Why review multiple seasons? It mostly comes down to the packaging when I saw it. I prefer to glob an entire series together so you get the gist of a series as a whole. Some titles I do by season if there are significant differences. I also update reviews if I see more of the title.

Hidden Info & Spoilers - I babble a lot, and I try to keep that stuff out of the way if it isn't critical to the review. Sometimes that stuff may be interesting to some which is why I don't cut it out completely. As for spoilers, I find one of the joys in life is getting an unexpected surprise. Warnings about a crazy twist is fine provided I don't elaborate too much, but sometimes it's hard to give a good enough context for a review without a spoiler. The best compromise is to hide the spoiler you can look through if you want to.

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Spoiler content is always indicated by (spoiler) in parentheses.

Why are your reviews so short? - I don't write reviews so you can read my review, I write them so you can decide to watch something. They're intentionally compact. Reviews should be like skirt: long enough to cover the important parts, but short enough to keep your attention.

Why are your overall ratings so low? - If you like anime, you probably like the average anime, but this doesn't make it "above average" by definition. Most review sites heavily skew towards the high end. I've always been wary of opinions from people who think everything is good. Typically review sites cover popular shows, but I like to dig up obscure titles and find hidden gems. They're "hidden" for a reason, and I naturally encounter a lot of bad titles. Warning you about what to avoid is just as important. I also don't pull punches and rate things better out of kindness.

Anime I rate as weak may still be worth watching. Even bad titles can have shining moments. The "overall" rating is my judgment on quality, not necessarily how much I like them. "Average" doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. My reviews are intended to inform you so you can decide. It's not me telling you what to watch.

Why mix first and last names when referring to characters? - This is a culture thing, as Japanese often refer to each other by last name, but if on a more familiar basis (friends / family) may use the first name. I refer to characters by whatever name sticks in my head. Sometimes this means I use the first for one character, and the last for another in the same show. I've tried using names consistently and it just didn't feel right to me.

But I don't agree with you! - congratulations, you're like everyone else.

Ratings:

  • Animation: - Covers overall movement. Titles that aren't reliant on animation, or aren't conspicuously good rate as fair. Fluid movement increases the score, but the only way to achieve an excellent rating is through artistic / high action sequences. I am picky about animation.
  • Design: - This covers overall design of characters, machines, cities and pretty much everything in between. Note that this is not the same as animation. An anime may have great design and terrible animation, and the reverse is also possible.
  • Characters: - Good character development can play a critical role in most anime. After all if you don't care about what happens to a character, or what they do, then you take a back seat instead of really being drawn in.
  • Depth: - This is basically complexity in the details of a series. That includes things like environment structure, how the world works, and attention to detail. This is separate from the story. Low depth indicates a lack of key information, or being poorly thought out. Stupidity is always detrimental to the depth score. Typically I just ignore this in the case of comedies (often dumb on purpose).
  • Story: - General plot. Interesting? Unique? Innovative? I find the story to be the driving force behind nearly everything in anime, so this is generally correlates to the overall score (exempting some comedies).

Archen's Overall Ratings

This is my opinion of the title's quality. That's not the same as how much I like it, and may not neccesarily mean you will enjoy or dislike it either. Titles that are a mix between good and bad can make this a tough choice. If a title is mostly bad, but has a really good part I'll still rate it as "weak". If you think something sounds interesting, I'd expect you to read the review and decide for yourself. Hey, even I have some favorites that are pretty bad!

  • Excellent - Exceptional title.
  • Good - Well worth the watch. May have weaknesses, but overall good stuff.
  • Okay - Average, but not too bad.
  • Meh - Average, but lacking.
  • Weak - Has many problems, or a few severe ones. Might be worth watching anyway.
  • Sucks - No redeeming qualities, or overshadowed by something very bad. Avoid.

For the Excellent rating, I make a note to myself to take it under consideration and wait around 3 moneths before I decide if it should be rated that way. This avoids "being caught up in the moment" scores.

Review Mission Statement

While I don't claim that all my reviews adhere to these rules (especially the older ones), I do have a set of rules I try to stick to.

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Changes over the years

I've put a lot of thought into making reviews clean, brief, yet informative and in some ways fun. It's been a work in progress though. At first I only wrote a paragraph then rated shows good, average, or bad. Each review web page was done by hand and it became such a pain in the ass to maintain that I rarely did them - even though I kept watching anime.

I decided to keep doing reviews, but I'd certainly have to come up with a system for them. Not just making new ones, I'd have to re-write all the existing ones. I studied other review sites to decide what I did and didn't want in mine. This took years, and for a period of two years I didn't do reviews at all while I worked out a system for publishing them (a bizarre home brew program I wrote myself - a fun project on it's own). From that point on things evolved:

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Categories

It seems dumb to explain categories, however I noticed that some of them weren't very clear.

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Anime Terminology

If you're new to anime, then I'm not sure my reviews will be much help to you. But I make this page for everyone not just veterans. This list isn't comprehensive and I'm probably omitting a bunch of stuff, but I'll try to add anime terms as I find them in my reviews. I also have definitions for some terms embedded in reviews, you just have to move your mouse cursor over them to see the meaning. Like [this]

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