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Anime Blog Carnival – So What Makes a 10/10 Anime?

by SamJanuary 9, 2012

Welcome to the first ever Blog Carnival! The Blog Carnival is a project created by du5k of the anime blog One Minute of Dusk in order to generate discussion between a number of sites who post news about and review anime titles. This also sets out to showcase the diverse opinions between the 14 writers (14+ hopefully in future events) in participation in terms of many topics. The first topic at hand will cover just what makes an anime 10/10 or in the case of this site, an S Rank. As what I might consider a D is someone else’s 10/10 while what I consider and S is someone elses 2/10, I encourage to check out the other participants posts on their respective site:

Ace Railgun by AceRailgun (Article)
Anime B&B by Marina (Article)
Anime Viking by Marow (Article)
Draggle’s Anime Blog by Draggle (Article)
Ephemeral Dreams  by Ephemeral Dreamer (Article)
Hachimitsu by Mira (Article)
Leap250’s Blog by Leap250 (Article)
Lemmas and Submodalities by SnippetTee (Article)
Listless Ink by Yi
Mainichi Anime Yume by Yumeka (Article)
Nopy’s Blog by Nopy (Article)
One Minute of Dusk by du5k (Article)
The Otaku’s Study by Sam (You are Reading it!)
World of Yamaguchi Hoshiko by hoshiko (Article)

All the posts should be going up today in the bloggers respective time-zone and I encourage you to get involved. After discussion for a couple of days, this installment will be concluded with a summary post on the 15th January 2012. Without further delay, I shall now present to you my justification for what I would consider the perfect anime series.


Get the juice ready because this carnival is about serious discussion!

As of May 2006, I have been writing reviews in a many different styles, originally starting with episodic anime reviews which sometimes worked and sometimes failed miserably, then not reviewing any anime at all and then finally in 2011 began reviewing quite frequently entire seasons of anime, mostly those released in Australia by Madman Entertainment or Siren Visual. I have also noticed that my  standards and ideals about the perfect anime have shifted over the year as my repertoire of different genres in anime have expanded and new releases have pushed the boundaries of the older releases. Therefore I have come to my first conclusion about reviewing anime and determining if it deserves a 10/10 or not:

#1 – The criteria to review anime needs to be extended as the seasons progress, especially as one becomes more knowledgable in other genres of anime they might not have watched before. Considerations also need to be taken into account for older series. For example, Figure 17 might not have the most visually impressive designs, but given the year it was released and the work taken in detailing the environments… it is something worth considering.

So that might have been a factor to determine a scale… but what exactly is a 10/10 anime? For the series plot, it has to contribute to the genre and deliver a unique viewing experience. This goes double for series that fall under the “action” or “harem” genres which already heavily saturate the market without delivering something special. Take DuRaRaRa!! for example which won third place in my Australian Anime Release of the Year Awards. We have seen several animes following gangs in the city – to various degrees of success but adding in some unique elements including Celty, a multi-perspective plot which intermingle with each other and several more supernatural elements… really worked well. Whereas no matter how many guys get punched up into the sky Team Rocket style by a bunch of well endowed females, it just isn’t the same as something fresh!

#2 – The plot must improve upon the genre and not rely on too many of the same old gimmicks to push the story forward or  get some laughs from the viewer. Don’t get me wrong… a series could still get reviewed high for things like that, but not up to the “10/10 standard”.

This holds true to games and manga as much as it does anime…. but I do not care if there is eroge, heavy fanservice, controversial topics or the like in the animes I watch. I will even go the same way and say that I don’t care how child-oriented the series is…. either way it all comes down to how good the writing is for the target audience and how they implement it. As the above image may suggest (As well as it being carnival themed) I will use Shugo Chara as one of my examples. I have watched and read both the anime and manga for the series and while neither is perhaps to the standard of a “10/10″, it is creatively written for the intended audience (Youth) and creates that colorful and happy vibe that not all anime series targeted towards children seem to do (Though this holds true to a number of animes I seem to have watched as a kid). On the other side of the spectrum, I really did enjoy watching Kodomo no Jikan and laugh at anyone who thinks it is just a show for those who like “that” sort of fanservice. The psychological aspects of the anime and manga were brilliantly planned out and focused on the development of emotions, friendships and well… I suppose all the other stuff that came included.

#3 – Who cares if it is too childish or too adult? A proper reviewer looks at the series as a whole rather than taking everything as being aimed at their age and gender group.

Obviously I like some good designs, a decent soundtrack and a half-decent at least opening and ending sequence – as do most people, although unlike plot… I am a bit laxer with these three as no matter how good the designs are, you will not watch a 26 episode season for just them.

#4 – Design, Sound and Opening/Ending Sequences at least decent.

vlcsnap 2011 01 20 01h51m28s32 Nekomimi Mode DESU!   Moon Phase Collection Review

Perhaps the most important element to any decision for any review score is enjoyability. It is hard to pin-point an exact definition of how enjoyable a series is as it varies between series, but I would define it as getting what I would expect out of the series and more. A series such as Moon Phase was enjoyable because it offered exactly what it promised on the box “A lighthearted and spunky tale full of endearing and silly characters. This series flaunts a style of tongue-in-cheek comedy that you can really sink your fangs into.” and sure there were a few dry jokes here and there but it kept to what it did best while providing an interesting plot and characters. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Ghost Hound provided an intellectually stimulating plot that was enjoyable in a completely non-Haha funny way. There is a risk of series taking it too far and becoming too reliant on their promoted features such as Needless (Action and Fanservice) which failed to deliver even a basic well planned plot over 26 episodes of non-stop over the top action.

Another way to look at it – is if I come out of it feeling hyped and perhaps even wanting to re-watch it straight away, hound the licensor for the next season or email the studio behind the series to “Get their backsides into making a new season”.. than this is what I would consider a 10/10 or at least a 9/10 title. How to tell if I enjoyed a title? I always include a Personal Opinion score and comment in my reviews regardless of what any other criteria were scored.

#5 – At all costs… it must be enjoyable.

! BUT YOU KNOW WHAT !

While I think numbered or letter scores are great means of getting someones opinion in the matter of seconds, you will find that most reviewers really do put the time and effort into writing considerably long posts detailing  everything you would need to know about your purchase decision that cannot be summarized in one letter or number. Otherwise my criteria really depends on the series but the five above points are a basis on how I review in general. As I wrote most of this while doing some work on my laptop at uni, there might be a few things I will change over the next day or two, but please read the other participants websites and comment on their articles!

Thank you for reading my submission for the first ever Anime Blog Carnival, and hope you will read any future installments.

Sam
Your average, perhaps slightly geeky 22 year old University student who spends his days studying but his nights watching, reviewing and reporting on video games, anime and manga. Has been writing for The Otaku's Study ever since it opened in 2006 as Sam's Anime Study.
  • AceRailgun

    The carnival has made me realize that I never really post reviews. I normally just ramble about my impressions and then shut up. Adding something to my anime list is about the closest I’ve come to rating something. 

    #5 is most important In my eyes as well. Without being entertaining is something even worth watching or reading.

    #4 probably matters least to me as I can put up with almost any art style and music choice. 

    • http://www.otakustudy.com/ Sam

      I agree with your thoughts on #4, for the most part I have not really seen too bad an animation in anime although having better designs always contributes to the overall “excitement” factor.

      • http://deluscar.wordpress.com/ Kai

        And the “excitement” factor would contribute to the “masterpiece” factor xD

        Well, I nowdays give quite a lot of emphasis on #4 actually. Sometimes during an anime, I perked up my ears and try to have a listen at the background music, justifying the musical level of an anime.

        Of cause, #5. I agree with this as well. Enjoyment is a very important factor when watching anime.

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  • http://yamaguchihoshiko.wordpress.com/ Hoshiko

    I would also expect my own standards to change over the next few years, perhaps adding more to my own list of criteria at the moment. After seeing so many anime, I’m sure I’ll discover something that will make me go “wow, that’s it! that’s the way I like the story goes” or something like that.

    You’ve made a good point here – to consider the year of release. I’ve never considered that. I probably should, however I don’t think I have a good knowledge of what anime of the period looks like in order to be able to come out with a more appropriate score.

  • Jeremy Lim

    First, a little 

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  • http://twitter.com/Yumeka36 Alia/AnimeYume.com

    You brought up good points that I didn’t think of, such as taking into consideration a series’ length and age, as well as how much it stands out in its genre rather than marking it down solely for being “generic.” If you read my carnival post, you also expanded on my two scoring distinctions – the head and heart scores. Your #1 and #2 points seem to relate to what I called head scoring, and your #3-#5 are closer to heart scoring =)

    • http://www.otakustudy.com/ Sam

      Can’t disagree with you there – I think a healthy mix of head and heart scores are important as well.

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  • http://www.otakustudy.com/ Sam

    Hey All,

    I will reply to everyone but currently a little bit hectic at the moment – will respond this evening :-).

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  • http://marinasauce.wordpress.com/ Marina

    I like how detailed your titles for each item on your list of criteria are :p

    One of the things I like best about your post here is that you discuss, albeit very briefly, that an anime’s intended audience and/or age group shouldn’t matter in the rating of an anime.  All too often I stumble across reviewers who dismiss a show or dock it points for being too juvenile.  There’s this strange misconception that a piece of work written for a younger audience is of lower quality than one written for an adult audience.

    I also think it’s good to go back and reassess shows from the past since you can then take a more objectified view.  I did this recently and was shocked at the number of anime I had once rated a 10 that I felt no longer deserved that rating.

    • http://www.otakustudy.com/ Sam

      It is an ideal I have held for a fair while – even before I was even into anime. I used to find a big difference when I was young between what I thought a movie was like and what the reviewers said… so yes, I think age is an appropriate factor.

      I agree with your reassessing shows point as well but I would actually like to flip it around as well. Series that I thought were rather bland when they were originally released can also end up being much better than originally thought – perhaps through a nostalgia hit or something.

  • http://nopybot.com/ Nopy

    Those are some good points you cover, I especially like your first one. A lot of times I see people dismiss a series because it had “poor” animation, but around the time it came out (and the time I watched it), that was considered good animation. You last point is also the biggest factor when rating anime. I don’t know many people who would give a 10/10 if they didn’t enjoy the series. It’s also the driving factor for what I use to judge how good an anime is: how long it can hold your attention.

    • http://www.otakustudy.com/ Sam

      Because I focus mostly on anime releases from Australia instead of episodic reviews like most sites, we do get series of varying ages so it was almost critical to have some sort of policy to take into account the age – although I think even with the older series the animations have a different sort of charm to them.

      Agreed, enjoyment is a critical factor to anything really… I mean if you can’t get motivated to even sit through the series there is something wrong with it there.

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  • http://leap250.wordpress.com/ Leap250

    I definitely have to agree with numbers 1 and 5. I’d like to think that preferences change over time, and it might be harder picking up older shows as compared to picking up newer ones. Though, I don’t usually pick up a show based on its visual quality, I’d probably be used to the animation I’ve seen presently, as supposed to older shows.

    In the end though, it all rests on your number 5. Enjoyment is definitely the key element when talking about what sets one show above the rest. 

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