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Common Anime Reviewing Denigrations And What They Mean To You. (Generic, Pretentious, Etc)
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24 / M / St.Louis - USA
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Posted 10/10/15
And the Word of the Fall 2015 Season is......
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38 / M / Reno, NV
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Posted 10/10/15
Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series. It also tends to be used to describe almost every protagonist in any harem series, regardless of its appropriateness. I've seen it used in reviews of Highschool DxD, and Issei is about as far away from being a milquetoast as a character can get. I'm pretty sure someone's used it to describe Basara from Testament of Sister New Devil, which is even more ridiculous.

You can pretty much tell that a person using the word "milquetoast" isn't really prone to giving any series in that subgenre a fair shake. The word has a real meaning, and a real purpose, but the people using it probably aren't using it for that purpose.

Similar things can be said for words like "pretentious", "trope", "generic", "cliched", or "moe". None of these words are inherently pejorative, but they suggest a person who is dismissing something before the fact.

Bear in mind, you *can* use these words effectively and appropriately, but they tend to be used in a dismissive manner so often, that it's hard to take them seriously when they're used.

I mean, it tends to be a way of the reviewer saying, "I was never going to like this, and know I'm never going to like this, but I'm going to talk about it like I was actually trying to give it a chance anyway. At the same time, I don't want to take the effort to explain why I don't like it because then people will argue with me, so I'm going to describe why I don't like it in a vague of terms as possible."
mnmike 
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Posted 10/10/15
Definitions:

Generic: "I saw something like this once. I didn't like it then, and I still don't like it now."

Pretentious: "They used big words and talked a lot, and I didn't like it."

Overused: "I've seen more than one thing like this; I liked it the first time, but not so much anymore."

Artistry: "Ooooo, pretty...."

Fanservice: "Here's the part of the review where I attempt to demonstrate that half-naked anime girls don't turn me on."

Trope: "It did something poorly that someone else once did better."
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Posted 10/10/15 , edited 10/10/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:

Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series.


IC no offense, but I have literally never seen anyone use "milquetoast" to describe any character. I feel like I'd remember since that is definitely a stand out word haha.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.


I mean, it tends to be a way of the reviewer saying, "I was never going to like this, and know I'm never going to like this, but I'm going to talk about it like I was actually trying to give it a chance anyway. At the same time, I don't want to take the effort to explain why I don't like it because then people will argue with me, so I'm going to describe why I don't like it in a vague of terms as possible."


Yep yep, agreed.


mnmike wrote:

Fanservice: "Here's the part of the review where I attempt to demonstrate that half-naked anime girls don't turn me on."



Hahahaha this one is good!!
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Posted 10/10/15 , edited 10/10/15

LoomyTheBrew wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series.


IC no offense, but I have literally never seen anyone use "milquetoast" to describe any character. I feel like I'd remember since that is definitely a stand out word haha.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.


I was talking about reviews in general, not specifically on CR. Some of the writers on ANN *really* love that word, though they've cut back a bit (I see several dozen hits on ANN's search feature, but not that many this year). I also see it on Japanator and a few other sites.

It's probably more of a professional reviewer kind of word. It really just means they think the character is a loser.
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Posted 10/10/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series.


IC no offense, but I have literally never seen anyone use "milquetoast" to describe any character. I feel like I'd remember since that is definitely a stand out word haha.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.


I was talking about reviews in general, not specifically on CR. Some of the writers on ANN *really* love that word, though they've cut back a bit (I see several dozen hits on ANN's search feature, but not that many this year). I also see it on Japanator and a few other sites.

It's probably more of a professional reviewer kind of word. It really just means they think the character is a loser.


Yeah. On CR we're more likely to see the word "bland" used about these characters. Sometimes "wimpy."
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Posted 10/10/15 , edited 10/10/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series.


IC no offense, but I have literally never seen anyone use "milquetoast" to describe any character. I feel like I'd remember since that is definitely a stand out word haha.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.


I was talking about reviews in general, not specifically on CR. Some of the writers on ANN *really* love that word, though they've cut back a bit (I see several dozen hits on ANN's search feature, but not that many this year). I also see it on Japanator and a few other sites.

It's probably more of a professional reviewer kind of word. It really just means they think the character is a loser.


Ooooh ok. See, I usually never read professional anime reviews. I only read fan reviews, so that makes sense why I haven't seen. I've read several ANN reviews and I think they're terrible.

I'd say the ones written on CR (by the staff) a bit better and fair. Though, I've only read a few.
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Posted 10/10/15
I never hear "kafkaesque" anymore.
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28 / M / USA! USA! USA!
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Posted 10/10/15 , edited 10/10/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:


imaginarycreatures wrote:

Sometimes, the words people use in reviews can tell you a lot about their attitude toward the series. For instance, the use of the word "milquetoast". Beyond the obvious fact that pretty much nobody actually uses the word in their everyday lives, it is also almost exclusively used to describe the protagonist of a harem series.


IC no offense, but I have literally never seen anyone use "milquetoast" to describe any character. I feel like I'd remember since that is definitely a stand out word haha.

Maybe I'm just not looking in the right places.


I was talking about reviews in general, not specifically on CR. Some of the writers on ANN *really* love that word, though they've cut back a bit (I see several dozen hits on ANN's search feature, but not that many this year). I also see it on Japanator and a few other sites.

It's probably more of a professional reviewer kind of word. It really just means they think the character is a loser.





lorreen wrote:



Yeah. On CR we're more likely to see the word "bland" used about these characters. Sometimes "wimpy."








LoomyTheBrew wrote:


Ooooh ok. See, I usually never read professional anime reviews. I only read fan reviews, so that makes sense why I haven't seen. I've read several ANN reviews and I think they're terrible.

I'd say the ones written on CR (by the staff) a bit better and fair. Though, I've only read a few.







I used to get, regularly, letters to the editor which would put what places like ANN or Japanator tout as a great review to shame.
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Posted 10/10/15

LoomyTheBrew wrote:

Ooooh ok. See, I usually never read professional anime reviews. I only read fan reviews, so that makes sense why I haven't seen. I've read several ANN reviews and I think they're terrible.

I'd say the ones written on CR (by the staff) a bit better and fair. Though, I've only read a few.



maxgale wrote:

I used to get, regularly, letters to the editor which would put what places like ANN or Japanator tout as a great review to shame.


I have a past history of writing film reviews for a (now defunct) web site. Not exactly a successful history (I literally made hundreds of dollars; possibly six or seven hundreds, even), but a history, nonetheless. So I do read them from time to time, out of a curiosity.

I suppose that there's a certain irony in that they write reviews in a manner that actually manages to be more generic, cliche, and trope-ridden than any series they are reviewing. I suppose that's a skill...though it doesn't really make for useful reviews.
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Posted 10/11/15

imaginarycreatures wrote:


LoomyTheBrew wrote:

Ooooh ok. See, I usually never read professional anime reviews. I only read fan reviews, so that makes sense why I haven't seen. I've read several ANN reviews and I think they're terrible.

I'd say the ones written on CR (by the staff) a bit better and fair. Though, I've only read a few.



maxgale wrote:

I used to get, regularly, letters to the editor which would put what places like ANN or Japanator tout as a great review to shame.


I have a past history of writing film reviews for a (now defunct) web site. Not exactly a successful history (I literally made hundreds of dollars; possibly six or seven hundreds, even), but a history, nonetheless. So I do read them from time to time, out of a curiosity.

I suppose that there's a certain irony in that they write reviews in a manner that actually manages to be more generic, cliche, and trope-ridden than any series they are reviewing. I suppose that's a skill...though it doesn't really make for useful reviews.





Indeed. I do believe, however, that it there isn't any cognitive dissonance and they are well aware of what they are doing when crafting such reviews. Just as the anime they are slamming has its audience which requires the shows to follow a formula to sell, so does the audience of the reviewer demand a product which echoes their worldview and reinforces it. This is especially evident when the review has little or nothing at all to do with the product and goes into a wild rant about various topics and aspects of identity politics.


Though I am not so sure that the anime fandom itself is able to produce anything substantially different in regard to either content or purpose. I do not doubt that there are those capable of crafting deliberate, sober, and insightful analysis of the form or of specific series, it is rather a matter of platform and public support. The fanzines which used to allow for such discourse are not around, and what has replaced them, blogs and YouTube, seem to garner attention only when pandering to certain personality traits both in the presenter (even if merely a gimmick) and of the audience.


Even a moderately successful column like Bless' here on Crunchyroll doesn't delve into niche or specialized topics, and is rarely, if ever, makes any definitive statements about or insight towards the topics it approaches. Which isn't necessarily a detriment, there are some topics where the scholarship or cultural understanding is so far removed from allowing for anything definite that at most one can only approximate how the individual author comprehends it or provide commentary on how the fandom or industry grapples with the matter, but those aren't exactly the topics covered by the column.


Which means, broadly speaking, mainstream discourse within the modern fandom basically is expressed as, "This is problematic" and "This is kinda cool, I guess."
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