Review 2362

Kaizoku-Ou is ostensibly devoted to the Japanese comic form, anime. As well as the blog, which is the focus of the site and runs back a year in archives, there are also some anime character sketches, a potted history of the art form in 1990s America, a few photographs, links and, strangely, the author’s resume.

The first thing that you will notice on arriving at the site is that the blog is not on the front page. Rather inappropriately this is given over to a list of updates to the site – for example, on the 18th of July the comment reads ” New blog entry, updated links section.” Furthermore, once you select an area to browse, such as the blog itself, there’s no way to get back to the first page (in the unlikely event that you would need to).

The weblog itself is well-written, though at the moment it seems to be going through a dry spell. In previous months blog entries were more regular and numerous, concerning the author’s life and personal events, as well as comments on entertainment and anime. A neat feature of each post is that it begins with a title, giving the entry a theme of sorts, followed by the writer’s mood at the time, and what he was listening to (or watching).

Most of the posts follow personal events and so it makes for good reading, going through and watching a story develop. Readers not particularly interested in anime itself will still find content worth their while; unfortunately, comments on anime are aimed at the hardcore, with some knowledge of the subject presumed.

The language and tone of the blog makes it relatively easy reading, but the site isn’t helped by the design. Older entries still have white text on black, and considering the length (and width) of each entry, the long paragraphs, the small text and line-spacing, whereas the newer ones still suffer from the usual problems you’d expect of anime sites. Individual posts don’t have permalinks, so linking to a particular story is a terribly hit-or-miss affair.

Navigation is something of a problem too. The archive links are temperamental, mostly everything is targeted at a frameset that is anachronistic to modern weblog design. Perhaps the worst part of the design is that this is supposed to be an anime-oriented site. The author has a good handle on penmanship and it is strange that he has not chosen to decorate the site proper with more of his work.

Kaizoku-Ou is missing a few items that would certainly elevate its rating above what I have given it. For a start, a design with far more eye-candy is needed to compete with other anime sites. An about section, for the site and the author, would give new readers the opportunity to learn about the site without having to start at the beginning and work forwards. Otherwise, this is a competent, interesting read that I am certain will continue to improve in the future.