What I Learned Writing Episode Reviews

What I Learned Writing Episode Reviews

If you’ve noticed one thing about me, it’s that I tend to jump the gun occasionally. I do something a few times, and I immediately think I’m ready to discuss it, but that’s only because I’m always learning about this blogging thing and want to share that.

 

As I’ve been blogging for this past almost year now, I’ve seen a lot of the trends that show up in the community that bloggers put their own spins on.

 

I’ve adapted some—reviews and analyses of series and whatever the hell else I want, though that’s not really a trend. But there were two big ones that eluded me—top 10s and episode reviews.

Anime girl thinking
(But I want to do both…)

 

Both of these are common among bloggers in the community, and I’ve always wanted to try them. Maybe that’s because I want to fit in or think they would be fun. In reality, it’s a little of both.

 

But in my mind, unless I make these my own thing in some way, I would feel like I was just mimicking everyone else, which I don’t like. Still, I decided to do episode reviews last anime season, and I’m really glad I did.

 

To me, I always liked episode reviews conceptually. The idea of breaking one series into multiple parts and talking about each in-depth rather than one post about the whole series sounds great, but really there are a lot more perks to them than I ever realized.

Deku happy
(Me after every like and comment)

 

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. I have a blog. I enjoy it. I enjoy when people interact with it. Good chance you do too. One of the difficulties of having a blog is consistently writing content. I spend far more time thinking than I do writing.

 

Episode reviews are something I can do weekly. It helps me plan out my schedule and figure out how to space things in such a way where you don’t realize I don’t have the time to do posts daily.

 

There’s also the added bonus that they don’t take nearly as long to make as other types of content. They take the least by far. Whereas for a review, I need to watch a whole series and analyze specific episodes over again, episodes reviews require me to watch just one episode. Watch it one time, talk about it, done.

sleeping
(If I could survive without sleep, I would. Imagine how much more I could do!)

 

That means a majority of my time is spent working on the finishing touches–adding images, proofreading, etc. This is why, if need be, I can push an episode review up in just a few hours. 

 

This is especially helpful since I have the reviews go up the day after an episode airs, and I don’t always have time to write it the day of. I won’t lie, the production time is definitely what drew me in initially and is part of what’s keeping me.

 

Do I sacrifice some quality to get them out quicker? Kind of. They are a different kind of post, so not really. I opt for it being a more casual experience. I want it to be less like reading a review and more like watching the episode with a friend. I’m still getting better, but I’m closer to striking that balance than at the start.

thumbs up
(More content is good for everyone)

 

And by having these two posts that I regularly put up a week, it makes for more content and more stuff to read, which leads to more views, which leads to more engagement with the site, which is good all-around.

 

Put it this way, almost half of the site’s total views have been just in the last two months (even more as of writing this.) That coincides with when I started episode reviews. Whether that’s because of the reviews themselves or just the extra content, either way, it’s a good thing.

 

So, it’s clear that I like episode reviews, far more than I thought at the beginning, really, but it’s not only because of the more technical side of things. One of the biggest reasons I started the blog is because I wanted to become a better writer. I wanted an excuse to write consistently.

relaxing to the max
(Real image of me writing episode review)

 

Episode reviews are so different from anything else I write. I would say they’re closest to reviews of series, but they work completely differently. As I said earlier, they’re more casual, and they focus on one section of the series rather than the whole thing.

 

For me as a writer, that’s really fun. It forces me to write in a different way. Instead of trying to be concise to fit everything I want to talk about, I’m allowed to discuss things in depth. I have to, really. It goes from talking about themes to talking about events. It’s a pretty drastic change from how my other writing is structured, besides the fact that there’s just as much rambling.

 

This, of course, isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. While I like the challenge and I think writing in different ways about different things is good for me, there are some issues with episode reviews that I’ve discovered, some because of my own stubbornness and some because of the nature of them.

Tired
(Real image of me when I write my episode reviews in the morning)

 

I always push out the episode reviews one day after the episode airs. I do this that way people have time to watch the episode themselves, but not so much time that the review would lose relevance. It’s a good balance. The problem is, that isn’t always easy for me to do. I’ve missed it a few times, as you might have noticed.

 

That means that I only have about one and a half days to watch the episode, write the review, proofread/edit, and get it out. It only takes a few hours to get them done, but unlike everything else I do, no amount of preparation makes it easier. I can’t plan ahead or multitask for something that hasn’t aired.

 

That means that no matter what’s on my schedule, be that something for the blog or my private life, I always have a set amount of time I’m allotted to work. It takes absolute priority because I can’t do anything to make it go smoother. 

Anime stress
(I’m perfectly fine inside, I swear)

 

That’s a little stressful, to say the least, but I’ve managed to do a generally decent job at staying on top of it. It becomes a routine for me since I do it twice a week. But the biggest problem is one that I feel affects all bloggers at some point, and it rears its ugly head even worse for episode reviews.

 

Sometimes, I just don’t have anything to talk about. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a series review or what have you. There are certain times that my brain doesn’t find any words, let alone meaningful ones. As you might imagine, that’s difficult when a blog is centered around writing and reading words.

 

But what makes episode reviews so much more susceptible is that’s there’s less to talk about. I don’t have an entire series to draw inspiration from. I have one (usually 20 minute or so) episode of a series to talk about. I need to make something over about 1000 words long with that.

Don't know what to write
(My brain fails a lot)

 

I manage it most of the time, but there have been a few episodes that I struggled a lot. Most of my episode reviews of Sonny Boy are me just trying to wrap my head around the insanity. It’s episode reviews on hard mode, and I made that one of my first picks.

 

But besides those little issues, episode reviews have been great. They’re an incredibly positive thing, and I’m glad I decided to do them. I did it with a lot of trepidation. I was worried about just going with a fad for the sake of it, but it turned out that I was blinding myself to the reasons people do it.

 

Never be afraid to branch out and try new things. Sometimes something that you didn’t think would be your thing may just be something you really enjoy. Episode reviews are fun and work really well for me. I don’t plan to stop them anytime soon, and I look forward to doing more in the future, and I really hope you do too.

 

Thank you very much for reading

 

How do you feel about episode reviews? They’re fun to write, but I’d like to know how people feel about reading them.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Karandi

    I’ve always enjoyed episode reviews largely because I don’t have anyone locally to talk to about what I just watched so my putting an episode review together is that conversation I would have had if anyone I knew in real life had watched the episode as well. When I first started blogging these were 100 word reactions (which explains the name of my blog) but over time they expanded. Now most episode reviews are around the 700 word mark with some that leave a real impression going a bit longer.

    1. That’s how I feel about everything I write, really. It’s a place to dump my thoughts about any series I want, and it might actually interest someone when I can’t really do that as easily otherwise.

  2. Roki

    A very good post Jacob. Yeah, same as Karandi, I do enjoy epi reviews, I’ve been doing them for ages, god I feel old. Like yourself though I felt the burn of trying to get it out asap. Which is why I do older series, I can write them up at a pace. I can tell you, my approach to episode review changed so often. Way when I first did them, they were pretty much play-by-play style of reviewing and they were long and gave away spoilers. After a while I cut down a lot of the stuff, and focused just on the more important elements. Took me a good long while, before I did things off memory, now I take notes using one note. These days, any epi review I do, on average word mark about 400-500.

    1. Thank you so much! I can definitely see the appeal of doing older series. I imagine it’s a lot easier to manage, but I’ve been doing a decent job keeping up. Could be better, but not bad. If I did any more than two series per season, I’d be screwed, but keeping things as they are now is working. Yeah, I really like them more than I thought. In some ways, it requires a lot more thinking, and in others in a lot simpler. It’s a unique thing.

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