Ratings (Scale calibrated 5/28/11, last edited 9/15/14)
5: Greatest of All Time
An anime with the rating of 5 must be superior in every category. The story must be first and foremost entertaining. It must be complex enough so that it is not overly predictable, but not so complex that it is impossible to follow. The plot must induce emotion and higher thinking in the viewer. The animation must be smooth and contain no major flaws. It must be considered artistic in of itself rather than just a cheap medium by which to tell the story. Voice acting must be superb; the soundtrack must be memorable. Characters must be realistic, unique, and well developed. It must have decent rewatchability Finally, to receive a 5, an anime must transcend its boundaries as a piece of entertainment and serve a higher purpose of existence. It must not just be one of the best anime of all time, but one of the best pieces of entertainment of all time.
Examples: Spirited Away, Cowboy BeBop
4.5: Personal Favorite
An anime with the rating of 4.5 must have all the qualities of an anime with a 5 without the final stipulation of a higher purpose and being the greatest among pieces of entertainment outside of anime, nor must it be rewatchable, but its greatness should still hold up in the context of the other anime I’ve watched since I’ve completed it. In short, the anime must be one of the greatest within its genre and among the best anime of all time. Anime with a 4.5 or 5 should be (but isn’t necessarily) universally acclaimed and enjoyed by fans of all genres.
Examples: Puella Magi Madoka Magica, 5 Centimeters Per Second
Anime with a 4 are anime that just missed the cut of being one of the greatest of all time. I will speak about them casually as being a personal favorite of mine, but they simply aren’t good enough on their own to be grouped in the same category as the 4.5 anime. This can be for a number of reasons. The plot may seem either sluggish at times or simply to difficult to follow for some people. The animation can contain more flaws than some would find acceptable. The voice acting may have some gaps in the casting; the soundtrack could be forgettable (as long as it doesn’t detract from the anime). There may be a character (or two) which some people will absolutely HATE. Overall, an anime with a 4 has best of all time potential, but has some flaws that would cause some people to not enjoy the anime.
Examples: Bakuman, End of Evangelion
An anime with a rating of a 3.5 is an anime that I wouldn’t even consider among the all time greats, but it is distinctly above average. While it lacked dominance or greatness in most criteria there may be one or two elements of the anime that differentiates it from the rest of the pack. The anime is definitely worth a watch at some point, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure that I watched it.
Examples: Lucky Star, Howl’s Moving Castle
An anime with a rating of 3 was average. It met all my expectations but didn’t provide anything more. There are usually flaws in the story that prevented me from enjoying it more than I wanted to, but overall, I would still give it my recommendation.
Examples: High School of the Dead, Pokemon the First Movie
An anime with a rating of 2.5 is mediocre and usually unmemorable. It fell just short of my expectations for an anime, and I would consider it a waste of time for most people to watch it. The difference between a 3 and a 2.5 is that a 3 is average overall but I remember it more for its enjoyable moments. A 2.5 can be average overall as well, but the bad moments are what stand out the most and what come up in conversation more often when discussing the anime.
Examples: B Gata H Kei, Ponyo
An anime with a rating of 2 is solidly bad. Perhaps it has one or two good elements, but overall it is flawed. It has marks of mediocrity but one of the core elements drove it to a point where I simply could not enjoy the anime at all. While I can see where this anime could have appeal, it did not appeal to me.
Examples: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu, Ore No Imouto
An anime with a rating of 1.5 has very little entertainment value and is very poorly executed on all levels. The story is usually cliched and trite. The animation is far below the industry standard. The voice acting and soundtrack are memorable only for their ineptitude. The characters are completely not likeable and shallow. There may be one or two elements that give the anime some entertainment value, but it is overall one to be avoided.
Examples: Tokyo Mew Mew, Fullmetal Alchemist: Sacred Star of Milos
An anime with a rating of 1 meets the same criteria as an anime with a rating of 1.5, except that it has absolutely no entertainment value whatsoever. It’s a complete waste of time on all levels, and it’s not even worth watching just to make fun of it.
Examples: Nyoron Churuya Chan, Hoshizora Kiseki
0.5: All Time Worst
Anime with a rating of 0.5 are the absolute worst anime I have ever seen. They have qualities that exceed the lack of entertainment value and move into a new dimension of awfulness. The only three anime to ever achieve this rating are Junk Boy, Yosuga no Sora and Pokemon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon. Oddly enough, in some ways, even though the anime are clearly worse than the anime that receive a 1, they are more worthwhile to watch because they are just so bad that you can’t help but laugh at how bad they are. I wouldn’t go as far to say that these anime are “so bad they’re good,” it’s more like “so bad that you have to see it to believe it.”
tl;dr: Any anime with a 3 or higher is good overall. Any anime with a 2.5 or lower was bad overall.