Since I am busy settling down, I may as well share my thoughts about something that I’m curious about: Who does Anime reviews better, the Anime Blogging community or ones done by professional reviewers like Anime News Network? I have wanted to share my thoughts about this after reading an infamous review from a certain famous Anime news website.
Anime critiquing by fans is nothing new with blogging becoming widespread, thus making it easier to share one’s thought about a show. For instance, someone passionate for a particular show like Love Live can now share his or her thoughts by writing a post on a blog. Of course, while there have been professional reviewers for various types of media, namely video games, Anime News Network, which has professional reviewers have started writing full and just recently, episodic reviews as well.
With that, you might be wondering who makes better reviews? To me, the fans in my opinion generally write better reviews not because they comes off as more genuine, but they do it for the passion rather than the money. Generally, people who already experienced the source material for shows likeFate/stay night, Love Live, Kantai Collection or Idolmaster tend to know more about the franchise than professional reviewers. Still, I think studios should try to make the show more accessible by not leaving out important points that are essential to the plot so that everyone can fully understand the story without becoming confused without prior knowledge. Otherwise, the adaptation will not be a good one.
While most people typically experience the anime first before experiencing the source material, of course people who are experiencing the franchise the first time through anime will be the most open minded and will have less bias opposed to someone who has experienced the source material.
The problem with the reviews written by professional critics is that they do not typically experience the source material first hand. In most cases, they are forced to cover it, even if they do not necessarily like it, which of course leads to biased reviews. This is very common with reviews of Japanese role-playing games make very scathing reviews for this very reason besides on content and story alone.
For instance, a female reviewer have given Hyperdimension Neptunia a bad score just because she did not like how women are depicted while users review scores are higher. In addition, there is another reviewer mentioned earlier who complained about one scene in Fate/stay night without having the full knowledge of the visual novel to understand the context and that Matou Shinji is a bad guy in the story.
The thing that really turns me off with professional reviews is that professional critics tend to bring politics into their reviews and if they find something that offends them, they will harshly criticize it, which eventually leads to drama, flame wars and disagreements in the comment section. Sure, nobody is forced to read it and everyone is free to express his or her opinions, but nobody is free from criticism, even the reviewer. Even so, people generally read reviews and episodics to see what the person thought about a particular episode or show, not for the political issues. Even so, it is understandable to see why professional reviewers tends to be more critical since they are probably forced to cover a show no matter they like it or not.
In short, I do not read professional reviews of Anime or Japanese role-playing games since they usually do not come off as genuine, but rather closed-minded for the most part, especially since they are dealing with media from a different culture. Because of this, I believe that fans usually do a better job writing reviews or critiques besides the reasons above mainly because of the “we do it for free” mentality. This allows us to freely share our thoughts about a particular show whatever way we want without restrictions.
What do you think? Do you think there is a place for professional critics to write episodic or full reviews of Anime? Or do you think that fans write better reviews and that the professional critiques are useless for Anime or related Japanese media? ¶