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For those of you curious about how we judge the contest, this is an explanation of judging criteria for the 2007 contest and other previous years. This year's contest will be judged on similar terms.

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The judges are from several different age groups and have a wide variety of experiences in various art or writing related fields. The judges have different amounts of training in those fields. Some of the judges are mainly writers; others are mainly artists, still others are both.

The judges have different degrees of familiarity with the Rurouni Kenshin series. Some of us could probably quote it in our sleep. Others don't know it quite as well.

I think it's good to have diversity among the judges.

First, the more varied the personalities and tastes of the judges, the more chances a pic had of being noticed for an award. Second, in order for a picture to have won certain awards, it had to make a favorable impression on these very different people. It had to have broad appeal. Third, individual judges' biases tended to cancel each other out since there were so many judges on a panel. Obviously, we all tried to ignore personal biases, but that's not always possible. With eight people, though, one judge's bias wouldn't affect the overall vote as much.

If a pic received an award, then you can be sure it was no fluke or accident! It couldn't have received an award unless more than one judge voted for it.



I can't speak for all the judges, of course, but the following things were what most of us seemed to look for. They're not listed in any order of importance, since obviously, different judges considered different things to be more important.

For example, some of the judges thought technical skill were the most important. Others thought creativity and originality were most important. Still others thought that relevance to the RK universe was most important.

I don't know what each judge decided on her own, but I do know that the following criteria were common to all judges.


    When people think a person is a "good" artist, this is often what they mean. How well does the person draw? Do their people look like actual people, rather than stick figures or blobs? Can you tell what the picture is supposed to be depicting? How well does the artist use colors? How well does the artist do shading and textures? Is the composition nice? That kind of thing.

    You know how sometimes you look at an artwork, and it just makes you feel a certain strong emotion? Or sometimes, you get a strong message or story from a painting even though that painting doesn't flat out show you the message? This was one thing we were looking for. Art, after all, is a way of expressing oneself, whether it's to share ideas or a message, or a feeling. It's not always just about the technical skills! Did we feel something when we looked at the pic? Awe? Love? Fear? Anger? Happiness? Anything?

    Uniqueness was pretty important to most of the judges. Many of us appreciated pictures that showed something that no other picture had shown. Something different, new, imaginative, and exciting. Something beyond what the RK manga or TV series or OAVs showed. We also appreciated it when an artist interpreted scenes from the show or manga in his or her own way, when he or she added a personal touch that made the pic a nice combination of RK plus their own style.

    In other words, how well did the picture fit into the main themes of Rurouni Kenshin? The more a picture had to do with Rurouni Kenshin and the theme, the more favorably it would score on this point. Were the characters in character? Did the scene in the picture reveal to us something about the personalities of the characters? Did the scene show us something about the theme?

    This one's especially subjective, obviously. Basically, was the pic pretty or beautiful, not necessarily by the classical definition of each. Did it just look really cool in some unexplainable way?

    Effort counts. We appreciated it when it was obvious that an artist spent a great deal of time either on drawing a pic, or a great deal of time on thinking of a cool concept or idea for a pic. Also, how complex was the theme of the pic? Most of the judges were impressed with pics that made us think a bit, or that showed us RK scenes in a brand new light.



The scoring system might change slightly, but this is how it was done in previous years.

For the Overall awards, each judge listed her top 5 favorites in order from 1-5 and gave each pic a numerical score from 1-100.

For the Sub-category awards, each judge chose 2 favorites and gave each a score from 1-10.

Pictures were judged by a combination of three things:

1. Total combined score from all judges who voted for that pic.

2. How many times a picture was chosen for the judges' favorites lists.

3. How high or low that picture was ranked on those lists.

In other words, pictures weren't just pulled randomly out of a hat. There were numbers and a definite system involved.



Okay, I'd better stop here. I think most people have probably fallen asleep by now. This page was pretty boring, neh? But for those of you who were really curious, I hope these explanations helped.



Rurouni Kenshin characters are the property of creator Nobohiro Watsuki, Shueisha, Shounen Jump, and Sony Entertainment. This is a non-profit fan-site for entertainment purposes only. Permission was not obtained from the above parties. If any of the above parties or their representatives have a complaint regarding any fan artwok posted on this site, please e-mail me, and I will comply with any stated requests.