Updated: 8/15/2009 – For the old rating method, see this post
The following is a hopefully brief explanation of how I rate anime. Its not perfect and is rather subjective, of course, but these are my ratings, not some complex objective quantitative analysis.
My ratings are from 1 to 5, with “average” being a 3. A 4 would be “above average”, while a 5 is “fantastic.” Meanwhile, a 2 is “below average,” 1 is “terrible.”
I take into account three factors for this:
1) The time the anime was released: I wouldn’t expect an anime released in 1996 to have the same quality as one released in 2006, for example. I try to compare shows released at around the same time to form a point of reference if I can.
2) How was it released: Movies are held to higher standards than OVA, which are held to higher standards than TV series.
3) The “look and feel” of the anime: If the anime is goofy and has goofy looking animation, I won’t necessarily hold that against it, for example. Otherwise, typically the sharper and more detailed, the better.
I’ll say now that I’m not exactly an animation expert and so I don’t necessarily know about (and thus don’t necessarily notice) the more specific nuances of animation. Basically how I rate it is…if it looks good, I rate it high. If it doesn’t look good, then I don’t rate it high. Pretty simple I think.
Perhaps “story” is somewhat of a misnomer in some respects, though the plot of a show is the most important thing being considered in this score.
Does a suspension of disbelief exist? Am I laughing with them or laughing at them, etc. How well thought out is the story? Is it something I’ve seen a bazillion times before? Do they focus more on, say, fan service than the story? Things like that are what I take into account. An anime which has a lot of fan service or action, but little story won’t necessarily do well in this department. Meanwhile, if there is a plot, and episodes actually follow the plot, it will do better.
Where the “story” score doesn’t necessarily line up with plot are with shows which are more episodic in nature, as there is not necessarily any “central plot” running through such series. However, coherence of the overall story is considered within this score, which may or may not penalize series which are episodic in nature.
Again, this score is partially subjective to whether I just like it or not. However, I do pay attention to whether the music helps define or confuse the feel of the anime. Is it an action anime with romantic music (just as an example) or vice versa? What is the music quality (which can also partially be influenced by when the anime was released)? I do include the OPs and EDs in this score.
Not all anime will have a score for this because either 1) they haven’t been dubbed yet or 2) I’ve seen it, but haven’t heard the English dubs.
Basically I look at all the major characters and see whether is the voice actor/actress any good, and whether the voice matches what I would expect for the character?
I can usually forgive minor characters unless there are just a lot of bad dubs for them.
The series score is the overall score I would give the series based on it’s overall body of work.