TPAB’s Top Ten: Tips in Reviewing Anime (Part 7 of 10)

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  1. Write and Keep Writing
  2. Don’t just review popular or mainstream sh*t
  3. Do not restrict yourself to a single genre
  4. Keep a balanced opinion
  5. Don’t Fixate on the Barrier
  6. Avoid Re:reviewing

7. Try to go beyond a statement

There is a difference between a review and an opinion post. A review does more than summarize, and it should also analyze. While a review is based on your opinions and how much you like/dislike a show, you shouldn’t stop there. You should explain why, because you are reviewing a show. You are analyzing the work and rating it’s elements or overall package. I recently read a review that just said “the main problem of this show is that it is depressing and gory”. I was like “OK, so how is that bad?” Why did you claim that the anime’s depressing element is the problem? If you don’t go beyond your opinion, then it really isn’t a review. You’re just sharing your shallow thoughts on the show, and it’s the same shallow thought your reader, and the show’s potential audience, would have.

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Your review should separate yourself from the shallow thoughts everyone should have. So when you state that a show is bad because it’s depressing, then you should explain why. The statement really just shows your bias, and it’s hard to trust a review solely based on your shallow bias. I hate this, I hate that, this is awful and such doesn’t really mean much if you don’t expand on it. Of course, your explanation will still be bias but it goes beyond the shallow level. It’s no longer just an opinion post, because you’re sharing an angle on the anime people would’ve never realized. After all, a lot of shows can be interpreted in different ways and most people look to a review to see your take on the show. When you state “Kino’s Journey’s main problem is that it’s depressing” then you have to expand on it. I think I understand the guy’s shallow stance though. He personally doesn’t like depressing shows, and I bet he mostly like mainstream formulaic hero’s journey stuff. The sight of a depressing show might’ve shock him so much that he doesn’t really feel comfortable watching it. I’m fine with Kino’s Journey being depressing, but I’m mostly interested on why you would state such thing. This is a review, so where is your review?

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I would like to share my thoughts on Kino’s Journey though, because I actually rate this anime a masterpiece. The review I read is strongly negative, and it hit on points I claimed before. It’s annoying, because it felt like the reviewer was constantly on the defensive watching the show. Kino’s Journey is depressing, but there’s a beautiful reason for that. Depressing comes from the strong social commentary of the show. It captures the zeitgeist of the world, and the show flips it on its head. It gives us a glimpse on how most culture and society is pretty f*cked up, and it delivers these points through the depressing moments. For one example, Kino met three dying men on the road. He nursed them back to health, but it’s revealed that the men are actually slave traders. The depressing part is that the show implied that the men even ate the slaves they’re carting before the snowstorm hits and before Kino saved them. There it is. Kino saved a bunch of horrible people, and there’s this morality debate to be had here. Would you save bad people when you know they are bad? If you don’t know, would you still save them? The idea is depressing but, as you can see, there is something beyond the shallow “depressing story”. A reviewer should never be stuck on the shallow. Also, Kino’s Journey is a lovely piece of savory story pie so I don’t understand how people don’t appreciate its value.

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Always make it a practice to explain your thoughts. While I do understand that reviews are pretty much an opinion post on face value, you should never fall back on that. Follow up all your thoughts with an explanation, because readers can’t trust a review if it just states sh*t. I am personally guilty of summarizing a lot of stories and angle on my reviews and that is actually a wrong way to go about it. This is a shallow approach to a review, but it’s also a big spoiler bomb so I apologize for my earlier works. My reasoning before is that most people don’t go far beyond the third episode, so I would always frame the stories on the latter half to give intrigue to the show. I later learned that you can actually achieve the same intrigue without over explaining the stories. Some of my reviews are so unnecessarily long mainly because of the summarization, but I always follow it up with an explanation. Later on, I learned that you can cut the summaries and just focus on the analyzation. My approach right now is being “vaguely precise” where I hint on some aspects of the story without giving anything away. Some of my explanations are even misleading on purpose, because I want to tickle your interest. Anyways, always remember to answer the “why” that your statements point out though. “This anime is depressing” should be followed with “because…” or “an example is this” because a review should never be shallow. Never let it stay on the shallow level. You gotta go deep, and *insert sex joke here*

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Strolling on wordpress made me realize that a lot of reviewers make this mistake as well. If I see it, I will comment asking you to expand on it. I recently read a Kill la Kill review stating that the anime lacked originality, and this really bothered me. Kill la Kill’s main hook is its originality, since the story is kinda bust. I immediately commented, but my comment is waiting to be moderated. It is becoming a pet peeve of mine when bloggers don’t turn that option off. It’s used to block spam comments, but I think the spams are filtered pretty effectively now. What are you afraid of? I’m also enjoying some of the posts out there. If I comment on your blog, it means I liked what I read. So good job! I’ve seen reviews with only a paragraph though, and I really want my mean spirited nature out. I guess the comment moderation is stopping that, so I guess it’s all good. Just please go beyond a statement. Reviews are parts about the show and actually parts about you, since your bias is also being gauged by the reader. So, don’t hold back, and tell them how much you hate the new Ghost in the Shell movie. Is it really bad? Well, I’m just going to wait for it on HBO. Thank you very much.

7 thoughts on “TPAB’s Top Ten: Tips in Reviewing Anime (Part 7 of 10)

  1. Bravo! Exactly! You hit me with Giga Drill Breaker with this seventh part of truth. That’s exactly why I erased that “review” tag. They can’t be called “review”, it would be insulting in my opinion. They are merely my thoughts and reactions. I love how I am reaching enlightenment while reading your posts. Thanks for sharing these pearls.

    By the way, I didn’t find Kino’s Journey depressing at all, rather I found it… uneventful. Almost boring (pardon me, but this is merely a lowly otaku’s opinion). Main reason being the fact that it’s episodic. I just can’t really get to like episodic anime, mostly because I hate when a character is introduced just to never be allowed the spotlight once again. It also make it harder to see the growth of the MC, not to mention one could actually simply jump from episode to episode without losing too much. Naturally there are various exception at this not-really-a-rule of mine. You just make me see an old character after a while or make MC remember some old facts, and my brain will immediately score it 3 points more (out of 10). I love how inconsistent my rating method is.

    …why did I wrote that? Screw it.

    Also, I laughed at:

    >I recently read a Kill la Kill review stating that the anime lacked originality, and this really bothered me.

    I laughed really hard. I remember having pain at my jaws from being it too open for too many times when seeing the show, and then I read that. HAHAHAHAAH. Sorry. I respect his opinions. Or at least I want to try.

    • Lol, don’t hide your recent reviews though. My old ones aren’t good too, but it’s a good place to start if you really want to see improvement on how you write. 🙂
      And how dare you!! Kino’s Journey is a classic. Haha. No, I understand. A lot of people hate this show, but I have my reasons for choosing it as a masterpiece. I’ll explain in a review soon, I guess. But your remarks are valid. The episodic setup is hard to get into, but I always thought thought provoking themes make up for it.
      I’ve been thinking about why they said Kill La Kill lacked originality. It really bothers me.

      • I understood that rather than reviews, they are more reactions or shallow thoughts that arise while watching it. I may do a true review sooner or later though… more later than soon…
        I liked Kino’s Journey, I just don’t think it’s a masterpiece mainly for the episodic part. The rest was great. Funny thing is that for some shows this doesn’t apply, I still have to understand why though (see? that’s why I don’t make reviews). By the way, I weirdly love its manga counterpart (it was quite recent I believe).
        Yep, it bothers me a lot too. As someone who watched lots of series, Kill la Kill lacking originality just sounds too weird. I wonder which shows they would regard as “original”. I may find some hidden pearls, who knows.

        • Well, I’m glad my tips can help you in anyway. I still urge you to keep those posts, since you can learn from them. And if you do a review, I’ll definitely read it (as long as I’ve seen the anime XD)
          Kino has a manga? Wow, I need to see that! I’ll save my reasons for the anime being a masterpiece on an actual review. There’s so much to talk about, and its actually regarding the same points you brought up.
          Maybe they were just shocked by the fan service of Kill la Kill. The shining nipples did threw me off as well. XD

          • Yeah, thanks. I’ll keep them, just not under that holy tag, so I can read them again and laugh at my past self (that would actually be a good thing, as it would mean I improved enough to find them funny).
            I would be honoured of it, though it will be in the far future, as I’m currently on the verge of zetsubou (rather than despair, I’m just tired though, oh well. Always have time to lurk around Blogs and Reddit).

            Yep, and I have to say that it is beautiful illustrated too! It’s a joy for my eyes to read it (I don’t dislike the anime style though, it just lacked that… spark perhaps? I remember being surprised as hell when I discovered Kino was a girl, they did a good job I suppose). I would love to read your review on it, perhaps it will be able to open my eyes on its greatness (I often forget or simply don’t get many details or hidden meanings, and when I discover them through other more expert’s analyses, I have to revise my score, I think that’s good).
            Hehahaha. I laughed more than what I thought I would. That show is just too out of the norm to be not original, I wonder if they would say the same thing about Keijo!!!!! Heck, I hurt my jaw at being too surprised (with both shows).

            Well then, got to restore my energies now (sleep for 20 hours). Have a good day.

Thoughts~

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