Can I tell you a secret?
When I first came up with the idea of creating an anime review blog, the idea terrified me. In fact, it still does. Why? Because there are thousands of anime review blogs on the internet right now. Mine is not the first, and heaven knows it’s not going to be the last. How would mine stack up? What can I possibly bring to the ongoing conversation about Japanese animation that hasn’t been brought before? And then it hit me like a sack of crawfish; I can bring myself. I can bring my thoughts, my feelings, and my unique sense of style to the table. I can bring the outlook of a 26-year-old black anime fan from Louisiana who, while he is not gifted with great college intelligence or writing skills, can still create enough coherent sentences and paragraphs to get his point across in a manner that will convey his thoughts and feelings and give his readers a laugh along the way. And so, after much thinking, contemplating, and one sleepless night, “The Cajun Samurai” came into being.
Each week (or more depending on the length of the series), I’ll watch a series either from online, on broadcast TV if it’s available, or from my own collection of DVD’s. Throughout the week, I’ll give updates on what episode I’m currently watching and my opinions on the series throughout the viewing. At the end of the series, I’ll write-up one final review and assign a letter grade from A to F using the Louisiana Grading Scale (of course):
Scoring for each of the four sections is worth 25 points. The scores and the overall grade will be judged based on:
- Story & Premise – Pretty self-explanatory. What kind of ideas are you trying to convey to me? Are you trying to make me feel a certain way about a situation? Are you trying to challenge my current way of thinking? Are you trying to make me angry? Sad? Happy? Joyful? Aroused? Is this a plot that I’ve seen before in other series and if so, did that other series do it better? Does your series really need over 26 episodes and multiple seasons to tell its story? And most importantly, when it comes to DVD’s, do I like your story enough that I want to buy it? Or, if I already own it, do I want to shell out thirty bucks for another season?
- Characters – Okay, you got me with the story. Now what about the people in the story? Do I really want to follow these people around for countless episodes? What do I feel for these characters? Can I relate to these characters on any level whatsoever? Is this character integral to the plot, or are they just there to fulfill out the fan-service quotient?
- Animation & Music – There’s no point in having a good story with great characters if it doesn’t have great animation to go with it. I understand how some shows and movies try to be “artistic” with regards to animation, and I know that there are many different animation styles depending on when the particular show or movie was produced. I have no problem with that at all. However, there is no excuse for bad and/or lazy animation no matter what era it was created in. If you want me to enjoy your masterpiece for twenty-six or more episodes, PLEASE make it look nice. Make it look like you put a lot of effort into it. Also, I’ll be looking at the use of music in the series and how it sets the tone for the action on-screen. Does the music match what I’m watching? Does it put me completely out the show? Does it make me feel anything?
- Performances – This pretty much encompasses the directing and acting both in the original Japanese and the English dub and how they compare to each other. I’ll be looking (and listening) to how well the performers play the roles and how well the series was translated and adapted for American audiences. Did this actor play the role to the best of his or her ability? Did the director cast the role correctly?
With all that being said, I do have a few guidelines. Now, granted, I’m just starting out with blogging like this, but I’ve been around my share of blogs and forums, and I’ve come across some things that I swore to myself I would not allow when it comes down to my own blog:
- The views and opinions expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone and may not represent your opinions, the opinions of your friends, family, or significant others. Meaning if I say that “Gurren Lagann ” is the worst anime I’ve ever seen since “Reign: The Conqueror”, then that’s my opinion. Feel free to disagree, but don’t bash me for it.
- I am NOT an expert writer, nor do I claim to be. I’ll run each post through the spell/grammar check several times to ensure that no rudimentary mistakes are made, and proofread to ensure that my thoughts are clear and to the point, but realize that I am human. If you feel the need to make snarky remarks about a grammar mistake that I made in the comments section, keep it to yourself. If, however, you see something wrong and you want to be polite and point it out, then by all means, please send me a message on the side and let me know.
- Civil discussions & disagreements are allowed, but please don’t let it get out of control. It’s not worth “letting your blood pressure go up”, as we say down here in the south. Just relax. If you hate dubs, then that’s fine. Just don’t hate OTHERS for liking dubs. Be respectful and considerate of others. Also, please try to keep the profanity to a minimum; I want to keep everything PG.
- Please note that my reviews might contain plot spoilers. I will mark the posts that contain spoilers completely with (**SPOILER ALERT** DO NOT READ AHEAD **SPOILER ALERT**). Don’t blame me if the ending to a show is spoiled because you will have been sufficiently warned beforehand!
Okay. Now that we got all that out the way, I will announce the very first anime I will review. I had to think long and hard about this one, and I received a lot of great suggestions, but the series I will begin with is “Aria”, which will encompass “Aria: The Animation”, “Aria: The Natural”, “Aria: The Origination” and “Aria The OVA: Arietta”.