I do this for MAL users who could have wondered: I chose my username thinking about Leonard Bernstein the conductor rather than about Kirara Bernstein the GJ-bu character, but I gladly embrace this coincidence, I like Kirara very much.
I'm a fan of slice of life and romance anime, both comedies and dramas, and I tend to avoid anime with magical/supernatural/sci-fi elements although that's far from being an unbreakable rule. CGDCT shows are probably my favourite ones, since I have to admit to be easily melted by moe; siblings' love is another weakness of mine, I can't help but cheer for this kind of forbidden relationships and even in absence of romance I'd just love to cuddle an imouto all day long (in real life I'm a rather cold person, though).
List of anime I've watched (in chronological order):
The letters in parentheses indicate other material I haven't seen yet in the same franchise:
P=picture drama/galge animation
The list above includes all anime I've watched that have at least one season of at least 6 episodes that are at least 10 minutes long. Movies, miniseries, shorts, isolated episodes are not included (nor they count in my Favorites list) and listed separately here:
Movies: Kaze no Tani no Nausicaä, Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa, Tonari no Totoro, Majo no Takkyuubin, Kurenai no Buta, Mononoke Hime, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, Howl no Ugoku Shiro, Gake no Ue no Ponyo, Kaze Tachinu, Hotaru no Haka, Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, Kaguya-hime no Monogatari, Omoide Poroporo, Coquelicot-zaka kara, Omoide no Marnie, Karigurashi no Arrietty, Kimi no Na wa., Kokoro ga Sakebitagatterunda., Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken, Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo, Koe no Katachi, Bakemono no Ko, Piano no Mori, Momo e no Tegami. Miniseries: Byousoku 5 Centimeter, Memories Off, Ajimu: Kaigan Monogatari, Koe de Oshigoto! The Animation, Aki-Sora, One Off, Hen, Choisuji, Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. Shorts: Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken, Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!, Ooyasan wa Shishunki!, Aiura, Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san, Plastic Neesan, Ojisan to Marshmallow, Yurumates, Kyou no Asuka Show, Pan de Peace!, Kanojo to Kanojo no Neko, Wakaba*Girl, Go! Go! 575, Cyclops Shoujo Saipuu, Pupipo!, Oshiete! Galko-chan, Military!, Mahou no Chocolate, Okusama ga Seitokaichou!, Recorder to Randoseru, Piace: Watashi no Italian, Barnard-jou Iwaku., One Room, Yutori-chan, Nyanko Days, Netsuzou TRap, Danchigai, Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita., Yumekuri, Mangirl!, Miss Monochrome, Omiai Aite wa Oshiego Tsuyoki na Mondaiji., Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni..., Hitorigurashi no Shougakusei, Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara., Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara, Tonari no Seki-kun. Isolated episodes: Boku no Pico, Boku wa Imouto ni Koi wo Suru, Kotonoha no Niwa, Hiyokoi, Aki no Kanade, Ongaku Shoujo, Happy ComeCome, Kumi to Tulip, Kowarekake no Orgel, Tsumiki no Ie, Kirara, Hotarubi no Mori e. Others: Korekarasaki Nando Anata to., Utopia, Eine Kleine, Turnover, Suntory CMs, Shelter, Perfect Day, Kakushigoto, Furiko, Yowai Mushi, Follow Me, Aftermath, Umacha.
See after the rating points for some additional rules.
Story: 10 - The plot is extremely clever, with a very intriguing premise and a development that is perfectly consistent with every event, big and small, to the point that it resists any reasonable attempt to nitpick. The story is so realistic that I have no doubt it could be happening in real life given the right circumstances, or it is so marvellously crafted around its (possibly unrealistic) premise that it seems the natural and ultimate product of its core idea; in any case, it is so engaging that at any given moment it keeps me glued to the screen/page. 9 - The plot is great: the premise is very interesting and while watching/reading there is not a moment when the development of the story seems even vaguely forced or when a scene seems to come out of nowhere or put there without having in mind the general picture. Clichés and fanservice are absent, or they are so fitting when they occur, in terms of natural development up to and starting from this point, that they have clearly been inserted for an excellent reason, to the point that it would be unfair to call them so. 8 - The plot is good: the premise is interesting and the development is pretty much consistent with events, past and present, and with the overall tone and direction of the story. There could be details that do not fit very well, or scenes, events and actions whose presence was decided for reasons other than naturality, such as enhancing comedy/drama, offering fanservice or conforming to the genre's clichés; nevertheless, none of them diminishes the validity of the product: despite appearing as concessions to the medium to a keen observer, they are still cost-free concessions. 7 - The plot is fine: the overarching story is ok and there are no relevant dei ex machina to make the events proceed in the direction that the creators chose to follow. There are scenes, events and actions whose presence was decided for reasons other than naturality, such as enhancing comedy/drama, offering fanservice or conforming to the genre's clichés, and naturality is definitely sacrificed for their sake when it was deemed necessary by the creators; despite that, the scope of these influences is not large enough to affect negatively the enjoyment. 6 - The plot is somewhat fine, but there is at least one important arbitrary premise or deus ex machina that is clearly unrealistic in the context of the world depicted in the product and without which the story would not have any possibility to start and/or develop in the desired direction. Alternatively, there are scenes, events and actions whose presence was decided for reasons other than naturality, such as enhancing comedy/drama, offering fanservice or conforming to the genre's clichés, and the sacrifice of naturality in this situation is enough to affect negatively the enjoyment. 5 - The plot contains more than one important arbitrary premise or deus ex machina that is clearly unrealistic in the context of the world depicted in the product and used to advance the story in the desired direction, otherwise unreachable; there are scenes, events and actions that enhance comedy/drama, offer fanservice or conform to the genre's clichés and that evidently demonstrate lack of any effort to maintain naturality. Alternatively, the story is ok but it is so cramped that it is no more than the brief summary of a real story. 4 - The plot definitely exists, but it holds together only thanks to a heavy use of important, arbitrary, internally unrealistic and unrelated dei ex machina; there are so many unnecessary or unreasonable comedic/dramatic moments, clichés and fanservice that the plot itself could very well be just an excuse to parade them. Alternatively, the story is so cramped that it is no more than the brief summary of a real story, and even as that it shows signs of mediocrity and reliance on the good will of the spectator/reader. 3 - The plot is describable with difficulty, for its lack of concatenation from one event to the other or even distinguishing features of world and time: scenes feature the minimum to tell that they contain full-fledged events, and the various scenes (when more than one exists) are unquestionably related to each other in a way that fits an overarching narrative, but not much more than this can be said, even with regard to what the overarching narrative is supposed to be. 2 - Something is happening on the screen/page that can be described as a collection of actions done to or by some characters; however, the actions themselves do not group together to form events, let alone a story. When imagining to insert any new action made by the same characters at any point of the product, there is no way to tell whether that would be right or wrong to do, whether it would or would not fit, whether it would make the whole product better or worse. 1 - There is no discernible action that has any impact beyond the shot/panel where it lies: this is a plotless musical video/advertisement/trailer.
Art: 10 - The background art is always stunning: landscapes look like paintings of real places, interiors are as detailed as a photo would be; when moving, objects at different distances slide at different speeds, including the painted ones. All the characters are so well-drawn that they're unmistakable in the entire anime media: their subtlest thoughts and feelings are conveyed by their facial expressions and body poses and their movements are natural in any sitution, even with regard to hair and clothes. Lights and shadows are extremely realistic, following and highlighting every relief on the surfaces and giving every environment and every time of the day the appearance that they would have in reality. 9 - The background art is great: landscapes are rendered with great accuracy, interiors are rich in details that are present only for the sake of realism. The characters are very detailed and expressive, including the secondary ones; even people in the background move and have distinctive features. Colours are very well used in any situation, lights and shadows on objects go beyond mere straight lines and they actually describe surfaces and volumes. 8 - The background art is good, with lots of secondary details in the scenery: pausing the video and ignoring the characters on the screen, locations do not look just like a bunch of props, but they seem at least based on real places. The characters are distinctively detailed and expressive, especially the main ones, and they exhibit complex movements that would be perfectly normal for a real person. 7 - The background art is fine: objects and landscapes have some degree of detail; the characters have features that make their main emotions clear without resorting to words, sounds and iconography (not that they're not used though). There is simplification to a certain extent: for example far away objects are just simple shapes, when it's not necessary it's not possible to see through windows, or in many instances the background is replaced by screentones; as for the characters, sometimes they have oversimplified faces to exaggerate emotions or they revert to chibi art for very short periods. However, the scope of these simplifications is not large enough to affect negatively the enjoyment. 6 - The background art is still somewhat fine, but objects are drawn with simple lines that could not possibly be coming from real life; characters have easily recognizable traits that distinguish them from one another, but because of it character designs are lacking in realism: lines and colours are simple and movements could frequently appear unnatural. Alternatively, although background and characters are fine, frequent use of other kinds of simplifications like screentones, uncoloured crowds, deformed faces, chibi art, etc... affect negatively the enjoyment. 5 - The background art is sketched with simple shapes and basic colours, and very often is replaced by screentones or just plainly disappears; the main characters are designed with few traits and there is no effort spent on the secondary ones, while crowds when present are just amorphous blobs. If chibi art is the norm, this is the highest grade. 4 - The background art is very roughly sketched, often it lacks fundamental features or isn't drawn at all; characters are often just reduced to basic and/or exaggerated traits even when it would be necessary for them not to be so. There are still shots when movement would be required from objects, background characters and even main characters; movements in general, when present, are poorly rendered as if just drawing things in different positions were considered enough of an effort. If it looks like a visual novel, this is the highest grade. 3 - The art is just a collection of rough shapes that resemble objects and people: everything is too simple for anyone to seriously believe that any real effort has been put into the product's art. Movement does not follow conventions or reality: characters oscillate, teleport, change from an initial state to a final state with nothing in between; backgrounds are reduced to the basic necessity for the characters to interact with it, or alternatively the whole product has only one or a handful of backgrounds whose scarcity makes the development of any serious story impossible. If it's a picture drama, this is the highest grade. 2 - Drawings are reduced to a minimum: the product is a series of images with virtually no movement, and even as a single image the art is very poor. Without the voice of the characters it's impossible to call this an anime, and even with it there's no way that the resulting product can be called decent: the art drags everything down too much, to produce anything worthy with this art is not only practically impossible but also theoretically inconceivable. 1 - I could have done this, drawing a series of pictures in Microsoft Paint and putting them one after the other.
Sound: 10 - Opening and ending themes are epic, to the point that I love to relisten to them when I am watching the anime and even on their own; the background music is always the epitome of whichever feeling it is supposed to convey in any moment. In addition to all of this, there could not be more fitting music for this particular anime, nor there could be more fitting anime for this music: the two must be inextricably linked, as if one could not exist without the other. 9 - Opening and ending themes are great, I actively like to listen to them when I am watching the anime and sometimes I could even listen to them on their own; the background music is excellently rendering the mood, and it is noticeable in many occasions when it is particularly good. Either the instrumentation or the musicality or the peculiarity of some pieces make me remember them long after I have concluded the anime. 8 - Opening and ending themes are good, I never get tired of listening to them even when I am marathoning the series; the background music suits the scenes well, so that it disappears very nicely into them. The music in general seems to be not only appropriate but actually tailored for this particular anime or for very similar ones in terms of genre, tone and feeling. 7 - Opening and ending themes are fine, I don't mind listening to them although in the case of a marathon I would skip to the actual episode after few times; the background music is ok, it suits the feeling of the scenes although it follows it more than enhancing it. In general the music is appropriate for the moment and the style of the anime, however it remains pretty simple and generic: if another anime were of the same genre or had a scene with the same tone, and the same music were to be used in it, I would not be able to notice. 6 - Opening and ending themes are somewhat fine, but I decide pretty much immediately that it is not worth listening to them again; the background music is simple and generic, like a collection of stock melodies that could fit in whichever scene that is supposed to have the same overall feeling. Alternatively, music is generally fine but there is something in it that annoys me whenever it happens, either for its inappropriateness or for the fact that it was evidently put there without any actual thought given to the matter. 5 - The music is very simple, with easy melodies that could even be defined as jingles, without any effort to go beyond the mere delineation of the idea of the atmosphere that it is supposed to give. 4 - The music is a collection of very simple jingles, or alternatively there are melodies but they are just pasted onto the scene without any reason whatsoever, in a way that makes the music and the scene only barely related to the same vague atmosphere. 3 - The music is so annoying, for its simplicity, inappropriateness, heartlessness or any other reasons, that it cripples any enjoyment of the anime and it actively makes impossible any attempt to build a good product. 2 - The only music is a collection of stock sounds and effects; there is not even the semblance of actual songs. 1 - There is no sound, apart possibly from the voice actors, or alternatively I could have made those sounds myself and registered them with my cellphone.
10 - psychologically complex, very rich and complete background story and evolution, charming to the point that I deeply care for them (in good and bad);
9 - psychologically developed, very enjoyable to watch in action;
8 - both past and present influence their actions, they have credible interactions with other characters;
7 - fine characters, even if sometimes they fall into stereotypical behaviour;
6 - flat, predictable and one-dimensional, but still bearable;
5 - insufficient to be bearable;
4,3,2,1 - even worse.
10 - right after I finished the whole series I actually start over again;
9 - right after I finished the whole series I think I would like to start over again;
8 - I don't make unnecessary pauses in the middle, at the end I am glad I saw it;
7 - I arrive to the end of the series without it having become a burden;
6 - I wouldn't have arrived to the end if it weren't for the sake of not letting it unfinished;
5 - I would have even dropped it, the only reason I arrived to the end was the satisfaction of being able to give it a goddamn 5;
4,3,2,1 - even worse.
Some additional rules:
In my overall grade for anime, the sound has half the weight of the other categories; for MAL purposes the overall grade is rounded to the closest integer, which is always a unique choice since by jumping from ninth to ninth a .50 is never possible.
In my overall grade for manga, all categories have the same weight; for MAL purposes the overall grade is rounded to the closest integer: when a .50 occurs, I look where story and character bring the grade and I round in that direction, if they still give the same .50 I look where art brings the grade and I round in the other direction.
Since my focus is on slice of life, the story grade is influenced almost entirely not by the quantity of story but by the quality and consistency.
Art must be put in context, the same art style can receive two different grades in two different anime. When Shaft employed that extremely... unique art style in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, it works perfectly in the absurd environment of its caustic satire and it gets a 9; when Shaft used the very same style for Hidamari Sketch, the frenetic and sketchy art collides with what is supposed to be a cute and relaxing slice of life and it gets a 5. Another example: the grey people are a plus in WataMote, since it's done on purpose to show the isolation of Tomoko (who when she becomes "invisible" to the others around her even becomes grey herself), while in Yuyushiki it's just to avoid too much work on the nameless crowds.
I tend to rate franchises uniformly, unless the various seasons, OVAs, etc... are actually evidently different from one another: Barakamon, Mijikamon and Handa-kun are three very different products in the same franchise and need to be evaluated differently; in principle, if an episode of one "something" could be inserted into another "something" without rising eyebrows these two should have the same rating. It can work on partial ratings, too, for example if the art changes but not the behaviour of the characters.
To myself: more detailed statistics here. To other people: evidence of the obsessive deranged state of my mind is the fact that in order to collect more achievements on that page there existed a day in my life (2016-08-18 in ISO 8601) when I watched 4 Ghibli movies and right after them the Boku no Pico franchise.
Finally, some words of wisdom that too many anime fans ought to remember, from the first preface (1670) of Racine's Britannicus:
Ceux qui voient le mieux nos défauts sont ceux qui les dissimulent le plus volontiers. Ils nous pardonnent les endroits qui leur ont déplu, en faveur de ceux qui leur ont donné du plaisir. Il n'y a rien, au contraire, de plus injuste qu'un ignorant. Il croit toujours que l'admiration est le partage des gens qui ne savent rien. Il condamne toute une pièce pour une scène qu'il n'approuve pas. Il s'attaque même aux endroits les plus éclatants, pour faire croire qu'il a de l'esprit; et pour peu que nous résistions à ses sentiments, il nous traite de présomptueux qui ne veulent croire personne, et ne songe pas qu'il tire quelquefois plus de vanité d'une critique fort mauvaise, que nous n'en tirons d'une assez bonne pièce de théâtre. Homine imperito numquam quidquam injustius.
My translation (if you trust my French and Latin):
Those who better see our shortcomings are those who more willingly dissimulate them. They forgive us the moments that displeased them, in favour of those that provided them with enjoyment. There's nothing, on the contrary, unfairer than an ignorant. He always believes that admiration is the attribute of the people that don't know anything. He condemns an entire piece for a scene that he doesn't approve. He clings even to the most brilliant moments, in order to make others believe that he has wit; and as little as we resist against his opinions, he treats us as presumptuous people who don't want to believe anybody, and he doesn't consider that he sometimes glorifies himself more for a very bad critique than we do for a quite good play. There is never anything unfairer than an inexpert person.