This is just one of those strange thoughts that comes to my mind sometimes. Yes, I get way too many of those. What else do you think I make blog posts like this out of? From the over abundance of seasonal and older series that I have gone through recently, I find myself always more entertained and in awe with the first set of episodes from an anime series for a few reasons. This is a thought pattern that only follows the three-episode rule more by circumstances then anything else. I mean, this might not stand for three episodes. Maybe the first episode is the best and nothing else will live up to it from. Maybe it’s four episodes that are insanely good and interesting. Either way, the main point that I am approaching is potential. The first part of an anime series always shows how good an anime can be when every single part of the production is on point and all cylinders are firing. That’s not the only reason that comes to my mind, but it’s a good beginning point.
Best Part of Production
Due to the best production studios belief in the three-episode rule, the first few episodes of an anime series are all on point. Unless an anime series has an insane production team like One Punch Man, the first few episodes are the most consistently on model, the best directed things, and have the best action scenes. That doesn’t mean that these levels of production won’t appear later in the series, but there is going to be a lot of fluff, episodes meant to rest the hands of the animators which result in still images, or another studio will handle certain episodes of a series that don’t have to look so nice.
The World is the anime’s oyster
I would call an anime production something along the lines of a roller coaster. The beginning of an anime series is the roller coaster lifting to the highest point on it’s track. You know, this is where things get exciting. From a physics stand point, this is where the roller coaster has most of its potential energy. After this point, you never know what to expect from the anime, but can we imagine where it’s going next. Sometimes imagining is better then what we receive. The reality that we see after the potential drop is not up to us anymore. The anime is doing its thing and we decide whether to stick around for the rest of the ride.
And no, I am not saying that whatever happens after the designated three-episode rule will turn out bad. There are some anime series out there that just get better and better as time goes on and then this roller coaster analogy doesn’t work. The series gained it’s rocket engines and just keeps going. Other anime series go the safe route of being interesting enough to watch but lack a lot of the possibility that came from the first bit of world building and character development in the show. And then there is the worst bit. Having a series give the audience promise and then falling right on its face for the rest of its run is so much worse than having a series be horrible all the way through. Why? Because it shows that the anime in question had plenty of hope that it could never reach.
The last argument that I am going to make is that after watching enough of an anime series, it loses a lot of the wow factor it carried with it. You know, the new world that you haven’t explored yet? Characters that you haven’t seen before and don’t know yet? A plot that you don’t know where it’s going? After watching the series in a continuous run or watching it week after week, the anime in question becomes familiar. Suddenly, you know these characters. The world that they belong to is not longer a strange place for the watcher. That anime’s soles are slowly wearing down and your feet fit in them better. What does that mean? It’s become routine. That anime series and many others are just things that you walk in for a set amount of time before discarding them for a new run of shows. Sadness.
I would like to point out that the best series you can watch always have a hook to them. They know about the problem of the world and characters becoming familiar and routine, stare in the fact, and make everything work anyway. If it’s an episodic series or a series revolving around going on a journey, there is a new hook to watch the show each week centered around a new location and/or new characters. Meanwhile, the best slice of life series takes what they have and make it refresh every episode. Other kinds of shows have tricks in their sleeves that go beyond my knowledge, which is great. Unfamiliarity providing more interest.
I don’t know about you, but I have also been one of those strange people that when watching game shows when I was growing older, had a much more entertaining time when imagining what is behind the door then actually seeing the prize itself. Once the reveal is done and the contestant gets their prize, my excitement drops. Sure, they got something, but it could have been something a lot better or a lot worse. Now that we know, we only get what we get. Having potential and having the future of something be up to my imagination is way more fun then having series play out for me sometimes. There are exceptions to everything of course.
And no, this doesn’t mean that I drop a lot of shows. That isn’t a very me thing to do. I still love new series with their new characters and seeing what they do. I will never say that I have been completely disappointed by a series watch, because watching anime is fun. It’s just to me, there are certain kinds of peaks and valleys that go along with anime watching. The highest peak is always at the beginning.