Anime Online - Third Time's the Charm!by Daniel Cruson,
This column was originally set to run before the crisis that has faced our country in the past week. Due to a much-needed rewrite though it was not run earlier. I have done the necessary editing to the bottom portion but felt it necessary to include a statement about the tragedy that faced our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. I would like to express my sympathy to the family and friends of victims and to the victims themselves. I would also like to congratulate and thank those who put their lives on the line to help in this tragedy. Your actions have not gone unnoticed.
Well, I have finally returned. I am sorry that it has been so long since my last column but I have had a busy summer. Anyway I have another couple of sites reviewed. I feel both of these sites definitely deserve 15 minutes of fame. Without further ado, here are the sites.
This is a fan site that was sent in the first round of submissions. Personally I prefer to review more general sites but sometimes I find a site that is worth recognition, and this is definitely one of them. On the front page, you can read a short bio of Akira Toriyama. This is nice because it starts people off with a feeling for who the man behind the series is. Some sites include a bio but this one was especially complete and is placed in a logical location. Further down on the main page is a nice explanation of each sub-section, such as "What's New", "Character Biographies", and "Stuff You're Missing". My favorite section is the "Stuff You're Missing" section. This is a section devoted to showing what is "missing" from the American edited version of DBZ.
The main version of this site uses frames. This makes the site easy to navigate and makes it nicer to visit. The side frame contains the navigation menu so you can easily jump back and forth, while the main frame contains all the content. A non-frames version of the site is also available for those users still unable to view frames. Some of the sections are less complete then others though. The bio's section, for example, contains only 3 bios. Of course, what's lacking in the bios is more than made up for in other sections. The "Stuff You're Missing" section has screenshots along with a list of everything that you will find in the Japanese version but not in the Cartoon Network one. The Webmaster has completed this for every episode up to 67. Obviously, this is where much of the Webmaster's time has gone, but progress seems to be continuing on the other sections, too. For example, one of the other major sections is a complete character guide and a complete "moves" guide. These two sections list every named character in the Dragon Ball universe and every attack that every character has ever used. Following these guides are a couple sections of interviews, a timeline and a character relation tree. Both the timeline and the character relation tree are very complete and show a lot of effort. The last section I took quite a bit of time to look over was the "Little Known DBZ Facts". Although some of the TV facts are common knowledge that most viewers have picked up already, many of these little tidbits are still unknown to the vast majority of DBZ Fans.
As I said before this site definitely deserves some extra attention. It shows a lot of work and although some of the information has been duplicated elsewhere, there are things here that are unique; not to be found anywhere else. Its only serious rival is planetnamek.com, information-wise. If it had the news sources like planetnamek.com then it would easily match or surpass it.
It's difficult to review webpages, since there are such a wide variety of areas to critique and commend. With that being said, I find it slightly difficult to review a website without a "general" set of standards, as follows:
*Site Quality (Is it obvious that the site is well worked on? Do the links work?)
*Volume of Accurate Content (How much does this person put on their site? Is it correct? Is it unique content, or is it copied from somewhere else?)
*General Writing Skill (are the articles well written and interesting?)
Each category is worth a sun, 4 suns is a perfect review.
AnimeJump.com is an anime review site that also happens to include merchandise. The site uses some PG-rated words, but only parents and young children should be concerned with the site's word usage.
The general design of the site is clear and easy to follow. Finding your desired information is easy, and surfing around sometimes turns up other pages of interest. In the review section, a table informs the inquisitive of the title of the video reviewed, the grade given (A+ through F), the publisher, and the date reviewed. Finally, the site loads quickly, even though there are images, images, images, everywhere you look. I'm very impressed with the technical quality of the website.
Volume of Accurate Content
Unfortunately, Anime Jump can go for weeks without being updated, and the updates usually contain personal information about the Webmaster's life along with some mention of new columns and maybe some news, although the website focuses on reviews more so than news itself. Some people might enjoy this personal touch, but others will certainly be turned off by it. There are quite a few reviews (the count seems to be at least 157 now), and the reviews are organized alphabetically. Unfortunately, the titles sometimes obscure the content, since no effort is made to distinguish shows other than by name. There are several writers, with varied opinions and interesting views. Each produces quality reviews of dozens of different shows.
General Writing Skill
The articles are generally well written, in as much as a basic idea can be conveyed. The writing is simplistic at times, and rarely delves deeply into any specific topic. Personally, however, I find some of the writing crude, and unwelcoming. If the writing were cleaned up a bit, I'm sure the site would benefit greatly.
I find the site over all an appealing site. Anime Jump usually reviews the latest titles, which will leave some older fans behind, but no site can cover everything in detail. Aside from that, if you're looking for a quality anime review site, Anime Jump seems to be the place!
Final Rating: 3.5 suns
Well there is my column for this time around. Unfortunately due to my summer work schedule I was unable to do more then one review this time. I was lucky enough to find a guest willing to do a review for me. My work schedule has freed up though so next time around I will be back up to my normal 3 per column. Please continue sending sites to me at gandalf88 (at hotmail.com). Until next time . . .
Send questions, comments, and suggestions to Gollum at gandalf88 (at hotmail.com). Make sure they are constructive and not just "I think your column is the worst I have ever read".