“I am looking for friends. What does that mean -- tame?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."
"To establish ties?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....”
"What must I do, to tame you?" asked the little prince.
"You must be very patient," replied the fox. "First you will sit down at a little distance from me—like that—in the grass. I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstandings. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day..."
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Basically, I don't accept random friend requests, but I'm saying it in the most pretentious way possible.
My Extended Three-Episode Rule
I follow a weird extension of the classic three-episode rule. Bear with me here.
I believe in seemingly contradictory things. I believe that it is unfair to give a show a definitive rating without a complete and whole understanding of it. I also believe that your opinion isn't invalid if you don't watch the whole show, however, the amount of respect I have for an opinion of a guy who's watched five episodes of a show is higher than that of a guy who has watched three episodes of a show but lower than that of a guy who has watched seven episodes of a show.
I COULD just bypass all this entirely by just giving the show a score once it's finished, but I want to be able to track the shifts in quality as the show progresses.
So, I came up with this system.
1). If I haven't watched three episodes fully yet, I can only give the anime a score ranging from four
to six over ten. Four meaning I didn't like it. Five meaning I found it 'okay'. Six meaning I liked it.
2). If I finished watching three episodes but haven't fully watched half of the total number of
episodes, I can only give the anime a score ranging from two to eight over ten. Two meaning I
despised it and eight meaning I loved it.
3). If I finished watching half or more than half of the anime, I can give the anime a score ranging
from one to nine.
4). I only give tens (and zeroes) to anime I've finished.
Also applies to shows I've dropped. If I dropped a show before going past the third episode, I can only give it a four, five, or six.
My Scoring System
I want to be able to use as much of the 10-point score range as possible.
I also like to pretend that the 0-rating theoretically exists, however, I haven't actually watched anything worth a 0 yet (and I hope I won't have to any time soon). This theoretical zero actually helps a lot in making the ten-point rating system symmetrical.
Just like my "enhanced" Three-Episode Rule, we start from the middle range of the scores and work outwards. This is my mindset in scoring and thinking in this way will help you understand a lot of my scores.
Note that in my reviews and mini-reviews, I have an entire range of scores I put on the show (e.g. LOW 3 to HIGH 6, MID 7 to LOW 8). This represents how mixed my feelings are. I feel using score ranges like this as opposed to singular scores represents my feelings for shows much better.
We start with FIVE. Included in this category are works I feel nothing towards, works I don't care to think about, and works that I watched a long time ago and only remember a few things of. However, also included are shows I have massively mixed feelings towards, where the good perfectly balances out the bad.
We then move to SIX and FOUR. Included in these categories are works I felt were mediocre but I actually thought or felt something about them. It also includes works I don't find memorable however I have a slightly good or bad taste in my mouth whenever I think about it. It also, once again, includes works I had mixed feelings towards however the good or the bad slightly outweighs the other. Something unique to my four scores is that it includes works I remember nothing about that I watched recently. If I completely forgot most of it after a day or two, it must have done something wrong.
We approach SEVEN and THREE. These categories include works I actually cared about, stuff I'd actually be comfortable to describe as "Yeah this is good/bad" without feeling any doubt. These works probably don't personally affect me much though.
Now, we reach EIGHT and TWO. These categories have a few unique characteristics in the way I use them. I mainly use them for works that I can find no major technical flaw/strength in BUT have felt nothing towards. If your favorite or least favorite shows got an EIGHT or a TWO respectively, It's because they didn't really personally affect me. These also include works I recognize have MANY flaws/strengths but have strong personal feelings towards, but these are significantly much rarer.
Now, the following scores REQUIRE that they've personally affected me in some way. As much as I don't care about the Fault in Our Stars, I did take to heart that whole "I save my tens" thing. Here, I really like saving my NINES, TENS, ONES, and ZEROES.
With NINES and ONES, these are shows that aren't necessarily the best of the best or the worst of the worst, however, I have incredibly strong personal feelings towards. NINES must have moments I treasure greatly while ONES must have moments I fucking despise. ONES also have the special distinction of containing shows I hated even when I first started watching anime. If I didn't like those shows back then, oh how I'll hate them now.
TENS and ZEROES. I really like saving these for very very special works. Right now, the only TEN I have is the Monogatari franchise. That's because I watched it at the perfectly right time of my life that everything about it clicked for me. It felt designed specifically FOR me and my tastes (no i dont mean the lolis and fanservice fuck you). It's also the show that's come closest to perfectly represent me as a person with Araragi, and even then, he's a very different character from me. I promised a long time ago to myself that if I ever watched a show that perfectly depicted me as a character and represented at least accurately my specific problems, it'd get an automatic 10. As for ZEROES, I honestly still don't know what exactly would constitute a ZERO for me. I can only really be sure I haven't encountered a ZERO yet.
I aim for a mean score close but slightly higher than 5. I want to know that I spend more time with my life watching shows I actually like, but I also want to seem cultured and intelligent fuck you.
I also don't do ironic scores all that much. If you see me give an ecchi or hentai a high score, uh... sorry to say this but that's real. Valkyrie Drive Mermaid is genuinely a good show.
Fuck knows what my 1st, 50th, 100th, and 200th anime were.
There are two ideas I gravitate heavily towards -- the idea that "life need not be crazy or extravagant to be beautiful and worth living" and the idea that "empathy and charisma are both skills that can be trained and are both incredibly important".
There's a lot of personal baggage I have with those two ideas. TOO MUCH to put in here. Just know that those two ideas kinda govern heavily my taste in fiction AND that the descriptions of the two ideas here are only short summarizations of ideas which I have a long history with.
The first idea makes me appreciate iyashikei and slice-of-life. Not so much slice-of-life comedies which only really have 4koma jokes and shit. I'm talking about slice-of-life shows that take the time to help you appreciate the world around you, to ground you in its slow but peaceful reality. It's kinda like the opposite of escapism for me (which is strange because this is the exact same escapism most people feel). My form of escapism would be stuff with lots of shit happening, adventures and drama and all sorts of stuff happening. Stories, where nothing happen, force me to face my own boring reality and straight up tell to my face that even a life like that can have meaning. Watching these types of shows feels like soberly reminding myself to get up and go live your life.
That said, to expand on the first idea, any show that manages to convince me to go and live my life is a strong one in my book. Night is Short, Walk On Girl is an example. It's completely fucking ridiculous, but it does get you in the mood of living life.
I still have yet to watch Yokohama Shopping Log and Aria though. Saving those for special occasions. Good for 500/1000 completed milestones maybe. I'm sure I'll love them though.
The second idea is rooted in why I owe so much to anime in the first place and also rooted in why I believe character writing is the most important thing in any work of fiction.
Anime taught me empathy.
And I watch anime to keep learning empathy. To learn about other people and how they think and see the world.
Strong character writing will always get me.
I will also NEVER drop a show just because of a character's unlikability. ABSOLUTELY NEVER. It would go against what I believe in. I'm serious.
However, specifically on the idea I listed above, I also really like to see characters doing the same thing I'm doing. Trying their best to figure out other people. Trying to figure out how other people tick.
That's probably the main reason why I love Act-Age so much. The acting in the manga was heavily about actors figuring out how other people think and see the world.
However, I also have a slightly sick fascination with charisma and con artists. It's basically taking the power of empathy and understanding other people and weaponizing it to your advantage. It's why I really love Catch Me if You Can.
Other things about my taste... I care somewhat about aesthetic. More than most people, but I'm not crazy about it. It's rare that I really click with an aesthetic myself.
Despite taking music lessons all those years ago, I don't know at all how to critique music. What songs I'm into changes often. It's why I'll never have a ranked list of OPs or EDs.
I also really like yuri. Not for any special reason. I just think it's hot.