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How To Write Long Reviews

Have you ever wanted to write one of the really long reviews you often see climb to the tops of review sections? Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

by MAL_Articles
Feb 3, 2018 6:20 PM | 19,112 views

This article was written by zombie_pegasus and edited by Lesbean of the MAL Articles Club.
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NOTE: This article is mainly meant as satire. Not all points conform to the Review Guidelines You can find them and tips for new writers here.


The top 10 reviewers on MyAnimeList

You may look at long reviews either on MyAnimeList, IGN, Youtube, or other sites and covet the skills of a master writer for being able to write insane lengths. However, while your writing may never reach the quality of a professional critic, the quantity of writing can be easily met using simple tricks. I will be here to teach you how to write a lot without saying much more than your own reviews already do.

The first trick is to not do any editing. There is a lot of filler you'll naturally write as a human, and although to increase fluidity you may want to remove this filler, if you want your review to be long, filler is your friend. You should actually increase filler by saying your same statement in multiple ways and using longer phrases that could be simplified using single words.

Comparisons are a good way of increasing length. Comparing anime to other anime may help back up your point while also increasing your word count, and remember to include their full Japanese names rather than their short forms for an added bonus couple words. You can write a couple sentences about each comparison, and even talk about different anime in the same way that you could have just compiled into one sentence. It may end up being boring to read, but if you're trying to form a large body of text then this shouldn't be seen as a flaw.

Opening and ending themes have a lot of complex and dense animation to them, which is already intended to convey a lot of meaning in a relatively short period of time. If you're trying to write a long review, this is a goldmine for words. Even just the original intent of the creators is worth a thousand words, but you can write even more if you can think of your own things to go off on tangents about. If the anime has more than one opening theme, you can talk about them separately for maximized effect.

All anime rely a lot on their staff to contribute to their quality so why not talk about who helped make the anime? Directors and voice actors are a common role to talk about, but art directors, soundtrack composers, and even animators are other people you can talk about the work of for a longer review. This does require research and a fair amount of knowledge about the anime industry, but after watching Shirobako and spending some hours on Wikipedia you're practically an expert. Time spent researching once will always come in handy for more reviews in the future, so it isn't wasted effort. People will think you're a good reviewer for going that in-depth, and they don't have to know about your ulterior motives.

Coming up with sections of your own or writing the whole thing as one long paragraph aren't good ways of farming out more words — you can only write so much without a proper structure. MyAnimeList includes the six sections of "story", "animation", "sound", "character", "enjoyment", and "overall", which can be a useful way of organizing your opinions. If you're already a good writer you could come up with your own outline, but it's much simpler to just use this as a guideline. These aren't relevant to every anime, but there aren't any anime that you can't talk about these things with. If an anime doesn't have a story, that can be a talking point, and if an anime has very average art, this can also be something to go off about. No matter what, you can think of things to talk about for all six of these sections, even if you might need to be a bit creative for some of them. If you have more to talk about, you could make your own section, or group it with whichever one fits best.

Opinions are the backbone of every review, and people also want to know how good something is without needing to have the same opinion as the reviewer. With these two things in mind, you may find it advantageous to give both your own subjective opinion and what you believe are the objective facts for every point. When done correctly, this could potentially make your review twice as long. If you don't want it to be overly obnoxious you could just do this every once in awhile, but no matter how often you use it you should remember it as a useful tactic to make your reviews longer.

If you're watching an anime while it's airing, then keeping an episode diary is a wonderful way to make your word count go sky high. If you can write 500 words about a single episode, just imagine how long your review will be if the anime is twelve episodes or longer, and you also include a full review of the entire series in addition to episode reviews. This doesn't have to be done only on currently airing anime, but if the anime is airing it will give you adequate time to think of a full review for each episode, rather than binge writing after every episode before going on to watching the next.

If you know a language other than English you have the benefit of being able to include a full translation of your review, essentially doubling your word count without much extra effort. If you speak a language other than English as your native tongue, then it's already necessary to include an English translation since English is the language of the internet, but even if the other language is your second language it's still a great way of making your total amount of text twice as large as it would be with only one language. This is so effective that you could even just use Google Translate and translate to a common language like Spanish or French, and then reap the rewards of having a second tongue without needing to go through the work of learning it yourself.

Write everything out in full. Number, names, titles, etc, can all add a bit of extra length if you write it all out rather than using symbols or contractions. Not only is avoiding shortening things more formal, it's also a good way to make things take longer. A similar strategy is to explain everything in depth, even if you expect the reader to already know what you're talking about. After all, why should you sacrifice those precious words just to avoid redundancy? You're doing yourself a favour by talking about things that don't need to be talked about. Even the old style of fansub translation notes like "keikaku means plan" would be a good idea here, since although it helps no one it still does wonders to increase your word count.

Write jokes in. This make take a bit of extra effort, but in addition to making the review more enjoyable to read by adding some humour to the review, it also makes for a good way to make the review longer without having to delve into the deepest parts of the anime. Lighthearted anime are already comedy based anyway, and darker shows are even better to write jokes for because of the disconnect. Since a lot of these tips effectively make your quality lower, this is also a good way of redeeming your own writing.

You have probably heard the word analysis used in the reviewing community, and analysis is a great way of increasing both quality and enjoyment. Analyze the extracted information that the staff, animators, directors, writers, and actors alike left in for the viewers without being extremely obvious about it. Some things to analyze are things that are left in plain sight but need a bit more thought to realize the importance of, while other things might not even be apparent to exist at all to the casual viewer. Just thinking about the anime in the shower or while working a minimal intellect job can give you a lot to write about without having to watch the entire anime another time through, but if you haven't seen the anime in a long time you might want to at least watch a recap to refresh your memory. Shorter anime like one-shot OVAs, ONAs, and music videos aren't too time consuming to see again, and it would be beneficial to do so since a lot of these use imagery to convey their points.

Over-analysis is a separate yet equally valuable concept to utilize. This is analyzing things that either don't need analysis, or taking points out of things that were never intended. Through overanalysis you can make a Precure series look like a deconstruction, or a music video look like the meaning to life.

There are many different methods you can use to make your writing last for more time, and taking everything into account you should use whichever ones suit your writing style the most. Remember, reviews are for other people to read.

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