Last two posts. Let’s end this.
1. The Burnout is Real
2. Death of the Author
3. A Personal Rating Scale
4. The Influence of the Director
5. Say thanks to your lurkers
6. The Appeal of Bad Anime
7. Hitting the Wall
8. TPAB’s Personal Review Style (Comptrast)
9. TPAB’s Personal Review Style (Genre)
An anime’s genre greatly affects its review. This is the very first thing that I determine when I watch an anime. The genre sets up what it truly wants to be, and you usually have your pre-established expectations when watching a genre of anime. If this is your baseline, then the anime’s task is to see if it was able to hit its genre checklist, go below it or go beyond expectations. Now, is it really fair to determine an anime’s success in its genre? Yes, it truly is. Let’s talk about those multiple genre benders later. For now, let’s talk about the solid one or two genre types. I guess I should start by giving some good examples of shows that can be reviewed by their genre.
Romance is the easiest one to review, and frankly, the most one dimensional. It’s about two people falling in love. How can you f*ck up a story so simple? A recent review of mine about Ookami Shoujo gives you a good idea of an anime that failed below par. The romance just isn’t good. The character’s chemistry, the cute tingly moments, and the healthy supporting cast was just botched here. Romance is an easy genre. It’s just supposed to tell a love story. An anime like Akagami no Shirayukihime is a good example of how to tell a love story. We have the guy, the girl and then we just build up to a kiss. How satisfying the kiss is depends on the anime now.
Shounen is an even simpler genre than Romance. Shounen is just people fighting. It depends on the anime how complicated that has to be. It can be stupidly simple yet engagingly deep like DBZ or One Piece, or it can be sophisticated and complex like Hunter x Hunter or FMA. I’m not really sure if I’ve ever seen a bad Shounen anime before. I know they exist, but I don’t think I’ve personally reviewed one. You can make a case for Black Cat, but I guess it’s a matter of a bad adaptation than anything else. Genre-wise, Shounen rarely trips up.
Ok, let’s talk about the multiple genre stuff now. These are anime that really plays with a whole lot of toys, and the result is a clusterf*ck of things to review. In my long time, I do notice certain patterns with most anime adaptations. If you add Action, Romance, Ecchi and another wild genre then you’d often get a light novel anime. When it comes to these anime, it’s now a matter of how much LN did the anime achieve. With its ultimate goal, how much did the anime accomplish? The same goes for most VN adaptations. It’ll often be a mix of Comedy, Drama, Ecchi, Romance and some dash of Supernatural and another wild genre. I must now determine how much VN did the anime able to present. The genres are really just there for style when it comes to LNs and VNs. But, in a sense, you can say the LN and VN tag is a genre itself and now I wanna know how the anime stacked up to its genre. Oh crap, this is hard to explain.
I guess what I’m saying is that I know what to expect when I watch an LN or a VN anime. Since they’re all structured the same, like a genre, there’ll be beats and points that I wonder how the anime executed. Most LN covers 5 volumes, butchers the hell out of them and barely gives us a satisfying ending. If this is my baseline for the LN genre, then how did an anime stack up. Of course, there are also story, premise and characters to consider but the baseline starts at the very bottom. LN is a forgiving genre though, since most people are won over by the premise than anything else. The same can’t be said for VN anime. This’ll be butchered to hell, unintelligible as it progresses and it barely gives us an ending. The VN genre is honestly a headache to review, but it’s easy to dissect since there’s not much going on here anyways.
I feel like I trailed off somewhere trying to make a point. I guess the most important thing to consider is that when reviewing an anime, recognizing the genre is a big help in trying to understand it. My process often starts with discovering the genre, getting introduced to the characters and the premise, dissecting the story, comptrasting it to another anime, seeing how the anime ends its narrative and I’d rewatch the OP and ED to review the music. Pinpointing its genre is, like, the first step for me. Seeing it succeed or fail is where the thrill is.