Disclaimer: Just putting it out here that I’m not trying to tell people how to score things. Use whatever method you feel comfortable with. This is just a ramble on how I do it, and you shouldn’t take it personally.
As many of my readers are aware, back in my early days of writing online content about Anime, I used to be a reviewer on MyAnimeList and other Anime List websites.
And as a writer of reviews, I would award scores to the shows that I would review, according to the rigid scoring structure of the sites I was writing for because I wasn’t allowed to otherwise.
For example, when writing for MAL, I always had to give a score to each of the categories they provided for me. Story, Characters, Animation, Sound and “Enjoyment” (don’t quote me on those, it’s been forever), then provide an “Overall” score based on the values assigned to those categories.
But as time went by, I became more and more annoyed by this ridiculous idea of averages.
You see, sites like MAL, and many reviewers in general, seem to have this notion that applying an average based on the scores you would give to a shows components to be the way to go about awarding something a final score. But I’ve always found this to be pretty weird.
I’ll try to give some examples to explain my stance on this whole thing, because I feel I’ll struggle to get my point across otherwise.
I gave Free! Iwatobi Swim Club a 2/10. Many people would find that very strange. I’d cite my main reasons for giving it such a low score being that I found it boring, that I struggled to finish it and that I really, really didn’t care for the characters, storyline or anything happening in the show at all. It’s one of the worst shows I’ve ever gotten all the way through.
And in response to that, people would bring up some very valid points, such as telling me that the animation was above average and the music quality was great. And they’re right. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of the art style (I dislike the KyoAni aesthetic) and even though I didn’t particularly care for the music, surely the show deserves at least a 5/10 right? They put effort into it and I can’t deny that it looks nice.
Well, no. Because I don’t score things based on averages or based on its components. I definitely take them into account, but at the end of the day, my scores are based primarily on the experience I had when watching the show, how invested I was and how much I enjoyed watching it. My scores are based on those components as well as intangible factors that can’t be measured by mere numbers.
And before people tell me I can’t base a score on enjoyment, isn’t that the whole reason we’re watching Anime? If I didn’t enjoy something at all, why would I give it a 5/10?
People seem to think that a 5/10 goes to something with bad animation and a good story, or vice versa. But to me, a 5/10 goes to something that had a lot of heart and merit, but just didn’t quite get to where I’d hoped in the end. Something like… Code Geass R2? Yeah, I’ll go with that. That’s a 5 to me.
If you look at my Top 9 Anime series, all of which I’ve given scores of 9 or 10 to, you’ll find that every single one of these shows is deeply flawed in several areas.
I gave a 10 to World Trigger, despite the fact that its animation is not very good. It even borders (no pun intended) on being awful at times. If I were to go with the typical scoring system, I’d give the Animation a 6. Heck, I did give it a 6 when I reviewed it on MAL.
Yet, World Trigger is a 10. It’s worthy of that score because I had one of the most positive viewing experiences I’ve ever had from the medium while watching it. I was never bored. I was always invested. I was obsessed with this show and it was incredible from beginning to end. I literally cried when it was taken off the air prematurely because I loved it that much. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen, and it’s now one of my favourite shows of all time.
Yet, people have frequently insisted that I’m wrong for giving World Trigger 10 because it’s not perfect. I’ve already made this point in my very first post I ever made on this blog but a 10/10 does not mean a show is perfect. A 10/10, in my opinion, should go to a show that does “the most good things” because nothing is perfect. No show is free of flaws.
I just find it kind of funny when I look at other peoples lists, and don’t see a single 10/10. You mean not a single show you’ve watched is worthy of that score? I find it really hard to believe that there’s not one show that is worthy of a 10 to every individual. But maybe I’m just weird.
A lot of people seem to have this idea that a score is purely a rating. And while it most certainly is a rating, it’s also a ranking. It’s where you would rank a particular set of shows.
If you give two shows a final score of whatever that means they are around the same level of quality to you.
If I were to give World Trigger an 8 or a 9 because of some shoddy animation, I’d be lying about how I feel about the show. Because World Trigger is around the same level of quality as Hunter x Hunter was to me, and that was a 10. So World Trigger is a 10. To me.
I’ve had people tell me that giving a 9 to Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods was “wrong” of me, because the story is standard and does nothing special. Sure. It doesn’t do anything special, but that doesn’t make it bad. Because Battle of Gods is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. It’s one of the few times I literally applauded in a public cinema after a movie. I cheered with a huge crowd of Dragon Ball Z fans who were literally hailing at the return of the franchise. Why the heck wouldn’t I give it a 9?
And at the end of the day, who really cares anyway? A score should only matter to the person giving that score. People shouldn’t be telling people how to score things, because everyone is different!
What matters more to me, is the write up: The “why” behind the score and the analysis of the series itself. It’s the overall experience that matters most to me, not some average number worked out from the sum of different parts.
That’s why, barring First Impressions posts, you’ll never see me put a score at the end of a review I post here. Because I don’t really like giving them out. To me, they’re just personal rankings to help me keep track of what I consider to be my favourites and least favourites and they shouldn’t really matter to anyone else. I’m just not that kind of reviewer any more.
Anyway, that’s more or less all I wanted to get off my chest. It’s an incoherent mess of a ramble, and it’s just something I thought about while making up a new MAL account under my current username. Don’t mind me. Carry on folks.
And thanks for reading!