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“What Are Your Criteria for Watching an Anime?”


Anime fans interrogated as to just what criteria they are prepared to admit applying to which series they watch supply an interesting list, seemingly suggesting that, in their opinions at least, judging a book by its cover is not such a bad idea after all.

The ranking:

1. Character design

2. The seiyuu appearing

3. “As far as possible I try to try watching it first and judge from that”

4. Genre

5. Trailer impressions

6. Impressions of content (the main story)

7. The studio responsible

8. The original work (or production staff in the case of originals)

9. The motif (story elements and subject)

10. “I just try to watch it all if possible”

At the very bottom of the ranking are “whether it has a lot of girls with glasses” and the even more formidable “whether it has lots of loli characters and moe elements.”

Taking into account the famous “Type A / Type B” anime otaku typology, some differences can presumably be expected – in this case it should be noted the survey draws on an audience noted for being Type B, although it is hard to imagine even the most ardent of Type A fans failing to value good character designs and voice acting, whatever the anime.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Type A fans definitely value good character designs and voice acting. But they aren’t the main criteria for watching an anime.

    This ranking is just another example of how shallow Type B fans are. All the ones I’ve met seem to like an anime as long as their favorite seiyuu is in it, if their favorite character type is in it, or if the characters are just cute enough. They had pretty low standards for good story too.

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m surprised music wasn’t on there. That’s my primary reason for watching most anime, and I’ll sit through a bad or mediocre one if the music is good. InuYasha, being the biggest example of that.

  • Anonymous says:

    0.If it should even be considered anime (And not fucking soft hentai)
    2.Character (Development and variety)
    3.Development (Plot and Character)
    6.The amount of fan-service (Just showing panties is good enough)
    7.The annoying-ness of the characters and plot
    8.The amount of each genders

  • Anonymous says:

    i pretty much dont really care as long as it entertains me, and i can enjoy it.
    regardless of tittle if it bores me to death, or simply is not enjoyable to me i stop watching it and dont bother with it again.

  • Lately, I put more priority on the appearance of cute loli characters.
    It’s also a plus if said loli characters are wearing spats.

    Now you know why I am watching Ro-Kyu-Bu! right now X3

    But from time to time, I occasionally watch shows that I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Toradora and Mellowlink.

  • 1. Character design

    2. The seiyuu appearing

    3. “As far as possible I try to try watching it first and judge from that”

    4. Genre

    5. Trailer impressions

    6. Impressions of content (the main story)

    7. The studio responsible

    8. The original work (or production staff in the case of originals)

    9. The motif (story elements and subject)

    10. “I just try to watch it all if possible”

    I’m mostly impressed and the list was not what I expected.

    My criteria are not so strict.

    1. Must be funny (I watch anime to laugh).
    2. Must have school girls.
    3. Must have romance.
    4. Must have slice of life aspect.
    5. Art style, (I do after all need to like looking at it).

    6. Adult content level must be under control. Hey I’m not a horny 15 year old needing a fix. I am likely to not buy any show if it revolves around hentai sequences.

  • Anonymous says:

    For me, it really depends on the presentation, and when I watch it. For instance, if it happens to be one of the anime that I watch weekly each new season, then it I’ll watch it based on animation and voice acting quality, and I’ll get hooked or I won’t get hooked. Even Hanasaku Iroha is interesting, but it has all the trappings of vapid moe anime.

    If I miss out during the current season, and I have to rent or buy, then the only criteria that matters is, “Is this compelling enough to lose sleep over?” The good news is, that I’m more focused on the narrative and less on the presentation. Higurashi is a fine example.

  • How do I judge an anime? Hmmm…
    Action shows better bring the action.
    Comedy shows better be funny.
    Hentai shows better be arousing.
    Everything else is going to need some mix of action, comedy, plot, sex appeal, and animation quality.

  • Anonymous says:

    ‘Try to watch all if possible’
    Yeah, I usually just go download animes on nyaatorrents if they have a lot of seeds. If it entertains me, I keep watching it and if it doesn’t, I drop it. For those of you who complain about moeblobs, I’d say they’re good to watch once in a while but I wouldn’t obsess over them like the type B otakus.

  • Anonymous says:

    hard to rank criteria since it’s their overall effect on an anime that matters. simple art design can be made up for with a good story, a shallow plot can be made up for with entertaining characters, lack of originality can be made up for with excellent fanservice ;), etc

      • Anonymous says:

        it goes both ways, in the sense that a good anime trait can be undermined by a bad one.

        for example, a good plot can get undone by annoying characters. quality animation can get neutralized by an overdone, formulaic storyline.

        and fanservice can annihilate itself as a positive. that is, if it comes with tons of censorship, if animators try to constantly force it into scenes in awkward ways, if it’s of the grossly gigantic bouncing boob type, if the animation quality if half-assed, etc.

        for me, the automatic deal breakers are:

        * obnoxious characters – if it has an irrational, man-hating, violently bipolar tsundere or a shamefully spineless male lead then it’s a no go.

        * too much censorship – either show fanservice or not. don’t pretend to show pantsu or nudity only to cover it in annoying ways.

        * cheap animation – one of the reasons I like anime is its supposed superior animation quality. if the characters look too weird or the overall animation looks like a rush job then I won’t watch.

        * cookie-cutter plotline – if the story reminds me of at least three or four other series then I rather not waste my time watching something so predictable.

        sadly this eliminates most anime that’s out there. what’s left are just one or two series per season that I’ll watch. sometimes none at all

  • Anonymous says:

    I picked based on gentre

    comedy and ecchi at good generally for me but action are also good.

    On the other hand I avoid like the plague anime that are phycological, tragedy, drama etc.
    I watch anime to get in a better modd, not to see things sadder than real life

  • Anonymous says:

    Good story? Watch.
    Makes me laugh? Watch.
    Makes me go ‘OMG WTF IS GONNA HAPPEN NEXT?!’? Watch.
    Has a character who is a total badass when he appears? Watch whenever he appears, maybe watch the whole thing.
    Brings something new to the table? Watch, and if it turns out to be bad, drop.

  • Anonymous says:

    I tend to rely on word of mouth quite a lot and usually by the time I start watching a series its already finished airing so I have somewhat of an idea whether or not I should bother watching it. I’m kind of bad with trying to keep up with shows as they air (mostly since I follow way too many) and I’d much rather be able to just sit down and watch like a bunch of episodes from one series all at once than on a weekly basis.

  • Anonymous says:

    “At the very bottom of the ranking are “whether it has a lot of girls with glasses” and the even more formidable “whether it has lots of loli characters and moe elements.””

    Well, you can add my vote to both of those.

  • 1. Character design – check the anime cover (wallpaper,screenshots)
    2. Genre – (comparing with character design)
    3. The seiyuu appearing – check for my favourites (it’s a bonus)
    4. check reviews and recommendations
    5. Trailer impressions (anything on youtube about it)

    this is how I do it.. thought it’s possible I skip 3-5 =/

  • Anonymous says:

    Being the God of Anime, Naturally I watch it as long as it is Anime. If I think it is good, Then it is good and If I think it is bad, Then it is bad… Everything and Everyone else is meaningless and pointless.

  • Anonymous says:

    I try to watch shows

    [] that are from a work I like
    [] that are from a circle I like
    [] that have some of the voice actresses I like to
    [] that are from a reputable studio and have a
    pleasing character design
    [] that have a plot that hooks me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ya.. mh… the right answer probably would be. a bit from everything. maybe not original work for me because i dont know that many original mangas or novels or games the anime could come from.

  • Only three things I look for in an anime:

    1) Creativity.
    2) Good Writing.
    3) Effort from the production team.

    That’s all I ask. I get incredibly apathetic easily if a show is excessively vapid or stereotypical. Don’t care about genre, depth, fanservice, seiyuu, or whatever. I just want quality entertainment with competency. Not some obvious time slot filler with some poorly thought out nonsense. I really love it when I can sense the effort put into an anime. This alone can save an anime with really shallow/stupid premises. (I.E. Strike Witches, Gurren Lagann, and The iDOLM@STER)

    Although, I do consider character designs, studios, and production team a lot before I even consider watching. However, I have came across anime i like despite my biases, so it’ll always come down to those three points.

  • I want to add 1 more thing to the list and its pretty important I think.

    The soundtrack. (and opening/ending)

    They set the mood for whatever happens in the anime.

    Thanks to that I can just remember awesome scenes when I listen to it. (mp3 player, etc)

    • Yes! Usually Kalifina does music for good animes and always is dramatic… Claris has cutesy music as well, I loved the .hack music so anything See-Saw…

      Tho, I won’t lie if it’s bad it won’t break the anime for me, you can always skip the op/ed… =b

  • I’d have to go with 3 as my first draw, I tend to watch the first episode of most animes that come out and decide from there… Also 1, but not just character design; instead, overall art style will also be a big draw… I cant stand art like shinchan or one piece. And my third would then be 6 cause I like my main story… too many animes don’t have a main story they are building for most the anime and it gets annoying when they try to smash it in at the end (most harem type animes).

    Also, I don’t look up anything about them before hand other than the picture for them as I don’t want anything spoiled… I don’t even watch the preview for the next episode…

    TLDR 3 > 1 > 6

  • Anonymous says:

    #3 all the way.

    Even genres I don’t usually like (Horror, Slice of life) have a few titles that catch my interest (Higurashi, Nichijou) and genres I do like (Magical Girl) have titles I don’t like (Madoka)

  • I don’t much like drama unless it’s well done, which it isn’t in most anime. So in general, I only watch comedies. Fanservice is not at all necessary but is nice and can help a mediocre show stand out a bit more for me, and for that good character design is necessary (this is part of why I didn’t like Ochinko, even though it was at least partly funny and was loaded with fanservice). A tsundere main love interest helps, but won’t save a bad show for me. I give a show 1 or 2 episodes to stand out, but with very rare exceptions a show that doesn’t make a good first impression isn’t going to pick up, especially a comedy.

    Stuff like seiyuu, studio etc are nice but aren’t totally necessary for it to be a show I enjoy. That said, you can depend on some studios like KyoAni to make shows with good animation and a certain quality of writing, even if the genre or series isn’t to your liking, so I usually check out what they or Shaft has out for that season.

  • Anonymous says:

    I watch whatever people consider “brilliant”. I try not to drop anything but some times it’s hard. I don’t care much about character design, seiyuus (although I check after a new character is introduced for the sake of it), genre (mahou shoujos leave me thinking they’ll be remakes of Sailor Moon which is a masterpiece but since I don’t like copies, mahou shoujos can be turn offs, even though I give them a chance to prove my expectations wrong), and every other thing expressed in that list.

  • 1. How different it is from other anime
    2. Studio. I don’t pay much attention to it usually, but I’ll watch it if it’s Shaft.
    3. Feeling I get from the mood and style
    4. Feeling I get about overall quality. I skipped High School of the Dead because everyone seemed to have the same body.
    5. Not too vapid. I thought I had a high tolerance for this, but there’s a whole new wave of shows that are just too empty.
    6. Moe points. Hey, I’m not made of stone. Strike Witches looked so bad, but it’s full of mimikko so I caved and got into it.

  • I could give a large list of my criteria for how exactly I judge an Anime, but there is really only one thing I care about when judging whether or not it’s good or bad.

    And that is entertainment value. At the end of the day, all Anime, Manga, Light Novels, VNs or whatever is your poison, is all just different forms of entertainment.

    I don’t care if an Anime is “psychological” or “deep”, if it hasn’t entertained me than it has done nothing for me. I don’t care if you say it’s “shallow” or say it’s “what’s wrong with the industry today”, if it has entertained me than that is all that matters.

    If you wish to go a bit deeper, than yes, I do have genres I prefer (I mostly prefer fantasy over sci-fi, and I expecially love Urban Fantasy), I do have Seiyuu that I like over others, I do judge adaptions by how faithful they are somewhat, and I do have studios I prefer over others. What mostly shapes my priortity of which shows I start watching over others is Genre mostly.

    But once I start watching, only one thing really matters. How entertaining I find it. Do I like the characters? Is there good action/comedy/drama? It’s all part of the big question. Do I find it entertaining? If yes than great, if no, well then that’s unfortunate. But it’s best not to dwell on the unfortunate stuff. Dwell on what you love, and you can’t go wrong.

  • Anonymous says:

    if you’re going to post about you’re conditions just be honest and say “this site” or something like that
    it’s not if you like the show, it’s why you choose to start it.

  • Anonymous says:

    The first guy has a point. My criteria has nothing to do with character designs or nothing. I don’t give a damn if the artist draws Mickey Mouse style characters. If it has a good plot and characters, then I will watch it. This isn’t assuming it’s a franchise of games and the like, like with Dragon Ball and Naruto. A lot of good series I’ve seen and read don’t have to have all that. Not every series will have a video game or two. The studio to me is irrelevant as well. As far as manga, I usually read the manga if the series is finished and goes to a certain point (i.e. Kekkaishi), or if it’s one I’ve been reading for a while then it gets an adaptation. Genre is critical to me as well. I like anime that deals with card games, history, horror, and a little fanservice. Plus mecha. That’s why I got into SRW.

  • Story. pure and simple.

    More specifically, it can’t be too depressing or guro-eque.
    and I’m apparently slowly moving away from childish (for lack of a better word) anime.

    beyond that, animation-quality doesn’t really matter. heck, I still watch ten-to-twenty year old shows fairly regularly.
    but I would be lying if I said good quality of animation and voiceacting didn’t help a good story along though 😉

    if there is no story, then humour will do, of course.

    • Anonymous says:

      While neither of these things are the most important parts of any show, they’re the things that will most reliably translate from trailers and other pre-release materials into the show itself.

      Seiyuu, like all actors, can be expected to perform at a certain calibre, depending on the person. If you tend to enjoy the performance of a certain seiyuu, you’ll be more likely to care about their character, which in turn helps you enjoy the show.

      Obviously, art that looks more appealing is a larger draw than art that isn’t appealing, and art styles often reveal which demographic a work is catering towards.

      While it might be the story, the drama, or the comedy of a series that ultimately dictates your enjoyment, the success or failure of such elements won’t become apparent until the show has already begun airing. When trying to decide on what shows to pick up for a new season, all you really can do is judge a book by its cover.

  • The most important part to me is the premise of the story; what’s it about. Hopefully not a moeblob + fanservice garbage without plot/any meaning.

    Character design is bonus, but it never affects my decision whether to follow an anime or not.

    My anime habit:

    1. Interesting premise, start watching.

    2. If it doesn’t feel right, just move on. Simple as that.

    • For me it’s in this order:

      1. Impressions of content (Interesting premise is all that it usually takes.)

      2. The studio responsible (As much importance as director/cast for a movie)

      3. The original work (if anime is based on a good scenario it has better chances of being good itself.)

      4. Trailer impressions (I sometimes watch clips on Youtube before giving anime a try.)

      5. “As far as possible I try to try watching it first and judge from that” (usually the first 2-3 episodes.)

      7. Character design (fugly is a drawback.)

      6. The motif

      8. Genre

      9. “I just try to watch it all if possible” (I also have other things to do.)

      10. The seiyuu appearing (When I watch an anime I expect to see imaginary characters and associate their voices to them.

      I have never understood why is this so important for Japanese…)

      • Anonymous says:

        “10. The seiyuu appearing (When I watch an anime I expect to see imaginary characters and associate their voices to them.

        I have never understood why is this so important for Japanese…)”

        I think its because they are listening and comprehending what is being said, instead of reading subs. There’s nothing worse than a horrible dub job, that’s the best way i can relate to it as a filthy barbarian anyway.

    • Speaking of premise of the story, I think it’s interesting to note that a certain motif of an anime could belong to the manga creator, novelist or the director. Sometimes they go all over the place including the writer.

      I like to get a bit artsy-fartsy regarding how I choose anime. Mostly in that I look at the trailers and see how fun it looks like, then I look into the novelist/manga material then the most important aspect, which is the director and writers. I guess it’s similar to how some people follow movie projects not only on interest alone, but the creative heads.

  • good story and design.. I’m little bit ashamed that I don’t know, which is more important of the two. Both are the equal important for me

    I don’t really pick them on based something, I just watch them for 2-3 ep. and if I like them I watch more.

    • Anonymous says:

      Isn’t that how normal people do things? Judge whether you feel it’s interesting enough to watch, and then give it a shot until you know better or there are at least people to talk to about it?

  • Story

    Enough anime like seikon no qwaser or queens blade to fill that ecchi stuff, much less harem, moe, or “generic loli” stuff..

    Remember when animes had great characters with a great story? Hell, we’ll probably never see a series like Monster again EVER…

  • It would be interesting to have Sankaku Complex redo the same exact poll with the people here and then compare the results, don’t you think so? In fact it would be cool to have that done on each poll that they post about.

    • Speaking of same, in a typical anime, we see:

      1. A tsundere, normally the main girl.
      2. A loli.
      3. A quiet girl who speaks little.
      4. An airhead with big tits.
      5. A sports maniac with little brain.
      6. And guy to complete the harem.
      7. Oh, plus a male comedic relief sidekick of his who never gets laid.

      … Forget that, it’s a rule to have loli now. XD

      • I had to come back and comment on this.. A guy that can’t make up his mind you mean… cause in most cases they never do and lead those poor girls on forever… not allowing them to move on… to the comedic relief sidekick! =/

        I’m waiting for when they put 1 and 4 together but without the airhead part.. o.o

    • There are at last two kinds of character designs. “Moeblob” and “Non Moeblob”. Moe-Fans choose the “Moeblob” anime and the Non-Moe-Fans the “Non Moeblob” anime.

      I myself call the “Non Moeblob” anime also “plot anime” ’cause they have at last a real plot and not just a plot as excuse.

  • Unlike many, I don’t usually pick shows based on things like animation studio, original source, voice actors, animation style, etc… For me, I pick shows simply based on whether or not the show entertains me in one way or another. Be it through the comedy, character interactions, plot or premise.

    Thus, I can only pre-pick my shows to a certain extent. Most of the time, I’ll avoid looking at the manga as I don’t want my experience with the Anime to be spoiled. Instead, I’ll only read the little story summary blurb that is available every season. This way, I roughly know what to keep an eye out for.

    However, when it comes down to it, I will give each and every show a chance to hook me in about 2 – 3 episodes. Usually, the best shows will do so within the very first episode. The reason I do this it that it is very hard to predict how a show will be with just a story summary. A show that seems boring on paper can turnout to be a hidden gem. Case in point? This season’s Level E and shows like Eden of the East and Ga-Rei Zero that weren’t even in my sights till I gave them a watch…a nd I’m sure Madoka fared the same for someone as well.

    Another reason I don’t discriminate based on things like art style is because there are many a show that have questionable art styles but are simply brilliant, like Mitsudomoe’s beaver teeth and Kaiji’s heaven piercing nose and chin.

    I can understand how some people can get turned off by such things, but I’m not one of them as I don’t let art style affect my enjoyment of a show. The same goes for voice actors, animation studio, etc… These factors don’t always determine whether an Anime will appeal to me or not. For instance, an animation studio that I like can produce a show with a plot that I find tedious and boring and my favorite voice actress can voice an annoying character that I despise.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the true criteria for watching anime. If you love it and some people don’t, screw them and just watch it. You sir made my day. Elitist fags who think they have better taste in anime can suck my dick. I’ll go on my own way.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unlike you and many, and very ironically, I try not to judge shows and simply watch whatever I can get my hands on. It’s a very tedious task, but I like simply mass consuming anime itself. In my opinion, there is no point judging something this trivial. The fact is, as long as an anime’s there, there’s got to be at least one simpleton who will like it…
      As for watching an anime because of the graphic aspect, as well as ‘presentation’ and audio, that is quite normal. As humans, we tend to enjoy certain things, and will shift towards those things even subconsciously. To be honest, I really don’t think these lists should exist. All it does is give a presentation on what things are “in”. It should, in no way, affect a decision about the said topic afterward. If it did, and yes I’m directing at YOU the reader, then please re-evaluate the above list.

      • You didn’t deserve a down vote for that. They DO always make good anime. Their shows are in fact ‘good.’ Whether it’s fantastic is up to the watcher, like Haruhi in my case, but by the sheer level of quality that comes out of their animations, it’s good by default no matter what anyone has to say as far as I’m concerned. Once they can animate better than them, they can complain. But then, they’d become a whiny bitch, so nobody would listen anyway.

    • demonhaseo says:

      For me, there are three big factors that get me into an anime.

      1 – is the plot, like you if it doesn’t catch me within the first 3 episodes I can’t enjoy it.

      2 – call me shallow but I do have a thing for art style, there are some anime’s to break this one (shin-chan for example) but most of the time If the art isn’t to my appeal I just can’t get into it. But some again break this one if they have a really good story with decent art, or if they’re just god damn hillarious

      3 – Tsundere’s, I have a weak spot for Tsundere’s ^^’ so if the plot is good and the main female is a Tsundere I tend to get drawn into the anime.

    • The ultimate criterion everyone uses for watching a series is whether or not it entertains them.

      Things like the original source, premise, genre, animation studio, trailer, and so on simply serve as useful indicators to judge how entertaining a particular series will be.

      And one will be in an even better position to judge after watching the first episode of a series.

      Though of course, there will always be some series that turn out to be let-downs, and others pleasant surprises.

    • Anonymous says:

      you don’t want your anime to be spoiled by the manga….
      isn’t it the other way around. to each his own, but why would you choose an anime over the manga…that’s just wrong.

      • What’s wrong with boobs & cute lolis? People aren’t always looking for intellectual stimulation when watching anime: Sometimes it’s the visual gags; sometimes it’s the action scenes; sometimes it’s the animation itself. People shouldn’t be considered losers if they like a pretty face or a sexy body or body parts enough to watch a particular show just to see something they like looking at. It’s the reason stuff like that is often used in shows: People like seeing it! So if that’s what entertains a person enough to make them watch a show, that’s whats gonna be in the show.