Anatomy of a Review

One of the main points of this blog will be to provide a place for reviews of anime.  In full understanding of the format, I have provided a skeleton of the reviews below.  This will give readers with a basis of what can be expected in each review.

I will note that I will not be using numbers here for the most part.  I have a largely complicated process by which I go from opinion to numerical value, which requires use of a spreadsheet and some look up charts.  Additionally, I strongly feel that too many numbers bog down and oversimplify the actual opinion presented.  Focus should be on what is said and whether or not such a show appeals to the reader, not whether the number presented is high.  I will provide an overall rating, scaled such that 5/10 is “average”, and a summary for those who do not have time.  I warn you now though that reading those alone will not provide an accurate depiction of the show in any sense.

For sense of scale, no show will ever earn a perfect 10 or a 0.  There is no such thing as the show that is perfect in every sense.  If there is, people will completely copy it.  There has been over a century of film and hardly agreement on what the best film is, let alone whether or not it’s the perfect film ever.  Additionally, a high rating may not mean you should watch the show.  This will be covered in other sections.

With further ado, here’s exactly what can be expected in an anime review from me.

What should I know about the show going in?  The concept is to provide an idea of the context the show was made, the history and track record of the writing and directing staff, and maybe some tidbits about some of the people who went into making the show.

Was the story intriguing?  One of the most aspects of a show is how effectively it can pull in viewers.  Often, this is done through telling a compelling story.  Can the show create a world which is interesting, expansive, and something that you can be immersed within.  A show which can create a huge world which attracts me, is internally consistent, and can actively drive the plot will be praised here.

Can I enjoy the characters?  This aspect, while part of writing, is separate from the story because there are character driven shows and story driven shows.  For example, you may have a character driven show where there is no story, but the characters interact and are dynamic, making the show attractive because how much the characters develop and change.  Conversely, there can be a strong story driven show, where the story and what is occurring around the character drives viewer interest.  The former would be actively celebrated here.

Are the animations crisp, sharp, and effective?  There are very common examples in anime media where animation is considered a relatively benign subject.  For example, Neon Genesis Evangelion manages to get by extremely effectively with a low animation budget (among other things).  However, a smooth animation never hurts.  I’m not hugely attracted to smooth animation, but because I attempt to point out all encompassing reviews, I will attempt to cover all the bases here.  I will generally apply trends of the era.  For example, in an era where going off model was popular, I may be more lenient on a show with cut and paste scenes than I would be if an anime used the same practices in an era where this wasn’t common.

Sound/Music/Voice Actors
Are the sound effects employed effective?  We have moved past the era of the silent film long ago and having good sound effects is important for immersion purposes.  Additionally, is the music suitable for the show?  Are the background sounds reasonable and do they complement the show effectively?  Finally, do the voice actors/actresses, in the language that I viewed them in (I will have this posted in this section) effective for the show?  Do they add with expertise or take away due to poor acting?

Do the above components create an enjoyable experience when placed together?  This would note whether or not the above are good, it’s important to know that they don’t independently form the show.  They all have to relate to each other and integrate to form a single product.  Some shows are capable of pulling together poor pieces if they play off each other extremely well.  And when that happens, the term “sum is greater than its parts” comes into effect.

Why to Watch
Here, regardless of perceived quality of the show, I will list why one may want to watch the show.  This will always be a sales pitch to you, the reader, as if I was part of the staff.  Every show has an audience and here I try to give you reasons why this show may be for you.

Why Not to Watch
The exact opposite.  As much as there will always be someone for a show, there will always be reasons to hold back.  If you’re not into a certain genre, it’s not likely that you want to watch a show of the genre, regardless of quality.

Personal Enjoyment
Did I like this show?  This is by far the most subjective part I’ll ever list, since it will be heavily influenced by my opinion and bias.  This should not heavily influence your opinion of the show, but if since I need to explain exactly where the final overall rating comes from so I have placed this in here.

The “executive summary” of this report.  How can this show be described in a short paragraph and a few statements?  That is the mission for this section.

Overall Rating
What, out of 10, does this show rate?  This process, and I will note this again, is fairly long winded in process since you’re creating a single univariate (single variable) statistic out of an entire show…so I won’t show the gritty details of it.  However, I will give a full number and quantify it as best I can with the areas above.


Tenets of the Blog

So, as founding author, I’ll make this clear right off the bat.

This is a blog designed to allow for writing of general anime topics. Be it the general discussion, reviews, philosophy, trope trend and usage, or fan base talk.  What I hope it will be is an excellent way for me to get stuff in writing and, if I’m lucky, let it spark discussion and so forth.

Anyways, the key point I wanted to make was that the key concepts of the blog were kept here:

– This blog will discuss a variety of topics. It will not hover in only one genre of anime or one period. Nor will it be a review site purely or an entirely light-hearted place. Nor one which only talks about deep conceptual ideas. If you’re a fan, you’ll find something interesting.

– This blog will stay PG-13 (or so).

– This blog will remain legal. Sites for streaming will be removed.

– This blog will actively cultivate a friendly environment, but will also be a place for discussion. There will be occasional reviews which will contradict popular opinion and some topics will not be interpreted the same way, but the openness of discussion will also be kept key.

– This blog will not tolerate trolling. Period.

– This blog will encourage fun. Anime is entertainment after all.

And that’s about it.  Blogs tend to be hard to control, but I will try to keep as close to this as possible.