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#1
Mar 25, 2013 10:38 AM
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Faerie Queen

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The following guidelines were written as a reference document for administrators, reviewers and readers to define a standard for MyAnimeList reviews. For reviewers, it should provide advance warning of what content - or lack thereof - may lead to their review being reported and removed from the site.

Please note these have been written as general guidelines only. Not meeting one or two of the following points may not automatically result in the removal of the review. Administrators will consider reviews with discretion, and reserve the right to alter the following rules as they see fit to maintain a standard that does not devalue the feature's purpose.

The content of these guidelines are heavily based upon the Internet Movie Database, Anime News Network and AniDB review guidelines. Many thanks to them for providing a solid foundation from which to build from.


What is a Review?
A review is a critical evaluation of the content (i.e. story & characters), style (i.e. art & sound), and personal enjoyment of the work you have chosen to review. It is neither meant to tell the reader whether they should (not) watch/read the work, nor whether they will like or dislike the series. Rather, the review should provide the reader with the tools to decide these things for himself. To do this, you must include what you liked and disliked about this work, and why. Support your statements with concise descriptions and examples about what appealed to you (or didn't) about this anime/manga specifically, without including spoilers.

While reviews should be written with creativity and include your personal opinion, the review should ultimately deliver the evaluation as fairly and objectively as possible. This means your text should neither read like the gushing of an overzealous fan nor the raging of a cynical hater. Overly emotional commentaries should be restricted to friends and blogs.

Reviews MUST:
  • be written in English.
  • follow basic grammar rules. Please write in complete sentences using correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
  • include why you liked/disliked the work. Furthermore, these statements should be supported and done so in a way that does not spoil the series for the reader.
  • be written in their entirety and final form when posting; they are not meant to be updated as you make your way through the work.
  • only be posted to a single DB entry. For franchise reviews, please include a note at the top of the review explaining which seasons the review covers and if it contains spoilers.
  • be presented as fairly and objectively as possible (see above for a further explanation).

Reviews must NOT:
  • plagiarize anyone else's work.
  • contain any plot specifics (spoilers) which may harm the reader's enjoyment of the work by describing events which eliminate surprise, suspense or dramatic tension. As a rule of thumb, refrain from including information which you would not add to a synopsis. If a spoiler is deemed required to give a conclusive review of the series, the writer must include a "THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS" label at the top of the review, provided that the spoiler is hidden below the "Read More" link. However, this is neither a free pass to spoil the entire series nor give a play-by-play of every event.
  • comment on any other reviews.
  • comment on or discuss any content on the entry page. This includes the score and popularity of the series, as these are subject to change.
  • address your reader or any other viewers of the series, in either a positive or negative fashion. This includes commenting on specific groups of MyAnimeList users.
  • be an ineligible early episode review of the series. Please see below for more information.
  • focus solely on comparing any adaptation, source material or other works to the entry. A few sentences for general information is alright, but remember that your review is a critique of the work itself, not a comparison. Your readers may not be interested in reading the novel nor care if the plot deviates from it.
  • be a commentary on what you've watched/read of the entry. If you'd like to give your opinion on the premise of the series, the plot of the first few episodes, recent developments in the story, or the wonderful/terrible ending, please use the episode discussion topics in the entry's sub-forum.
  • contain messages to moderators. Please use the Anime or Manga support boards for any concerns related to an entry.

Refrain from:
  • using excessive profanity and obscenities. If it contains "crap" every three words, it is no longer a review and more a rant.
  • including spoilers!
  • writing in CAPS LOCK.
  • including e-mail addresses and other URLs.
  • using BBCode, smilies, signatures, and other mark-up.
  • participating in flooding troll reviews for the purpose of being "funny".
  • bypassing the 500 character minimum with content that does not contribute to the review.
  • including any content that does not comply with the Site & Forum Guidelines.

Preliminary Reviews of Currently Airing Series
Preliminary reviews are reviews of an ongoing series written before the final installment has been released. Reviews written within the first few episodes/chapters of a series are typically commentaries on the writers' feeling of what they have viewed so far and where they hope the anime/manga will go, which is really text that belongs in an episode/chapter discussion post. After some episodes/chapters, these previews can become useful for users deciding which currently airing/publishing series to view; however, they lose this purpose upon the series' completion. A reader who is interested in viewing the completed series will find more credible information in a conclusive review than a preview. Thus:
  • Review text should not be submitted until the:
    • 4th episode has been viewed for TV series one cours (~13 eps) in length;
    • 6th episode has been viewed for TV series two cours (~26 eps) in length;
    • 8th episode has been viewed for TV series three cours (~39 eps) in length;
    • 10th episode has been viewed for TV series four cours (~52 eps) or longer in length.
  • OVA and Manga reviews will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis while taking the time between subsequent releases/chapters and total expected length into account.
  • Once an anime/manga series is finished, conclusive reviews will be prioritized on the DB entry pages over preliminary reviews (how?).
For more information on why early episode reviews are removed, please see this thread.

Modified by Kineta, Oct 31, 2018 1:07 PM



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#2
May 27, 2013 11:07 AM
DB Administrator
Faerie Queen

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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 5107
Tips for New Writers

Many new writers confuse reviewing a series with reviewing how they came to watch/read the work and how the work made them feel. While you should include your enjoyment of the anime/manga, readers are interested more in whether they will like the work than if you did and are using your review to decide this. Thus, you need to give them solid information on what it is that you enjoyed/disliked about this series specifically.

Try to avoid beginning your review with unnecessary openers. This includes statements like "This is my first review, please forgive any mistakes." or "Alright, let's get started!". Readers are typically reading multiple reviews at once and seeing these same statements over and over again quickly becomes annoying. Similarly, you don't need to sign your reviews with a signature; users can already see you wrote the review from your username at the top.

Keeping markup and smilies to a minimum also allows the reader to focus more on what you're saying rather than on how you're formatting your review (BBCode is disabled on reviews for a reason).

MAL allows you to provide a score in 6 categories for anime and 5 for manga (available to readers when they click the "Overall Rating" link on reviews). Beginners may find it easier to break your review up into these categories, although I personally find the best reviews flow better without these divisions.

Below you can find some possible evaluation points to consider while writing your review, broken up into the aforementioned sections. You don't need to comment on every single one of these points, but at least a few should be addressed in any review.

Story
This is not to be confused with synopsis. While some reviewers choose to include a modified synopsis of the work in their reviews with specific genres, this is not necessary. The reader already has the synopsis and genres on the anime page for them.
  • How was the story told? Did the episodes/chapters fit together neatly into a continuous story, were they told from different times/characters in the story, or were they essentially stand-alone (episodic)? Could it have been done better?
  • Was the story overly simplistic or complex? Did that appeal to you or was it too boring/confusing?
  • Is the story unique? If it was predictable, did you enjoy it anyway because you like this genre/set-up?
  • How was the pacing? Were there filler episodes or places that were rushed?
  • Were the individual elements of the story done well? Was the comedy funny, the mystery enthralling, the ecchi/fanservice desireable, (action, romance, suspense,...) etc.?
  • Were there any deus ex machina or other literary techniques/tropes that were overdone, or conversely, done well? (no spoilers)
  • Was the ending satisfying? Did they explain everything or were there plot holes? Did it have an open ending or an abrupt forced ending (due to budget or lack of source material)? (no spoilers)

Art
  • Is the style realistic, super-deformed or overly artistic/pretentious?
  • Does this make the art unique or memorable? Or is it standard-fare for this animation studio/mangaka?
  • Was the director/mangaka trying to achieve a specific mood with this style? If so, do you think they met this objective?
  • Do you think the art style is fitting for the story?
  • If there was a mix of media (CGI or live-action clips), did they blend well with the rest of the animation?
  • Were the animation/manga panels fluid throughout the work, or did it feel broken and haphazard?
  • Did the style or quality change during the series (perhaps because of budget cuts or the mangaka's style changing over years)?
  • Were the backgrounds memorable or breathtaking? Or conversely, did they take away from the work?
  • Did you find the character designs appealing? Did they match the characters' personalities well?
  • Were the character designs unique or did most characters look similar to each other? Did this give away the mystery/plot easily? Or conversely, did it make the characters difficult to tell apart? (no spoilers)

Sound
Obviously, this category is only present on anime entries, and so we'll only address anime in this section.
  • Were the seiyuu/character voice actors fitting for the characters they portrayed?
  • Did they need to adapt their voice to match the character, or were they chosen to play a typical role for their voice?
  • Do you think they improved their skills with this role, or conversely, is it one of their lesser roles?
  • If you watched the show with non-Japanese VAs, you should probably make note of this.
  • Was the background music fitting for the story and atmosphere?
  • Did you find some tracks enhanced certain scenes or took away from them? Or did the music never really catch your attention?
  • Do you think you'll listen to this OST in the future (if you haven't already)?
  • Did you particularly like/dislike any of the Opening/Ending songs?
  • Were any of the theme song performances (OP/ED or insert songs) notable?

Character
Please remember to not write any spoilers! Some writers mistake this section as a place to list their specific thoughts on each and every character in the series, but a) your readers haven't seen the series yet and don't know the characters you're commenting on, and b) it is very difficult to actually review the characters this way. Try to speak generally without giving plot specifics away, and if you do name any characters (other than those described in the synopsis), what is so notable about them?
  • Were the characters well-rounded? Did they have flaws and strengths, or were they unusually strong/smart/stupid?
  • Did the characters react to situations and events in a realistic way?
  • Were you able to relate to any/all of the characters in the series? If not, did you still enjoy watching their antics anyway?
  • Did the characters grow (or deteriorate) throughout the series? Should they have (if they didn't)?
  • Were some characters more fleshed out than others? Were any of the characters foils for the main character?
  • Did the antagonists/villians have motivations, backgrounds and depth like the other characters, or were they just there to be there?
  • How was the supporting cast? Were there too many characters or were they too flat?
  • Did the show have a narrator? Was it one of the characters? Did this add or take away from the series?
  • Were there any characters you specifically (dis)liked? Do you think it was the creator's intention to make you dislike any characters?
  • Do you think you will remember any of these characters in the future?

Enjoyment
This section should be easy, and is where you can focus more on how the anime made you feel rather than evaluating its key points. In addition to this, a few things to consider:
  • Do you think others will enjoy/dislike this series, even if you didn't? Why do you think that?
  • Do you think even non-anime/manga fans would like this work?
  • Would you ever like to re-watch/read this work in the future? Would you go through the entire work again, or only go over certain episodes/chapters?
  • Do you think re-watching/reading would add to your enjoyment of this series? Perhaps because you'd see things you missed the first time. Or perhaps it would be too stale because there would be no mystery anymore.
  • Would you like to own this series (either licensed/translated or straight from Japan), even if you don't want to re-watch/read it?
  • How memorable was this series? Even if you didn't love it, was it still unique or enjoyable enough that you'll remember it in the future? Or was it so run-of-the-mill, you'll forget it within days?
Modified by _Ghost_, Dec 29, 2015 5:01 PM



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#3
Oct 16, 2014 4:51 AM
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Faerie Queen

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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 5107
Added a retroactive policy to Currently Airing Series and clarified the preview rule.

Previews will be removed from currently airing/publishing series upon their completion, unless:
+ the series finished airing before June 2013, when these rules were first proposed.

Reviews must NOT:
- be an ineligible preview of the series after its completion. Please see below for more information.


Modified guidelines in terms of spoilers.
The purpose of this modification is to increase the diversity of our review database for readers with all interests. Some users do not mind being spoiled and may even purposely seek out spoilers before beginning a series. To enable the availability of reviews for these readers and also provide writers with more freedom – without harming those users who do not wish to be spoiled – a capitalized warning label will now be allowed.

Reviews must NOT:
- contain any plot specifics beyond those described in the synopsis; everything else is considered a spoiler.
+ contain any plot specifics (spoilers) which may harm the reader's enjoyment of the work by describing events which eliminate surprise, suspense or dramatic tension. As a rule of thumb, refrain from including information which you would not add to a synopsis. If a spoiler is deemed required to give a conclusive review of the series, the writer must include a "THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS" label at the top of the review, provided that the spoiler is hidden below the "Read More" link. However, this is neither a free pass to spoil the entire series nor give a play-by-play of every event.


Broadened the comparison clause to include any series, not just adaptations.

Reviews must NOT:
- focus solely on comparing any adaptation, or source material or other works of to the entry. A few sentences for general information is alright, but remember that your review is a critique of the work itself, not a comparison. Your readers may not be interested in reading the novel nor care if the plot deviates from it.



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#4
Mar 18, 2018 10:52 AM
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Faerie Queen

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Posts: 5107
Removed the preview removal review based on the addition of the Preliminary tag and edited the vocabulary to reflect new terminology.

Previews will be removed from currently airing/publishing series upon their completion, unless:
- the series was dropped by the user past the half-way mark;
- it is less likely that complete reviews will be written for this series because of demographics, number of users, etc.; or,
- the series finished airing before June 2013, when these rules were first proposed.[/list]
These incomplete reviews will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, striving to keep credible reviews for the userbase without eliminating all reviews present.

+ Once an anime/manga series is finished, conclusive reviews will be prioritized on the DB entry pages over preliminary reviews (how?).


Added a rule for duplicate postings of the same review.
Reviews MUST:
+ only be posted to a single DB entry. For franchise reviews, please include a note at the top of the review explaining which seasons the review covers and if it contains spoilers.


Added a note about the character limit.
Refrain from:
+ bypassing the 500 character minimum with content that does not contribute to the review.


Oct 31: Clarified preview rule for three cours anime series. (rare)
Review text should not be submitted until the:
+ 8th episode has been viewed for TV series three cours (~39 eps) in length;
Modified by Kineta, Oct 31, 2018 1:09 PM



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