Literary Theory is said to be as old as literature itself. One of the earliest and most influential works today, and ought to at least be a highly recommended reading, is Aristotle’s Poetics, Politics, and Rhetoric. In Poetics, Aristotle speaks about the concept of catharsis, which is simply a purging of one’s emotions, in which we use such a concept to make ourselves feel better when consuming literature (and any form of entertainment in general). Nothing could be further from the truth still! Throughout the text in Poetics, Aristotle also lays out the foundations for literary theory that we take advantage of in websites such as TVTropes as well as the comedy that we consume when understanding whatever is being parodied. It ought to be understood and assumed that all of these things are ultimately subjective (meaning that it is based on our own individual experiences, tastes, and emotions in which we experience our own catharsis). I often think about these things a lot when reviewing games and discussing anime. I understand the blood, sweat and tears that go into the production of the things that we love and also understand the demand that can never be filled to help everybody filter through things that are “worth the time”.
It’s almost paradoxical. Who am I to dictate what is “worth YOUR time”? I don’t know all 24k+ of you here in the OCO community nor can I speak on behalf of the millions of anime fans all around the world. How the hell am I to know what your individual tastes are in a field where the experience is as subjective as can be? I can only give you objective facts that cannot be changed by our individual experiences: the means of production. Who the producers are, the animators, the programmers, the directors, the production costs, the partnerships and contracts done with any freelancing jobs done in the process.
I’ve been leaning more heavily on the “sakuga” aspect of anime for this reason alone. I can babble my thoughts in a podcast anytime and it seems like ya’ll enjoy that. That’s fine.
A written review is different though. We seem to have this mentality and different “gear” that we switch into expecting an arbitrary rating alongside my bias right out in the open in attempts to persuade you into thinking like I do. It just seems inherently pretentious to me.
It’s why I also focus on commenting about fandoms rather than the shows or games themselves. It is observable behavior that I can map out patterns through observation and even plotting data points with. I can’t do that with art. That’s what gameplay and viewing multimedia in general is limited to.
I do not risk my journalistic or academic integrity by expressing my opinion even if it is an informed opinion that is based in reality. I can, however, provide insight on not only what is objective in production, the mechanics of a game, user-interface, quality of a port for a game (I.e. troubleshooting frame rate, controller input, resolution, spotting any other type of bug, etc.), but I can also provide my own spin to add a value of entertainment. Every streamer, YouTuber, vlogger, etc all do this. I have done it before myself. There’re limitations with anime, however that’s something I’m still figuring out what’s right for me. I play games to have fun and give a live, authentic reaction as such.
Giving exposure to indie developers and obscure anime projects is a task that is always valuable in the ways I’ve stated above. As you witness my reviews, Steam Curation reviews are limited to tweet sized responses. I have the ability to link to a blog or video, however with lots of these games, I have already played them in the past and also find no motivation to over-explain technical failures in some of the games that I receive for free. Perhaps making better video content in a Jimquisition fashion could be my specific niche for anime games. Who knows? So far, I will livestream some of these games when I feel like it and have a blast (even if it is a god awful game).
I just want to take this time as well to apologize to any voice actors, animators, game developers, directors and more of what I have said had offended you. I make it a personal policy to speak from the heart and be unfiltered (and entertaining at that). It’s probably a reason why a “respectable” outlet would probably never hire me despite my hatred for “film critics” and “gaming journalists” (for the most part). I appreciate the passion that you have actualized into a final product — no matter how much of a failure it was. What matters is that you have done something that the overwhelming majority of the people in this world will never do. All that I ask is that you take your dream and improve upon the failures that are pointed out. Also, please never forget to accept criticism and please learn some PR skills if you have such a responsibility to fix technical issues.
Thank you all for supporting Overly Critical Otakus for over 4 years now. We’ve come a long way from where we started as a shitposting page and now are here receiving review copies from small, indie developers and are still paneling at conventions almost to a full schedule (even on invitation to events). Without your support on social media and Patreon, the motivation to be as consistent as I have been for this long would have surely decreased into depressing levels. I owe a lot to the regulars and to some of my staff and friends who have supported me along the way.
A link to MyAnimeList page: https://myanimelist.net/profile/CriticalReikan
A link to my Steam Curator page: https://store.steampowered.com/curator/29959896-Overly-Critical-Otakus/
A link to support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/overlycriticalotakus