Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

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BlueSpark
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Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby BlueSpark » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:13 am

... and yet keep going back to reading them (after I watch the respective show, not before).

I have a love-hate-relationship with reviewers.

On the one hand, I have a (almost excessively?) positive outlook on anime series in general, and seeing the shows I like get criticized isn't very enjoyable to me. What's even worse is seeing these criticisms presented in such a way that suggests they are objective truths. Which is a – in my opinion – nonsensical notion that becomes even more difficult to buy when you read clashing assessments of one and the same show like these two:

"[...] this series [Beyond the Boundary] is one of KyoAni’s weakest works" (Rice Digital)

"Oh, you thought the story of one of 2013’s best anime [Beyond the Boundary] was over?" (Kotaku)

On the other hand, I like hearing from people who enjoy the same shows I had a good time with. Some may look down on this as 'self-confirmation,' but in essence, I think everybody wants to find others who share their likes and passions. In addition, a second party may often point out particular aspects or interpretations of a show which I never thought of in the same way.

As I noted in the beginning, I tend to only check out written reviews after having watched the anime in question. Due to how opinionated reviews are (from my understanding) by default, I don't like taking other people's assessments at face value when deciding what and what not to watch.

I'd be interested in you guys' takes on the matter, though. Do you read or listen to anime reviews (aside from Otaku Spirit, for obvious reasons :P)? Are there particular sites or reviewers which you particularly appreciate?
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fragoff
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby fragoff » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:14 am

I always search for more than one source when i seek infos. I do the same with reviews.
Remember that reviews are always done from the subjective taste of people doing it. Nobody can claim judgment neutrality on appreciation.
Look at me, for exemple, i really do not enjoy mecha shows. If i watch one, there is no way, even if i try to be as faire as possible, that i will be able to judge a good mecha show the way a mecho addict would.

What is important when you seek reviews, is the number you look at. You are more likely going to get an idear of the quality of the show by looking at 10 reviews than just one.
Ultimatly, if 10 reviews say the show is bad and you still liked it, chances are the show is probably bad but hit the spot for you. Then it is all about taste.
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby DestroyerGX » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:29 pm

I also tend to do the same looking at more reviews than just one. It really is frustrating though to see people put forth their opinions as objective facts and sometimes even denigrating those having the opposite opinions. It doesn't do to believe only your opinion matters and everyone else's who's different is worth zil.

I also tend to look at reviews before watching the show to get an idea of what some people are thinking. It doesn't necessarily mean I agree with them. I mean look at Angel Beats! themanime.org rated it average, yet I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite some of its rather major flaws. Nihon Review was rather better, though still below my personal rating, which is probably a 7 or 7.5.
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby BlueSpark » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:11 am

DestroyerGX wrote:I also tend to look at reviews before watching the show to get an idea of what some people are thinking.
I've always felt it'd be a better idea to do so after having checked out the series for myself. The way I see it:

1. I avoid the potential of being spoiled.
2. I don't assume any pre-conceived notions.
3. I can better understand some of the points the reviewer is making since I've got the whole picture.

Of course, I get the appeal that reviews have for other people, but I simply find them too unreliable to draw any kind of conclusion from.

A rare exception would be a reviewer who has consistently proved to have similar tastes and standards to mine. One of these, for me, would be JV Anime Reviews, a fellow drama and romance enthusiast who tends to have a more positive than negative outlook on anime shows overall. Unfortunately for me, most of the (seasonal) series he reviews obviously don't have a dub (yet), so there's that :P.
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Chris
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby Chris » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:05 pm

For a fun thought experiment I have been kicking around the idea and would love your all take on it. It will defiantly help while I form a possible deep dive later.

1. What is analysis
2. What is critisism
3. Is there a difference if so What is the difference in the two
4. Can you have one without the other?
5. What is the appeal of critisism and or analysis?

Again this is just a thought experiment there is no wrong answer it’s more opinion based and I think it fits with this discussion.

Have fun
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BlueSpark
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby BlueSpark » Thu Oct 26, 2017 7:18 am

1. I interpret "analysis" as taking an in-depth look at... basically everything an anime does (taking animes as an example here – of course the process applies similarly to any other work of art). Trying to dig beneath the surface, point out connections between individual parts/aspects, make sense of the underlying design principles.
2. First off, I believe that "critique," not "criticism," would be the correct term here (I understand "criticism" as "pointing out the flaws in someone/something"). Critique, in my mind, is a subsequent step to analysis which tries to classify the latter's findings as varying degrees of "good" or "bad." This includes both evaluating how good the underlying ideas of the creator(s) are and how well it's "executed." To me, criticism as a concept pretty much fails by design as the perception of what is "good" and "bad" is inherently subjective. Therefore, whatever the critic points out might be completely without merit to a reader who has a different set of values/priorities/tastes.
3. Follows from my answers to 1. and 2..
4. As I pointed out in 2., I think analysis stands on its own just fine while critique is dependent on having performed an analysis first. Unless you define "critique" in a much less rigid manner (i.e. describing your 'gut reaction'), but at that point, it would be more appropriate to simply call it your "experience" with the anime in question.
5. To be honest, I don't really see much appeal in either. I prefer to consume media / pieces of art by my own standards, and don't need anybody else "explaining" them to me. At least analysis, in the best case, deals with undisputable facts – although metaphors etc. which require subjective interpretation throw that notion right out the window.
Critique reflects someone else's subjective view, which might be a great thing if the critic and the audience are perfectly on the same wavelength, but in my experience, that constitutes a rare exception to the rule. I'd rather not risk having my perception of an anime warped by someone else's opinion on it.
Of course, it can still be interesting to take a look at other people's experiences with a given show. But I definitely prefer to leave that for until after I've watched through it all myself.

Of course, I'll still gladly listen to you guys' reviews because I consider those helpful and neutral presentations rather than critiques :).
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fragoff
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby fragoff » Fri Oct 27, 2017 10:05 am

Analysis is the act of studing the subject compare to predetermined rules and codes.

Critisism (that can either be good or bad) is a judgment after an analysis to see if everything was built to fit and made a good end result.

An analyse is never judgmental and has to be done based on facts. By itself, it can exist without critisism.
A critique has to be judgmental and comes in 2 flavors:
-a critique by itself, based only on taste and opinion, regardless of analyse.
-a critique based on taste and opinion in regard of an analysis. In this case, we can talk about an enlightened critique.

Missleading reviews often comes from the first way.
Pros do critics the second way.
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Re: Why I Put Little Stake in Anime Reviews...

Postby JackTWD4th » Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:40 pm

Chris wrote:For a fun thought experiment I have been kicking around the idea and would love your all take on it. It will defiantly help while I form a possible deep dive later.

1. What is analysis
2. What is critisism
3. Is there a difference if so What is the difference in the two
4. Can you have one without the other?
5. What is the appeal of critisism and or analysis?

Again this is just a thought experiment there is no wrong answer it’s more opinion based and I think it fits with this discussion.

Have fun


1. Basically a spoiler because you dive into all the inner workings of a piece of work. Pretty much trying to air out all the ideas that pop up in your mind. I think it is a lot more fun.
2. Basically a spoiler because you list all pros and cons of a piece of work regardless of whether you like it or not. Very hard to pull off because of objectivity can easily go out the window.
3. The difference is that analysis is fun while criticism is not with the subject you like. Vice versa when you hate it.
4. Yes, you can have one with the other but sometimes they bleed into each other more often that not.
5. I guess it helps to separate the people who take in these analyses and criticisms into their groups to validate their opinions.