The Correct Way to Write Anime/Manga Reviews?

I’m not exactly sure why, but I often receive e-mails asking for advice on how to write anime/manga reviews “correctly”.  Not that I’m complaining on being asked. It’s just that I don’t consider myself a reviewer unlike many anibloggers. I’m more of an entertainer, unintentional commedienne, occasional translator, and—my favourite—fandom promoter. A mouthful, I know, so simply call me “otaku blogger”.

little witch academia broom performance - gif

I technically don’t write reviews. Instead I ramble, share my opinions, fangirl over half-naked bishounen, or just write whatever I feel like writing. Sometimes I even write detailed analyses similar to reviews, but I don’t call them reviews. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against reviews. In fact, I enjoy reading well-written reviews by my favourite bloggers. I just don’t like writing them. Period.

natsume-abs-brothers conflict

On a previous post titled “From Book Reviewer to Aniblogger”, I shared with you my past as a book review blogger. During that time, all I wrote were book reviews. I created my own format that I followed religiously. It was exciting at first, not to mention profitable, but it gradually exhausted and stifled me. That’s why now as an aniblogger, I don’t pressure myself to write reviews. I want the freedom, flexibility, and creativity to write whatever I want to write about anime, manga, and the otaku fandom.

I don’t believe that there’s a “correct” way to write reviews.

Now let’s return to the topic: the “correct” way of writing anime/manga reviews. As you can already guess from what I just said, I don’t believe that there’s a “correct” way to write reviews. I think that popular and influential anime reviewers only set the standards on how to format reviews, but their reviews are not necessarily the only “correct” way to write them.

Of course in academics, you learn the “proper” way of writing reviews, along with the “proper” way to write different types of essays and reports.  However, the Internet is not a university. Unless your blogging style is academic writing, I don’t think it’s necessary to religiously follow something deemed as the “correct” way of writing reviews, especially if you’re a personal blogger.

Think about it. Would you like your reviews to be the same, virtually indistinguishable to a thousand other reviews on the web? If you don’t mind this, then go ahead.

Aniblogging is NOT always about writing anime reviews.

Realize that you have the freedom to be as creative as you want, even in writing reviews.

cat dancing anime -gif

I’m not saying to stop writing reviews. Not at all. What I’m saying is to realize that you have the freedom to be as creative as you want, even in writing reviews. Feel free to create your own format. You don’t have to copy what others are doing. Always remember that writing reviews is not the only route in becoming an aniblogger.

Take me for example. I don’t write reviews, but I don’t run out of things to blog about. I know that some of my posts are review-like. But like I said, they’re more like ramblings and occasional analyses rather than official reviews.

victory dance - anime school girl

Why do you want to write reviews “correctly”?

I mean, what’s the reason why you want to write reviews “correctly”? Are you being evaluated by a professor or an employer? If so, then I’m certain that you would have received some kind of training to write them already. Go ahead and write reviews in the way you were taught. Do you want to attract more readers to your blog? Hmmm. Rather than writing anime reviews “correctly”, I think writing interesting and entertaining posts are much better ways in acquiring loyal readers. Do you want to be taken seriously? Trust me, even when I seem like I don’t take things seriously half the time, people still take me seriously as a blogger. . .I hope. Ehehehe. Or do you hope to qualify as a professional anime reviewer? If that’s the case, then I don’t know why you’re reading this shady post of mine. Ahahaha! Best of luck, my friend.

Many anibloggers believe that writing anime reviews is the only way to become an aniblogger.

As you can see, I’m not showing you the “correct” way to write anime/manga reviews because I don’t believe that it exists. My purpose for writing this post is to show you other available options in aniblogging besides writing reviews. I’m quite amazed how the majority of new anibloggers I encounter believe that aniblogging is all about reviewing. That’s not the case at all. I’m a proof that you can become an active aniblogger without writing a ton of reviews.

fun-with-computer-himouto-umaru-chan

Don’t feel limited when it comes to blogging. Unless you’re working for a big-time publication that requires you to write reviews in a specific format, you’re free to blog however you want to blog. Find your own blogging style. Carve your own place in the blogosphere following your own terms.

However, if you really desire to write reviews no matter what, write it in whatever way you want. Create your own format. You don’t have to copy others’ methods. You never know. You might become so big someday that your original format of writing reviews might just become the next standard copied by other anibloggers.

That’s all for today, folks! Thank you for reading. Do you write anime/manga reviews? If so, do you follow a specific format?


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82 thoughts on “The Correct Way to Write Anime/Manga Reviews?”

  1. Hi Arria, great post!.
    I agree with you, I’ve tried doing both standard reviews and sharing my own impressions without using a format and what I learn is that I liked more doing it the second way because I have more freedom to be creative and because it is more relaxing. And also I think that if you do it the same way as everybody does, what will make you different and make people read yours instead of theirs?
    I’m glad I’m not not the only one that think that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Antony, thank you very much. Exactly. I think the “correct” way is subjective and is the format that is most comfortable to the blogger. And indeed, if you it the same way as everybody else, then the chance is that readers will gravitate towards the more popular or more established ones instead of new bloggers. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your views. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that there is no one way to write a review. Creativity is important when it comes to anime, and writing reviews for it is no exception.

    Also, I love the point you made about many anime blogger thinking that reviews are the only way to go.

    I’m going to start posting reviews soon, but I completely agree that it’s not the only way, as I’ve posted a lot about the story-telling mechanics of anime as a medium.

    Great post as always!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cal. Indeed, I’m quite surprised by the number of new anibloggers who think that anime reviews are the only route in aniblogging. This is so not true, as proven by you and me. 😉
      I don’t really like writing reviews, but good luck to you. Don’t forget to have fun. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There is a correct way to write a review, just like any piece of writing.

    All you have to do is ask and answer very clearly who your audience is, why you are writing this review, and what are you trying to accomplish.

    Scores, rankings, pseudo-objective criteria – all are meaningless!

    The most important thing is to elaborate on why YOU liked this anime. What made it so special? How it connected to you? Did you learn something new? Did you discover some history after watching it? Share your perspective and others may see the world in a slightly new light.

    I mentioned my view on reviews and scores in this post https://celestialkitsune.wordpress.com/2015/01/30/why-belldandy-skuld-urd-and-hild-can-not-agree-on-anime-taste/

    Also, this video sums it up quite well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay. I hear you, but I really don’t think there is a single correct way to write a review, especially if you’re writing for the Internet. Besides if there ever was a “correct” way of writing an anime or manga review, I would definitely be one of its constant violators. But that’s just me. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your opinions.

      Like

      1. We certainly agree on the absence of a correct absolute format. I also hope that we agree that any piece of writing can be approached with the same fundamental questions I outlined. Thus, in that sense, there is a correct way to approach writing a review, but no absolute correct format.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Makes sense. Don’t worry, I understand your point. Perhaps I’m just being too much of a rebel because of too much professors drilling a “correct” way to write something into me. My point is just I prefer to have the freedom and flexibility to write blog posts. This is why I don’t consider myself a reviewer, as there’s a lot of claims as to the correct approach, method, format in writing them. But thank you for making your point.

        Like

  4. I used to worry about whether I was doing “review” blogging correctly or not. Then I thought, “Meh. Who cares. I’m writing whatever comes into my noggin and people either read it or not.”

    I have modified my style a bit, which I think has helped my writing. I now use subsection headers in my articles, which helps me stay on focus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you. I’m glad to hear that. And I believe that blogging is a constant progress. We try something new, and if it works, we assimilate it to our blogging style. If it doesn’t, no harm done. Just try again. It also keeps things fresh, which I think it also important. Anyway, thank you very much for dropping by. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Find your own blogging style. Carve your own place in the blogosphere following your own terms.” Powerful words! I especially like the part where you shot down “following the essay format” stuff. My piece of advice is to not take it all too seriously–just write something to your mind, post, communicate, meet new friends, and have fun! Technicality and style will emerge only as quickly as you’re willing to let it. I’m changing my review set up all the time. In fact, I think between the last 4 reviews, there’s a different format between each one, haha– I still haven’t found one I like! Currently searching for one that communicates my point with the fewest number of words. Just seeing the drafts hit over 1,000 each time makes me sigh. But I’m working on it. Great post Arria! I never took you for a reviewer, but your ‘semi-serious’ topic posts always keep me coming back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Takuto. I do enjoy some essay-format posts now and then, especially if they’re well-written. Exactly! Like I said, blogging is not a university. No need to be so formal, especially in interacting with other bloggers.
      I know, right? Keep at it, my friend. Don’t worry too much about hitting over 1000 words. I personally like reading long posts than short ones, especially if they’re interesting.
      Ahahaha. Your “semi-serious” comment made me laugh out loudly. Oh my gosh. Anyway, thank you very much for your lovely comment, Takuto. I apprecate. Take care. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Styles are good and all, it gives you a sense of direction and security that assures you that you are the right path. I think the end result is the important part, no matter how you started in the beginning.

    -DarkdaemonPK2

    Like

    1. Yes, finding your own bloggimg style also establishes your identity and even your reputation as a blogger. But in a way, this can also be limiting, so I think it’s good to be flexible enough to allow for some exploration and creativity. And I agree with your last sentence. In extension, following the steps of someone successful does not guarantee that you’re going to be successful to. Wise words.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome. And don’t worry about it. There’s not a “correct” way. And if someone tells me there is on the web, I won’t believe that person. “Correct” is only for academics and office settings, not blogging. At least that’s what I think.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For the birds? Aaaaw. Well, there are actually people who do an excellent job reviewing following a specific format. Whether they enjoy it or not, well, that’s another matter. But good for you for blogging the way you want to blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is exactly why I gave up writing reviews for MAL despite being fairly well known from doing it. I couldn’t be creative and I was always forced to follow a rigid set of guidelines and only write reviews “their way”.

    But here, I can write about whatever I want in whatever format I choose because it’s my own space.

    I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you. Following a format set by others can indeed be limiting, even stifling. I’m glad that you left that kind of environment, even when you’ve already made established a reputation. And yes, it’s so much more enjoyable to blog on your own terms. Thank you very much for reading my post and sharing your experience. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed this. Take care. And keep on blogging. Cheers!

      Like

  8. I agree, there is no set format or magical formula for review. I just have a basic formula where I give the info for the anime, and then I ramble about my own thoughts and experiences with the anime. I also do the fan girling, with so many amazing anime guys, it’s hard not to!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed. Besides, if there really is a magic formula for reviews, then everyone would now be popular and rich anime reviewers just by following that format. Like one of the commenters said below, there are people who follow the steps of successful bloggers who remains unsuccessful. Anyway, I think it’s just a matter of finding what works for you and having fun in the process. Because if you’re not having fun, you’ll lose your motivation to keep on blogging, especially if you’re not getting paid to do it.
      And high-five, sister! Oooooooh. I love meeting a fellow bishie fangirl. Ah! Paradise.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I thought you were supposed to keep those pictures of Natsume to yourself to avoid getting more rivals…. 😄

    A lot of people seem to believe they have to be the first to review something. Trust me, the Internet is fast, and someone will beat you. Nothing wrong with reviewing an “old” series, whether from last season or 20 seasons ago. Otherwise, like you said, the best style is one’s own personal style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ehehehe~ I’m always ready for more rivals, Ms. Pres. This way, I can prove my love for Natsume. Ehehehe~ 😉
      And I don’t mind sharing a half-naked picture of Natsume. It’s like bragging, you know. Ehehehe.

      I know, right? The internet is very, very, VERY fast. Unless you’re already writing your review while that episode is airing and clicking publish when the episode is over, you’re not going to be the first one to review that anime. And exactly! Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, I like reading reviews of old series by other bloggers because it makes me nostalgic.
      Thank you very much for dropping by. I’m always happy to read your comments. Eheheh~

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Awesome post! True. I guess it’s what makes blogging extremely personal and relevant. Compared to universities and corporate setting where you have to stick to the rules and write according to a predetermined standard, blogging allows you to explore, create and share your own definition of what anime blogging is all about.

    I started out writing reviews too, but along the way, I found my voice that made me change course and write the way I’m doing it now.

    And I feel happier about it.

    Thanks for sharing this post Arria-san!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Venus. Well said. Indeed, a lot of bloggers like us blog on our personal times. We blog because we enjoy it. It just makes sense to explore and be creative because who’s stopping us from doing so? Besides, it makes blogging more fun this way.
      And good for you, Venus. I’m happy to hear that. Keep on blogging, my friend. Cheers!

      Like

  11. I enjoyed reading this. I don’t consider myself a reviewer, but when I write about a certain anime or manga, I just usually put my feelings and thoughts into what I found interesting in it. That’s why I always say, “Thoughts on…” I don’t think there is a right way to write “reviews” on your blog, I just write how I feel, and I’m surprised that readers would say I write well when I don’t think I do. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m one of those readers, Lyn-sama. You always write well, and it’s even more amazing to hear that it’s how you naturally write. I agree. I’ve read a lot of your posts about anime and manga, and I won’t call them reviews. I like how you analyze a series and draw parallels to human emotions. I think that writing how you feel is really effective because it makes us, your readers, feel what you want to get across. But you’re always so awesome, Lyn-sama, so I’m not surprised. Lyn-sama, banzai!
      Ehehehe~ I’m so happy. You dropped by and commented. Ehehehe~
      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a great article, and has a lot of good points to keep in mind. There’s no ‘right’ way. Just review the way you think will be most engaging and entertaining for your readers!

    I definitely follow a specific format, but it’s my own. I feel that I can best analyze anime in the format I use, as it helps me go into detail on individual things. After a while it just becomes habit to do it like that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! I’m delighted to hear that. Indeed, who decides the “right” way? And good for you. As long as you’re comfortable and having fun with your own format, then no problem. That’s excellent because then you’re also creating your own brand that your readers will recognize you for. Keep it up. And of course, thank you very much for dropping by, reading my post, and commenting. You’re awesome! Take care. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 100% agree. There isn’t an exact “science” to writing a review. I mean you can follow someone elses style and still be unsuccessful. The whole point is to find what works for you. Be yourself and have fun in what you’re doing. If you see it as a chore, then it won’t be as fun or interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. Following the style of someone successful doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be successful, as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this path is a lot harder than going your own way because you’re competing with a lot of other people who are also doing the same things. I agree. Since a lot of us are “personal” bloggers, if blogging cease to be fun, then we lose the motivation to keep on going. Fun is important. Thank you for dropping by and your wise words. I appreciate them. Keep on blogging. Cheers! Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I think anyone who sent this mail would has goodwill so s/he sent suggestion. I ever were worried about reviews in my blog might not have right pattern so I searched in internet and looked the proper pattern in review writing. I think it’s useful to remember the pattern but what I concentrate while writing is give readers what I want to tell them.

    When write review for some serious and formal job, you need to follow the pattern, no any false and arranges properly so that review will pass. But blog is like diary anyway, write daily for readers. So I doubt following the pattern is the only way.

    “I want the freedom, flexibility, and creativity to write whatever I want to write about anime, manga, and the otaku fandom.”
    !! Why do you know what I thought before create my own blog? 😀

    My blog is some kind …umm out of the aniblog galaxy since there are analysis 75% of all posts in my blog and all of them are very loooooooong you might need to go back to read it again I think anyone who sent this mail would has goodwill so s/he sent suggestion. I ever were worried about reviews in my blog might not have right pattern so I searched in internet and looked the proper pattern in review writing. I think it’s useful to remember the pattern but what I concentrate while writing is give readers what I want to tell them.

    When write review for some serious and formal job, you need to follow the pattern, no any false and arranges properly so that review will pass. But blog is like diary anyway, write daily for readers. So I doubt following the pattern is the only way.

    “I want the freedom, flexibility, and creativity to write whatever I want to write about anime, manga, and the otaku fandom.”
    !! Why do you know what I thought before create my own blog? 😀

    My blog is some kind …umm out of the aniblog galaxy since there are analysis 75% of all posts in my blog and all of them are very loooooooong you might need to go back to read it again tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing your thought, @Arria Cross.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, of course. I do recognize that each blogger has his/her own preferred style of blogging. I personally like to write in the way I feel like writing. Following a certain pattern created by someone else just feels too limiting for me. But of course I also recognize that others may feel the need to have a format because otherwise they would feel lost. It’s just that I don’t like to think blogging as “formal” like an executive office or school. I believe that blogging can be informal, but still provide knowledge.
      Thank you very much for dropping by. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging. Take care. Cheers!

      Like

  15. BRAVO ARRIA, BRAVO /THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE GIF HERE
    I’m always shocked people want to know the “correct way” for something that really doesn’t have a correct way. SMH.
    Also that bishie you put there has no nipples and it disturbs me, I WANT MORE NIPPLES, GIVE ME NIPPLES OR GIVE ME DEATH xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ehehehehe~ Aw, you. You’re making me blush. Ehehehe~
      I know, right? Who the heck decides the “correct” way to write anime reviews? Is there like an association for it? I don’t think so. But if there is, well, we don’t know about it. And don’t care.
      Ah! I know you’re going to say that! I just know! Noooo! You’re destroying my pristine image of Natsume. Nooooo! Those abs are enough for me. . .even without nipples. -_____-

      Like

      1. If there is an association, tell me so I can vandalize it, because NOPE, BEGONE DEMON
        Pfft, Natsume’s only pristine thing is at the tip of his nether regions ohohohoho /sips tea
        You want them nips, admit you want them nipples, succumb to the nips!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ahahahaha! I wouldn’t go so far as to vandalize them but I’ll probably erase their existence from my mind, ans continue to blog as I have before.
        Ehehehe. Okay, fine. I want them nips…a bit. But I’m fine without them. 😛
        You happy now?

        Like

      3. LOUD GASP
        How could you?? How could you be fine without nipples??? HOW
        NIPPLES ARE EROGENOUS ZONES, BEAUTIFUL PEAKS, ALL PEOPLE HAVE THEM
        andplaywiththem /coughs intensively

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I realize after a while that daily anime reviews wasn’t a thing for me or wasn’t fun, because some episode didn’t have much to write about, but the truth was that I was watching other anime websites and try to learn to copy. I think my mind was limited at how blogging should be, instead of doing something creative. That’s why I love to write articles about anything anime related on my own pace and not stressing about daily reviewing episodes. Especially I love my weekly article about sports anime to motivate myself and other readers. But anyways… again an enjoyable post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh! I’m glad that you realize that sooner. There are a lot of anibloggers who started blogging around the same time I created this blog, and most of them were doing a lot of daily episode anime reviews. I was so impressed by them, and I was actually tempted to follow suit but given my history as a book reviewer, I quickly pushed that thought aside and just continue doing what I’ve been doing. Some of them are still doing daily anime reviews, but sadly the others just quit blogging altogether. I’m not surprised that they burned out. I don’t think people realize that anime reviewing takes a lot of time and energy. It can be very draining, especially if you choose to write daily reviews. Anyway, I’m super glad that you’re now writing what you like to write at your own pace. It’s much healthier that way, and I argue that it’s more interesting because it’s not monotonous, you know?
      Thank you very much for dropping by and sharing some of your experiences. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging. Take care. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m kinda embarrassed to admit how I felt after reading this post: relieved! Based on the title, I half expected to come away with a list of potential failings in my reviews. Instead, I got an exaltation to innovate. That’s a hopeful way to start the day!

    Your discussion of just what “correct” means, and especially what it doesn’t mean, really struck me. In that light, things are a lot easier and a lot harder than I had thought.

    Easier because there’s no secret, unstated set of formatting and content rules for reviews that I need to find…

    Harder because I can’t use a quest for finding those non-existent rules as an excuse! Seems like the focus is on my creativity (or lack of it!).

    Thanks for a thoughtful and liberating post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t be embarrassed, my friend. All of us are bloggers here and we experience the same challenges, unless of course you’re a pro at it. 😉
      I think it’s just a matter of finding your groove and identifying what your blogging style is. I’m sure you’ll find a way. Besides we have an excellent community of anibloggers here and everyone is welcome to reach out and learn from each other. (whispers) Just ignore the assholes. You can’t avoid them forever. 😉
      It’s just that I like focusing on blogging my own way, and not pressuring myself to blog like how others are blogging. Of course, nobody can be completely original, but we can differentiate our personal brands by the way we write and how we convey our message. Anyway, thank you very much for dropping by. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging. Cheers!

      Like

  18. Nicely said. While I like reviewing I also like writing lists and just generally discussing anime. And, even though I’m only about to hit the six month mark, the most common type of contact via email I get is people asking me for advice on writing reviews to which my standard answer is do it however you want but make it yours (though usually a little wordier than that).
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! I love lists! They’re my favourite type of post to write, to be honest. I think they’re also easier to read. I know, right? I also get a lot of e-mails like that, that’s why I wrote this post. And good for you. I think it’s also a big responsibility if you tell someone to write a certain way because then you have to do it yourself to. Because if you don’t, then they’re going to say that you’re not doing what you’re saying.
      Thank you very much for dropping by and sharing your some of your experiences about this matter with me. I appreciate it. Keep on blogging, my friend. Here’s to another six months for you. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. This was a really enjoyable read. I started my own blog writing reviews, and I honestly will still continue with writing those (although not all of them are about Anime), because I love doing them. But I definitely know what you mean, by limiting oneself only to reviews. I recently started a new feature on my own blog as well, just because I could not do that with only reviews. But this was a great post 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoyed this post of mine. If you’re enjoying yourself writing reviews, then I see no problem with it. I just personally don’t like writing them, but I do enjoy reading them when they’re written by other smart bloggers.
      Indeed, it can be draining to limit one’s self only to reviews. I already had a bad experience with that. Good for you. Good luck. Keep on blogging. Thank you very much for dropping by. I appreciate it very much. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

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