What makes a 10/10 anime?

After seeing the project started by du5k from oneminuteofdusk and seeing that I’m a sort of reviewer myself, I immediately jump into the party.

I started reviewing anime back in late 2009, sort of a late bloomer reviewer if you will. Every reviewer has a different way to rate their own anime but the most common standard is the 1/10 to 10/10 scoring system. Each reviewer would have a different perspective on the different scores but they are generally almost the same in the end. MAL gives a pretty good example, with 1/10 being unwatchable and the 10/10 being a masterpiece.

I may not show it now but I’m honestly a strict rater of anime, those who had seen my MAL list would have realized that just using your 10 fingers will easily count the total amount of anime with a 10/10 rating. Now, a “masterpiece”, this is indeed a really complicated matter. What makes an anime a “masterpiece”? What makes an anime so flawless it deserves a 10/10? To me, there are different criteria and points which could skyrocket an anime’s rating up to the 10/10 mark.


An original concept, carving it's own special path to the top.

Concept, the ideas and premise behind an anime. With a good, special concept, you tend to make your anime “different” from anyone else, creating an original piece far cry from other anime. If some of you had watched this, Air Gear is a very good example, it’s supposed to be an anime with a sports genre. When you say “sport”, you think of basketball and soccer. Obviously enough, every viewer became doubtful when they found out Air Gear is about skating around with a pair of roller blades imbued with engines and motors. It’s an anime with both the concept of roller skating and cars combined into a sports series. The fact that it’s so contradicting makes it special in the first place. For a more present example, would be Puella Magi Madoka Magica, with it’s concept of re-materializing the magical girl genre into something completely different. An even newer example would be Ben-To. The anime has quite a ridiculous concept; fighting for survival and half-priced lunchboxes. Though the concept is ridiculous, there are indeed a lot of things you can do with such a premise. Some other examples of anime I deemed had great concepts includes Death Note, Mirai Nikki, Mawaru Penguindrum, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and Serial Experiments Lain.

Concept, is what I would like to say a “foundation of every anime.” It will be difficult to grasp the top 10/10 full rating without a good concept. No matter what kind of opinion befalls an anime, the “concept” is still the main source of everything.


A good execution of a repetition is a masterpiece in itself.

Once you got the concept down, what’s next is to “execute” your ideas and concept. I think execution is a very important aspect of anime. Even if one don’t have a good concept, if he makes a good execution, he can make his anime stands out from the rest similarly themed ones. Say Steins;Gate for example, there are certainly a lot of anime that deals with the time travel theme, but none other can did what Steins;Gate did in such a scientific, yet, unrealistic way at the same time. That is one example of a unique execution of an overused theme, making it fresh even among the other time travel themed anime. The way Gintama executes their jokes are fun and creative too, and even after watching more then 200 episodes, you can still get a lot laughs for after so long.

As anime is getting more harder and harder to grasp originality, execution could be one of the most, if not, the most important element in playing a role in creating a masterpiece.


Art and sound pleases your eye and soul.. and your 10/10 score.

Back when I just started writing reviews, I didn’t really cared about animations, music and the other more technical aspects of an anime. At best, I would download a few (and I mean very few) OPs and EDs out of admiration and that’s it. This all changed in 2008, when I watched To Aru Majutsu no Index, with their kick-ass line-up of soundtracks. To Aru Majutsu no Index also has great art and animations, which makes me more receptive to a lesser explored area of an anime. What’s more, the original character designs had to overwhelmingly good too. With a bad design, even if the characters are animated, they will still not look 100% good. The anime industry had seen an obvious potential in this direction, and had thus started to create more unique visual approaches, for example, Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Panty & Stocking and so on. I’m sure the artwork will be the main topic of discussion for these shows. There are even some anime which could probably hit the jackpot with just visuals alone, like say, Redline, for example, the literal adrenaline-driving anime movie.


The ability to last an eternity.

To me, an anime, even if it is good, needs to have the qualities to last. A good example would be Dragon Ball. Even for almost over 30 years, Dragon Ball still remains a show which is within the hearts of every anime watcher far and wide. There is not one anime fan who had not even heard of the anime titled Dragon Ball. Hate it or love it, Dragon Ball no doubt had made an epic long-lasting impression. Likewise with Totoro, it showcased a heartwarming atmosphere. It’s dreamlike and fairy-tale like scenes, had never failed to bring about the feelings of nostalgia.

There are various ways to make a long-lasting anime succeed. Though for me, moeblobs is definitely a big no-no. Not to say they are bad, they are certainly good, but they don’t last, at least from my own viewpoint. In 2009, I’m a huge fan of K-ON, always agonizing over the wait for next week K-ON episode, just to watch more of Mio and Azunyan. My fondness for K-ON easily dispersed, in a mere 2 years time in 2011. I found out that I didn’t like the characters as much as I do two years back. Other then this, there are also a lot of other moeblob shows I found to be generic at best. Although moeblob is good, what still captured my attention more is still ultimately deep plot and unique concept.


The Ultimatum - The Entertainment

Last but not least, the anime had to be enjoyable. Even with a good concept, if you can’t pull it off, it will eventually leads to bad execution and with that, leads to boredom or perhaps even a waste of time, like this one over here. Enjoyment also needs to cater the right fans too. As for me, my perspective of enjoyment had changed drastically over the years. Back then when I just started anime, I’m more of an niche anime fan, enjoying shounen actions all the time. After that, I started giving myself a chance and exposed myself to more genres, and started to prefer the more passive types of anime, in this case, a romance comedy like Hayate no Gotoku. Currently, I prefer watching “info-dumping” anime which requires racking my brain cells to the ultimate level. I also enjoy the psychological horror theme, which requires the ability to brainstorm AND the ability to withstand the horrifying atmosphere as well, which is fun in a way. Of cause, even an anime without my favorite genres in it, could still actually become my favorite, like most of Key’s anime for example. I was definitely not a fan of anime dorama before but now I’m in love with Key’s works! Including or excluding genres preference, I personally think it all comes down to how the anime delivers in the end, ultimately giving you a fulfillment of enjoyment.

My Final Thoughts
As I had generally watched every kinds of genre possible, I learned to fulfill the enjoyment of every single genres ever existed, so it is possible for me to provide a more proper and unbiased scores for different kinds of anime out there. I don’t give low ratings to a shounen just because I hate it. I like shounen but I gave one a low score because there are several reasons existed why I think it is bad. If I don’t appreciate the genre of an anime and just rate it badly, I might as well don’t rate in the first place. For another example, when I rate a mecha themed anime for example, I only rate it accordingly within the boundary of my mecha preferences, I don’t compare it to other epic anime which could possibly be a different dimension altogether, like say Clannad for example. I do this likewise with other themes too and this won’t make me give biased ratings toward any anime.

Even within the boundary though, my judgement is strict, as stated above. I look almost every corner of an anime to find flaws, and always hesitated to give a full 10/10 mark. In my opinion, a masterpiece is what sets it apart from the rest of the series. It had to be special and “unique”, giving it an edge over other anime. This can be done in various ways, either using an unique concept, applying an unique execution, used unique artworks and a lot more. I tend to prioritize with the idea of originality.

Other Ani-Blogger’s Viewpoints

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