First Impressions Count In Anime – How to Tell If An Anime will “Get Good” (Part 3)

This blog series has gone on longer than intended however we’ll finish today by looking at an anime that I thought had a terrible first impression and the differences between a show that starts bad but gets good and a show that never achieves good quality.

We’ll still be using our Mysterious Girlfriend X example from part one so let’s discuss the really terrible anime. Undefeated Bahamut Chronicles starts off extremely badly. The fan service at the start is forced and terrible and the story appears to be nothing.

Lux – the main character – is pretty much the most boring character ever, with a generic nice guy personality and predictable relationships with the girls. It’s one of those terrible, generic light novel harems where nothing happens. The only thing worse about this show is that the plot doesn’t make sense and is confusing. If you need me to go into more depth I released a post talking about this show where I rant about it in far more detail.

So both of these two shows (Mysterious Girlfriend X and Undefeated Bahamut Chronicles which will be abbreviated to MGX and UBC from now on) have first impressions that give bad first impressions however MGX gets good. Some people will say that the only way to tell if it will get good is the three episodes rule, this will prevent things like this from being missed out.

Whilst that may be true, it’s pretty ineffective and inefficient because there’s much better ways to filter out the shows that slowly get better. I believe that the signs are present from the start of every first episode to whether an anime will improve. Besides knowing the genres it was clear that the characters in MGX we’re much better than those in UBC.

The characters of MGX are not cardboard cut-out characters. The sickly girl at the start (Urabe) doesn’t even follow the sickly girl trope such as Maria in Nisekoi or parts of the ill girl from Masamune’s Revenge (who doesn’t really follow the Maria trope but I just like to think it’s true) as she clearly isn’t portrayed as cute and instead looks more complex. Her very appearance alone puts her above the girls in UBC just because she uses it to communicate so much of her personality. The fact that she doesn’t start off as a trope shows that the future interactions will be unpredictable and unique. The way that the Main character of MGX is floored in many more ways gives the promise of more developed characters and more meaningful moments for the future.

The characters of UBC are complete cardboard cut outs of characters that you’ve already seen and the main character seems to have no faults what so ever.  This should give you very limited expectations and the knowledge that nothing interesting will happen with these characters, not a lot anyway. I do however get that these are two different types of shows so let’s judge UBC on what it’s trying to be: A good action adventure mecha show. This show does have a bit of plot later in its story but it’s obvious from the start that it won’t be good.

Why is this? The quality of the story telling at the start tells you what to expect for the future. If the girls spend 10 minutes fighting and arguing about the main character then it might show that the story telling won’t be great. If a show won’t get on with it or at least try to do something interesting they really need to start right from the first episode. One flashy flash back right at the start is not enough to start a thrilling story. Sure enough, the next two episodes are about a pointless marriage arc that sucks. You might like the idea of a “Marriage Arc” however the start of the first episode is a good indication that it will start poorly.

When you begin to look at things like this the three episode rule is made pretty much redundant. If you know what to look for and what you like the first impression will probably be based off of these things instead of what you think might happen. I hope this first impression series has helped you see the importance of first episodes and how to recognise a decent one from a bad one. As well as this I hope I’ve changed your viewing habits and thought process when it comes to predicting the future quality of anime.

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