Anime Blog Carnival – “What makes a 10/10 Anime?” by Valence.


While my laptop’s at the shop for the next few weeks days thanks to an unfortunate coffee spillage, I guess I can only write meta for now. Seeing as how @fkeroge invited himself to this ‘Anime Blog Carnival’, I guess that I can, and should, do the same too.

Du5k’s original post (Singapore FTW) was about how he (?) rated his own anime, and categorized by how he changed his methods over the years, as he tried to rationalise and explain his reasons behind changing the way he reviewed anime on his blog and on sites like MyAnimeList. @fkeroge’s post expounded on that concept by going as far as to explain that his own reviews were ‘Super Subjective’, explaining that his 10/10 anime based on his own intepretation of the show and subsequent enjoyment of it, rather than on other factors such as plot, art and production values.

Depicted: related

As bloggers, I suppose we might , always, keep the readers in mind. Du5k’s post brought the reader and audience into perspective, concluding that the score should ‘reflect how much the anime meant to the target audience’. Other bloggers like Marow and Flomu emphasized the idea of a ’10/10′ anime being about perfection. Sam and Marina, on the other hand, have a strict criteria that they stick to when they rate anime. SnippetTee even has a chart.

The thing is, in my opinion, there really shouldn’t be a hard and fast way to review anime. There really shouldn’t be a strict way we review anime, or judge scores to me.

All of these methods in which we review anime, should we stick to them, have a direct impact on our readers, especially if they did not watch the series in question. Calling an anime 10/10 implies that it’s perfect, something we don’t really want people to enter shows with it in mind, because it makes the show seem better than it should be, and hinders the viewer from making their own judgement.

For instance, professional reviewers like Rolling Stones magazine editors can have a profound impact on the audience. When I read a poor review for an album before I listen to it, I often keep the reviewer’s criticisms in mind. Yet are these thoughts my own? What we write directly impacts the reader in a similar fashion. But is this our aim? Maybe so.

Du5k’s original post included the question, “How would you justify their scoring methods”, referring to a hypothetical someone who might have rated 3 out of 200 anime at 10/10. I’m sure many bloggers must have realized the problem in trying to come up with criteria for what makes a 10/10 anime, such as:

  1. How does one define 10/10? This is the first issue we must tackle. It’s really impossible to come up with a definition for 10/10 because not only does a full score imply perfection, it’s impossible to also justify point differences. What makes a 10/10 anime and a 9/10 anime?
  2. Upon what grounds should one really, rate anime? I’m sure you can’t use the same methods to rate Nichijou and Neon Genesis Evangelion on the same point chart.
  3. Why do we, as bloggers, have to justify other’s methods of reviewing anime? The question surely implies that we can, and we should, while in actuality we simply cannot. It also implies the existence of a universal , true method of reviewing anime where other methods deviate from the norm.

Mira wrote about this at length:

“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.”

Similarly, trying to come up with one way to review anime and trying to stick to it is difficult enough alone, much less trying to come up with a universal method. Reviewing solely based on factors such as storyline and art is impossible as well – how then would one rate shows like Azumanga Daioh? Hence, in my opinion, there isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an established method of reviewing anime by scoring system alone.

So what? What does a ’10/10′ anime mean to you then, Valence? And how then, would the score matter?

I suppose I follow @fkeroge by rating anime on MAL solely by enjoyment value. How much did I enjoy the show? I just rate it there. And it’s usually just for my own reference, and not for professional review. I gave B Gata H Kei a high score, and Katanagatari slightly lower, although it is clear that Katanagatari is usually rated to be the better anime. Does this scoring system reflect my thoughts of how ‘good’ a show is? No. Hence, would this scoring system then represent my whole review and evaluation of the show? No.

However, should I have to review a show on AOIA and give it a score, I suppose the best way to go about it would be to still, give it a score based on my own judgment, and then explain my rationale for said score. And that’s how the score matters- to me, it merely represents your thoughts and judgement of the show, rather than the show itself: it is the post in its entirety that is my focus.

I don’t intend on remembering shows as perfect or 10/10, and neither have I ever done so, but I do intend on remembering which shows entertained me the most, and which shows could entertain others as well. If I ever do use the point system in my reviews, I hope that if my reviews do sway the readers’ opinions, it is not the score that matters, but the explanation.

So there you have it: To me, the score on its own is not important. To me, it is your rationale behind giving the score that matters: how you rated the anime, how you enjoyed and thought about it, and your evaluation of it. This number alone represents a myriad of thoughts and opinions- such is the beauty of the system. It is these opinions and thoughts that truly matter to me. Without these opinions, to me, the number represents nothing.

Hence, in my opinion, I don’t have a method in which I rate an anime to be 10/10. On MAL, my numbers merely represent my enjoyment of the show, and not my review of it. I rate anime solely based on my thoughts, and not by a list of factors and scores. To me, it’s near impossible to rate an anime by numbers fairly. I doubt I’ll ever find a 10/10 anime, at least, not in this lifetime, but I’m content.

Other participants of the Anime Blog Carnival:

About Valence

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20 Responses to Anime Blog Carnival – “What makes a 10/10 Anime?” by Valence.

  1. Pingback: Blog Carnival – What Makes a 10/10 Anime? « Anime Viking

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  3. Nopy says:

    I also think that scores are meaningless without an explanation. Admittedly, MAL is the only place where I even use numbers. My anime reviews typically rank shows as “watch”, “meh”, or “don’t watch”. All of them are based on my own opinions, which I usually walk people through.

    • Valence says:

      I think that the last bit matters the most. I usually just give most of the anime I watch 7-8 even if I think they’re not of very high standard, if they manage to entertain me enough.

  4. @fkeroge says:

    The problem with basing your review according to the potential appeal that it has to a target audience is, I think, the target audience itself. For example, I would never have pictured myself enjoying any shounen show for their tendency to be extremely stupid and convoluted, but I loved Fullmetal Alcemist: Brotherhood. I would have never watched any Mahou Shoujo at all if it weren’t for Nanoha. And the most extreme example that I can find is… I’m supposed to be part of AnoHana’s target audience, but I ended up considering AnoHana to be one of the worst anime that I have seen. It all boils down to personal preference. The main purpose of my Super Subjective reviews is just to get my thoughts out there and not to convince anyone to watch or not watch anything.

    • Valence says:

      Yep. Although we may base our review on our opinions combined with an overall assessment of the show, trying to scale our review so as to base it upon solely the appeal factor is a biased system. For instance, while ecchi and moe may be more appealing to a larger audience, or comedy for instance, giving them a high score compared to shows like Serial Experiments Lain, which draws a smaller audience due to its themes and relative obscurity, or even Niea_7, a show I can safely call ‘hipster’, doesn’t seem to be very representative of the show’s overall quality. This, like I said before, also has a profound effect on the reader since they enter the show with only a positive view of things rather than an unbiased one. This is why I said that it was impossible to rate 10/10 anime based on the appeal factor, and that a combination of opinions, thoughts, explanations and various other production values made for a better review and rating system for anime rather than solely a number.

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  7. Overlord-G says:

    Mine are still based on personal entertainment and always will be. Take that for what you will. I guess I enjoy reviews of people I like, who don’t get paid to review something rather than those who are paid to rush a review and post it like it’s the be all, end all of reviews. People either agree or don’t with your opinions. For example, I hated Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?! but apparently it was the most hyped show of the Spring season…I still don’t get why, but apparently many people liked it and good for them. I still want to take both Dai-sensei and Seraphim under a guillotine.

    Anyways, good read dood.

    • Valence says:


      As bloggers I think it’s better to persuade rather than to just drop numbers. The problem with reviewing with just numbers IMO is that numbers are so easy to remember, these numbers probably stick with you when watching the show itself. Like listening to a Cage The Elephant album rated 5 stars and thinking ‘Yeah, this is pretty awesome’ without actually thinking too much. Or watching a badly rated movie and criticizing it from the start. 3/5, 4/5 stars; 9/10 , 76%, numbers all have this way of sticking with you and affecting the way you think.

      Korean Zombie was hyped up? I must have missed the memo; I absolutely loathed the show.

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  9. Fabrice says:

    For me what makes a anime a masterpiece is when we expect the unexpected!

    • Valence says:

      If we expect the unexpected doesn’t the unexpected become the expected and hence no longer is unexpected?

      But if the unexpected is the expected and the expected is the unexpected isn’t the expected unexpected expected instead of unexpectedly expected?

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