That’s right everyone.
Review reviews are back!
Things were really slowing down for a while there. The WordPress anime review review market just isn’t what it once was – and so I’ve made the executive decision to find a new source of anime reviews to review! And of course what better place to explore than MyAnimeList? A treasure trove of reviews that will not only keep the review reviews flowing, but also use a different style of review from what we typically see here on WordPress.
This will be the first of many MyAnimeList review reviews to come!
And this brings me to the MyAnimeList review to be reviewed:
Mirandajennlv1’s review of Violet Evergarden.
I was browsing the Anime Reviews page on MyAnimeList, looking for reviews that were of an appropriate length to be reviewed. While I’m open to reviewing shorter reviews, I wanted the first MAL review that I review to be longer than the average MAL review. And this is when I came across Mirandajennlv1’s review of Violet Evergarden.
The length was perfect, and I also noticed that this was her first MAL review.
Could this be fate?
My first MAL review review could be of someone’s first MAL review!
Now my policy is that I will only review someone’s review with their permission, which you can see here:
With my typewriter polished, glasses cleaned, and Yomu 2 taking notes behind me, it’s time to conduct a review of Miranda’s review of Violet Evergarden.
If you find the text too small in the image you can click on the image to view the full size image. You can also view the review on Mirandajennlv1’s MAL page.
The first sentence alone really caught my attention. This is the author’s first review, but she just HAD to put down her thoughts about Violet Evergarden. I really enjoyed this sentence, because it gives us an idea of the author’s mindset. The anime had such an impact on her that she had to DO something. It’s this sort of feeling that’s brought many of us to WordPress with a desire to interact with other anime fans.
The second sentence is also very well done. We are provided not only with one of the author’s worries regarding the anime prior to watching it, but also with a nice transition into the first area to review – visuals.
Now this is where the standard MyAnimeList review format begins. Several categories usually including topics such as visuals, sound, story, characters, enjoyment, and a final summary. Some reviews assign scores to each individual component, some just assign their overall score.
The visuals portion of this review does a great job of driving home the point that Violet Evergarden is a beautiful anime. We see a lot of emphasis on this. The author also makes an interesting link to the story through the visuals, pointing out that the anime’s dialogue draws the viewer’s attention to the visuals through key words. This is a very neat link that I haven’t seen made before in an anime review.
I get the same impressions from the sound section of the review. I know to expect great sound that is not overbearing, and that the sound helped set the emotional tone for scenes.
I only have one criticism with regards to both the visuals and sound sections, and that is that the description of the visuals and sound both mostly feel like a statement of facts.
To be frank, these technical portions of a review are probably the most difficult to write. It’s hard to describe an anime’s visuals / sound in a way that is engaging or interesting. Most reviews I feel overlook this area, and tend to just state whether the visuals / sound were “good”, “average”, or “bad” (in fancier words). Personally, I believe that the best approach to discussing these qualities in a review is to try your best to make it more personal.
For example, if you can bring up a moment in the anime where the sound specifically affected your viewing experience, then the sound portion of your review becomes much more interesting. The problem is that when you don’t include anything interesting, the sound portion of your review becomes just like every other review out there – a statement of facts. Trying to link these basic facts to something more engaging is the key to a more interesting review.
This applies to all portions of reviews, but it’s definitely most prominent when discussing these technical aspects of an anime, such as animation / visuals / sound, which many reviews gloss over. I like to call it “adding value”, because it elevates your points from general facts to something more interesting and personal. Try to use examples, comparisons, and / or personal experiences to help tie these technical aspects to anime and make them more interesting to read.
I enjoyed the story and character portions of the review very much. The author manages to not only provide clear examples from the anime, but also provides personal thoughts and opinions for everything. Not only this, but she also explains her reasoning for many of these opinions. While reading this I can understand the author’s position well, and even agree with much of what she is saying.
My only criticism here would be grammatical in nature. I think that the story section may have benefited from a break somewhere in the middle. It a lot of text to read through, and it would help to give the reader a break to process many of the opinions stated in this portion of the review.
The final summary section is also pretty good. It contains a clear overview of the author’s opinions and feelings towards Violet Evergarden.
I have two final criticisms for the conclusion of the review.
First is that the visuals and sound were not mentioned. This is sort of an extension of what I mentioned earlier, about how reviewers tend to gloss over the technical aspects of the anime in their reviews. I understand the desire to finish the review off with the opinions and feelings that were conveyed in the story and characters sections – the opinions provided here are the reason you wrote this review in the first place right? But just be careful when omitting sections of your review in the final summary / conclusion.
Try to think about it this way: I was told earlier in the review that the anime has stunning visuals and great sound, only to see no mention of them in your review’s conclusion. It feels a bit disconnected. Just something to consider with this review format.
My last criticism is regarding the tone of the conclusion.
You rated the anime an 8, and said that you enjoyed the anime, but I don’t quite feel this from your words in the conclusion. Remember that the conclusion sets the tone that the reader will walk away with – if your conclusion is mostly criticism, the reader will end the review with the impression that you were more frustrated than you were happy with the anime. And considering the 8 rating, I imagine you still quite enjoyed the anime.
If I understand your feelings correctly, you felt the way you did precisely because you enjoyed the anime to the point that it was frustrating seeing it’s faults. I can relate to this. My advice here is just be to be mindful of the tone you set while writing the conclusion. If you really enjoyed the anime, even though you were frustrated at some aspects of it, try to mix more of that enjoyment into the conclusion.
I applaud you for doing a such a good job of expressing your opinions and feelings as much as you did in this review! It was a great read.
Very well done overall!
Final Impressions & Rating
Here I was thinking that reviewing a shorter review would also make my review review shorter!
The thing is, I really enjoyed reviewing this review. I see some great reviewing potential here, that I just couldn’t help myself when it came to giving advice. So I apologize for hitting you with such a large review of your review, Miranda. Just know that I did it because I really liked what you wrote and think that your reviews can be even better with a little improvement.
Here is my overall assessment of the review:
Areas for improvement:
- Technical aspects (sound, visuals) of the review could use some “value added” content such as examples, comparisons, and / or experiences to help elevate these sections to something more than just stating whether the sound & visuals were good or not. Something to help engage the reader and generate interest – whether it be a scene from the anime, a different anime, or a personal opinion of the author.
- The conclusion has a negative tone that leaves the reader feeling like the author didn’t enjoy the anime as much as she did. Keep an eye on the tone of the conclusion, as it’s arguably the most important section of the entire review and you don’t want the reader finishing the review with the wrong impression.
- While I didn’t mention it above, because I don’t think it’s as important, there are various grammatical errors in the review, such as the capitalization of Violet’s name. Spacing as well – try to break up large chunks of text to make the review easier to read. Not huge issues, but just some things to keep in mind.
Areas that show promise:
- Great transition from the introductory sentences to the visuals.
- Fantastic link between dialogue in the anime to the visuals. I’ll say it again, I haven’t read this before in a review and I think it’s a very neat point to bring up.
- The story and character sections of the review were excellent. A lot of “value added” content. The author did a great job introducing and explaining many personal opinions regarding the anime. Very engaging and interesting – this is the type of content that makes a review “yours”!
- I enjoyed the passion in your words. Yes, you were frustrated at various aspects of the anime, but that drove you to write this review. I like that you said what you wanted to say in this review.
After all is said and done, I give Miranda’s review of Violet Evergarden an 7.6 / 10 rating. The author has displayed some real passion in her review that can be felt through her words.
My words to the author would be to devote a little more energy towards the reader experience. Try to think about whether the reader would find what you have to write interesting, and try to add value in order to ensure that your words are interesting. When it comes to technical or less engaging portions of anime, just remember that you don’t HAVE to review the animation / visuals / sound / etc. if you don’t have a lot to say about them. It may be common for people to do this on MAL, but I’ve seen many top reviews that don’t as well.
I enjoyed reading your opinions on Violet Evergarden – despite having read at least 4 other reviews on this anime, you provided many opinions that I have not read before. So despite my criticisms, please understand that I think your review was well done. Especially considering it was your first review!
In contrast, I feel like I could do a better job of being more concise with my words. This is a fairly lengthy review review, and that is after trimming 500+ words!
This concludes my review of Mirandajennlv1’s review of Violet Evergarden.
Miranda, thank you so much for allowing me to review your review.
I look forward to reading more reviews from you, should you decide to keep writing!
I hope everyone enjoyed this first of many MAL review reviews!
I’m happy to see this series come back to life.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading! 🙂