And you increase your retarded level by 3.
This is actually a reaction post after reading Deftoned’s discussion about how ANN hates Nanoha (and the always excellent Jpmeyer as usual writes a LOL! entry about the incident). I do not profess to be able to write anything as great as these two writers, but I have a discussion with my girlfriend after looking at some of the rather sarcastic forum exchanges between the ANN editorial team and the Moe loving fans. In particular, one thing interesting that came from these forum exchanges is the high ground that the ANN editorial team gave, that they are critics and are attacked by moe-loving dumb fans.
When I really think about it, what makes them an anime critic? Are there specific criteria for someone to be an anime critic or at least call themselves as such? I do not think that anyone who describes and reviews on an anime should be called a critic. It’s just a yapper talking about something related to anime. Yet, as much as I do not agree with ANN’s reviewers most of the time, I personally find myself conferring them a professional position on anime opinions (Aka, they are professional anime reviewers, albeit rather elitist).
So, what is an anime critic? I do not clearly know, but there are some things that are not how anime critics should portray themselves. If you hate to listen to high horse rhetoric, you can stop now.
I am right, and you better listen
I personally believe that an anime critic got to be humble. There is often this sad phenomena where anime critics became anime assholes because they find themselves way too good to watch what the “commoners” would ever watch. You will sometimes catch me doing this when I diss fanservice or mecha, but I have learned to curb my snobbish attitude. At least it will never be done to discourage anyone from enjoying what they like. Our mouths have become so gaping wide that we no longer know when to close the mouth.
In fact, you probably see this disdaining group of people in ANN, in blogs and in almost everywhere on the Internet. They tell you that what you are watching is horrible, and the only good anime are anime that THEY watch. If that is where they stop, it is all good but they will convince you that you should be them. They also often use grandiloquent and pompous language to confuse and make fun of others. Might I ask who ever made you the authority in deciphering anime or deciding what is good for others? That becomes very sad when we become the center of the review, rather than the anime that we are reviewing.
A cosplay of Danny? What’s next, a cosplay of Crusader the gundam hater? Bah.
I am definitely not advocating that we should all be extremely agreeable and not say anything bad about anime. I am not asking you to compromise your own position and try to be nice all the time even if it’s very hard to say something nice about something. That is also a problem because we became merely fans that are worshiping the anime without thinking. If an anime critic merely agrees and says that every anime he watches is good, then we will never know if an anime is really good. Why is it good? Are there issues that should be worrying the viewer (and every single anime has that, no anime is perfect).
I believe strongly that anime critics should critique in a fair manner, write on genres that they have some interest and knowledge in, and tries to be strict without being condescending to any target readers. If you cannot resist saying something bad about a really bad anime, don’t say anything. The spiral of silence is always the most powerful weapon that we reviewers possess. I think that the likelihood of finding someone who actually enjoys an anime, critically analyzes the anime and yet stays relevant to the readers is almost zero.
My ears are closed
Do you ever read an entry of a person who sounds like that any feedback or objection toward the person’s review or view will cause a vicious reply from that said author? It is like how many Naruto fans, being overly zealous of their anime, tends to attack anyone who will say anything dismissive of genuinely poor production values. No matter what a reader says, this writer just goes ahead and make fun of you without even listening.
The worst type of critic is one that does not listen to what his critics have to say about his views. It is always said that any person who professes to be an expert or leader is also a person who is most willing to listen to other views, and answer them with grace and decency. If you are a critic that only bothers to attack and not listen, why even call yourself a critic? You are only an empty shell that is trying to embarrass yourself, and disgrace the art form that you are supposed to celebrate.
So what makes you an anime critic?
So what makes an anime critic after listening to such negative examples? I believe that it is an idealistic wo/man that likes his or her anime, yet never losing sight of the fact that he or she has to be objective in the discussion of the anime. S/he should never try to think that s/he is the center of the review, but only as a facilitator to communicate the goodness and problems of the anime to the reader. S/he listens to feedback, discusses intensively with readers with a personal feel and a professional touch.
Is this even possible? Is there an ideal anime critic?