Let’s Talk About Review Scores

review scores

YuriReviews has been around for more than seven years, and over the course of those seven years, we’ve featured 309 reviews thus far. I myself have been writing reviews for nearly six years, and I’ve written 171 reviews so far.

The point is, we’ve had hundreds of opportunities to put our thoughts and opinions into words, and I think most people who’ve ever written a review will tell you that it’s not easy. For me, one of the things that usually presents a challenge is trying to give a numeric value to my thoughts.

Since the beginning, YuriReviews has used a 10 point scale to critique aspects of our review subjects, but over time, it’s clear to see that we’ve fallen into the trap known as the four point scale. Long story short, the four point scale is how the mid and low ends of the review scale tend to go largely unused, so the overwhelming majority of review scores tend to range from 7 and up. A deep dive into our review scores definitely confirms this.

Of the 315 reviews we’ve collectively written thus far, 239 are scored either 7 or up. Only 66 of our reviews have total enjoyment scores that dip below 7, and then there are 10 reviews that don’t even have total enjoyment scores (for whatever reason). 239 out of 315, that’s over 75%. That’s kinda crazy. And if you’re wondering about our average total enjoyment score, it’s a lofty 7.5… ๐Ÿ˜•

This can largely be attributed to how reviewers have a tendency to consider 7 as “average”, instead of 5. It harkens back to our school days when 70 is passing and everything below is a failing grade. So 7 becomes average and everything below 7 is pretty much considered bad, in most people’s eyes. I’m personally guilty of falling into the trap (over 69% of my reviews have scores of at least 7), and it’s not just because there aren’t a lot of bad yuri-ish anime.

In the recent past, I’ve been trying to do a better job of sticking to a “5 is average” mindset, but I still wonder if this is just a flawed reviewing system and if there are better alternatives out there, so let’s talk about some of those alternatives.


LETTER GRADES

First up, the letter grade system. We’ve all been to school, so we should all be familiar with how this works. The scores range from F all the way to an A+, and although it’s probably not as direct as a numerical score, it can still get the point across. It seems that most of the outlets that use this system tend to review movies and TV shows, though, like all of the possibilities in this post, it can be applied to anything and everything.

nintendojo review
Example: Nintendojo’s review score for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

I didn’t like school, so that’s one of the reasons I’m personally not the biggest fan of this system, and I think it’s not quite as practical as most of the other scoring systems. It may look a little different than a numerical score, but it’s not all that different, so we’d likely see a lot of C’s on our report card reviews.


100 POINT SCALE

Next up is one I dislike, the 100 point scale. Simply put, the biggest reason I dislike it is because it’s way too subjective. I don’t know what the difference is between an 87 and a 92, and I don’t expect readers to know either. It just complicates matters, and I’m sure this system would just lead to pointless arguments, like why “X anime” is 2 whole points better than “Y anime”. Everything is subjective, but I think splitting hairs in this fashion wouldn’t be good for the reviewer or the audience.

100 point review scale
Example: PC Gamer’s review score for Half-Life: Alyx

5 POINT/STAR SCALE

I find this next one pretty interesting. It’s the 5 point scale. Some review outlets use five stars instead of points, but no matter, it’s all the same. I find this one interesting because it just simplifies the process. Great, good, okay, bad, and terrible. Everyone can understand that, and it does a good job of eliminating, or at least minimizing, the no man’s land around 6 (on a 10 point scale). It may seem like it’s just the 10 point scale but cut in half, but there are decisions to make for the scores that are odd numbers, so you could possibly see pretty good anime that are 7.5/10 cut down to a 3/5. Seems kind of harsh, but I guess that’s the way it goes.

5 point review scale
Example: ScreenRant’s review score for Extraction

The only drawback I see with this system is you’d probably have a lot more reviews with “perfect” 5/5 scores than you’d have 10/10. I’ve never given a total enjoyment score of 10/10, however, if we’d been using this system, there would probably be quite a bit of 5/5 scores that I would have handed out. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it gives the illusion that the recipients of these scores are flawless.


4 POINT/STAR SCALE

Similar to the 5 point scale is the 4 point scale, but despite the similarities, I’m not a huge fan of it. I think this one is too simplified, but one of the positives is that you’d spread the scores out more than with the other scoring systems, and 1 and 2 point scores probably wouldn’t be super rare anymore. I might have enjoyed anime like Princess Principal, Haibane Renmei, and Granbelm, but I don’t like the thought of merely “really good” shows maybe getting the highest score possible. And similarly, having something like Simoun possibly share the same score as something like El Cazador de la Bruja doesn’t sit well with me either. A super condensed scale like this just presents some problems, and it doesn’t help that it’s not used very often.

onward review score
Example: The Chicago Sun-Times’ review score for Onward.

NO SCORES AT ALL

And then there are some outlets that have done away with quantitive scores altogether. Kotaku is an example of this type of thinking, and I can see the appeal of this style. Giving subjective numerical scores to something isn’t always helpful, so just going on in detail about what you liked/disliked and why you liked/disliked it could help get your point across more efficiently than hollow scores.

kotaku review
Example: Kotaku’s review blurb for Final Fantasy VII Remake

Then again, I like the idea of someone who doesn’t have the time/desire to read an entire review being able to quickly find out if something might be worth their time. Scores can provide that, and this system probably isn’t as well-suited for it.


Something I haven’t mentioned yet are half scores. We already do that with our 10 point system, but they can be applied to other scoring systems (such as 4 and 5 point scales), which might make those more flexible. The possibility even exists for quarter-points, which oddly enough, is something I briefly thought about introducing last year (until L said she wasn’t in favor of it). ๐Ÿ˜›


No matter the scoring system, it’s all about being consistent with your scores, and in that regard, I’m striving to do a better job than I’ve done in the past. That might be all a reviewer really needs…

So when it comes to review scoring, do you folks have a preference? If so, vote in the poll, and if you guys feel strongly enough about one, maybe we’ll end up using it going forward~

25 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Review Scores

  1. I personally think the 1-10 scale is still the most effective grading system.

    But I think the Yuri score should be stricter. Instead of just grading it based on the gayness, the grade should also account for how said relationships are built, like an รœber-gay but extremely contrived couple will not score high (although this won’t be too applicable if the anime is about gay girls doing gay things like Yuru Yuri)

    I really don’t want to poke at Kodama Naoko but her stories, albeit very gay, are constantly rife with constant dramas pushed to the extreme (like rape, abuse, jealousy,…) to provoke sympathy or hatred, and that is a big no-no in my book.

    Also, hyping a review for 22/7.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. The 1-10 scale is probably the most appropriate for yuriereviews. I think a highly subjective, non-numerical, verbal assessment of the yuri score would be appropriate. Because yuri is intimate with Romance, I don’t know how one could possibly put a numerical value on such a subjective subject.

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        • Very interesting, but if you follow the scale strictly, “Kannazuki no Miko” could never rank 9-10 because of (Soma X Himeko) yet Yurireviews holds Kanna at number one yuri ? https://yurireviews.com/2019/05/11/my-top-10-yuri-anime-updated/#more-20103
          I just don’t think that Romance can be quantified either Het, Les, or Gay which is why I look for qualitative narratives of the Romantic content. I have been following Chihayafuru for 9 years and the story itself in manga has been going on for 14 years, and there has never been a Romance in the entire story, yet Fandom is fanatically attached only to the Shoujo and pairing wars break out on every blog, and some of them are quite vicious. Quantitatively Romance in that story is literally 0, its all about an obscure card game and the characters involved, yet the sub-text is a raging wildfire of Romance on a highly qualitative and subjective level. I just don’t feel that the quality of Falling-into-Love can be attached to a
          number and have any meaning. at least for me!

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          • If I were to mention this anomaly to L, she’d probably get defensive and say that Chimeko is so great that they overcome Souma and get a super high score and her #1 yuri anime anyway. ๐Ÿ˜€

            You’re probably right, but as a blogger, readers want at least an idea of what to expect yuri-wise, so we gotta try to be helpful and provide that for them. It’s not a perfect situation, but it’s something~

            Liked by 2 people

    • Some yuri scores have been pretty hard for me to determine, especially if there’s some het in there as well.

      I think for the sake of simplicity, we’ve considered all the other yuri dramas to stick with the basics of our yuri rating system, but making a concerted effort to at least mention when there’s some unpleasant stuff involved. ๐Ÿ˜›

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  2. I know Arkada (anime reviewer on YouTube) used to do a four point system, where he would recommend you to either buy it, stream it, or skip it (and used Certified Frosty for the best of the best) I thought it was cute and a good way to know at a glance how someone feels about a show. But I agree that review scores can often be confusing and arbitrary. Itโ€™s kinda why I donโ€™t write reviews on my blog (well, that and Iโ€™d rather just have people watch a show and figure it out for themselves lol)

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    • I think it’s pretty helpful to be able to quickly get your thoughts across, regardless of how you’re scoring whatever it is that you’re reviewing, so I definitely prefer having some type of score attached to reviews.

      Writing reviews is hard and time-consuming and frustrating sometimes, so you’ve probably made a good decision. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  3. Personally, I like the 100 point scales, if someone is teetering between a 7 or 8 score we can turn it in to a 75 give or take a point. I’m also a fan of the lettering grade scoring system. I believe we all understand it enough but it’s become kinda rare to see these days.

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    • If that’s the case, it seems to me that it would just be more effective to have a 10-point scale and give it a 7.5 instead. Not all of the scores on a 100-point scale would be in the middle like that, so trying to decide if something is a 77 or a 78 seems like a waste of time to me. ๐Ÿ˜›

      I had a pretty hard time finding any sites that use letter grades. It’s all 10’s and 5’s, it seems. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  4. 10-point system is used on many sites, even if not best, it’s familiar and understandable to everyone. You always can use half scores if 10 steps aren’t enough.

    “And if youโ€™re wondering about our average total enjoyment score, itโ€™s a lofty 7.5โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜•”
    It’s perfectly OK. Industry is trying to produce good enjoayble animes. 1-3 point trash is very rare itself and likely not worth reviewing.

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    • The 10-point scale is definitely well-known and popular, and even after thinking of all of these possibilities, I still think it’s one of the best.

      Another reason really low scores are rare is probably because they just don’t get made too often. ๐Ÿ˜›

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  5. I didn’t use a letter score on school ๐Ÿ˜‚
    I think 0-10 is a good balance , 1-4 way too simple , 1-100 way too complicated
    Letters , well , i dont like them lol
    I never check kotaku so no idea , you could also put under a numerical score a non numerical score(?

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  6. I’m not a reviewer as such, but when I leave reviews of things I very rarely rate below 6/10. Because if it looks like it’ll be anything lower than 7/10, I drop it rather than spend more time on it. The 6s and 5s on my list are usually things that LOOKED like 7s but had a crappy ending. ๐Ÿ˜€

    And if I drop something, I seldom feel qualified to rate or review it. I mostly just go “huh, I’m not the target audience for this” and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true. And people tend to avoid things they know they won’t like, so the low scores that might’ve come from them not avoiding those things just disappear, or are left for those brave souls that tough it out till the end. ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. I don’t use scores at all because I’ve never been a fan of them. They always seem pretty arbitrary, since there’s no commonly established criteria for what they “mean” — and their application is subjective anyway.

    Where you mention someone being able to get a “quick look” at something based on just the score… that’s sort of the problem, really. People will often look at the score alone and not read the text to discover the nuance behind what made you gave it that. This is definitely a problem in gaming; I’m not sure about other media, but I suspect it’s something similar.

    I’ve reviewed games that, according to the publication’s review score scale, warranted a 6/10, but they were actually some of my favourite experiences I’ve ever had. In that instance, the review score actively detracts from what you want to say.

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    • I know I’ve come across reviews for things I was really interested in that I didn’t want to take the time to read, but there are definitely benefits to not having scores at all. ๐Ÿ˜›

      And same for me. People’s opinions can vary so wildly that you probably shouldn’t automatically dismiss things with a mediocre score.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. For me when I review things on IMDB for example, it’s like this:

    10 – Masterpiece, among the best things I’ve ever seen.
    9 – Really frickin’ good, but I can find flaws.
    8 – Very entertaining and well-made, but not the best I’ve seen.
    7 – Not exactly a good or super well-made movie, but I got something good out of it or learned a lesson.
    6 – Pretty meh, but it has some good parts making up for it.
    5 – Meh. Not really special one way or the other. Could’ve skipped it.
    4 – Slightly annoying. Poorly made, but may be bad in a somewhat fun way.
    3 – Okay, what is this crap?! Waste of time.
    2 – OMG NO, WHY?!!
    1 – How was this ever allowed to exist?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Around the Network | MoeGamer

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