Reviewers failing at objectivity

Every judgement about a show’s overall quality, has some inherently subjective elements. Whether the basic setting is interesting, whether the heroine is cute enough (or too cute), whether the jokes are funny. We aren’t even pretending to be more right about these than others. (Except for the ones who are building up a comically arrogant “my opinion > your opinion” persona).

And then, there are some cases where we are pretty confident that we must be right about measuring the clues of quality in a tangible way. About whether or not the plot made sense, about it’s number of unresolved plotlines, about the visual quality…

…about it’s amount of kittens…

and then, we have these reviews and first impressions about Little Busters pouring in:



The initial scenes are attention-grabbing and expertly used to the episode’s advantage, successfully capturing the interest of even someone like me who went into the show fully expecting to hate it. Music aside, JC Staff’s production on this title is quite admirable and unusually high quality by their standards. The voice acting and aforementioned direction are great, while the art and animation remain above average at all times (believe me, that’s high praise for something by JC Staff).

Froggle – Animation Revelation 

As expected, the second episode was an excellent fit to the first episode; we know the characters better, what situations have arisen, and what will likely happen next. The show sprinkles some foreshadowing around, so while we know that some plot is headed our way, it’s still ambiguous what it is. J.C. Staff is sticking closely to the visual novel, almost scene by scene. Can’t really mess that up.

Amoirsp – Desu ex Machina

Sure enough, Little Busters! is far from phenomenal. The second episode was downright painful to watch because I could notice the potential of the jokes lifted from the VN, and yet much of their momentum was lost due to incompetent execution. The sub-par graphical look is a pity as well, as traditionally JC Staff has at least been able to deliver decent visuals if nothing else.

NovaJinx – Jinx!

If you’ve seen a good JC Staff project – Ano Natsu for example – you know what to expect here. Pretty fluid animation, and pretty good depth of field in the backgrounds – a trade-off, to some extent, for the typical JC Staff muted color schemes and soft focus. If it lacks the vibrancy, minute detail and ridiculous smoothness of a top KyoAni project, LB also has very good character designs that go beyond the over-the-top kawaii of KyoAni’s Key adaptations.

Guardian Enzo – Random Curiosity

As for Little Busters, it has its problems story-wise, but most of the problems are related to the direction and editing. And it is baaaaddddd. Simply put, it’s not fun to riff on an anime that is incompetently put together rather than just having a terrible story. Word of advice, never trust a director whose works include something called Kill Me Baby.

flawfinder- Standing on my Neck

You get pretty much the same wherever you look. From people speaking in hyperbole about how unwachably ugly it is and J.C. Staff isn’t even trying, to people praising them for being almost but not quite as good as KyoAni, with every other opinion in-between. About how the great music is “compensating” for the bad visuals, and how the music is lazily and uneffectively thrown in.

I’m not commenting on any of these specifically, but there is something amusing about how  collectively, we can’t even look at the shows that J.C. Staff usually does, then at Little Busters, and decide whether it looks much better, much worse, or about the same.

Just sayin’.




One response to “Reviewers failing at objectivity

  1. But is a “reviewer” really better because they remain objective? Or when they remain consistent in trying to distinguish what they liked from what they didn’t like?

    Personally I think I prefer the latter. That way I can build up a bit of trust in how to interpret their ramblings. I’d rather hear someone wax idiotic about KyoAni while bashing JC Staff, because then I know where their opinion lies and can choose how to take their word.

    But someone who superficially tries to be objective isn’t necessarily doing anyone any service unless they’re trained in what OTHERS want (not themselves). And if they’re inconsistent about it, then it sounds like marketing BS and not genuine review.

    Besides, people generally people mistake “objectivity” with “neutrality”. Worse, objectivity can only go so far when you’re talking about things like anime, that are inherently trying to appeal to emotions (thus making it almost pointless to be overly objective). It’s just not a simple thing to try, and I’m pretty sure most anibloggers aren’t in this for more than the perceived fun of it all.

    So yes, it’s definitely amusing, but it’s also not a simple problem. I have nothing against people trying to be MORE objective, but half the fun seems to be in finding the right balance.

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