First Episode Blues

How many times have you been bored to death by an anime series, only to find out later that you “just need to stick with it” for a few episodes before it “picks up”? There seems to be some prevailing theory in the anime industry that you need to make viewers work for their enjoyment. If you hook people on the first episode, well, that’s just cheap. How will you know your fans will stick with you through the inevitable recap episode?

Take my experience with A Certain Scientific Railgun as an example. The first episode is all about how this school girl Mikoto is so apparently god-like that her sidekick Kuroko has made it her mission to lure her into love hotel. The antagonists, if you could call them that, are such push-overs that it’s embarrassing. Not only do I not care what happens to these characters, this show isn’t going to let anything happen in the first place. But of course, the fourth episode is totally epic. I just have to hang in there.

I still chase the dragon of anime bliss. The next Macross or Slayers could just be one more incomprehensible title away. I’ve given a lot of my time and money to anime. I’ve got a closet full of manga and un-assembled model kits to prove it.  However, now that I’m not a university student with 11:30am classes, my time is kind of at a premium. I just don’t think it’s too much to ask to start enjoying a show as soon as the opening credits roll.