Salutations and Introductions

Hello all, and man is it a good day to be alive. I’m blairnoel, and my real name is Rick. Pleased to be here.

I’ll cut to the chase, this blog will mostly be about anime. After spending years reading the posts of fellow bloggers and wondering when I’d finally become one of them, the time has finally come to park myself on my butt and make a blog of my own.

I began watching anime in the summer of 2009, which means I’ve only been watching anime for about four years now. Coming from a mindset predisposed to label anime as childish and stupid due to the classic antics of my high school’s anime club and personal experience with nothing besides Yu-Gi-Oh! and Naruto, I never expected to become even an occasional anime viewer, let alone an avid one. During one of those late-night hangouts with my friends that were typical over summer vacation, one recommended I try watching a few anime with him. Soon I was hooked.

I began with the same set of anime as just about everyone else from the Western fandom: Bleach, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gundam and Code Geass, to name a few. My tastes gradually evolved from typical shounen action anime to include just about every genre available. Now, as of October 2013, my MAL stands at a couple hundred completed and another couple dozen on the way.

I like to believe that as the years have passed, as I’ve watched more anime, and as I’ve continued to experience many of the same types of shows again and again that both my tastes and perceptions have evolved. I like to critically analyze everything I watch in order to determine its inherent worth and quality. However, the one factor that I always try to keep in mind is that I watch anime for fun, as a hobby, and as such entertainment is the most important aspect.

When I first began watching anime, the average score I gave out was a seven. To me, just about every anime I watched was “good.” This is because I had not yet distinguished between entertainment and quality. I now realize that just because a show receives a rating of five does not mean it can’t be an immensely entertaining show; it just means that, from the perspective of critical analysis, it wasn’t as good as many other anime out there. I will continue to award scores based on critical quality rather than entertainment value.

I’ve seen many different methods of critically rating anime, from simple critiques using about five general categories to in-depth analysis where the “Animation” category includes an entire section on line width. I don’t like to tell people their rating systems are wrong, because they usually aren’t. When I research critical interpretations of an anime’s quality, I would much rather see several different types of critical analysis than a dozen posts with the exact same rating criteria. Alternate perspectives help me to define my own perspective to myself. Without different perspectives, this so-called “analysis” just becomes cleverly disguised bandwagoning.

I will elaborate somewhat by saying there is no such thing as an unbiased review. Every individual has their own unique perceptions, preferences and ways of viewing the world around them, and these factors will all play into their reviews whether or consciously aware of it or not. The more thorough a reviewer tries to be, the more their inherent biases will shine through. Even by claiming that an analysis is unbiased, the reviewer has convinced himself or herself that his or her review is completely objective and therefore “I must be correct” becomes the bias.

When it comes time to assigning a score to an anime, I like to consider many different factors. The first and most important is the genre or group of genres to which the anime in question belongs. One common factor to rate anime on is plot. The category of plot can be further divided into categories such as originality, believability, fluidity, consistency, pacing and conclusion. Anime that receive high ratings in all these areas will have a higher plot score, and therefore a higher overall rating. However, how does this rating system apply to anime that never attempt plot in the first place? For reviewers that have a “plot” category in every critical analysis, anime that do not attempt a solid plot will receive lower ratings. It even gets to the point where a plot-based anime with a horrible plot will receive a better critical rating than a fantastic anime that is not plot-based.

This feels wrong to me, and this is why I have adopted a flexible rating system. I rate anime based on what they try to do. Constants in most reviews include animation, sound and characters. However, a comedy/slice-of-life yonkoma adaptation will be rated using different criteria than an action/fantasy plot-based original.

I will not review every anime I have seen, as that would take far more time than I could ever dream of having. I will likely not review every new anime I watch, either. Additionally, I’m unsure as to how often I will actually write up in-depth critical analysis. However, for entertainment’s sake, I will attempt to provide at least a short “thoughts on” review each time I finish an anime. Additionally, I may attempt a “first impressions” review for each new, airing series I start. No promises, but I’ll do my best.

Bit long for an introduction post, but hopefully it gives the general idea of who I am and what I am going to attempt. I look forward to writing the posts that are sure to come in the near future.

Rick out.

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