Fall 2011: A Week of First Episodes

Fall is now in full throttle (almost), with only a few more shows to make their appearance. Contrary to my last post, I ended up picking more shows than those that I’ve mentioned.

The first week is always fun, since this is where we get to see if the hype holds true or not. There are a lot of hyped up shows, and I think it’s safe to say that some held up, while some did not. Here’s my take on the first week of Fall 2011.

First episodes are very important sometimes. They set the tone for how the series will progress. They either give the viewer an introduction to the world, or just let the viewer keep on guessing (in a good way). Done well, and the series itself becomes something memorable. Though, a good first episode doesn’t guarantee the same quality of awesomeness for the rest of the series (like Hanasaku Iroha) and likewise, some shows may have a bad first few episodes, but ends up being great (like Baccano!) However, you can’t deny the fact that you will be turned down sometimes by bad first episodes, or that you’ll be let down by something that started great.

We can either see a first episode as something that immerses us to the world or throws us into the fray. The first one is pretty self explanatory. It’s an episode that provides the viewer with some back story and plot, and some character background as well. For example, Fate/Zero does this by taking its time to explain many aspects about the story right off the bat, like the Grail War, or the Masters involved. It didn’t show us any flashy sword fight despite being a forty minute premier, and instead chose to save the action for the next episodes. Hunter x Hunter 2011 also does this in a more traditional, shounen kind of way, introducing 3/4 of the main characters in a more laid back fashion. Chihayafuru can also be an example of this, as it introduced and focused more on the main heroine, Chihaya Ayase and her love for karuta, while mentioning a few tidbits about her past and her co-main characters. Granted, it doesn’t really introduce you to the whole story, but it gives you some sort of “this is where the story really starts” kind of thing (if that makes sense)

Thrown into the fray is exactly how it sounds; it tosses the viewer into the action with little information about what’s going on. A lot of examples for this within the Fall lineup. The most prominent would probably be Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. More than half of the episode is based on a group of student/fighters trying to land a hit on their teacher. A very fast paced episode that just focused on letting the viewers know “this is how fights will look like”. Following Senjou no Horizon is Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai, which literally starts in the middle of a fray. Their take on this was the introduction of almost (if not past) a dozen eye-catching characters that seem like they will have some sort of relevance to the plot. A more subtle but otherwise similar take on a first episode is Phi Brain, Kami no Puzzle, as it introduces its main lead, and throws him into the fray (his fray being something along the lines of a puzzle solving death match)

Now, you may be thinking, what’s up with the one sentence analyses. Well, that’s what first episodes do. They give you an idea, whether it’s through introductions or through an all-out fist fest, they will eventually get an idea across.

I guess it’s a matter of how much information they let the viewers know, that will determine what kind of idea the viewer will get. Of course, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is more army/rebellion-ish inclined and not some sort of teacher hunt, and Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai, although appealing, isn’t just about some twelve hotties hacking away at each other, but, for someone like me who is not familiar with the source material, that’s what I will forge in my head. Having too much information though, the episode might become stagnant to some, like some post-episode reactions to Fate/Zero.

No reason, I just really wanted to insert this ^^

So yeah, first episodes, I think, are very important to a series, and so far, Fall 2011’s first episodes are good, some more than others, but that’s just my personal biases talking. How about you guys? Do you think that it matters whether the first episodes introduces or not? And, how’s Fall so far? ^^

16 thoughts on “Fall 2011: A Week of First Episodes

  1. I agree – it’s true that we can’t determine the greatness of a series based on the first episode, but more often than not we will consider watching an anime based on the it; therefore, it’s very important and it matters.

    I think I’ve gone through some of the first episodes already. I’ve roughly decided which anime I’ll be watching, which I will not and which I’ll put on hold until the series completes. My list is longer than I anticipated, as usual. I must say, for this season I’ve yet to be blown away by a series. Of course there are good ones, but I haven’t feel the “wow” factor. Yet.

    • Exactly ^^
      Well, as far as “wow” factor is concerned, I’d say I was wow’d by Fate/Zero, but that’s just me, lol. Seriously though, yeah, not that the first few first episodes were bad, but nothing really stood out among the rest,

    • That’s true as well. A lot of really good shows suffer from being judged by the first episode. I guess it’s just a matter of willingness to keep on watching, but why wait till the next episodes to be great, lol, maybe I’m just impatient ^^

  2. I rarely base my true feelings on something until I see it done to the end, but first impressions are important. You only get one chance to make a good one, so it does come with the territory sadly, even if a series needs time to develop itself properly.

    • Yeah, I mean, you can see something through the end, but it’ll just feel like work if it didn’t start good for you. Some shows however, do gradually become better after a few episodes, what I don’t get is why some shows holds out on us, since it doesn’t benefit them really.

  3. First episodes are extremely important in my opinion. Think of what you do when you pick up a book and read the first few pages–if those first few pages bore you, how likely are you going to read the next three hundred pages? You’ll put the book back on the shelf and find a better one.
    For me, I generally try to give a show that sounds interesting two or three episodes before giving up on it (unless I’m hard-pressed for time). But if the first episode doesn’t really impress me much at all, then I’ll just drop it.
    That said, there are still a couple fall anime I want to try out, and a couple that haven’t aired quite yet (Mirai Nikki, Last Exile 2, and Un-Go). Of what I’ve seen so far though, Fate/Zero looks most interesting (and it already has a second episode out… I need to get on that).

    • My thoughts as well ^^
      I too give a series maybe two or three episodes more, but I’ll always keep in my mind the bar raised by the first episode, and I might end up thinking badly of the series just because of that.

      Yeah, Mirai Nikki and Un-Go are way up there at my expectations, along with Guilty Crown. Oh, watch the second episode! It’s pure awesome

  4. First episode is always important in my opinion. We get the impression on how the anime is going to be like. I always watch the other episode as well, not just the first one to reconsider if the first episode is that bad. But i’ll definitely end up watching all of the episodes anyway even if it is bad. xD

  5. First impression is significantly important to me. I understand that we shouldn’t judge the whole show until it’s fully released, but I believe we also need to learn how to set deadline and balance our schedules because as bloggers we’re not just watching but we’re also writing. Ever since I started blogging, when watching an anime, release dates of my post and keeping up with the pacing of the show are something that I’m greatly considering now. That’s why most of the time, what I’ll be viewing and blogging is based on the first or second episode.

    • I usually use the first few weeks to weed out what I’d actually watch, and just roam around the blogosphere for the ones I didn’t pick up, so that If I made a wrong move by dropping something, at the very least I’d know earlier if I were to pick it up again.

      Sadly, time management is not one of my strong suits (as seen on my calendar, lol) so I more or less make due with anime release dates, and if I.m lucky, some blogging time. I do hope I can start blogging about new episodes and stuff, though, I don’t quite know how I’ll go about doing ’em (need more experience ^^) Then again, I make it a point to not miss a new episode on my ‘currently watching’ list, so I can be, more or less, updated with what’s going on.^^

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