The first thing on my mind when I see this word in the context of anime is myanimelist. This is probably because that’s the only place where I actually rate anime.
And really it’s the only place where I’m looking at anime ratings. At times they are one of the factors I use to determine if an anime is worth watching.
Sure enough, they can be too high or too low, depending on the show, but they sort of give the general idea of how good the series is. In most cases at least.
At first I decided not to rate each anime I watch, because I thought I will too often think about the score I would give. I thought I will give it too much importance.
Later on I changed my mind and realized that rating shows really isn’t that deep. There is really no need to sit down for 2 hours and think of every single detail that would increase or decrease the score.
I don’t have any special rating systems in my head. Things that automatically increase my score if I see it in the anime. Or things that automatically do the otherwise.
I don’t write down a score for each segment of an anime (story, plot, characters, etc…) and then combine it into one single score. That would take too long and I would probably struggle to pick the right score for each segment.
I just want enjoyment
There are loads of reasons for an anime to be enjoyable or the other way round. It can literally be from the theme of the anime to the mood I’m in on the day of watching. Or there can be a character that reminds me of certain people and situations from my life that I’d rather forget.
That’s why rating each show is different.
You have the most emotional, tear-jerking story possible? Great, but what’s the point if I can’t relate to the characters or if I find them unlikeable?
Sure enough, combined with emotional music it could still work and make me cry, but I would tell you that I’m missing that “something” to call it a masterpiece and you would get an 8/10 instead.
So what makes a “masterpiece”?
Fascinating plot. Well developed or relatable characters. Heartwarming moments. Sheer emotion. The setting. The timing of watching.
All of that and more has influenced me when I gave certain series the “perfect” score.
For Hunter x Hunter it was put simply – everything xD It has managed to balance everything. Stunning, deep and meaningful writing, the characters, the music, the levels of hype, the animation quality, the emotional moments. Simply everything was on point.
Ofcourse Hunter x Hunter has flaws too, just like every anime in existence, but all the positives heavily outweigh the negatives.
I could say the similar for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Both are just the perfect balance of everything.
In Steins;Gate I felt a strong connection to the characters, which led to a lot of emotional moments accompanied by the beautiful music. The plot and the way everything comes together has been mindblowing.
I was fascinated by the themes of the series and it’s references to real events/organizations/people.
I watched Madoka Magica soon after Steins;Gate. It taught me to never judge an anime by its cover.
Toradora is an anime that will always make me happy, it just works so well for me in every single way. I simply love everything about it.
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho reminded me how much I love travelling and need it in my life. And it managed to bring a unique story that is both emotional and motivational. With 4 best girl characters along the way.
Assassination Classroom amazed me with the way it turned something absurd into one of the most emotional and touching things I’ve ever seen.
To sum it up, I’m rating everything as an overall package. Package of enjoyment. That package includes different things from anime to anime.
If the positives outweigh the negatives so much that I have to think hard to actually think of the bad parts of the anime, you are probably looking at a “masterpiece”.
If I’m thinking more about the negatives than what I actually enjoyed, you are probably looking at a 7/10 at best anime.
Do you have any special ways you rank each anime? I’d love to know your thoughts!