You know guys, it’s not always all or nothing. I can love a show and dislike some aspects of it. I can find a specific episode super boring and still think the series is great as a whole. I can also dislike a show and think that it has great things going for it and would be appreciated by someone else.
True appreciation means that you are aware of both the qualities and faults of something.
This sounds ranty…It’s not.
I know that I can be straightforward compared to some and as a general rule, I try to point out both qualities and faults in my reviews to give you guys the best overall picture of a show. Let’s face it, I have some pretty weird tastes so just telling you I liked or disliked something, without showing the other side, is doing you all a disservice.
None of this is revolutionary news but I do feel compelled to put this post out, because on more than one occasion, I have read comments in the vein of “I’m sorry you didn’t like this show.”, even when I clearly say things like “This is a good show that I enjoyed…”
For a long time, I was baffled and slightly impressed at my own ineptitude. I think in slightly unusual patterns, which means it can also come out in some pretty weird ways occasionally. Pile on the language barrier and it’s a miracle any of you have even a general idea what I’m going on about. That’s fine. A lady has to keep some mystery about her after all! However, I still would rather not seem to hate every show, especially since I have notoriously low standards and tend to like pretty much everything.
This may be due to the fact that reviewers often take either a descriptive or debate approach. None of these are the right words so let me explain. (OK ok, so the breakdown in communication is clearly on this side of the screen…) A lot of reviewers will tend to describe shows or series highlighting moments or elements they believe best reflects the entire work, in order to give their viewers a practical feel for the series. This is a very effective approach that requires quite a bit of skill to be coherent and not to riddled with spoilers. To put it plainly, I’m not great at this and it’s not a style I naturally tend to adopt. I do however really enjoy reading it.
The debate approach as I call it, is basically that the reviewer will choose their theses – i.e. Show X is entertaining and touching, you should watch it – then build their posts to support that thesis. Using examples, and explanations that go in line with the core idea they are trying to communicate to their audience. In order to avoid confusion, and keep their point clear, they will avoid throwing in contradictory elements unless these are unavoidable. This is also quite effective.
It’s a style that’s clear and easy to follow for your readers. It also allows reviewers to take undisputed stands on the works they are examining. It’s a great style, that I’m also not that good at. I’m better at it than I am at descriptive reviews, but I tend to be too good at it in a way and end up creating very lopsided posts. Just look at my reverse harem reviews. They’re more a sugar high in post form than anything else. I would barely call them reviews at all. In fact I wouldn’t, they’re pubic service announcements. I’m trying to impress on you the fact that you need to watch them now, for your own good! I also call these shows stupid a lot. They are. In the best way possible!
Just like a lot of bloggers, I’m still searching for my style and it changes and evolves regularly (it also regresses occasionally…). In general, I try to go for a balanced view that points out both the good and the bad as objectively as I can, while plainly stating my subjective experience. This might be where I’m going wrong. It doesn’t happen all the time, less and less lately in fact, but I will still occasionally get readers who assume I disliked something because I called it slow at times. Or because I point out that a character is unpleasant. Or miss the fact that I did dislike something if I happen to describe some of the good things about it.
Odds are, I did not sit through an entire show because I plainly disliked it. There are two reviews I can think of on this entire blog of shows I didn’t like at all.
To me, acknowledging a series’ weaknesses is important. Not only because these may be things that really annoy you, so I want you to know about them. But also, because true love means accepting faults, not ignoring them. I really love anime. I know it has some misogynistic tendencies. I know that sexualizing kids quite so much is troublesome. I know that it’s often cheaply made by overworked workers trying to churn out lowest common denominator stuff. I know all of this, and I still love it. I don’t need to pretend otherwise.
It’s ok if my favourite series isn’t perfect. It’s ok if it’s far from perfect in fact. I’m not here to convince you of something that’s plainly false. What I’m here to say is that maybe you should give some shows a try even if they’re not perfect, and maybe you’ll like them like I did.