53 CommentsEditorials / By Scamp /

I would criticise anime very differently if I thought the original author was reading

Log Horizon - 03 - Large 25

Generally while having any discussion on the internet about entertainment, you’re not thinking about hurting the feelings of the creator. OK perhaps some of you are arseholes and like yelling at famous people on the internet, but for the most part you just bash the latest crappy movie you saw in peace. The harsh words of critics and fans do hurt the people who create entertainment. Listen to absolutely any interview with creative folks and you’ll hear how negative feedback hurts. The internet has made it much easier for the creator of entertainment to see what your ordinary person thinks of their work.

Anime though is in a bit of a weird place thanks to the language barrier. English speaking folks can call an anime creator’s pride and joy a pile of uninspired derivative crap and feel safe knowing the creator will never see what they said. The Cart Driver is fairly big by anime blog standards (which isn’t saying much but whatever let me be a little narcissistic just this once) and what I say reaches more people than your average fan, but even then I seriously doubt anime creators have ever read what I wrote.

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This has been on my mind recently due to the sort of responses shithead gamers have to the creators of their content. Thanks to twitter you can get right up in the creators face and yell at them about how much their work sucks donkey balls, and many gamers certainly do. I don’t want to be like them. I don’t want to be an arsehole to people who create the entertainment I watch, but I often am with the anime I review. I’m sure the author of these 5 light novel adaptations are over the moon that their work is getting adapted and hardly want me shitting over their success.

A few years ago another blogger suggested that the problem with anime blog reviews is they don’t offer constructive criticism, to which at the time I said “what’s the bloody point”? We’re not talking to the authors, so why would constructive criticism be of any use? When I think the first episode of (picking one totally at random here) Log Horizon is bad, I’m sarcastic and blunt and unsympathetic. Would I have written the post differently if I thought the author himself might see it? Most definitely yes. I would have still been negative, but it would have been much lighter in tone and not as entertaining a read nor as accurately reflect my true opinions on the show.

The author of Log Horizon recently joined in a discussion on slash aye about the different classes in his fictional MMO world. It’s cool because it’s a rare example of the original author being involved in English-speaking fandom’s online discourse of their material. He’s not exactly seeing the usual kind of conversation that goes on there (shit taste hurr faggot kill yourself etc) because the community are acting like the teacher walked into the classroom promising sweets so they’re all on their best behaviour. Come in another day unannounced because he’s interested in what English speaking folk are saying about the anime adaptation of his novel and he might see a whole other picture.

I can’t make up my mind whether this is a good or bad thing. Is it bad that I’m sitting here comfortable behind a language barrier able to be as foul about someone’s creation as I feel like, knowing I would be totally different if they might actually read the post? Or is it a bigger worry that my critic integrity is so weak that I crumble because I’m worried about someone’s feelings? Or am I getting too het up about this because ‘popular by anime blog standards’ is still pretty damn obscure? What about you folks, would you be much less critical of anime if you thought the original creator might read it?

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53 Comments

  1. Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    If I thought the original creator were to read one of my blog posts I probably wouldn’t try to hide any of my negative thoughts on their work, but I’d definitely be more cautious of making sure my criticisms are actually constructive and not mean-spirited in tone.

    If someone want to make art, and especially if they want to make money making art, they just have to accept that some people will think your stuff is utter trash. And I say this as a starry-eyed artist who also wants to make a living making cartoons.

    So as a critic you should never really worry about hurting anyones feelings so long as you’re being honest and polite about your opinion. What’s important is that you know how to separate the work from the person, since no one really deserves to be ridiculed or threatened just because they make bad art.

    Even I sometimes say things like “This director needs just stop making anime,” which I should avoid doing since I never actually wish any ill-will on someone just because I dislike their work.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

      Thing is though they’re not reading my or your criticism because of the language barrier and relative obscurity. Hence framing your posts as polite is kinda meaningless, especially in my case where I know my posts are way funnier and better written if I go full snark when I truly dislike something.

  2. Posted October 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I try not to say anything I wouldn’t stand by in person. Mostly that means writing about what I liked – if I’m not enjoying a show I tend to drop it anyway, and it would be unfair to review a show I hadn’t finished.

  3. Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I would not change my writing if there was a chance the original creator would happen to read my blog. The same would apply if I blogged about games, books, movies or anything else.

    What I am writing about is their creation and thus that is what I tell my thoughts about if I, say, write a review. I bring up what I like and dislike in various manners. Offering feedback would not really add anything to a review, would it?

    Yes, you could make a short mention that “doing x over y would be better” in a way to convey your issues with the anime, but actually spending a lot of time on that? It would only be out of place. However, I would not be opposed to giving the creator more detailed thoughts if (s)he asked about it in the comments or via email.

    I have a bit weird relationship with criticism. I love it, simply put. I wish to be criticized myself, mostly because it was something I never experienced in school. I wish to see more criticism in the video game sphere, because it is something it is sorely lacking.

    But being afraid of giving criticism? No, I just don’t see the point. Write your heart out! Just don’t be an ass about it.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

      Well firstly you’re not as critical as I am. Secondly, they’re not reading your stuff anyway. Except maybe when you’re on Crunchyroll, and then you’re not being negative so whatevs bro

      • Posted October 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        But I still get hated ;_;

  4. fEast91
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    The crux of it really is not to be an ass when critisising. While I don’t really have lots to say online publicly, what I do find in my own circle whenever I critic something is that the more crass and assholish I do it, the less serious my opinion taken.

    Interestingly, this post comes at a time where I am trying to be as level headed as I can wheneverI voice my opinion on anime. Mostly because I see myself, whenever I got into expletives and ranty behaviour, as a drugged up sexually repressed chimpanzee screaming and flinging shit around.

    P. S. I thought this post was about that one sensationalist post about CR based on a faulty assumption to forward a dumb agenda by a shit flinging sexually repressed drugged up chimpanzee. But this is fine too.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

      I do try to be somewhat level headed when talking about anime, but if I truly didn’t like something I’m not going to sugar coat that. Also as seemingly everyone who reads this blog will say, I’m at my best when I get super snarky about an anime being bad.

      I considered writing a post about that terrible site, but I’ll save it for another time. This one was already half written anyway, the Log Horizon author on slash aye gave me a nice lead in.

      • fEast91
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 2:10 am | Permalink

        Well for one, I thought that you haven’t resulted into hyperbolic expletives when criticising something negatively, and you back that up with well thought out arguments, and leave enough room to discuss further. Some may attest against my second point, but I’d say that it’s not too faulty that it’s seen as a stupid agenda pushing point or some sort and comes around to my third point.

      • fEast91
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 2:16 am | Permalink

        This also reminds me of Fez-creator-person and the hullabaloo following his breakdown against shit flinging apes. Was about to relate having thick skin against critics and all that jazz of being a creative person, but honestly it just reminds me of Fez creator person.

  5. Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    “let me be a little narcissistic just this once”
    >just this once
    shit taste hurr faggot kill yourself etc

    My insults are legit because you came up with them and I’m being superultrameta here with insulting someone’s creative output as well as the guy himself. HAH!

    “and he might see a whole other picture”
    To be fair, /a/ actually does like Log Horizon from what I’ve seen. There’s little reason they wouldn’t like it anyway, since hey, it’s not like SAO at all. I guess that train of thought does give the anime some bonus over there. But yeah, I do get where you’re coming from.

    On another note, I don’t recall Inushinde and Shinmaru yelling at Okada, calling her a talentless hack when they were having a threesome with her at that one anime con. Fire those guys, man.

    Now, if SAO’s writer were to suddenly make an appearance on /a/… now that would certainly be interesting.

    • Shinmaru
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

      Hey now. HEY NOW.

      I don’t have enough game to have a threesome with Inushinde. :(

    • Scamp
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      Wild guess if the SAO writer showed up on 4chan: There would probably be shitheads who would attack him there too. I might have said this before on this site, but I do not like the community on slash aye at all.

      • Pusswookie
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        What do you consider “attacking?” Would it be attacking if someone straight up told him his work was bad and why? Or do you mean flaming him?

      • Scamp
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

        Flaming through being shitheads. Also not sure if jumping into a random conversation and yelling “I THOUGHT YOUR WORK WAS SHIT” when it’s not the right time for it is a good idea either.

  6. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found myself asking the same thing a number of times these last few years, usually after some vitriolic spiel on twitter or a forum about a show I should have dropped for just not appealing to my tastes. You look back and realise that the most negative aspect is your own reaction. It doesn’t stop me from endlessly forgetting this bitter truth the next time I come across something I dislike, but you can pull yourself back a bit. At the least you can add a bit of humour and self-mockery to your analysis, before you turn into the type of guy who gives 1* amazon reviews to everything they dislike. In any case, the days of live-watching currently airing ‘bad’ shows are well behind me.

    Flat out calling writers/staff out for being shitty is something I do feel strongly against; even though I’ve been guilty of just that more than once. Like you mentioned, the difference is trying to find constructive criticism to say rather than just spewing vomit. If you really don’t like the director/writer/studio etc, it’s probably better to get out of dodge. Otherwise just try and think out a more measured response.

    Take Mari Okada and Seiji Kishi, two fairly polarising figures in the western sphere, as examples. With Okada it’s obvious that she’s very talented and creative, she just tends to write sappy and melodramatic stories which often don’t go down well with the sections of the fandom who enjoy critical analysis (as pompous as that sounds/is). The problem isn’t with her; after all, she’s writing the kind of stories people want to see and will sell. Those that don’t should accept it and move on to something else, rather than aping the same tired reactions every time she releases another high school drama. She isn’t the one failing to change her approach in order to gain a more successful outcome; the detractors are.

    On the other hand, Seiji Kishi, while also a lot more talented than he’s sometimes given credit for, tends to provide legitimate issues for people to be concerned, eg, awkward scene transitions, or struggling to create a balance between literal, fan-appeasing translations of adaptations, and creating something that newcomers can embrace. Personally, I do find merit with discussing such concerns, as they provide a basis for which he could improve or iron-out this style, rather than changing to what the fan in question prefers to see. Artists, especially in their early years, tend to live and die by the advice of others, to order to hone their skills. Whether Kishi would ever trawl through the western anisphere, I still see value in conceptualising your thoughts, on a personal level, whether the original source notices them or not. I don’t think I would change my approach if I knew he was reading them, unless I knew deep down I was being pretty unfair and mean-spirited.

    As for straight up bashing something for other people’s enjoyment, I’m still at an impasse. There is a difference between lambasting, say Tim Minchin, or an aspiring artist, whose work is entirely personal, and a product deliberately created by committee to cash in on an audience. Whether the author of Log Horizon is enthusiastic and passionate about his novel or not, even he would have to admit that both the concept and characters capitalises on tropes already established. It’s simply the safest way to become established and make a profit in most industries, and I have to believe most creative professionals would admit to that split. At that point to what extent are you mocking the ‘original’ (whatever the term means with the wealth of pre-existing ideas) effort, or the lack of thereof?

    In any case, taking the mick out of generic fodder like Queens Blade, or the next harem VN, never fails provides me with amusement. Should I feel guilty? Possibly; still, I can’t help but feel that a level of self-awareness should also come the staff, for why people would be dismissive. Ultimately I guess it’s trying to find that near-impossible balancing act of trying to be funny, while making a point, and just being a dick trying to show superiority under the guise of righteousness.

    So yeah, fuck knows.

    *This ended up a bit off-topic from the initial question, but whatevs*

    • Scamp
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

      I have changed my Okada rhetoric recently for a few reasons. Partly because Shinmaru and Inushinde met her and said she was super nice so I feel extra guilty about disliking her writing. That specifically is one of the things that brought on the idea for this post. I feel super bad about the idea that she, on a real off chance, went to the blog of a guy who was super excited to meet her and was faced with one of the most used tags on the site being ‘Mari Okada is a crap writer’.

  7. Posted October 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Personally, I think taking the time to analyze a person’s work is respect enough, because IMO, one of the cruelest things you can do to a guy is tell them their work is flawless when it isn’t. With that said, whenever I insulted SAO back in the day, I never hated Kawahara personally for it. I was actually hoping to go that con he was at some time ago in order to meet him and see how his mind worked. I’m sure he’s a nice guy in real life and all that (as is the Log Horizon dude), but that doesn’t mean I have to like him as a writer. Even in the blogosphere, there are people who are friendly with each other, yet won’t read each other’s writing.

    I’ve said this before a while back, but no matter what my feelings are towards something, I’m always aware that it’s secondary to the passion put into a work. I know animation is hard. I know that if I tried my hand at it, it wouldn’t work out great. I may have been harsh on Eccentric Family and Guilty Crown and all, but that doesn’t mean I’m denouncing the years of effort put into those projects.

    At the same time that doesn’t mean I can’t speak up against something that fails to entertain me, especially since anime is a hobby that you have to pay money for. Also, I’m a blogger and have my own audience to fulfill, as well as my own praise and criticisms to deal with. The world of opinions is just funny like that.

    Just remember that you must be able to critique and laugh at yourself first before you do the same to others. Because at the end of the day, you’re just as subsceptible as the people and products you make fun of. That’s probably the most important thing. I could go on further, but this comment is long enough as is. This is one of those topics that is better discussed than written.

  8. Pusswookie
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m not gonna be long-winded about this, but of course Negative Feedback hurts. The negative part is the motivation to do better and the feedback bit is – if they can parse out the useful bits among the hatemongering – how the audience thinks they’ll achieve that. No reason it can’t still be constructive; and you shouldn’t feel guilty for the way you review things, you have your own audience to entertain.

    However, I think that there are also times when people, such as the authors of those light novels, should be bullied strongly discouraged from the business until the only thing that they’re writing is dejected poetry. Alone. In a shack in the mountains where they’ve isolated themselves to atone for what they’ve done.

    That aside, I really like Tim Minchin both as an artist and a fellow ginger.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      As if any of those authors would read my criticisms though, which is where this post kinda stems from. Being mean is one thing, but if I had the chance to actually change the industry in some form then I would still really lash out at crappy light novels.

  9. Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    In one of my posts I suggested that the creators of SEL were loners who think they want a friend but really they just want an object: a young spaced out girl. Basically I’m saying they’re pathetic and disgusting. If they spoke English and read what I said of them then they would respond with offense and rage, but I think they’re pathetic, so I want that to be clear to them; because they’ve convinced themselves that their patheticness is so much deeper than that, and that Lain is actually a very complex character study reflecting the state of America-influenced Japan, not that she is actually just a pathetic fetish doll conceived by young sweaty men; I want these guys not to delude themselves because I have my head up my own arse. So let them put my post in Google Translate and read it; let their blood boil; it’s cool.

  10. Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    As a blogger, I feel it is important to give my honest opinion, but I also think it’s important to be respectful enough to keep my critiques about the thing I am critiquing and not about the fandom or the creator or any other distraction I could focus on. I’m not saying you don’t, but that is what I personally focus on.

    If I do have something I want to say about a creator, I try to keep it honest and based on facts. I probably wouldn’t say things the same way if I were actually talking to the creator in person or even writing a blog expecting them to read it, but if I am writing a critique I consider it a disservice both to myself, anyone reading and even the original creators if I am not open and honest with my writing.

    I once heard a writer talking about blogging and being taken seriously on the internet at a seminar and I like what he said. It was basically this: “When you have something positive to say have fun with it; when you have something negative to say make sure you do your research and base everything you say around facts even if you are having fun with it.”

    The implication is that people can naturally tell when something is hyperbole if they apply any sort of critical thinking to it. Lets say a creator does stumble onto one of our anime blogs and sees some awful things we have said about their masterpiece. If anyone is going to naturally inclined to apply critical thinking to these things and read between the lines, it’s going to be them. It still bothers me to see anime bloggers being nasty, but honesty is important for critics I think.

    • Nazaren
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 1:40 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree with this more.

      If an author/creator happened upon this blog and could understand it, he/she should understand the nature of entertainment and be able to see passed the snark, as long as it’s accurate and valid criticism.

      If they can’t, I don’t think the same criticism with different or more polite phrasing would be able to reach them.

    • Hanasra
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Being nasty to their creation but with valid point for argument? Absolutely yes, I can’t agree more with this. But personally attacking the author as “hopeless loners” who write harem LN for escapism? No, just don’t even though that might be true.

      • Posted October 24, 2013 at 12:40 am | Permalink

        Is that directed at me? If so I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. Personally I dislike seeing genuine hatred of any kind on the internet, but there is a time and place for expressing disgust or even anger when we write.

        I do think that anime bloggers can be really nasty, both to each other and to the people who create and provide anime, but I’ve only recently started reading Scamps blogging again for the first time in several years. I’m not accusing anyone of that here or defending them for it.

      • Hanasra
        Posted October 24, 2013 at 3:52 am | Permalink

        No, not you. It just a quick addition and reminded to anyone really. I’m just trying to enforce my point that you can be nasty to an author creation but not to the author themselves. Sorry if I cause misuderstanding.

  11. Redcrimson
    Posted October 22, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me, if you’re going to put yourself out there, creatively speaking, you should do so with the knowledge at the very least, a vocal minority is going to shit all over it.

    I’m sure Reki Kawahara is proud of SAO’s success, and I’m sure he’s proud of writing it. I don’t think that he should be content with it. He himself has admitted he could have done better, and I think that’s extremely important for any creative endeavor. Nothing you make is ever going to be perfect, but that’s not a reason to strive to do better that you have before. I think Accel World was vast improvement over SAO in terms of sheer narrative competency, and I think Kawahara could actually be a good writer if he worked at it. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop calling him a hack, until he actually he actually writes something worthwhile.

    At the end of the day, every crappy anime, generic pop song, and witty internet post should be created because the creator wanted to make them, and not to appease critics. And by that same token, criticism should be levied because the critic has something to say, and it shouldn’t have to be watered down because the creator might get butthurt.

    • Pusswookie
      Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      This basically. If they’re going to put their stuff out there, then they’d better steel themselves for the responses.
      Sometimes creators need to be exposed to the reality of their work.

  12. Posted October 22, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    If I knew the creator was reading my writings I’d almost certainly change my style somewhat – there is no point pretending I wouldn’t. While my distaste for certain shows would remain, I’d be more inclined to try and be a bit clearer on what I didn’t like, or why it didn’t capture my interest – as opposed to my current rather flippant, knee-jerk throwaway commentary.

    I suppose in the aniblogging world there is definitely that sense of “the creators are never going to read this” so there is a tendency to be a bit harsher and cutting, because we are primarily writing for other fans who may be interested in our opinions. If the purpose behind our writing is to provide criticism for the creators, then of course your writing style is going to change – it is a different audience.

    Negative criticism hurts regardless of who you are or how long you’ve been in the game, but if you’re putting yourself and your work out there for the world to see, then you’ve gotta accept that not everyone is going to like it, and some are going to be very verbal and blunt about that….because it is the internet after all!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      I think most anibloggers don’t even think about whether the author would read the criticism. Mind you I think the gaming world, where you see people be absolute shitheads to the creator’s face, shows a nice example of how we might act if the creators were reading. Hence why this post came about.

  13. romulus
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Hey Scamp,
    I think what you are talking about here is one of the basic aspects one must consider when constructing a text – any text. It is considering the target listener/reader of your message. Just like one wouldn’t swear in front of a teacher knowing s/he might hear, bloggers choose their words because their target audience is a bunch of fellow young people watching “chinese cartoons” (©Scamp)on the internet.
    Twitter is a bit different, because there one can choose whether to include the creator or not, so it is plain bad manners speaking too harshly on an author’s channel. Well, as for you and all the bloggers, the isolation of your opinion on an independent blog and a language barrier are additional filters separating authors and fans, so fear not and long live your snark!

    • Scamp
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      I’ve actually been considering what the audience for this blog is quite a lot recently. Partly because…well, the audience isn’t necessarily people exactly like myself. I know some folks who ran a panel at an anime convention and did a quick test by getting everyone to stand up and then asked if they had seen less than 10 anime to sit down. The numbers kept rising until they reached about 100 anime. The only people still standing up were other anibloggers they knew in a room of a few hundred.

      Yeah I know this isn’t strictly related to the post, but it’s an interesting thought anyway. Particularly something I have to keep in mind when writing my season previews. Got to remember most people who will read it don’t know who Mari Okada is, or Akiyuki Shinbo or Seiji Kishi or Kenji Nakamura or Dai Saito or Saya Yamamoto and so on. Many won’t even know who KyoAni are.

      • Redcrimson
        Posted October 24, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        We’re veering off-topic here, but this is something that really bugs me about anime fandom. It’s the only fandom I know of where it’s perfectly acceptable, even normal, to just be a fan of the product itself.

        I mean, most comic book geeks have a favorite writer, most film nerds have a favorite director, sports fans know all the players on their favorite team, even gamers tend to gravitate towards certain publishers, but anime fans? Not so much. All that matters is that Attack on Titan is teh best animu evar, so who cares who this Tetsuro Araki guy is?

        Japanese Guest Panels always have embarrassingly low attendance rates. But if Joss Whedon showed up at a comic convention, it’d be mobbed.

        It’s just such a strange phenomenon.

  14. Posted October 23, 2013 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    If it’s garbage, it’s garbage. I’m not gonna sugarcoat anything.

    I might tone down some sarcasm, but my writing’s not going to drastically become more reserved.

  15. Frog
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    The thing about criticism is that, whether or not the creator reads your comments, your first audience is still yourself.

    The most useful criticism – both for the critic and for the creator – is constructive, because that gives you a better awareness of how to make good art yourself.

    The second thing about criticism it is in itself a form of art. It’s almost like writing a fanfiction in the sense that you’re drawing from something that already exists and making something original. If your criticism wasn’t fun or entertaining to write, then it won’t be fun to read.

    I like criticism when I get the feeling that the critic would make a good creator him/herself. The actual opinions don’t matter to me much. You don’t have to sugarcoat what you write or reduce your snark as long your review actually shows genuine insight into what you’re writing about and is written with flexibility and creativity.

    tldr; that Log Horizon post was fucking hilarious, keep it up

    • Scamp
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      That’s something that bugs me about people who complain about people who criticise media with “you haven’t done shit so you can’t talk”. Criticising is itself an art that’s fucking difficult to do. Nobody has made that argument to me in the past few years though so I haven’t been able to make that retort

  16. Posted October 23, 2013 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I may not have had a creator read my posts, but I’ve had Kodansha Comics read two of my posts. One was a license request for the Attack on Titan manga in the United States. They quoted my article twice at their panels. Another was about the “Koe no Katachi” manga one-shot. They said that article intrigued them to take a look at the series for a possible license in the States.

    I spoke to one of the guys from Kodansha Comics at NYCC and he said I’m one of the reasons the Titan manga is so big in the U.S., since I was one of the few that talked about it way before the anime came. I’m like “Uhhhh ok?”

    Now if Kodansha Japan or Hajime Isayama read my stuff, I would probably be really humble about what I say. Even if their work may be shitty, they did bust their butts off and tried. I usually care about how fans can learn from certain anime characters and situations. Of course, how they are written may infuriate me, but I will try to look at both angles.

    This reminds me of a interview with WWE’s Ryback where he said that the Internet is mostly full of negative people who shouldn’t have an opinion.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      That’s really cool! I’ve had the odd industry person talk to me, but it’s usually just reach-outs from english speaking PR from Japanese companies. Certainly nothing on that level. Then again from what I can tell, the manga blogging community has their finger on the pulse of manga licenses far more than the pirate happy anime blogging sphere.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted October 24, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      It was actually through your Manga Therapy blog that I first heard about Koe no Katachi. Thanks, I appreciate it. This manga is not only fantastic for the psychological aspects but also for what it has to say. I’ve been spreading the word on it and many people found it impactful. Others had some criticisms which included the girl lacking an interpreter or a hearing device from the beginning, the lack of motivation from the bully, using the notebook as a tool for sympathy, and the ending being sexist in that the girl did not refuse the boy. The main criticism was that it was trying to hard to elicit sympathy. I don’t know much about the specifics of accommodations in Japan but I think that the rest can be explained.

      Your thoughts?

  17. ANON
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Thing is, whatever reaction somebody may have on a certain title, for example, when the creator of fractale suddenly was able to read scamp’s posts on the series, I don’t think the creator would care that much since we’re outside the language barrier, and therefore we are not the target demographic they are trying to reach.

    whatever negative vitriolic reaction we could have against fractale for example (lol), would not have the same impact as say, a hardcore japanese otaku saying the same things about it, because the creator might just think that it’s because of the difference in culture, or something was lost in translation etc.

    you can’t please everybody, most people in the entertainment industry in the english speaking world, whether tv shows, books, movies or video games have already learned to tune out those idiots who always shout about how something always sucks and just consider the opinion of a few who are trustworthy and can give constructive criticism.

    now, if TheCartDriver somehow becomes the leading english-speaking anime blog about anime in general and somehow also offers advice about how to improve certain titles, then that’s the time when changing the tone of some reviews here will be needed, but lol that won’t happen anytime soon.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2013 at 12:05 am | Permalink

      There are cases where what I say could have a greater impact. Take the old kickstarter projects and stuff like that. My post on Kickheart a while back did get some folks to donate, and that thing didn’t get too far over its goal. More obscure anime movies that are trying to succeed on the festival scene could really get a boost from blogging buzz. If I came out of, say, Patema Inverted and said it was amazing and everyone should see it, there probably would be a knock on positive effect. Certainly way more so than the latest late night TV anime. That’s the only real area I can see that happening for English speaking folks though.

      • ANON
        Posted October 24, 2013 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        I guess from that the best thing one could do is to be honest. If it is worth watching and it looks like nobody knows about it, then by all means blog about it to spread awareness.

        Just don’t change your writing style though, even when the author is reading it, especially your Anime Season Previews™ and first impressions, those are what draws people to this place i think.

  18. Nagisa33
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    What about those lazy adaptations where you can tell the people aren’t really trying?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 24, 2013 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      Nobody sets out to make a bad anime. It’s normally just something has gone horribly wrong with the production.

  19. Someone Else
    Posted October 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a simplification to why authors or any popular people in general view these negatives:

    You can’t please everyone

    The problem with this is that they tend to be short sighted and think that as long as most people think he/she is doing good it’s fine. So how is this related to the anime blogs? In the end anime blogs are opinions, and it’s really up to the author how he/she will take it. Will they change their style or story to suit these people who point out things that they don’t like? Maybe yes, maybe no. Even if they did see these blogs and stuff, they’re not really catering to these guys. There’s a difference between art and advertising. Art in a sense that they are basically just writing what they want and god knows who will like it, advertising on the other hand is where when authors change their style to suit their target audience. The one who does the advertising is not the author but the publishing companies who forcefully change the content. This situation kind of reminds me in Bakuman where the duo authors almost changed their style because of their fan letters. It’s usually a bad idea

    • Hanasra
      Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      As an author and reviewer myself, no scamp, you are far from worst blogger out there. You can’t said “this anime sucks balls” then proceed to the next anime without making valid point. Your writing piece on an anime, mostly have valid point that the original creator could address. That valid points is useable in argument in case the original creator jump in into your blog and (hopefully) start healthy nice discussion.

      You don’t have to worry about the author’s feeling, as long as your criticism and writing directed at their creation, not them as person. You could said that Log Horizon or SAO is “obvious gamer masturbation” as long as you don’t implicitly (heck, don’t even try explicitly) said that the author do it to jerk themselves. No, I’m not suggesting anyone to sugar coating, just reminding that the one we want to criticize is the creation, not the creator. If you managed to avoid name calling, addressing valid point with fair argument, that already counted as constructive criticism. Since when constructive criticism needs you to tell what author should do with their fault? Let the authors have their own way to addressing those problems.

      But authors have different take on criticism to their creation. One could have cool headed, even having nice conversation with his harshest critics without adhere to their criticism at all. Some began erecting self defense wall and began to ask their critics to create something better of their own. Though as diverse as authors can be, critics shouldn’t try to change their writing even though the original creator. They must stick to their criticism as long as they can defend them with strong argument.

      If I write a (negative) review of a book then knowing the author read my criticism, I would even try to asked the author what they thought about my review. Well, providing they don’t see my criticism as a personal attack of course.

      Also twitter is toxic. The character limitation and the impulse nature of it makes people act rude to other people with no sense at all. Twitter is “tweet first, think second”. I’m glad you don’t use twitter too much Scamp.

      • Hanasra
        Posted October 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Damn, I meant this reply to directed to the blog post, not someonelse’s. Damn crappy third tier country internet connection >__>

      • Scamp
        Posted October 24, 2013 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        “I’m glad you don’t use twitter too much Scamp”

        Over 26,000 tweets and counting :D

  20. gw_kimmy
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    in the end, writing is all about the audience. you can’t please everybody, but if you can please a good chunk of your audience then it’s a success. this includes potential big shots that may fall into the audience by chance or whatever. if you’re going to bend over backwards to please one member of the audience, then it’s not worth it. write for yourself, first and foremost, and then write for the audience who you want to read your work. this applies to both criticism and anime itself. we can hate on the shitty light novel stuff all we want, but they’re back in japan cackling over the mounds of money they’re making from the otaku dudes who eat that stuff up who they made the series for. they don’t care what you post. might as well be honest and have fun with other potential haters.

    this made me think of how some western fans will complain about such-and-such backwards thinking in writing in anime/manga or not enough other-typically-western-idea and forgot that they’re not the intended target audience. doesn’t mean we can’t criticize, though. just cry into our pillow at night over the fact that those trends we hate probably won’t change anytime soon.

  21. David
    Posted October 24, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Personal viewpoint:

    If you would change the way you write if you specifically knew the original creator was reading, that’s an indication of you doing a poor job at writing in the first place.

    This doesn’t mean that if you normally spew vitriol, you shouldn’t worry about changing your tone in the above scenario; it means that your writing quality is lacking. It means that merely being aware that you would change indicates an awareness of the failings of your own writing.

    By writing in the public space you’re putting your own ‘art’ out there the same way the anime creators are doing. To whatever degree you can criticize the anime creators, others can criticize you. If people are sloppy in their writing because “the original creators aren’t reading this”, it just indicates that they themselves realize that the quality of what they produce is below what it could potentially be.

    Going back to some of your original points, I should be clear that I’m not saying you need to write in a clean, antiseptic, purely professional manner. Humor is of course another art form, and being able to inject humor into your criticism, in whatever fashion, should be something that you strive to do well at if you follow that route. Of course if it’s not actually funny, that just takes things back to the original point again.

  22. Posted October 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    As someone who both criticizes and creates stories, I’ve definitely thought about how I’d feel if the creators listened to my podcast. There’s an unwritten rule among creative writers: critique the story, not the person.

    For this reason, I try to avoid personal attacks; though I admit I’m not always successful (I’m just as guilty for shitting on Mari Okada as you are, Scamp).

    I’ve been on the receiving end of heavy criticism, and it’s just something you have to learn to deal with when you create something. As long as that criticism is directly purely at someone’s work (and as long as you’re being honest and not yelling for the sake of getting attention), you shouldn’t feel bad about how you present your reviews.

    If something makes you angry, get angry. If it disgusts you, get disgusted. Just don’t start calling the creators shitlords, asshats, dickheads, etc.

  23. Inushinde
    Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Honestly, I wouldn’t write any differently. I’d maybe elaborate a bit more on why I like/dislike something (I should do that more anyway, even though I think I do a pretty decent job already), but the tone of my writing wouldn’t change. I’d be just as blunt or diplomatic as usual.

    Well, unless I found out that Kawahara Reki read my SAO posts and for some reason got upset at the opinions of a nobody blogger. I’d probably just laugh.

    • Hanasra
      Posted October 25, 2013 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      In the internet, celebrity, famous author, or even professor is nobody. One thing that matters is the argument they brought up on their criticism. Also, sometimes those opinions from nobody can be more painful than somebody :p

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