Ah crap, I forgot it was this site’s anniversary. I usually do a “Top Ten Things I Learned” post where I put down my thoughts on my summed up years of blogging. Yeah, it takes me a week to think up that kind of post, and I totally did not prepare for it. So naturally, like a seasoned blogger, I’d bullsh*t my way out of this one, like how I conned many people in watching dubious anime they’d never give second thoughts to.
Actually, I just realized that I have reviewed a lot of anime. I’m close to four hundred, even though I really should be on my 500th by now, and I bet some of you wonder how I am able to write so many reviews for five f*cking years. So I decided to just do a list of ten tips I believe should be helpful to other anime reviewers. I mean, if you want to last as long as I do, at least, and I am legit old as a reviewer now. It’s not even funny. This list took me ten minutes to write. Of course, TPAB of 2012 would not allow such a simple post on his site, so I am overdoing it. This’ll be spread into ten parts, and I’ll try to be as smart sounding as I possibly can. Do keep in mind that this is my list though, and it’s just my opinion on reviewing anime. Everyone has their helpful tips, and I’m here to share mine.
1. Write and Keep Writing
This is fairly obvious, and this is something most bloggers will tell you if you ask for advice. This is a fundamental thing, and there are three main reasons for it. First of all, experience is the best teacher. Mistakes and failures give you meaningful experiences while successes validate those experiences. You gain mistakes when you keep writing, and you can really only grow with these experiences. I’ll be the first to tell you that I suck at grammar. I still am was write bad at doing words, but you learn from that. As my MAL editor once told me, you make mistakes when you actually put effort into something. You’re taking risks and you’re trying to grow. For a reviewer, you can only do that when you keep on writing. This is also why I don’t update my older reviews, even though they are bad to the point of cringe inducing, because I want to illustrate to other reviewers how to be a learner as well. Look at my mistakes, see my progress and actually learn from them. I still suck at grammar, but that doesn’t stop me from trying, because you can only get better as you keep writing.
Secondly, you formulate your own personal style. My review is long as sh*t to the point that you won’t read them. You’ll glance at the screenshots, and then base your decision on watching it or not around that. What you don’t know is that I did that on purpose. After writing for so long, I learned that a review should have a lot of pictures. Not just random pictures though, but actually intriguing things about the show to get people interested in them. This is a style of my review, and I developed that through constant writing. The long review isn’t just for my own ego-stroking “look at how much I can conjure up words to create the illusion that I’m smart” though. I target three types of audiences. People googling the anime to see if they’d like it, people that finished the anime and wanted to see if their thoughts are justifiable, and people that dropped it then tries to look for a reason to continue watching it. My review style targets three types of people, and I only developed a good balance simply by writing nonstop. My reviews used to be littered with spoilers, overexplaining sh*t and not enough pictures to draw people in. I corrected those mistakes by simply continuing to write. It’s not just your grammar and your knowledge of anime that you are trying to improve. You’re also improving you. Yourself.
Oh, side note, you can tell a stiff reviewer instantly. There are people that can’t loosen up when they write and they just do a check list of things to point out in their review. There are people afraid of writing long paragraphs because they might scare people away, and there are people that are just too afraid to try. The popular consensus is that this anime is good, so they try to write a positive review as well but they can’t really justify their sh*t. They don’t give us their own personal reason, and that’s really the meat of a review. The author’s own impression and reaction makes up a basic review, and it’s just a stiff review without them. Dear reviewers, your style is stiff. Improve on it.
Anyways, thirdly, writing nonstop helps you convey your thoughts in an easier way. I remember my review of Majimoji Rurumo, and I seriously did not know where to start with that. This is common with reviewing anime. The hardest part is writing the first paragraph. How do you do it? Do you just start off with your personal thoughts then expand on it, or do you gussy it up with some cute bullsh*t? I can’t tell you the answer to that. Every anime is different, and you’ll only understand how to start a review by just writing lots of them. It’s like a callous when you play guitar, or at least that’s what K-On told me. Stiff reviewers find the first paragraph especially daunting, and I understand. I’ve been there. You can really only grow when you put your mindset as a learner, and you f*cking go for it.
The same goes for conveying your thoughts. I hate my Uchouten Kazoku review, because I didn’t know how to properly convey my thoughts on the show. I over-explained and repeated the same ideas. The show is complicated to begin with, but I was afraid of stating things that doesn’t really represent the show. I was also struggling on conveying the parts I liked and the parts I hated. I was stiff. Not anymore. Now, I can describe a cat sitting on a porch on a lazy afternoon with the orange sunset hitting its fur while it stares at the human across the street dry humping a lamp post.
You imagined it. Right?
I just transfer my thoughts into writing. The words I used perfectly captured what’s in my head, and I successfully delivered it to the readers.
This is hard to do. I kid you not. Uchouten Kazoku is a novel anime, so it shifts point of view to different characters. Japanese novel also love to be overly sophisticated and complex, so this attitude of the novel is adapted in the anime as well. This was the gist of my review, and I had a hard time writing it. I was too busy trying to be specific but I also wanted to control spoilers, and it was just a mess. I still suck at grammar, but I can only tell you that continuous writing leads to continuous development, so just don’t stop. This is a golden rule in blogging. There is always room for growth, and it can be one hell of a fun ride when you look back on it.
In fact, I was awkward starting out. I don’t like sharing my personal stories before, but I feel like this site really helped me open up. I used to hate taking risks, but TPAB held my hand through all the rough parts That’s why I always mention TPAB of 2012, because he’s the brave douchebag that started this site. His vision helped me crawl out of depression, find a career I can be proud of, and actually feel like I’m doing something right with my life. This site gave my life direction, and I really only got here because of the effort I put in the past five years. Nothing heals your soul more knowing that people respond positively to your work. It feels good, so just keep writing. Improve and set new standards to reach. Focus on being better, and just keep on writing.
Just don’t stop, and more power to you.
And now, with a bottle of red bull and the greatest hits of Chatmonchy (underrated band), I’ll crank out the rest of the list in the coming days. See, BSing at its finest. I’m so good at it that I’m ashamed of myself.
- Write and Keep Writing
- Don’t Just Review Popular or Mainstream Sh*t
- Do Not Restrict Yourself to a Single Genre
- Keep a balanced opinion
- Don’t Fixate on the Barrier
- Avoid Re:reviewing
- Try to Go Beyond a Statement
- Spoiler Control takes Practice
- Prepare to Grow Cynical and Distrustful of Anime
- Trust Yourself, and Be True to Yourself