Worth Reading: 9/28 – 10/13

Wow… it’s been a busy two weeks with all the finales and premieres.  But things are generally returning to an even keel, and so I present this week’s edition of Worth Reading.

This writing thing isn’t always easy. Even good shows can be hard to write about – back in the Spring season, it was so hard to find something to say about Tsuki Ga Kirei that didn’t boil down to “so sweet, so good, so sweet”.  Karandi at 100 Words Anime addresses these problems with from the point of view of writing series reviews in Reviewing Mediocre Anime.

Pasta at Plain Pasta and Plain Rice posted an update to his Anime Tracker Comparison.  MAL seems to be the most popular and practically the default, but it’s far from the only service out there and his comparisons tell you a lot about the good and the bad of each service.  Personally, I stumbled onto Anime Planet (link goes to my profile) early on and haven’t seen anything to convince me to switch.

Dave at Slow Anime presents an interesting take on the potential American adaptation of the insanely popular (and deservedly so) Your Name.  (The announcement of which produced an enormous tempest-in-a-teapot on Twitter.)

Remy at The Lily Garden posted an interesting and timely essay – What Makes You Instantly Drop an Anime Series?  Instant drops (partial episode drops) are so rare for me that it’s hard to make generalizations about causes.  I think most of them are cases where the show is just egregiously bad or cringe-y.   First episode drops…  there’s a variety of potential causes, but most of them boil down to “this pisses me off or annoys me” or “my time is too valuable to watch this sh*t”.  A significant percentage of my first ep drops are basically shows that I don’t necessarily dislike, but which I never manage to find the time, energy, or motivation to watch the remaining episodes of.

Then there’s also the (in)famous Three Ep Rule and the (unique to me I think) Mid-Season Gut Check…  But those are topics for another time or maybe down in the comments.

I found Marthaurion‘s post on picking and choosing blog post formats pretty interesting, mostly because I’ve never really thought about it.  I don’t think my style is a fixed one, I just sit down and let fly with whatever seems to work that week for that episode…  Maybe I should think about it and try for a more consistent style.

And last but not least…  ANN has released it’s Streaming Reviews Schedule for this season.  Not gonna lie, I read a lot of other reviews, blogs, and forum posts when I’m working on my weekly writeups.  Partly for inspiration, partly because I often do my best work when I have somebody to react to.  What I never do is read in advance of watching an episode of a series I’m watching.  I don’t mind having my perceptions altered afterwards, but I refuse to allow others to direct and control my experience.  I specify “series I’m watching” because sometimes those writeups lead me to discover series that I wasn’t going to watch or I thought I wouldn’t like.

Hmm…  More editorial comment this week than usual.  But actually, I’m liking this format because it lets me talk about things that don’t fit in my episodic review post or which aren’t big enough (or my thoughts aren’t complete enough) to warrant a feature post of their own.

Anyhow, let me know what you think down in the comments.  And don’t forget to like or comment on the posts you visit!

22 thoughts on “Worth Reading: 9/28 – 10/13”

  1. Thanks for the share.
    I’m with you in that I try not to read episode reviews of shows I am watching and reviewing until after I have watched the episode (normally). I’ve made a few exceptions recently because some of the shows I am watching aren’t going to be spoiled no matter what someone says about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! Maybe it’s just me, but I find almost all spoilers annoying to some degree… Twitter is the huge offender in that respect.

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      1. I am not too worried about spoilers given the experience of viewing is the more important part. Two stories can have almost identical events but feel different in their execution.

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        1. It honestly depends on the nature of what’s being spoiled too… it’s not really cut-and-dried. A character death out of the blue would be a huge spoiler. Finding out that the school is still going to be closed (first ep of LLS! this season) is a spoiler but doesn’t actually take much away from the experience.

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  2. Thanks so much for the mention! A great collection of articles as usual :)

    I’d agree that if I’m following a show I don’t tend to read episodic reviews prior to watching, but occasionally I’ll check out reviews of shows which I am not watching. They may be things which I don’t want to sit down and watch, but I’m a little curious about how they’ll end, or just things which didn’t initially catch my interest. A good episodic review can sometimes convince me to pick up a show!

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    1. You’re welcome, and thanks!

      Yeah, I have checked out reviews for shows I’m on the edge about. And commenters here have sometimes convinced me with their reviews. I think I picked up both Re:Creators and Abyss that way…

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  3. For a while I did some reviews of short-form anime for a MAL club I belong to, and it was definitely always the middling stuff where I had the most trouble finding things to write about. Usually when there wasn’t much to say about the short itself I looked for bigger-picture angles, like maybe compare & contrast it to the director’s other anime if they made anything else I’m familiar with, or highlight if somebody notable was involved (like a music video I featured once where Yoh Yoshinari actually drew the animation for it), but sometimes there’s only so much to work with.

    I would like to know where the “three episode rule” had its origins. I don’t know if that was something inspired by Madoka with its third episode twist, or if it predates that show, but it always seemed like a pretty arbitrary cutoff to me.

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    1. I’ve only ever heard of the three-episode rule after Madoka, but then I wasn’t very active on forums before that, so I wouldn’t have. The irony is that Madoka drew me in from the start, when that pink blob stumbled through that black-and-white surreal landscape to the music of Yuki Kajiura. It is a very arbitrary cut-off point, and I don’t use it. I’ve dropped shows instantly and come back later to enjoy the show (e.g. Mirai Nikki), and finished shows I should have dropped instantly. In any case, there’s no surefire method to it, and your life goes on if you miss out on a great anime now and then. Don’t waste your time on three episodes if you don’t feel like it.

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      1. I never have; it’s just idle curiosity. Looking at my MAL list, half of my drops were (funnily enough) after either two episodes or four episodes. I only have a few where I stopped at three, and those were all shows I drifted away from rather than dropping with prejudice.

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    2. Wake up from a nap and you two are having a nice discussion I missed out on. :)

      I’ve done that sometimes too, but it sometimes leaves me a little uncomfortable. It’s actually a little tricky to do right.

      I don’t know where the Three-ep Rule came from, it was already current when I started becoming involved in fandom in ’14. It is arbitrary, but you have to have something IMO. By the time you’re three episodes in you have a working understanding of the plot, a grasp on (most) characters, etc…

      Eyeballing my list on Anime Planet and guesstimating, about a 30% are 1-ep drops, maybe 20% 2-ep drops, maybe 10-15% are 3-ep drops. The rest are 4+ eps, with 5- and 6- eps drops making up the vast majority of those. So, overall 1- and 5/6- ep make up the majority of my drops.

      Interesting… I talk quite a bit about the three ep rule, but it doesn’t actually seem to play that large a role. Shows that survive the first ep tend to either get axed mid-season or watched to completion.

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      1. Hmm. On a quick and dirty internet search I found references to it going back to 2013/2014, but I don’t see much before that – there are a few scattered notes from bloggers or commenters about having “a” three episode rule pre-2013, but nothing suggesting it had become codified as “the” three episode rule yet. That kinda makes sense, though, since 2013 was around the time when seasonal simulcasting really started to take off.

        I never thought about it, but based on my list, it looks like I give most anime at least two episodes – over 75% of my drops are in the 2-6 episode range. I just moved some stuff from my “Hold” list to my “Drop” list that I know I’m never going to get back to, so I have 33 anime on my drop list now, and only three of those were one-episode drops (and one of those was a show my anime club kids wanted to see that I wouldn’t have watched on my own anyway). My most common drop point was two episodes (9 shows), then there were 4 that I dropped after three episodes (Phantom World being the most recent of those), and 12 that I dropped after 4-6 episodes.

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        1. It’s interesting that we talk about three eps, but at least in this tiny sample it’s noticeable by it’s absence.

          The dates make sense, as you need a regular feed of anime before you need a drop theory. I’m trying to remember, but I’m pretty sure is was at least semi-codified by sometime in ’14 because I was hearing about it then. It was certainly A Thing by ’15 when I started blogging in the comments at MiaB. I think the relationship to Madoka is just a coincidence.

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      2. It does seem to matter whether I watch show’s weekly or binge them. If it’s a weekly watch, once I’m past episode 4/5 I barely ever drop anything (exceptions coming in when I discover that the show is two cour or longer, because I have generally less patience with longer stuff). When I binge stuff, I usually don’t take breaks after only 4 or 5 episodes, and when I do there’s a chance that I won’t come back to it. (Shounen fighters can be dropped on an arc-basis if they run for two cours or longer: a bad arc and the show is gone.)

        Then there are the shows I simply forget about. Guilty Crown was one of those; suddenly everyone was ragging on the show, and I thought – wait a minute – I was watching this, wasn’t I? I think my record late drop is Kamisama no Memo chou, which I dropped during what I think is the final arc.

        By far the most shows I try but don’t end up watching don’t even last half and episode, but I’m not sure this counts as a drop, since technical I tried but didn’t pick up the show. It’s semantics, but it’s important to consider when you’re comparing data. How much do you have to watch before the show is eligable for “dropping”?

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        1. We/I so rarely binge, it’s hard to make a comparison. Even when we are watching something older, it’s generally only two or three eps a night as we have to fit them in around my wife’s bedtime. We’re just not generally ones to sit on the couch for hours at a time.

          For my part, I think I count most shows I start watching (even if only for a few minutes) on my drop list. My record at one end is something like three minutes… (The cold open made me go 0.o, and then the art style of the open and the OP made my eyes cross, off to the drop bin it went.) Some I drop at the first ep eyecatch, but I think most I actually make it through the entire ep. At the other end, I dropped Space Dandy at the penultimate episode…

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        2. Well in my case it doesn’t make much difference, because I can only remember one show that I dropped without even giving it a full episode. That was Anti-Magic Academy, which I’d seen enough of after five minutes. That one’s not on my list, since to me that didn’t count as “watching” it anymore than if I’d just watched an extended trailer, but like you said, it’s mainly semantics.

          My record late drop was Rewrite, which I finally gave up on with only two episodes left. That’s the only show I’ve ever dropped in the middle of the final arc. Kamisama no Memochou was a 6-episode drop. I heard the final arc involving the “Angel Fix” drug was supposed to be the best part of the show, but the first half was such a slog that it killed my interest long before I ever got there.

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          1. I ended up watching all of Anti-Magic, because it always seemed on the edge of getting good… I should learn my lesson because so few do recover from tailspins. But, back to the topic, I think that’s going to be a thing of personal choice with no real way to make it black-and-white. But debates are always fun.

            I’ve caught myself saying “but you dropped it before it got good” many times…

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  4. Great post. I love the editorial format and I hope you continue with this as you gather your thoughts. It’s definitely up to you at the end of the day, however. And thank you for sharing my post!

    Liked by 1 person

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