I have a friend who loves video games and is also an excellent writer. When a video game blog we both read was looking for reviewers, I suggested he apply.
His refusal was instant. “If I did that, video games wouldn’t be my hobby anymore. They’d be my job and that wouldn’t be fun.”
Clearly, this is a point where we disagree. Everything I do for a living right now—blogging, writing books and articles, and web design—is also something I do for fun. So when Anime News Network put out a call for weekly streaming reviewers this summer, I didn’t need to think twice before I put my name in for consideration.
I’m coming on four months of reviewing three anime episodes a week, every week. Most of the time, it’s amazing! I get to pick the shows I want to review, so I can feel good about a show coming into it. However, I don’t always make good picks. For example, I chose to review an anime, Nobunaga Concerto, that I didn’t like from the start! I don’t know what was worse, having to watch it every week, or letting down a slew of readers every week who were disappointed that I had so many critiques toward a show they loved.
This year I learned that it’s not reviewing anime that makes watching TV feel like a job. It’s sticking with anime I simply don’t like that feels like the worst kind of work.
Some of the shows I watched this year were not my cup of tea, like Nobunaga Concerto. Others were non-negotiably terrible, like Dramatical Murder—a show with animation so poorly rendered that they had to redo episode three. As a BL fan, I am Dramatical Murder’s target audience, and even so I would have given it an even lower grade than its reviewer did. Hands down, this was my worst show of the year. Of course, Psycho-Pass 2 could be the dark horse in that race—it’s getting dumber the more I watch!
I also watched a few fan service anime this year that had little else to offer. I loved the mini, moe Mashiro in Engaged to the Unidentified, but the other characters were barely more than sketches. I wouldn’t recommend the so-so Bakumatsu Rock, a silly manservice musical anime that had trouble keeping up a semblance of a plot. And then, I actually liked Love Stage!, even though it hastily ended on episode 10, a clear sign that it had issues.
You see, I didn’t drop a single show this year. I wanted to document a comprehensive record of everything I watched this year so I could calculate the hours on day 12 of my Twelve Days. As a result, I watched some pretty awful anime to their conclusions in 2014. I wouldn’t recommend this. I’m kind of ashamed that I carved out time in my life to do it. I am not sure who came up with the Three Episode Rule, but it’s a good one. In 2015, if I don’t like something by episode three, that’s the end of it. I’d rather have a job I love—reviewing anime—than to assign myself work I hate based on some misguided principle of finality.
Screencap from the infamous Dramatical Murder episode 3.
This post is the fifth installment of The Twelve Days Of Anime, a blogging series in which anime fans write about shows that inspired or impressed on them this year. For all the posts in this series, visit my table of contents.