Back with another editorial which I’m making into a two-part piece titled “The Problems With Anime Blogging”. I’m going to explore difficulties and conundrums I’ve seen and experienced, both writing and reading anime blogs. This week I’m starting with the writer’s perspective.
Currently, my main focus with postings is to go over, review, put up thoughts, and raise questions on a weekly basis as I follow airing series over the course of a season. Ending each season with an overall synopsis, recommendation, and (starting last season) a rating based on the typical school-grade system, with anything higher than 6.9 being a “passing” grade. The higher above 7.0 a series scores, the better it is, in my opinion, in areas such as plot, visuals, character design, comedy (when applicable), and how much it made me cry (also, when applicable). The reverse being applied to how far below 7.0 a series scored.
Now, when reviewing a series, especially in a final review and when making recommendations, I try to keep a somewhat “centrist” mindset. I think it’s best to find the good and the bad in a series. If the plot sucks, that’s a major set back, but it could find redeeming points if the visuals are top notch, or if the music was particularly well done. I’m not saying all points weight equally, but one failing area doesn’t necessarily require a failing grade overall. Even the worst scoring series on my list, “Fractale“, would receive redemptive points for the raw potential it had going in. “Fractale” was set up to be to the epitome of what sci-fi fans have been searching for, but lackluster plot developments coupled with loose ends hurriedly tied or left dangling in the final episode tore it pieces. The point being, I try not to just rant a series into the ground. Which raises the question, should I actively try to poke holes in a good series? Well, not specifically, but I usually don’t have to look far to find others’ criticisms. I can take this into consideration, and if I find them based on a logical judgement, I’ll usually include it in my final review. I’m not in the business of selling a series or dissuading someone from watching a series, but I want to present the full package that an anime has to offer, which means the good and the bad.
Some like-minded readers will say “That’s a good position to have, why call it ‘The Problems with Anime Blogging’?” The “problem” is that not all people think alike, and not all people are looking for my kind of reviewing strategy. Some blog readers simply want to see their opinions reciprocated on the internet by someone else they believe speaks for a lot of people. They’re seeking validation, if you will. It’s not nice, but the average reader is drawn to extremes, one or the other, the anime *** sucks or rules, it’s the simple truth. Now, the individual is most definitely more refined and harder to narrow down, but in general, this tends to be how the viewership falls. (The titles also tend to be more eye-catching. I mean, honestly, would you rather read “Nichijou: A New Take on Comedy” or “Guilty Crown: All Kinds of Suck!”?)
In summation, writing an anime blog, for me at least, is a balance of truth and appeal. I’m against mis-representing a series as something it’s not, but, at the same time, sometimes it’s not necessarily easy to get people to understand why certain series should be considered over others. For a while, I was only doing recommendations, using previous series from the genre to establish a profile for a viewer who would enjoy the series in question. But I’ve also found use for a numerical rating system that, admittedly, others have abused. Some may call my system too limited to accurately represent the worst/best anime, unable to adequately separate them from the mediocre, but I’ll disagree every day by reminding them that every series has at least one fan out there. If I can’t back an accusation of an anime with logic or proof, I don’t make it. While subjective opinions always play a part, it’s best to always keep in mind where they’re appropriate and where they shouldn’t be included. (There’s a reason I never really reviewed A Channel, after all.)
Until next time,