How to review anime (and why I don’t do it)

How to review anime and not look completely retarded whilst doing so

Okay, you want to know how to review anime. That’s great. However, it ‘s not easy to make a good review as you might think, which is why I’ve never actually finished a review and posted it here. What I’m going to go through can probably be applied to more than just anime, but I’ll try keep it related to anime since everyone likes anime. Right? RIGHT?

The first thing you’ve got to realise is that your audience is probably incompetent, especially if you’re posting your review anywhere on the internet. Remember; anime fans are bad, internet users are bad. That’s twice the usual amounts of bad right off the bat. People aren’t very open minded so if you reveal your conclusion of the anime too early on and they don’t agree with it they’ll stop reading/watching. Start off as neutral as possible and get to your points once you’ve got their interest (most people usually do this by dribbling on about what the anime is about and who it’s by or something).

Right, you’ve hopefully grasped their short attention. What do you do with it? Personally, I’d take a look at what the anime tried to achieve and how well it managed to do that. If it tried to tell an engaging story or do something new, did it? Obviously you’ll need to do deeper than just a yes or no answer, but we’ll get to that later. If it didn’t really try to achieve anything, take a look at it’s target audience and come to a conclusion as to whether or not it pleased that audience. You yourself might not have been that audience, but if it did a good job of appealing to whoever the intended audience is then you should probably praise it. Again, these are opinions but they’re not arguments just yet. You actually have to argue why your opinion is valid at some point. I’m not going to lie, this can be awful. Why can’t plebs just take your word for it already?

Before getting to your argument you need to remember a few things. First, nothing is perfect. Even the most high quality things will never be perfect. Apart from <insert waifu here>, she is perfect. Also remember to keep ‘parts’ (for lack of a better word in my current vocabulary) of an anime separate in your mind. Don’t project your opinions from one aspect onto another. Perhaps an example would be better. Just because Evangelion is a great anime doesn’t mean the animation is. Okay, it’s fantastic at times, but there are times they were obviously trying to save their budget. My point is that you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking every aspect of a show is good based on your overall opinion of the show. If you accept the flaws in the anime you’re reviewing, your overall argument will be stronger. Likewise, you shouldn’t think every aspect of a show is bad just because you thought it was a shit show (Guilty Crown has an amazing soundtrack and some nice visual, as stupid and terrible as I think the show actually is). I think this is where most people go wrong when they talk about anime (not just limited to reviews here, but almost all comments regarding anime). They’ll say a character is amazing just because they appeared in some well animated action scene. That doesn’t make the character a good one, it just means the show had some well animated action scenes. Do you understand what I’m getting at? Good. Okay, moving on.

Now for the awful part. Making valid arguments rather than conclusions. You cannot just conclude that a show did this, or excelled in that, or had an amazing thing. You cannot say something is something is good because of <reasons>. You must prove that the show did those things and is good (or bad, in some cases) with evidence and arguments explaining how. It isn’t all that hard at times. The easiest part is the evidence to back up your arguments. This can be as simple as referencing a track from the OST or showing off some of the art style or animation. It gets a little harder when you’re discussion characters and their depth/development, the writing, etc. Maybe it isn’t harder, but it takes more effort. The difficulty comes in when you have to say how this attribute effects the anime in question. How was that really good track used in the show? Was it to great effect, or was it just forced in there to make a scene seem more emotional than it actually was? If you live in the UK there’s a phrase I’m sure you’ll be very familiar with. Point, evidence, explanation. You must PEE all over your review, whilst remembering there are different audiences out there. That’s what makes a great review, taking into account who will be watching it. There is no point rabbiting on about how great Haibane Renmei is if the person reading your review is a 15 year old battle-shounen fanatic. They’re probably not going to appreciate it, and will be greatly confused when they didn’t enjoy the show that you held in such high acclaim. Consider who will be watching the show. Say things like, if you enjoy thing then you will like this other thing, however if you’re more a fan of thing then other thing may not be for you.

I don’t do any of this because it’s much easier just to call something good/shit and then if someone has an opposing opinion you can start PEEing all over them as to why their opinion is terrible.


2 thoughts on “How to review anime (and why I don’t do it)

  1. Beh, direi che si rende d’obbligo una citazione di Woody Allen riguardo la preparazione superficiale dalla quale deriva la Verità Granitica, infatti il nostro una volta disse: “Ho seguito un corso di lettura veloce. Ho letto Guerra e Pace in 10 minuti. Parla della Russia” :)

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