Insight to my Review System – Part 1
I had been reviewing for awhile but what goes into my mind when I review? This had been something I want to write for a long time, basically a post about review, and also to explain my style, structure and grading system in more detail. Ideally I would link it here too, which explained just a bit, but feel like doesn’t do it justice. So here we are, and while writing this, it basically spawned 3 different posts total. Since it’s just too long, I’ll post them consecutively for the following weeks.
Spoilers in Reviews
Ideally, spoilers should not be revealed in reviews. For example, you can describe the character development rather than writing about what happened to him or her, you can critique the story like the pacing, themes and so on and not the actual events in the story. To tell you the truth, this is what I’m still not too good at-I’m especially bad during my early reviews in this regard and feel like I got better over the years. To me, writing a review is an ongoing battle to be vague yet critical, which can be especially challenging sometimes when story and twists are an anime’s main highlight. It’s certainly achievable; albeit it does takes a certain grace and skill to pull it off…
not to say I possess said grace and skill, I’m a shitty writer.
Sometimes though, depending on the stories, these spoilers really DO need to be written just in order to critique the title as a whole, if not, it’s hard to get anywhere. Stories like the one in this game, is practically based on a massive spoiler as it’s entire premise. But I feel if you really do need to reveal spoilers, you can write a warning before you get to it. It might alienate readers from the post but at least it will let people know that you care about not revealing spoilers.
The Necessity of Scoring
Some reviewers like to score the title they reviewed-some use a numerical value, while some use a more traditional school-based grading (A, B, etc…) and so on-I personally combined both of them. While some reviewers prefer not to score, and just write a summary or perhaps just a list of pros and cons of the title, I feel like scoring has it’s uses. Scoring definitely isn’t the be all and end all of a review, but it lets readers know how much you like a certain title conveniently-which is essentially similar to a summary or pros and cons, only expressed numerically.
I also think it’s perfectly fine to go back, revise and possibly change your scores as time goes on. I will make a confession here-I have actually made quite a few changes to my scores in some of my reviews like a sneaky rat. The thing about scores is that they recorded the moment that you like it, but as time passes on, our tastes may change-titles which we may not like before we can possibly grow more appreciative now; and titles which we may like before we perhaps grow more critical of it’s issues. With that being said, I feel it’s actually important to go back and revise your scores.
Objective or Subjective Review?
The short answer would be that there is no such thing as an objective review. Whether or not it’s a personal or a professional review, these reviews are basically written after experiencing the story. To that end, reviews are opinions, and opinions are always subjective in nature.
The purpose of objective reviews is to have unbiased opinions, though admittedly, objectivity is a tricky debate in reviews. Of course we can try to be as objective as possible, but complete objectivity is impossible in reviews. One way to do it is to judge an anime within a genre and not outside of it. For example, “Moe shows are boring, they have no plot and drama”, while simplified and sounds like an objective opinion at first glance, is actually a horrible criticism which clearly tell said reviewer is not a fan of moe, and is even blatantly expressing his dislike for the genre. Instead, “While there are close to no story developments in this show, the fun characters drive the show and makes it a worthwhile watch” is a better criticism which actually strives to find the positives in the show despite not being a fan of the genre.
By being close-minded and criticizing the genre (and sometimes even culture) as a whole, it ironically directs the opinion far away from objectivity. I won’t dare say watching/reviewing a title with an open mind will bring you closer to objectivity as well, but it definitely sounds like a more fairer opinion when you’re criticizing the title within the genre, and not outside of it. And really, at the end of the day, everyone has different tastes so reviews and opinions will always be subjective.
In other words, your opinion is shit.
I’m going to stop right here for now since I want these segments to be short, and admittedly, I didn’t delve too deep into any of these aspects at the moment so my thoughts may appear a bit shallow. These three topic are something I might want to revisit again in separate posts in the future, but nonetheless this post is to show that at least I’m aware of them.
So while in this part I talked a bit about some of the more commonly debated aspects of reviewing, I will finally get to talking about my style, structure and mindset of my reviews in the next posts.