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A little while ago Starsamaria [1] wrote an interesting post about when not to write reviews.  I posted a quick comment but I’ve been thinking on the topic since.  So, naturally, I’m going to ramble for a while to get my thoughts down on screen.  What follows may or may not make a lot of sense.

My initial comment to Starsamaria was basically that I usually have to like something before I will write about it, which is true up to a point.  If I truly enjoyed something, and want to analyse it to find out why, I’ll look at doing a 20/30 days series of posts. 

The key phrase there is “want to analyse it to find out why”. There are some series that I truly adore that I don’t want to analyse.

There are series where I don’t want to look behind the curtain; I just want the magic to happen.  These are shows for which I may tweet offhand comments as I watch, or do a whole of series review, but I’ll never do an episode-by-episode analysis. 

There are two series in particular for which this is true: ARIA, and Card Captor Sakura. These are my chicken-soup-for-the-soul series, the shows I watch to relax, to rejuvenate, to calm down after stressful days. 

I just finished watching ARIA the NATURAL, and ARIA the ORIGINATION in fact, and they worked exactly as I expected: gentle, soothing, capable of raising tears (often of joy) over the smallest things sometimes.  I’m thinking about doing series reviews for those two, but even now find myself shying away from the idea.

Then there are the series where I do want to examine the magic, where I willing to take the risk that I might ruin my memories of a series.  So far I’ve had a pretty good strike rate with Record of Lodoss War, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Haibane Renmei being cases where the detailed reviews strengthened my appreciation of the shows.

So far the only negative outcome was the series of posts on Key the Metal Idol where I found the flaws in the final two episodes too much to get over.  Fortunately I dodged the bullet [2] on Gunslinger Girl, which would have been a very unpleasant series of posts to do.

One of the inspirations for this post is that I’m actually struggling to think of other series that I want to do the longer format for. Planetes is a candidate, as is Seirei no Moribito, but very little else is jumping out at me. I’m planning to re-watch Kurau Phantom Memory sometime soon, and I’ll decide afterwards if that qualifies for the longer treatment.

One show that I’ve dithered over is Noir.  Noir is a very stylishly done anime [3]but some of the idiosyncrasies wear a bit thin when watched in a block [4]. I’m not sure I like it enough to give it the longer treatment, but wonder if spacing the episodes out [5] would vastly improve the effect.

The format also doesn’t work for the series that are longer than 26 episodes such as Patlabor: The Mobile Police, Fushigi Yugi, Rurouni Kenshin, or The Twelve Kingdoms. I’ve recently been thinking about picking one of those for a weekly review series, a year of Fushigi Yugi perhaps.  That would be one episode a week, and I’d write meta posts when I felt like it rather than to a schedule.

At the other end of the length spectrum, particularly the shorter OAV series, I’ll tend to single post reviews.  There are a couple where I’d consider episodic reviews [6], but mostly the single posts seem to fit best here.

So I’ll wrap this up with a call for comments or suggestions. How does your reaction to a series affect how, or if, you’ll write about it?  Is there anything you’d particularly like to see me review, or a particular format of review?


[1] I highly recommend her blog Shojo Corner. I haven’t read everything that Starsamaria has been reviewing, but I’m very tempted to order Red River on the strength of her review.

[2] Yes you can groan at that one. It was deliberate.

[3] Usually a big hit with me.

[4] Salva Nos is a beautiful piece of music but hearing it every damn time there’s a gunfight gets a bit tedious.

[5] Which is a side effect of the episodic reviews, I only have time enough to do one episode a day, if that.

[6] Primarily El Hazard the Magnificent World and the original Bubblegum Crisis.