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Poll: Which one do you rely on?

Sep 29, 3:58 AM

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 923
When you're searching for a new to watch, and you find one interesting, which one do you rely on more? The score it has, or the score the reviewers gave it? Or you don't trust any of them?

I personally rely more on the score, I don't read reviews, but I don't entirely decide if I will watch an anime only based on the score, but it definitely helps me to decide.
Modified by -Aincrad-, Sep 29, 4:04 AM
People on MAL in a nutshell

Sep 29, 4:18 AM
Joined: Sep 2019
Posts: 262
-Aincrad- said:
When you're searching for a new to watch, and you find one interesting, which one do you rely on more? The score it has, or the score the reviewers gave it? Or you don't trust any of them?

I personally rely more on the score, I don't read reviews, but I don't entirely decide if I will watch an anime only based on the score, but it definitely helps me to decide.
I don't read reviews for selecting of the anime. Score sure helps in deciding anime but I am not super highly dependent on score though atleast for now.
Sep 29, 4:18 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 26
I rely the most on the synopsis and recommendations of people with a similar taste.

But out of those two options definitely more on the score.
I had a time were I tried to read some popular reviews but most of the reviewers were so full of them self that they tried to make a work of art with the review. That resulted in super long reviews with much nonsense in it while the most points could just be made with a quarter of the text. So I quit reading reviews.

If I want to read something good i will read a book. An anime review i want to be short and informative.

Sep 29, 4:19 AM

Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 2974
Neither really. What I really rely on is the synopsis. But I guess the overall score is what I pay more attention to. I don't really care too much for reviews when it comes to anime.
Sep 29, 4:24 AM

Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 1264
problem: scores and review are made by humans that aren't you. how can you tell from them you're gonna like something? you can't.

on a serious note tough you CAN'T rely on them though if it does indeed have a high score/good reviews it means it's more likely to please you. just that you're more likely.
Sep 29, 4:30 AM

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 235
Everyone have different tastes so I don't rely on none of them.
All animes have many haters who put 1* without seeing 1 episode only because it's popular or better than their favourite anime(more popular more haters) so both score and reviews are not important for me.
Only what I rely on are trailers and genres by them I decide if it's worth watching or not (of course during watching episodes sometimes happened it's really bad even if trailers&genres were good).
Sep 29, 4:32 AM

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 229
If I say truly,every anime till now,I've watched hadn't ever checked review and not interested in rating.I just watch which I wanna.

Sep 29, 4:34 AM

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 93
I'm more of a recommendation guy. I pick the mangas/animes that got recommended to me by my friends. Even tho when I see a high score, it's more likely I will watch it. Reviews can be different. Some of them are positive and some them are negative. Even tho both of them aren't really reliable.

Sep 29, 4:37 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 489
I don't care about either but I value reviews more than score.
Sep 29, 4:37 AM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 47
Neither, I usually always go for the synopsis or get recommended by someone I know but if I had to randomly pick an anime, I'd have to trust the score rather than the reviews because most of the time top reviews usually have mixed opinions.
Sep 29, 4:41 AM

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 25335
Generally I check it out first on mal then if I'm still unsure I would ask my mal friends. I think watching average tier to a higher tier anime would be beneficial to me or I might risk anime burnout. Though I only do this if I can spend time enjoying seasonals.
Sep 29, 4:43 AM

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 7135
Neither. I pick what interests me, what looks cool, has nice synopsis or was made by someone who made other stuff I enjoy. The score is complete bs, and review system also since they removed downvotes. Joke reviews, which might be a fun read once you've seen the show, are completely useless or outright misleading when you want to find out something aobut the show and some of the reviews are misinformed, stupid or outright LIE about whats in the show - like the currently #2 review of Gridman.

I just go by what interests me and at worst I will just drop early
Sep 29, 4:48 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 176
Scores are totally worthless.
- You can't use a single figure to determine the "quality" of anything,
- Even if that was the case, there is so few rates compared to the number of actual viewers that it doesn't even represent the average.
- There's also the fact that opinions change with time: you may love an anime and rate it 10, but months later realize it wasn't that good and forget to change your rating.
- There is also the obvious issue of extreme ratings: people willingly rate way higher or lower than what they actually mean, so it just makes the rating system totally unbalanced.

A score is just a statistic, and stats are totally worthless. Do you know how statistics are called in the science community? Soft science. Because it doesn't rely on hard facts and logic (so it literally relies on nothing).

Reviews, on the other hand, dives into specifics, so it obviously gives a more in-depth view of the show.
But of course, there is the issue of bias: if you like a show, you may be more indulgent towards its flaws (and obviously, if you hate it, you will be hard on its flaws and deny its qualities).

That's why the only thing I look for are the admitted flaws in good-rating reviews and the admitted qualities in bad-rating reviews.
If someone says they loved a show, but admit the characters are flat, there's a high chance that the characters do lack development. On the contrary, if someone shits on a show but admits the music is awesome, then there is a possibility that the OST is worth cheking out.

With all that said, I vote reviews because as flawed as this system is, at least it dives into specifics about what can be found in a show.
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Sep 29, 5:06 AM

Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 1342
I browse mostly anime blogs and forums now
Sep 29, 5:13 AM

Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 673
Neither. What cares to me are the synopsis, the characters design and the setting. That aspects can be easily known and them are sufficient to bring me to watch a show. Moreover, In my opinion MAL scores, or other scores in general, doesn’t count anything.
Sep 29, 5:16 AM

Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 121
I look at random users' anime lists and see how they rated a specific show. If a user's taste is justified, I'd take their score for granted.

Reviews are mostly just trolls and meme-fied and for overall score...yeah nothing worth mentioning there.
Sep 29, 5:16 AM

Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 596
I reply more on the first 5 min of the actual show.
Sep 29, 5:17 AM
VMC President

Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 449
I generally just look at the genres, the pictures and sometimes recommendations linked to previous shows I have enjoyed and sometimes the studio too if it's by a favourite of mine. Maybe some scores might influence me a bit but not very often as for reviews I generally only check those when I feel like having a laugh.
Modified by JoyBoy_316, Sep 29, 5:21 AM
Sep 29, 5:24 AM

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 130
Scores let me see the general appeal of the series, i usually go to the statistics and see the score distribution which helps me see how lovable the anime is.

And no i dont trust reviews, especially not the top ones, which many times consist of super niche and unpopular opinions about the animes. I cannot tell you how many times ive seen an anime with a really high score while some of the top reviews were super negative. It really seems like those reviews are popular within those people who gate the anime

I also sometimes go to the poll on the first episode to see how people think about it

But seriously tho the reviews can be so biased that its just plain stupid
Modified by yotamdin, Sep 29, 5:30 AM
↑ Probably a shitpost ↑
Sep 29, 5:25 AM

Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 474
Score, voice of the people is voice of God.
Sep 29, 5:26 AM

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 201
I don't really take scores into account.

Sometimes if I read a particularly amusing or informative review it can help give me an idea of what I'm getting into but overall preference remains entirely subjective.

I mostly just rely on synopsizes and genre tags, the occasional trailer and getting a look at the characters, posters, and preview images.
Sep 29, 8:35 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 102
Not that I don't care about them but I take my time to read review and sometimes I'm basing it on it's score. It still depends on how good is the summary for me. Like how interesting the plot is. If it looks interesting for me, then I'll decide to give it a try no matter how bad nor how low its score is.
Sep 29, 8:36 AM

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 361
Personally I use the score, reviews can be useful but finding high quality, useful, spoiler free reviews is more trouble than it's worth - especially on MAL. I don't mind looking at some after watching an anime to help process my thoughts though. MAL scores seemed a bit weird when I first started using MAL but I've gotten used to them and can interpret them quite well now.

Dante012 said:
Scores are totally worthless.
- You can't use a single figure to determine the "quality" of anything,
- Even if that was the case, there is so few rates compared to the number of actual viewers that it doesn't even represent the average.
- There's also the fact that opinions change with time: you may love an anime and rate it 10, but months later realize it wasn't that good and forget to change your rating.
- There is also the obvious issue of extreme ratings: people willingly rate way higher or lower than what they actually mean, so it just makes the rating system totally unbalanced.

These criticisms have some merit but concluding that scores are completely worthless is a bit of a stretch.
1 - The score is a single figure that represents the opinions of a sample of people, every person will have a different view on what their score means exactly but with a large enough sample size anybody should be able to relate the score to theirs. It's not about determining the quality, just inferring the expected quality.

2 - The proportion of raters to viewers should have no bearing on the score, unless you somehow believe people who rate and people who don't will have significantly different opinions compared to each other. The problem is when the sample size itself is small and/or significantly biased (which is more likely with a smaller sample size).

3 - Opinions change over time, some people may change their score to account for this, others won't. Either way the score given is just a representation of their opinion at the time they rated it, if they change as a person and change the score their old score is still valid as the opinion of a different sort of person. This argument also relies on a significant proportion of raters changing their views in a particular direction. It would also be universal so all ratings would be skewed allowing for easy correction by any user to understand what a rating means.

4 - Extreme ratings can be an issue, how much so depends on the proportion of haters and boosters to the sample size. However, as extreme ratings go both ways they balance each other out to an extent. Assuming they're equal the score will tend towards 5.50. As this is a universal problem I don't see how this takes away meaning from the score, you just have to understand what scores mean relative to you, unless a specific show gets affected by this far more than any others it's not a problem.

In the cases where it may be an issue (likely in high rated shows with a low sample size) just look at the statistics to solve the issue. Pingu in the city has most scores as 10s or 1s implying it's a joke score, Mo Dao Zu Shi 2 is clearly suffering from haters as it has a relatively high percentage of scores of 1.

MAL scores tend to be high, rarely dropping below 6 if that's what you mean. If that's the case you can just learn the meaning of the scores relative to your scoring system, if you've watched a decent number of shows and your taste isn't extremely abnormal it shouldn't be difficult.

Dante012 said:
A score is just a statistic, and stats are totally worthless. Do you know how statistics are called in the science community? Soft science. Because it doesn't rely on hard facts and logic (so it literally relies on nothing)..

I don't know where you got this idea but it's complete rubbish. Statistics are literally the basis of science, particularly fields such as biology. Stats aren't "hard facts" as you say but drawing logical conclusions from statistical tests is literally what (a lot of) science is.
Modified by Platypus7, Sep 29, 8:40 AM
Sep 29, 8:42 AM

Joined: Aug 2016
Posts: 462
I just read the synopsis and take a quick glance at the four reviews in the page to see how much should I expect from the series.
Sep 29, 8:49 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 263
Usually I'll just determine if I want to watch something by the synopsis, but if I can't decide if it sounds good enough for me to want to watch, I see what the reviews have to say. Reviews also can make me want to watch something sooner rather than later. I never pay any mind to the score of the anime. In fact, I used to never even notice it.
Sep 29, 8:52 AM

Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 282
Scores are my way of narrowing down my options. I will hardly ever bother checking an anime/manga that has less than a 7 score, for example. The reviews are then my way of selecting shows on an individual basis. A show with a score on the low 7s and reviews around 8-10 is probably a hidden gem, while one with a high 7s score and reviews ranging from 5-10 is probably just overrated. When in doubt I read the "reasonable reviews" (6-8, don't beat around the bush too much) for more information.

For a quick example, the T-Rex na Kanojo manga. It has a score of 7.11 but the scores of the top 4 reviews were 8, 8, 10 and 6, which isn't half bad. A quick read of the first lines of these reviews showed that they all enjoyed it, but that it doesn't have a proper ending (was axed). I decided to read it and was pleasantly surprised. It was quite good, if a bit unpolished.
Modified by AnotherGuy, Sep 29, 9:00 AM
Sep 29, 8:53 AM

Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 689
I don't care about reviews. But the scores do matter.
Sep 29, 9:03 AM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 423
Synopsis is the most important thing but I don't bother watching anything with a score below 7, generally speaking (the last thread that suggested a number of titles that fit the criteria had me watch some of the worst junk I've ever had to lay my eyes upon). I'll look at the first few reviews to see if there's a lot of variance (say 10s and 2s rather than scores in the 7-9 range) out of curiosity but that's about it.
Sep 29, 9:14 AM

Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 347
Scores, top reviews are often something like 4, 2, 10, 8. Often they just tell if one person liked or disliked the anime and why. There is some anime i think is overscored and some i think is underscored (like Black Rock Shooter tv). Overall if something is below 7 in MAL it's not rly worth the watch and if somethign is over 8 it's worth it.

Sep 29, 9:20 AM

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 97
Instinct, I guess. I don't really care about the score or reviews. If Anime that's around 5 or 6 that looks interesting for me, I'd pop it in and give it a shot.

Some of them, I do like and some don't. That also goes fro the 7's and 8's. So, it really depends, quite frankly.
Sep 29, 9:29 AM

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 1011
I used to but now I only rely on the first few episodes. I don't care that much about scores anymore and 99.9% of MAL reviews are worthless.
Sep 29, 9:36 AM

Joined: May 2009
Posts: 5745
I've found that I get more enjoyment out of a thing without the expectation of "this is a great show" or "this is a bad show" beforehand, so I try to avoid looking at both score and reviews.
Sep 29, 9:45 AM

Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 635
I tend to gravitate towards the reviews. I know a lot of anime’s with low scores that I really enjoyed. If it’s an unknown anime and there aren’t many reviews or they aren’t seriously written reviews then I’ll take the score, plot and whether I like the animation into account.
Sep 29, 9:52 AM

Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 438
used to care but not anymore.
lost my trust's better to watch yourself rather rely on the score and review.
Sep 29, 9:53 AM
Grim Anime Fan

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 2180
None.. don't care about score or reviews. I just watch whatever I feel like watching..
Sep 29, 10:19 AM

Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 2757
The advantage of one is the disadvantage of the other: scores reflect the average perception of a vast group of people, but they tell nothing of the reasoning behind them, and also do not take into account the scoring criteria differences among users (a 7 for user A is not going to mean the same as a 7 for user B). On the other hand, reviews are obviously more informative, they do offer more explanations in relation to the reception, and also do take into account the aforementioned differences. However, their sample sizes are limited, they only indicate the opinion of a small number of people, and reading them is more time consuming than just checking some numbers, so you can't get an idea of the big picture with them.

However, claiming that scores are entirely worthless is too much of a stretch. In don't think anyone here would argue against the idea that the likelihood of enjoying a random anime scored 8.00+ is way higher than the one of enjoying a random anime scored 6.99 or below. In that sense, scores do have a meaning an utility.

Sep 29, 10:34 AM

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 289
I use the recommendation tab!

A lot of genres don't really do it for me, so I often just seek out anime with aspects I already have interest in!

I think the score is a bit more useful than a single review, but multiple reviews definitely beat out the score. Hype boys will toss up a score putting shows like attack on titan (that I am not offended by but really disinterested in) up to top tier levels. Its a good starting point, but scrolling through a few reviews, you can get the idea of what the show has to offer. Unless its just full of stuff like,


or negative reviews from people that are just aiming to be contrite like


Trying to filter out similar albeit less exaggerated reviews to find a few like minded people to get a good idea can be a chore, but more valuable than an average mean of denizens on the hype train.

FUN BONUS: I like to watch the try not to sing dance anime collections on the tube, and if something has an awesome soundtrack, I check it out. I watched Noragami that way, win win.
Sep 29, 10:41 AM

Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 4271

if I did, I wouldnt bo downloading mom isekai right now
Sep 29, 11:11 AM

Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 695
Neither really, i only trust some people with similar taste when it comes to anime, but even there not fully.

Trusting MAL scores is like the dumbest thing you can do, i mean for me not even a tenth of the shows with a score between 7 and 8 are a "good" show. Many people just only use the higher points of the scale and thus the overall score gets distorted.

Sep 29, 11:17 AM

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 746
Reviews: I don't give a heck about them, actually I've never read one.

Score: I don't care about this either, but, ofc, if the score is under 6, I know that probably I won't like the anime much. Still, they don't affect my choices, I watch what I want so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Sep 29, 11:19 AM

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1251
Honestly I just watch stuff out of pure instinct, though I will say that the reviews can occasionally affect what final grade I ultimately give, depending on if they bring to attention anything in particular that I did not perceive the first time while watching the show.
Sep 29, 11:22 AM

Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 119
Typically the score is what either gets me interested or disinterested. If it's a good score, I'll look at the reviews to see why it's good. If it's a bad score, I'll check the reviews to see why, but the disinterest is already in the back of my mind

Sep 29, 11:48 AM

Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 962
I use a script which hides the average score and review sections on anime pages. So that tells you how much I care about scores and reviews.

That said, I will sometimes read reviews when I finish stuff. It kind of depends how open I am to hearing criticism about the anime.

Thing is, reviews tend to be very negative on the whole. While negative criticism can be done well, most negative MAL reviews are written by people that are unnecessarily angry and talk as though the anime perosnally offended them. It comes off as childish and without class. One can talk about the aspects of an anime which brought it down in their estimation while being humble and level-headed, but that's rarely what we get from MAL reviews.

So, if I finish something and I know I liked it a lot more than most, then reading the reviews is going to be frustrating becuase I'm likely just going to reading a ton of stuff I disagree with.

When I will read reviews is when I watch something that I thought was worse than most other people. Because it often isn't super obvious why certain anime didn't work for me, and the reviews can help me realize certain things. In those cases, I'm actively looking for negative takes.

I guess I feel some anime get too much negativity, but if it's something that is highly praised, then the negativity doesn't bother me because it's already getting enough love.

Good example of this is Kanata no Astra, an anime I just finished from last season. I gave it an 8, but only just, and I've thought about revising it down to a 7 a few times since [EDIT: Now reduced to 7]. But it is very highly regarded so when I read criticism, I can take it in without feeling like the anime is getting an overall unfair treatment.
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Sep 29, 11:53 AM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 11
If I find a show or series I think sounds interesting I'm gonna watch it and form my own opinion on it, I don't care what some dude on the internet has to say about it.
Sep 29, 12:01 PM

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 314
I don't trust either , so I don't rely on either 100% , but I refuse to watch anything rated below a 7 on MAL that might change though because I can't take MAL scores seriously anymore
The word elitist is stupid since it's just used by people who can't defend their favorite shows and use it on people who criticize their favorite shows.
Sep 29, 12:03 PM

Joined: May 2019
Posts: 1885
Neither I relay on my own judgement. If I like the premise I watch couple of episodes if I enjoy it I continue if I don't I drop the show.
Sep 29, 12:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2019
Posts: 106
I use both pretty equally when I'm browsing. I use scores to narrow down the pool, then read what people liked/disliked in their reviews to see if it's my sort of thing. Sometimes what people love about an anime/manga are things I hate, and vice versa.
Sep 29, 12:05 PM

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 1119
Reviews do it for me because I've had a lot of fun watching some really low score shows so completing the synopsis with a review or two helps me make a decision if I'll watch it or not. The score is still there but it doesn't affect me much.

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Sep 29, 12:13 PM

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 5021
all you have to do is learn how scores relate to each genre and year. It can be difficult to master but knowing that people see sexy material in a negative light most of the time and that male demographic shows will always be rated higher than female demographic shows, and that action shows in particular that are from Jump are usually riding on a hype machine..... it can be pretty easy to avoid false thinking when it comes to scores and get a pretty decent idea as to what quality the anime offers.

Slice of life frequently has very average shows rated a 7 for instance because it has nothing offensive. Where a above average ecchi is often rated with an average 7. You can find good harem, ecchi, and hentai in the 6 zone.

Action shounen below 7.5 is probably more meaningful indicator of lower quality than a shoujo romance in the low 7 range.

Older shows in the 7 range are likely masterpieces (or childhood favorites).
Modified by Energetic-Nova, Sep 29, 12:19 PM
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Sep 29, 1:06 PM

Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 475
Neither. Top reviews are the extreme ends of two opposite views and the score is pretty crappy to use since almost everything is 7-8 on MAL. Though if a score is below 6.5 then it starts getting interesting since it really has to offend a good amount of people.
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