Review Improvements?

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.


It’s almost time for a new season, and that means improvements to my reviews.

I really like the poll I set up halfway through this season, so I’ll be using that from the get-go next season. But as far as format change goes, the only thing I can think of is adding groups’ IRC channels to my General Information section.

I’m excited too.


The general impression I got from you all this season was “the review format is pretty good” so I intend to stick with what I’ve been doing. But if you have any suggestions for how to make the reviews (or the site as a whole) better, comment away.


Old territory:

Review faster. [No.]

Review translation accuracy.

Review the same episode for each group. [Fuck that. I’d get way too bored.]

Mention release speed. [Too messy to deal with unless I were to label things slowsub or speedsub. And then I’d have to differentiate between those two terms. And it would change every fucking episode. No thanks.]

0 thoughts on “Review Improvements?”

    • Why are some people so enthralled by that article? It was funny, sure, but follow-up articles would be pointless and uninteresting.

  1. If I were running things, I would definitely factor in speed *somehow*. I’d define speedsubs as those released within 48 hours after initial broadcast and if slowsub groups put out releases that are anything below a B, I’d either put asterisks beside the grades or knock off a grade point for each week they’re late.

    In any case, I still say speedsub groups that manage to put out readable scripts in such a short amount of time should get more recognition, while those that shit out bad scripts three weeks later should be punished dearly.

    • Speed has no direct bearing on quality. It’s possible to release a very good quality sub within 48 hours, and release a very crappy sub in longer than 48 hours.

      I don’t care about how long it took them to get the sub out. I care about the quality of the subbing, How efficient the group may or may not be is of little interest to me, personally.

      • says the man who shares the name of a fan sub group that brought us such classics as “I’ll lend you mine umbrella”

        • I’ve never even heard of a group called herpderp.

          I just chose this name randomly when I didn’t want something associated with my usual handle on the internet.

          Regardless, I was simply voicing my opinion. The time a group takes to release a sub is not directly related to its quality, and I really only care about the quality being reviewed.

          The time taken to release a sub is largely superfluous.

      • Actually, speed does have an effect on quality. The faster you put out subs, the more quality is likely to suffer, just ask anyone.

        That’s why those groups who manage to put out decent subs in record time deserve to get recognized. And also those who put out crappy subs a week after other good subs are released deserve to get their asses kicked.

        • Also, having other subs out to refer to make it much easier to identify any parts in your own script that might need to have the translation double-checked. If you have one thing, and they have something completely different, it’s worth taking another look at the line to make sure you weren’t the ones who screwed up.

          • Yeah, one thing I’ve been guilty of in the past is the aversion to looking at the subs other people released before me before writing up my own script since I used to think of myself as one of those Elite TLs. But I’ve come to realize that if I was going to release another version of the same show, I have to make sure it’s actually better than all the previous versions out there which means looking at all the other scripts, even if it does “influence the translation”.

        • Speedsubs affecting quality? Oh boy do I have experience with that firsthand.

          I remember first show I translated, I’d race against CR who’d release the subs within about 6 hours or something of the show airing.(Don’t remember exactly. Over a year and a half ago) I actually beat them 90% of the weeks, but yeah. Quarity.

    • Nitpicking typesetting is kinda shaky ground. Imho it either looks ok or it doesn’t, and it makes an attempt to blend into the video or doesn’t.

      What matters when reviewing typesetting is:

      * Does it attempt to blend into the video so it does not distract from the viewing experience (this is somewhat blur related as well as softness, opacity, colour matching, etc, but there are plenty of cases where this is not possible, so finding a middle ground is actually the preferred outcome)

      * Does it attempt to match the original work so it doesn’t feel out of place

      * Is at least one instance of that sign typeset, where multiple instances occur, if multiple identical instances occur have they been copy/pasted, and if not and they are done where possible, are they scaled, positioned and rotated within an acceptable amount of error to each other

      * Are perspectives handled well enough to visually deceive the viewer into thinking they are right

      * If they are smaller than the original, do they at least take a reduction in physical scale into account, and if so is the amount of error acceptable

      * Where adequate room is available, do they at least try to maintain some kind of gap as to make them easier to read, and if not, is trading off gap for size the better approach or the worse approach.

      * Does the text try to follow some kind of alignment to the original, whether it left, right or centre justified

      There are far more things to consider that you just do subconsciously after a while, and should become second nature, but even so, nobody gets them right all the time, or sees them exactly the same way.

      The reviewer has to be able to differentiate between possibility and impossibility, and acceptability and unacceptability, and for the most part this is the key to reviewing typesetting, and is something that comes from a lot of experience, plus a bit of common sense too. For a sign light show, where things are simple, this is far more clean cut, than a sign heavy show where things are extremely complex. Don’t say why you think something is shit unless you can explain why it’s shit, and if you aren’t certain consult someone about it. They might even explain to you why it was done like so.

      Sorry this turned into a tl;dr, but the last paragraph pretty much sums it up.

      If you still really want to review typesetting, find all the signs (by looking at the script, and not the rendered video), screenshot them, and just make a simple statement about whether they impacted your visual experience in some way, and by viewing experience I mean while actually watching the show in real-time, not frame by frame.

      If they don’t affect your experience in any way while watching and also convey information relevant to the plot, as well as visual gags if present, then that’s pretty much acceptable, and should be what a group aims to do. Attention to detail, etc are just bonus points.

  2. Speed is probably best noted if it’s applicable in cases of crappiness or excellence. It shouldn’t alter the grade, just a mentioning about the group’s abilities given the time frame they had.

    Also wondering, are the multi-group series divided up and selected in any way, or is it random? If it’s first come first served the speed groups would share an episode, which seems fair enough.

  3. Yeah, you should factor speed sub groups and groups that release a few days later into your grading system. Each group’s grade should be influenced by their release time.

    Speed subs should be within a certain time period, say, 48 hours.

    The rest can be graded normally. If they do pretty bad or mediocre, then it should drop their grade.

    If the speed sub groups do pretty good or decent, it should raise their grade a bit.

    This would help a lot.

    • I don’t really mind that speed subs and slower subs get graded to the same standard. People will be naturally inclined to download the faster subs anyway, so having slower subs getting better ratings on average really only counterbalances that effect slightly.

      The only thing I’d like to see noticed is when groups simply can’t keep up or otherwise fall months behind because there’s not much point giving an A rating and recommendation to a group that’s on say episode 6 when all the other groups are on 9 or 10 already.

      • I’d get behind this.

        A pain in the ass to find out the “best” sub group is 3 or 4 weeks behind said show. Nothing affecting the grade but just a quick note on the regularity and reliability of releases

      • Yeah, I agree with Xythar. I honestly don’t care how fast/slow a group is unless they’re 2+ weeks behind. I’d much rather wait an extra week and have better subs than leap at the group that releases 2 hours after airing with an editor that doesn’t speak English.

      • Xythar, if someone is not ok with the speed of a release, you can just switch to other more faster release. This site just cover the general quality of the releases, but the final desition need to be taken by the same leecher. “I’ll wait for more quality or not?”.

        Also, Dark Saged “tend” to not review excesive slowpoke releases, but of course, you can’t know if a release will be dropped, paused or anything related to that.

  4. I’d actually like to see some more random reviews on series that aren’t just to do with this season’s releases. A lot of groups I know are doing older stuff (like honobono, which *only* does older stuff) and it’d be nice for them to get a little recognition and an editing overview too.

    Obviously there wouldn’t be recommendations as such, because they’d probably be the only group on that series, but I think most of us here just enjoy the review format, rather than seriously using it to pick which group to go for.

    • Oh, and as an addendum, you’d have no set time limit on these, DS – just whenever you feel like watching an episode of something else :D

    • Kind of pointless since older shows usually have no competition. If a group is doing an old show, other groups usually won’t work on it and would probably tell leechers to watch it from the group that’s doing it. That, and it’s hard to find a target audience for reviews of older shows.

      Everyone is watching airing shows. Everyone wants to know who has the best subs asap so they can choose the best group. Only those interested in said old anime will get anything out of a review, and again, it will either be the only choice or best availible choice.

    • Not gonna happen outside of rare circumstances. I hardly have enough time to finish a season by itself let alone look at shit from previous seasons, so I’d rather focus on what’s currently airing.

  5. I wouldn’t mind something like your “Prelude to Hyouka reviews” for each show. Not even something that large – just a rough script + visual grade for each release, and recommendation. It could literally be you you tallying good vs bad for each release, and giving a rough grade based on that. Others (like me) may just flock to the big name groups in the absence of your reviews *cough*UTWaccelworld*cough* which may be far from the best release.

    Also, if you edited you reviews based on comments – I’ve seen quite a few cases where better edits have been suggested (and made a few myself) from people who know the story, and it’d be nice if you added these into your reviews.

    Apart from that, the current review format seems pretty good.

    • Besides the atrocity that was episode 4, there are quite a few derps on every episode, but they’re definitely not D-tier for the whole show. That’s at least what I got out of both watching the releases and reading the reviews on this site.

  6. More translation parties to appease people looking for reviews of the same episode and a note at what episode a group is (something like subbed: 7, current episode: 9) so the speedsub fraction becomes happy.

    Yeah, I totally did not just make up stuff to get other people what they want because I read the reviews mostly for their entertainment value. ;)

  7. Less weight given to the quality/presence of karaoke, and more to general editing quality, would be my suggestion. I could be wrong, but I get the impression you value kara more than the average whiners reader.

    Apart from that, my only suggestion would be to give priority to reviews of completely new fansub groups (such as araraufufu from this season).

    • *facepalms*
      His reviews concerning script are about how good the English is. TL can be perfect but a good script still needs good English (phrasing) and correct syntax (spelling, punctuation) and consistency, etc.

      If you disagree with that, you have 3 options:
      1) Go fanboy Hadena (somewhere else)
      2) Go back to 4chan
      3) Join an anime community similar to those mentioned in (1) and (2)

    • Ji-hi already does that, unless you want it for checking encoding quality differences.

      The problem with that is when you’re reviewing multiple groups since it would be troublesome to compare each one at a time. Example, for Sankarea you would need to do

      Eveyuu vs. Hadena
      Eveyuu vs. Commie
      Eveyuu vs. Subs Fucking Where
      Eveyuu vs. Doki
      Hadena vs. Commie
      Hadena vs. SFW

      Although it’s not hard, it is time consuming for over-subbed shows. I think it would be best for comparing only shows with high scores. That, or when there is a comparable difference.

  8. Ignoring release speed is the best way to go. Taking speed into account for the rating just gives D_S another arbitrary judgment call to make, and the less of that, the better. Different people value speed differently, anyway. Furthermore, for most groups the release speed varies on a week-by-week basis, so the time taken for one episode may not reflect accurately on general trends throughout the run of a show.

  9. Have karaoke count for less. I usually skip OPs + EDs after watching them once. Also, karaoke is praised here when it matches the scene’s color, but in some cases that only makes the text harder to read.

    Remove timing reviews. Maybe it’s useful for aspiring timers/QCs, but not for the rest of us. The most recent one is 8 pages back anyway…

    • If a group manages to consistently release high-quality subs, I’m going to praise them for it. And if they fail, they’re going to get called out on it. That’s how these reviews work — good subs get good grades and bad subs get bad grades.

      If you don’t like it, tough shit. I have no interest in pandering to your jealousy.

      • It’s pretty obvious when the review starts at A and gets kid gloves. Not to mention reviewing episode 1 for one group then using episode 6 for the other.

        Ain’t about jealousy, it’s about obvious bias and stupidity. Come at me bro.

        • Which episode I review is dependent on when I review the release, how much of the show I’ve already seen, and if there are any groups competing on it. There wouldn’t be a discrepancy in the episode reviews if I reviewed everything at the same time, but I don’t.

          Bitching about which episode I review shouldn’t even be relevant. If a group can’t manage to do a good job on episode 1, why should I hold out and review their episode 7? Is it because they rushed their release to be first out the gate and their subs suffered as a result? You don’t think it’s fair that groups should be held accountable for everything they do? Well, too fucking bad. I’m not here to suck you off for trying and failing. If you do your best on every episode then it shouldn’t matter which one I review because they’ll all be good. Or should I wait until each group releases their final episode?

          People keep crying bias whenever their favorite groups do poorly and then they cry more bias when I rate groups that aren’t their favorites high. It seems “bias” is just another word for “I don’t like what you’re saying but I can’t back up my opinion with anything, so I’m just gonna cry like a bitch”. Perhaps you’d have more of a point if you had examples to back your claim up. So if there’s something specific you want to whine about, please let me know.

            • You’re missing the key point jdp – in his reviews D_S uses a single ep as representative of the entire release. Which is the only sensible way of doing it, as he doesn’t have the time to review every ep of every release separately.

              Fluctuations in quality do occur, but by their nature are random. Therefore they occur on some episodes of releases and not others.

              D_S (it appears) doesn’t just review any random ep. If a group spots a particular ep is bad, they just ask for the next to be reviewed instead. And D_S agrees, as he wants the ep which is the representative of the release as a whole. Similarly he waits if told there is a stand-in (for whatever reason). Forcing him to do the same ep for every release would prevent him from being able to make these allowances.

              Furthermore, ignoring quality fluctuations, your method could further his reviews inaccuracy. Groups who had yet to release the ep D_S reviewed could spot which one they had to work on, which could lead to them working “extra hard” and putting “better” staff on to get good grades. I know I would. This would then give us the best ep, not the representative one.

              Also, in reviewing the same ep D_S will (inevitably) carry forward details from other releases. By knowing what will happen from other releases he can better understand ambiguous phrasing, and may not pick up on them.

              Finally, I’m pretty sure anyone would be bored out of their mind watching the same episode multiple times. Bored enough to switch off slightly. And not notice some mistakes. Which is not good for the reviews, nor D_S’s enthusiasm to get releases out.

              tl;dr: D_S is doing this pretty damn well and critically (not fanboying over groups like UTW). You have yet to provide a (even slightly reasoned) explanation of wanting him to review the same ep.

              @D_S – I still think you should add the better edits suggested in comments to the review. And provide anidb links.

              • Man, that is just tl;dr. I think it’s fine for D_S to review different episodes for different groups because this isn’t a job; it’s something he does for fun.

                • My tl;dr summed it up for the regulars who realise D_S is right (about this). The rest was so damned long because I was putting in every logical step. Otherwise I’d be doing the same as jdp – providing my conclusion with none of the reasoning behind it.

                  @jdp – that’s how you make an argument. You don’t write conclusions without the essay. Feel free to share your own logic with us. I promise not to ridicule it (or at least the parts containing logic).

                  • You’re asking jdp to argue using logic? Man, you should see more of his previous comments.

                    >either you agree with me or you have nothing of value to say

                    ^ That’s all you’ll ever get from him. That’s what I got. (Check the comments over at the Eveyuu release of Sankarea).

                  • I don’t have to write a wall of text for what can be put in a few.

                    There’s a reason people use ji-hi. It’s a direct comparison between different releases of the same episode. Prevent people gaming the system by reviewing the groups on a random episode from 1-3 of each show.

                    He did it for Ozma, and those reviews are far better than any of his others.

                    • Quit your bitching and deal with it. Random as far I’m concerned is fair and the episode reviewed shouldn’t matter. This actually prevents active gaming of the review system.

                      Also “better” how? Grades? Quality of the review?

                      Ji-hi is a crappy comparison. No recommendations or grading. No review of actual script quality, just a handful of screenshot of episodes side by side of the same stuff.

                    • If the episode picked isn’t representative of the quality of the rest, then although it might be fair (in that every group has an episode picked randomly) that doesn’t mean it’s accurate. For the most part I still base my decisions off ji-hi or watching the episodes myself.

                      Is no recommendations or grading a bad thing, then? Do you need someone to tell you what you enjoy?

                    • >asks for review improvement ideas
                      >give review improvement ideas that actually worked in the past
                      >quit bitching

                      Yeah ok bro.

                    • ji-hi is only useful in obvious cases for non-native speakers. People with English as their second/third/… language need someone like Dark_Sage to tell them which release is better.

  10. All right, all right. I’ll make note as to whether a group is doing speedsubs or slowsubs for a show. But I won’t factor that into my grades.

    Not that I won’t make mention of it in my comments, though…

  11. To everyone talking about speed of releases:
    Use anidb. It’s not difficult. A quick glance can tell you if the group is behind or not. Too far behind for you, then look at the next best release, etc. They even give you a visual representation as well as numbers, and have the whole thing ordered by eps released. They couldn’t make it much easier for you.

    Penalising a group for being slower would mean D_S having to ‘fix’ grades later when groups eventually finish. :effort:

    D_S could potentially link to the anidb page for each show so people can come to their own judgement on whether or not they are willing to wait. I’d recommend this – D_S can tell us who’s got the best release, we individually can decide if we will trade-off quality for speed (if applicable). And the linking itself would be easy.

    tl;dr – use anidb. Don’t penalise for being slower.

    • To improve your reviews, you 1) shouldn’t put so much weight onto karaokes and 2) get more guys who can help you review timing because it actually is important to have good timing, not only the editing and typesetting counts.

  12. “How about getting a dedicated typesetter to nitpick about the typesetting?”

    I could do that, but my writing english is still a bit awkward, dunno if that’s a serious problem for reviewing typesetting. Also, I’m just able to help with 5-6 shows per season, but I leave the idea here if Dark_Sage if interesed.


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