The Anime Parlay Review-bric

Ahoy! You’ve reached Anime Parlay and it’s the start of my second week blogging. Who knew there would be so much creative planning when comes to writing (insert sarcasm). My whole goal for this blog is to reassess anime that used to capture my heart as well as check out titles I missed over the last 15 years. Without an effective way to subjectively judge these shows I’m dead in the water. That’s no bueno. Fear not because I spent a little time over the weekend creating an awesome rubric with my wife to help me navigate the upcoming anime tides.

I have 5 main things I am looking for while I watch through this anime goodness:

  • Story/Plot
  • Animation
  • Score/Music
  • Substance
  • Take-away

Let’s break these down a little further so they’re not as vague.

Story/Plot – What’s going on in the narrative? Who are the main characters? What are they up to? Do they have motivations? How do they fit in the world? Does the world “work”?

Your story is where were going to find the cast and the world they live in. I have seen fantastic worlds where the characters have flourished in the setting. I’ve seen stagnant places that forced characters to decay into afterthoughts in my mind. One of the main stays of any show is how well the story works and how characters navigate in that story. If it’s good, it will stay with you forever! If not, it’s a garbage show and I will apologize to the creators and encourage them to do better next time.

Animation – Simple enough. I’m not looking for quality or definition right off the bat. Anime has been around for the better part of the last century. You’re going to have older animation that’s a little janky compared to the new stuff. SO WHAT?! I’m looking for the subtle and unexamined. Facial expressions, weather patterns, sunsets, realized shots, and immersion. If the animation whisks me away with the characters, I’m in. If it’s hard to look at or follow, I may not be as enthused.

Score/Music – Every show has openings and ending songs that become synonymous with it. While I do think those songs should and do have a purpose for the show’s branding as a whole, it’s not the music I’m looking for. Back when Sam Goody was still a thing, you could find background music (BGM if you’re nasty) for most popular anime titles. I know the BGM for Evangelion too well because of it.

For me, the music can make or break a show. If it seems out of place or just IS in the background, its a wasted medium. With the right music and great editing, you can strike bold emotions right into the viewer’s heart with maximum efficiency. That’s what I want! I want to feel my feelings whether or not I am ready to feel those feelings.

Substance – What is this show trying to say? What does it have to contribute to me as a watcher and what does it offer to humanity as a whole? This is probably my most important criteria for a show.

Look, enjoy what you’re into. That’s how it should be but I am not going to stomach a show that doesn’t have something to say or is just boobs/butts/dongs/sexy chested men or whatever. I want to engage with the material I’m watching. If it’s all sex appeal, as a simple example, I’m not going to get much out of it. However, I’m saying someone wouldn’t. Just clean up if that’s your style. No judgement here!

Take-away – Last and not least, what will I walk away with when I finish this episode/show? How can I use the narrative to shape my perceptions in the real world? Can I relate to characters and their struggles and in turn learn to be a better version of myself? This is really why I watch anime.

When I was 14, I was a shy nerd who never came out of his shell. I was bullied, picked on, I wasn’t “cool”. However, I started watching anime and grew with the characters as they grew. I found my voice and confidence. By my junior year, I was a class clown just doing me. Now that I’m past 30, I want to mine these gems from anime and share just what makes them worth your time. So that’s what I plan to do.

When’s the first review?

Soon, my dudes. Since it’s been so long since I’ve seen these shows, I really need to think back on what these shows initially did for me and how they played a role in my life. As for the posts, here’s what I have planned:

  • Anime Preview – There will always be an “announcement” post featuring the title I’m about to cover. With the Anime Preview I want to go in depth about what I remember from the show, what was going on in my world, and some hype to get into it.
  • Episode Reviews – This is the bread and butter of the Review-bric. I watch an episode, jot down my thoughts, run it through the Review-bric and then we’ll have an insightful post to go with my binge watching.
  • Anime Review – After all is watch and said, then I’ll hit you with the numbers, new thoughts, and sweet sweet reflection on that show that has now been completed.

Then it’s rinse and repeat. That’s what we have moving forward. Expect my first Anime Preview tomorrow so I can finally start doing some critical watching. Thank you for reading! I’m so excited to be doing something so fun and with no relevance whatsoever. I thrive in that “almost-productive” mindset. Adios!

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