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Power Rank – Introduction April 24, 2010

Posted by bjw in Anime, News, Power Rank.

Starting May 2010, Wideface will be the proud owner of an anime themed power rank. This project has been under tight wraps for quite a while now, but with May just around the corner (alternatively, the April power rank being due in a weeks’ time), it looks like the curtain should finally be raised.

The power rank pretty much works like this: a pool of ongoing series’ will be selected for viewing, and every month, a panel of sorts will order the shows from best to worst. This is about as tl;dr as it gets, so if you aren’t interested in the finer details of how the gears in this project turn, then you are free to stop here.

As of now, the team consists of only me and navycherub. This isn’t necessarily a problem. While we aren’t polar opposites, we both have different tastes with some similarities here and there. In essence, that’s all this project needs, and likewise, the power rank can flourish from it. It’s impossible to create a power rank that will make everyone happy, but we can conjure up something that gives a rough idea of how series’ stack up against one another in a fashion that still leaves a lot of power to the readers themselves. Thus, the goal of the power rank is to detail how we more or less feel about a series while also having it be as ambiguous as possible. For example, although navy and I can probably both agree that the anime ranked at #1 is better than #10 in any given month, we may have different feelings on, say, #2 versus #5. This is immediately reflected by the simple unweighted average that the power rank will utilize—both of us will create our own separate rankings, and in the end, we cram them together to create the final product.

The power rank for each month is released at the beginning of the succeeding month. That is, the power rank for series’ aired in April 2010 will come out at the beginning of May 2010 and so on and so forth. There is no hard due date set for the power rank. Generally, it should come out on the first of every month, but it would be safe to just say that it’ll be out within the first week. The reasoning behind this is due to the worst case scenario (of which will occur practically every month) where the last episode of a month comes out on the last day of that month. And, surprise surprise, we aren’t fluent in Japanese so we need to wait for fansubs. If we are pressed for time like in this example, then we will settle for low quality subtitles. Amazing, color-coded subtitles with translator notes that teach us what “kawaii” means can be archived on our own accord later, but for the sake of the power rank, we will happily fall on unknown speedsub groups.

How I choose what anime vies for a spot on the power rank involves a very simple process of elimination. It really just involves “this sounds like it has potential” and “this sounds absolutely terrible.” The word potential is used very broadly here. For most, potential typically means a handful of shows that sound like they can be great. In this case, however, I’m using potential in a way that allows me to select at least 10 anime per season. There is no maximum in how many shows I pick, and I do not discriminate by genre or content. Therefore, something filled with fanservice has as much of a chance of being included in the running for a spot on the power rank as a mature anime made for mature people like yourself. To look at it from another perspective (i.e. the definition of “absolutely terrible”), note that the power rank will include a total of 10 spots. From this angle, the anime that I’m neglecting are those that I feel would never be capable of ranking, period.

There is only one restriction on how I choose the anime: it must be a TV series. Movies, OVAs/OAVs, webisodes/webcasts, etc. are all excluded from consideration. The reasoning mainly involves giving each series as much of an equal chance as possible in terms of screen time. Of course, screen time will still be skewed. For example, the ranking for April 2010 will include all episodes of all chosen anime that air in the month of April. Since anime premier at different times, the series’ contending for a spot on the power rank may have as few as 1 or 2 episodes to judge upon while others may have as many as 5. This is just something we have to live with. On the other hand, midseason months will be blessed with all anime having 4 or 5 episodes to judge upon. (As an addendum to this, April 2010 is a special case. Since this month will be the very first ranked month, I wanted it to have a clean slate. Thus, no ongoing series’ that began prior to Spring Season 2010 will be eligible for ranking. That means no Durarara!!, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, etc. Ongoing series’ in our pool of anime from this point onward (e.g. those that begin in spring but spillover into summer) will be eligible.)

At this point, it’s important to remind you that this is a power rank. It is not a full-series review system. In other words, the ranking of a series in any given month has no influence on how it performs in the following month; the power rank strictly measures the strength of a series relative to other series’ as if we could blind ourselves of all time outside of the month in question (think “holding all else constant”). An anime could be absolutely amazing one month, but if it suddenly slows to a crawl over the next 4 or 5 episodes with no interesting developments, having it drop drastically wouldn’t be shocking at all. With that said, using the power rank as a system of assessing the actual quality of a series on the whole has its limitations. Thus, I implore you not to use it for that purpose, but rather, as a scale that simply shows how a bunch of anime that aired at the same time fared against one another. As an example, series X ranks at 5, 4 and 4 over a 3-month run. Series Y ranks at 9, 3, and 2 over the same 3-month run. Based on that alone, can you actually say which one is better than the other as a whole?

Now, let’s dive into some final stuff.

In the event that either navy or I cannot submit a ranking, the final ranking will simply consist of the one ranking that was sent in. So, if I were to not submit a ranking at all, the newest power rank would simply be based off of navy and navy alone. If, say, I were to rank only 15 out of 16 shows, then the rank of that 16th series would once again be based off of navy and navy alone. This is particularly useful as a safety net in case one of us hasn’t seen the episodes necessary to properly give a ranking. Even though the ranking for a month isn’t influenced by the ranking for preceding months, it is still absolutely necessary to see all previous episodes in order to actually appreciate (or hate) current happenings based on prior developments. (e.g. If a show is awesome one month and it sucks the next, then obviously the ranking will drop despite it being good that first month. If the show has awesome cliffhangers one month and then in the next month it follows up with awesome developments, then it’s not the previous rank influencing the new rank, but rather, the series is pacing itself intelligently. The cliffhangers themselves are not directly influencing the rank of the next month–the next month is simply benefiting from the cliffhangers in that it can continue being awesome. This is perfectly legitimate for the power rank.) Thus, having a series unranked by someone may not be a rarity, especially if it involves a series on its 4th season where one of us hasn’t watched the first three.

Lastly, there will be an effort made by us to limit influence caused by bias. If we are talking about an anime eligible for ranking and happen to have severely different opinions on it, then we will attempt to minimize debate in order to retain original, “true” feelings.

And that’s about it. Hopefully I was able to cover all the bases in this post. If you have any other questions, go ahead and leave a comment or just ask me directly elsewhere. Otherwise, stay tuned for May!


1. Power Rank – FAQ « (X '______') – Wideface - February 8, 2011

[…] For more details see Power Rank – Introduction […]

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