This might come as a surprise, but I really enjoy reading negative reviews, sometimes a lot more so than positive reviews. I generally put up with people pissing all over my favourite shows. This happens very often, what with my taste and all. Negativity sometimes gets overbearing, especially when the writer appears to take their own opinions way too seriously, but in general, I think exaggerated hate is hilarious.
The reason for this is that I read reviews to be entertained, not just to get an idea of what others like or dislike. I don’t take the actual recommendations seriously, but I don’t think that’s the point of reviewing. It’s all about having fun sharing your opinions.
“But wait, what’s the point of reviews if it’s all just opinions?” you ask.
Broad opinion pieces can be fun and well-written in their own right. The reason why I think this is because reviewing is a form of art, too.
Just like the creators of anime, reviewers are in charge of making their own piece of work engaging. Good reviewers approach their own writing like a craft. They don’t consider themselves exempt from their own standards. You can really tell the difference between someone who is just ranting and someone who has taken the time to structure their thoughts in the most logical and persuasive way.
If you can spin a good tale out of your experience with an anime, that’s great. If you don’t care about how entertaining you are but have the gall to tell me that [insert anime here] is not entertaining enough to be worth my time, I’ll just get angry.
My advice to reviewers: Don’t take yourself too seriously! Just have fun expressing yourself and people will value your reviews.
Why I Enjoy (The Occasional) Bash Review
Fictional characters are not real. Fictional plots are frequently illogical. I think it’s perfectly okay to take a few steps back and appreciate how ridiculous the art of storytelling can be. Stories don’t actually matter in real life, so there’s no need to take the messages in stories seriously all the time.
My favourite kind of bashing is character bashing. Sometimes, there’s this annoying as hell character who just won’t shut their pie hole. I have never really hated a real person, but that courtesy does not extend to fictional characters. I don’t have to give a crap about their feelings or whatever, which is great.
This brings to mind all the immature Kikyo bashing in the Inuyasha fandom, which is extremely hilarious on retrospect:
(I personally believe Kikyo is Best Girl, especially in her yandere moments.)
Or the Flay bashing in the Gundam Seed fandom:
… And also a recent comment on my High School DxD New Review:
Like the bitches in the show but fucking have a seething rage for issei because he gets all the nice horny hot bitches when he looks like twat faggot dipped in steaming shit with a hippos ass for a head and isnt even fucking fit! Issei if yourl listening hope you know your a little bitch cock sucking piece of shit asshole!!
Actually, a lot of character bashing comes from people taking characters too seriously. Although I occasionally relate deeply to fictional characters, I don’t always take characters that seriously, and in general I see them as puppets to do whatever I want with. (This could be my inner fanfic author speaking.)
The other kind of negativity I enjoy is nitpicking, as long as it’s in small doses. Having all the stupid little continuity errors in a story pointed out to me really makes it clear to me that it’s not always that DEEP or MEANINGFUL, and prevents me from taking other reviews which argue that it is DEEP and MEANINGFUL all that seriously.
This could possibly be the reason why I chuckled my whole way through Rebecca’s rant on Witch Craft Works and it definitely helped put Josh’s wordier analysis into perspective. If Takamiya makes shojo heroines look intelligent, I’m kind of scared to watch the show now.
Basically, bashing/nitpicking reviews and any kind of writing that forces the reader to take themselves out of the story and see it for how inherently ridiculous it is offers a great alternative way of looking at anime, as long as you don’t take the opinions themselves too seriously.
I think if there’s a purpose to anime reviewing, it’s this. It’s not about who has the best opinion or who has the most insight. It’s about seeing what other people have to say and coming up with your own interpretation that satisfies you. You can’t really say that your opinion is your own, after all, until you’re aware of what others think.
So you don’t have to be a hard-boiled academic or critic to write something that’ll challenge my ideas. I don’t take anime reviews seriously any more than I take anime itself seriously, but it’s all in the spirit of fun, and that’s pretty much all I’m looking for in a piece of writing.
Edit: This is the article formally known as “I Am Incapable Of Taking Anime Reviews Seriously”. Beside the title and the intro, the post is pretty much the same, so I think that the current title is a much more accurate picture of what the post is actually about.