By: Ben Goodger
Love them or hate them, its been apparent for more than two years
now that they're here to stay, these pesky teams of people known
as SM webpage reviewers. Some support them because of the way they
supposedly fight crime on Sailorweb, others find them a good source
of pages. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, after all. Some hate
them because of the way they (often cruelly) treat pages they come
across. Everyone is entitled to an opinion after all. Its unlikely
that you haven't already formed your own. But for the sake of producing
some stodge to fill the gap between the last article and the next,
I've collected some thoughts on the pages that I know to exist. Some
you will have undoubtedly have seen before, perhaps frequented, others
may be new.
I compiled this series of thoughts top down, meaning that my first
paragraphs are shorter than the latter (which is usually the case with
my writing ^_^;)
I choose not to comment on the pages that the sites review, or on the
reviews themselves, because they are entirely the opinion of the
reviewers. If I really dislike their reviews that much, I'd start a
review site that settles the score. ;) Besides, I don't want to spend
all evening reading about SM pages =P
I've noticed a trend in the newer web reviewers is to not label the
pages they review as good or bad, rather, simply group them and let
me find out for myself. There are good and bad sides to this style
- it allows constructive criticism without labelling/bashing
- it lets the visitor make up their own mind about a page
themselves by visiting it rather than making their mind
up for them.
- these reviews are often sitewide and comprehensive
- they're hard to get at. If you're simply wanting to find
a good page fast, you might be better off going to the AQ,
or the Anime Web Turnpike.
Some sites only review good pages, and are less susceptible to this
Some sites seem to state the obvious (describing the page when the
viewer probably has it open in another browser window, seeing for
Others are to be commended for trying complicated graphics setups,
which, while they don't always work, are part of gaining an
understanding of website design and graphics manipulation.
Some are easy to comment on, some aren't, some keep their reviews
to the matters that they're supposed to be dealing with (the pages)
and others wander off into the risky realm of personality crucifixion.
Its an interesting crew.
I doubt there would be as many as there are today without the original
few competitor sites. The AQ existed by itself for about a year before
receiving any competition, which came in the form of the M-Squad,
the Needleleaf Society and The Outer Senshi. These sites eventually
stopped updating and fell by the wayside. The AQ ploughed on,
collecting steam, traffic and its own special reputation as the
toughest group to be reviewed by.
With 1998, an ageing fanbase (that is, one getting into its
mid-teens), a new feeling was in Sailorweb. The feeling of "I have
an opinion and it counts and no one can take it from me" swept
through hundreds of pages. Seeing the works of the first competitors
as inspiration, some groups of people chose to make their mark
by starting web reviewing sites of their own. Some were good, some
were bad, some made up for being bad by having good graphics, some
made up for being good by having bad graphics, and others just
simply sucked. (Well, we're all entitled to an opinion, after all ;)
Some of these sites have died, and their addresses have not remained
in our collective memories, so they are not eulogized here. Those
that remain have yet to make the same impact that the first competitors
did, or the continuing impact that Amazoness Quartet (often hounded
by paparazzi, myth and rumour) strive to make by means of their
Fifth Witch - http://members.tripod.com/~FifthWitch/
One of the few remaining "Old World" WPR sites, this one
is one of the best. They give each site a comprehensive review,
page-by-page, saying what they like and dislike. An original
concept, and has some interesting ancillary pages. Also
features a review team that seems to exhibit RMS simple harmonic
oscillation. First two reviewers, then four, then two again!
AQ - http://members.tripod.com/~SailorMoonWorstOfWeb/
The original, and in my opinion, the best. They now have the
best archive system on any WPR site, their site is also
attractive and fast. Guest Lemure articles are sometimes
informative, sometimes silly, sometimes plain dumb.
The only things that mar this site are occasional spelling mistakes
and the tripod popups.
M Squad - http://members.tripod.com/~MSquadGBU/
Like the Needleleaves, a group that started up with a whiz
and a bang then fell flat on its face. A good collection of
archived pages and the odd interesting editorial make this
worthwhile if you've never been here, but you've probably
seen most of their selections by now. The "Notable" section
is an original addition.
Needleleaf Society - http://members.xoom.com/needleleaf/
An original, spunky group of reviewers that have sadly left us.
Perhaps one of the most interactive WPR sites, including
(in)frequent editorials, a selection of archived pages, mag.
articles etc. The odd 404 error, and often late reviews were
among the NS' problems while they were reviewing. Worth
visiting for the design alone ;)
Outer Senshi - http://members.tripod.com/~outersenshi/
An old group that seems to have gone bye-bye along with most
of the AQ's original competition. They only award good pages.
Most of the reviews are fairly short, but they've dug up some
good stuff. There isnt really anything here BUT reviews, none
of the 'zine stuff that the other sites have done, but this
isn't necessarily a bad thing. Who needs the same things resaid
over and over?
Moon Neko - http://members.tripod.com/~MoonNekoWPR/
A somewhat mundane page to say the least. Wait Ben, content
is key, lets have a looksee. It loads up fast enough.
Unfortunately there are only three reviews here, and the site
doesn't appear to have updated for ages. The reviews are of
three relatively well known sites that you've probably already
been to. There isn't much here other than those three reviews,
and some broken links which seem to be waiting for bad/notable
page reviews to be written.
Small Lady - http://members.tripod.com/~TheSmallLady/
A pleasant looking, speedy, nicely designed site. I read some
of the reviews and they're reasonably well structured. The
best thing is that I hadn't heard of most of the nominees,
(although I'm fairly out of touch ^_^) Its easy to get around
this page due to conveniently placed navigation.
S.T.A.R. - http://members.tripod.com/~usagi_star/
This is a relatively large site, with a rather ambitious
design that it doesn't quite pull off, at least not in Internet
Explorer 5.0. The Help site wasn't particularly helpful
(didn't contain anything I think the average moonpage owner
couldn't find elsewhere, or figure out for themselves), and
some clumsy navigation is evident (non-underlined links
that aren't different enough from the main text in colour
to be easily distinguishable). The reviews, however, are
quite long, and cover sites that I have (mostly) not heard of.
River Senshi - http://members.tripod.com/~riversenshi/
Unfortunately, this page gave me the bad first impression
of taking a small forever to load. The first page is almost
completely graphics, but Tripod may have just been slow
tonight. Some of the subpages however, are extremely graphics
light, and show a lot of style. Its only been up a short time
(apparently) so there's no archives, but there are three
reviews which are fairly comprehensive. I'll have to wait and
see what becomes of it though before I give it a better grade.
Animamate Reviews (SAR) - http://members.tripod.com/animamate/
These people are just setting up, from the looks, but they're
a different kind of group, with more than a slight nod towards
fanfic and RPG sites. It appears to be actively updated, as it
changed since I last viewed it two days before writing this.
When its done, it should be fairly large. Also includes a
section on reviewing the reviewers! So when you ask "who
polices the police?" this site may be your answer ;) Looks
like it could be good.
Three Cats - http://www.geocities.com/~lunahq/3cats.htm
A relatively simple page in the same way as MoonNeko. A new
entrant, there are only two reviews. Its part of a larger
site with other stuff to do, with the same simple design. This
site wins no awards for originality or trend-setting (or
following) style, but I'll have to give it a few months to
see what becomes of it.
SM Guide - http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Palace/9939/guide/
A mid-sized site. Contains a selection of sites, most of which
I've seen, but some which I haven't. Attractive presentation
and fast loading. A couple of things I dislike are the rumour
page, and the crippling 1000 character feedback form (not that
I've ever been moved to send them email, but if I ever did,
it'd be a pain in the ass ;) Worth a look.
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