Real Recognize Real

The blogroll is often the largest, most prominent — and most useless — part of a weblog. It's a great concept in theory; if a site is good, chances are that it's worth knowing whom else the author recommends to his readers. Most of the time, however, it serves as a drainage ditch for his reluctant e-friends, lest they get butthurt about being omitted. The inevitable result is a giant spamtacular penis of text running down the side with broken links and explanations like "oh, I don't really read his site, but KisamaGreg92 is in my World of Warcraft clan."

Fuck that.

NO FIRST PRIZE highlights only the rawest, grimiest niggas that's spitting online, along with a breakdown of exactly why their pages deserve your time. Every site linked is one that I actually read with some degree of regularity. This shit is OFFICIAL.


Site: Transraad Studios
What you'll get there: Literary commentary and criticism, chamillitary swag

Writer Mark Artem is an oddity — a young, talented author who is earnestly dedicated to realistic world-building and engaging storytelling in an age where self-deprecation, post-modernism and other forms of wanton escapism rule the day. His works of fiction are thoroughly steeped in the spirit of discovery and a genuine fascination with the unknown and hypothetical. Mazurek, his key work to date, is a fantasy novel with a focus on rich portrayals of military logistics, strategy and geopolitical intrigue rather than the unfortunate boilerplate tropes that one tends to associate with the genre (and zero magical or supernatural elements). On Transraad Studios, Mark shares his insights on literature modern and classic, as well as a variety of rare and legendary images. Dude's finna drop a short story collection real soon, so watch that space for the hookup.

Site: Subatomic Brainfreeze
What you'll get there: Videogame and anime nerdery, getting hype

To quote a decade-defunct proto-meme, Dave has REAL Ultimate Power. He's as good as writer as I am, but about twice as funny and ten times as personable. More than the latest mayor of Brick City, Dave is a powerhouse anime observer, dropping science about Japanese cartoons, gaming and the corresponding fandoms. Even when he's covering topics beyond my interest, like videogames, mah-jongg, or mah-jongg videogames, it's entertaining enough that I read every post. Respect.

What you'll get there: Dudes talking shit about cartoons, America's Last Fanzine

Colony Drop, the Vladimir Zhirinovsky of anime blogging, is the best team that's operating from within the system, with a record number of competent authors on staff. With the blogosphere on lock, they've recently taken it to the next level with an expansion into print media. This is where ya boi got started, and the only dedicated anime site that NO FIRST PRIZE can consider competition.

Site: fire & robot
What you'll get there: mid-fi songs. lo-fi songs. Treegirl.

This is all you need to understand why fire & robot is off the chain:

What you'll get there: See site name

For reasons that remain unclear, I have become some kind of evangelist for High School of the Dead, a manga that best embodies the venerable concept of FIERCE ANIME, so it's my duty to lace niggas with the 411. Despite a bizarre release schedule indicative of a skruggle to stay in publication, HSOTD is still, uh, undead and kicking, and is now available in full-color. TORPEDO TITS buys and scanlates the straight dope from the overpriced Dragon Age anthology, including supplemental materials, so you don't have to take it in the ass from the yen conversion rate (or settle for the low-quality, obnoxiously translated Yen Press editions) to get the latest pirated fix of LEGALITY COOL COMIC.

Site: MangaCast
What you'll get there: A glimpse at curious manga titles you'll never see published in English

Ed Chavez is marketing director and editor at Vertical, Inc., the last American publisher willing to bring unusual and off-the-wall manga stateside. MangaCast is a repository for noteworthy stuff he scopes out during the company's continuous license-hunting process. Ed is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge about the Asian comics industry, and it'd be great to see him bring more long-form coverage online. I, for one, would like to know just why he hates Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou so much...

Site: Analog Housou
What you'll get there: Live and direct reporting from the deepest nethers of the abyss

If Subatomic Brainfreeze's Dave is otakudom's Hunter S. Thompson, tripping along through the Anime Ghetto while just as depressed and weirded out by it as the average onlooker, Wildarmsheero is its Astro Boy, powered and defined by the subculture, but with a shining heart and spirit of his own. So if you've ever wanted an insider's perspective to the anime fandom, but not the repulsive personalities that dominate discussion on the topic, this is your nigga.

Site: Japanese Fashion Inferno

You might've heard of Patrick Macias from his books (or perhaps, the embarrassingly mediocre print magazine with zero editing standards and a willingness to publish anyone writing in complete sentences), but it's eminently clear that his forte is diving into the musty armpits of avantgarde Japanese fashion. Rather than rehash the same tired Harajuku/Shibuya scenes that grace the pages of a willennium overstuffed Flickr accounts, Japanese Fashion Inferno is devoted to clothing manufacturers that cater to specific social niches, from the prominent Ageha hostess fashion to more obscure ones like faux-Vato gangbangers. The payoff is quite clear, as the degree of bizarre accessorization and out-of-control Engrish eclipses anything the most devoted of the bridge-dwelling DIY enthuasiasts could ever pull off. DEATH THE POLICE.