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What is with Anime News Network reviews?
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27 / M / Kingsport, Tennes...
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Posted 4/1/12 , edited 4/1/12
I often check with ANN to see the latest reviews and they have been helpful in the past, but I find several flaws in the way they run their reviews:

1. ANN critics – I suppose most people would like the idea of ANN having reviewers all with opinions that vary greatly, but what this presents is a problem with the readers determining if an anime being reviewed could be enjoyable for them. Yes, one could essentially get the gist of the story from the review and decide if they want to watch it, but without knowing the reviewer’s personal preferences and biases, one could be completely misled by one of their reviews. Of course, any kind of review has the potential to do this, but in the case of ANN, these misleading could easily be avoided. It is true most people understand the concept of criticism almost always being completely opinionated, but without using words like “I think” or “in my opinion,” a reader can easily forget that what they are reading is solely based on what the reviewer perceives. These reviews are not college term papers or something that has to be submitted in APA format. With that being said, I don’t see why these review must always avoid the use of first person. Also, since the reviews are solely opinionated and therefore have no supporting evidence to back them up, they should not speak as if everything they say is fact. I understand that this is how most reviews are done, but with so many ANN reviewers stating everything they say as if it were fact, how is one supposed to believe that they give any consideration to what the audience may like or dislike.

2. The number of ANN reviewers –With their select few anime critics, it is impossible to get a second opinion any series because, from what I have seen, ANN only assigns one person per series. This is can be really inconvenient, especially when one finds the reviewer to have bad taste. If you want to hear your favorite critic’s take on a specific anime then you are out of luck. If they had multiple people review a series, the readers could gain a much broader understanding of how the anime would or would not appeal to them.

3. The very rare "Overall" score – Every once in a blue moon, an ANN reviewer will give an anime an overall rating. I think they should use the overall rating for every series they review, but they seem to only use overall rating when the story of a series receive a bad marks making it almost seem like a “pity score.” If the story is bad but the critic still enjoys the series, they will give it a good overall rating. Since these ratings are so rare, one could assume that story is pretty much all that matters to many ANN critics. When overall rating is not present, the story rating basically holds the same meaning as an overall score. Characters, character development, character interaction, emotion, romance, action, plot development and all other elements of a series are crammed into this one rating, with the exception of music, animation, and art. (Do not ask me why animation and art are considered two separate categories when character development and story are not.)

4. Sub and Dub scores – Unless they were born and raised in Japan, I do not see how these reviewers can have so much confidence in their ability to judge whether or not an anime created in the Japanese language (English subtitled) was made well. Many of the critics do not even try to hide the fact that they are hardcore Sub-nazis. The Sub and Dub ratings are almost never given equal treatment. The Dub score is more often than not either on par with the Sub score or given a much lower score. I understand that there are plenty of horrible dubs out there, but are they seriously suggesting that there has never been a time when the dub outshined the sub. Unless you are Japanese or bias toward dubs, I do not see this being possible. Here’s my conclusion as to how they rate sub and dub: They watch the entire series subbed and then switch it over to dub for only a minute to find voices that bug them. They then deduct points from whatever score they gave the sub. The only way I can see someone giving both dub and sub a fair chance is to watch both of them all the way through (which could easily be accomplished with multiple reviewers).

Although I may disagree with the way they do things, I still very much enjoy reading ANN reviews and depend on them a lot for anime recommendations. I respect the opinions of every critic at ANN and anyone who may disagree with me. This is strictly my opinion and I understand that many may disagree with me at least to some extent. If so, let me know why you disagree. I know I have only been talking about ANN flaws but we can talk about the good side of things. We can do this in ANN fashion. Tell me the Pros and Cons of ANN.
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27 / M / Anime World
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Posted 4/1/12
Well, I'll say a few things about ANN:

I do read ANN's reviews quite often especially those written by Carlo Santos.

Anyways, regarding their reviews, it is somewhat opinionated but at the same time, the reviewers try to convey their view on what they think compared to what others' opinions.

So, if I could draw a few Pros/Cons from ANN's reviews, it would be these:

Pros:

Written by professionals with proper easy to understand English and structure
People who writes these have have a lot of experience
The reviews are not biased in my estimate and argue both the plus and negative side

Cons:

Written by only one reviewer most of the time (as OP pointed out)
The scores are somewhat biased (varies)
Sub vs. Dub - the scores are somewhat biased as well

Not sure on the part about "support without backup" as I'm pretty sure these reviewers have support when they carefully analyze various series as some of them are picked to analyze specific anime.
Posted 4/1/12
You should probably send this to the ANN employees/mods/site. It won't give you much benefit here. I doubt many of the users here even know of ANN or use it.

Now onto the thread itself, from all the reviews I've read on ANN - both the seasonal previews and full review, the biggest bias I see is that they hate "moeshit" or even "harem" shows for the most part. There are the rare praises for the said 'genres' but in general, they hate it. They'll bash on it and not give much positive opinions on it.

Sub and Dubs are bit hard to rate. It basically goes by enjoyment of hearing the voices and how well it sounds of the character. Given that most of the first exposure is in Japanese the English voices are at a disadvantage. They're outside of the person's comfort zone. It's bias in some sense but not necessarily.

I still find it fun to explore other's opinion's on the show and how it could differentiate from mine or how it sometimes expands my opinion.
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27 / M / Kingsport, Tennes...
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Posted 4/1/12 , edited 4/2/12

Not sure on the part about "support without backup" as I'm pretty sure these reviewers have support when they carefully analyze various series as some of them are picked to analyze specific anime.

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M / USA
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Posted 4/1/12

Although I may disagree with the way they do things, I still very much enjoy reading ANN reviews and depend on them a lot for anime recommendations.


The acknowledgement of your statement above combined with an attempt to read reviews from other various anime review sites will enhance any approach you take in checking out new shows or confirming your beliefs about shows you've already seen.

Secondly, I also use different review sites for different purposes. Basically, some reviewers are better at explaining the series directly while other reviewers are better at talking about a show in abstract terms.
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27 / M / Kingsport, Tennes...
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Posted 4/1/12

Secondly, I also use different review sites for different purposes. Basically, some reviewers are better at explaining the series directly while other reviewers are better at talking about a show in abstract terms.


Any in particular that you could mention. The only other place I read anime reviews is Amazon.com, but the product review there are almost always one-sided.
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M / USA
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Posted 4/1/12

acemcjace wrote:


Secondly, I also use different review sites for different purposes. Basically, some reviewers are better at explaining the series directly while other reviewers are better at talking about a show in abstract terms.


Any in particular that you could mention. The only other place I read anime reviews is Amazon.com, but the product review there are almost always one-sided.


theanimereview.com
mania.com
themanime.org
http://www.nihonreview.com/
http://www.japanator.com
http://www.otakuusamagazine.com

Plus, there are a wealth of anime blogs and reviews on MyAnimeList, Blogger and WordPress.
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23 / F / Under your skin.
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Posted 4/1/12
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Posted 4/1/12 , edited 4/1/12
They have reviews? Never knew ... so I've never read em.
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25 / M / This Dying World
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Posted 4/1/12
The best reviews are not written by others, but by yourself and how you view anime or any particular subject.

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Posted 4/1/12

AnimeKami wrote:

The best reviews are not written by others, but by yourself and how you view anime or any particular subject.



Confucius say.
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31 / M / Lagrange, KY
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Posted 4/1/12 , edited 4/1/12

AnimeKami wrote:

The best reviews are not written by others, but by yourself and how you view anime or any particular subject.



speaking of which...
http://cecilsanimevisualnovelreview.blogspot.com/2012/04/greatest-love-story-every-told-boku-no.html

Reviews are objective opinions on a certain level of enjoyment or use of product. The problem is most anime fans want nothing negative said about any anime series if it's something shitty like "A dark rabbit has seven lives or Twins Angels Twinkle Paradise". They objective opinions not facts and if I didn't like the latest harem anime "most are lazy piss poor eroge adapts now" then I will point that get the hell over it. No I don't write for ann but people keep thinking scores is all that matters in review not the overall written product it's self.

If you have even listened to half of reviewers we hate to use scores because that's all you care about and dwell on. you don't care about the flaws as in oreimo with an ungrateful sister or the fact kyouske should have slapped her back only once, my question to you is this.. can you write a non bias review for something you hate or don't care about?? I dare anyone to go out and watch kiss x sis or kankon "which i did like" and give it highly rated review.

With that huge rant aside as always here are the Pros/Cons

Pros
1.Well written reviews and use a easy to follow rating chart
2.most of the the staff is likeable and easy to talk to via p.m.

Cons
1.They do have biases on genres although moe isn't a genre
2.I will agree with op that a second opinion is hardly every covered but just try talking to reviewers to get one. I think rebbeca does a decent job of writing her reviews.
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26 / M / on your lap, purring
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Posted 4/1/12
In regards to "second opinions" I often find that reading the entire discussion after a review will often dispel certain doubts or answer questions I may have had about the actual review.
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M / USA
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Posted 4/1/12


I see Carl Kimlinger getting some flack sometimes but I think he does a tremendous job and he's one of the reviewers I check first.
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Posted 4/1/12
The reason they have a limited number of people doing the reviews is because it is their JOB that they are paid to do. ANN is very strict on their reviewers. If the content and writing is not up to par, it will be edited over and over until it is to their standard and they do not get paid for it. Also, many of the reviewers also review for other magazines, and unless its an editorial, there is no first person POV.

Its not easy being a reviewer. Sure you get to watch anime and get paid for it, but have to watch a lot of bad anime as well as the good. You don't really have control over what you are assigned to view, and its their job to watch all of it, twice if it has dual audio with subs.

Also, if you want another opinion, generally at ANN if it has a review then it also has a rating from viewers for the overall show, which is find to be a decent gauge to the quality of the show combined with the review.

All that said, if I really want a review to find out if I'll like something, I ask someone I know who has seen if to see if they think I'll like it or what they thought of it.
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