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

  • du5k from One Minute of Dusk
  • Yi from Listless lnk
  • Mira from Hachimitsu
  • AceRailgun from AceRailgun
  • Leap250 from Leap250’s Blog
  • Yumeka from Anime Yume
  • SnippetTee from Lemmas and Submodalities
  • Ephemeral Dreamer from Ephemeral Dreams
  • Hoshiko from Yamaguchi Hoshiko
  • draggle from Draggle’s Anime Blog
  • Marina from Anime B&B
  • Sam from Otaku Study
  • Marrow from Anime Viking
  • Nopy from NopyBot
  • @fkeroge from Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

  • This entry was posted by Kai.

    30 thoughts on “What makes a 10/10 anime?

    1. Pingback: Blog Carnival – What Makes a 10/10 Anime? « Anime Viking

    2. it’s cool to see the carnival is inspiring more writes to create there own article on the subject.

      My rating system is quite similar to yours except that I tend to put more emphasis on the story and characters. I never used to do this but so many anime have average plots and characters that I get excited whenever the is a complex story that makes me think.

      There is not enough love for Serial Experiments Lain. :)

    3. Indeed ;D

      Likewise ;D To be blunt, soothing slice-of-life atmosphere in an anime nowadays make me dozed off D; I could only make myself awake when I’m watching info-dumping anime lol ;D

      It is underrated for sure ;p

    4. I don’t think I would hesitate to give a 10/10 as long as it lives up with the definition. I guess the problem with MAL scoring system is 10/10 is being perceived by many as “perfect” or “flawless”. Indeed it’s a perfect score, according to the rating system per se, but I don’t think it means perfect, as defined it only means “masterpiece”. And masterpiece does not necessarily mean perfect.

      • Really? I hesitated a lot. Not just with MAL but my own personal definition of 10/10 meansa masterpiece, unique and even “mostly perfect”. The fact that it IS 10/10 and not 9/10 or even 9.9/10 means that it is indeed a perfection with no room for doubts and minus, even very tiny flaws can be overlooked.

    5. Pingback: Blog Carnival ~ Earning That Coveted Perfect Score | Ephemeral Dreams

    6. It absolutely hurts me to death to give anything a ten, lol Giving it 10 means that it not only surpassed my expectations, but also was profound in some fashion. Not perfect, but profoundly different or unique in all its areas. Haven’t seen anything close to that – well, maybe one or two, but not even a few.

      Still have not seen/read anyone’s ratings that mirror mine closely, but I would say I do still look at a few similar aspects of determining the worth of a series as you do. Definitely the Constancy aspects is one, but I define it slightly more differently.

      • Same here indeed. Giving a 10/10 mark is equivalent to you scoring a 100 marks on your biology test and your mom finally won’t spank your ass. Okay, that’s a weird metaphor. Our views are pretty similar, lol. Difference and unique is a good thing indeed, an ultimate weapon for surpassing expectations.

        I don’t think I seen anyone which mirrored mine as close too, lol. I actually would love to see your definition of constancy D;

    7. Pingback: Blog Carnival: What Makes a 10/10 Anime? | Leap250's Blog

    8. That’s a lot similar to how I would critique titles, although I explained it in a different way in my post. My ratios are very different though. Execution (which I called story style) usually takes a 80%, enjoyment roughly 15%, and concept a 5%. “Technicality” is regarded as a prerequisite and “Constancy” is an variable resultant effect, so they just “kinda” counts.

      In the end, we’re one of the few “mostly objective” reviewers!

      • Ooh ratio. I didn’t thought of that. In my case, I think most of my higher ratio percentages would be at concept and execution, while lesser ones for constancy and enjoyment. And that’s a huge focus you had for execution ;D

        Ummm.. does that make me an objective-subjective hybrid reviewer? ;D

        • I don’t remember where I saw this, but someone said that it’s impossible to be a 100% objective reviewer, and I agree with that.

          When I judge a title, the execution is practically EVERYTHING, and concept only had a small weightage. Enjoyment is pretty much a modifier, but I figured 15% is roughly the difference it makes.

          • Ohh I see, well being a objective reviewer means you have to compile with every different types of viewpoints, guess that’s quite impossible.

            Execution is important indeed. I’d put a lot of level of importance there but I do think others share at least some level of importance as well ;D

    9. Pingback: Nopy's Blog

    10. You cover some good points in your article, especially constancy. It’s not something you can judge right after finishing an anime, but I think it’s one of the best ways to measure how good it was. I have to question the value of concept though. A series like Toradora would never get a high score in that area because it’s a basic love triangle (or I guess a pentagon), but I think it’s one of the greatest anime ever.

      • Yes true. I need quite some time for the anime to sink in (even if it’s actually good) for me to make a more proper judgement for the anime I watched. Yes, that’s why I said even with a repetitive concept, with good execution, it can still be as good. And I gave that show a 10/10 too, it’s certainly one of the best^^

    11. Pingback: Anime Blog Carnival – What Makes a 10/10 Anime? | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

    12. Constancy is quite important, yes. Maybe this is one of the things I subconsciously factor into my scoring. If I enjoyed it, I will most likely remember it for a long time. But I don’t think moeblobs are necessarily detrimental to a show’s constancy. I believe that the K-On! characters will be leaving a lasting impression in the anime world, for better or worse.

      • Yes indeed, if an anime is great and delivered a good constancy, you would mostly likely give it’s bad sequels a second chance coughShanacough.

        Ohh well, those are mainly from my own perspective and viewpoint, I do like them, still, but if somoneI were to asked “Are you as hardcore as before?” Then no. I certainly still like them but not as much as I used to. Moeblobs don’t deliver the constancy well enough in my opinion. And it’s only been like a little bit over 2 years, I think my fondness in it will died down completely in like 5 years probably. Again, this is mainly from my own viewpoint, lol.

    13. Pingback: Anime Blog Carnival Round-Up Post: What Makes a 10/10 Anime « Lemmas and Submodalities

    14. Pingback: Anime Blog Carnival Roundup | Draggle's Anime Blog

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    17. Pingback: Blog Carnival: Roundup | Leap250's Blog

    18. Pingback: Anime Blog Carnival Merry-Go-Roundup – “What makes a 10/10 anime?” by @fkeroge | Ambivalence , or is it ambiguity?

      • Ahh, that’s probably why anime which needs brain seems to be more popular ones rather then anime which needs only brawl (Naruto, Bleach, bla bla bla..)

    19. Pingback: Kai’s Answers To Yumeka’s Questions « deluscar

    20. Pingback: Blog Carnival ~ Earning That Coveted Perfect Score | Ephemeral Dreams

    21. Pingback: Insight to my Review System – Part 3 | deluscar

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