Q: Why don’t you read the manga for an anime?
A: Many anime fans are also manga fans. In some ways this causes a problem. Much like with movie adaptations of books, it’s hard for an anime to completely capture or match what happens in a manga. That’s not saying that the anime is always going to be worse than the manga, just that it’s going to be different. I don’t want to watch / review an anime with that in mind. I want the anime to stand alone with no preconceptions or spoilers provided by reading the manga before hand. I don’t want part of my reviewing of an anime to include it’s fidelity to it’s source material. For example, I regard Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood equally before watching them even though I know one of the big differences is the fidelity to the source material (well that’s not completely true since, like most people, I had already watch FMA when FMAB came out). Now don’t get the wrong impression, I do actually read some manga, but usually not until I’ve already seen at least part of the anime. In the rare event that I do read a manga first I’ll pretty much never reference that in a review.
Q: What does it mean to “Zero” a series/show/movie?
A: To “Zero” or “Zeroing” a show just means to give up on it. The term is based on the term “Lem” which is used by the Sword and Laser book club. You can find their definition here, but the idea is that the practice is named after a work that you couldn’t make it through. In my case, that work was Apocalypse Zero. That was the first anime that I just could not make it through. Since I usually finish watching any anime that I start (I’ve watched all of Bleach and Naruto for goodness sake) watching something that I just had to walk away from really stuck out in my head. There may be different reasons for Zeroing a book, but the point is you just didn’t make it to the end.
Q: What is the correct way to write a Japanese name in English (i.e. is it Yagami Light or Light Yagami)?
A: The short answer is: “Light Yagami”. I’m not an authority on this, but I can tell you how I do it. To use the example above we know that the character’s surname (family name) is Yagami and his given name is Light. If you’ve been watching/reading things that are only in Japanese you’ll probably become used to the name being presented as “Yagami Light” because that’s how the names are ordered there. Because I’m writing in English, I prefer to use the English convention which is to use the given name first and the surname last, so I would write it as “Light Yagami”. I understand that people may keep the Japanese convention even when writing in English because it’s familiar or because they feel it’s more authentic. Again, I’m not saying either way is right or wrong, I’m just saying how I handle it.
Q: What is the review format?
To be honest, I haven’t always had a review format. It started off as me just writing about shows and then trying to slap something on their that let people know, at a glance, if I thought something was good or bad. Now that I’ve been writing these for a little while, I’ve come up with a structure that should work.
Episode Reviews contain:
For Anime or 30 minute TV shows:
- A brief write-up, with commentary interspersed or appended at the end.
For TV Shows (usually hour long shows):
- Favorite / important moments
Partial Series / Story Arc Reviews contain
- A brief write-up with commentary interspersed
- A recommendation as to whether or not to keep watching the show
Full Reviews contain:
- A synopsis / summary of the series
- A commentary about the series
- Comments about the plot
- Comments about the production value (A/V quality, music, animation, etc)
- Comments about personal enjoyment
- A Recommendation about the show.
Starting in 2015 forward, all reviews should follow this format. Any reviews done before then, may be updated to match, but that depends on how much time I have.
Q: How do you calculate the scores for reviews
A: It’s probably more accurate to say that the overall scores I give different shows, movies, or series are derived rather than calculated. I rate different components of the show. Usually things like, plot, characters, production value, personal enjoyment, etc. I assign a score to each of those values and the overall score is computed from that. So, just because a particular property has a higher score than another one, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I thought it was better or enjoyed it more than one with a lower score. It just means that the scores worked out that way. That’s why I do the write-ups to give more than just a number.