GIVE ME A NUMBER — RATING SERIES

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. 

Time for me to dramatically walk towards the sunset.

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. 

I heard the promotional posters with the best girl always works.

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!

It’s been a tough period for me, I tell you.

If it’s your first time on my blog, you can click on the image below to find ways on how to connect with me ~

8 Replies to “GIVE ME A NUMBER — RATING SERIES”

  1. To be honest, i really don’t like rating. My brother is total opposite and he always asks me to rate some anime. Most of this conversations ends with me yelling at him to stop. Because i believe sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. For example, i think you know my relationship with Black Clover xd I know, objectively, there are a lot of stuff that lacked. But i still enjoy. Same with my bestie. She is a huge Naruto fan from way back and she once told me that although it is her #1 anime, if someone asks her to rate she’d probably gives 7.5 or 8. But on the “feelings” side she thinks it’s 10000/10. So in the end what’s matter for me is how much enjoy i got from it. Because sometimes we just like some series and don’t have any other explaination.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I totally understand what you mean. I have a friend who has a favorite database because the ratings there reflects his taste more closely compared to others.

      I agree that ratings don’t have to mean a lot. If that were true, we’d all enjoy whatever’s popular right now and maybe wouldn’t get into more niche sub-genres. Having said that, it was interesting to try my hand at it, and also notice I’m not as unaffected by them as I’d like to. Not cool…

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment! May your brother find the right path : P

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Over the years… the long, long years… I’ve experimented with ratings. Breaking a story down into its components like plot, artwork, character, etc. I was never satisfied with the results.

    “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. ”

    That’s pretty close to where I’m trying to come from. I want to learn to put it into words, of course. But writing is not math. Anime is not an equation. I’d say I really like your idea of “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.”

    Well, I guess I just spent a lot of words to say “I agree.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

      A final rating feels lacking, that’s true. It’s easy to dismiss it saying “Well, I don’t pay the ratings any attention,” and it may be true, but there also may be valuable takeaways from systematically trying to rate things. At the very least, it’s a good mental exercise. 🙂

      Like

  3. I use ratings for I guess about 95% of what I post but I find it a little onerous to do so, since in the end, personal taste informs so many of my ratings 😀 (On the other hand, that’s how I’ve started the blog so I feel a little compelled to continue in the same fashion and to keep rating things).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, why did you start rating things in the first place, past-Ashley… xD I think with numbers/ratings, comes a sense of “objectiveness” and that may be why they feel like a final verdict. But in reality, all ratings reflect more or less the rater’s personal taste.

      Thank you for stopping by ~

      Like

  4. I don’t pay much attention to ratings. I mean, I understand that they are a convenient way of summarising a reviewer’s thoughts as well as give a “recommendation” about whether or not people should bother investing in the product under review – but, then, the same thing could be said for reviews themselves. I’ve seen stuff highly rated that I thought was dull, and stuff that was panned that I thought was terrific (or, at least, not as bad as everyone was claiming).

    Honestly, I am more interested in the why of how people came to their conclusions, because I feel that gives me a better insight into the product itself. If someone can tell me why they loved/hated something, I’m more likely to pay attention. But ratings – meh. I don’t use them and don’t pay them much heed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I mean, I understand that they are a convenient way of summarising a reviewer’s thoughts …”

      I never looked at blogger’s ratings as a way to summarize thoughts, that was a good point.

      I agree that reading more elaborate thoughts give better insight, and is more powerful when it comes to convincing or changing minds, too. A rating certainly doesn’t have that strength alone. I don’t think I’ll ever rate anything on my blog, but trying it out on my Anilist was interesting. And stress-inducing 🙂

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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