MAL is really a complete waste of time.

This is not mine, by the way.


I’ve had an MAL for years now. Starting today, I will no longer use it. The reason: I find it completely and utterly pointless.

I’ve listed all sorts of shows, movies and specials on there, and given them all sorts of scores out of 10. 5 items I gave full marks, while only 1 show (Pupa) I gave no marks. While just browsing it yesterday, all I saw was one wave of 7s, 8s, and 9s…

…and so this leads me to the point. Is it necessary to show the world all the masses of shows I marked 7 or 8 or 9? Even with people with MALs that have waves of 9s and 10s. Maybe it was the fact that I didn’t really want to use the pathetic interaction tools that MAL had to offer. I found their forums to be full to the brim with posts 12 million years old about how Naruto is so superior to Bleach (or vice versa), or the fidelity of Studio Ghibli dubs, or whatever? I guess that would make me a very disillusioned otaku. What do you think? Am I elitist to the point where I don’t find the likes of massive shows like Naruto/One Piece/Bleach/Gundam/Pokemon entertaining to watch? I don’t like to think I am. Which led me to why having a super-long MAL meant the user was well-versed and well-knowledged in shows.

Several people (including myself) say that anime watchers should just watch what they want, and not listen to anyone else. It’s just that I don’t like the people who reckon that every single anime must be watched in order to make a clear and concise opinion.

If you read this and disagree, then feel free to have a go at me, since I welcome various opinions. I don’t claim to be perfect; no one is perfect, nothing is perfect and, most importantly, no anime is perfect.

13 thoughts on “MAL is really a complete waste of time.

  1. El Goopo May 6, 2015 / 4:35 pm

    You’re right, MAL and other such sites are pointless, based on how people use them today. Even the aggregate stats represent nothing meaningful except perhaps the popularity of an anime (how many people watch it), not any of its actual qualities.

    I don’t use MAL/etc for that reason, but I keep such 0-10 scores on anime I’ve watched just for kicks. However, I honestly rate the shows that I *do* want to watch from 0-10, rather than pretending I’ll ever rate shows I’m not interested in at all. And you know what? After an initial period of uncertainty on how to grade things, I found that it was actually more insightful to do things this way. Not only do I use the full 0-10 of the rating, thus allowing me to more accurate rank anime, but I also know that a 5/10 is the baseline for shows I think others with tastes similar to mine would enjoy, and stuff under that is stuff they too would probably be disappointed by. Who cares about the stuff I’d never watch anyway? I’d just mark them as “not interested”.

    • Neomo May 7, 2015 / 2:17 am

      Well I guess when I was filling mine out with all sorts of shows, I wanted to show that I actually cared about other genres than the ones I normally watch now (slice-of-life/school/comedy/drama). It was only later when I discovered that this kind of made me look like something I’d wanted NOT to be: an anime elitist.

      Keeping a list is all well and good, and thus it depends on the reasons. I like your reasons; I only wish MAL was more ‘flexible’ when it came to designing and editing lists.

      • El Goopo May 7, 2015 / 2:58 am

        Ah, I see. I tend to watch shows from a lot of genres, even ones where I’m clearly not the target demographic by a mile, so I don’t feel as “bad” to rate them like other anime on my list. I’m especially harsh in general to begin with, so if something that shouldn’t entertain me does, I’ll give it props. That way the few people I know who get to read my “rankings” will be more likely to give it a shot.

        PS: the fear of seeming “elitist” is unfounded if you’re honest about your rankings. If anyone calls you elitist for that, then they’re the ones being snobs for being upset that you didn’t enjoy something they did. For all I know it’s just a matter of detaching yourself from the notion that your list is there to please others somehow, rather than just being an honest log of what you’ve watched and how it stacked up at the time.

  2. mew May 6, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I personally just use it to keep track of what anime I am currently watching, what ep I’m on of which ever series I’m watching and to bookmark series that I want to watch in the future. I’ve never paid attention to any of the ratings.

    • Neomo May 7, 2015 / 2:20 am

      I never paid attention to the overall ratings either.

      It’s really a matter of opinion; for me, one of the main reasons for me quitting was that every time I looked at my long ‘Plan to Watch’ section, a part of me made me feel awful. It was like “I’d watched all these shows, and yet there are so so so many ones that I’ve been meaning to watch for like forever but RL just gets in the way”.

  3. SStefania May 6, 2015 / 6:53 pm

    I disagree, but mostly because I am a completely disorganised person with terrible memory. So tools like MAL, Goodreads and so on are perfect for me, because without them I really would not remember half of the stuff I watched.
    I also like statistics, especially those that I can use to stroke my e-peen, and MAL with MALgraph provides this. Also, thanks to the clubs, I was able to find the stuff better – like, when searching for left-handed characters, only a bunch of them are tagged on AniDB, and half are Lucky Star characters (about 13 of them, WTF), while my husbando is not even there. There are also fansub groups listed, which made me find some more obscure animus.
    The plan to watch list is a huge and awful trap, though, I always add things there but never watch it, as I end up watching something else entirely. People making fun of large-ass Plan To Watch lists are completely right. The same for the community, which truly is cancerous.

    • Neomo May 7, 2015 / 2:26 am

      To be honest, I was never one to follow online forums. I know I ought to; it is after all a great way to communicate with like-minded people.

      Sure if statistics is something you like, then MAL is absolutely perfect. And you’re spot on on that terrible trap; I saw so many MAL lists with ‘Plan to Watch’ sections that exceed the 500 mark. Keeping a track of shows you mean to watch in the future is all well and good, but having lists that long is something else entirely.

      • SStefania May 7, 2015 / 10:03 am

        Well, my Plan To Watch list has exactly 500 titles xD The worst thing is, when someone is talking or showing parts of some interesting anime, I think I will add it to my list, only to see that it’s already here and I just didn’t recognise it (because they used a different title or the pictures of side characters or something). Actually, it’s a good topic for a blog entry, thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  4. omo May 6, 2015 / 8:27 pm

    time talking about mal and inputting mal metadata is better spent watching anime.

    • Neomo May 7, 2015 / 2:28 am

      If people think keeping organised with watching shows is their thing, then all good for them. But it is, after all, the anime itself that matters the most.

  5. Kai May 18, 2015 / 10:57 pm

    I guess it’s just bad when it’s used in the wrong way or something. I personally just use it to keep track of the anime I watched and don’t really care about the scoring and forum.

    • Neomo May 18, 2015 / 11:39 pm

      Well yeah, there is that. I particularly detest the forum; topics are left years old, and I see a lot of users saying that they’re the better anime fan.

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