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Post Reply How do you judge anime?
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20 / M / Eng Land
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Posted 2/27/15 , edited 2/27/15
My most important factor is character interaction. If I enjoy the characters and how they interact with one another it'll keep my interest. Since we're going to be watching and listening to characters throughout the whole show, if they're talking boobs and cardboard, justice-hungry wankers then my interest will drop like a bag of bricks plagued by rigor mortis.

I like to follow that up with animation. If the animation looks cheap it's a bit off-putting to me, personally. I like to see more than a few untextured gradients. Feeling like I'm watching something made in Microsoft-fucking-Powerpoint doesn't give me the highest of hopes that your show was put together in a way that would put a Hayao Miyazaki work to shame.

Surprisingly I'm putting plot in third (yes the story kind). I love a good plot as do most people, but I feel a show with strong characters and even good animation on top of that (which by that point is more of a bonus) can still prove very entertaining and enjoyable even if the plot isn't anything special.

I also like to make sure the time is being utilised properly each episode. If it feels like it's moving at the speed of sloth, or nothing of importance is really happening then it'll also lose my interest because I'll feel like I'm wasting my time. Shocker. It's one of the reasons I don't watch many long-running shows; some people can battle through filler and the like for the good parts but to do that you have to be a wizard.

Also ecchi... and harems... if I see either of those two genres or a combination of the two I'll either wait for the show to go on for a bit and read feedback, or read a few reviews before I start the show. Ecchi and harem screams "This show's a bit shit so we're going to try and win you over with funbags and moaning sounds and the biggest question plaguing humanity 'who is best girl?'". I get some people are content with just that, and I don't mind that stuff being in a show, but if it exists solely for to appease some sweaty guy in a dark room while everything else is as shallow a piss stain in the bath I'd rather not bother. Seriously if you want that stuff just watch a hentai, it's not hard to come by.

I also appreciate good sound design but that stands out to me as being exceptional so little that it's never anymore than the icing on what's probably an already rather good cake (*cough* Fate/Zero/Stay Night/Who even keeps track anymore *cough*).
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Posted 2/28/15
I judge every anime as I watch it. The only exception is the first episode. I'll always just watch the first episode, and when it's over, just ask myself a few questions about it.

What exactly is the premise? Is the premise something that can remain entertaining the duration of the anime? If the answer is yes, I'm hooked. If not, I'll give it another episode or two to show some promise. How was the pacing? Did it accomplish everything a first episode should lay out, or if it tried something a little more unconventional, does it work with the premise? Death Parade is an excellent example of an unconventional first episode that was excellent. Did I like the characters? Personally this is something that's a little less important to me, as long as the characters aren't gratingly annoying I can enjoy a show. Plus, often I find that it won't be until a serious plot point that I find I really like a character, depending on how they develop. Death Note is something that I didn't care for any of the characters at all until a good ways in, and even then I only cared for Light. How was the art? Yes, sometimes a certain design can just be plain annoying, but I can warm up to things. Using Death Parade as an example again, I don't really care for the long faces everyone seems to have, and while distracting at first, I've come to be okay with it.

After the first episode, I pretty much just judge as I watch. I take note of the pacing, the tone, and the directions that the show takes. That's one of my favorite things to do, really, is ask myself if I enjoy the direction something takes. Do I think it could have taken a different, more interesting approach after a plot point? If I think there's an obviously more interesting direction, it tends to take away some enjoyment, as I find myself wishing I was watching what could have been instead.

But the biggest thing is always the pacing. Was each episode as enjoyable as the last, or at least within a close margin? Did I ever feel like the plot was dragging it's feet, only to have a million twists with two episodes later on?

And the second biggest thing is something that's a little bit less objective and harder to place. Basically, does the anime know what it is? And I'm not talking about fourth wall shenanigans, or being self-aware and poking fun at itself. A great example of what I'm talking about is Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. The show is ridiculously over the top, the characters all are constantly point out the obvious. "Character X is going to do Thing X by using Thing Y!" It happens, and the narrator explains it as it happens. And then another character restates it again. I would usually call this terrible. But Jojo's knows what it is. It knows that it's silly, over the top, and everything about it just screams "stupid but fun", and so when that terrible over explanation of everything happens, it works. The sound effects, and the animation style, and just the style of the show in general, completely support what would normally be a terrible script. It knows what it is. And that makes it excellent, but also could be off-putting.

I think one of the most important things for judging anime though is the realization that just because something is enjoyable, that doesn't necessarily make it great. I love Haganai to death and back, but I'm not going to pretend like it's not just another harem with it's own flavor. I know a lot of people don't care for Mobile Suit Gundam, but that doesn't mean the original series isn't an amazing war drama. It just means that there are people who don't like giant robots.

But at the end of the day, everyone judges on their own criteria. If you want an opinion you can trust, you just need to find someone with similar tastes, and you'll be able to trust their recommendations.
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