Man watching anime takes a lot of time. Have you seen some peoples MAL profiles…they spend YEARS doing it. Who has that type of leisure? Certainly not YOU! We’re busy people, we got….stuff to do. On top of that watching and even occasionally writing about anime, impossible! Imagine how much you could get done if you could skip the watching part of watching anime.
Impossible, you may be thinking! My dear friend, you are lacking in imagination. My time on anitwitter and this blog have taught me that there are people out there that have fully formed and detailed opinions about shows they’ve never seen or have seen mere snippets of. Admittedly, such superpowers of observation aren’t innate in all of us but with a little training, we could all gain the ability to psychically analyze shows, sight unseen.
Well sight unseen is a bit misleading, you do have to look a lot in fact because your first and most important source of information is going to be the covert art. First if there are only characters of one gender illustrated, you know that it’s either Yuri and Yaoi. Great, job done, you can now safely love or hate the show based on your personal preferences of these genres and probably write an entire series of essays on it. Huzzah!
Of course, the above is a best case scenario, but it will cover a lot of ground. But what if you get one of those tricky cases where it’s not quite as obvious. Well you can still make some pretty well informed guesses. For instance, the character designs will let you know instantly if you like them or not. Dark colours mean, gritty, sophisticated, mature while soft pastels means sweet, lighthearted and easy to watch.
If you can tell a character’s occupation, then it’s a workplace sitcom. A lot of characters with only one of a particular gender – it’s a harem (reverse or regular) which of course means it’s nothing but hentai light. Take that Steins;Gate! Does something look vaguely like fantasy. Maybe a castle or an elf – BAM we got isekai folks. And isekai is….passé(?). Is anyone holding a microphone, because that’s an idol show. Also true if the entire cast is mid jump!
The great part about this, is that once you figure out the official “genre”, you know everything you need to know. There are well established and detailed descriptions of all these anime types you can refer to, to trick people into thinking you’ve watched every second!
However, you should watch out for a few things. lately some studios think they’re very smart and pull the old switcheroo on us. A cover that seems to clearly indicate one thing gets subverted a couple of episodes in, and you end up with a very different show than expected. I have found this to be particularly true with series full of adorable looking girls on the cover. If you have a suspicion, maybe something about the cover isn’t quite right, do a quick # twitter or google image search to get a bunch of caps and make sure the girls don’t all get murdered or something. Usually it’s murder…
If you want to get all fancy, you could always look up what the show runner or studio have done previously. If you’ve seen any of those shows, assume the new one is the exact same thing. This will give your review a more personalized touch and lend you some extra credibility, not that you need it.
If you have the nerves for it, you can always see what reddit has to say about a given series. Copy paste that, once you’ve cleaned up the language, it probably won’t even count as plagiarism anymore!
A few more things you can do to spice up your…opinion. Google the name of the anime in question + the word feminism. You don’t need to click on any of the links, the little search engine snippets will let you know if there’s anything you should be outraged about! Alternatively, you can Google the name of the anime + the word fans and see what the suggested autocomplete is.
For example on my computer, if I search:
“Darling and the Franxx fans” Google suggests: “angry”.
Once in a while though, you get these real enigmas. The cover is just a landscape or there’s just one character that’s not obviously an archetype of some sort. The show is too obscure to have a google autocomplete or essays written about it and the colour scheme is neutral. Also it’s made by a production theme you’re not familiar with. Of course the easy solution here is to simply forget about this title and move on to the next. But I get it, you’re a perfectionist, once you’ve randomly latched onto a particular series, you can’t just abandon it like that. You’d feel like a quitter.
You may be tempted to look up the summary or wiki page here. But that’s a whole lot of trouble. You might as well watch half an episode if you’re going to do that. And we are trying to avoid watching anime at all costs here! No worries, I have a solution for that. Talk about the soundtrack. Mention that it isn’t exceptional but that you enjoyed it. You can say pretty much what you want after that. Alternatively, you can pick a random character (you don’t need to know the name just describe them) and say how much you enjoyed the voice actor.
Trust me. No one ever argues on those things.
Finally, make your opinion an extreme in either way. The show must be either an unsung masterpiece misunderstood by the masses or an overhyped piece of garbage (garbagepiece)! This is really the trick to selling the whole thing. After all, no one would hold such passionate views about a show they’ve never seen… That would be crazy.
There you have it! If you keep your posts at a modest word count, you can be reviewing 4 complete series a day! You will have the most exhaustive review site around. The authority on the subject! I’m pretty sure this is how some (they shall remain nameless) professional sites do it.