Review Scores

Let’s get back on track, with a topic that I care way too much about. Hopefully this is at least a little bit interesting to anyone reading this.

I was just in the middle of re-assigning a score to all of the anime in my list and giving them an arbitrary rating out of ten, because I finally came to the conclusion that nothing has any worth to me artistically or otherwise unless I assign it a number that I can then use to compare things.

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[I apparently haven’t outgrown sarcasm]

You know what I find to be completely ridiculous and counter-productive? Review scores.

All-in-all, there really shouldn’t be any major issues with summarizing a review or analysis by assigning an easy to digest, numerical value to it. In a closed off environment it even makes a lot of sense, if not only for people to easily and quickly understand your overall opinion on something, but as the critic, it really can help to remind you and be a solid way to look back at your history. If you ever wanted to regain perspective or whatever the case may be.

It’s one of those things where I can really see the positives of it and I understand why it’s become our standard. Yet at the same time, I’d really rather it not exist at all. At least not in it’s most common setting.

User ratings are hilariously vitriolic most of the time. “Rate-bombing,” being an all too popular past-time for deadbeats out there with nothing better to do. Really, scores really don’t mean anything at all. Nothing. It’s a weighted average from a mass of people that don’t have to explain themselves. I can respect well-written reviews of any opinion, but I think the scores should just be disregarded altogether, especially when discussing the thing in question.

In my mind, assigning a number to a piece of art goes against the point of art. I know I sound like a douche when I put it like that, but isn’t the point of expression that there is no right or wrong answer? Why even bring numbers into it? Why is this relevant? Opinion on art is of course not a science, so cut it out. I understand that the combination of business and artistic expression can often make this subject so broad and murky that it’s very difficult to talk about sometimes, and obviously there’s a big distinction here between a cynical product like Sword Art Online, and a thoughtful contemplated animation like Lain. Which I would recommend by the way. It’s stellar. This almost looks sarcastic, but I really mean it.

And of course there are technical aspects to film-making, animation, writing, producing music and so on, that can be analyzed and evaluated on an objective critical level. But my point is, we all know how ridiculous the internet can be. You’re absolutely asking for trouble if you top your reviews off with a numerical score. Instead of remembering your excellent points about this or that, it’s a number that people will walk away remembering. This dumb, meaningless, conclusive number that’s only there to make things easier for the viewer, quickly becomes the focal point for far too many people. Go to any review’s comment section. It’s always TOO low, or TOO high. Fuck it, why even give them a score at all? At least then they might actually argue over something that isn’t juvenile, although that does sound unlikely the more I think about it.

There seems to be this strange phenomenon where if anyone rates something below an eight, everyone immediately assumes that this means that they think it’s pure garbage. When really, that’s not what it means at all. A seven out of ten is still a very positive score.

The point is that I don’t believe ratings should be taken seriously, and this especially applies to my own. I try to balance my rating average into a five. Five being middle-ground. Middle-ground being average. I especially like doing this because it adds a nice contrast to the things I’ve rated highly. After all, a nine or a ten really doesn’t mean anything if all of your other ratings are seven and above.

For example, Toradora is a 11/10.

w05ncy

Maybe I’ll start writing “heartfelt,” reviews.

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