W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yotsunoha OVA - Afterthoughts (Also included: Some thoughts regarding ratings)

Well... I'm not sure if there are people who still like short stories anymore. But I for one am still a lover of those, and actually prefer them over long stories that are too elongated for anything interesting to be left after a while.

And this OVA, it is a very good piece of work. So it isn't nice to see it having a rating of ~6 on AniDB.net. But there are many important (and probably most influencing) factors to consider for the generic votes:

1. Whether the series is famous/well-known - being a flock of sheeps, most humans well tend to follow whatever others are doing/saying/thinking and have their own thoughts influenced by it. And yes so everybody is watching show xxx, it's got to be good and I must watch it also.

Sadly, it's rarely the case that the most famous/well-known titles are the best. I'm sure there are many *cough* examples out there. But to avoid offending any specific Anime supporter and to keep the context recent I'll relate to the recent Red Cliff movie that I just watched a week ago. Yes many people are watching, it set record sales and had a 80m budget, aside from the rave reviews and high ratings. But I can tell you, it sucked. Sure there are excellent points, but it sucked. In fact it sucked so much it was criticized on Taiwanese forums so much that it was even featured on the Taiwanese news.

2. The genre - unfortunately this is IMO a legitimate rating skewer. As in skew-er, to give a bias to/against or distort, not skewer, as in to kill. Because our preferences differ, what one likes may not appeal to another. And romance* shows are already on the edge. Add the slice-of-life feeling, recall of past events, short story representation, and there's practically nothing left.

* Romance in this context refers to a story that focuses on relationships and its development, not one that has its main point on something else like fighting, war or weapons. Not caring to avoid offending anyone, I can say that the latter usually has near-zero fomance and if any, it is of a elementary level. Meaning I love you and you love me, period, plus usually an obscure reason for it.

I myself am aware of my own preferences, so whenever I rate I try to give a possible rating range. I will give my own rating, but will mention the point modifiers. And if asked to give a single rating for the masses, I'll take my rating, minus half of the points that were the result of the modifier.

3. There was supposed to be a third point - sadly I forgot. :P

But anyway, the point is to read the the more detailed reviews IN DETAIL - there is a review of 6.5, while being a tad low (although relatively, it's already higher than the generic vote), there are lots of compliments, but weighed down by the story. Oh yes, which brings us to the third point:

3. Background/context - again sadly (yes the rating system is full of sadness), while this is also a legitimate point modifier, nobody actually cares about the background and context unless it is related to point no. 1. But in order to appreciate the show fully one has to understand the origin - from where did it come from, how is it made and what is its purpose or audience. But then you can argue that a generic vote should refer the opinion of a generic audience - I do not question that, that's why I also consider this a modifier and remove half the modifier points for the generic vote; it's too harsh on the show if I rate it just for the generic clueless audience without giving it some credit. More on this later.

First thing before the show: The Opening

While I don't judge shows by their opening, it's usually a good gauge of how good the show is. Because it is a show of how much effort the people are willing to put in. A good song with appropriate video will give a good first impression also.
(Of course, there are cases that I either love or hate the OP a lot but not the show, because there's lots of preference involved. Take Nanatsuiro Drops' OP - that will always be on my top list. The directorship is also good, but story really sucked and weighed it down alot, and the show is only average after applying modifiers.)

This show, song is nice, normal romance Anime type but still new in some ways. Video, very nice. Especially the background. Better than average at the very least. Lines are clean, many scenes (from the game obviously). Full of details.

On the whole, another OP on my fav list, both video and song.

If I were to rate this show, I'll give it my own score of 7.5, with the modifiers:

Artwork is good. Not the best, not revolutionary, but there is nothing to complain about. It looks normal, with extra details where required. Just very pleasing.
Story - a bit short, some characters not used fully - but many other shows are also culprits of this. Setting of reunion is good and although the basic school harem is always the norm. Characters are good, each with some personality that doesn't overlap too much, although you do see the usual norm - loli, friendly (and a bit dumb?) onee-chan, tsundere. But the male protagonist is a bit openly ecchi, and that's not usual and I like that.
Enjoyment - If I can spend longer to blog than watch something, what does it says about enjoyment? It's not heavy and does not require much brainwork, just some good easy enjoyment. No rewatchability though unless you played the game.
Enjoyment weighs a lot in my ratings btw.

Now the modifiers:
Short story - I myself don't penalize for short stories and I don't think anyone should, but those thinking that the story isn't enough will do it. Easily brings down the point by 1.
Background - The original games ought to be very long, as can be seen from the many events that were stuffed into the OVA. This OVA is most likely aimed at the original players, or to get new players to play. (I, for one, has been psycho-ed) Considering that, the limitation of its length, it is a job well done. +1 for background.
(Note: Background can also minus points, if the original is good but the adaptation sucks, like the famous cases of Fate, Tsukihime, Clannad and Air movies. Watching the good original will make the bad adaptation seem even worse, so take that in mind when rating, and use the modifier appropriately)
Genre - School, romance, life, the worst combination one can think of. Number of people that like all 3 together, very little if not counting the eroge cult group. Minus 2 points.

Ok, now the ratings:
In this case, I'm not affected by background and romance genre modifiers. Most of the time I try to ignore background and take the shows at face-value, although cases like Air movie and Fate can really make you throw up. For the romance genre, having read/watched the better of the love stories out there my expectation is high, so if it does an ok job, no point change. But if it does a bad job, like the obscure love relationship and/or harem, prepare to be sunk. In this case, applying the modifier actually increases the rating. However, I still have to apply the school + life modifiers, which is a +1.

So, my score is 7.5 after two +1s. So an appropriate rating for a general audience would be 7.5 - 2/2 = 6.5.

Hmm... seems like the case with that AniDB review guy. 6.5 with lots of compliments.

But seriously, I can't give it an 8, because 8 = must watch unless you really hate the genre because it's sure to be something good. I can let this one past, and was actually deciding between 7 and 7.5, but 7 feels too low by AniDB standards.

But oh well, it all ends well.

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