As we dive into this week of editorials, we start at a topic I meant to talk about ages ago: objectivity in anime reviews. Usually when I think of a review I think of an essay-style work that provides an objective look on media as an advocate for the consumer, aiding them in a decision of whether or not a product is worth their time and money. Pushing aside the fact that a good number of people don’t pay for the anime they watch, how does a reviewer even take an objective look on anime? What are the common standards which we could use to objectively look at shows? How can we use objectivity in an anime review?
The generally agreed upon pillars to review anime are Animation, Characters, Enjoyment, Sound, and Story. While these are excellent pillars that divide up looking at the show nicely while still including a purely subjective interpretation that contributes to the reviewer’s recommendation, how do we properly decide how to each of these pillars contribute to the overall scoring and interpretation of the show’s objective quality? How do we constitute what’s objectively good animation in comparison to objectively bad animation? How do we constitute what’s objectively anything good in comparison to anything objectively bad?
Every time I review a show or game I try to take a completely objective stance the best I can, however I always worry that what I’m saying could appear to be subjective when reviewing anime. The quality of animation and how well it appears to any one person can differ with opinion. I personally adore the animation and show quality of Studio SHAFT, I could just as easily see their shows as sporadic or boring at times with the extremely heavy amounts of dialogue in the vast majority of their shows. While I personally could say Studio SHAFT’s animation is gripping and adds a level of attention grabbing during the long dialogue portions at an apparently objective standpoint, this could just as well be entirely subjective.
While we could go even deeper and ask questions like whether or not pure objectivity is even obtainable, let alone objectivity in the first place, but we could write a book if we wanted to go that far. That concludes today’s editorial and the first day of the Week of Tsuyuki!
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The featured image for this post was drawn by pixiv artist とまとかげ.