So, I recently decided to boot up a MAL account for various reasons, the foremost of which being that I was bored one day. While adding shows, an admittedly somewhat troublesome process, I got a little impatient and a little bummed that the only results of my typing were titles in a bland script. But I finished it, after rating most of the shows and even plugging in my drops.
But by the time I finished inputting show after show and rating after rating, I didn’t even have enough energy to start on my currently watching or backlog lists…and what did I have to show for it? Just this…
How plain looking! How boring! And, for whatever reason, it just didn’t feel like my anime list. It was just so bland and boring. But I knew there were other website that did the same thing, so, guided by a Crunchyroll buddy’s profile, I made my way over to Hummingbird. And what did I find? Read on to see!
Here’s a link to my Hummingbird account, if you’re curious to see first hand!
#1. It’s Pretty
Now, the layout of the list isn’t dramatically different than MAL, but this page actually feels like I own it, like it’s really my list.
Overall, the design of the website is very good and the colors used, while neutral, have a slightly warmer feel than the Facebook-style blue and white of MAL. Furthermore, Hummingbird likes to plaster quotes from different anime across the top of their screen during searches and when viewing show pages. This adds a nice aesthetic touch and makes the whole site look better. The picture they use are also bigger, which may seems like a small difference at first, but we live in a visual culture. Just look at my list of favorites. Big posters. Offset nicely from the left hand menu bar.
As I said before, I wanted this list to be my list, not just another in a collection of many on MAL. I realize that MAL has some options, but I get a lovely Kyousougiga cover to go above my entire profile, whether it be my library or my feed. Combined with my bouncing .gif avatar from Engaged to the Unidentified, the change in color makes Hummingbird feel much more familiar & much more in my control. And let’s be honest…control is why we have sites like MAL and Hummingbird. That and…
#3. Presentation of the All-Important Number
Crunchyroll has an ongoing thread about the number/time spent watching anime. There is such a huge volume of shows, that naturally people want to know how many they’ve seen and how much time they’ve spent watching.
On the right, we have the way MAL presents the time watched number and on top, Hummingbird’s method. Now, some people may argue that MAL has the advantage because their system has the other stats right there. But look at how pretty it is on Hummingbird! White letters, right on my feed, mixed in with my cover photo! It’s not cramped by other numbers, it just stands alone. The other numbers, although not visible in the above screenshot, are off to the side, with the library where they belong.
There is a LOT to do on MAL. Some people may prefer being able to add in favorite characters, and extensive bios, but on a listing site all I need is a simple, nice looking way to list my anime. I have a blog and a Crunchyroll profile for more extensive things like posting photos or writing reviews or long posts about my philosophies on anime. For me, MAL is just too cumbersome and there’s too much around. Furthermore, in my limited experience with each site, Hummingbird seems to be the more intuitive user interface. I like the divisions in the library and the cleaner look.
This is not to say Hummingbird has a perfect site. It doesn’t. There are various baffling flaws, like the inability to add titles while in the library section. It runs a bit slower than MAL, as well. But overall, the site has a clean, simple look that makes it very easy to navigate.
#5. It’s New
Unlike MAL, which has been around for who knows how long, Hummingbird is just getting started. There are still numerous features that have not yet been released & the community is growing. I’m hopeful the site will continue to to improve. And, at least for now, it’s easier to get your voice heard, your ratings have more of an impact and perhaps even your feedback will be taken more extensively. The potential for growth at Hummingbird is maybe the most attractive quality of the site.
#6. (NEW) The Anime Status
I just noticed another feature today, one that is totally unique to Hummingbird. Hummingbird has a space for what is equivalent to a Facebook status, but just for anime. So for all those random impressions and comments you have about episodes or shows, ones that don’t really belong in a forum (and heaven knows I’m not going to bombard my non-anime-loving friends on Facebook with statuses they won’t understand), Hummingbird offers the perfect release.
So, Those are the six reasons that I prefer Hummingbird to MAL. Feel free to dissent in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog on the left side of the page.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Hummingbird, I just love their service. And I also don’t hate MAL. I just don’t like it as much as I like Hummingbird.