Critiquing Is Not Hating – You Can Love Something and Still Critique It.


Today I want to take a quick look at the difference between critiquing and hating, because for some people the line between these two gets incredibly blurred. Though what I find more disturbing is how quickly someone who is critiquing something can be accused of hating. So let’s make it clear: Critiquing is not hating.

This creates a clear problem for having a meaningful discussion (or any kind of critical thought) when anything perceived as a negative impression of something someone else values is hating it. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be a negative view but merely not an overly positive one and the ‘H’ word will get thrown into the ring. And that effectively ends the dialogue. You can’t reasonably discuss something once one side of the table assumes you are attacking them and that you are doing it because of an inbuilt hate.

Critiquing is not hating - I'm calling it out.

So if critiquing is not hating, what is it?

To start off I’m just going to give you a dictionary definition of the terms and then look at what that means in practice.

To critique is to review critically or to evaluate. To clarify, critical might mean inclined to find fault with but it also means involving skilful judgement as to truth, merit etc: for example a critical analysis.

So in this instance a critique is to review something in a way as to make a judgement as to something’s merit. It does not mean to criticise it (although if the truth that your analysis leads you to is that there is little merit it may seem as though there is criticism) nor does it have anything to do with an emotional investment such as liking or hating (admittedly, most people fall out of critiquing when writing reviews because they do fall back on a position of personal opinion).


Hating on the other hand is to regard something with a strong or passionate dislike. It is an entirely emotional state of being and does not rely on any kind of analysis or thought or evidence but is merely a position someone holds (though they may have come to that position after critiquing). Actually, I like the 6th definition given in my dictionary: devoted to expressing resentment or dislike: a hate session. That seems more like an appropriate definition for someone who is a hater of a series or is hating on a series rather than critiquing.


See, the critiquer is willing to engage in a discussion and hear other view points. They are willing to accept that their opinion was formed by x, y, z and if yours was formed by n, m, o instead then you will have a different view point. They might also think you are crazy for considering n, m, o important but they will see where your view point came from.

A hater on the other hand is devoted to the negative. They are utterly and completely unwilling to consider for even a moment that something might have merit or even just suck less than their view of it. They don’t want a reasoned discussion, they don’t want your opinion, they don’t want to even hear that another opinion might exist. They just want to repeatedly tear down any and everything to do with the object of their loathing. Which I guess could be an interesting hobby but I doubt you could ever add it to your resume.

D Gray8

We all hate things (that’s part of being human), but does that mean we are naturally predisposed to hating?

Not a chance. Firstly it takes a lot of energy to be an active hater. Secondly, I firmly believe that my own views are not absolute and this is an opinion shared by the many people out there engaging in conversations about anime and films and TV shows and they kind of enjoy hearing a different view point. It makes the conversation more than an echo chamber.

Those following my blog probably know already how I feel about Black Butler 2. That doesn’t stop me from respecting the views of others on the sequel and including those posts that share a more positive side of the show. I think this is important because as an anime viewer I want to read as many view points as I can about something to consider it differently, to see things I may have overlooked, and to just enjoy discussing how a single anime can affect so many people in so many different ways.


Then again, do I think I am a critiquer?

Probably not. While I do provide some analysis mostly what I write are my impressions and reactions to shows with my thoughts on why I had these. I’ll save the really critical analysis to those a little more qualified than myself.

However, I think it is important that when we read the views of others we remember that someone disliking or being critical of something we liked isn’t a personal attack or a direct challenge. There’s no reason to feel annoyed over their opinion as their are as many opinions as their are people. And if they are hating on something you love and refusing to listen to any other view point, you are probably better off ending the conversation on your end and finding one of the many other amazing anime fans online to have a chat to.

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

Friday’s Feature: The Cycle of Love and Hate For An Anime

kirito dual blades

I think most people can agree that one of the biggest appeals of anime is that it covers so many different genres. There is literally an anime for everyone (if they look long enough) and an anime on pretty much any topic you can think of – and probably a few topics you have to wonder how anyone ever came up with that idea or why.

Every now and then though, an anime comes out that impresses its fans so much that they start throwing around phrases like ‘best ever’ and that draws people to watch the show that might not normally watch something in that genre. Some of these people enjoy what they see and get on board the hype wagon and it continues. However, as more people from outside the core group watch something what you start to see are more and more people tearing it apart. And that’s when things can sometimes take a turn for the nasty.


Our example this season is Yuri on Ice. I wasn’t going to watch this anime. I’m already watching Days which is outside of my usual genre because I’m not into sport. I just stopped watching Free (for reasons explained previously) so I wasn’t exactly in the market for anime guys showing off how appealing they could be to a diverse audience of girls. Other than the fact that it was ice skating, which is kind of cool, there was nothing about the show that looked like it was something I should get into.

Then I read reviews of the first episode. They were glowing. I think during the first week of release I only read one review that mentioned anything negative about the show and even that was a ‘by-the-way’ rather than an actual criticism.

Now, I don’t believe everything I read, but when a lot of people explain in fairly compelling detail why something is good I do feel the need to at least check it out to form my own opinion. So in I went for episode 1 f Yuri on Ice.


And I became one of the people who wrote a positive review on a series that I wasn’t initially even going to watch. That said, it didn’t top my watch list and by episode 3 I was starting to pick at some of the delivery (not the animation because that is pretty amazing to the point where even non-anime fans that I’ve got to watch a snippet of the skating are just kind of mesmerised). But I understood why so many people were on board with this series.

It was also about the week 3 mark that I started reading some more negative reviews around the series (these were still the minority but they did start cropping up). Don’t get me wrong, negative reviews are important and diverse opinions on a series are actually kind of necessary and reflective of the range of opinions people will have around watching a series. I started picking at the dialogue and other people started picking at the reuse of animated sequences (though if that is a measure of problems in an anime the entirety of the original Sailor Moon series is up the creek). These are genuine criticisms of an otherwise fairly strong series this season.

What worried me about some of the reviews that were more just a push back against the positive opinions of others rather than a critique of the show itself (other than the reviews that decided the relationship between Yuri and Victor was a problem in which case you have to wonder how they even made it to episode 3). These reviews throw around words like hype and overrated but don’t actually provide concrete examples of problems, or they identify a problem but not one that would actually lend itself to making you call a show terrible.

That said, the majority of the reviews around Yuri have still been really positive. It will be interesting to see where the love/hate split for this anime ends up once the anime has ended. Will the series fail to maintain its standard but still keep those on the hype train sitting there? Will it falter so that those of us who came in out of curiosity (who aren’t totally in the fan category but are really enjoying it) start to pull more of the faults apart? Or will the hate bandwagon gain momentum and eventually win out? Or, will it actually be an incredible anime from start to finish?

It would be great to see this series end with those who love it continuing to go on about how amazing it is (because there is a lot to love) while others take a more critical view of it but manage to do that in a way that actually respects what the show is and doesn’t assume that anyone who is watching the show has sniffed glue for awhile first. At episode 6 I can actually see where a lot of casual viewers will start to get turned away. The amazement of episode 1 has passed and while the characters are kind of awesome (at least I like them) if they haven’t appealed the plot isn’t doing much to hold you. The only thing left would be a genuine love of ice-skating and I just don’t know if that will be enough.


The problem is, we’ve seen this all before. Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Evangelion and pretty much every anime that has come out and taken its fans by storm goes through this. The problem with being popular and standing out is that you are exposed to a lot of scrutiny and it is so much easier to be critical of something than to praise it. And once the negativity wagon gets moving it is really hard to stop. You end up reading reviews that tell you something is ‘the worst ever’. Now, even if you take every legitimate criticism of Evangelion on board, it would still be hard to argue that it is the worst anime ever. There’s significantly worse in terms of story, characters and animation quality. The same goes for most other shows that get labelled with such extravagant titles.

Sword Art Online is one I particularly get annoyed about. Not because I don’t respect the opinion that it has flaws but because so few people respect the opinion that its actually kind of fun to watch and there are moments of pure awesomeness in it. I’m a big fan of the series and even I’ll criticise aspects of it (the entire second arc for one) but I’m not going to call people names if they disagree with me.

While I get that hyperbole is actually part of reviewing because you want your opinion to come across clearly, I sometimes have to wonder if the same person who would label something ‘the worst ever’ would be so hostile toward a show if they hadn’t read all the hype prior to watching it and felt the need to counter every positive review ever written.

As an anime fan who has watched these arguments play out many, many times, my rules are pretty straight forward:

  • Read as many opinions as I can but focus on the ones that provide actual evidence to support their claims. Just telling me something is amazing or rubbish isn’t particularly enlightening unless they can tell me what about it is amazing or rubbish and why.
  • Have favourite reviewers who I know have opinions that have meshed with mine previously (or have never lined up – there’s one or two reviewers that I read just to know that if they liked something I probably won’t). While I don’t agree with everything they say, it will help me filter my list.
  • Get used to trying stuff on my own and making up my own opinion. Sometimes an anime just hits the right spot for no apparent reason.

So, a few questions from this week:

  1. What’s an anime that you feel got put through the love/hate cycle and where did you end up with it?
  2. How do you navigate the range of opinions about an anime?

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Karandi James.