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.

did I like what I just saw?

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.

this sort of looks like a nightmare

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. 

speaking about things anime fans hate…

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?

23 thoughts

  1. I started reading anime reviews because when I began watching anime I was just so overwhelmed with so many shows and I had no idea where to begin. Reading synopsis, I found, was not always a very good predictor of whether or not I would actually like the show. Looking at the splash pictures was helpful, as I’m a bit of art/pretty snob but still I would have missed so much if I only watched the pretty ones. So I drifted out to reading some anime blogs to see what other people liked and why as I slowly developed my own tastes in what I personally liked to watch. With that in mind, I also dragged along all my own prejudices about what I read – being a voracious reader of everything – so that if I read an anime review that told me about the anime and was also well written and intelligent and maybe even taught me something (as your reviews often do) then I was more inclined to subscribe to the blog – even if it turned out the writer and I don’t necessarily share the same tastes in anime. As my preferences in anime have developed, I find I read much fewer reviews – but there are a few blogs written by people whose writing I enjoy that I continue to read regardless. I rarely miss a post of yours beccause not only do I enjoy your writing, but we also have very similar tastes – which is to say I hold you responsible for the impossible length of my watch lists 😛 I still read a few other blogs because even if we don’t share tastes, often they’ll make me want to watch something quite different – and I do and enjoy it so that’s a good thing, too. I think, also, it keeps me at least kind of in touch with the greater anime community – which is about all I can stand. In the end, I watch what I want to watch and don’t much care what the “in” thing is or what the latest temptest in a teapot is over. But, you know, it’s good to have a general idea what’s going on 😉 Now what is a nonce verification and why does it keep failing? Sigh.

    1. I agree that blogs are a great way to keep in touch with the larger anime community without having to wade through too much sludge. Some corners of the community aren’t all that pleasant.

  2. I started reading anime reviews because when I began watching anime I was just so overwhelmed with so many shows and I had no idea where to begin. Reading synopsis, I found, was not always a very good predictor of whether or not I would actually like the show. Looking at the splash pictures was helpful, as I’m a bit of art/pretty snob but still I would have missed so much if I only watched the pretty ones. So I drifted out to reading some anime blogs to see what other people liked and why as I slowly developed my own tastes in what I personally liked to watch. With that in mind, I also dragged along all my own prejudices about what I read – being a voracious reader of everything – so that if I read an anime review that told me about the anime and was also well written and intelligent and maybe even taught me something (as your reviews often do) then I was more inclined to subscribe to the blog – even if it turned out the writer and I don’t necessarily share the same tastes in anime. As my preferences in anime have developed, I find I read much fewer reviews – but there are a few blogs written by people whose writing I enjoy that I continue to read regardless. I rarely miss a post of yours beccause not only do I enjoy your writing, but we also have very similar tastes – which is to say I hold you responsible for the impossible length of my watch lists 😛 I still read a few other blogs because even if we don’t share tastes, often they’ll make me want to watch something quite different – and I do and enjoy it so that’s a good thing, too. I think, also, it keeps me at least kind of in touch with the greater anime community – which is about all I can stand. In the end, I watch what I want to watch and don’t much care what the “in” thing is or what the latest temptest in a teapot is over. But, you know, it’s good to have a general idea what’s going on 😉

  3. For me honestly I like reading reviews to find opinions that are opposite to mine. Like if I like a show a lot then I don’t usually read/watch a positive review for it because I want a different perspective. My favorite show of all time is RWBY so I subscribed to like 4 channels that just bash it nonstop.

    Otherwise I like reading reviews for shows that I figure I won’t have time to watch for a while so then it’s a fun way to see how an anime sounds/looks without context. I admit the review has got to have images though or something. If I see it’s a never ending wall of text then my mind starts to melt and I fade away…..

    1. Interesting. I rarely find reviews with opposite opinions, my pinions are rarely very strong though but I do admit it’s interesting when someone got something completely different out of an anime.

  4. I’ll take as read from this post that I’m one of your “precious few”, Irina! 🤣

    As for myself, I read your series reviews and musings about anime because of their authenticity. Whether I agree with you or not is beside the point. You have a particular insight into anime and the anime industry that I not only find engaging, but which stems from a genuine appreciation for anime as an artform and a story-telling mechanism. And that means talking about anime in an informed and sophisticated and multi-faceted manner – the good, the bad, and the indifferent. And its that authenticity about your posts that I respond to the most.

    And the same is true, I guess, for the other anime blogs I read.

    1. we do have a lot of great anime bloggers that really share their minds, don’t we? It’s such a contrast to professional/official anime blogs.

      And of course you’re precious!

  5. Seeing how badly my sherlock holmes season 1 went i do not think i am the best person to write reviews for shows. I’ll leave that to you and other pro’s for the info. Always love reading your insights and the pics you choose to use in the post.

      1. Think WP is just going through a weird time and everyone was busy as well as my posts just flying under the radar. My book reviews for sherlock did way better. But then again, i blog as a hobby.

  6. Those reviews which are just recaps tend to have their time and place, but those are very niche.

    I have a folder of old blog posts I may want to read someday and you can tell my preferences from what sticks around in that folder, since I clean it out often. For instance, the most recent emails are a few Spy x Family ones I didn’t have time for, but also the 1st eps of the other spring anime I haven’t tried, as well as subsequent ones of Healer Girl, Heroine Tarumono, Dawn of the Witch and Delicious Party PreCure, which I’m still interested in after the season has continued.

    1. Oh wow, I think you’re the first one to mention episode reviews. That’s a whole different world!

    1. That’s an interesting way to go about it. I do that sometimes too but I usually don’t come up with much… I got some specific… tastes

  7. I don’t read many anime reviews myself, partly because a lot of reviewers don’t pay much attention to story I feel. Apart from that, I really hate assigning numbers to a feeling. What you enjoyed cannot be quantified, because everyone enjoys things differently.

  8. I know what you mean. Hyperbole can be entertaining when done right, but it doesn’t usually make for the most informative review. In my own anime (and game/music) reviews I always try to mix my plain take on the work, what I liked and what I didn’t, together with my own stylistic nonsense that I hope at least a few people like. I’ve also made a habit of addressing common criticisms about the work I’ve seen if there are any.

    1. I also like to address common criticism but I notice that readers haven’t always seen the same ones I have…

  9. Yeah, I read reviews and other blog posts for people for similar reasons. I like seeing other people’s opinions about shows I like and see if they had angles I didn’t think about or seeing how they can say something is good in a different way from me. Or i they just don’t enjoy a series I did for any particular reason. I also just like learning about new series I haven’t watched yet and making my backlog longer.

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