I have been wrestling with a problem for a while now: what is the best way to review something that runs over a long period of time and appears in installments, like Berserk or Blade of the Immortal or ×××HOLiC (to cite three personal favorites)?
The way I've done this for a long time has echoed other sites of the same ilk, where each installment is reviewed separately. But with the sheer amount of material out there, and the effort required to do such things, I'm inclined to try a wholly different approach.
Here's a few possible ways I could do this:
1. The "review stub" approach. This is akin to what I did with Blade of the Immortal (the anime): write a short placeholder that explains the concept, adorn it with a couple of screenshots, and then write a full review later. This works better with anime, I think; you can cover a whole season of a series (or a whole series) more efficiently this way instead of reviewing each volume or even each episode.
2. The "expanding overview" approach. This would involve creating a stub something like in #1 above, and then adding short notes to expand the plot description with each successive volume or concluded plot arc. I resist this approach if only because it imposes a format that clashes with the general review format — but then again, if I'm coming up with a new format anyway, I might as well make this one that much more distinct from the conventional reviews.
3. The "encyclopedia entry" approach. My least favorite right now, and the most redundant with other sites. I'd only be inclined to do this if I was creating something that was primarily a reference work anyway.
4. The "first few volumes" approach. This would involve a review based on only the first X volumes of a series, not intended to be authoritative.
5. The "every X volumes" approach. Closer to #2, where the review would be updated / refreshed every, say, 10 volumes with new information.
What I might do is hybridize a couple of these approaches and switch between them as the material demands. Reviewing every volume seems like the right approach to take for something where I want to write about every volume, especially if it doesn't get nearly enough press (2001 Nights).
I've been too obsessed with consistency over flexibility, and now that I want to concentrate all the more on titles that matter as opposed to just anything and everything out there, it's high time I broke with a tradition that doesn't serve me or anyone else.
Other Lives Of The Mind