that your mind will never be the same.

I wrote about the game when I first finished it, but it’s hard to capture the story’s psychological intensity without experiencing it first-hand. Much like Ryukishi07’s When They Cry, Saya’s twisted story is a great example of how to do psychological visual novels right. That said, Saya no Uta does drift more toward horror and fantasy than Umineko‘s mystery, but the end result is the same. For the <10 hours it will last, I would be surprised if the sound of Saya’s song does not leave your spine chilled.

– – –

It’s funny that the word “Google” always brings to mind the blogosphere these days. I have no idea how or when it started, but as some point in the anime blogosphere’s history, someone must have had the bright idea of migrating the community to Google’s services (if I had to guess, my money’s on lelangir). It would be a long, perilous journey, filled with unnamed dangers – but as they say, the grass is always greener on the other side.

(Incidentally, the migration metaphor was pitched to me by someone on Google Wave. Go figure.)

I’m sure the blogosphere has had many places to hang out in the past, be it #animeblogger or a long-forgotten forum. Twitter has also caused quite a stir recently; having a Twitter account is almost as essential as having a blogroll. However, I think the most significant and all-around beneficial change was the migration to Google Reader Shared Items.

GRSI is probably the most asked-about acronym in the community, which isn’t surprising since I don’t think it’s an official acronym to begin with. However, I’m sure the number of GRSI users in the sphere has doubled in the past year, perhaps more, and it feels as if a new “regular” joins every couple months. Without a doubt, GRSI has become the default spot for all sorts of idle chatter, akin to what an IRC channel is supposed to be – a little nonsensical to beginners, but fun for the regulars.

For what it’s worth, I once went to #TLWiki, and Moogy and his friends were talking about fruit roll-ups.

While I have not personally seen a thread on fruit roll-ups (yet), GRSI is definitely the ideal place for anibloggers to hang out and chat. The interface makes it natural to talk about blog posts and internet-related happenings, but it can allow for pretty much whatever you want. Meme-shouting, fangirling, theory-debating – it’s all up to you. The Great Google Migration is easily one of the most important events of the year from the blogosphere’s perspective, and it’s nice to have a place in the vastness of the net to call home.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Shin December 21, 2009 at 1:42 am

I feel bad for only having fapped to Saya no Uta but not actually reading it.

It’s funny sometimes how GRSI has more comments than the actual post. Feels bad man.


zzeroparticle December 21, 2009 at 2:51 am

GRSI seems to be this mythical beast that I’m not ready to commit myself into as of yet. Maybe I’ll make it a New Year’s resolution to join it or something. Maybe….


usagijen December 21, 2009 at 8:14 am

I think there’ll always be the question as to whether the GRSI unites the aniblogging community or sets it farther apart, as it tends to move the discussion away from the post itself (the blogosphere) and into the ‘GRSI community’.

Now if only Google would make the GRSI activities/discussions visible to the public…


Ryan A December 21, 2009 at 1:00 pm

I would be thoroughly amused if it was not only visible to the public, but also interactive without needing to be in the “share circle” or whatever. ^^ We could just use our blogs you know… Category Excluder plugin is awesome for creating separated channels within the same blogs… see my micro category which doesn’t feed into the main view or RSS (categories have their own rss).


Ryan A December 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm

I remember amping Google Reader shares… le sigh. I did also create something to pingback articles when someone shared them… but I think most of the community doesn’t really listen to what I have to say anyway.

btw, I don’t have a twitter, and I think it’s the most wrong thing that it is somewhat essential that it’s required to “chat” with bloggers; can read more here. It’s a closed environment that requires usership (you HAVE to use Twitter, there’s no choice)… much like Google Reader shares, but there’s a difference. Reader shares are uh, organized, the conversation happens on a shared item rather than in random bulk stream. Also, these shared item convos are often tangential and reading or not reading usually doesn’t offer much benefit to “community awareness” (or whats going on with bloggers).

Secondly, reader shares can be replaced quite easily if you realize the concept in that first link I posted. Shared items basically act as a blog lens in a similar style which Ani-Noto (and many many other non-ani blogs) uses. Let’s call it Quote, note, and trackback. If you quote, note, and trackback to an article you essentially have the same functionality; conversation can happen in comments. (Actually, it is greater functionality because the article authors can be aware of the conversation)

Anyhow… better not listen to Ryan… he thinks blogs > twitter and blogs > grsi and blogs can replace both… obviously he’s crazy.


ETERNAL December 23, 2009 at 11:11 pm

One thing that’s important to remember about GRSI is that we don’t really use it the way it’s meant to be used. Sometimes we just share individual pages (Wikipedia) or random parts of posts, and most of it isn’t blogosphere-related (although most is anime-related). It’s just an easy way to toss what you’re reading into a pool to spark conversation, not necessarily to share full aniblog posts.

That said, I still think a pingback plugin would be pretty cool, but for the most part, GRSI isn’t “formal” enough to be like our personal Ani-Nouto. The people who are serious about meta start their own meta blogs, but most of the GR discussions are on miscellaneous anime stuff. It’s only “essential” to the blogosphere because so many of us are on there.


Ryan A December 24, 2009 at 3:01 am

It’s only “essential” to the blogosphere because so many of us are on there.

This is dangerous thinking. You should reflect on that when everyone starts jumping off bridges.


ETERNAL December 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

Like with all things, it’s still up to each individual blogger to use their common sense. Hanging out in an enclosed environment does kinda encourage lazy writing and reading, but anyone who wants to do more than just “keep up” with the community will still have to do something about it. It can’t possibly replace blogs, it’s just a venue of informal discussion. Some of the regulars are completely hiatus-ridden (Owen, lelangir), but some are also blogging regularly (Omo, JP), so it’s really just up to the individual. Either way, subscription counts don’t magically rise when you’re not posting (usually).

Also, don’t forget that “essential” is in quotations. It’s only essential in the sense that going to the usual mall with a group of friends is essential – it’s the place where idle chatter happens. It’s more about communication than “formal” meta posts; even if you missed out on the discussion on the difference between Japanese otaku and Western otaku, JP found it interesting and wrote a formal post on it. No matter how I look at it, it’s closer to an IRC channel than a collective meta blog.


Ryan A December 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm

It can’t possibly _replace_ blogs, it’s just a venue of informal discussion.

Indeed, which is why I haven’t rejected it like I have other non-open channels, ie. twitter. It’s definitely a more organized channel, for one, and I feel bloggers have decent intuition when to share a post there vs sharing on their own blog… jp and omo are good proof.

IMO, the majority of discussions aren’t really that essential to the aniblogosphere, as there are quite a few tangential shared items as well as tangential discussions… they might inspire some post in the future, but being there and following the discussion shouldn’t matter that much to bloggers “outside.”

I see what’s going on there, I participate sometimes, but it’s also something that comes with a gmail account… so it’s not like I mind the extra service.

As for being like an IRC channel, the format may be similar, but the architecture is completely different unless we’re talking about private IRC channels. IRC is a completely open thing, you only need a nick and that doesn’t require an account, reg is optional.

Optional registration is huge. Allowing use of a service without registration is a massive concept, and I wish platforms like twitter (which is obviously is into user-hoarding and closing off competition such as status.net) would allow at least some form of responding without an account… I don’t want to be glued to an account for something like status-update or micro-update…. which can be done on my own open blog. Given GRSI’s sharing feature does require registration, but why should commenting require such a thing?

Going back to IRC, there’s no attachment, it’s open and dynamic. It is a real chat, as opposed to twitter (which is being used as a chat)… I wish people would go back to IRC, at least then users can come and go as they please. On the other hand GRSI is fine, the comments might be similar to irc, but the whole idea of organized sharing would just be messy if done in irc.

Twitter can be done in IRC, GRSI would just be messy.

ETERNAL December 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Interesting. I can see why being forced into making an account would be annoying, which is one good thing about how blogs and some forums are designed. The plus side is that almost everyone has a gmail and it’s easy to follow people on GRSI without sharing items yourself, but it’s still somewhat enclosed.

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