In the interest of clarity, all reviews posted on to Taykobon will have a rating at the bottom that reflects our overall thoughts. This rating will be subjective, meaning it will be a reflection of how much a particular book resonated with us personally. If you disagree, that’s fine because this is our personal assessment on how we felt about it. You know better than we do what you enjoy, so don’t take a poor score as a damning assessment of a particular work as you may still enjoy it.
The Scoring System
As of March 6th, 2016, Taykobon has moved to using a letter grading system to make these assessments. These are similar to those you might see at school:
A : A great piece of work which the reviewer enjoyed greatly and can wholeheartedly recommend.
B : A good piece of work which the reviewer can recommend. It’s got some drawbacks but is worth reading, and will appeal to its intended audience.
C : The piece of work has some drawbacks, and those looking to read it should proceed with some caution. If you’re a fan of the genre or the series you may still enjoy it, but this piece of work doesn’t hold up particularly well in a number of areas.
D : This piece of work was bad, and readers should generally steer clear.
Each letter grade range will have “+” and “-” scores as well showing which end of the range it falls on. For example, a “B-” denotes that a work is still in the “B” range but is closer to falling into the “C range”.
We anticipate that the “average” book will fall into the B- range.
What is our perspective?
Our reviews have a pretty heavy focus on pointing out aspects we did or did not like about a certain work. Ideally you won’t find a whole lot of summarizing, we feel filling up 3/4ths of our review with plot summary would be doing a disservice to our readers. Our goal is to give you a feel for how much we liked a particular work as well as its notable aspects, not be a wikipedia article.
Also, we aren’t experts or anything. Each of us have read a ton of light novels or manga, but we are by no means experts on the critique of the medium. If you’re looking for a deep thematic analysis of a given work, we won’t be able to provide that but what we will try to do is break down what we liked or did not like for the average reader. Not all of our reviews are going to be works of art, but what we will do is provide honest critique that we’ll do our best to make well-written.
About pictures in our reviews:
All of our reviews feature a couple pictures in them, taken directly from the work being reviewed. Manga in particular is such a visual medium, and we feel that it’s very worthwhile for the reader to be able to see what the art looks like, especially if we are going to be commenting on how well it worked. Plus, who really wants to read a wall of straight text about a comic book?
You’ll notice that all of the picture we use come from official sources, usually via a picture we’ve taken of the physical book. We’d love to have higher quality images, but right now that’s the best we can do balancing time and efficiency versus image quality. We never, ever, use images from illegal scans in our reviews, and hope that all our readers will read manga legally and support the creators.
About translation issues:
We’ve been asked about our thoughts on the quality of translations, so here’s our perspective. Since we don’t read the illegal scanlations or the Japanese versions of these series, we really aren’t going to be doing a comparison or judging the quality of the official release based on that. What we will do is point out if there is any awkward grammar or sentence structure choice. We aren’t going to make bold pronouncements about the quality of the translation unless there is a glaring issue that we can tell without a doubt is a drawback of a work. We don’t want to pretend we know more than we do, or run the risk of making false or baseless assessments of the translation quality.
Any reviews published before March 6th, 2016 were originally made under the below numeric score system. We’ll be working to update them to ensure consistency, but the guide below explains what each rating meant.
5/5 - A great piece of work which the reviewer loved and unreservedly recommends. This doesn’t mean it is perfect because nothing in life is, but the book is a fantastic read and will likely appeal to all of its intended audience.
4/5 - A very good piece of work which the reviewer enjoyed and would easily recommend. The work may have a few drawbacks, but these did not stop the reviewer from enjoying it to a greater degree than many of its genre peers.
3/5 - A good piece of work which the reviewer felt was worth reading even if the strengths are balanced out by some noticeable drawbacks. This is a work that does not stand out among its genre peers, but is still a work worth looking into.
2/5 - A piece of work that the reviewer would not personally recommend for reading. The work likely has a number of serious drawbacks that outweigh its positive aspects. If you’re a fan of the genre you may still like this book, but the reviewer personally did not feel like the book was a good return on investment for the time it took to read it.
1/5 - A piece of work the reviewer would not recommend for reading. The reviewer personally found the book unenjoyable and even fans of the genre will be able to find far superior works elsewhere.
0/5 - A piece of work the reviewer would unreservedly advise readers to steer clear of. Has no redeeming elements and is generally terrible. We don’t anticipate having to give out this score.
This is a 10 point scale. As a rule of thumb, anything 3.5/5 or above is a fairly safe buy and rated green. 3.0-2.0 is a questionable, veering into a buy depending on if you’re a fan of the genre or series, and rated yellow. 1.5 and under means do not buy and rated red.