Returning with new domain name, new design, and possibly a Patreon

It’s been a long hiatus but I think I’m ready to revive Sport in Fiction. There is a new domain name – sportinfiction.com. (The previous domain, sportsanime.com, will redirect to the new one.) There’s also a new design using the Asuna blog theme (created by Lauren Orsiniand a simple logo & banner created by myself, although I would like to eventually replace the logo & banner with artwork drawn by an experienced artist/designer.

I have thought about launching a Patreon to go along with this revival but I haven’t committed to do that yet. I don’t like ask for funds unnecessarily and right now, there isn’t an urgent need to do so. Maybe I’ll launch after posts are published on a regular basis. Since I’m currently the only writer, potential pledged funds would subsidize the costs of accessing books, movies, games, and other media I intend to cover. If other writers are interested in pitching articles — something I am open to doing — I would like to compensate them for their work, so pledged funds would also go toward paying those contirbutors. I also want to integrate some reader interactions, such as suggestions or feedback threads, into the Patreon page and/or the website.

Going forward, I plan to look at stories from different regions and discuss how various activities are depicted in those stories, ranging from looking at a single character to analyzing an entire series.

Expanding focus from “sports” to “sports and recreation”

a stacking game and playing cards from “Waiting in the Summer”

In one of my first posts on this blog in early 2015, I wrote about what I considered when characterizing a particular anime or manga as a “sports” series. I asserted that a key element was “physical and analog effort in competition with others, usually under a set of established rules” and said that definition included traditional sporting activities — baseball, soccer, and volleyball among others — along with karuta but excluded more game-like activities such as go, shogi, card battles, and mahjong as well as non-competitive examples of martial arts.

A couple people left comments on that post asking why I separated karuta from other card games and saying that sports-focused and games-focused series “tend to share thematic threads and carry the same historical influences”. I had tried to haphazardly craft a guideline to fit the particular athletic disciplines I had already accepted as “sports” and I now regret using that method.

Almost two years later, I am revising that previous “sports” scope into a broader “sports and recreation” one that covers table games including shogi, mahjong, and go; outdoor pursuits including mountain climbing and hiking; competitive hobbies including model kit mecha battles and trading card games; and an assortment of other activities.

I plan to write many “home stretch” posts for fall 2016 anime series that have varied subjects including rugby, exercising, volleyball, shogi, wrestling, and figure skating. Expect to see those over the next few weeks.

Anime Boston 2016’s “Field Day” theme and related events

Anime Boston 2016 happens this weekend at the Hynes Convention Center starting Friday March 25th and this year’s theme is “Field Day”, inspired by an annual intramural competition event that often occurs in Japanese schools. Anime Boston previously had a general “sports” theme for 2005 and so did Fanime in 2012 but both conventions lacked significant programming around that theme in those particular years. The convention’s official YouTube channel has a number of videos showing its mascots (A-chan and B-kun) participating in various activities, some in wackier ways than others.

a moment from “Anime Boston 2016 Explains Baseball” promo video

I counted at least ten different sporting-related panels & programming items on this year’s schedule — I’ve listed them below with scheduled times, descriptions, and locations — and there will likely be a number of cosplayers and fan artists showing their love for recent series involving fictional athletes. I hope those planning to attend the convention have a safe and fun time there and in the general Boston area!
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New arrivals: SpoAni! issues 1 & 2

The popularity of high-profile sports anime has grown in recent years and generated more interest in the sports those series portray. In an attempt to get in on this boom, Shufu to Seikatsusha has published two issues of Spo-Ani!, a “sports animation magazine”, so far in the past 6 months. I received my copies of issues one & two today from Amazon Japan and had some time to flip through them.

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Two sports series on home video from FUNimation this June

The second quarter of 2015 in Region 1 home video releases just got two more sports anime additions as FUNimation announced today it plans to put out Ping Pong the Animation and Wanna Be The Strongest in the World! this June in Blu-ray/DVD combo packs featuring English & Japanese voice tracks.

Those two bring the total number of sports series with home video released currently scheduled in the next three months to five:

April 28th: Free! Season 1 DVD (sub-only; Discotek)
May 12nd: Slam Dunk DVD set 1 (dub & sub; Cinedigm)
June 2nd: Haikyu!! Blu-ray Collection 1, DVD Collection 1 (sub-only; Sentai Filmworks)
June 2nd: Wanna be the Strongest in the World! Blu-Ray/DVD Combo set (dub & sub; FUNimation)
June 23rd: Ping Pong the Animation Blu-ray/DVD Combo set (dub & sub; FUNimation)