The Power of the First Impression

In this world, there is nothing more powerful then first impression. Especially when meeting people for the first time. Some one can tell whether or not they like you or want you for a position in the first few minutes. Yeah, I’m writing this the night before I go to a job fair to keep my nerves in check. First impressions aren’t just attached to people, are they? What about first impressions for movies? Usually, you can tell what kind of movie you are in for and possibly how good it is in the next first few minutes. That’s why action movies have large action set pieces in the beginning. Besides you know, setting up the protagonist’s conflict and doing some world building. Something needs to be a hook to send you into the film on a high level of hype. You can say the same about television shows and anime. I mean, this is an anime blog after all. I better stick to that medium here.

I know that things like the three episode rule is a concept used to help in giving a person a more complete feeling of what a show is about. At least the production studios seem to think that, because those episodes are where each studio puts most of their efforts. At this moment, I don’t believe in that rule anymore. One episode or less of a series is all I need now. Mostly because if I don’t see things I don’t like or no promise in a show’s first episode, I’m cynically convinced the next episode isn’t going to do any better to make me watch it more.

What do you think counts as a proper first impression when it comes to anime?

Negative Impressions

So this is where I talk about a negative first impressions from my perspective. I’ve gotten pretty picky with my seasonal watching lately. There have been several times in recent months where I dropped a show half way through it’s first episode or even sooner because I hated everything about what was presented. There have been plenty of moments where I just hated the dialogue that was presented in popular shows like Bunny Senpai and Re:Zero because I don’t want to watch a show with people who give monologues about themselves and what they are doing when nobody asked them. Inhuman dialogue with over explanation doesn’t help me to actually know who these characters are. At this moment, I stand by the decisions that I’ve made to drop those shows. Economy of dialogue is an important thing to me because I want to visuals to tell me something as well. Anime isn’t a written medium like a book after all.

After reading people’s view of the shows mentioned in the first paragraph, nothing people have said about them make me want to give them a second chance. I’m not sure of that applies to everyone though, because I can be a very stubborn person. Also, I have some biases because I am willing to give shows that are within my usual interests a larger chance to impress me or hook me. Price of Smiles from this season is an example of this because I hoped it had something more going for it then just basic mech show things.

What are your takes on negative impressions? How long do you give a show before just dropping it and never hearing back from it again?

Positive Impression

From a quick perspective, the results of positive impressions are obvious. You like the thing, you watch more of the thing. There, done. Would you be surprised if I said that there were more nuances to a positive first impression then that? Probably not, otherwise I wouldn’t say something like that in the first place. It all involves what happens after the first impression. If a show never reaches the level of quality that the first episode you have seen, your positive impression will keep you going for most of the show’s run. That was my feelings towards Angolmois from last year.

The first episode of Angolmois was so cool and engaging with great animation and story elements, but I spent the rest of the show’s run hoping that it would get to that level of excellence again. Too bad it didn’t. Still, a great first episode got me through the rest of an average cour. Then we can look at shonen series like Black Clover and Twin Stars Exorcists. Their average, but effective opening episodes (despite what some people say about that) kept me going for a while because shonen series need build up to get their peak potential. Unfortunately, those series never got anywhere interesting for me in the two cours I’ve watched, so I dropped them. You know what? That’s my opinion. Positive first impressions can keep people like me watching a show for an extended amount of time, but each of us have our own limits.

What is your limit in watching an average to bad show after a great opening one?


In the end, first impressions are up to our points of views. We all have things that we are looking for in a series and are the ones to judge whether or not a series has those things in the first episode or first five minutes or first free episodes. You know, that undefined length that is also our own opinion. What a person writes for a first impression of certain series lets people know who they are. So have fun out their with your absolutely valid first opinions on anime, tv shows, video games, and other people. Don’t just be a stubborn person like me and maybe let them have a second chance as well. Sometimes, a series just doesn’t have a good episode. Maybe I should go back and check out some shows that I immediately disliked. It’s possible that I will see something different this time.

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  1. I’m actually horrible at figuring out my first impressions I constantly try to gauge if I will like a show or not but I usually only know by episode 7 of 12 or something and by then I feel like I might as well finish it. I just go by people’s reviews. I do like your description of self exposition monologues as a turn off. that’s actually a great marker. Oh I know, if after and entire episode the only thing I know about ost of the characters is the colour of their panties then that’s usually a pass for me. Then again…it could be funny…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that makes you a better person then me 😁 by giving the show a full chance.

      Speaking of panties, I’ve constantly have the joke in my own head that sometimes the characterization in anime is so good, that you know what underwear they are wearing too. Why? Because that literally happens.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YEAH monologues always turn me off automatically. More specifically, for me, if a show opens with a few minutes of them showing me a map and explaining to me everything that’s happened in the setting, I get turned off. Like, show don’t tell! I would rather be dropped into a world and learn as I go than have to sit through a narrative explaining wars that have happened in a world I haven’t even seen yet.

    As for positive impressions, I end up sticking with a show for way too long if the opening theme/animation is good. There are a few mediocre shows I stuck with just because that opener would trick me into thinking it was going to finally be a hype episode lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh man, map introductions and backgrounds are the worst. I usually completely forget about what they tell you almost instantly after they are done so that almost feels like being dropped into the world?

      I feel like I’m the same way With positive impressions. I’ve done the same multiple times.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve experienced a few of those. I almost dropped Samurai 7 because the first episode was pretty dull, which shocked me given that it had giant mecha and samurai. The second episode, however, blew me away and I was hooked from there.

    Also, with Radiant. I’ve seen the first twelve episodes and kept telling myself to drop it, but thankfully in episode 11 and 12 it seems to be picking up steam. It’s just a shame that it took that long.

    I now give everything four episodes, because I almost dropped Samurai 7 and I’m not willing to let something like that happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Samurai 7 caught me the same way, but I bought it in disc so I had to continue. Definitely felt the same you did.

      I feel like of bad about Radiant, because the first episode bored me and I checked out half way through.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’ve enjoyed four out of the twelve. Admittedly I only made it to twelve because I thought it was going to be the end of the season, but then the last two episodes started to get interesting. If they hadn’t there’s no way I would have decided to keep going.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. There are some shows that I know are an instant pass and I’m not interested, but in terms of what might end up being good, so many anime flounder in the mid-season and with their endings that I’m usually willing to give shows that don’t have a great first impression a go because sometimes they actually end up becoming quite interesting whereas something I love from the beginning might derail horribly. It means i end up watching shows that sometimes don’t work out but overall it also means I find a lot of shows I end up really enjoying that I might have dropped early if I’d trusted my first instinct. Basically, I still haven’t figured out how to make a good judgement on an anime until it is finished and by then I’ve already watched it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting post. I’m not a fan of this three episode rule though. There are times where something starts out great, but I end up not liking it or conversely where something is okay or even mediocre at first, but gets really good later on.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. If it starts well, I’ll usually give it the benefit of the doubt and keep going until I can’t. I really loved the premise of Dorei-ku and the live action but it adapted so poorly in the first episode that it just highlighted everything that made me uncomfortable about it. Also for me is the use of CGI in anime, I really wanted to watch ‘Piano no Mori’ but absolutely couldn’t since it opened with CGI that looked absolutely unnatural. Those were two series I dropped at the first episode.

    I watch so few series currently airing and older series that I do my best to keep watching even if it’s not the greatest just simply because I am a stickler to try and finish things. This is both a strong point but also the worst point about me as a viewer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, bad visuals aren’t a death sentence for me but if it’s really terrible, I feel the same way. I was looking forward to Piano no Mori too.

      I guess I watch a lot, so I don’t mind dropping a show when I have too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think we all have a different point of ‘this is so bad but watchable’ and then just the visuals are so trash that even if everything else is good we can’t lol. I’m glad I’m not alone on that series. >..< I might give it a shot again some other time.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m a person who doesn’t abide by the 3 episode rule, so you’ll sometimes see me drop an episode in a matter of minutes (and note how long I took to do so). I think my record for Shortest Time Until Drop is about 4 minutes so far for Lance n’ Masques. How I determine this is becoming aware of the fact the show is boring me and once I can put words to why, I check how long I have left to finish the show and if the amount of time I require is too long to bother with, I set that show to dropped…which is why you generally don’t see me drop things outside the first few episodes, because I will have decided to pause it before then. (I do try to give shows I think I’ve treated unfairly another chance, though.)

    I’m accepting of a lot of things when it comes to premises and will persist with a particularly average show if I see no problems with it (with exceptions for things such as Crunchyroll leavers or shows I watch to test my patience), but in exchange this normally means shows I finish 1) are average all the way through, 2) start out well but get average, 3) start average and get better or 4) stay good all the time (but I’m still aware of certain deficiencies the show has, because there’s no such thing as perfection).

    Liked by 1 person

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