I wrote a positive review of 009-1. Honestly, I liked it. I guess the popular vote is that the anime sucks. But while watching it, I actually did enjoy the anime.
Why am I mentioning this? The post about 009-1 was referenced in the context of blog payola, people getting paid to blog about stuff. My review was apparently so positive that people thought I must be getting paid to write it!
The truth is that I don’t ever get paid directly to blog about anime. No companies have given me a cent. They do give me review copies, and I fully disclose that every time at the end of every review I do. There was that one time that a direct download site paid me to write a bad review for them. That was kind of fun.
I felt like I should set the record straight, so I wrote this reply to the post: (I spent a lot of time on it so I’m just going to quote it)
Hmmm, I think the reason it seems like I only ever give good reviews is that I don’t grade on a grade system. I just sorta say what I think about the titles. When it comes to writing the conclusion, I include the pros and cons. But I don’t say “78/100” or B+/2.
I was looking back and I guess I do tend to be forgiving. I did give “negative” reviews to the Tsubasa Chronicles DVD, and the Bobobo ones, too. And Peach Girl, too. I totally railed on Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.
I honestly did enjoy 009-1. Maybe it’s because I had such low expectations? Looking at the post, it is pretty positive, but really, that’s how I feel about the series. If I like bad series, I like bad series.
Companies send me free stuff, and that’s cool. I guess you’re right that I might have some kind of subconscious thing telling me to give good reviews because of that. But they don’t pay me. And sometimes they’re really difficult to talk to as well. Believe me, if they have a choice of sending to ANN or me, they’ll choose ANN.
I did take money to do a review on an anime download service, but I fully disclosed it and I gave them about a negative review as I could.
In the end, I’m just trying to do a lot of reviews, and I really don’t make a lot of money from my site (with the ads). Companies give me free stuff and I review it. Call that a conflict of interest if you want, but there’s no way I could review this much stuff if I had to pay for it out of pocket.
I really do hope you continue to read Basugasubakuhatsu. I hope I haven’t alienated anyone by doing domestic reviews…
I got back a pretty harsh reply, and it really made me think. I wrote my reviews honestly, but I guess subconsciously I was holding back since I was receiving these things for free. I know that sounds pretty bad, but it felt to me like biting the hand that feeds you anime.
But Steven was totally right. A good reviewer doesn’t hold punches. I guess with all the free merch I was getting, I let it go to my head. This isn’t to say that I would never say anything bad about an anime I reviewed. I tried presenting the pros and cons, but in doing so, I always sounded more positive than I should have. And that’s bad if you’re a reviewer.
I never meant to do this consciously, but I needed something like that criticism to really pound it into my head.
So I’m putting this on my blog, and I’m hoping that anyone else that feels the same way as Steven is reading this. I’ve always tried to be honest with my readers, and I’m putting all of this out here in the open so we can discuss it.
I’ll try to be more honest with my reviews. If a title really sucks, I’ll say it. If that means that Funimation stops sending me DVDs, well so be it. I don’t think they would either, since that’d be pretty lame.
Do keep in mind though, that I have a taste that’s different from your average anime watcher. I enjoy bad anime. Sometimes more than good anime. I can find an anime bad, but I can also enjoy anime for its badness.
This doesn’t mean I won’t say if an anime is bad, but if I say something that’s otherwise panned is good (like 009-1), it’ll be my honest opinion. I’m still not taking back my positive opinion of that one, regardless of what other reviewers think.
PS I’m out of town for a week starting tomorrow, so if I don’t reply, and my upcoming posts totally ignore this, that’s the reason.