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Cait
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Joined: 29 May 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:58 pm Reply with quote
neocloud9 wrote:


I wonder why Casey left? To be honest, I think she would've been more well-received as a reviewer if she had stuck to just BL...


She left to pursue her PhD in Sociology. The thing about reviewing, however, is that I don't think one can really make a career out of only reviewing one genre, especially on a site like ANN that focuses on all aspects of anime/manga fandom.

I do have to say, though, that I hope Zac takes to heart that the site does need a better focus on manga reviews. The trouble with being a fan of both manga and anime is that a disposable income only gets you so far. Manga is cheaper by volume, but there tend to be more volumes in a series (Fruits Basket, for example, was only 4 DVDs, but it was 23 volumes of manga, which at retail is over $200, compared to the DVD collection, which has come down in price over the years, something that doesn't happen wth manga). I end up switching my interest in the medium back and forth between anime and manga, or not buying one in favor of the other because I can't get enough information to make an informed purchase. Also, you can't rent manga as easily as anime. There are sites where you can do it, but in general, it's easier to to just buy the books (and again, still gets expensive).

As for BL reviews, I've been complaining about a lack of them for quite a while now. I also appreciated Casey's honesty. I always knew that even though she wouldn't be "nice" about a title's flaws, that she would provide the right amount of useful information to help make a buying decision, and with BL, which is a manga-heavy (not to mention shrink-wrapped) market, you often have to buy a book completely blind.

If we're talking about BL reviewers needing to be fans of the genre, I think I do agree. The thing about BL is that it appeals only to a very specific demographic. it has almost no appeal outside that demographic, and people that are going to benefit the most from reviews probably actually know as much about certain authors or series as the reviewer. The reviewer also being a fan, then, makes it possible to skip over the details that are unimportant and focus on the ones that prospective buyers are looking for (that mainly being art style, story quality and sexual content). Good luck finding someone that doesn't already have a successful BL review blog (and then also can review other things like Casey could).
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:49 am Reply with quote
My thoughts on reviewers is that you have to have someone who likes the genre their reviewing for every genre.

If you get a reviewer who doesn't like mecha than your review is not going to be very helpful if your looking to buy mecha. I remember one particular review at this site, where the reviewer didn't even know they where watching a comedic mecha series.

A genre that is particular hit hard by this is the fanservice genre, most review sites will just give the entire Genre an F. Anime News Network is one of the few sites where I can see some legitimate review of a fan service title. Though you do have to be careful that you don't find a hardcore fanservice guy who just blankly gives fanservice title an A, and has incredibly creepy reviews.

Theirs a huge difference between say Daphne and the Brilliant Blue Sea, a decent series heavy on archtypes but with some nice designs, and DearS, a horrible series with a plot stolen from Chobits, jokes stolen from Mahoramatic, and horrible designs. I want a guy who can tell the difference.
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pparker



Joined: 13 Oct 2007
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Location: Florida

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:58 am Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
I want a guy who can tell the difference.

Great example, and so true. But I had to mention that the best reviewer for fanservice titles was Bamboo, a not-"guy" Smile.
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Cait
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:23 am Reply with quote
Charred Knight wrote:
My thoughts on reviewers is that you have to have someone who likes the genre their reviewing for every genre.


I have to disagree with you there. Most of the people who watch anime are not "fans" of a particular genre. With something like mecha, there is a tremendous amount of crossover appeal, unlike something like yaoi, which has a very very specific demographic. Therefore reviews for mecha titles need to cater to both the fans of the genre and non-fans of the genre, while reviews of yaoi only need cater to fans of yaoi.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for mecha-fan reviewers, or even that mecha-fan reviewers shouldn't be allowed to be reviewers on ANN, but that every reviewer must be a fan of the genre they are reviewing for is not only unnecessary, but virtually impossible. Can you imagine the hiring process?
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:04 am Reply with quote
Cait wrote:
Charred Knight wrote:
My thoughts on reviewers is that you have to have someone who likes the genre their reviewing for every genre.


I have to disagree with you there. Most of the people who watch anime are not "fans" of a particular genre. With something like mecha, there is a tremendous amount of crossover appeal, unlike something like yaoi, which has a very very specific demographic. Therefore reviews for mecha titles need to cater to both the fans of the genre and non-fans of the genre, while reviews of yaoi only need cater to fans of yaoi.

I'm not saying there isn't a place for mecha-fan reviewers, or even that mecha-fan reviewers shouldn't be allowed to be reviewers on ANN, but that every reviewer must be a fan of the genre they are reviewing for is not only unnecessary, but virtually impossible. Can you imagine the hiring process?


It's called having a wide variety of reviewers. You don't need to find a Yaoi reviewer, you need to find a reviewer that likes Yaoi. Generally speaking you do not want a guy so obsessed with the subject that they rate everything favorbly that's as useless as a guy who doesn't like the subject in the first place.

Also while their is some crossover in mecha, that's information I don't care about as a mecha fan. When I see reviews of mecha anime, I care about the mecha not the crossover.
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jgreen



Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:18 am Reply with quote
Charred Knight, if I'm reading you right, what you're trying to say isn't necessarily that the site would need, say, a "mecha critic," but that if someone is to review a mecha series that they should at least somewhat like mecha series and have at least some knowledge of the mecha genre? I can agree with that. I think generally that ANN's reviewers are well-rounded enough that the situations where that doesn't happen are pretty rare, though.

There is something to say for specialized reviewers, though. I mean, back in the good ol' days, I read every review in Animerica magazine, but when Mark Simmons came in and raved about a mecha series, you damn well KNEW it had to be awesome, because that was a dude who knew his mecha.
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Charred Knight



Joined: 29 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 6:11 pm Reply with quote
jgreen wrote:
Charred Knight, if I'm reading you right, what you're trying to say isn't necessarily that the site would need, say, a "mecha critic," but that if someone is to review a mecha series that they should at least somewhat like mecha series and have at least some knowledge of the mecha genre? I can agree with that. I think generally that ANN's reviewers are well-rounded enough that the situations where that doesn't happen are pretty rare, though.

There is something to say for specialized reviewers, though. I mean, back in the good ol' days, I read every review in Animerica magazine, but when Mark Simmons came in and raved about a mecha series, you damn well KNEW it had to be awesome, because that was a dude who knew his mecha.


But that's not really pratical to try to find a ton of critics that are experts in their field.

As for ANN's review staff, I agree, out of all the reviews I have seen only two of them really make me ignore that review. My only complaint about ANN is that they need more people who can do manga reviews. The Website I think about when I am talking about a failure to find a wide variety of opinions using well rounded individuals is Toon Zone, they just simply hired the moderators, and their likes are similar, and their knowledge is lacking in a lot of genres.
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erinfinnegan
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Joined: 31 Jan 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Oh hey guys! I reviewed manga before taking over Shelf Life. I was an anime fan first, but whatever crazy element drew me to anime eventually drew me to manga. Eventually I started sitting through tons of manga panels at cons and hanging out with crazy manga bloggers, giving panels about manga, etc.

Actually, Publishers Weekly hired me specifically to review yaoi and shojo because they needed someone on staff who understood it. I think to this day they've only sent me one yaoi title. But anyway...

Reaper gI wrote:
Hmm... I wonder how different some the reviews on here would be if more of the staff had already read the manga, or at least flipped through a volume or two, of what they were reviewing. Then you can see how much of the plot structure, and flaws in it, is due to the source material and what is error on the animation studios part. It's the liking a film only because you hadn't read the original book, or hating a song due to only hearing a bad cover problem. Having the original as comparison always helps in criticising something.

So far the anime titles I've reviewed here haven't crossed much with the manga I've read. When it comes to reading and watching stuff, I think that a lot of anime is such a loyal adaptation of the manga that it's kind of like consuming the same material twice. That's not a universal rule, obviously, but sometimes I just feel like I'm watching a rerun.

gerjomarty wrote:
I was a little disappointed that you found Aria boring, Zac. I can certainly see why, given the lack of plot and the extremely slow pacing, but I thought that relaxing, warm feel of the manga translated to screen pretty well.

I'm 200% behind Zac on this opinion. The Aria manga is gorgeous and relaxing, and if you want, you can spend five minutes staring at a page. Being forced to spend five minutes staring at the same scene at the discretion of some TV director is downright torturous.
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Top Gun



Joined: 28 Sep 2007
Posts: 1859

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:09 pm Reply with quote
Sorry to bump this up a bit now that the new one's out, but I didn't manage to get around to replying before now.

Hee, I totally loved that opening, Zac. You need to make that soundboard a recurring guest. Very Happy

Dear lord, Justin...I've never really tried much in the way of Asian cuisine in general myself, but those descriptions had me absolutely drooling. Guess that's what I get for listening to this on an empty stomach. It sounds like you had a great experience over there, and got to see two very good movies to boot. I can't wait to get a look at Summer Wars (and I still have to see Girl Who Leapt Through Time), and despite my decidedly mixed feelings on Evangelion, seeing just what Anno's been up to with these new movies is admittedly intriguing.

From a personal standpoint, I was a bit amused to hear about people who love DBZ "but hate anime," since I wasn't aware that such a person could exist. Razz If anything, DBZ was what drove me away from anime for a few years when I happened to catch some of it on Toonami. It kind of upheld every single negative stereotype I had about my perception of "anime" all in one fell swoop: twenty minutes of goofy-haired, ridiculously-muscled characters standing still and yelling loudly at each other. It wasn't until much later, when I came across amazing gems like Wolf's Rain and Cowboy Bebop on [adult swim], that I realized just what this medium was capable of. Even though that happened several years ago, I've still never had any urge to give DBZ a try again; I guess part of me has never forgiven it for making me miss out on a good few years' worth of anime watching.

(And meaning no personal disrespect to Toriyama, but his designs of human characters are just flat-out ugly to me. This isn't a case of something like Oda's artwork, which took a little while to grow on me but I now love; no matter how many times I see Toriyama's massively-foreheaded characters, they're still completely unappealing to me. At least I get to look at the sprites far more than the official character art in Chrono Trigger...)

Bradley had some fun stuff to say, even though I wasn't particularly interested in the series he mentioned, but he was certainly on the...talkative side. I was kind of amused by Zac getting completely cut off at one point as he barreled along. Smile

The conversation with Deb was interesting, but as I'm not personally a fan of manga, I kind of zoned out a bit during it. I approached my anime fandom as a fan of animation in general, so I've never spared much thought for seeking out the original comics that the works I've watched were based on. And besides that, I'm honestly not much of a fan of the comics medium in general. To me, it feels like it's stuck smack-dab between novels and animation, while simultaneously losing the best aspects of both: it doesn't allow me to use the full power of visual imagination that a regular book does, nor does it allow me to sit back and experience the full visual presentation like anime does. It feels incomplete, at the level of storyboards instead of a full-fledged work. I may appreciate the individual pieces of art, but I wouldn't really want to plow through a whole story that way.
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