This is more a personal reflection than an actual feature.
A lot of the Summer shows are ending and I’m left trying to write a series review and I’m finding that for some series I am drawing a blank. Why? Because too many shows this season were not particularly good but they weren’t particularly bad either.
Bad shows are easy to review. Or at least easy to rant about. There’s plenty of issues to pick fault with and discuss and usually plenty of examples. Sometimes there’s even a nice contrast point if the show does something well.
Hand Shakers was an excellent example. I ended up cutting my review of that series short mostly because it was quite obvious what my opinion of the show was and continuing to tear it apart would have served little purpose. This season I’ve had fun writing my review of Knight’s & Magic which tragically suffers from most of the plot issues of Hand Shakers when you sit back and think about it (though visually Knight’s & Magic is pretty good to look at). That review hit the 1500 words on its first draft and I still need to go run some edits and change a few things.
Likewise, shows that are fairly strong are pretty easy to review because there’s a genuine reason why you liked it and things to discuss in terms of what it has done well. Again, there may be a point or two that didn’t work so well to contrast with all the positives, but again, it all becomes pretty easy to get your point across.
For instance, my review of March Comes in Like a Lion is more a gushing love letter to Rei’s character and his journey and that was the cut down and edited version of the review. Similarly, this season I had a great deal of fun thinking about my final review of Princess Principal. By no measure was that anime perfect, and yet it was a great deal of fun to follow along with during the Summer season and there are some really strong points in the show’s favour that can be discussed.
So what then do you do with a show that you don’t actually have any kind of strong opinion on? It didn’t do anything overly noteworthy in either a good or bad way. It just kind of was. Everything is more or less functional and while it wasn’t exactly inspiring it didn’t make you want to run for the hills either.
Which brings me to my current draft reviews of Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun and Fastest Finger First. Both anime pretty much stayed in the ‘okay’ category for the season. Fastest Finger First I had a lot of fun with but have admitted all along is not objectively very good. Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun was a bit more up and down but overall the anime works as a comedy even if it isn’t overly funny (that isn’t actually the end of the world for most comedy).
All up, my drafts of these two anime barely come to 1000 words (that’s combined) which officially makes them the shortest series reviews I’ve ever written. But even going back through them, I can’t think of anything noteworthy enough to warrant expanding on any particular point.
And with so many other anime in the same boat this season I’m really wondering what I will do with these reviews. At the moment my plan is to wait a week and re-read them after reading through my reviews of individual episodes and hoping something stands out. Otherwise, I think I’m going to have some very short reviews going out after this season wraps up.
Apparently being mediocre is worse than being bad when it comes down to writing a post about the show. Which makes me think about the next season and which shows I will keep. This season, I kept a lot of average shows because they weren’t bad and I didn’t really have anything better to watch. But maybe it would be more fun to be writing a review now about Classroom of the Elite or even Netsuzou Trap (both of which I considering a binge watch of anyway). Maybe average shows just don’t need to stay on my review line up because after awhile reading that the show has maintained its average tone with average characters and average story-telling is going to be as boring as writing it week after week.
What do you do about reviewing shows that just don’t have that much to talk about?
Thanks for reading.
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