You’ll never be ready to review THAT anime

Some exceptionally long followers of my work may have been mildly confused last Monday. Indeed, this is not the first time that I reviewed Akira. Next week’s review is also going to be an anime that I already covered before. 10 points for whoever can guess which one that’ll be.

PHOTO: A parade of people who worship Akira as their deity.

This is not because my opinions on these works changed. I liked Akira back in 2018 when I first reviewed it and I still enjoyed it today. Rather, it is me who changed both as a person and as a reviewer.

As a reviewer, few things are as terrible to read as my own work. To engage with a creative hobby like this is to constantly improve as you develop your own style. Either through feedback from others or automatically as you adopt new techniques. This is rarely a subconscious change, at least for me. I am very aware of how my writing style is changing for the better. That’s exactly why it’s so painful to look back on my reviews from years or even months ago, where my most-recent developments are glaringly absent.

PHOTO: Kaneda aims a giant laser rifle towards the screen.

It boggles my mind how I used to write incredibly long sentences. Word-spaghetti tied together by a frankly illegal amount of comma’s. My paragraphs used to be monstrous and the less said about my layout, the better.

It sucks when I read back an old review and just get irked at my old writing style. It sucks even more when that review is for a landmark anime like gosh darn Akira. The kind of anime for which you want to put out your very best work.

But your best work is a temporary achievement. I was happy with that old Akira review in 2018 and I am happy with the review from this Monday. It’ll be a miracle if I make it through all of 2023 and still feel that way about it, however.

PHOTO: Biker fights in the streets of Neo Tokyo.

A conclusion you could draw from this is that you’ll never be ready to review the anime you most want to to talk about. How could you disgrace the most influential anime of all time or your personal favorites with reviews that’ll seem terrible mere months down the line? Stick to smaller anime and maybe you’ll be able to bear the SHAME if you ever read those reviews back. Or, at the very least, it won’t hurt so much when you quietly delete them.

Don’t draw that conclusion. Writing about the big anime that everyone knows is a great test of your skills. These are the reviews that invite the most feedback and teach you the most about your own style. My unhappiness with the 2018 review of Akira helped inform me how to change my approach, so I don’t make the same mistakes in other reviews.

PHOTO: Bikers riding towards Neo Tokyo.

And even if those old reviews become too unbearable to look back on, you can just write about them again. There ain’t no laws against it! Rewatch that legendary anime, publish a new best review ever, then wake up the next day to a Discord message correcting a typo you overlooked. Restart the cycle and keep growing.

3 thoughts on “You’ll never be ready to review THAT anime

  1. That’s so true! Writing is a process, not just a process of jotting down sentences and formatting paragraphs, but of looking back at older work and seeing how you as a writer have changed and how you can continue to improve. One of the best ways I’ve improved my writing is by reading my older work and seeing how bad it was.

    1. I am glad you could relate to this piece! When you read your old work, do you also edit it? It’s probably a bad habit, but I can never resist trying to update my old stuff to be in line with my current standards.

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