Blog Carnival – What Makes a 10/10 Anime and Why Rating an Anime is Hard.

Allow me to write my opinions on a scene done by a sleepless animator and why his efforts were in vain.

In case you’re a little confused, the Anime Blog Carnival is the brainchild of du5k from One Minute of Dusk. There are a number of anime bloggers on board, sharing their thoughts on the topic at hand. It sounded like a fantastic idea so I didn’t think twice about joining.

One of the reasons for taking part in the carnival is because I wanted to try writing something different aside from the usual episodic post. If I’m right, the contents of this post could be considered ‘editorial’. So hurrah for my first attempt at an editorial post! If I’m wrong, then — Hurrah for my first post as a participant of the Anime Blog Carnival!

Rating Anime and Why I Gave up on It

Fuck you MAL! I’m too hipster for scoring anime!

Once upon a time, Hachimitsu was only a few months old and I reviewed the anime shows I just finished and gave them scores applying an ‘Average System’. The judging rubric were based on entertainment, music, artstyle, writing and production value. After coming up with scores for each individual category, I would add them all up and find the average– leading to an accurate value (in tenths nonetheless!). E Minor from Moesucks and Tomphile from Aniphiles joked about it and yes, it did make me feel bad.

But so what? I rounded it up anyway! I had the usual score – subjective definition setup as well. Maybe that would help me rate my anime better. I even made a MAL account to start rating the older shows I’ve seen in my lifetime too. That didn’t work out either. I started to think: “Is it actually possible to score my entire viewing experience?” I know it’s possible for most people, but I personally find it to be a daunting task. Yes, even for shows I hate. It’s not like you can give a show -100/10 out of spite.

In the end, I’ve been writing series reviews without giving these shows a score. I guess numbers and I just don’t get along that well. The idea of summarizing my viewing experience with a score doesn’t appeal to me. If I like it, I’d recommend it. If I love it, I’ll buy it. If I hated it, I’ll try to pretend it never happened.

But Mira, You’re not Answering the Question!

Yes, yes.  Let’s speak hypothetically then. If an angry monkey hostages me and puts a banana gun against the back of head, forcing me to give out ratings for every anime on my MAL list…would I be able to give out a 10/10? And if so, why?

Here’s what I think: If it’s a great show and you enjoyed every episode– it’s perfectly reasonable to give it a 9/10. Just because I enjoyed it doesn’t mean I have to give it a 10/10. 9 is a reasonable number and it acknowledges that no anime is without fault. I just don’t feel it’s right to give just any show a 10/10 just because it managed to do the fundamentals right.

I’m no elitist anime viewer, but that 1 point makes all the difference between a 9 anime and a 10 anime.

I envision that a 10/10 anime should be a series that has ultimately changed the way I view anime, it needs to raise a new standard for me. It’s supposed to be a show where you finish that thing and you go: Whoa! Nothing can top this shit! NOTHING! You really have to make that 10/10 rating count. Reviewing and rating anime will always be subjective, and as such– give those scores like they actually matter to you

Here’s a few other things I think should be considered if that angry monkey really wanted me to rate my anime which are less subjective (in no specific order):

  • It needs to be an anime I’ve seen longer than a year ago.
  • None of it’s flaws detracted from my overall enjoyment of the show.
  • It’s finished running on air.
  • I’ve rewatched it at least once.

Recommendation Corner

Are there shows I’ve seen that pass these requirements?

Yes. Quite a few actually.

Sit down son, let me tell you about two shows that made the cut.

Mononoke

It wasn’t until I watched Mononoke in 2008 that I was reminded that there’s more to anime than a highschool boy gaining powers to save the world. Mononoke displayed high artistry and blended that so well with solid storytelling. Not everything in Mononoke is fully explained, and yet its that mystery that keeps you looking back on it. The artistry involved in every single frame is incredibly dense, you could take a certain screenshot of Mononoke and no one would be able to tell that it was from a TV anime. I’ve seen the series at least three times now and I’m still in love with everything about it.

Mononoke (2007) – Directed by Kenji Nakamura

Current anime has walked down a path where a lot of emphasis is given to the visuals and there are plenty of directors whose styles are amazing and beautiful but I have yet to see an anime that could compare to the way I felt when I saw Mononoke in terms marrying the visuals with the story this well.

Now and Then, Here and There

Now and Then, Here and There (1999) – Akitaro Daichi

Another anime I’d give a 10/10 is a little gem born in the gap between 1999 and 2000: Now and Then, Here and There. You guys might be familiar with it since I mention it pretty often in my blog. I was young when I first watched NTHT, and it was an experience I’ve kept with me until I grew up. NTHT is heartbreaking, sad and cruel. The series portrays the effects of war on children and how people struggle in such a crisis. In my Top 9 anime of 2011 – I touched upon how Madoka Magica was emotional torture porn. What’s remarkable about NTHT is that it’s far more depressing that Madoka Magica but it never felt exploitative.

Now and Then, Here and There (1999) – Akitaro Daichi

NTHT is quite similar to MM, it starts off like a deceptively happy adventure with the art style of a World Masterpiece Theatre anime. That quickly changes and the series spirals into chaos, leaving a young viewer such as myself — quite shocked. I never forgot NTHT, after all these years I think the younger me somewhat understood how those children felt.

Now and Then, Here and There (1999) – Akitaro Daichi

Looking back on it, what makes NTHT better than MM? It all comes down to heartfelt storytelling and execution. There’s something incredibly genuine about NTHT, it wasn’t hoping to become the next big thing– it just wanted to tell a story about these children. Every character is so beautifully placed, each with their own story and their own purpose. You can’t sell NTHT merchandise, and it certainly is not a show you’d like to rewatch over and over again because of how depressing it is. But NTHT changed how I saw not just anime but the world around me as well, and for that I’d gladly give it a 10/10.

Finally…

If you’ve read this far, I have to thank you! I still have no intention of scoring anime, but if I had to, I’d make that 10/10 mean something and to me that’s setting a standard and changing how I should view anime.

I know you’re bored now so here’s a few others who are part of the Anime Blog Carnival!:

(ArticleAnime B&B
(ArticleThe Otaku’s Study
(ArticleAnime Viking
(ArticleNopy’s Blog
(ArticleDraggle’s Anime Blog
(ArticleAce Railgun
(ArticleLeap250′s Blog
(ArticleMainichi Anime Yume
(ArticleOne Minute of Dusk
(ArticleLemmas and Submodalities
(ArticleEphemeral Dreams
(ArticleWorld of Yamaguchi Hoshiko
(ArticleListless Ink

 

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29 Comments

  1. I certainly feel the rage of the angry monkey.

    Actually, I already had given a ten on my MAL account, simply because 10 is defined as “masterpiece”. For this certain anime–The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, I feel like giving a 9 with a definition of just being “great” won’t give justice on how much I enjoyed that anime.

    … I’d make that 10/10 mean something and to me that’s setting a standard and changing how I should view anime.
    And yeah, I truly agree with this.

    • I feel like giving a 9 with a definition of just being “great” won’t give justice on how much I enjoyed that anime.

      Exactly. Even if it’s a show you think you’d traditionally give a 9, if you feel it deserves that 10 then give it that 10. But it’s really up to the person to gauge that feeling of fondness, and that’s not much anyone else can say that can change that.

  2. I agree; not a fan of handing out 10′s on MAL. Seriously, 40% of your 200 shows are masterpieces? Okay, then. Thinking about it makes me an angry monkey myself. :P

    Ooh, I liked Mononoke and Now and Then, Here and There a lot. Glad to see someone else like Mononoke–I thought some of the arcs were better than others, but it’s one of the most beautiful TV anime ever. Out of curiosity, are there any other shows you’d give a 10 to?

    • Seriously, 40% of your 200 shows are masterpieces? Okay, then. Thinking about it makes me an angry monkey myself. :P

      Hahaha! It’s this kind of thing that worries me. I know a lot of casual anime viewers who do this and I know in the end of the day you’re watching anime to entertain yourself. We’re not looking for the Holy Grail here. But still– I believe exercising discretion is a way for people to find what kind of shows they like!

      The fact that Mononoke isn’t licensed haunts me to this day. A true travesty!

      Out of curiosity, are there any other shows you’d give a 10 to?
      I was waiting for someone to ask this! Well, from the top of my head– probably Neon Genesis Evangelion, as well as classic anime films like Akira and Grave of the Fireflies. The reason I chose Mononoke and NTHT to cover was because these two aren’t as well known as the three above. They may not have ushered Japanese animation to global recognition but I do consider them extremely important works that are just as influential to me.

  3. What beautiful examples for your 10/10 anime :) I view both Mononoke and Now and Then, Here and There very highly, and no matter how much time passes, I still treasure the gifts they both gave me.

    I really like that you don’t even consider giving an anime a perfect score until after you’ve seen it longer than a year ago. I ought to do that more, myself, but I just can’t help putting in that rating when I set an anime as completed on MAL. Only through time can you increase the amount of objective judging, something I didn’t realize until I went back over my list a bit ago and re-evaluated some of my original ratings. Thanks for sharing!

    • Aww thank you. Both these shows mean a lot to me, and after a few years I highly doubt that it’d be that easy for any other anime to compare.

      I really like that you don’t even consider giving an anime a perfect score until after you’ve seen it longer than a year ago. I ought to do that more, myself, but I just can’t help putting in that rating when I set an anime as completed on MAL.

      This is also the reason I’ve given up on scoring. When you finish a show, there’s bound to be a lot of strong feelings on your side. I’ve been blogging for less than a year but I noticed that this has happened to me quite often (and it still happens!). I think time allows you to distance yourself from those feelings and look at the show more objectively.

      Thank you for reading and dropping a comment!

  4. I have twenty 10s out of 440, so about 5%. That includes movies and stuff though. I haven’t rewatched half of them yet.

    And I really need to watch Mononoke now!

    • I have twenty 10s out of 440, so about 5%.

      FFF. That’s like– nearly twice the anime I’ve seen in my lifetime. 5% is reasonable, if I actually did rate my MAL anime– it’d probably be somewhere around the same percentage? I have a tendency to rewatch shows that I really like at the expense of not actually watching any current anime.

      I didn’t even know what NoitaminA was until I watched Mononoke.

  5. I don’t rate anime. I used to, but then I gave up, and now I’m actually removing the ratings whenever I rewatch an anime I’ve rated (but not before I’ve rewatched it). I found that, as I gain experience with anime, my standarts change, and I’d often look back to a score I’ve given and be tempted to change it. Doing so wouldn’t be appropriate without a rewatch though, and thus I’d end up with scores all over the place. Add to that that a single number isn’t enough to represent the hours of video and the thousands of words a review usually takes. My ratings, 2 or 3 exceptions aside, all ended up 5+: I can’t help it, I love anime (and on MAL, everyone seems to think you must hate a show to give it a 5 or a 6, or at least so it seems given that most series’ average scores never drop below 6.5), and I just gave up.

    • Ah, Fadeway. This is pretty similar to my own experiences regarding this whole rating business, and I myself have tried several times to give new scores only to end up feeling dissatisfied. It’s easier for other people to do it, but I suppose people like us have a more difficult time with rating and as such it’s best we just don’t do it and enjoy anime for what it is.

      Until an angry monkey hostages you at least.

  6. I think I understand the things you consider when you rate an anime except this – “It needs to be an anime I’ve seen longer than a year ago.” Can you elaborate a bit further in case I’ve missed something?

    • I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wouldn’t give an anime I just finished a 10/10. It’s a matter of whether an anime ‘holds up’ even after a year or so. This is actually a minimum requirement but what I’m trying to say is that if a show is still memorable and stands above everything else you’ve watched in the past few years then maybe then you can give it a 10/10. I don’t actually rate anime but yes, this is the kind of thinking I had behind that requirement.

  7. I think the kind of rating you would get from MAL isn’t as negative as these Metacritic-ratings for music, movies, tv-shows and so on. Because Metacritic has this vibe of pretending to give legitimate ratings with just ‘using professional review-ratings’ or whatever they’re saying about themselves. MAL seems more like a joke, I think because seriously who actually uses these scores as proof for anything other than showing how flawed the system is? The system is flawed of course because there’s always some weirdo muddling the score with a poorly written review or someone who likely doesn’t have the same taste as you do. I don’t think that these massive statistical ratings like MAL or Metacritic can replace a good review telling you why this one person liked a series or disliked it for various reasons. Even if you don’t share the reviewer’s opinion you still get to have an understanding of how one could look at something. Opinions are flawed but some big statistic can’t replace them because seriously nobody likes Mononoke since 2476 other people on a website liked it, that doesn’t matter. In the end it still depends on each person’s opinion.

    As for high ratings: A 9/10 is for me something like an A on a test at school. The series/movie/whatever does everything right it needs to do (which isn’t everything naturally). With a 10/10 it gets complicated, I think, to be absolutely sure that the rating is justified. But my justification for giving an anime a 10/10 is when it transcends its genre. A 10/10 has to be more than just mecha, slice-of-life or whatever, a 10/10 has to offer me more than just a portrait of a genre, it has to have this special “something” which makes it unique or like you said Mira, changes the way I watch anime. That is to say I don’t think that either 9/10 or 10/10 mean that the series is perfect or flawless. Nothing is that but a really special series is still a 10/10 or a really good one in the case of 9/10, I think.

    And if we speak numbers here: With dropped series I have seen 704 animes and I have given 26 a 10/10-rating, that’s like 3,7%.

    (Gee, this has gotten longer than expected ^^ …)

    • In the end it still depends on each person’s opinion.

      That’s what it all boils down to, apparently. Of course one person’s opinion may be more credible than the other’s but it’s also a matter of whether or not your personal preferences jive. This is really why I’d rather not consider ratings or anything on MAL. They’re useful for organizing what shows you’ve seen but I personally don’t find the need to rate my anime anymore.

      And if we speak numbers here: With dropped series I have seen 704 animes and I have given 26 a 10/10-rating, that’s like 3,7%.
      Hrmm…it seems Sturgeon’s Law does apply. Hahaha!

      • I don’t think that ratings are completely bad per se but people usually exaggerate what they mean: Anything beneath 5 is total crap not worth watching, anything then below 8 is really not good and anything above 8 is… just everything you like. And someone said to me that he was glad that I didn’t review an anime he liked because I would’ve given it a bad score anyway, a 6 or a 5. But those aren’t bad scores and yet it always seems to me that there’s this hyperbolic notion that even a 10-score-system can only tell people whether something is crap or whether it’s pure genius. So, yeah, it’s understandable how you end up thinking with stuff like that “Why even bother…?”.

        Well, having seen Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai some minutes ago I feel that Sturgeon has to be a visionary ^^ . But perhaps that’s just me reacting to what I had to endure watching that episode…

  8. Both NTHT and MM are too much fable and optimistic((

    Well, they are good anime howbeit, but not 10/10.

    A+ anime, he…

    Fine, for example i’m fan of Type-Moon and Berserk, but screen version – 7-8. No more.
    Saya no Uta? It’s too simple, but may be – may be… But it’s not anime.

    • SA, that’s great and all but I’d appreciate it if you actually elaborated a bit more?

      • Sorry for my Engrish =(

        And appositely. You had written about Fate/Zero 09.

        “Waver’s just a kid, and his shock upon seeing the dead children in Caster’s lair shows how innocent and naive he is.”

        The incident was not clear because of the TV-censorship…
        there is some text from fatezero ranobe:

        ************************************

        The limits of Waver’s imagination were that corpses were but remains of human bodies in the end; nothing but the result of their destruction. However, the scene before his very eyes now, surpassed his previous thought completely.

        As an illustration, that place was just like a variety shop.

        There were furniture. There were clothes as well. Musical instruments; cutlery. Various items uses of which were not understood at all; they probably were just pictures or artworks. The enthusiasm of the creator devoting himself completely into designing them diligently, and his profligate sense of fun could be perceived.

        Unmistakably, the craftsman who made these ceaselessly loved his raw materials, and the manufacturing process itself.

        They understood that there was someone who violently discovered pleasures. That might be the person who committed those murders. But the things in this blood-stained space were not corpses.

        There wasn’t a single “destroyed remains” here. Everything was a new creation; an art. Their lives as “human beings”, their carcass as “human beings” were completely discarded meaninglessly during the process of the art―that was the entirety of the slaughter at that place.

        Murders which were done creatively to amuse himself; this behavior which created art by means of death, had far exceeded the maximum level Waver’s mind could possibly take. Above simple emotions like horror and disgust, at such a graphically realistic and alarming shock, Waver could not even stand straight. Before he realized, he was already on the bloodstained floor on both his hands and knees, regurgitating all the contents of his stomach.

        • It’s okay! I actually glad you wanted to share your thoughts!

          Thank you for that excerpt, I had no idea Caster and Ryuunosuke were THAT crazy. Wow. Turning children to furniture? That’s just a whole new level of shocking. Poor Waver!

  9. You make a good point when you say a 10/10 might go something along the lines of an untoppable series. In the past, whenever I’ve finished an anime and had that thought, I would give it a perfect score. Now however, I usually give a day or two to let everything sink in. Sometimes an ending might blow me away and I don’t want that to lead me into giving a series a high score even if the rest of it sucked.

    • I don’t want that to lead me into giving a series a high score even if the rest of it sucked.

      Exactly! I mean, I had to let things sink in for more than a year at least to be quite honest. I mean, I’ve been harsh on shows like Mawaru Penguindrum and Fate/Zero but it’s not like they were terrible. I was lenient with No.6 but that ending ruined it for me– these things don’t really come to you just like that it takes some time.

  10. You are right, a 9/10 and 10/10 made all the difference. With 9/10, the show still had flaws while 10/10 made it flawless. Now whenever I watched an anime, I’m very hesitated in giving a full perfect score, but it’s good seeing another strict rater around too^^ Even more stricter then me that is, lol.

  11. Hmmm… I has several anime with subjective rate 10/10, but objective… Only Tenchi GXP come in mind. No flaws at all.

    • Speaking of Tenchi…its probably one of the few great harem anime shows I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’ve never heard of Tenchi GXP, but I’m going to check it out.

      • GXP set in Kajishima canon universe, as Ryo-Ohki, but with another protagonist. Tenchi, Washu and rest Tenchi characters also appear, but most important Tenchi character – Jurai Onihime Seto-Sama ^_^

        Also, another 10/10 anime – Outlaw Star.

  12. Scoring a show is definitely one of most inane aspects of reviewing anime. After all, how can one sum up all their feelings, experiences, criticisms and spit out a number? Scoring is purely subjective, and numbers are meaningless without context. The only way I can score something is by rating shows relative to each other through my own biased perspective. Someone else may think I’m way off base and others may say I’m too strict. Honestly, its best NOT to score things since people obsess over numbers and thus miss your actual arguments and thoughts on the anime.

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