Anime and manga reviews have existed since the sixth century BC, when the first Emperor of Japan, Jimmu Tennō, watched the original Mobile Suit Gundam and wrote his thoughts on it on a scroll (“It's a bit too long, and the art is slightly outdated, but the mech designs still hold up, and the core conflict between Amuro and Char makes for an engaging story”).
Since then, everyone has aired opinions on any series they consumed, and they can range from something as short as “It’s awesome!!!!!!” to something as long as a research paper dissecting the significance of Elfen Lied’s opening song “Lilium'' (yes this actually exists). In a sea of anime and manga review sites and blogs, we have to do our best to stand out.
And we will do this through...cosplay! No, not stand out like that, we say to ourselves. We have an interesting system that will hopefully add flavour to our reviews, as well as an inherent way of making sure a wide range of tastes and opinions are represented.
Reviews are published on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of each month. Barring extreme exceptions, we will adhere to this strictly. In a review of any given title, we will review either the manga or the anime, but not both. A month can contain a mix of anime and manga reviews.
Flavour of the Month
Basically what this means is, we pick a theme for a given month. The theme can be a subgenre like ‘school life’ or ‘isekai’, a setting like ‘Britain’ or ‘workplace’, a specific aesthetic like ‘moe’ or ‘surreal’, a property of the series like ‘unfinished’ or ‘reboot’, or pretty much anything outside of overly broad descriptors like ‘romance’ or ‘shonen’. All four reviews of that month will pertain closely to the theme.
Prepare for Trouble, Make it...Triple?
Each review will, in fact, be a collection of our three writers’ reviews. This is our way of ensuring that the diversity of our readers’ tastes is covered for. Of course, there will be some points on which all three of our writers agree, and these will be collected as “Consensus Points” at the start of the review, serving as a sort of TL;DR of the reviews.
And just as there are things the three writers agree upon, there are also matters where they don’t. Chief among this is the rating system. Each of our three writers has their own system by which they provide a final ‘score’ to the title being reviewed.
It must be noted that what is said in the review is much more important than the score at the end, which is just intended to be the cherry on top of the actual review. Now, let’s hear the details of the individual rating systems from the writers themselves!
The JoJo Battsu System
“My system is intended in such a way that there should be no doubt in a reader’s mind which of two titles (to an extent and only within a theme) I personally consider subjectively better.
(A lot of it is based, of course, on viewing pleasure and could very likely change in the future.)
To that end, I have devised a composite weighted scoring system that I believe does the job. For every aspect of the anime/manga as shown below, I give them a rating out of ten.
The points within the bracket is the weightage each aspect has out of 100
Communication of ideas/philosophy(10)
Basically the genre-dependent points are points that I redistribute among categories depending on how important that aspect is to a particular title. For instance, animation would matter more to an action anime, while characters and voice acting would matter more in a drama, etcetera etcetera.
Also, I’m making a distinction between story and philosophy — the latter is a deep rooted theme that any self-respecting mangaka believes in and wants to convey through their publication. How well they do that — well, count on me to unfairly judge them!”
The Dr. Bugs System
“My system has essentially been lifted from the one used by the reviewers at Anime News Network, with a few modifications. I do not like using numbers to rate anime and manga; my viewing experience is very subjective and can’t be summarised with a number. Instead, I use a series of grades (A+, A, B+, B, C+, C, D) for each category I am rating, with an overall grade for the title as a whole. A+ means ‘fantastic, masterpiece’, B means ‘fine, mostly okay’, D means ‘throw it in the incinerator’ and the rest are somewhere in between these. The categories are:
For manga: Art, Dialogue, Story, Characters
For anime: Art, Animation, Music, Voice Acting, Story, Characters
How much these categories influence the overall grade depends on the title (eg: art, dialogue, and characters matter the most for romance manga, while only the dialogue and characters will matter the most for a comedy manga). The overall grade can look completely different from the individual category grades if I feel that the whole is better than the sum of the parts. The converse is true as well: I will almost never rate an incomplete anime or manga an A+, even if it gets near-perfect grades in all categories.”
The Emperor Penguin System
“I’m not one for serious ratings. I don’t like scoring and ranking my media. But apparently I have to do this because rules. I don’t understand these humans and their rules. Back in Antarctica we just...oh well, guess you don’t want to hear any of that. Here’s a rating system I threw together. I score titles out of 15 points, with a point distribution like this:
Visual: 3 points
Audio: 3 points
Story: 3 points
Characters: 3 points
Bonus: 3 points
Visual: 4 points
Story: 4 points
Characters: 4 points
Bonus: 3 points
The bonus points give me a fair degree of freedom with my scoring, allowing me to do such things as reassign points to important categories (more audio points for a music anime, for instance) or shore up the score of something that has reasons for a low score in a category (say, an older or low-budget anime that scores low in the visual department).”
The Request System
But hold on, you say. I don’t want to hear you smelly weebs just go about praising your favourite anime and manga. What about my favourite anime and manga? What about a theme that I’m interested in as the Flavour of the Month?
Well, first of all, we all shower. Everyday. With lavender soap. That ‘smelly’ remark was most unfair! And i-it’s not like we wanted you to compliment our fragrance anyway, b-b-baka!
But secondly, your favourite title or theme...will be reviewed! How? Just head over to the Request section and type in an anime or manga you’d like to see reviewed, or a theme you’d like to see as flavour of the month. You can also add some thoughts as to why you would like to see us tackle that title or theme. For individual title requests, we will incorporate them into the next most convenient Flavour of the Month for it.
By this, we mean that if you request us to review Naruto, but the ongoing FotM is ‘military’ and next month’s is ‘science’, we won’t be able to publish the Naruto review in either of those months, since it fits neither of those themes. But the month after that, we can set the FotM as ‘ninjas’ (which Naruto clearly fits) and then we’ll be able to review Naruto. We will also occasionally hold polls for readers to vote on the next FotM, so keep your eyes out for those!
Well, that’s all there is to see here. Time for you to check out those reviews!