Hello everyone! Before I dive into the post, I wanted to remind you that I’m hosting the Creator Showcase this month. I’m planning to make it a fun post because you know, what’s the point if we don’t smile a little. So if you haven’t sent me something you’ve written in September but would like to, you can comment under this tweet. PSA over.
Wait, I still have something to discuss with you. For some time, I’ve been experimenting with something. Much like being a coffee/tea person, or a cat/dog person, looks like there are fans who rate their finished series and there are who don’t. And I’ve always fallen into the latter category. I wanted to muse about it a little.
There are bloggers who almost always include ratings in their reviews, both on Anilist and under their blogposts. Sometimes it’s a point out of 10, sometimes several stars out of 5. These ratings have the purpose of indicating how much they liked the series in question, and it’s probably a mixture of the blogger’s enjoyment, personal taste, technical aspects, production limitations, etc.
And then there’s me, who’s afraid of numbers for this instance. My mind tends to freeze when I have to evaluate a series because to me, that final number says nothing about the things I want to convey. I have trouble averaging over the points I liked, disliked, elements that worked and didn’t work. Because, how am I going to put a final label on a series that had good characterization and pace, but the production team was obviously cutting corners? Or what about a show like Idaten, which is a marvel to look at but had plot elements that I wasn’t fond of?
And in some cases, I feel a sort of love that’s beyond words and understanding, and I can’t look at a piece from a more objective stance. Of course, I can still follow the main breakdown points such as production quality, execution, or cohesiveness, but that excitement still seeps into how I see them. Yes, I’m looking at you, Haikyuu. I’m not trying to paint it as a bad thing as there will always be reviewers whose taste is more similar to yours so their recommendations will carry more weight.
But you know, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a thing. And I’ve been experimenting with rating the series I’ve finished reading/watching these past months. When I tell you I sweat a gallon as if I’m expected to decide between pressing a huge red button that’ll blow up the earth or making a baby cry by taking their favorite toy away. It’s serious stuff. I don’t have a system of sorts, either. I’m just going by the flow. So the 7 I gave to a series might actually be higher than an 8 I gave to another. It’s a mess.
Okay, people are taking many personal liberties when they score the media they consume, which I think we can agree on. That brings forth a more fundamental question: What importance do ratings have? Should we care about them? My personal experience is that they stick to me more than I give them credit for. Especially the low ratings. Once I was about to start a webtoon and the free chapters available gave me an alright impression. Before investing in I wanted to check out what others have said about it. The one review that existed on its Anilist page trashed it to no end. I’d like to think I’m bigger than this, but “for some reason” I still can’t bring myself to read that webtoon. No one handcuffed me to my chair or held me at gunpoint about it. But with that one bad review, the initial okay-ness fizzled away.
This led me into being mindful or at least trying to be when I write my reviews. If I don’t have any limitations as I would do in a challenge, I write about the things I already feel excited about to a certain degree. But this year, I started a corner called “I Read It So You Don’t Have To“, where I start reading whatever’s globally available on Shueisha’s Manga Plus. I’ve been slacking off on reading shonen manga to write about, but diving into manga with no prior knowledge and trying to highlight what worked and what didn’t was a great writing experience. Seeing feedback where readers considered reading the title I wanted to drop because the points I brought out worked for them is a sign that I’m probably on the right path. It’s neat. And FYI, I’d be thrilled to have you on my blog as a guest if you’d want to try it out yourself.
To sum up, I think I only pay attention to ratings on Anilist after I’m done with the series. And as for the ratings in others’ blog posts, I usually try to compare them to other posts they’ve rated. The good thing about this medium is that we have more space where we can expand our thoughts and highlight the points we want to while critiquing the ones that didn’t go well.
Which category of fan do you fall into? Do you have some sort of system for when you give out points? Or do you go with what your gut tells you? Please let me in on your dark secrets and save me from this anguish! Until then, take care!
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