Aniwords – Is Rating Shows Meaningless?

Sorry I’m late with this one—the internet guys broke my internet on Tuesday night. Anyways, this week’s column is a thesis of sort on why I continue to rate shows, despite knowing all the arguments against it, arguments espoused by many of my fellow anibloggers whose thoughts on art I really respect. But, I like to be a bit contrary sometimes, so here I go~


Here’s the link! I apologize for not having any bonus content ready for this week—busted internet has really screwed up my writing schedule…

12 thoughts on “Aniwords – Is Rating Shows Meaningless?

  1. I always approach ratings by having a quick look at what a large group of people are saying about a show. If the result is typically positive or very mixed, I get interested in the show, while I tend to become disinterested if most people are negative. The content of reviews themselves only become useful to me once I’ve watched a show; it’s the array of numerical reactions that decides whether I watch it in the first place.

    I don’t like rating shows numerically myself because I’d never want my reduced-to-a-digit (or two) opinion to directly influence whether someone watches a show or not. I feel responsible for not over-influencing fans just as you feel responsible for how you influence them.


    • An interesting philosophical difference in terms of what we individually feel responsible for. I guess you could call that part of my “Christian obligation” or something like that haha (or at least what I conceive such an obligation to be).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a very mathematical system to how I rate a show (sometimes a show I really don’t like can get really high). objective

    It all comes down the quality of the final product at the end of the day.

    T-o If I was to give a subjective score it would feel nonsensical to me (who care about how a personally feel about a show).


  3. What I said on THE CR Page!

    It is very hard for me to do / BTW I am at 49 shows dont ask how it’s a long story! / But it’s more of a gut process / Enjoyment or does it entertain me has become a huge factor ! After all everybody is different ! I have been a fan of a show that splits 50 / 50 in like and hate! It’s more of a feel thing and that works without a huge thought process! Occasionaly I think outside the box and go against the grain ! Animation quality gets weighed in but a good story w/ o the whistles and bells wiil win over a all out animation quality with a meh story . So I gave up using numbers ! Anime is like Nusic / Art in the the perception one self gets from the experience !


    • Geez, you all are so interesting—the gut process is one I feel I somewhat understand, as it definitely is at least a part of the way I do ratings. But if I’m too much in the “gut reaction” moment, I often feel radically unequipped to rate a show well.


  4. I’m putting in ratings at MAL, but they don’t say “Watch this!”; they say “I loved this.” Bascially, my ratings tell you more about me than about the show.

    Similarly, if I were to recommend stuff, I’d like to know what you rate highly before hand. I try to try to tailor recommendations to the people I’m giving them to. Ratings would help with that.


    • And that’s also something I think is cool. Someone on Crunchyroll said they thought ratings tell you more about the person than they do about the show itself, which is definitely true.


  5. I guess if one really wants to double down on the analytics, you can always make up certain formula by breaking up a show into the parameters you felt are the most important (mine would be Visual, Audio, Plot, Characters, & Rewatch Value) and calculate accordingly. Maybe add a modifier to account for pre-existing personal bias/preferences.

    (I tend to go for pure gut feel in practice, b/c honestly I believe the end result wouldn’t differ much and you can never really be scientific about this kind of thing in any case…)

    “is rating anime actually a meaningful activity, or is it just a fun (although ultimately shallow) way of saying which shows you liked and which ones you didn’t?”

    If we’re talking about ratings by and in itself (w/o any elaboration whatsoever), honestly I felt the answer’s always going to be the latter. It’s a fun way to keep track of things I’ve read/watched insofar as “I like A better than B” kind of future reminder and it’s exceedingly useful whenever I want to make Top Lists of something, but when I’m sharing the ratings to others (e.g. reviews, MAL lists) I tend to put more thoughts on it and sometimes even add qualifiers like “add a point if you like this genre”, “double the score if you enjoy watching trainwreck”, etc.

    Thing is, looking at someone’s rating alone is largely useless to me in deciding whether a show’s worth watching or not. Say, Anime McWatcher gave 9/10 to a show called Bikini Robot Force; when I saw the number, the most likely outcome is snap judgments like “I guess this person has shit taste”. But, if McWatcher add a sentence like “this is dumb fun stuff that I personally enjoy” or “there’s genuine narrative and emotional value beyond its deceptive premise”, that’d tell me infinitely more. You don’t necessarily have to write a review or detailed elaboration, even a short blurb could be so useful to help contextualizing that digit(s).


    • Thing is, looking at someone’s rating alone is largely useless to me in deciding whether a show’s worth watching or not.

      This is a great point, actually, because a this article is really talking about “ratings in context” or “ratings as a general activity,” rather than the individual act of slapping a number on a show. Without shows above and below, they really do become entirely arbitrary.


  6. I rate shows myself. I do that because I studied math and because I like statistics. But I don’t think numbers and math are a good metric to judge media in general.
    Say you read a review of someone and you absolutely liked and agreed with it but at the end of the review the numbers say “4/10”. You scratch your head in disbelief because you were fairly sure this review would end up being a “7/10”. You maybe even get salty because the reviewer gave the show a low score.
    Now back to the start. You read the review and agree completely with it. No score at the end. You are probably satisfied that you found someone who thinks the same way as you about a show or learned something new while reading the review.
    What I want to say. Giving scores to shows might be a fun thing, but when I truly want to know what other people feel about a show or movie or whatever, I want to read their opinion. Not some fake “objective” analysis (geez, I don’t even think that’s a meaningful to view at a show). No math equation solved at the end.
    In the end I rate something I truly liked with a 10 and something I thought was horrible a 1. But I would prefer if people asked why this numbers represent how I feel about a show.


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