Who’s a Critic Now?

I didn’t realise Kim Morrissy was a woman. For the longest time, I swore the person who posted about light novels and used the pseudonym “Frog-kun” was a dude…

…but enough of my misconceptions, I want to talk about a piece of hers. 

These days, it feels like everyone’s a critic, or at least has the capacity for it. I’ve seen a lot of people identify as critics even when they don’t get paid for it, so it can’t just be about money. On the flip side, the reviewers here at ANN often talk about how they consider themselves plain old anime fans just like anyone else. The more I think about it, the blurrier the divide seems to me.

This particular paragraph jumped out at me when I was reading the piece. It made me wonder, exactly how do the people of WordPress identify on this front? There are a lot of amateur reviewers who can only dream of being in Morrissy’s spot (or an equivalent outside of anime) that crop up on this platform and then there are some professionals as well.

I feel like the more one actually puts out reviews, the more they are a reviewer. My actual reviews are few and far in between, so while I’m a blogger, I’m not a reviewer. I said of myself (in a post I’ve since gotten rid of while cleaning out my drafts folder) “You can tell I like to chase arguments…” and that’s what I could call myself: an argument chaser. However, just because I like to pick and pursue my own arguments (like I’m doing here…see?), that doesn’t make me a critic either, although some critics use their arguments very skilfully.

So what is an anime critic? (We have to stick with the topic of the blog after all and those who identify as “manga critics” in this blogging space are, unfortunately, few and far in between – even rarer unicorns than those who are purely “manga bloggers”, as opposed to those who blog about manga in conjunction with other topics…but that’s a subject for another day, I guess.)

A critic is someone who has to pick on anime in a professional capacity, I guess I’d say. They may not have a particularly binding opinion and people are free to feel what they like about their opinions (Anime News Network, in particular, does get a bit of flak for this precise reason), but they have to be recognised by the title somehow.

Meta context: I started with a quote, so I’m ending with the meta context. This post was started at the end of 2018 and has been languishing in my drafts folder…basically ever since then. You can tell why I’ve been letting it gather dust (it’s too broad for the blog)… but also why I had to trot it out (I have a nascent idea for a post on Mashiro no Oto, but it’s boring to just keep trotting out “Why Do I Like [so and so anime]?” as a title and topic over and over again…).

So, what is it that makes a critic?

4 thoughts on “Who’s a Critic Now?

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  1. I once made a distinction between a reviewer and a critic. In my own head, I separate the two as a reviewer is someone who experiences a pieces of art or tries out a product then shares that experience with an audience, including impressions and opinions. A critique is someone who has enough knowledge of the art or product to explain and detail the connective tissue behind their opinions and impressions. In the case of anime it could be someone who has an understanding and appreciation of the technical aspects or perhaps someone who can grasp and analyze narrative structures and concepts and integrate the artistry into their piece.
    A professional is someone who gets paid for it. In my opinion, there are a lot of professional reviewers and few critics. I’m not saying this to imply hierarchy or anything. I don’t think one is better than the other, simply different.
    I also do know from talking to my share of journalist friends, that being a professional anime reviewer/critic for a site like ANN is often considered an entry level position that you take to get some experience. As such it’s not unusual to have fans that are more passionate or even more knowledgeable on anime. They just might not be as skilled in writing about anime.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I feel like ‘critic’ is one of those words that use to actually mean something, like when movie reviews and stuff use to be in newspapers and taken seriously. Growing up, I always thought to be considered a real critic you had to have some sort of degree, I guess journalism coupled with studies in whatever thing you’d be criticizing/reviewing to be valid.

    But with the advancement of technology, anyone can be a critic. It’s never been a career that needs a degree per-say either. So that title doesn’t really seem to hold the same weight and importance as it once did. It still seems that critics that get published in print, hold the most weight, followed by those on ‘legitimate’ digital publications, and then finally the rest of us. Well, at least if we meet certain trite standards set by others.

    Liked by 2 people

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