thoughts on the AniMetacritic, five years late

I just found out about the AniMetacritic (version 2) today, a sampling of the anime scores of aniblogging’s finest. As a physicist, I naturally found myself drooling at the very thought of this sort of data. It’s kind of like why appeals to me: despite its limited functionality, it offers something as simple as standard deviations on my anime scores, scores vs. year, vs. genre, etc. The very act of working with this data to extract something as basic as like “elitist anibloggers believe Legend of the Galactic Heroes is the best thing ever” just sounds so exciting.

At the same time, I’ve always wondered where I could find the definitive list of “good” anime…

MyAnimeList, ANN, Anime Planet, etc. all have userbases that have grown too large, and it becomes a sort of popularity contest (for the ultimate version of this, see the complete joke and shitfest that is Crunchyroll’s “Anime Awards”). While Legend of the Galactic Heroes is top 10 on MAL, a lot of well-regarded shows are stuck with low popularity and low scores. For example, ranking by {scores, popularity}, the divisive yet famous Revolutionary Girl Utena has a {#306, #830}, the original Gundam series has a {756, 1202}, and Satoshi Kon’s trio of Perfect Blue, Millenium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers all sit at around #230 in scores and >#400 in popularity. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a show that single-handedly defined modern anime, yet it features a score rank of #555.

Without knowing anything, the only way to find out about these shows is, I think, through word-of-mouth. Data-driven lists like MAL’s top anime page pale in comparison to the words of a few experts who’ve gone through the slow process of learning about what’s important and what’s not. And while everybody has gone on and on about their own top 10s, 20s, and 30s, it should have been obvious to make something like the AniMetacritic long, long before 2013. It’s a list of the shows that all of us in the blogging community already knew were considered “good”, but to see it all laid out in a ranking is so… satisfying.

Of course, it’s obviously another popularity contest, but that’s something bloggers are all too familiar with. And it’s equally obvious that this list is idealized by anibloggers, for anibloggers. It was made by a very specific subset of anime fans: people who were most active around 2006-2010, not too long after small-time personal blogs took off, and not too long before other social media took over. But because I fall into that category, I feel validated looking at (most) of this list. It verifies the tiny voices in my head…

Aria the Origination (AMCv2 #2) is top tier? I knew it all along!

Infinite Ryvius (AMCv2 #57) is an amazing show? Sure, I guess!

Nobody else liked Nichijou (AMCv2 #247)? …I knew that.

Anyway, this list doesn’t meet my expectations for a definitive list of “good” anime. It’s five years old, which in anime terms is an entire generation and a half of anime fans. Remember – Sword Art Online and Attack on Titan came out only a year before the AniMetacritic! It also doesn’t hit some of the older stuff (pre-Bebop), because people like me in 2008 didn’t want to watch 1980s shows. There’s no Ashita no Joe, not even on the “obscure” list. And those small sample sizes? That’s an error bar away from a score of 0.

All that said, and even trying to account for my bias as an anime blogger, I still think that this list is the best data-driven option around. I’ll be using it to fill in the (many) holes in my anime history.

P.S.: somehow I got onto the second version of the AniMetacritic along with a bunch of my fellow retired anibloggers (thank you for remembering me, kadian), though not under this name. I’d also like to point out that that account was made before Nichijou, and my (probably lone) 10/10 score would have shot Nichijou up from #247 all the way to… #241.

P.P.S.: with two seconds more time to investigate, I found out that I’m actually NOT counted as part of the ratings so I guess.. uhh .. whatever

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