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When Does it Get Good?


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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 8:46 am Reply with quote
Maybe it's because I'm watching Legend of the Galactic Heroes, the longest OVA series ever at 110 episodes, simply because I hear it's an amazing anime. Maybe it's because I have too many friends who KNOW WHO THEY ARE, that refuse to watch outstanding shounen jump titles because they're long, or maybe it's because of all the people who use the very stupid and vague "Three Episode Test," but I'm curious about everyone's opinion.

Okay, I'm sure a lot of us will drop an anime not because it's bad or even necessarily boring, but because we just don't expect it to get much better than our first impressions. That's normal. As a person who spent his first six years as an anime fan not watching anything below 70 episodes in length, I can safely say that this never bothered me. I usually watch shows until the end unless they're ecchi shows or moe shows, but I do know that many of us know or are fans that drop shows regularly because they just aren't clicking. With that, I'd like to present a suggestion to get whoever you know to give a longer anime a chance.

There are a lot of anime whose first episode is indicative of the rest of the series, like One Punch Man, Attack on Titan, the original Dragonball, and Hellsing Ultimate. With these shows, the quality and content remain roughly the same, with no new genre shifts or complete 180's with the story's tone that would turn an indifferent viewer's opinion around. They're all straightforward. If you like the first episode of Attack on Titan, you'll like the rest. If not, this show isn't for you. But what about shows that take a little bit to get good?

Fate/Zero's first episode is an infamous info dump that people unfamiliar with the Nasuverse would find to be a rather dense point of entry, but after that episode, things become rather easy to put into place (speaking as someone who saw Fate/Zero first). FMA:Brotherhood is also known for having a rushed start in order to abridge the already adapted parts of the manga, however, after episode 13 the story becomes incredibly easy to follow. This isn't even getting into all of the long shows that people might just drop on episode one or two because they think they can see what's coming.

The big question I'm asking is: What shows do you know about that have gotten better? At what point can a reluctant fan be assured that the show steps up its game? If there's a way to answer this without spoiling too much, what exactly happens to change the show from something they wouldn't care about into something they would? If a fan is incredibly skeptical, can they skip a large amount of episodes to get to the good part?

To list a few shows that I know of this nature, while answering the questions I presented..

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure gets good at episode 10, when the series changes to an entirely new protagonist and setting, changing the tone from an overly serious melodrama/epic with an empowerment-fantasy hero archetype to a trickster Yusuke Urameshi type pragmatist who develops from an honorless antihero who only cares about his loved ones to a proud warrior who, while still a bit of a trickster, respects opponents who earn respect. You can skip the first nine episodes, since the story re-explains everything pretty well anyway. (Skipping entire parts of JoJo is universally easy to do if one just wants to get to the genre that most interests them)

Steins;Gate gets good at episode 12, which ends in a surprising twist that shifts the genre from a slice of life comedy with a sci-fi gimmick to a conspiracy thriller. You DO need to watch the entire series until that point, but it's well worth it.

Rurouni Kenshin gets good at episode 28 when the Kyoto arc starts. Honestly, skimming through wiki articles and plot summaries of the first couple arcs is good enough to understand the meat of this arc, so skipping to it is entirely optional.

Gurren Lagann gets good at episode 8 when it shifts from an episodic, fun kids-show type anime to an epic that increases the scale of each confrontation to new heights with every passing episode. While skipping to episode 8 and knowing the premise, as well as some vague recaps about the plot thus far is enough to understand the episode, I'd recommend actually watching the show in order to get the proper emotional investment at this point.

Monster gets good at episode 4, when it shifts from a hospital drama to a dramatic mystery, conspiracy/psychological thriller, introducing the greatest villain in anime/manga history. You can't skip to it, though I doubt anyone would be so impatient as to skip the first 3 episodes.

There are more, but I'm interested to know if there are any longer anime or anime that start out uninteresting that you guys would recommend. Also, if anyone has any knowledge on when Legend of the Galactic Heroes takes off, I'd love to hear it.
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nobahn
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 2:59 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
The big question I'm asking is: What shows do you know about that have gotten better? At what point can a reluctant fan be assured that the show steps up its game?

Haibane Renmei
You have to get past the first five (5) episodes of world building before the plot kicks into gear -- unfortunately, this is a thirteen (13) episode series. I recommend it -- just keep in mind that that there:
  • Is no action;
  • are no busty girls in mini-skirts.

Here is an AMV that I like.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 11:56 pm Reply with quote
Oh my. Do people not like the start of Haibanei Renmei? I thought it was one of the better shows of its type from episode one. Probably my personal favorite thing by Yoshitobe Abe.
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Errinundra
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:37 am Reply with quote
Re Haibane Renmei.

Back in 2012 or so ANN had a best first episode tourmament where HB reached the semi finals, being beaten by the eventual winner, Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit. So, I agree with your first episode comments, louis6578. Some people find dull the next few episodes where the world and characters are established and explored. They have much less drama than subsequent episodes. I'm not one of that number.

Re LotGH.

It doesn't have a "grew a beard" moment. Actually, I suppose it does in a musical sense - when they start using Dmitri Shostakovich symphonies in the soundtrack for the third season. There are four seasons, each with complete story arcs and with gaps of a year or more between the original season releases. My theory is that the ANN encyclopaedia treats it as one series as that was how it was available to Americans when the encyclopaedia was created - as a complete fansub package. (ANN has evolved over the years. It once did reviews of fansubs.)

What LotGH does is accrete characters, events, political developments and space battles. Even though the political analysis is naive and the world building very narrowly focussed, the effect is steadily increasing grandeur, so that, by the end, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The two leads are shown to have multiple sides to them, while many other characters get their moment to shine

I rate it somewhat lower than the ANN averages. In addition to my issues with the politics and world building (this latter point I know I'm out of kilter with many people), the production values leave a lot to be desired, while some of the side characters are one dimensional (though sometimes entertainingly so). Thanks to the increasing grandiosity I rated each season higher as it went on: decent, good, good+, excellent, with an overall rating of very good.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
Posts: 1318
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 2:14 am Reply with quote
Interesting. I'll probably end up watching more later today. I want to finish the first season before going on to the next thing on my to watch list. If I don't watch LoTGH on a season to season basis, I'll forget about it again. I really wish it had a dub. That would make it easier to absorb.
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:36 pm Reply with quote
louis6578 wrote:
You can skip the first nine episodes, since the story re-explains everything pretty well anyway. (Skipping entire parts of JoJo is universally easy to do if one just wants to get to the genre that most interests them)


Ok well first of all, how dare you (lol)

On that note, i'd say that Re:Zero "gets good" at episode 7, a bit past the beginning of the 2nd arc, where you really start to get a feel for what this series is going for, both tonally and emotionally. Most people seemed to criticize the double-length first episode (and yeah, it wasn't all that great of a first episode). Whether or not you find Subaru annoying will decide whether you can stick with it, but the part wherespoiler[ after his third (?) death in the manor, he tries so hard to be ingratiating and get on everyone's good side that he has a near mental breakdown; like my other favorite parts of this show, it's sold so well by the voice acting, use of shading, and subtle facial expression animation.]

That's just me, anyway; seems like most people aren't as hot on Re:Zero anymore. Curious to see what other comments have to say Smile
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louis6578



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 3:49 pm Reply with quote
What do you mean by "Most people aren't as hot on Re:Zero anymore?"
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Merxamers



Joined: 09 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:44 pm Reply with quote
louis6578 wrote:
What do you mean by "Most people aren't as hot on Re:Zero anymore?"


It just seemed like everyone's hot take at the end of the season was that wasn't THAT good; usually seemed like it was up to me to stick up for it's good points! Though that year also had Yuri on Ice, Mob Psycho 100, and JJBA part 4, so it had a lot of competition.
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DuskyPredator
It...it's not like I post for you or anything!It...it's not like I post for you or anything!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:42 pm Reply with quote
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure gets good at episode 10? Okay, that is an interesting point is that I have the DVD of the first season like right next to me, I have not watched any of it yet, seen references to it in other anime, but never really took the plunge. All the recent talk about it though made me decide that enough was enough and I had to finally watch it, and I am kind of waiting to be prepared to start something I think has quite a bit to go through.

It is a kind of recent thing for myself, but I watch a lot of things I don't like to the end, if I started it, the new bit being that I refuse to watch a second season of something I really did not like the first time around. When I start something I generally like to finish it as I can become invested even if watching it actually makes me feel pain. But I was not going to make myself watch the new season of Yowamushi Pedal.

I have had a number of experience where I would say perhaps from a lack of experience I would be surprised when a show actually did really well, and right now I have kind of come to a place that I can give some shows a chance, while also being able to write others off.

As for the question of particular shows that start of uninteresting before getting much better. I think Captain Earth starts out rather lame, it does not really do much, but later does some cool things when it has its characters fleshed out a bit, especially with its main female character. I think about how I dislike some anime like Knights of Sidonia where their CG could be really distracting, that even some of how it handled drama might be a problem early on, but it handles its later action really well.

And recently I would say Kemono Friends, which starts off as particularly uninteresting, that most dropped it after the first episode, maybe even the first half of the episode, but it ended up being one of the top recent shows. I can perhaps also recall not thinking too highly of Kill la Kill early on, but I think after a while the themes it sets up kind of makes sense and even the earlier bits can be engaging. And most of us should know Madoka Magica which does not show its hands until after a few episodes in, by which point it becomes a lot more interesting.
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:23 am Reply with quote
It depends on your preferences. What may be a hook for someone else may not be a hook for you.

For example, I was hooked by Monster ‘s first episode, since it is where the story started to put into question the main character’s belief that all lives are equal.

On the other hand, Madoka Magica never hooked me and the big plot twist I just saw as ‘meh’.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:36 pm Reply with quote
Aylinn wrote:
It depends on your preferences. What may be a hook for someone else may not be a hook for you.

For example, I was hooked by Monster ‘s first episode, since it is where the story started to put into question the main character’s belief that all lives are equal.

On the other hand, Madoka Magica never hooked me and the big plot twist I just saw as ‘meh’.


I agree, Monster's first episode was amazing. I just know some people who were skeptical. Similarly, I LOVED the first episode of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:08 am Reply with quote
Errinundra wrote:
Back in 2012 or so ANN had a best first episode tourmament where HB reached the semi finals, being beaten by the eventual winner, Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit.


I still think the first episode of Moribito is one of the finest single pieces of directing I've seen in anime. Kamiyama outlines the entire story in just a bit over twenty minutes and moves seamlessly from the river-rescue scene through to Balsa's encounter with Chagum and his mother in the palace. Along the way we see the daily lives of people in Yogo and the vast gulf between their lives and those of the Emperor's cohort. We also see Balsa's independence of mind when she does not prostrate herself before the royals and her willingness to risk her life to protect others. All of these are themes that play out in one way or another over the course of the remaining twenty-five episodes.
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louis6578



Joined: 31 Jul 2013
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:35 am Reply with quote
Let me just say that none of these anime are actually instances where I thought the show started bad and got good later on. It's more like... if a person wasn't totally on board with a show early on, this will change their mind.

I loved One Piece since the Buggy arc, with the 4kids dub being my point of entry no less. A dub that I DESPISE, but somehow, the spirit of the story still got through to me. It wasn't until around Drum Island arc aired on 4kids TV that I switched to watching the entire series over again in subs.

To be fair, with Monster, JoJo's, Fate/Zero, and Gurren Lagann, I kinda knew what I was getting into. Nonetheless, I only knew vague things about JoJo from Gigguk's top 20 coolest anime characters list, where he only had footage from the OVAs, and my brother had read the manga up to the beginning of Part 6, so he often made references. Even so, I loved the first episode of Phantom Blood for being so... oddly down to Earth despite its bombast. If the show hadn't found its calling as a supernatural battle anime, I wouldn't have minded if it were just about the trials of ordinary noble lad, Jonathan Joestar and his sinister stepbrother, Dio Brando.

Steins;Gate also hooked me at episode one with how adorably hammy Okabe was with his mad scientist shtick. I'm just saying that I can understand why the first several episodes might be boring to some. I always found weird enjoyment in the early interactions between the characters.
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Jose Cruz



Joined: 20 Nov 2012
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Location: Serra Gaucha/Minnesota
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 11:07 am Reply with quote
I though Aria was kinda dull for me in the beginning but eventually I grew to love it, specially by the last season. It never felt bad but I got more and more into it and it's very particular atmosphere.
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Darksorrow29



Joined: 05 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:04 am Reply with quote
So few things to add. In reference to the '3 episode' rule, as mentioned earlier I feel like if you can get a good sense of what the show is like, that's good enough. Sometimes it takes a lot more than 3 episodes. I'll also adjust this rule depending on the pedigree of a show, the reviews, if i like the cast, or genre etc.

Shows that I think have gotten better below. They generally all have the same theme of them taking me a few episodes to figure out what it's going to be like going forward:


From the New World Takes about 3 episodes to really get started imo. Lots of info + piecing together the plot. ANNCast has a great podcast on this show.

Black Lagoon Probably the minority here, but I was kinda meh on the beginning of Black Lagoon and enjoyed more of the end of S1 and all of S2. I'd probably make the same comment for Darker Than Black.

Another It took me maybe 1-2 episodes to think this show got good. Generally because I couldn't tell what direction it would be going in. Very plot focused show that required some build up.

Grimgar i was interested at first, but really got hooked after the first few episodes. Love the background art as well.

Hunter x Hunter took me three episodes or so to get into it once they fully got into the groove of what the show would be like.

Re:Zero took me about 3 episodes. I went into this show completely blind. I had no idea the tone of the show or the genre. After figuring it out and once the main plot got rolling, i was interested.

Shows you hear a lot of people talk about getting good at 'X' episode. I won't reveal the numbers:

Madoka Always here people say watch until X episode! Same thing with Shiki.

Clannad Pretty tired of hearing this one, but I've heard some people say just to 'slug' through the original to get to After Story. Painful to see, i liked it all.


And lastly just in reference to louis6578 referencing episode 28 of Kenshin. I can see where you're coming from, and 1-28 probably has a few fillers, but for any new viewers to Kenshin i'd highly recommend to start from the beginning, or at least until the Oniwabanshu. The beginning of this show literally introduces key characters of the main party you'll be interacting with, even throughout the more action heavy episodes of 28-62.
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