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How we review...

Reviews are difficult to do. No -- let's rephrase that. Good reviews are difficult to do. Everyone carries their own load of personal baggage, colouring how we perceive things. That's the primary reasoning for having two reviewers work on each show we look at.

Wherever possible, we will review the original animé, as well as the North American releases, since the re-releases are often edited to cater to their specific market. (i.e., why include some obscure Japanese cultural aspect if it gets in the way of continuity? Or worse - why include a scene if it does nothing to advance the plot, but causes the MPAA rating to go from 'G' to 'NC-17'?) A particular series may have various incarnations on TV, OAV (Original Animated Video) and theater, so they are reviewed separately. Every once in a while, there will be separate series which use the same characters, but seem to have nothing else in common (such as Project A-Ko). These are also reviewed separately.

For each series being reviewed, there is an overview on the series main-page followed by a breakdown of reviews by episode. Why episodic reviews rather than overall reviews? Some series have too much variation within the series to do it justice with a single all-encompassing review. Often there will be an author change or director change in the middle of a long series, or there may be a real odd-ball episode that just doesn't appeal. When looking at buying animé on a restricted budget therefore, do you really want to spend your money on a tape which just doesn't do anything? Worse still, what if it's just a bad tape? Doing an episode by episode review doesn't really change the overall amount of work considering that a series would still have to be reviewed on the basis of all the episodes. However by doing episodic reviews, we can start reviewing a series without having all the tapes, and it is much easier to watch an episode or tape 5-6 times rather than watching a full series straight 5-6 times.

When considering the review structure, we briefly toyed with the idea of a tape by tape review, only what do you do with something like Ranma ½? For that series, you have the sub-titled version with 3 episodes per tape and the dubbed version has 2 per tape. Not easy to reconcile. Also, with some of these series, it may start out good, but the writing or the voice acting may change as time goes on making it unworthy of being collected as the series progresses.

Lastly, there are some really odd-ball tapes which have nothing in common from one story to the next such as the Japanese Classics tapes. Here you have a collection of short stories which have been put in animé format. There is no continuation from one story to the next, so it makes no sense to review the tape series as a whole. So there you have it. We really have considered the pros and cons of reviewing anime by episode. Whether you choose to read all the reviews is your prerogative, we will however provide the information for you.

The Ratings Game:

5 stars Five stars -- Outstanding piece of work. Worth adding to your collection, or great as an introduction to newbies.
4 stars Four stars -- solid entertainment. Well worth watching.
3 stars Three stars -- average. Worth a look.
2 stars Two stars -- watch only if you're a die-hard fan of the genre or series, otherwise don't waste your time.
1 star One star -- not worth the tape it's recorded on; should be buried in soft peat.
turkey Zero stars -- no redeeming features, cannot even be buried in soft peat. A real turkey.

N/A -- Not Available or Not Applicable

N/R -- Not Reviewed

Still not satisfied with our review system? Here's a more detailed look at how we try to 'quantify' our reviews:

How we review Part II

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