I was thinking about it, and for me, there are 3 big reasons I read anime reviews. Basically, they boil down to information community and entertainment. Depending on the reason, I’m going to look for different be things in each review.
Information is the most straightforward one. I’m intrigued by a show and I want to know a bit more about it before putting it on my watch list. Either that or I’ve never heard of it but the title sounds interesting and now I’m curious.
In some cases, I’ve already seen the show but I’m not sure how I feel about it and I want an outside perspective.
I’ll be honest, these are the reviews I read the least often. Not because I don’t like them, but I’m very picky when it comes to informative reviews.
First, they have to be informative. And presented in a way that I can actually use the information in context. It’s great to know that the writer loved the show but unless they tell me why I’m not sure how to apply it. I have to actually be able to understand the why. Telling me a character is the best, or more or so cute isn’t that much help unless I’ve been reading someone for years and have a deeper understanding of their meaning behind those lines.
I love bloggers that add in the practical aspects. They love this character because the design includes shapely calves that are often shown. Great! They enjoy this one because the arc is unusual and includes an exploration of the notion of parenthood when one loves their child but doesn’t think that child is a good person…
Obviously, I also prefer when I have at least some similarities with the person writing so that their experience will more easily match mine.
And the fact is, there aren’t that many reviewers like that out there. So the precious few that I have found, I stick with.
Community tends to be the most common reason for me to read reviews and one of the most important to me. Since I don’t share my hobby with many people around me, reading what other people thought of an anime, is a way to get a little bit of that thrill of having a shared experience. It makes the watching a bit more fun.
When reading for community, I generally prefer to read about shows I have already watched. I want to be able to relate my own experience to what the writer thought. It feels more like a conversation that way, even if I don’t say anything.
I don’t look for anything in particular regarding the style, structure or content of these posts except for a vague sense of earnestness. I’m not very interested in reading sponsored advertisement posts at this point.
The only thing I have noticed is that I tend to stay away from reviewers that are overly hyperbolic when it comes to these posts. You know, when you watch a ton of anime, the bulk of it is likely going to be just o.k. Not bad but not necessarily life-changing. That’s why I have more trouble connecting with reviewers that either absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE shows or completely HATE them.
I’m sure there are people out there who are really passionate and have strong emotional responses to every single show they watch. But I don’t and sometimes I feel like the authors may be forcing themselves a bit. Exaggerating to prove a point or for the sake of the post. And that just doesn’t work for me when I’m looking for community.
It does work when I’m looking for entertainment! In fact, it’s an excellent thing when I’m looking for entertainment. Now I won’t lie, I have access to many sources of entertainment that are not reading anime reviews. But once in a while, I come across a blog that is just so much fun to read, that it almost doesn’t matter what anime they’re talking about.
And in those times, I absolutely love a writer that is losing their minds because a character’s costume went from teal to turquoise between seasons, or that is palpably drowning in glee while describing the most mundane isekai you can imagine. Those excesses are what make the posts fun to read. I probably wouldn’t count on them to choose my next anime and I don’t really feel like I have some type of rapport with the author, but I’m having a grand ‘ol time.
Of course, not everyone is a great writer or comedian, so you won’t necessarily come across that many blogs that are worth it for sheer entertainment value and that’s o.k. At least for me, there are a lot of other reasons to read reviews.
I was wondering, are you the same? Do you also have a lot of different reasons to read reviews and depending on what you’re looking for that day, it changes the type of review you want to read? Do you just stick to one genre because it suits you best? Or maybe you like reviews that give you a little bit of everything?