Goodbye To Cecilia D'Anastasio, Planeswalking Cyber Sleuth And Aspiring Palutena Main

Cecilia D’Anastasio, Kotaku Senior Reporter and resident Overwatchologist, has completed her last sidequest around these parts today and is heading off to new adventures elsewhere. We’d like to wish Cecilia the best as she embarks on the newest chapter in her career and tries to sell a whole new group of strangers on the merits of binge-watching Fooly Cooley.

But in the tradition of our sister-sites, and in a first for Kotaku, we’ll be roasting her on the way out.

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Heather Alexandra, Staff Writer, Kotaku

Cecilia is one of the most driven people I know. That’s a good thing when it means chasing down a story or taking phonecalls with sources. It’s not as great when you’re over at her place with Smash Bros. on the screen, as you receive an absolute beatdown. I get it. I lost to your Sheik or whatever. Shut the hell up.

That’s only one side of the equation though, and that’s the side that folks see most. Focused, nose down. But Cecilia is also a friggin’ nerd with some type of anime statue at her desk and a propensity to cook way too many pastries and stuff when she’s nervous. Like anyone else on this leaky pirate ship cobbled from Gawker and GMG, she’s messy too. Reporter, Overwatch fanatic, excessive bread-baker. You don’t work at a place like this unless you really have a need in your bones to do this work. Cecilia has that (maybe too much!) and it will serve her well wherever she goes.

Eric Van Allen, News Editor, USGamer/Former Staff Writer, Compete

I would like everyone to know that Cecilia D’Anastasio, on the night of the Compete event in New York, attempted to brawl me in Tekken and lost, several times. But besides being a good sport, Cecilia has consistently been one of the most dogged and talented reporters in any space she chooses to investigate. She’s proven time and again that her work can move the needle of the industry, and I have no doubt she’ll continue to do so.

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This all, despite having emphatically incorrect opinions about classic Nintendo character Helix from Arms and being a self-admitted bandwagoner.

Brian Ashcraft, Senior Writer, Kotaku

While at Kotaku, Cecilia did so many important, necessary things: cover the world of video games fearlessly, help change this industry’s corporate culture, and explain to Jason Schreier that it’s “anime” and not “animes.” For that, we will always be thankful.

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Chelsea Beck, Staff Artist, G/O Media

My first real experience with The Artist Formerly Known As Cecilia D’Anastasio Of Kotaku Dot Com was working on the art for her absolutely insane Sailor Moon investigation. I remember staying late that night to finish the piece because I loved her writing and was so afraid of her. A year and a half later I’m still intimidated as hell by Cecilia’s talent (and wardrobe) but knowing she’s super passionate about bowling really lessened the blow for me, personally. Wired is so lucky to have our favorite pie-baking, inkling-maining, karaoke-loathing professional weeb and this place won’t be the same without her.

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Illustration: Chelsea Beck

Natalie Degraffinried, Staff Editor, Kotaku

Your investment in anime hot takes will never steer you wrong.

Michael Fahey, Senior Reporter, Kotaku

Cecilia would not let me call her Cecil, so what’s the fucking point to anything? When Cecil showed up on the doorstep of Kotaku tower so many long years ago, we left her there, figuring she would go away. But not, she started making calls. She started investigating ways to get into the tower. She interviewed former denizens of the tower, asking about their experience. Cecil became a defacto expert on the Kotaku tower. Then we moved to a bunker, and figured we’d take her with us anyway, why not.

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Cecil has done an outstanding job investigating the hell out of things during her time here at Kotaku, while being mostly right about anime and horribly wrong about keyboard maintenance. My wife really likes her, and I really like my wife, so I’d better play along.

I still remember the day she left, because it is today, and I am not that old yet.

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Ethan Gach, Staff Writer, Kotaku

On more than one occasion Cecilia has admitted to me, openly and free of coercion, that she likes anime. On numerous other occasions she’s propositioned me and several other colleagues to “Gather for the Magic,” a game which I understand to consist of drawing cards from a deck and displaying them in ever more incomprehensible patterns until someone pays you to stop. I think she likes Dungeons & Dragons unironically.

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These facts present a compelling case that even among a site full of people who are often paid to adjudicate things like whether Kirby has feet or Toad’s mushroom is actually a part of his head, Cecilia’s nerderdom is tough to match. There are a ton of great reporters out there, and a ton of people obsessed with going to local Smash Bros. tournaments and mercilessly three-stocking eight-year olds, but exceptionally few who can do both, and even fewer who will bring that unique constellation of sensibilities to bear on the pressing issues of the day like why Smash Bros. tournaments smell so bad.

I’ve been following Cecilia’s work since back when she was a freelancer writing brilliant stories at places like Vice, and still remember how relieved I was when, after applying for a Kotaku staff writer position and not getting it, she was the person who did and was unquestionably the most qualified person for the job. Because when she’s not writing about cartoons, she’s publishing some of the most important investigative work the gaming space has ever seen. I have no doubt she’ll continue to do so elsewhere and in the future, though likely not somewhere that also lets her post about someone stabbing their boyfriend for playing too much PUBG.

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Nathan Grayson, Staff Reporter, Kotaku

Cecilia likes to position herself as a cold, calculating professional—a distant, almost inhuman force of journalistic justice. She can be intense, seemingly distant, and I think some of that is by design. She does not like to talk about feelings. She frequently jokes about bullying people. She has, in the past, gone so far as to call herself “evil.”

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Unfortunately, I’m here to shatter that carefully crafted veneer by informing you that Cecilia is one of the nicest, most supportive friends I’ve ever had. That is not hyperbole. Life at Kotaku moves fast, and it’s not uncommon to publish something and feel like none of your colleagues even gave it the time of day. Unprompted, with startling regularity, Cecilia will drop into my DMs and compliment writing of mine that I don’t even think is that good. Nobody has ever made me feel so encouraged to pursue thorny, difficult stories and thousands-of-words-long shitposts. (Also, can we talk about how, despite her astounding reporting chops, Cecilia is also Kotaku’s secret shitpost champion?) Cecilia has been an impossibly good friend through good times and bad—and even when I’ve been a total shithead, which is a lot of the time! Never, when we first bonded years ago over shared taste in bad nerd music like The Mars Volta, did I expect that.

Granted, Cecilia also hates single-player video games, karaoke, and fun, so I do agree with her that she’s evil. This, by the way, is how I justify the fact that I still owe her $11 on Venmo for sushi we had in 2017, and I will never pay her back.

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Chris Kohler, Features Editor, Kotaku

I am not a religious man, but let me just say that as the editor of most of Cecilia’s massive investigative pieces that I am lighting a tiny candle for whoever is going to take up that mantle at her next gig. In case that person happens to be reading this, please know for your own sanity that when Cecilia says she is filing you a draft, she means that she is sending you 9,000 of what will eventually be an approximate 11,000 words. When she says she has one more phone call this afternoon for a story, she means that she will conduct no less than ten (10) more interviews for this piece before the week is over. The last time she used an Oxford comma in a draft was in 2002; it was in a third-grade essay, and upon further inspection it turned out to actually be an errant pencil shaving. The essay, titled “My Cat,” ran 1500 words.

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Don’t get me wrong; you’ll be constantly amazed at what she discovers and incredibly proud of the final product. But for at least a week afterwards, you won’t want to read anything longer than a haiku. Unfortunately, you’ll find out the next day that Cecilia had been working on another feature simultaneously the whole time, and could you check out this draft? I make these jokes because I am actually very sad that I will never get to edit one of these pieces again, so I have to pretend I hate it. She does, however, play Super Smash Bros. with all the items off and only on flat stages, which is unforgivable.

Riley MacLeod, Editor-At-Large, Kotaku

I somehow inherited the Fortnite beat from Cecilia. Convenient of her to now flee into the night and leave me with this curse until I can bite another gamer under a full moon and pass it on to them. May her future endeavors bring her less pedantic editors than me, though she had the social grace to never directly tell me to fuck off, which on occasion would not have been out of line

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Tim Marchman, Features Editorial Director, Vice/Former Head of Special Projects, Editor-In-Chief, Deadspin

A warning to future editors: Cecilia is a rather meticulous reporter, by which I mean that she re-reports her own reporting and fact checks her own fact checks to the point that you will frequently be left in the position of defending her own copy from her brutal inquisitions into its accuracy and propriety. Another warning: Cecilia will absolutely try to convince you that vaping is cool, and there’s a pretty good chance she’ll succeed.

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Dhruv Mehrotra, Computer Boy, G/O Media

Its hard to roast someone whose so good at what they do. She’s as talented as her jackets are fuzzy. I’ve never heard of “Wired”, but they are lucky to have her.

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Anna Merlan, Senior Staff Writer, Vice/Former Senior Reporter, Special Projects/Jezebel

You might know that Cecilia is brilliant, hardworking, ethical, empathetic, and kind, as well as unfairly stylish, beautiful, and cool, but did you know she should also be jailed for elder abuse? This is true. When I was departing G/Ozzzthworrpp Media, Cecilia viciously roasted the shit of me for not knowing how to use our very simple conference call system. As I am old, this is technically illegal, as was her saying things like “It’s really not that hard” and “Literally just let me show you, it takes five seconds” and “Are you even listening to me?” Reader, I was not listening and I still do not know how to use the thing. I hope the FBI will investigate Cecilia for this, and congrats to her on her new job as a foulmouthed celebrity Twitch streamer.

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Maddy Myers, Managing Editor, Kotaku

Back during the Compete days, I was talking to Cecilia about a frame data speadsheet that I was looking at for Street Fighter V, because I am one of those fighting game players who cares about learning about attack speeds and also which moves are cancellable into other moves. Do I actually do anything with this information, such as design my own combos? Not very often, to be honest, but I still like looking at data and pretending that I’m going to use it to become the smartest fighting game player in the universe.

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So anyway, Cecilia told me she never looks at frame data. This is messed up to me.

I know Cecilia is going to have some free time on her hands in between leaving this job and starting her next one. I think she should spend that time looking at the frame data for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Of course, Cecilia is already very good at Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. In fact, she is significantly better at it than I am, and should not take any advice from me. But also, she should, because imagine how much better she could be if she understood frame data.

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Molly Osberg, Senior Reporter, Jezebel

One time Cecilia and I were up for the same award and I was so completely relieved when she won: She’s just that goddamn good. I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes thinking abou

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t this and for the first time in my life I can’t think of anything mean or salty to say, she’s an uncommonly ethical and talented journalist who has been very kind to me, personally

Chris Person, Senior Video Producer, Kotaku

I’m going to allow myself to get very mushy for a second: I’m so, so proud of Cecilia. I’m proud of the work she’s done, the growth she’s experienced as a writer, and the body of work she’s leaving behind. Kotaku will be a poorer place without her, and our loss is surely her future employer’s gain. I will also miss her anime takes. That said we’re still friends and I’ll probably just hang out with her outside of work, it’s not like she’s moving to the arctic research station from The Thing.

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Anyway, Cecilia rocks. Let’s get some F’s goin in the chat.

Josh Rivera, Staff Writer, Kotaku

One of the worst things about this job is that you never really know how long you’re going to be working with the team you have. You like to think it’ll at least be like school and everyone will be around for at least the same four years, but that’s unrealistic and naive. People have lives! Change is good. There’s a Blind Melon song about it and everything.

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Outside of my admiration for her excellent work here at Kotaku, my second-most prominent thoughts about Cecilia revolve around how quickly and soundly she might kick my ass in Smash Bros., or Magic: The Gathering. She’s got this great scam going where she’s extremely hospitable to hosting a game but also unclear about how badly she plans to beat you. “I’m good at this game,” she told me once while playing Overwatch, which is about as specific as she gets. Believe it or not, this meshes very well with my personal philosophy, which is to be very vague about how badly I plan on losing.

Maybe it would surprise you, then, to learn that I have not once taken her up in a contest of wills and skills. One reason for this is one I’ve already mentioned: I thought I’d have more time. But another one is more calculated, a strategic move from a tactical genius (me): This is my long con. One where I am just the worst at every video game I play in front of everyone else all the time in anticipation of the spring of 2019 when I would meet Cecilia D’Anastasio and say aw shucks I’m bad at Smash Bros with the record to back it up, only to wait for the perfect moment (a celebrity’s birthday party, maybe Chris Evans’) to suddenly reveal myself as a Smash god incarnate.

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Alas, it’ll never happen, because Cecilia is leaving Kotaku and will never play another video game again. It’s a shame. Would’ve been a great story.

Jason Schreier, News Editor, Kotaku

There have been few things as equally terrifying and exhilarating over the past couple of years as getting a Slack message from Cecilia D’Anastasio in the middle of the day saying: “so... I got a tip.”

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A few times these messages have taken us all on wild goose chases, but they’ve also led to some of Kotaku’s best pieces, about eSports bubbles and Twitch streamers and the real stories behind Dungeons & Dragons. And, of course, to last year’s industry-shaking expose into Riot Games, an essential article whose effects are still rippling throughout the video game world today. Nothing makes me happier than hearing rumors that a company has cleaned up its act or fired an accused abuser because it was scared that there might be an article on Kotaku, and I’m proud of Cecilia for playing such a pivotal role in that accountability.

Also, she wrote about anime.

Cecilia will probably be mortified that this post even exists, but I’ll miss her a great deal and can’t wait to read what stories come from her messaging her new editors at Wired that she just got a tip and could she maybe pick their brain just for a second?

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Paul Tamayo, Video Producer, Kotaku

I’ll honestly never forgive Cecilia for that time we walked around an anime convention asking people about fan service, but there was that time we got an award for a video we worked on together from a truly prestigious organization. It’s crumpled up in the mess of my desk drawer somewhere. Cecilia’s a hell of a reporter whose work continues to impact real world change and I’m glad our paths crossed at Kotaku. I’ll most definitely be reading her over at whatever anime blog she winds up at. I have no doubt that she’ll continue to do what she does best: talk about Smash Bros. in ways I couldn’t even begin to understand. Best of luck, Cecilia.

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Stephen Totilo, Editor-In-Chief, Kotaku

I was tempted to praise Cecilia’s journalistic successes, of which there are many that don’t even involve writing about bad anime, but instead I will praise her for an even more rarified achievement: getting me to play (and enjoy) not one but three multiplayer games at her farewell drinks this week.

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Cecilia, you had a great run here. Good luck in your decision to leave Kotaku to become a professional Smash Bros. player. Weird that you’re focusing on the N64 one, but more power to you.

Ian Walker, Freelance Contributor, Kotaku

I’ve only met Cecilia in person once, but that hasn’t stopped her from being a super supportive and encouraging presence in my life over the last few years. Her work has that perfect blend of personality, humor, and sincerity that makes everything she writes gold. Cecilia is the real deal and her next home is ridiculously lucky to have her (even if Smash is her favorite fighting game).

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About the author

Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com