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How To Critique Anime and Manga - A Review of the Reviewers

Criticism With A Smile!
So you want to be an anime and manga critic huh? Well, for all you professionals, semi-professionals, and just flat out posers, I've got your ticket, and I'm going to refrain from reviewing anime and manga, and instead review you, the reviewers.

Sounds crazy, and insane and stupid doesn't it? Well, when you stop giving a damn about what others think it makes it easy to write this garbage. LOL!

So I've been taking a long close inspection at the anime fandom, and what I've noticed is that everyone has an opinion, whether it be on manga, anime, subs, dubs or even the difference between Eastern and Western animation. Of course the internet is a huge freedom of speech playground; everyone has a voice, and all the nerds are in constant competition to be heard.

What baffles me is how all these nerds that struggle to be heard in the roar of posts, chats, message boards and YouTube comment boxes all seem to easily forget that their opinion isn't necessarily what everyone else is going to agree with. But somewhere between waking up that morning and switching on their computer; they developed a superiority attitude that knows no limits, sort of like a gestapo member that would rather force their views and beliefs on the fandom than simply voice their opinion and have fun.

The more I look, the more I find many critics and reviewers have turned their platform into more a pulpit for debating the singular parts of the fandom that they personally don't agree with. Rather than talk about the subject at hand, they use their podium to preach the hate against some aspect of the industry or the fandom that they have issue with.

So what is the point of reviewing anime and manga if everything falls under the unprecedented scrutiny of their own personal tastes?

The point is that they have some misguided concept that because they've seen a few dozen anime, or have read a few dozen manga, can recite the names of the executives of each anime studio, or recall the minuscule details of some voice actor that they are suddenly an authority on everything that falls under the category of anime and manga. Most of the time this attitude of superiority falls well on the shoulders of the elitists; but it has often proved a catalyst for the creation of snobbish ass-hole critics.

The burden of a reviewer worth his salt, is the ability of remaining mostly unbiased when offering a descriptive coherent review. Afterward, the reviewer can voice his or her personal opinion, but only so long as it's clearly understood that their opinion isn't the final authority on the subject.

This line however for a lot of the elitist critics has greatly blurred recently. They seem to meld together their collective knowledge of anime, and their personal tastes, and calculate that their opinion is superior, simply by the virtue of the amount of information they posses, or the number of shows they have watched.

Of course, one must have a good working knowledge of anime and manga to become a reviewer, or a critic. But lately it seems there are more critics than there are actual fans; and the few fans that are out there are seldom on the fence about a topic.

The critics that voice their opinion about anime, seem to believe that unless they give it a crap review, then they aren't providing some truth to the other uneducated nerds of the fandom. Which is entirely untrue. Sometimes a fan likes to know that something is actually worth while, not that every blessed loving thing in the industry is a wad of crap. To review that way, is far from realistic, and far from establishing a good reputation within the community of readers.

If I found fault with everything that comes out, then it makes me look like an overly unsatisfied prick, that no longer enjoys anime or manga. It does not make me seem refined, or superior. It just makes me look rather stupid and well more or less an idiot.

Satisfaction on a personal level for critics of anime, is one thing, but like I mentioned before, a good reviewer and critic doesn't use their podium as a forum for their own dislike of something. If I had a personal beef with Moe in anime, and I took every opportunity to announce my dislike of Moe, then eventually people wouldn't take me seriously, when I offered them my opinion of an anime. They would automatically assume that I was about to preach against something Moe related, or of course, set myself up to look smarter than I really was.

Most fans aren't really interested in our opinions of anime and manga. Probably less than 30% take what I or some other critic has said to heart. After all a good fan will find their own footing in the fandom, and not rely on what I say. But then, we as reviewers aren't trying to sell the stuff, or prevent it from being sold, we are offering a peek into some small aspect of it. And if in the long run we can educate, and accommodate the fans then we have successfully done more for the fandom, than five hundred ass-hole reviews and smart ass comments could ever do.

I'll be the first to admit that this blog is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Most of the time, my opinion is a hunk of crap, and most of the time, I am do not deal as harshly with the fans of anime and manga as I appear to.

I simply offer a laugh or two at myself and the fandom. But at some point I could take my massive amount of anime knowledge and information, and begin to wield it in such a way, that instead of reviewing and critiquing, I am belittling.

Critics that find fault with more than 70% of what they review are more than likely elitists that have a major chip on their shoulder, and want to be more important than they are. Critics that find fault with more than 90% of what they review, are just internet trolls; plain and simple. They aren't in it for the anime or the manga, and they sure as shit don't want to be entertained.

Some reviewers are only in it for the flaws. And some are in it for the glory. But a good critic, knows that there is always someone out there that will like what you hate, and hate what you like. Your attitude, your snobbish remarks, and your super massive knowledge will never stop this from being.

If you can't be mutually favorable and unsavory, then you are not qualified to be a critic. If all you do is bitch and moan, then you are probably less qualified to even be a fan. I mean seriously, why are you even here if you hate this stuff this much?

Sure it's easy to present a snarky attitude behind a nice smile, or a cute quip. But remember, you aren't the final word, or the final authority; the fans buying anime and manga consistently, while you bellyache and cry about some dumb-assed personal beef have already passed you by.

Just because you can show me pictures and copy and paste what some other fans have said, doesn't make you an authority on any subject either. I mean my God! How many hours do you really spend a day camping out on ANN or Mania hoping to scoop someone on some press release? That's not being knowledgeable, that's being retarded, since first of all, you've already been scooped, and second of all... we really don't need you to link us to a site we can get to on our own.

Copy and pasting is the most unoriginal bullshit a critic can do. It makes an moron out of the critic, and it makes the rest of us look stupid for trusting you to provide us with something worthwhile. So unless you are spamming the internet for lolz then stop that crap. It's as annoying as a jock-itch commercial.

In the end, I don't have much respect for elitist critics. I suspect them of harboring a motive, and don't trust their knowledge. Their 5,000 word reviews are self-glorifying, and vain, and their above-it-all remarks are the sorts of thing a preppy cheerleader would say before she sucks off a jock behind the bleachers. Which more than likely tells me that snobbish critics of anime and manga are just in it for e-penis, and not the fandom.

If however, you are truly devout about the fandom, the anime and the manga; then it doesn't matter whether someone likes a show you can't stand. It doesn't matter that they can watch subtitles with a few grammatical errors, or enjoy something by Ocean Studios, or Bang Zoom. If you have issue with that, then well... fuck you. That's your problem, it has nothing to do with the rest of the fans that probably spend more money on anime and manga than you, or support it like the true fans they are.

Anyone can be an Anime Nazi, but it takes a true fan to sometimes let something go, even if they deserve a beat down to the ground with a nail-bat and spiked shoes.

Comments

  1. I find myself curious as to whether there was a specific incident that inspired this piece (not that its my business if there were). ^_^;

    I think when I first got into anime, I could have been seen as an elitist, not because I loved saying negative things about anime, but more because I had this notion that there was only one way to watch anime -- my way (this after I decided that I would only watch anime in Japanese with subtitles). However, this quickly came into conflict with my own personal beliefs in freedom and I backed down and since then, the ONLY title I recommend for viewing in Japanese w/ subtitles is the canon TM!R, and that's just for accuracy sake (too many made up things and mistakes in the dubs).

    My own reviews are biased though, based on my tastes. That said, just because I am not a fan of the mecha genre, it does not follow that (1) I won't watch a mecha title (because I've watched a ton) and (2) I will watch it the same way I watch everything else, whether anime or not.

    Recently, I've had someone commenting on my blog accusing me of watching Gundam with the wrong attitude and basically saying I'm an elitist because of my reasons for wanting to watch this classic anime series. Frankly, my crew and I think this person is just a troll (or worse). Assuming this is a legitimate person, I have no clue how my reviews of Gundam are different and they provide no examples.

    My own reviews of anime and manga are the same as if I were reviewing the latest Doctor Who episode or reading some book. I try to say what I did or did not like about the story and why. If I'm really into a long-running series, then I also engage in speculation as the writer in me attempts to see where the writer(s) of the title I'm viewing/reading are going.

    Ultimately, I expect that the only ones to view my reviews are people who are interested in those specific titles, either because they are also currently reading/watching them, because they have read/watched them, or because they are considering starting to read/watch them. During the process of the review, if the subject matter warrants it (meaning I felt compelled to do so), I will go and do some research and include that in my piece.

    That's not being knowledgeable, that's being retarded, since first of all, you've already been scooped, and second of all... we really don't need you to link us to a site we can get to on our own.

    You can blame Google for this, at least in part. For the tribute of a link back to ANN or Mania (or some other site, for which Google will reward said sites with higher rankings, the poster of "ANN says..." is alerting their own readers and hoping that they will use Twitter, Facebook, or whatever to spread the word and thus raise their own Google rankings. The higher their own rankings, the more traffic they get.

    Google is a harsh mistress. I can always tell when Google drops me in the rankings based on whatever hideous formulas they use. That's because I'll have an unexplained drop in traffic of a few percentage points. Likewise, I can also tell when Google raises me in rankings because all the sudden I get a lot more traffic for no good reason. Bloggers (or whatever) are trying to do whatever they can to bump their own rankings.

    Anyway, I've got to get busy but I did want to say that I enjoyed reading this article. ^_^

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