Rating books in genres you don’t like

The way I see it, there’s two ways to rate books. Are you assigning these ratings for your own sake, or for the sake of others? You can:

  1. Rate based on your own personal enjoyment of the book, because you want a record of your experiences.
  2. Rate based on your judgement of the book’s “objective” quality, because you want to help others decide whether this book is worth their time.

I don’t think either approach is better than the other; I just think you have to be clear on why you’re rating books in order to be fair and consistent.

I think Natively’s hidden separate ratings for “Entertainment value” and “Language learning value” (or whatever they’re called) on the review screen is a good way to compromise. Do I think 華麗なる探偵アリス&ペンギン is an objectively good series? Not really, in terms of personal enjoyment it’s a 3 star, an okay book to pass the time. But as a language learning tool? It was at exactly the right level for me at that point in my studies and helped me so much, that’s 5 stars. So for my overall rating I just compromised and gave it 4 stars.


I agree with the general feeling in the thread. If you read a book and didn’t like it… off with its head. I enjoyed コンビニ人間, but that doesn’t mean I expect everyone to give 4~5 star reviews on it.
More generally, rating a book in a genre one likes doesn’t make them a paragon of objectivity and, similarly, reading something in a genre they hate doesn’t mean their opinion is invalid.
Also, if everyone did that, I feel like the ratings would be extremely biased :joy:

That’s the reason why I stopped reading ご注文はうさぎですか? :joy: I’m not the person who posted that, but I did expect plot.


As someone who watched a bunch of cgdct anime before starting to learn Japanese I knew what to expect haha. It’s absolutely not for everyone, and I respect that. For better or worse, cgdct series with a significant amount of story are the exception, not the rule.

P.S. If you ever want to try another cgdct series with more story, the best options are probably New Game (game development theme) or Bocchi the Rock (rock band theme), as most of their chapters move the story forward in some way.


Yes, I came in pretty much blind and that was the first time I really heard that acronym :eyes:
I have read other series that might qualify (like ARIA and あずまんが大王) but there was always something that kept me going in those series (like the main character of ARIA and friends making it up the ranks).

Actually, I would rather read a manga about smartly dressed men doing gentlemanly things, based on personal preferences… If they are gentlemanly enough ahem even plot is an option. Thanks for the recommendation anyway, though.


You find a good one of those please let me know :wink:


For manga, my favorite is ホテル・メッツァペウラへようこそ (series) | L23
In terms of light novels, I did enjoy 穏やか貴族の休暇のすすめ。 (series) | L31
Both of those are completely SFW too! On the negative side, while there’s a tremendous amount of queer baiting (especially in the second one), I think nothing will come out of it.

I’d love to hear more recommendations too. Maybe I’ll set up a thread when I have the time.


I think it depends on how you’re coming into it. Like I read Re:Zero 16 (LOVE Re:Zero’s anime so naturally wanted to continue) but was so ****ing bored out of my mind just reading about characters hanging out for 250~ pages made me rate it a 2, when the reality is if you have been reading Re:Zero to that point you probably are used to those volumes where little actually happens.

So in terms of reviews, I think you gotta approach it from “This is what I am looking for from this book, and this is what it satisfied (didn’t satisfy).”


My favourite thing about New Game is watching it gradually morph into a workplace drama a la Shirobako.

Bitterly disappointed we will probably never get a second or third season of the anime :frowning:

At least Bocchi will be there for us, based on its recent hit success…


If I don’t like something, I don’t like something. I do keep in mind that maybe a book just wasn’t for me, so if that’s the case, I do make a note of that in my review. Doesn’t change the fact that I disliked the book though, so I’d still rate it 2 stars.

And I do try to be fair. For example, I’m not a fan of romance as a genre, but if I gave a romance book a bad review it wouldn’t be “this is romance and I don’t like romance :confounded: too much romance in this romance novel” it would be more like “the romance was poorly-written/rushed/boring, and the protagonist had no personality, so that’s why I don’t recommend this book.”

Also, like others have said in this thread, the great thing about Natively is that there’s a Language Learning rating system too so I can still acknowledge that a book was helpful for learning purposes, even if I didn’t enjoy it.


This brought 幻想古書店で珈琲を to mind, though that’s LN rather than manga:

(crossover with the “books about bookshops” genre)


Books about bookshops are my jam :smiley: at 518 pages this is a big commitment though, have you read it? :face_with_monocle: I’m curious but given my tsundoku pile not sure I can justify it lol

1 Like

and this now reminded me of 宝石商リチャード氏の謎鑑定 :sweat_smile: I really need to read that series at some point… :face_in_clouds:

1 Like

I think that must be an Amazon data error – I have the first three volumes and they’re about 230 pages each, so pretty short by LN standards. (My volume 1 I picked up in a bookshop on a whim and it’s signed by the author…) I guess on balance I’d recommend it if the back cover blurb/series premise sounds interesting (I did read the first three books in the series) but it’s not a book I’m “you need to read this right now” enthusiastic about.

A bookshop-book I can recommend more full-heartedly is the ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 series, which I liked a lot – interesting individual stories centring around different books or authors, and an overall series arc which knows where it’s going and doesn’t outstay its welcome.


My least favorite thing about New Game is watching it gradually morph into a workplace drama :stuck_out_tongue: (even then I still found some things to appreciate)

Jsyk there is a second season of the anime:

I’m fine with them not adapting the rest after that, bc it would probably be pretty messy as an anime anyway. Better to stop while it’s still good.


I love the feeling of reading a book of a genre i don’t like but then actully really loving it!


Rating books you dislike, likely rating them low, seems a bad idea to me.
On a platform like this one with not too much or hardly any ratings for some books, this kind of ratings could really throw off future readers that actually might miss out on something they could have loved.
As for me, I only read what I love, so I don’t have this issue. Of course, there are times when I stumble across books where I thought those were meant for me - but they weren’t. Well, in the case a book that did promise something and it did not deliver, bad ratings are natural. But I never consciously choose books I won’t enjoy, no matter what.


I think it’s fine to rate stuff you didn’t like. Might as well make use of all 5 stars, and a negative review is just as valid as a positive one. Personally, I’ve been both disappointed and pleasantly surprised plenty of times when it comes to recommendations for or against things, so nowadays I prefer to just find out for myself than decide based on ratings, especially when it’s for something as subjective as entertainment. If someone would have loved くちべた食堂 | L22 but didn’t read it because I only gave it 3 stars and they only read things with 4+, that’s kinda on them. They have their own agency to read what they want and shouldn’t even let a general consensus sway them that much, let alone a single opinion.


Otoh if that book only had 2 star ratings (and no reviews), left by people who don’t like cooking manga, it would be understandable for someone does like cooking manga to assume it’s just a bad cooking manga. In that case, I think the hypothetical raters should have left a review explaining; or just not rated.

I hear you about just finding out for yourself though. I’ve read plenty of reviews - good and bad - (mostly on other sites) where I’ve wondered “did we even watch/read the same thing?!”


When there are less than 10 star ratings, you really can’t assume anything from that. There’s going to be too much bias in the sample (even with 100 reviews, to be honest, but that’s not the kind of numbers we have on the site yet). In general, rather than the overall star rating, I check the ratings of other readers I know have similar tastes to mine. If none of them rated, it’s the same as no rating for me.

The star ratings I leave are mostly for myself. My main use for my library is to find books to recommend to other people or series I want to keep reading. In both cases, what matter is what I felt about the book, not what the general consensus is. For that reason, I will give low ratings to stuff I didn’t like, regardless of why I didn’t like it.


There can be a kind-of amorphous consensus that some books are great and amazing - but if you didn’t enjoy it I’d appreciate seeing a 1-star there. Don’t leave me to stumble into something you didn’t enjoy just because “everyone” reckons it’s great, or are rating it on some “objective” rating system that doesn’t actually take into account how enjoyable it is to read.

And I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by holding off on rating things negatively because their genre isn’t something you’d normally read. If you enjoyed it, rate it highly, and if you didn’t - rate it where it belongs. Not everyone considering getting that book is there because they love the genre either - if I’m considering some shoujo romance book because of the cover art or whatever, I want to see your “I didn’t like it” 1-star review and not just 5-star reviews from the hardcore shoujo romance crowd.

Of course, it you want to actually communicate to other potential readers, leave a review. “I can see why other people like it but personally I was bored to tears” is a great, complete review that tells me infinitely more than your star rating.