Review Guidelines

While a review is of course subjective, try nonetheless to keep the presentation as fair and objective as possible. Use of the first person should be reserved to highlight comments that are your personal opinion.

Your review should convey to the reader who this anime will appeal to. It isn't necessary to bluntly spell this out (i.e. if you liked Cowboy Bebop, you'll love this), but the reader should be able to glean this information from the review. Regardless of whether or not you like the show, your review should help readers decide for themselves whether or not they will enjoy it, even if they have different tastes from your own.

If the anime is from a manga source, you can make a comparison, but the anime should be reviewed as its own entity. Not following the manga's original plot is not automatically a bad thing, either.

When making statements, support them; whether a criticism or a high point, use examples to support your opinion.

Grammar is important! The review we receive should be as perfect as you can make it. Never send in anything that hasn't been checked and reread a couple of times (tip-- write it, reread it immediately, then leave for at least an hour, come back, and reread it again). We stop reading at the first obvious sign that you did not proof read your review before submitting it.

Take a look at the reviews archived on ANN for examples to emulate. Don't copy the author's style, but rather figure out what's being covered.

Overall, your review should run between 600 words and 1200 words in length and cover the following topics:

  • Synopsis: This can be in the review or separate from it. And it's not what's on the back of the box. Describe the basic premise of whatever you're reviewing so that people can recognize the genre(s). Summarize (without spoilers) what happens in that volume.
  • Plot: Not the same as synopsis. Rather, it's the quality of the story, originality, pacing, and complexity. Is it dull or exciting, are events predictable or surprising, does it unfold slowly or quickly? Are the characters cookie-cutter stereotypes or original, and how do they develop?
  • Animation/art: Aesthetic qualities. In other words, how does it look? What style does it resemble; does it seem low or high-budget? Are the colors vibrant? Is there a mix of media, such as CGI, and how do they mesh?
  • Translation quality: Does it seem effective? Did they mess around with cultural references? In addition, running the dub track with the subtitles on may reveal difference between those scripts.
  • Dubbing quality: Do the actors match their characters (this doesn't necessarily mean matching the Japanese voice)? Are they doing an effective job of voicing, acting-wise? Does the cast as a whole work?
  • DVD extras: They might be unexceptional, absent, or pretty exciting. Also in this category are things like the DVD box and the menus on the disc.

We've come to expect a certain standard for translation (good) and extras (near-non-existent) in North American anime releases of late. If a DVD or show is essentially standard fare, these two topics can be quickly summarized or even skipped altogether.

When your review is complete, please send it to [email protected] Please make sure that the subject of the e-mail is "Sample Review:" followed by the title of the anime or manga you are reviewing (otherwise it will be discarded as spam).


Please note that if there are no positions for new reviewers currently listed on our staff openings page, it means that we are not looking for new staff reviewers. Sample reviews are still welcome as a part of our "free review" program, and will be considered for posting, but should be submitted only with the understanding that you will not be considered for a staff position and that we can not afford to pay for "free reviews". In other words, submit the reviews for the joy of writing (and seeing yourself 'published') not because you're looking for money.