Is there really such a thing as having too many ten out of ten’s in anime?

At some point in my many years on the internet and all the lovely gatekeeping in the mid 2010’s anime community, there use to be an argument about giving something a ten. That only the highest quality, most pristine anime deserve the title. If it was a 10 and wasn’t those things, you then had to argue it would be a cult-classic in the near future (very hard to argue that btw), or just otherwise you just had qoute-unqoute “shit taste in anime”.

Basically, for a long time if you didn’t give every Studio Ghibi movie, Akira, Cowboy Bebop, Death Note, and whatever shonen battle anime flavor of the year, a 10/10 you were wrong. At least, that’s how the landscape use to look to me. So for a very long time, I never scored any of the series I watched. You can’t be accused of shit taste, if you never indicate where your taste tends to be~

But as a guide, mostly for myself to figure out how good or bad something is, I have recently started ranking things. Again, this is for my own satisfaction as allowing anyone to score something 1-10 is going to lead to a lot of discourse and interesting choices. For me a 1 is something I would never watch again under any circumstances. A 5 for me is something that if it was already on I wouldn’t mind re-watching, but wouldn’t go out of my way to do so. And the most important 10 being I love this and will make time to re-watch it at a different point of my life eventually. If not, I’ve memorialized it’s importance with this score.

You can see where being objective is thrown out the window. Because sometimes I can look and really see that there are obvious flaws in a work. Bad editing, camera angles, dialogue, animation looking janky but despite those flaws my overall enjoyment is something that I will forever be chasing that I can overlook it. I think you can tell that by looking at my 10’s over on MAL; there’s 41 of them.

Granted, a few of them are cop-out ten’s. Akira, Cowboy Bebop, and a majority of Studio Ghibi films are all 10’s in my book. I’m also putting Garden of Words in here as well since of Makoto Shinkai’s films I think it truly stands above the rest. These all fit the criteria of having amazing animation, crowd approvial 10 status, and are overall timeless. You could have watched Cowboy Bebop when it aired, and you can watch it now and the effect is still the same. These really have longevity in mind and can capture any audience at any time.

I then need to weave into where the next big bulk of titles comes from. My franchises that can do no wrong. These being Natsume Yuujinchou (minus the movie(s)), and Ghost in the Shell from the 1995 start to around 2008’s productions. I’m sure someone with more nuanced takes could tell either of these franchises have ‘bad’ seasons. They would be wrong of course, but the argument could be made. When it comes down to it, I just don’t see too many flaws in the execution of either series!

We then have a pile of series that objectively, there’s probably flaws in them. Do I see them? Absolutely not, and that’s why they’re a 10/10 in my book. The laundry list without getting too complicated being: X/1999, X, Tokyo Babylon (1992), Black Jack: The Movie, SK8, Wolf’s Rain, Princess Tutu, Megalo Box (Season 1), Fruits Basket (2019 & 2020) and Towards the Terra (2007). They’re the series that would get closest to the idea ‘comfort series’ for me. So of course, they’re here!

I then have to make a confession; I too have a pretentious side. Back in the day, a 10/10 list was incomplete if you didn’t have series that made your list due to the director on the bill. I know, you’re all disappointed in me. Let’s chalk it up to some variety is the spice of life, and that seeing some famous or not so famous directors works does give you a better sense of what anime can be. From Satoshi Kon my pick of his is Perfect Blue. It resonates so well with me that it freaks me out a bit. In a similar vein we have Oshii Mamoru’s Angel’s Egg, a series that haunts me to this day. Both in a good, retrospective, and waxing philosophical sort of way.

There is then a small pile of movies worth talking a bit about. There’s Colorful, a film that isn’t for everyone but that really resonated with me. The themes, animation, and overall delivery are top notch. Jin-Rou was a bit too complex for me when I first saw it, but the idea has stuck with me. A movie I need to re-watch in near future. Metropolis, the half Tezuka half Fritz Lang combination almost made it into 10/10 blind faith pile. However, it’s soundtrack is one I’ll never forget, and Tima is a character I will nearly always be able to recognize no matter what. In This Corner of the World is a title I think I put on here partly because that was the crowd consensus, and partly because I did cry a lot and really reflect on horrors of war after watching? I kinda blacked out a bit, but I did give it a 10 right after watching.

The last title is one that I have given it’s on distinction. What that really is, I haven’t a clue. But Now and Then, Here and There is a series that after watching that kinda knocked the shit out of me. Metaphorically speaking at least. There’s debate on the actual story, verses animation, verses everything else. But for me, Now and Then, Here and There is a title that to this day still rings in my mind at a masterpiece.

Which all the digression is to say, that maybe at 41, which will probably be up to 43 (final season of Furba, Season two of Megalo Box) by the end of the year, is ‘too many tens’ in the elitists opinions. That perhaps I’m not as critical as some might be, and I have too much favoritism. Then again… at this point I really don’t care if my taste is ‘shit’ or not. Anime is meant to be fun, not a contest. And I’ve found more often then not anyone running their mouth saying their taste is top tier is usually a liar. But that’s just my personal experiance.

I do want to pose the question to my audience – In terms of anime, is there such a thing as giving too many series a ten? If you find out someone has a lot of tens does that change your opinion about them and their taste in anime?

For those who don’t use Anilist or MAL for ranking series on the ten point scale; how do you rank your series? Or do you just not even bother with ranking and just go for it? The series was good, bad and or indifferent?

My final inquisition is if the ‘too many tens’ discourse was actually a large scale thing? I feel like I saw more of it back in the early 2010’s but it died out at some point along with those hardcore elitist posts. I’ll feel extra dumb if it was just in my corner of the internet and was never actually a thing, and everyone reading has no clue what the fuck I was talking about. I guess I’ll have to find out in the comments below with everyone else!

15 comments

  1. Personally, I don’t like giving number ratings. It’s really hard because there are the two equally good train of thoughts: one, that groups of media should be a bell curve where the vast majority of series are, say, 5/10 and spread out from there, or that it should be like school grades where a 50% score is bad. Really hard choice but I probably lean more toward a bell curve approach with only a select would get a perfect score.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I totally see your point. Numbers can be an oddly rigid thing. It also is weird because most people score an ‘average’ anime at a 7 verses a 5 so that puts a screw in things.

      But I totally agree that a bell curve approach would be closer to what I’d aim for too.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This post really resonated with me – sometimes there are shows that I know are flawed but the overall, subjective enjoyment was so great that I want to give it a 9 or a 10. I also struggle with using the whole range of scale to rate things – I find that I rarely give anything lower than 6 even if I can find a lot of flaws in it because they can still be an entertaining experience. But I think I’ll still keep giving them number ratings just for my own reference and for my own memories’ sake (e.g., looking back at a 8/10 or 9/10 rating that I gave to a show years ago that I now know is a very flawed show, haha).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel you. It’s so weird to go ‘well, I know this was bad but it was still a lot of fun to watch’ and then scoring it off of that. Then again, for both of us it’s for our own memories, verses other people’s so I think that’s fine lol.

      Oh man, relooking at my scores always makes me so nervous! I know in the moment it was the right, but re-watching it would probably make me change my score. >..<

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t really give scores anymore, but I don’t think there is any problem with having as many 10/10’s as you feel like having. I mean, that is a self decided thing after all and if a show is flawless in your mind or affected you in some way then give it a 10 and don’t be shy about it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with approaching anime in a very positive way. I also don’t think you can love too many things.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t rate animes. I just rate them into those I like and those that I don’t like. But I do understand if people want to rate them. It’s normal. I’ve got a lot of favourites though. I just recently added Fruits Basket (2019-2021) to them 😂

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    • I feel a lot of the time just ranking it as like and don’t like would be much easier. lol. My favorites seem to be ever expanding too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was actually extremely curious to find out what anime I’d given 10s to myself, since I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone back to update my MAL scores even after re-watching something after, say, a decade to see if any given title held up. Currently, I have 10s for the following anime: Usagi Drop, FMA Brotherhood, Totoro, Cardcaptor Sakura, Spirited Away, Cowboy Bebop, and Natsume Yuujinchou (specifically, the first 4 seasons).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I rank, though I use Anime-Planet’s 1-5 stars in 1/2 star steps. *BUT* (and this is important) almost every time I publish a score, it’s accompanied by a short sentence outlining why or justifying the choice. For me, there’s more to it than just numbers.

    But it’s less about the score than the band of quality that score represents. 5 stars is everything from 4.51 up, what I call the True Greats. 4.5 stars represents everything from 4.01 to 4.5, the Lesser Greats. (Basically, flawed greats. Like steak that’s *just* overdone.)

    But the category band that gives me the greatest fits aren’t the Greats, the two flavors of Greats are almost always immediately obvious. It’s 4 stars, the Trembling On The Edge Of Being Great that’s often hardest to justify. What pulls it ahead of the pack of the various flavors of Average? What misstep left it a half pace behind the Greats?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, the 1/2 stars make a lot more sense. I haven’t seen too many anime website use that system. Adding a line or two about why you picked that helps a lot too!

      It’s really cool that you have such a dedicated system. It gets really difficult when you’re trying to figure out exactly where a great series lands. Some of them are a hair’s wide different from each other.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I try not to score anime, because how I feel about that anime could change over time. I might love it when I first watch it, but as I think about the anime more and more, I might like it less later.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh man, I get that too. That’s partly why I’m scared to re-watch series. I’d probably change a lot of scores. >..<

      Like

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