How Anime Episode Reviews Capture The Moment and Promote Conversation

How Anime Episode Reviews Capture The Moment and Promote Conversation

Since beginning my blog in 2016 I’ve tried out a range of content and have written anime series reviews, anime lists, anime articles, and anime episode reviews. In any given week the bulk of my blog’s content will be episode reviews with the occasional article, list or full series review thrown in.

There’s definitely a practical reason behind that arrangement with anime episode reviews taking less time to write than an article or even a list (though that said, it still takes time when you take into account planning the main points of discussion, trying to make it flow, editing, formatting, etc). But there’s a far better reason why I continue to write anime episode reviews despite individual episode reviews getting less views than a full series review or one of my other post types.

Anime episode reviews - still take time to write and edit even if they are a quicker form of content.

Basically it comes down to the reason why I started my blog in the first place. I wanted to talk to people about the anime I was watching. Sure I enjoy diving into issues with more depth in an article or listing my favourites in a particular category and looking back at a whole series definitely gives a different perspective than each twenty minute segment, but after I watch an episode I want to interact with people about it.

I enjoy reading the episode reviews of others, sometimes even of anime I’m not watching, because I like seeing the progression of their thoughts week to week on how a series is unfolding. If I’m also watching the series I enjoy speculating about where a particular plot of character point is going to go. It can get very interesting when someone has had a very strong emotional response to an incident in an episode that you barely noticed or when someone has seen events entirely differently.

The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window
Did you like Erika? Some reviewers did while others were not so convinced.

Anime Episode Reviews are conversation starters and give fans the opportunity to connect.

However, recently I’ve been seeing a few negative comments on twitter and even a couple of videos on YouTube that are very firmly against anime episode reviews or reactions and those who create them. One tweet (and I couldn’t find it again to link) more or less said that they hated episode reviews because of spoilers and they wished people would just wait until the end of the series because they’d then have more to say.

And, in fairness, anime episode reviews inherently will not be spoiler free. A person is dissecting twenty minutes of viewing so they are probably going to discuss the key events and characters moments and how they effected them. Certainly watching or reading an episode review prior to the episode will almost definitely change how you view the episode and may ‘spoil’ the experience.

Cells at Work Episode 12 - Platelet
Caution: Spoilers ahead.

Also in fairness to the video I linked to, some episode reviewers really don’t put effort in (though the same could be said of some people who review a whole anime series when they haven’t watched the entire thing or even people who do analysis videos who claim they’ll explain the ending or motivation for a character and basically just retell the plot contributing nothing to the conversation).

And the video does make a fair point about the poor quality of some of those episode review videos out there as well as the problem when searches can’t differentiate between episode reviews and series reviews as it does make it difficult to find the content you are actually looking for. However, it really doesn’t take into account the plethora of anime episode reviewers out there who actually put some thought and effort into their content.

But, what neither of these criticisms (lack of effort or spoilers) really addresses is the overall point of this type of content.

A single anime episode review isn’t necessarily attempting a deep dive analysis. While some reviewers may get into a production aspect or might break down a character moment in more depth, most people would save that kind of content for a separate article.

Instead, the single anime episode review is really just trying to capture the moment the episode was watched and emotional response to it. Its the equivalent of turning to the person next to you in the cinema after watching a movie and breaking down your favourite moment or asking what the writer was on when he thought characters might be able to outrun the sun-rising.

Karandi Shrug Transparent

Generally there will also be some discussion about how the episode connects to what has come before it and possibly some speculation about what the episode is setting up. However the key goal will usually be that gut reaction in the moment. Which is very different to reviewing a series where you are trying to step back and look more broadly across three months of viewing and usually requires a full series rewatch if you are going to do it well.

And that idea of capturing and sharing a moment is one that those of us living in a world of instagram and social media are very familiar with. Bite sized media is sometimes what we are after. It isn’t the only thing we want to consume, but it has a place and can be fun and engage us and may spark a conversation or a share and then yes, we’ll move on because there’s other episodes airing and there’s other things to talk about.

My Dress Up Darling Episode 2
For less than a day Kitagawa filled my twitter stream after episode 2 of My Dress Up Darling aired. Then it vanished again until the next episode aired.

Its kind of daunting thinking about creating content that really is designed to be consumed and forgotten but that really is where anime episode reviews stand. They are really only relevant close to the time of airing and may be rediscovered if someone has found the series later and wants to see how others reacted to it.

Now some anime episode reviewers may look at the disposable nature of their reviews and think that given their short life span they don’t necessarily need to spend time and effort on them. But that isn’t everyone and what you’ll find fairly quickly if you regularly read or watch episode reviews is that there are some reviewers you are drawn to and others that you kind of glance at and move on from.

Certainly I’ve come across blog posts where you get a wall of text in all caps ranting about something that happened in the episode without providing any context or really giving any kind of lead in or conclusion to the thoughts. I don’t tend to return to those blogs.


Likewise I come across people who really do invite you to join the conversation about the episode sharing their thoughts, random questions that they considered, some interesting moments through screen caps, and they make you want to hit up their blog more or less as soon as you’ve watched the episode just to see what they thought of it.

For me writing an anime episode review is an important part of the viewing process. As is searching for other views on blogs and on twitter and occasionally watching a video that someone has made about it. It’s part of being an anime fan. I get that for others they would rather just wait until the season ends to put together a more formal review but then they’ve missed all those conversational moments along the way.

I like episode reviews and have found them a great way to engage with other anime fans. It isn’t the only type of content I create but it is a type of content that I am happy to make and enjoy reading or viewing. But I’m just one person.

So I’ll open the discussion to my readers. What do you think about anime episode reviews? Do you read them? Do you create them? What purpose do you believe they serve?

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

28 thoughts on “How Anime Episode Reviews Capture The Moment and Promote Conversation

  1. I’m new to anime blogging and still on the fence about episodic reviews. What you had to say about this topic was really interesting, and made me want to read more of that type of content.

  2. Used to be very against episodic reviews, mostly because I felt it was “easy content” and that it kind of muddled what all could be said for a “proper” review of the overall.

    That said, as time has passed, I’ve come around to it (though I’ve yet to really take the proper dive on my own). I do like your input of starting conversation and really ingraining yourself in the conversation at the time. That’s certainly well enough to keep it going.

    And I enjoyed the episodic reviews I did with you! (:

    1. Glad to hear that.
      I do think review may not be the right word so much as impression or reaction because that is more the idea behind a single episode review but it also seems like an unimportant distinction given people who engage with episode reviews know what to expect anyway.

  3. I like seeing other people’s thoughts on episodes. Everyone’s experiences are at least a little bit different.

    I even recently started my own blog, though I’m not too confident about it yet.

  4. Thanks for the article. I may consider writing episode reviews.

    However, I’m not the best at describing and explaining things. It’s not that I want to do it, I doubt my skills for this

    1. Practice makes it better. My older episode reviews make me cringe to read at times as I am going back through old content and trying to clean up my blog. But those older posts helped me find my voice and style, what was going to work for me.

  5. If I had a post, the best I could do would probably be weekly hot takes. The routine that makes weekly anime watching relaxing, would just turn into pressure if I had to find something to say every week.

    And there’s the risk that I’d choose the “wrong” show at the beginning of a season and find I rarely have anything to say about it, while I’m burining to talk about the show I didn’t choose… What show I’d like to talk about also would like change from week to week. Even my favourite shows don’t always give me something I want to talk about. Not sure that happens to anyone, but it’d definitely happen to me if I tried.

    Reading them? As always, ask me on a case-by-case basis. But yeah, I almost never read weekly reviews of shows I’m not watching. It’s not about spoilers, but the point of them really is to “watch the show with others”, for lack of a better way to put it. There are exception, like shows I dropped but am still curious about (like the mecha show Irina and Scott reviewed last season; I dropped it early on, but read every post thereafter.)

    Also, and this has nothing at all to do with the topic at hand, the screenshot of Shizuku Mizutani has reminded me how much I loved her show (Tonari no Kaibutsu kun), and she’s definitely among my favourite female anime characters ever (and even closer to the top if you limit yourself to highschool anime.)

    1. Shizuku is a great character. I wish that anime had a second season.

      As to picking shows, I know some seasons I stick with shows long after I should have dropped them for the sake of completion, but other seasons I do jump from one series that hasn’t worked to another that other reviewers have talked up. It is how I got into My Hero Academia 5 episodes in to season one.

      But you are right, they are mainly written for others watching the she who want to discuss or at least read what others think so for those not watching they don’t have a lot of appeal.

  6. I’m not sure what could be more natural than enjoying an episode, sharing what I enjoyed about the episode, and inviting others to share what they enjoyed. It’s exactly what I used to do back in the day when my friends and I would watch a movie or television series.

    There are actually people who argue against episodic reviews? Huh. Well, I guess anywhere there’s a parade, they’ll be someone who wants to rain on it.

    It’s all about us communicating and learning about one another. Let’s say I’m given a choice of reading two posts. The first has great heart and ideas, but lacks professional polish. The other brings the hate but is written according to the strictest interpretation of the Chicago Manual of Style.

    I’ll choose the first post. Every time.

    Would I prefer a post with great heart and professional writing? Honestly, I’m not sure. What if for the writer, English is their third language? What if producing a professional-grade post would take time they don’t have?

    I want to know what people think. If the scribble on the back of a napkin, if they dump a stream of consciousness on a page, or if they produce F. Scott Fitzgerald-level prose, I don’t care. It’s the communication that’s important.

    You want to share your episode reviews with me? That’s awesome, because I love reading your perspective on the episodes. Want to share your perspective on a topic through an editorial? I’m there for it.

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s the whole point of writing. In any form.

    1. Well said and for those of us who have limited real life friends who are into anime if we want a discussion online is where we need to be.

  7. I’m not going to lie, I’m still one of those people who doesn’t fully ‘get’ episode reviews. Like you I’ve seen a lot of not my type of writing, episode reviews which doesn’t give me the best impression of them. I’m sure there are plenty of great ones out there that I haven’t seen.

    I do like episode 1 & 2 or ‘first impression’ posts since that can really make or break if I’ll try the series or not. Plus they’re pretty fun to write too. I think as you get further into a series commenting on every episode gets harder to do so I really applaud those that are able to do that.

    1. Episode reviews aren’t for everyone. And I agree that some series do become harder to comment on as they continue. Still, they can also be a lot of fun particularly if a show is very good or pretty bad. It is usually hardest when it is kind of average.

  8. There is a third route… Once can do intermittent progress reviews. Instead of 12 reviews for a season, you do a review every 3 episodes.

    I’ve pretty much given up doing reviews unless an anime totally blows me away. It is a huge amount of work to do it well and I often end up feeling that i didn’t really contribute anything to the discussion.

  9. Call me simplistic (because I am), but I write about anime because It’s kind of my way of gossiping. I’m not sophisticated enough to get into the technicalities, but I do enjoy reading others who do.
    I also read/watch anime reviewers to figure out what to watch next. Spoilers do not bother me too much. It’s hard to watch any type of media nowadays without social media completely ruining it. Lol!

    1. It kind of is the way of the world with immediacy being king. An episode airs and social media lights up with comments, images and reactions, and then it moves to the next thing.

  10. I actually really like episode reviews, specifically first episode reviews. I like them because they give me a detailed reason to watch or not watch a series. I often shy away from watching a series I know nothing about. as for spoilers (shrugs) I want details so of course that includes spoilers.

    1. It sometimes does help you decide what to try. I know that I frequently add a show to my ever growing list of anime to catch up on after reading someone else’s episode reviews.

  11. I always envy people that can write a review of a single episode. Most times I’ll struggle to put together a tweet about what I’ve just watched. I need the whole series to help me put my thoughts in order and give me enough material to make up a review, at least with how I write reviews.

    It does mean I miss out on the zeitgeist a lot of the time. Sometimes if a show is big enough or I release my review close to when it finished airing I can catch it, but there’s plenty of shows I wish I could drive more attention towards and a single review just isn’t enough for that.

  12. I’m torn on this. On one hand I love getting my thoughts down on an episode, seeing how it connects to the prior ones, and speculating on the Future. On the other hand, I too hate spoilers. I think I’ve gotten better at tuning out series that I’m not actively watching and as to my own posts, I delay them by several days to a week. I think that’s enough time to allow others to see it spoiler free.

    There’s definitely more of a community feel to it and it is like watching them with friends. The discussions after the episode are always a lot of fun.

    1. It is really about having that community and knowing who else is watching the same show and knowing who you can talk to about the series as it airs. It just makes the viewing more fun in a way.

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