In countless instances, just hearing “Evangelion is the best anime of all time” or “Evangelion is the worst anime of all time” is enough to get someone’s attention. However, is hearing or reading that something is the best or worst really enough to pique somebody’s interest to watch something through?
As an anime site that covers news, editorials, fun lists, recommendations, and reviews, it will seem very awkward to read an article of this particular nature from us, but it is something that is worth exploring. Today’s editorial will be on the question of whether fans should rely on reviews to determine if they should watch an anime or not.
What Makes A Quality Review
Saying something is the best or worst is fine and all but for many of those interested, they want to know why it is. Why is Evangelion the best of all time? Why is it the worst? Through a quality review that can back each respective argument, maybe that review can persuade or dissuade a new audience.
So what defines a quality review? Mainly, it it’s one that focuses on how the story and its characters are good or bad. Without trying to get into spoilers, an effective review can help indicate why the anime has a very captivating story that is worth immersing the viewer in, and that its characters are relatable and engaging.
In addition, the review also shares what is good and bad about its art and animation. There are some reviewers on YouTube, other sites, and on Honey’s Anime who have an extensive educational and professional background in art (and probably animation) that can also talk about some of the animation techniques in a certain scene, or why it may not be that impressive.
For some other fans, reviewers like to passionately share the quality of the soundtrack and why it works or doesn't work with a certain anime. Reviewers who have a musically inclined background can share why the chord progressions of a certain piano track work well with the mood, or why the opening and ending songs are a great warm up or cool down for a series. Sometimes a great review can compare and contrast the original Japanese track and the English dub track.
Maybe someone with experience in acting or voice acting could discuss the performance of a voice actor for a certain character. The reviewer can share how the Japanese and/or English version captures its characters more effectively over the other, etc. If the reviewer is fluent in Japanese, maybe they can provide a great argument on why the Japanese performance is superior or inferior.
A great review can provide an abundant amount of information and some of that info, no matter how trivial, might captivate a new viewer, or it may not. Some reviews like to emphasize the music and voice acting, while some choose not to. Different reviewers with different backgrounds can all potentially offer something educational even to those who are already familiar to certain anime whether it be something as mainstream as Naruto or as unknown as Popolocrois. With much of Honey’s staff located in Japan, we are positive that the quality of our reviews, lists, and articles can give a distinct perspective that not many others can.
What Makes A Bad Review
So what defines a bad review? To some, it is a review that does not really back its arguments on why it is good or bad, and just simply says it is and that's it. There are numerous reviews on other sites and on YouTube in which the reviews are more of a synopsis and do not get into detail on the qualities of the anime that is being reviewed. The review will do little-to-nothing in sharing personal feelings or providing any other useful background information－ nothing aboutthe art and animation, and/or next to nothing on the music and voice acting.
Whether it be games, anime, or movies, a good number of YouTube reviewers are more about promoting themselves or their “character,” as opposed to what they are reviewing. However, there are some really excellent dedicated anime YouTube reviewers out there that provide very great reviews.
Sometimes, reviews can just be centered around being hateful and provide nothing constructive. And there are reviews in which the reviewer is just a fanboy/fangirl and does nothing to provide an effective argument on why an anime is great. Some do it for humor, some do it to purposely generate controversy, and some just enjoy being trolls and/or haters. Yes, some of these reviews can be funny, but many of them do nothing to provide information on why they don't recommend the anime other than that it is overrated, or plain bad.
Everybody Has An Opinion
The difficulty with relying on reviews in some instances is when people have differing opinions. For many mainstream titles such as Naruto and Dragon Ball, there are an equal amount of thought-provoking reviews that call it the best and worst. Despite the constant praise of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children and it winning best picture at the America Anime Awards, there are some very excellent reviews that provide YouTube viewers with insight on why it could be one of the most overrated anime of all time. Granted, many big-name titles out there can collect differing opinions, but maybe a well-presented review of an anime can be the hook.
In some instances, there are reviews on this site and on YouTube that are dedicated to reviewing lesser known anime from either modern times, or from the older eras and those reviews help capture new audiences. Sometimes an effective review of a lesser known anime – whether it be the first Garo anime series or Wangan Midnight can help because that reviewer already has an established reputation as a trusted reviewer. Sometimes the fact that nobody else has an opinion on a certain anime can help a viewer make a decision in their selection process, or maybe it doesn't. In the end, only the viewer can make that choice, which brings me to my next point.
Are They Really Helpful?
Compared to the Hollywood industry, there is no formal study or first-hand research on whether or not a review, or how unanimous praise or bashing of an anime affects whether or not audiences choose to view it. With popular and reliable movie review sites like Rotten Tomatoes and professional critics having Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise being ranked as some of the worst movies of all time, the constant bashing of those movies have not stopped them from being a multi-billion dollar hit.
With some movies like Dredd having universal praise with critics, its comic fans, and the creators of the original comic, all it managed to capture was a cult audience. Then again, lack of advertising and the stigma of Stallone’s version back in 1995 may have given the public a very negative pre-conception of the movie, which resulted in its unfortunate failure. With anime fandom being a younger and smaller audience, most fans these days just explore the Internet, and not just TV and movie theaters. With a smaller audience, word-of-mouth and forums work with passing along what is recommended to watch.
Sometimes people care more about style over substance. In cases like Transformers, in addition to its highly emphatic special effects, the brand already had a long established legacy and brought back some voice actors of the original animated series such as Peter Cullen and Frank Welker. Plus, the franchise has award worthy actors like Marky Mark now headlining the franchise to pull in more viewers.
To Rely or Not to Rely on Reviews?
Sometimes a good review may not lead to a large audience, and a negative review will not lead to it failing. In the end, the power of the audience is in their wallets to choose what they want to view. Reviews can be a very helpful tool when they are very appealing and very constructive in their arguments. They can give audiences a general idea on what to check out. Sometimes, bad anime is worth watching just for the heck of it, such as the Tekken anime, which has been constantly labeled as one of the worst animes of all time. Some people at times just seem to enjoy the novelty of watching something bad.
In other instances, even after constant positive reviewing of titles such as Now and Then, Here and There, it still remains as one of the most underrated titles even after 15 years! And with more popular titles such as Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, the excellently presented negative reviews for it may change your mind on whether or not you think it is really worthy of its praise, or maybe it won't. In the end, we the audience can only judge for ourselves and make the decision. The review may help you, or maybe it won't, but they are a great start.