Friday, January 5, 2007

Anime and Manga Reviews

In this entry, I’ll explain how my standard format for anime and manga reviews looks. Like my other review formats, these are subject to change as I see how things work (although I’ll always make sure to make a note of it if I do change my format). For anime and manga, I’ll be looking at the same basic qualities. My style for these reviews is borrowing heavily from Anime News Network’s rating system—partially because I really like their reviews, and partially because I TRIED to deviate from it, but found that their style works really well for expressing why I do (and do not) enjoy a series. However, unlike ANN, I’ll be using a 1-10 rating style, instead of letter grades.

What I’ll be looking for:

Story: This rating will show how I felt about the plot and characters. Does the plot hold your interest? Does it borrow heavily from clichés, or is it unique? If it does uses clichés, how well does it execute them? Are the characters memorable? Do they grow and change? And how about the pacing? That’s the sort of things I’ll be looking for in this category.
I should note that, for anime that focuses heavily on comedy, the ‘story’ rating will rely more on the characters and humor value, rather than the plot (which sometimes doesn’t really matter in a show along the lines of Azumanga Daioh).

Art: This rating will show how I felt about the overall style of the work, and the quality of it. For anime, this will include how smooth the animation is, the character design (can you tell the characters apart? Can you always recognize the characters?), how well the color used works, and how well the overall look is executed. For manga, this will cover the style, the quality of the art, the character design and how well the layout and drawings work together to tell the story. (Nothing bothers me more than being unable to tell what’s going on during an action scene because of how the panels are laid out, or because the art is angled confusingly.)

Overall: My overall opinion of the anime or manga. This won’t be an average of the scores, but both will be taken into account. Generally, I place more importance on the story than the art style, although the greatest plot in the world can be dragged down by horrible art. I’ll also split up my rating for the dub and the sub: good acting can raise a rating, and bad acting can lower a rating.

Also, please note: My reviews will mostly focus on one volume of the series (for example, Princess Tutu: DVD 1, or Fullmetal Alchemist: Manga 5), rather than the entire series. I will sometimes combine a review of two or more volumes if get them at the same time, though, and I also may review boxsets at times.

Now that you know what my general format is, a bit of a warning. While I will try to be objective as possible, I do have my own tastes in terms of anime and manga, and inevitably, these will probably sneak themselves into my reviews. So you know where I’m coming from, here are my…

Personal biases: I’m a big fantasy nerd (as you can probably tell), so stories that do a good job of telling a fantasy story are probably going to catch my attention. I’m also a huge sucker for good character development—if the characters are interesting and deep, and have a great character arc, I may be more willing to forgive a weak plot or setting. I tend to be more of a shoujo fan than a shounen fan as well, but not always.

My favorite anime: Fullmetal Alchemist, Princess Tutu, Paranoia Agent, Laputa: Castle in the Sky (and most of Miyazaki’s films), Azumanga Daioh

Favorite manga: Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Megatokyo (Megatokyo isn’t actually a manga, but I’m also planning on reviewing “World Manga” as well)

No comments: