I’ve Hit a Milestone! The History & Evolution of HEYiTSZEL (*psst* Let’s Celebrate with a Giveaway!)

Hello my lovely ani-bloggers, ani-lovers and friends! I’ve hit another milestone recently, and with my OWLS post about revival, I found it to be very fitting to talk about my history, my present, and the future of heyitszel and Archi-Anime.  

 heyitszel.wordpress.com is celebrating it’s 5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!


I specifically wrote the blog address for a few reasons and not by the site name “Archi-Anime”. I thought this was the perfect time to address the renaissance that my blog has achieved, and the road to get here; so consider this my unofficial and very personal ‘revival’ post. Also, fair warning, be prepared for a lengthy post, I practically go back to the beginning of time.


I’ve been around in the blogging world for a really long time. My username HEYiTSZEL, has a long-running history, as it has has been apart of my online identity since high school, starting with the hottest form of social media at the time: AIM Messenger and from my starting days at xanga.com where I vented about school, love and everything in between. Did I have a focus, no, not really.

if you’re ever looking for old stuff that you’ve lost – check out Wayback Machine

I abandoned blogging for a long time, a little over 10 years? I started thinking about blogging again. I had some downtime and was itching to write. I actually wrote in a daily journal, but, I missed having a community to share thoughts. Xanga wasn’t a viable option at the time; its servers having shut down (they’re currently they’re trying to ramp up again). Then I happened across wordpress.com. When I signed up, I actually used a different name, in hopes to escape ‘heyitszel’. I have several blogs on this platform – some still exist but are very very inactive, or have since been deleted.


But then, I felt the need to create a new blog. The reason I chose to create heyitszel was in hopes of capturing and documenting the remaining and crucial year of my architectural education at SCI-Arc (2014); which entailed living abroad in Japan for a summer and documenting my final thesis project post-abroad program. I went with heyitszel, simply because of lack of creativity and because my personal tumblr was also tied to heyitszel and captured a lot of my architectural side. Why try to re-create a new persona? But really, it’s just a play on my actual name, if y’all didn’t know. But very few people actually call me “Zel” only you lovely people here in the ani-blogging community have adapted this moniker.

musings of a dreamer
My First WordPress layout as found by the Wayback Machine. I assure you, I had a theme, but apparently was not captured by the archive of the web.

But alas, I was too busy and consumed with the actual school work and the staying in the present of my living experience of Japan that I barely updated the blog. In the end I treated my blog like a journal, expressing my anxiety of not feeling adequate, the trials and tribulations I was dealing with in school, and my love life…I couldn’t break that cycle from my xanga days.

Failures Abound

After graduation, I thought about my blog again. Surely I’d actually have time to write about stuff now that I was a working adult. But what did I want to talk about?  I started thinking about my future: becoming a licensed Architect. I kept seeing studies about women in architecture, why you don’t see many famous women Architect’s and if you did, you saw the blatant sexism that prevails in the field, how stereotypes of women can often overshadow the actual accomplishments of women. How women that aspire to be an Architect really struggle because they often have to choose between family or career. And that irritated me. I wondered if I’d ever experience sexism, or the struggle to achieve my dreams, thus “Architecture of the Dreamer” was born.

Yes, I’m a nerd, I took a screenshot of the last phase of my blog. I unfortunately didn’t have the foresight to screenshot it in it’s original form hence I researched how to find old versions of it

But, that was a short-lived idea. I felt like it was too daunting of a task to take on my own. The idea is really great, but I didn’t have the outlets for reference and I lacked the confidence to pursue it. I started to question: Where would I start? Did I really want to go to the feminist route? Was it possible to find a way to produce works that wouldn’t sound ranty or angry of the predicament of females? Even though the problems are apparent; how could I use my voice to create some positivity? Could I offer solutions? So again, my blog was neglected as I tried to find my voice.

The idea of of the blog kept nagging at me.  I wanted to do something. I wanted to do something I would love, and that would tie into writing. I really was Handa staring at the blank canvas of a boat, struggling to bring myself to write something, anything.  But, I wanted it to be successful. I confess, at first I wanted to acquire a large viewership. I wanted the audience and lots of hits. But I needed to find my niche. What could I possibly do to garner attention? What could I write about?

Then the third phase of my blog came about. If I couldn’t talk about feminism confidently, at least I could write about architecture. Theory, Research and History are my architecture bread and butter: the past and future. I wanted to write about the bold architectural movement that was called “New Sculpturalism” because that reflected the aesthetics I was exposed to having come from that school of thought, having actually learned from the people that made up the architect’s of this movement.  I didn’t even bother changing the layout, just because the name and the idea was still the same: “architecture of the dreamer”. But still, I stared at my blank screen like Handa. Where to start? There have been countless times were I would sign-on thinking that day would be the day I started. Although, I had the idea, I couldn’t find the inspiration. 

Rediscovered Passion

During all of that and during my school years I sporadically watched anime off and on, spanning from Psycho-pass to Full Metal Alchemist and Vampire Knight and whatever else Netflix had to offer at the time. But between the weird gap between finishing school and the actual graduation ceremony, then looking for a job (also the first transition of the blog) I started picking up anime fully due to all my free time. It started again with Netflix, they had the first season of Attack on Titan, but since their offering was limited I took to google to find more ways to watch. Then I found Crunchyroll and well here we are. It started with Your Lie in April, Parasyte,-the Maxim and Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, these renewed my interest and love in anime.

I started to look more into seasonal anime, and more into upcoming shows. Started curating lists and being a complete nerd about it. So much so that I even decided to go to my first Con (KrakenCon), in Oakland in the Spring of 2016. It’s a small con, and the weekend pass was super affordable, so why not right? Just to check out what it was all about. This was certainly the beginning of my downfall into Merchandise Hell (especially with Nendoroids) – but let’s save that story for another day.

The last day of the con, I saw a familiar face. Someone I hadn’t seen since high school over 15 years ago. I stopped to say hello, even though he and I didn’t interact much during high school. He seemed completely caught off-guard. I dismissed the look on his face and asked him what he was up to. He had a ton of camera equipment on him, he said he was doing it for his blog. He even handed me his card with all his information. Intrigued, I started asking a billion questions about it, and said if he was looking for a contributor I’d love to be a part of it.

He reached out to me about a week later; we started talking about content then he added me on to his blog levelpotato.blog. It was another wordpress account, so here I was again, faced with my own blog and now his. I started writing there and found it so much fun to write about anime, so I started to think…geez, why can’t it be this easy and fun for my blog? My friend started to get busy and soon I was left writing on his blog while mine sat neglected. So, then I started to think about it: I didn’t want to abandon architecture as my focus, but I also wanted to write about anime.

The Renaissance

Now, most of you know that one of my absolute favorite anime’s is Psycho-pass. It was around this time that I decided to re-watch the series. I had an epiphany. There was something there that I hadn’t noticed before. It got me so excited, that I started drafting ideas for my blog. Why not do both? My blog didn’t have to be exclusively about architecture. Why couldn’t I could create anime content too? BUT, it was Psycho-pass that made me realize the importance of architecture IN anime. I started to research my topic, if there was a way to marry my two loves together. There’s not much out there, it was far and few between. So, I decided to go for it, thus Archi-Anime was born.

In late Summer/Fall 2016, I really got into ani-blogging under this new site name and quickly made friends. The community was so easy to talk to, and more than anything really welcoming. A lot of you also had started around the same time I had started as well, and we’ve gotten close over the year and a half of Archi-Anime’s birth.

The response I’ve gotten from creating this blog has been so positively overwhelming. First came the invite to become an OWLS member shortly after it’s inception. You can find all my posts on my OWLS page. Then I collaborated on a few pieces with a few of my favorite people:

Then I unlocked my latest and greatest achievement, starting Innominate Anime Podcast with 5 other incredibly talented charismatic people.

The Future is Bright

Suffice it to say, I think I’ve finally found my calling in blogging. I’m having a lot of fun creating content here, and engaging with all of you. I’m still finding my voice when it comes to creating opinionated content, but that’s something that’s always under improvement. I’ve had a lot of fun fangirling with my fellow bishounen compatriots over MCM, finding common ground in the strength of our wonderful women featured in WCW, exploring fantastical architecture with you on Fantasy Friday’s; to showing you the joys of finding real architecture depicted in anime via ANI-Reality, trading gossip and talking about music on Sunday, and giving you an insight on what kind of real world architecture fascinates me in short anecdotes.

Its been a long long journey to get to this point, and if you really dig deep in the blog, you’ll find those cringe-worthy posts. I could’ve easily deleted those, or hid them from the public. But I didn’t. Why, you ask? Because, like I said in the conclusion of my OWLS revival post:

Through trial and error, we find ourselves and our passions. Through trial and error we find what works and what doesn’t work. But, without trial and error, the catalyst for a renaissance will never arise.

So what lies ahead for Archi-Anime? In terms of content, I won’t be taking anything away. In fact, I will be expanding on what is here already, and also creating new content – more photos of nendoroids and figures, more merch reviews, more game reviews, the possibilities are endless! On top of all that, I’ll be trying to re-organizing. Which brings me to my special announcment!

I’m FINALLY upgrading to http://www.heyitszel.com!

And in celebration of this new endeavor of mine, I’d like to celebrate with a GIVEAWAY. Now, this is my first time ever doing one of these, so please bear with me. And I’m kind of hoping to host more of these in the future, just because, they’re fun, and I love to give stuff! But I want to establish a few ground rules to the giveaway 🙂 But first thing’s first! The Prize(s)

The Winner Will be the Proud Owner of…..*drumroll please*


*trumpet fanfare* The ENTIRE manga collection of A Silent Voice in all it’s glory!  A Silent Voice was easily one of my favorite films of 2017, and when I saw the set and a super super great deal, I could NOT pass it up. I had no intents to keep this as I already own a set. I really bought this to celebrate this milestone!

But wait! There’s More!

For 2nd place, you’ll get Your Name (Blu-ray/DVD combo) and 3rd Place because I also love this film, will get My Hero Academia, Vol. 1. Because, who doesn’t like My Hero Academia!?

Rules? What Rules!? Rules are Meant to be Broken!

Yeah, okay, no rules will be broken for this giveaway. First and foremost, I’m doing this because I wanted to show my thanks and appreciation to my loyal followers and the beloved friends I’ve made via the blog. That being said:

  • you must be a follower/subscriber to Archi-Anime
  • I’ll be using Rafflecopter to help me with this (thank you to Naja for the reference), so you have to provide a valid e-mail in order for me to contact you if you’re a winner.
  • And my final rule, your main entry to Rafflecopter is to comment with your favorite post thus far. (it’s worth the most points)
  • There are a two other questions you can answer daily to rack up your points to win the prizes:
    • 1. Name a Character that’s been featured on my blog
    • 2. Name an Anime to add to my never-ending list of anime

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

I will announce the winner here on Archi-Anime and on twitter. I will also be contacting winners directly using the email address you used to enter the giveaway. I’ll be asking for some personal information in order for me to ship it to you, and for those of you that are super worried about that, no worries, your address will be destroyed once I send out the package. This is a one time deal, I will not keep your personal information. I mean, that is, unless you wanna be pen pals. I’m up for that too!

The winner will have 48 hours to contact me after the initial email notification. If I don’t hear back from you within that time limit I will choose someone else.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to comment on this post, fill out my blog’s contact form, or email direct message me on my twitter @heyitszel

Time’s a Tickin’

As any giveaway or competition. There is a finite amount of time for which this extravaganza will be up for. So starting from  Friday January 26 12AM EST (the 26th is a special day too! Parents Wedding Anniversary), till Friday, February 2nd 12AM EST (which is also Rin Matsuoka’s B-day ROFL – my love for Free! is endless). So everyone’s got a week to rack those points up!



And Remember! You can rack points up daily! 🙂 (I’ll probably tweet about it)

I’m super excited about this giveaway, and I hope you are too! Again, I’d like to thank you all for being my followers and friends and most importantly thankful for all the support and love you’ve given me and your interest in my architectural rambles. Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Feedback? Leave them in the comments below! 😀

32 thoughts on “I’ve Hit a Milestone! The History & Evolution of HEYiTSZEL (*psst* Let’s Celebrate with a Giveaway!)

  1. This was a super interesting and enjoyable read!

    While you’ve told me before about your past blogging endeavours, I still had no idea your history with blogging and online platforms was so exstensive. And I thought I had a history! Haha.

    I think it’s really neat how you’ve managed to keep the “heyitszel” name going despite all the changes and experiences you’ve had since. Ive changed my online identity more times than I can count haha.

    I’ve also always been a huge fan of your blogs unique focus, so it was really cool to get something background into how you came to creating that focus to begin with.

    And congrats on upgrading to the unique domain name. That’s really cool in and of itself, and accompanying giveaway seems like fun!

    It’s been a real pleasure working with you on the podcast so far, and just generally chatting as friends. I look forward to seeing where your blog and everything else goes from here!

    And before I forget: Congrats on the milestone! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! Five years, congratulations on reaching this milestone. It was very interesting to read the background history of your blog. I did not realise that you had gone through so many versions of your blog. But look where you are today! I have been following you for a while now and your blog is awesome 😊😊
    Well, my favorite post was not very hard to choose. You know I love your anime reality posts, and you wrote one about one of my favorite animes, Sword Art Online. So this: https://heyitszel.com/2017/03/09/ani-reality-sword-art-online-s2/ is my favorite posts from you.
    Awesome idea for the giveaway! Congrats again, and may your blog continue for a very, very long time 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the anniversary! It’s always great when you feel like you’ve found your “calling” and a clear focus for what to write about. This was a great read, and I hope you continue to feel inspired for at the very least another five years 🙂


  4. Now that’s an origin story! This was sooo much fun. Congratulations Zel, you really did find your calling I mean you’re so good at this! And I’m so happy to have met you.


  5. Great post Zel!! it was interesting to read the background story of your blogging life and how ARCHI-ANIME came to be this awesome blog.

    One of my favorite post you write is the OWLS most from the Dreamer tour.

    Of course I had to go with an Aomine post XD

    a character you feature on your blog hmmmm you featured a lot OH Kogami!! You feature it during the anime male challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats, Congrats on 5 years! So much history, I have lots to learn from you!

    My favorite kind of posts from you are the OP/ED of the week. Some people skip the OP and ED but for me I always watch it along with the anime. My particular favorite post is https://heyitszel.com/2017/02/12/valentines-day-is-around-the-corner/ one. Ao Haru Ride is one of my favorite shoujo manga and the song was composed by Honeyworks (also one of my favorite composers) was just perfect for the show. How much I wish there was a season 2 TT, it’s been four years!


  7. Also, my favorite post (recently because you have so many amazing ones) is https://heyitszel.com/2018/01/09/goodreads-2018-reading-challenge/because I’m an avid reader myself. I’m also completing a Goodreads reading challenge this year and a “Reading Bingo” challenge to inspire me to read books I normally wouldn’t pick up. We should absolutely exchange Goodreads usernames!

    As far as all time favorite posts? I love all of your Man Crush Monday posts and our Kids on the Slope watch along posts!


  8. Congratulations on such a momentous occasion!

    Being inclusive and diverse are win wins, and much
    needed in our world going forward, so glad that you
    champion and embody those ideals in your content.

    Having to pick a favorite post would definitely have
    to be this one. A behind the scenes confessional
    is such a great idea, a glimpse at your evolution.
    It is so cool to see the variety of your interests all
    in one place, all the best for 2018 and beyond !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Zel!!! Congratulations on 5 years. It’s a great achievement and you have every reason to be happy and proud.

    Of course, this giveaway is a great way to celebrate all the people you’ve connected to through your blog. For my entry I’m going to be a little selfish and say my favorite was the final one for Kids on the Slope watch along. I had a lot of fun with the series and will always associate it with you. Congrats again


  10. Congratulations on the 5 years Zel! It’s funny because when I started blogging, I only did for a college class in 2014. I wasn’t committed to blogging until later in the year and beginning of 2015. You are a wonderful blogger!


  11. I already commented here, but I just wanted to let you know that I’m loving the new layout Zel. It is so clean and easy to navigate. Also the color scheme is a big YAS! So glad to see you have a bright new shiny blog space to create memories on.


  12. My giveaway pick:

    My favourite post of yours would most definitely be your review of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale.

    For a movie that I’d seen a lot of negativity towards, given the franchises less than stellar reception by Anime reviews and analysts over the years, it was a real breath of fresh air to see someone discuss the new film in a more positive light, even more so because of how in depth your review went compared to most.

    It was a fantastic read and I’d love to see you tackle more movies and/or series in this style in the future 😀

    Anyway, that’s my pick for the giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

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