First Reactions are a big thing in the anime community, as soon as the first 3 or so episodes of a show are out, people are quick to share their thoughts on the show or predict the shows tone and future. It is very common for a show that is currently airing to shoot straight up the top 50 or even top 20 position on most anime list such as MAL or HummingBird before it slowly starts to fall back down after it is done airing. This is because of 2 things: 1. Most people reserve rating a show until it’s done, and the only people who are rating it whilst it is airing are mostly fan of the source material, and 2. More people like to binge watch a show after it is done airing to avoid cliffhanger.
The problem when shows are rated early is that shows will instantly fall in the top 50 or top 20 which will anger some anime watchers, who will then give the show an undeserved low score to bring it down the rankings. Which then results in huge influx of the show receiving 1s or 2s for no reason.
My problem with FR is that I don’t believe you can determine a shows potential in the first 3 episodes most of the time. I feel that because so much anime is release every year, the 3 episode drop rule is flawed in it’s accuracy. Now I’m not saying that the first 3 episodes don’t show what the show is a lot of the time, like Rail Wars was a piece a shit from the very beginning and never got better. But I’m saying that many shows that I’ve watched either have poor starts and get better as it goes on, or start off really strong and then deteriorate in quality.
For example anime like Madoka Magica, HxH(2011), Steins;Gate and even Black Lagoon I feel started off bad. I only really started to like Madoka from episode 4, HxH from episode 7, Steins;Gate almost halfway through the show and Black Lagoon only from Roberta’s arc in the first season. These are all shows that I consider amazing, and would recommend to most people and I would have missed out on them if I had followed the 3 episode drop rule. I feel that a lot of great number of shows start off poor because they are still trying to build the premise and introduce characters, and some shows aren’t that great at multi-tasking the two whilst also making it entertaining to watch. But later on once these two aspects are taken care of, the show get better because it can move the plot along.
On the other side, shows like Future Diary, SAO, Akame Ga Kill, Owari no Seraph are shows that I really hate but feel that they started off great. These are shows that I watch the first couple of episodes and thought that “this could be one of the greatest anime’s I’ve seen”, sure I was a newbie when I first saw SAO but I recently saw Future Diary and I still thought that it could be the second coming of Fate/Zero during its first couple of episodes. These shows end up losing what made them great or don’t try to compound and build on their plot as their story moves along and then eventually stagnate.
Now I’m not saying be like me, who doesn’t drop anything they watch, I do know that I am in the extreme minority with this viewpoint of the 3 episode drop rule. But I feel that this system of deciding shows potential is flawed. I’m not saying it is wrong all of the time, but some great shows could be dropped by a lot of anime viewer simply because they started off poor. Their isn’t a perfect system to watching shows, as not everybody can watch every show, but I feel that more consideration and optimism is needed when starting a show, to let it grow and develop before being so trigger happy to drop the show.