Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Holiday Giveaway Winner & 2018 in the Rear View Mirror

First of all, it's time to announce this year's winner of the Holiday Review Giveaway: Megan "Queenira" Z!

For me it has to be To Your Eternity. Its a beautiful and haunting story with great visuals.

I do keep overlooking the works of Yoshitoki Oima over here, don't I?  I swear it's not on purpose.  Anyway, I'll be getting in touch with Megan to give her prize in the next few days.

2018 was quite a year...indeed, it often felt like many terrible and strange years crammed into one.  As for the Test Drive, it's been a year of transition.  The big thing was that I started working again full-time.  Previously I had been mostly unemployed for the last two years, which gave me plenty of time to devote to reviews.  Now that I'm working again, I have a lot less time and it's taken some time to find a new normal as far as scheduling time for reviews.  That required another hiatus and some months cut short, and I never feel good about that.

On the other hand, that same new job gave me the opportunity to pick up all sorts of new books.  It gave me the opportunity to finally go to Otakon this year, where I was able to meet all sorts of new people (including one of the site's readers, whom I kept running into at the manga vendors.  Hi zawa!).  I got to reconnect with old friends from AnimeFest 2017, and connect a lot of real faces to handles from my Twitter feed.  I even managed to do a tiny bit of very specific manga journalism; hopefully in a few month's time we'll be able to see if Carl Horn keeps his word.

This was also the year that I did something I had been considering for some time: Renaissance Josei, a side blog for longer features, reviews and thinkpieces.  Sadly, much like with the Manga Test Drive, it kind of fell by the wayside as I readjusting to working full-time.  That's a shame because I love the regular features and longer reviews on there and want to do more of them.  I'd also like to do other projects, be they article pitches for other sites or panels to submit to future cons.  I'd also like to figure out some sort of new strategy to encourage my Patreon following to grow.

2019 will be Year 8 for this blog.  It will mean more reviews of course (including what will likely be the last CLAMP Month), both here and on Renaissance Josei.  It will mean more side projects and trips (including one confirmed one for Sakuracon).  I certainly have my hopes on the manga side of things: more older licenses, more josei, more BL and non-high-school yuri, and that some of AniTwitter's favorite unlicensed works finally get their moment in the sun.  Mostly I hope that 2019 will be a happier, more just, and more productive year for us all.

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