Review Time

How soon after you watch something should you review it?

Over the course of writing Ogiue Maniax, I’ve taken different approaches to writing reviews. Sometimes Iwrite them almost immediately after watching something, while other times I wait a day or a week. In some instances the delay is a month or more. Writing a review right after finishing something means that the experience is very fresh, that a lot of the emotions you felt in watching it are still welling up inside, but expressing your thoughts so soon after can also mean that you haven’t had time to process everything. On the other hand, the longer you wait, the more distance you give yourself in order to really chew on the work, to really see what it says. Too much time however, and you might start to forget important things. But then if you forgot those things, were they really that important in your mind?

So then you might say, “Why not rewatch it? That way you’ll have your memories of having seen it the first time, and then also it’ll be fresh in your mind.” But while I’m in no way against rewatching a show for review purposes or otherwise, I have to wonder about what the process of rewatching does to your experience with a work. In my review of Xam’d, I talk about how the series pretty much thrusts you into a very complex situation with little or no explanation to the extent that you aren’t even sure who’s on what side until a few episodes later. Going back and rewatching those episodes after having finished at least a good portion of the series means you can actually see what is happening in those early episodes, but at the same time is that a good thing? Is it a positive that you have that greater clarity, or is the loss of that rushed, turbulent feeling detrimental to your experience with it? Lost memories, indeed.

One last question for you all: The concept of “reviewing” aside, do you feel the way you talk about a show or a film or a book changing as time passes, like when you compare your conversation right after you get out of the theater to when you’re talking about it one month later?

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6 thoughts on “Review Time

  1. I always try and re-watch something before I review it. In the case of my most recent review of Soul Eater I re- watched a few episodes that were significant.
    I tend to watch through it all, make notes, leave it a few days, watch again and then review. This way I have enough points that are interesting and not just my emotions.
    I find that if I write a review straight away it becomes a blog post of me blabbing about my feelings. But that doesn’t help anybody else.

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  2. I have all the questions you asked about in my mind. And it certainly makes a difference depending on the time I write a review for something. If too much time passed, re-watching is always a good idea for me since it helps me point out some of the tiniest details I don’t want to forget later. It also help me re-evaluate the work after getting more experience over time.

    As for movies, the conversations we have are more about feeling than substance right after we watch it, and more about substance than feeling when things settle down later on xD

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  3. I think the perception does change over time, like the value of a newly purchased vehicle, the decline happens very quickly at first, but then it stabilizes. I don’t believe it is solely because we forget events within the story, because we may in fact forget events, but I think we remember the feelings regardless of specifics (emotional imprint).

    But, I also believe the aspect of a discussion/review/chat can be fairly level regardless of how long after the experience. It really depends on what significant part of the work is in question… if we’re talking about production/music, I don’t see how it would change so much over time other than degrade of comparison (more modern techniques and styles outshining older works).

    It does take time to let things sink in, but what I like to do is keep notes during the experience, and then maybe small reflections afterwards. I don’t do a lot of reviewing, but I have been making live updates/notes/reflections since 2007, so there’s a lot of my expression I have to work with if I so pleased.

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  4. I tend watch and review things more than once, I just don’t post the reviews online (they’re short ones for my anime club). There’s something to be said about re-reviewing something with hindsight and nostalgia, or giving it a second chance. I rarely shy away from a re-watch before reviewing something that I watched more than a month prior.

    It’s often the case that a lot of the jokes or quirks that a long-time viewer will catch, the newb will miss. That was certainly the case for me ten years ago. Now I can watch those old shows, having seen more (and older) ones and really appreciate those details. Even with newer shows, I might catch details that changes my opinion of them.

    Finally, I’ve found that re-watching a show with others is always a real treat. I don’t have the same movie-threater mentality (shh!) and can really appreciate an MST3K kind of environment, which opens the doors to seeing the show through someone else’s eyes. It’s not for everyone, though it IS very different from participating on aniblogs.

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  5. Excellent topic.

    I don’t rewatch an anime before reviewing it. I often flip through manga before reviewing it to remind myself of the art style, but then I remember animation better than comic art. That’s just how my brain’s wired.

    Generally, my appreciation of a show deepens if I re-watch it, but I definitely have a different experience each time. I’ve watched “serial experiments lain” three times through, and each time I saw some new things and understood others on a deeper level.

    When I review something, I’m reviewing it for people who will watch it for the first time or who want to know how others think of it. As such, deeper insights aren’t particularly useful, as first-time viewers won’t pick up on them.

    I do strive to review things soon after watching them, though.

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  6. I think you shouldn’t re-watch or re-anything a subject before you write the review. A review should be written in the most natural way. Ask yourself, how often does someone re-watch a movie like the Matrix? Just because it is complicated to many, it doesn’t mean that everyone would buy the second ticket to watch it again.

    If you do think the movie is complicated in your first watch, then that should be your verdict. Buying the DVD 3 months later and using the Rewind and Pause function to allow your brain to ‘digest’ the movie, isn’t natural at all.

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