Welcome to November’s Follow Friday! This month, I’m going to focus on The Reliable Reviewer. You know the one I mean… the critic whose priorities and tastes in fiction match up so closely to yours, that you know you’ve got at least a 95% chance of liking anything he/she likes. Most of us have a few of these amongst our daily reads, and they’re likely to be different for everyone. Today, I’ll focus on mine.
David Welsh (The Manga Curmudgeon) – I can count on one hand the number of David’s opinions I’ve disagreed with over time, that’s how reliable he is for me as a reviewer. If he likes something, that’s a good signal for me to buy, with little to no risk involved. He tends to shop in the same genres and demographic categories as I do (which is to say, nearly all of them), offering up reliable opinions in shojo, shonen, seinen, josei, and boys’ love manga. He’s also got quite a way with the English language. You can follow David on Twitter @MangaCur.
Michelle Smith (Soliloquy in Blue) – Much like David, Michelle is an omnivorous reader with genre tendencies very similar to mine. We have a few contentious series between us (Nabari no Ou, anyone?) and some contrasting pet peeves, but for the most part, her recommendation of a series is all that’s required for it to earn a place on my to-read list. She’s also a smart, witty writer whose reviews are worth a read, regardless of the quality of their subjects. You can follow Michelle on Twitter @swanjun.
Katherine Dacey (The Manga Critic) – Though Kate is frequently critical of series I like quite a lot, when she makes a recommendation, I can take that to the bank. Kate is a very particular type of Reliable Reviewer for me, because, though we have different priorities when reading a work, her overall assessment of a series she actually likes is 100% reliable for me–something that can’t even really be claimed by critics with tastes that more closely match mine. She’s sharp and perceptive, and her standards are impeccable. You can follow Kate on Twitter @manga_critic.
Ed Sizemore (Manga Worth Reading) – Unlike the three critics listed above, Ed’s typical demographic/genre range overlaps less with mine. He reads primarily seinen and mature shonen (with some dabbling elsewhere). He’s a man’s critic, but with an especially thoughtful tone that draws me in to his reviews nearly every time. Though I’m less likely to be able to refer to him for opinions on the latest Shojo Beat release, his thoughts on the books he chooses to review always resonate with me deeply, even on the rare occasion in which we disagree. You can follow Ed on Twitter @edsizemore.
Readers: Now that you have a list of reviewers I count on, who do you turn to for your reliable reviews?
David Welsh saysNovember 12, 2010 at 10:11 am
Thanks so much, Melinda! I hope you know that the feeling is mutual!
Melinda Beasi saysNovember 12, 2010 at 10:18 am
Psychic twinsies FTW!
Aaron saysNovember 12, 2010 at 11:30 am
For me I’ll just list a few off an give a reason why
Lisa Pattillo from Kuriosity she’s the only reviewer that can actually get me excited about BL a genre that is admittedly not my cup of tea and whose reviews are always passionate, informative, opinionated and well written. In fact most everyone as Kuriosity could be listed on here becuese almost every title anyone who blogs their has recomended I have ended up loveing (the one exception being Natsume’s Book of Friends.)
Next theirs Sean Gaffney from A case Sutiable for treatment who again is not afraid to state what he likes and doesnt like I find it refreshing when a reviewer is willing to not pull his punch and Sean does that he’s also not unwilling to gush over a series he enjoys wich again is refreshing because too often people try to be too diplomatic.
Finally last but not least is Kathrine Dacey of Manga Critic fame who is the kind of blogger and reviewer I hope to be someday being able to write fluidly and concisely and most of all is informitve on some of the more obscure topics in Manga (i.e. underrated Shojo Manga) I would have never read SHIRAHIME-SYO if it wasnt for her. Along with the fact that even when she doesn’t like a title she doesn’t like a title she never (as far as I can tell) personalizes it and belittles the fans wich again is a core value of civility I respect in a reviewer along with not being afraid to state your opinion.
Honorable mention also goes to Erica Friedman of Okazu for her often withering and dry witted deflating of fan boy culture and her insightful and nuanced dissections of fandom along with again (something I respect in a reviewer) her willingness to not be afraid to be critacle of a series or out right critically drub a series also
Honorable mention also goes to Scott VonSchilling of Anime Almanac even though he doesn’t write a lot of reviews or update that much the fact that he’s so willing to defend Moe and even a show like Chu bra earns him my undying gratitude and respect.
Katherine Dacey saysNovember 12, 2010 at 2:54 pm
Thanks for the kind words, Melinda! As David said, the feeling is mutual!
Melinda Beasi saysNovember 13, 2010 at 11:45 am
Michelle Smith saysNovember 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm
Thanks for the mention and, indeed, the feeling is mutual. I especially love the diplomatic way you mentioned that I sometimes have a penchant for crappy things (Buffy media tie-ins, anyone?). :D
Melinda Beasi saysNovember 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm
I totally didn’t mean it like that at all! I meant to suggest that your bad reviews are super-entertaining. :D
Michelle Smith saysNovember 12, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Oh, okay. :) Today I did the unthinkable and actually gave up on a book. Not because it was bad, but because it was so dull that I couldn’t even think of any snarky things to say about it.