Why ‘Reflections’?

It just occurred to me that the reasoning behind my decision to do ‘Reflections’ instead of reviews on Kakera Complex could maybe do with some better explaining. So let’s get into it.

First, no, I’m not just trying to sound cool by being different. That may be the case for some other terminology I use on the blog, but the choice of Reflections over Reviews is the result of some careful consideration. The main reason is to address a problem I have with the typical view of the critic. That is, the idea that every creative work is either good or bad, and can be measured on a scale of 1 to 10 (or whichever scale you prefer). I don’t believe all critics hold this view as I worded it, but using this system really feels like I’m submitting to that mentality. I wish to present my own view of creative media. I’ll be focusing on stories though, as it’s my medium of choice.

Every story has a unique merit, a “heart” which must sought to he understood.

I’m still young, and trying to understand my view of creative media, but the above is one thing I fully believe. But it poses a lot more questions too, and leaves much room for debate. But let me make it clear. When I read a story, I actively search for what I call the heart, the merit, the reason the story exists, the message it’s trying to tell. I don’t doubt there’s an infinite number of messages and meanings different people can gain from reading a story, as many interpretations as there are people in the world. But this cat box of interpretations is only possible because we aren’t the writer. But the only messages of a story that I hold onto are those that I believe the writer was trying to convey. This way, every story is a relationship between the reader and the unseen author behind the pages. Like a relationship, my job as reader is to try and understand the author, and what they really want to tell me. Like we try to become closer to and understand the heart of somebody we love, so too do I seek to understand the heart of a good story. That is the heart I seek. Maybe the only heart I can find is a shallow heart where the only truth that can be gained from the story is somebody wanting to cash in on heaps of action scenes. In which case I would have no choice to conclude that it’s a bad story. However, I don’t believe there is an objectively good story. What a person gains from a story is reflective as much of the author’s talent and vision as it is the worldview of the reader. As such, a story can only be good as the reader determines it to be.

I acknowledge that a lot of women love fifty shades of gray. I have yet to hear any convincing argument that there is any merit to the story outside eliciting girl boners in the reader, therefore I have determined that this is a shallow (aka bad) story. If somebody can convince me that this story has a deeper merit, I will concede and acknowledge it as a story with merit. Understand, I don’t like this story nor have any interest in it, but if I can believe a heart exists, I will acknowledge it as such. Good is only a matter of perspective, bad is a much more tangible concept.

So then, why reflections? Because I’m not seeking to prove how good this story is. I’m here to find the heart, or any number of hearts I can accept as truths the author was trying to convey through her writing. To me, Little Busters is all but perfect, but that’s just my view, and impossible to share with others. A person who cannot relate to the themes and accept the story will conclude that it’s 6/10 and move on. Conversely, there will be others who love Little Busters just as much as me, maybe more, but explain a much different reason for enjoying it, a different heart to the one I have reached. Were I to complete my Little Busters reflection (which I will), I won’t rate it 10/10, even if I think it deserves it. Instead I will try to explain in words the truths I’ve reached about what this story is all about. My reflections seek to explore the heart that I have reached through reading the story, not tell you how good it is. Unless there is no perceivable substance to the story, then I’ll let you know how crap it is. This is how I approach my reflections.

Don’t you think this style of literary review much more rich and interesting though?

About Aspirety

Australian J-geek with a passion for Gaming and Writing. Psychology student, Nintendo/Key/Ryukishi07 fan.
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One Response to Why ‘Reflections’?

  1. keikakudoori says:

    Rather than writing about the quality of the story ( which varies from the person to person), to write a more personal take from one’s own point of view, huh.

    I find the act of writing about a story or the details within the story more interesting than the final product. The enjoyment of the process if you will. Also because one’s take on the final product is subjective. I usually leave the grades out.

    A story that is well constructed will speak for itself. I’m not referring to popular titles which get their fame due to specific gimmicks to gain attention. I refer to titles that have gained their following, even if niche, for multiple reasons such as the writing, the characters, why they’re solid, and they matter outside being pure entertaining.

    It really isn’t difficult to pinpoint the flaws of average titles. A strong title can still be critiqued harshly, yet still be great because even the critic will admit sometimes the story just wasn’t for him. The mistakes in poorly written titles are easier to tell part because they aren’t as well written in the first place. The enjoyment factor, I find, tends to favorably play here.

    I’m sure we have all seen in more than one occasion (professional) critics’ scores highly disagreeing with the user’s scores. Critics gave it a 6. Users gave it an 8. Users gave it a 7. Critics gave it a 9. So what’s the right score or do we get the average of the two? The score will be whichever you, the viewer/reader decides. In one you’ll think the critics’ take were too technical thus the audience enjoyed the title more. In another you may think the audience was won over by cool special effects rather than by the writing, thus the critics were able to saw through that resulting in a lower score. Opinions vary, but it also matters how much the product is meant to target certain audiences.

    These setup of “good” vs. “bad” applies to most titles because from the viewer’s point of view it was either a positive or negative experience. In essence it comes down to an eternal struggle of enjoyment vs. being critical with the best being in-between. Focusing too much on one will deprive you from the other. I don’t believe all titles are works of art. Really far from it. Not all stories will catch one’s attention or captivate you as they’re written for certain audience in mind. What I would consider to be an unsuccessful title would be one that it hasn’t reached me, in any level whatsoever. They’re not great. They aren’t even bad.

    In my experience, the worst titles are those which are neutral, neither great nor bad because they never showed their potential. A great title will be remembered for being outstanding. A bad title will make you remember how bad it was every now and then. A title that made the reader feel nothing will be forgotten erased from memory.

    To end this long reply, what I want to say is that most titles have a quality to them – this quality can be positive or negative. Most of the time this quality is subjective, the rest of the time they’re almost facts. A writer’s work is judged by its story, character and writing. A writer’s lasting point, the message, the core behind the story, is determined by the ability to convey his point, reach its audience, and the audience understanding it. When they all perfectly click – that’s when a fan is born.

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