When Our Opinions Run Counter to the Culture (Otherwise Titled: K-On! and Hunger Games Suck)

Whenever an anime or other piece becomes enormously popular, there’s generally a reaction against it.  In the case of mediocre or poor works (is it too easy to use Twilight as an example?), the backlash can be overwhelming.  In the anime community, there’s inevitably at least one strong blogging or reviewing voice speaking out against almost every popular show.  And possibly no show had as many vocal detractors (and fans) in recent years as a certain group of musical girls.

Cool K-On

Art by Stephie915

K-On! is Really, Really Awful…

At least that’s what many viewers think.  As for myself, I simply found the show boring, though I loved the music and animation (re-watching the Christmas episode was an absolute chore).  But I wonder if those that speak so strongly against this really, really inoffensive show are fighting more against the phenomenon of K-On! rather than the show itself.

The same goes for Hunger Games, which I finished reading a month or two ago.  While reading it, I kept having conflicted feelings – one side said, “This book really isn’t that good” while the other said, “I’m really into it.”  After I finished the book, I was eager to read the next in the series, but gradually, my eagerness became bitterness as my opinion of Hunger Games became more and more negative.  The feelings were cemented when I looked at the Newberry Medal winners list in light of the recent awards ceremony for 2011; I looked back fondly on one of my favorite books from that list, Kira-Kira, which has a similar audience as Hunger Games but instead of the latter’s themes, it so subtly and sensitively addresses issues like cancer, labor strikes, and cultural identity.  And suddenly, I wondered, “Why has everyone heard of Hunger Games, but I’ve never heard of people chatting about Kira-Kira in everyday conversation?”

Hunger Games was unworthy of all the love and acclaim.

And so, despite actually enjoying the story, I began to resent it – not for what it was, but for what it became.

Hunger Games Japanese translation

Dude...a Hunger Games anime would rock...(scan from http://thenomadsland.tumblr.com)

In the Name of Love…No, It’s Actually Only (Pride)

When it comes down to it, though, I think this backlash we sometimes give, which seems to be stirred up from deep within us, has to do with our pride.  Why else would I write a diatribe against a reviewer who claimed that Mandy Moore’s version of “Only Hope” was better than Jon Foreman’s?  And why else would a blogger go on and on about why K-On! is utter trash?  These debates are so venial – can’t we just disagree and move on?

Well, no, no we can’t.  Besides the obvious need for creating interesting posts in forums such as blogs, the main reason for is pride (maybe translated better, as exilehero puts it, as “attention whoring“).  We think we know better and we have to let everyone else know.  Are we trying to do a service to our readers or are we just trying to get it out on paper how much a work insulted our intelligence?  I think it’s usually the latter.

We could all probably use a dose of humility (some more than others).  And though proclamations of Code Geass as trash may not have a negative effect on anyone, the outpourings of our pride in other areas of our life certainly can.

Some Things We Know to Be True

On the other side of the coin, there’s an almost instinctual rightness to some of our opinions that’s hard to just tuck away.  For instance, Cowboy Bebop is a masterpiece – that’s such an obvious opinion that it’s almost fact.  Editorial pieces or reviews on the series that are negative are more likely to focus on the personal impact of the series.  Otherwise, the writer of such a piece is likely to become the subject or ridicule or at the very least would lose some credibility.

A comparison can be made to one who believes in God.  If someone were to ask a Christian why he or she believes, the simplest answer might be this: “because I just know it to be true.”  There’s no smoking gun that tells every soul on earth that the Christian God is who we say He is; yet, we believe know it to be true.

Of course, one can believe many things to be true – that doesn’t make these ideas right.

But still, for a Christian, belief is more than speculation or opinion – it’s a fact.  And as with the reviewer of Cowboy Bebop, the question isn’t if it’s true or right or good; the question is, how do we respond?

And for the blogger, writer, poster, and commenter, that’s the question we all must answer with each of our pieces – how do we respond?  What is our response?  Should we respond in this way?  And the questions I want to ask of you are these:

  1. Are you tearing up or building down with your writing?
  2. Are you doing a service to yourself and/or others?
  3. And is it worth it?

If the answer to all three is “no,” then perhaps you should do as I’ve done with many of my posts (and probably should do with some others) – hit “delete.”

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About TWWK

TWWK, known to outlaws and lawmen alike as Charles, lives deep in the heart of Texas, where he drives cattle and boot scoots (not really - though he does sport a pair of rattlesnake boots). Somehow in this frontier, he also finds time for his wife, children, and church. Oh, and anime, too.

Posted on 02.19.2012, in Anime and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Great post, and I think I need to take those three steps and apply them to myself sometimes. I think it’s easy to get carried away in writing about why you don’t like a series – sometimes that’s easier to do than writing about series you like. I do believe, however, that there is a purpose in writing a review of a series that you genuinely thought was bad. It’s more a matter of how you approach it – the people who attack the fandoms of shows they hate by calling them ‘stupid’ for liking certain shows go way too far. Unfortunately, almost every popular show has a rotten few who will bash it in a very offensive manner. But there is a value in explaining why you think a show isn’t particularly ingenious or well-made, because this may help people decide not to bother with it and save their time and money.

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    • You’re absolutely right – there’s a huge value in writing about a series you dislike, perhaps more than the other way around. There’s a service value in warning others about why a show is bad or what you particularly disliked about it. Definitely.

      I agree with you, too, that it really depends on how you approach a show. Of course, everyone has the right to write how they’d like – but I think in some manners, you’re just adding to the noise.

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  2. Murasaki Lynna

    B-b-but, I really, really liked the Hunger Games!
    *dodges flying rotten fruit* XD
    I must say, I’m guilty in this regard. Sometimes I just talk on and on about why I dislike Twilight just for the sake of it, when if the books weren’t so popular, I probably wouldn’t bother.( Although maybe I would-I often talk about its negative points when talking about the difference between good and bad writing. Actually, if they weren’t so popular, I probably wouldn’t have read them in the first place!)
    Kira-Kira looks good! I’ve never heard about it before. Sadly, there are a lot of under-rated books around.
    Good Post!

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    • I’m guilty of that when it comes to Twilight, too. :P

      As for “Hunger Games”…it’s not a bad book. And that’s kind of the point I’m trying to make – I enjoyed it, but my mind (and thankfully not my pen, er, keyboard) reacted against the phenomenon rather than the writing.

      Anyway…I’m going to eventually finish the trilogy, I’m sure. :P

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  3. This post is pretty much spot on.

    It’s incredibly tempting (especially on the internet) to campaign against public opinion, spouting rhetoric about what you think deserves praise and what doesn’t. There’s plenty of that in the animesphere–just look at some of the responses to Madoka Magica, Mawaru Penguindrum, etc.–but just google The Hunger Games or even Harry Potter and you will almost certainly come across reviews devoted to trashing each respective series. Sometimes the criticism is justified but often it comes off as bitter and occasionally forced and unnecessary.

    Funny thing is, I’m a victim of this too! Been plenty of times when I’ve seen a couple of the hilariously positive reviews of Another on the internet, and thought “come on, it CAN’T be all that,” remembering how weak the first episode was. And yeah, I read the Hunger Games and while there were some parts that were pretty great, I couldn’t help thinking that I liked the Chaos Walking books a lot better. It’s so tempting on the net to just say things like “All I do is speak the truth, and if you don’t believe me, then that’s your problem!” (quoted kind of verbatim from a living, breathing anime blog, unfortunately)

    But what people need to remember, I think, is that you can spend all day talking about how this show is inferior, or how this show is much better, but that honestly takes away from much more interesting arguments that you could be making instead. You could spend ten single-spaced pages talking about how Madoka Magica is a much weaker show than Princess Tutu, but why not write those pages about how Madoka Magica tries and succeeds/fails to both tear down and then build up the magical girl genre in only twelve episodes? Why compare the two when they are such entirely different shows? What does that accomplish?

    There’s this guy on the internet named Film Critic Hulk who WRITES ONLY IN CAPITAL LETTERS. But he wrote something on this subject that I think was pretty perceptive nevertheless:

    http://badassdigest.com/2011/11/03/film-crit-hulk-smash-never-hate-a-movie/

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    • Thanks for the thoughtful post! You said much clearer than I did and brought up some other important points.

      I think it takes a total adjustment of how many of us naturally think to critique in the way you mentioned. We’re so full of ourselves and judge accordingly – I think it actually takes a bit of humility (not to mention some critical thinking) to look at a work for what its worth and avoid the traps of simply saying we like it or we don’t, instead diving into something and analyzing it.

      Thanks so much for the link also. I really enjoyed reading that critic – I do like reading “Hulk” stuff, so I didn’t mind the ALL CAPS, particularly when it’s used in an insightful fashion. The Tarentino story was excellent.

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  4. Did you read the whole Hunger Games series, or just the first book? My take on the series was that it was good fun – Maybe nothing too special, but crafted well enough, and definitely enjoyable.

    Until the third book. Maybe I’m just a sucker for tragedy porn, but the ending really affected me, and raised my esteem for the whole series.

    But yeah, I completely agree with your point. It’s really easy for hype to turn my feelings for something that (I feel) is mediocre from ambivalence into hate.

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    • I haven’t read the whole series…yet. Despite thinking the first book wasn’t really all that good, I admit that I mostly enjoyed it. To be sure, I’m being a bit of a snob when I talk about Hunger Games and maybe even a bit envious, as I’ve thought more than once, “I can write something better than that” (though I can’t).

      Thanks for the great comments!

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  5. Such a good post! There’s always a group of haters out there. Yes, I liked Twilight when I read it it 6th grade. But watching the movie and re-reading it a few years later, I realized that while it had a good plot, the straight-forward writing (no symbolism? Deeper conflict? Side story? BLEH.) and over the top fangirls really made it unbearable.

    K-On! on the other hand, I like. It’s not my favorite anime, but I love watching the cute girls and listening to the up-beat music always cheers me up. I actually liked the anime better than the manga, as there seemed to be more excitement. Still, without as much action and drama as other series, I’m not totally impressed.

    When I first read the Hunger Games, I was quickly drawn in and impressed. It was wild and dark! I loved it before I found out how popular it was (hipster book-worm ;D). But reading the second book, I was less impressed, and the third just plain annoyed me. Sure, great twists and action, but Katniss and Peta’s whinny personality got to me and I started to see all the bad qualities rather than any good. I don’t see as much of a problem with the fandom as I do in Twilight, but I feel like after the movie hits the screens (which doesn’t look that great…), they’ll be an explosion -_-;. That’s when the “I never read any of the books but omg I saw the movie and they were so beautiful and it was good an all” fans will come out. I’m kinda hoping there will be no manga/anime.graphic novel for it. It should stay where it is. There a very few series that should be turned into graphic novels (I personally think the Chaos Walking series would be fantastic).

    But YES! Agree to disagree already! I won’t bash something you love — it’s a waste of my time and I hate when people do it to me. Bashing isn’t a service — a fair, almost unbiased (because it’s impossible to be totally unbiased) review is. It helps people know if the entertainment is worth their time (and possibly money). There are plainly good and bad series out there (go watch Journey to the Center of the Earth and then Iron Man if you really want a good idea of this ^^; ) I don;t think you should purely choose a series based off it’s popularity. Sure, popularity and actual ratings of the series do correspond (unless we’re talking about a show like Jersey Shore DX), but taking time to listen to fair reviews from people with different opinions and views is worth it.

    By the way, the Chaos Walking trilogy is fantastic :D (books one through three: The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men. There is also a short prequel to the series online called The New World).

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    • Thanks for the (always) great comments. :)

      So, now you’re the second person to recommend Chaos Walking to me…I’ve never heard of it. Perhaps I should check this out…

      Oh, and your comments make me think of the whole “I liked it before it was big” kinda thing. Fandom can really put a dent into someone’s enthusiasm for a work because, well, it was special to that person when IT WAS SPECIAL. There’s that dichotomy between loving a work, but not wanting it to become too big because you love it so much. I can’t think of an example of this in my own life because, well, I always jump on the bandwagon late!

      By the way, I really wanted to like K-On…I really did. But it was soporific to me, like a sleeping pill. I feel asleep during each and every episode. It was cute though, and I loved the music. :)

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  6. I find that the majority of my negative reviews pop up in my less specific initial impressions posts and season previews. If I don’t find an anime interesting, I drop it immediately at the start since I don’t want to be unfair to it by making myself sit through something I obviously don’t like and give it nasty review at the end that no one will enjoy reading.

    I tend towards the positive (I think) when discussing anime. There are so many other blogs out there devoted to ripping apart a series, that I find it unnecessary for me to jump in for the witch burning.

    As for my thoughts on The Hunger Games: I actually really enjoy the first book. I haven’t read the next two because I’m waiting for them to come out in paperback, which most likely won’t happen until the film comes out. It does remind me greatly of Battle Royale, as one of the sources you cite discusses. I think a large reason for why books like this are better known than works like Kira-Kira is because of young adults’ hunger, and a good number of adults for that matter, for fantasy. I haven’t read Kira-Kira (though I will now), but it looks almost like non-fiction. Just reading the brief description, it covers the uglier realities of sickness and death in a setting that could easily be the readers’ own. Perhaps that’s just too close for some?

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    • I think I’m sort of with you. I don’t mind writing a negative review, though if I’m no my game and not being hypocritical, I’d try to do so with “a mind unclouded by hate” (<— quote from Princess Mononoke that I couldn't help using since I watched it last night). But I just, well, don't finish anime series that I don't like. It's harder to sit through 13 episode of junk than an hour and a half.

      Hunger Games was strange for me…I'd heard such good things from so many people. It was like everyone I knew loved the book, including people who I knew to be both smarter and pickier than me. I went into the book expecting something really great…and I found it mediocre – I couldn't put it down (that must mean something), but I thought the writing was pretty poor.

      Regarding Kira Kira, you could be right.

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  7. Really good post! Those three questions are ones I should ask myself often, whether reviewing an anime or commenting on a controversial blog.

    I get so irritated with the obsession around popular books, movies, pop stars, and anime. People aren’t just obsessed with loving a something – I can handle that. But people are obsessed with hating, too. The most common example is the Twilight saga: I’m not a huge fan, and they weren’t masterpieces, but the books did their job – they pulled in and entertained teenage girls. Even if you hate those books, you have to admit that Stephanie Meyer did what she set out to do, and did it well. You don’t have to take out your dislike for Twilight on the world. The other example is Justin Beiber. Let the girls swoon over him and have their fun! You wouldn’t hate him if he wasn’t popular!

    I like Naruto, but I know that the anime isn’t the best out there. I know that it’s hyped up and commercialized. So, in the past, I’ve been hesitant to express just how much I’m into that show. I was afraid of what the anime snobs would think, so I hurriedly mentioned other, more sophisticated favorites – such as Gungrave. I’m not nearly so tentative anymore. But I don’t think people, often including me, always realize how much power their words have. It’s fine to express negative opinions, but not to the point that fans won’t feel comfortable around us. And, as I try to remember, anime and popular books were created by people with feelings, too. They spent time on their craft, and it means something to them.

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    • You bring up a great point, Annalyn – when someone trashes a work or series or works, they often hurt those that genuinely like it. I’ll bring up a series you enjoy, since you mentioned it in your last post (and since I like it, too) – Naruto. That show gets a lot of hate (maybe mostly from younger, immature people, though?); people who enjoy the show are of course now called “Narutards.” I ABHOR that term for a couple of reasons – in line with what we’re discussing, particularly because it makes one who likes the show feel like they’re stupid for doing so.

      On the other side of the coin are the creators, like you mention. There’s definite room for criticism – when you put a work out in the public, you’re subjecting it to that. I personally feel that the more successful one’s work is, the more comfortable I feel about criticizing it, though again, hopefully without trashing it or the fandom around it just for the sake of humor. For smaller works made by those struggling to gain an audience – well, I’d generally rather not review it at all then give negative feedback about it (unless it’s personally directed and constructive). I think I would find it difficult to be a professional critic and unless it’s done by someone else, I don’t think we’ll ever see many reviews on this blog.

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  8. You are right. I especially like how you pointed out that Christian belief is not speculation but fact.

    I am a harsh grader in the fact that I see anime how I would like to make it.
    I have been struggling a lot lately with my blog. I always post on what I think about good anime series that I watch, but most of the time I end up just walking away from series with lots of content I don’t agree with, such as fanservice, but then how do I talk about a series that I won’t watch or finish?

    I also try to blog about difficult topics and what I believe about them, but that only gets me laughed at on some other blogs. Very few anibloggers take me seriously and even fewer will tell me what they think about it. Am I doing this wrong? I get more hits than I ever thought I would, but if no one is taking anything from my blog or pushing me to be better am I just not doing things correctly? I am not sure right now.

    I think I am looking for your wisdom and experience on this.

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    • First of all, I really appreciate your blog and I enjoy your writing. In the (year?) since you’ve been blogging, I’ve seen your style develop and writing improve. I feel weird saying this because I’m no expert in these fields – there are dozens of bloggers I look up and try to emulate in a way.

      I guess I’ll mention a few things that will hopefully help:

      1) Continually think about the purpose of your blog. For most bloggers, purpose is simple – write about something you’re passionate about and get people to respond. You and I as Christians may have a different purpose than that (or in addition to it). These additional purposes can be tricky to meet.

      My blog now looks nothing like it did a year and a half ago…it looks different, in fact, than 6 months ago. You’ll need to continually evolve the look, feel, writing, etc. of your blog to fit your purpose.

      Think of it this way – Paul went to the Greeks and spoke to them in their language and in analogies they understood. If Peter went in, he’d have a hard time – it would take him a while (unless the Holy Spirit did miraculous work) to adjust and figure out how to effectively convey his message. There would be speed bumps, but he’d eventually get through.

      2) Look beyond the numbers and hate. There are going to be people who are just, well, jerks. There’s nothing you can do about them (but pray for them). I’ve been lucky to avoid such negative criticism about my blog (generally…I’ve been stung and hurt by a few comments in the past), but that’s because of my tone – although I’m known for this blog which is most definitely Christian in nature, I’m not the most outspoken Christian in the blogosphere – you (and Tommy of Anime Bowl) are. And as such, you get all the hate from a fandom that is largely atheist/agnostic, and I think often antagonistic toward Christianity.

      But when I look at my stats, I look at the people who are visiting posts that they’ve found through search engines – they don’t comment and they aren’t particularly measurable. But they are a massive part of my audience – not just in numbers, but in my mission. These are the people I’m trying to reach and I never forget that. So for every jerk that makes fun of me, I think of that silent person who may have appreciated what I wrote and (gasp!) maybe took it to heart.

      Also, on a little different note, remember that God said we would endure persecution – we often use that term to much, forgetting about the extreme persecution that hits believers in the first three centuries following Jesus’ resurrection, but in the blogosphere…Christians are a clear minority. It’s almost like living in a different country. It’s hard to feel like this, but perhaps a good frame of mind would be to live with the negative comments and laughs as a badge of honor, as the early Christians felt martyrdom was their crown of glory.

      3) This last point is most practical – become part of the blogosphere. While you’re getting more and more entrenched in it, I don’t think you’re part of the “the club.” I don’t know, honestly, if I’m part of “the club.” If you’re getting a lot of negative reaction from anibloggers, then engage them – comment on their blogs, tweet them, and offer to do guest posts.

      If you’re getting mostly negative feedback from fandom, engage them on their sites if you can – forums, etc. You won’t get through to most, but you will to some.

      Let me know if you have any more questions or want to go into specifics.
      Let

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    • On similar note, I looked at your art portfolio for the first time – really great stuff! I think you may have another audience besides anibloggers. It might be worth considering expanding to address the more specific audience of people who want to create anime or manga.

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      • This is the best idea I have ever heard. I am shocked that this never crossed my mind. I have been trying to figure out what the purpose of my blog should be, and this makes quite a bit of sense. I am going to ponder this for a while. I really like this idea.

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  9. I think you’re definitely right, other people’s opinions on books, shows, and such can influence your thoughts about it. But while you can hate what it represents, I think that’s actually the second stage, since you have to actually dislike the work in order to think that way. So I think it’s more like you have higher expectations based on the general consensus. If you dislike it, it turns into your K-On! and Hunger Games examples, whereas if you end up liking it, it’s more like your point about Cowboy Bebop.

    Normally you watch/read your source of entertainment just because you yourself want to do so, but when you take other opinions into account, then the work also has to match up with those. If you don’t think it does, then everything sort of falls apart, but if it does, then you won’t find much to complain about. For example, I’m actually one of the few people who doesn’t like Cowboy Bebop. However, it’s not because I think the show is bad, I just can’t get into the whole sci-fi western setting. I can perfectly see why people like the show, and I think the show does meet those expectations that people had/have. Because of that, I’m not about to call it a bad show, and I even recommend it to people.

    So in the end I think it’s more a matter of shows meeting expectations than anything.

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    • Don’t confuse me with your logic. :P

      You’re absolutely right – I didn’t address this in the post, but it was in the back of my mind. People’s expectations have a lot to do with how we view a work. I try not to go into ANY film or series with high expectations, because most series just can’t live up to them. And you’re right – we start judging against such expectations than just against the merits of a series.

      Also, I’m glad to see your opinion about Cowboy Bebop – there’s a time when we have to separate our feelings about how good/bad a series is and how emotionally connected we are to it. “Grave of the Fireflies” would be in my top 3 or 5 of all-time great anime, for instance, but it’s not one of my favorites; likewise, “Love Hina” remains a favorite (if it’s dropped like a brick in recent years), but I would never say it’s a great anime.

      Thanks for the insight!

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  10. Hi, just decided to de-lurk after reading your eloquently-put post. You just took the words right out of my mouth with all your points there.

    Especially with this phrase :”…despite actually enjoying the story, I began to resent it – not for what it was, but for what it became.”. I find that it explains very well all the hatred I see online towards other popular trends lately, especially K-Pop (and my current disdain with the shounen genre). It’s not really related, but I thought I’d just give my two cents’ worth.

    Also, I’m definitely guilty of following the hype and the reviews. I guess it’s due to the fact that I don’t really have a liking for any particular genre and how new I am to anime. Sometimes it works and I get to witness a masterpiece like Madoka Magica; sometimes it doesn’t and I just get frustrated like with Mawaru Penguindrum.

    Man, seeing all those awesome comments makes me wish I had more opinions than this…Anyway, I’d like to ask something about this phrase you wrote: “For instance, Cowboy Bebop is a masterpiece – that’s such an obvious opinion that it’s almost fact.”

    Does that mean that for those who dislike the series, they should still acknowledge its status as an anime classic even though they have no love lost for it? Sorry if I seem accusatory or just context-blind, I just feel the need for some clarification (Bebop fan here, btw).

    Hope to read more from you. =)

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    • Thanks for “de-lurking” and for the kind words! :)

      I wrote this post because I think I’m like you – I’m just as guilty of all this as anyone else. It may not be a dreadful sin to be judgmental while missing the point, but I do think readjusting our views would be, well, just helpful in so many ways.

      About Cowboy Bebop – thanks for bringing that up. I should’ve clarified. Yes, I was pretty much talking about the separation of “appreciation” and “love.” My hypocrisy comes out here – that example came up because I get dismayed at how a lot of people on forums react toward Ghibli films and to Cowboy Bebop in particular, often claiming that these works are “overrated.” My thinking is that more than likely, they found these works emotionally unfulfilling.

      Thanks for reading along! I enjoyed your comments – feel free to jump in and discuss anytime. :)

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  11. I make a point to try to make my posts as positive as possible. Granted, I did not like Twilight but there are many blogs out there that lament how horrible the books and films were; why beat a dead horse? I did enjoy the first Hunger Games novel but I found that it was very similar to Battle Royale so I discussed that, didn’t care for the final two books but I didn’t bring that up.

    Cowboy Bebop is a masterpiece. Heh.

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  12. I think if you’re going to give a negative review of anything, you should really give specific reasons about why it’s bad as opposed to being like “this sucks and I hate it because it’s terrible.”

    As an English major with a specific focus on Creative Writing, I’ve encountered all types of stories and writing styles. Some work and others don’t. If you know how to analyze literature (or any text, where “text” means anything from a film to a cupcake), then you can give useful negative criticism.

    For example, I think Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance series (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance) is a terrible writer and yet I still read his work. Why? I want to know what not to do as a writer. In doing so, I can point to specific things that don’t work and specific things that do. On the flip side, the majority of people loved James Cameron’s Avatar and I thought it was a piece of crap except for the visuals. The point is that especially if you’re going to negatively criticize something, you need to analyze it on some level.

    As for K-ON and The Hunger Games, I enjoyed both. K-ON disappointed me in that it was less focused on music than I thought it’d be. The Hunger Games, though, is still pretty awesome in my book (lol pun). The first book was riveting for me (shameless self-plug, here’s my review of it: http://taylorramage.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/the-hunger-games-may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor/). Specifically, I felt the narrative style fit the story perfectly. Talking about things like narrative style, symbolism, and other devices add more substance to reviews, whether good or bad. I’m currently reading the second book and it’s dragging for me. I’m not nearly as compelled to read it as I was with the first book and I will address that in my review whenever I finish it, lol.

    Ultimately, I agree with you. General approval or general disapproval can be a bad thing to fall into as reviewers. If you’re going to give sparkling praise, analyze. If you’re going to criticize something, still analyze.

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    • Taylor, thanks for the great comments. Negative reviews are certainly necessary and provide important services to prospective readers and viewers. And I’m certainly not against putting some humor or an otherwise entertaining spin on a negative review – after all, writing is a creative pursuit.

      But like you said, we need reasons! A negative review with poor supports runs the risk of being an ever worse work than the one the reviewer is criticizing.

      And on another note, reviews that hate on a work, but in reality are hating on a fandom, are what really get to me. I think those are the kind of feelings I started having toward “Hunger Games” and the feelings that are often conveyed in negative review of popular works.

      By the way, thanks for the link! I meant to remember to return to that review, since I hadn’t read the book at the time, but had forgotten. By the way, where have you been? You haven’t updated in forever and a day!

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      • Yeah it’s the fandoms that can really turn me off from something for awhile, so it’s definitely important to separate the work from the fans.

        And I totally agree about negative reviews with comedic spin. All of that stylistic stuff is fine as long as it’s not buying into popular opinion and not going much farther than that (i.e. a lot of the Twilight hate).

        I know I’ve been totally gone, XD. I’ve been busy with school and trying to find things to do after I graduate. I’m slowly but surely working on the next part of my anime OP series, but it might be awhile until I have another review of anything up.

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  13. I admit it- I’ve fallen into the ‘hatedom’ for some series after encountering the fandom. *cough*Twilight*cough*. When you are irritated enough that you purposely seek out things that say bad things about what you dislike, then there’s a problem.

    Of course, what was scary was my finding some legitimate criticism about what was happening in the books that now I I feel I have a legitimate reason to hate the series instead of mindlessly raging.

    At least the negative review was hilarious. For the most part.

    Like

    • Oh yeah, Twilight is the most obvious example. For me, it’s hard to resist the urge to criticize the fandom because after reading summaries of the novels, I just felt an overwhelming urge to rage against what I felt was an unfairly popular series.

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  14. I am so guilty of this. I’ve been trying to find a way to put this feeling into words so I’m really really glad I stumbled upon your post. It just really gets under my skin when I find a series that I think is amazing and spectacular but there are other books or shows that get way more attention even though I believe that they’re ‘inferior’ or not worth it, in a way.

    Although primarily I just want the hidden gems like Kira-Kira to reach more people (I read that book when I was little and it really affected me), once I start thinking that it deserves to be as popular as stuff like THG, the resentment turns into the urge to rant. You put it perfectly, and I guess my method of resisting that urge is to switch from comparisons and bitterness to focusing on what I do like.

    Sooo what also spurred me into commenting was the mention of the Chaos Walking series =D This is one of my OH MY GOD I MUST TELL THE WORLD books. I really wish more people had heard of them!

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    • Isn’t it funny how when we’re put in a situation where on “inferior” work is praised above another better work which we hold dear, we tend to rant against the one instead of emphasizing how great the other is? At least for me, my tendency is immediately to go toward the negative.

      Oooh, and another fan of Chaos Walking? I really need to check this series out…

      Like

  1. Pingback: Going With or Against the Mainstream View? « YakiSushi

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