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SANC16

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How To Not Review Anime

27 MAR
2013

While I've only posted one review on this site so far (well 2 but the other was only a few lines so I thought it would be better off deleted.) I've seen plenty of anime reviews in my time and 90 or so percent of them have been bad. It's partly what put me off the anime community as a whole and led to me to go it alone as much as possible and so while I might not know how to review I sure know how not to review. I've already listed the various Anime Review Fallacies so I won't bother bringing them up again here.

Opening Your Mouth When There's Nothing To Say: If there's nothing much you can possibly say about the anime you intend to review because of the very nature of the anime itself in the time or lines you want to spend on it then either shorten how much time or lines you want to spend on it or part of the review will be pointless. You'd think this would be obvious. 

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: This is as annoying in anime reviews as it is in general. If someone can't get something through their heads the first time and they haven't the patience to spend a few minutes figuring it out then you might as well give up on them because they're not worth the effort anyway but for someone who can get it right away saying the same thing over and over again is like listening to the same song on repeat for long enough; whether or not you like it it will become annoying eventually. Repeating a few times, fine but once every few reviews; infuriating. I once saw a 10 minute review of Gundam Wing on YouTube which was in fact the reviewer negatively comparing it to Gundam X for at least 5 minutes (I gave up at that point because he had already reviewed Gundam X for 10 minutes so the picture was very much got). I'm in danger of too much repetition myself in these blog posts I know but I'll do my best not to repeat myself. It sure is boring to see a reviewer use the exact same picture every time a certain anime is brought up as it doubles the repetition, bad enough to have the same anime brought up yet again without it being the same picture.

Gush: About the only thing as bad as watching an anime just to give yourself more ammunition when pouring scorn on its fans is reviewing an anime that you like and not pointing out any flaws in it. A short message saying "I like this anime because of this that and the other" is enough or the whole thing will fall into repetition. The worst thing about gushing is dismissing even the smallest or most valid criticisms of the show as morons or snobs being biased. If you can't find a flaw in an anime you like then it means exactly that, but although you can't find it that doesn't mean it isn't there. Anime are made by humans after all and even Yoshiyuki Tomino has messed up (Garzey's Wing).

Have A Bad Review System: I even gave up on my own review systems because I cannot find a review system that gets the job done whether the anime is a masterpiece or a piece of a different kind. Nonetheless that's not to say that all review systems are equal. If how fun the anime is to watch isn't the main part of the review then you're kidding yourself if you took into account how fun it is to watch at all. The very purpose of anime itself is to amuse after all.

Not giving points for effort is unfair, even when they didn't try to make an anime that was in any way watchable time, money and effort was still spent on putting together the staff, materials and logistics plus bothering to send out copies. Effort must be rewarded even if it's not very much effort because an anime released is an anime that can be watched and whose upsides and downsides can be scrutinised and learned from while an anime that never makes it out doesn't teach many people much. 

When it comes to reviewing anime pettiness is as bad as being overly general. While the labels good, bad, OK don't quite cut it as one good anime isn't as good as another (Shinzo and Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu for example) if you subdivide the categories then you're subdividing what is already a subdivision of the review score and are getting into these details which are especially minute when you consider that your average anime goes on for 25 minutes or so a week and doesn't make it past 50 episodes.

Needless to say one's priorities must be in order. If one area being rated holds as much importance as another then you're letting one have too little impact on the total score and the other too much. While a show's animation can't mask annoying characters or a stupid plot it does play a part in the entire anime unlike the opening and ending songs which only go on for a few minutes.

Getting Off Track: As Winston Churchill said "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject". Since people are passive aggressives they talk about people behind their backs offline but on the internet they just go right ahead and lay into them because they're out of punching range. Since fanatics are the most likely to annoy people they're the majority on the internet with the result that any discussion of anything will somehow eventually devolve into an argument over politics or religion where both sides present the other as being the barbarians even though both sides try to be meaner than the other and use logic that's equally poor and as a highly opinionated person myself I've got no vested interest in pointing this out. I'm not interested in your anti-/religious views or anti-/political views being brought into an anime review any more than rugby* players would be interested in me pointing out the philosophical connotations of a spherical ball being kicked, carried or dropped. If the anime in question is an anime where religion or politics play a big part then by all means bring your views up as they will affect your viewing experience a good bit but something along the lines of "herp a derp, this anime is teh stoopid just like religion" is just flamebaiting, even worse if you ALREADY brought your views into something, then it's both repetition and flamebaiting. If you want to do a political rant (this being the internet I bet you do) then do a political rant but if you want to review an anime then review an anime, it really is that simple.

* A game similar to American football but without headgear. This has lead to some unfortunate accidents.

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