This page will provide some additional information and clarifications to help explain the reviews. Some miscellanea such as frequently used terms, definitions and how things are determined might also be included here. Effectively it's a grab bag of comments that are relevant to many of the reviews but not important enough, or convenient enough, to be included in each individual review.
The first thing, no matter how obvious, that must be mentioned is that these are reviews. That's a fancy word for opinions based on personal tastes, biases and the mood of the moment. They're not authoritative or official in any-way. The best way to use them is to read enough to understand my tastes and make a judgement on that basis. Many people might find that the titles I slam are the ones they hunt out. In addition all reviews will be revised at some time in the future, although that time may be a sizable amount.
Made: This tag gives the date on which the title was produced in Japan. Largely given because anime is a product of its period, and dates, just like anything else. Unfortunately I often don't have, or haven't collected this information so a lot of entries will have `unknown' in this category. Even worse if there is a date it might actually represent when the title was released on the western market or screened in Japan rather than when it was produced. So please don't take any of these dates as authoritative in any way, shape or form.
Review Created: This tag gives the date on which I created the review in Unix time format...sort of. Although this is a recent addition and a lot of reviews don't have this information. In addition it's worth mentioning that if I totally re-write a review I consider this the creation of a new page, even though I obviously had a review for the title before.
mod: This tag gives the date on which I last modified the review, expressed in Unix time format. Note that a lot of reviews don't have this information. And, as mentioned above, if I completely re-write the review it is not considered a modification but the creation of a new review. A modification means substantial addition or modification of the review text. Watching new episodes, adding more links or bug-fixes, such as spelling, grammar or details, does not count as a modification.
A number of series have proved so popular that they've created a desire for more. And in general the makers of anime seem quite happy to see a safe market to sell into. At the same time they don't seem to consider that reason enough to stop being original, and making changes. Thus there exist families of shows, often with a very different feel and style, bound by common characters and a shared heritage. Thus these shows are both obviously linked and very different creations.
As a result it can be helpful to have this mentioned and some background on the characters and world with which the story takes place. After all, it is expected in these shows that you do have some background knowledge of the characters. And as it is somewhat wasteful for me to write this information out each time, in a slightly different way, I have written global introductions for a small number of series. If you see the series information heading then you know you are reading one of these sections. A general introduction to a series of linked, often quite losely, anime titles.
spoilers: A synopsis is an attempt to give some idea of the flavor and content of the story and events contained in the anime. As such it will always be a spoiler to some extent. And the main reason I started explicitly marking a synopsis area was so that people can skip the section should they do desire. That said I do my very best to not give away important spoilers, even if that makes the synopsis more vague or even incorrect. If plot points are explained that's generally because they occur very early, are not secrets and are the basis for the rest of the story.
Cartoony: in several reviews I have used `cartoony' as a descriptive term, which might seem strange considering that all anime is, in western usage, a `cartoon'. Indeed I use the term in a more restrictive way. It indicates that the style is less concerned with a `naturalistic' style, ie. one that looks like real people and scenes, and is willing to have a more simplified and abstract style. One in which the characters look like `cartoons' of people rather than a literal copy of reality. This is often a conscious choice, with many comedies or action anime gaining from freeing themselves from the constraints that come with trying to imitate reality.
Sliding Frames: This is another term I occasionally use, and it needs a little bit of background to make sense. It relates to the fact that animation is (or used to be) done by drawing and painting on transparent cells that can be overlaid on a background. For big, complex, objects drawning a number of frames per second, especially to represent simple movement, is a real waste of money. Thus tricks like simply sliding the frame, or using camera pans, can be real money savers. Some anime have, however, over-used this technique. Such titles tend to have complex cells, which produce lovely stills for the back of the box, but don't have the money or time to animate them. Thus lots of cutting, pans and `sliding frames' are required to make it work.
Just what is sounds like. These are short descriptions, and links, to reviews on various external sites. The sites having been selected for their scope, quality and coherent sense of taste. Each entry begins with a link to a site description, which then links to the main page of the review site. This is directly followed by a link to the review in question. Note that because it is a direct link it may well look less attractive than going through the pages own navigation.
Japanese Names: It seems worthwhile to make a comment on Japanese names considering how rude I am being. In some reviews I might describe `Megumi' as doing a brilliant job in her seiyuu role. I'm pretty certain that this is seriously rude by Japanese standards. For one thing it should be Hayashibara Megumi-san (or sama in this case) since the family name is given first and an honorific attached to the full name. Even if I were giving a single name it would be Hayashibara-san rather than Megumi. However, this rudeness does not translate into English, and the usage seems strangely formal. As a result, because this is an English language page (although I get a thrill whenever I have a Japanese visitor), I have chosen to use the most natural English form. Needless to say, no rudeness to the people being referenced is intended.