Whenever I am looking for something to watch or to read, I usually go to MyAnimeList or MangaUpdates. Most of the time on the recommendations forums. Or I just go to Google typing “series like x” or the trope I’m in the mood to see then I just click on the links from either of the aforementioned sites. (Recently, reddit also helps.) If it’s drama series, I just browse through the recommendation section of MyDramaList. If it’s a book, I go to Goodreads.
In any case, no matter what series it is, I almost always look at its synopsis, just to have a general idea of what I am getting into. There are times when I get to see their ratings however, especially on MDL where it is shown just beside the picture. Whenever that happens, I try my best to forget about the actual number. Or I actually postpone watching or reading that series if I can. (Sometimes I can’t because the urge is just unstoppable.)
I dislike looking at ratings.
Though, honestly, they used to be my basis of priority in watching. I would sort the series by rating and aim to watch or read those highly-rated series.
However, I later realized that being “top-rated” does not equal to my enjoyment of them. I may appreciate them, but I wouldn’t like them as much as the others do. Moreover, I end up having a bias toward those which many people rated highly. So, I decided to stop looking at them.
But in the event that I happen to see them, they still somehow affect me and I just hate it.
Whenever I see the show that I’m watching is rated high (as in 7.8 above for me), I feel like my taste is validated. As if I’m one of those who can judge a show well. Feeling ‘elite’ and, for me, it’s terrible. I dislike being labeled as one (some of my high school acquaintances do because of the tertiary education I have) and I don’t like to be one. Even if it’s just feelings of superiority.
On the other hand, if the show is rated low (as in 7.3 below), I somehow feel horrible. Or at times, so defensive, reasoning out that most are just narrow-minded to see the good of the series. I hate judging people (while feeling elite) because I hate being judged (and, again, feeling elite). So such times can make me a hypocrite and it’s sickening.
We all have different preferences. Some like harem, others don’t. Some others prefer reverse harems. Other people enjoy fan services, while there are those who dislikes them. Some like sports anime while others avoid them. Some like “cute girls/boys doing cute things” while to some those are aggravating. Etcetera, etcetera. And I believe a lot of people rate shows based on how they enjoyed it, rather than the more technical stuff.
And it’s all right.
Unless one is paid to watch or read something, then I believe we should all enjoy the shows that we want without fearing other people’s judgment based on our tastes. And we shouldn’t feel forced to have the same thinking as others have. There’s also enjoyment with a rational discussion even when you have different opinions.
Anyway, I’m getting out of topic here. So, as for my feelings regarding ratings, I think they’ll continue to be so. I know they can be helpful in some ways to other people and I’m not stopping them from looking at them. But for me, I’d rather stay away from them and see the series for myself.
Thank you for reading! I’d love to know how you go about when choosing which to watch/read and how ratings affect you!