I think this title may need some clarifying. I just thought that the way more accurate, 5 anime with first episodes that I personally didn’t like much but ended up liking the show, was a bit of a mouthful. Not super catchy and stuff.

I have blogger friends that have been urging me to make a bit more of an effort with my SEO and a good catchy title with a strong focus keyphrase is very important it seems. This is my attempt at SEO friendliness, let’s hope it works!

So yeah, these first episodes aren’t necessarily bad, but I didn’t like them much despite the fact that the shows ended up much better than expected!

5. Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They?

There was nothing wrong exactly with the first episode of Problem Children but it was such a basic, paint-by-numbers harem isekai. It felt like downright déjà vu. And that cocky Gary stu main character seemed like he would get difficult to take after a while.

It quickly became apparent that Problem Children is indeed an isekai but it tries a lot of unusual things, and as for Izayoi, he’s the least present and important of the main cast. Forget a harem, he’s lucky to get screentime. Instead, the series became a true ensemble cast blending a few different narrative styles along the way and sprinkling some honest surprises.

I’m not going to say it’s a masterpiece but it is unusual, and for my money charming, fantasy anime unlike what that dull first episode would have lead me to believe.

4. Interviews with Monster Girls

For me, Demi-chan had a similar issue as Problem Children. The first episode is misleadingly mediocre. Not bad, just so average cute girls. I was getting ready for another one of the millions of nice cute girl shows I had seen with a monster twist and potentially some uncomfortable scenes of a teacher leering at his students.

Nope! Nopidy nope, nope. It was a show full of adorable girls, don’t get me wrong. But instead of focusing on high school fanservice and how nice everyone is, the show decided to take a more earnest approach and actually gently deal with the issues faced by people living in societies not adapted to them.

To be fair, I’m not sure how they could have communicated that in episode 1 and as it stands, I think the progression is just right. But I never expected that from the start of the series.

3. Granblem

Look, I’m not saying Granbelm was an amazing show. I had plenty of issues with it. But it also had some great moments and I’m glad I watched it. Something that I wasn’t sure I would do after the first episode. The first episode of Granbelm is a mix of bad pacing and clumsy exposition. It tries to introduce a series that was all about the characters and their relationship, through a hard-to-follow action sequence that barely introduced us to the cast.

Not only was that not the tone of the series at all, but it was also highlighting what in my opinion were the weakest aspects of Granbelm, (i.e. the mecha battles). The tonal shift from episode 1 to episode 2 was striking and happily, the series overall ended up more concerned with character development which was a marked improvement.

2. Gintama

Gintama is funny and occasionally just unexpectedly stirring. I know this from the manga. Because I didn’t get past the first episode of the anime. I’m exaggerating but honestly, I don’t like the first episode of Gintama. It seems to employ a completely different type of humour and almost feels like they decided to start the series off with filler episodes.

It didn’t work for me and for a while, I thought maybe the show wasn’t my thing. I quite like the manga though and I did get past the first episode eventually. It’s a show I watch on and off whenever I want a few giggles so it’s going to take me forever to finish it

1. Berserk

For those of you who may not know, for a long time, I considered Berserk to be my favourite anime. I have read most of the available manga but I prefer the original anime. It is still in my favourites, and although I find it challenging to recommend, I think many anime fans would love it. It’s one of the most ruthless and yet loving character studies I have watched.

But you know what makes Berserk even harder to recommend, that first episode. No kidding, I was pretty much set on dropping the show after episode 1. I liked nothing about that episode. The only reason I didn’t in fact drop the show was that I was watching a torrented fansub version and it’s not like I had any other anime available to just watch so I figured I might as well watch episode 2 and 3 which I had then stop downloading it.

Episode 2 was a 180 turn. It wasn’t just a tonal shift, it seemed like the show had restarted as something completely different and I just wanted to know how we got from here to there. By episode 3 I was engrossed in the story and had actually forgotten the first episode altogether.

Berserk is one of the very rare anime I have rewatched and when I did, I was once again taken completely by surprise by episode 1. It sure makes it much more relevant in hindsight, but I still don,t like that episode. I’m so glad I stuck with the show by sheer happenstance!

There you have it. 5 series I ended up liking, some of them I like a whole lot but I did not like at first. It’s sort of a tribute to the fact that I have to give anime a proper chance. Are there any series you enjoyed but hated the first episode?

20 thoughts

  1. The first episode of Gintama pretty much does a fast forward compared to the first chapter of the manga. In the manga Gintoki met Shinpachi on chapter 1 and kagura on chapter 3 while on the anime they are already part of Yorozuya. I think the manga did a better job when introducing the characters since it was more comical and loaded with lot’s of graphic violence albeit hilarious.

  2. The only series I can think of that’s somewhat like this for me is Lyrical Nanoha, except with that one it’s not just the first episode, it’s the first four episodes that are a real slog, until things finally get going. After that it’s great, but if I’d judged it on the three-episode rule it would’ve failed spectacularly.

  3. One Piece would be my first pick. Most shounen take a while to really get going for me, but not many reach the peaks that I experienced with One Piece. Wonder whether I’d stick with it, if I started it today.

    Gungrave shares a few things with Berserk, including a first episode in media res. Kind of like you with Berserk, I thought of dropping it, before clicking on “next”. I just felt too lazy to try something else. That was a good call.

    As for the opposite — shows that left me indifferent after a brilliant opener — Mars Red immediately comes to mind. I don’t think I’ll forget that episode anytime soon, despite losing attention to what came after.

    1. I don’t remeber the first episode of One Piece.I do remeber liking it but I wasn’t very picky at the time (still aren’t)

  4. Agreed. Gintama is one of the best anime I’ve ever watched, but I dropped it twice because it’s first few episodes were really unappealing. I used to think it was a trash anime, but now that I’ve actually watched it to the end, I can finally understand why it has such high rating.

  5. I’m not sure if I agree about Berserk because the first episode made me more curious about it. How did this guy lose his arm? What is this mystical item that caused all this? Why is Guts angry about Griffith? I really do think it added a lot even if, yeah, its definitely not the best episode of the show so far. It’s a great one after all. Hmm.

    1. Do they mention Griffith in the first episode? I think we hear someone mention Femto but I’m not sure Griffith comes up at all. I have to admit that by the time Femto comes up again I didn’t really remeber the early mention at all. It is better in hindsight like I said, when you’ve watched the series. But since there’s no indication until episode 2 that the first one is a flashforward, I wasn’t intrigued while watching about how they got to that point since it was the begining of the story. I’m not sure that makes sense but you know what I mean. In the first episode there’s no real indication that Guts hadn’t always been a solitary mercinary who lost his arm in a childhood incident.

      1. Yeah, Guts does say Griffith and Femto very begrudgingly and yeah I understand what you mean. I guess more context would be nice but it worked for me? I guess I am just easy.

  6. Granbelm would have to be on my list, too, considering I actually dropped the show after that episode, and only picked it back up because of your ep2 review.

    I also didn’t watch any Gintama after the first episode. I’ve heard from plenty of people that it takes a while to get going, now, though it’s usually more than just one episode. What frightens me about Gintama is the sheer amount of episodes.

    I dropped A Sister’s All You Need after the pre-credit sequence. That’s part of episode one, so… does it count? I picked it up later, and… the show really wasn’t what I expected. It’s actually a really sweet and uplifting show, without a single siscon in it.

    It’s really hard for me to think of good examples. There are plenty shows I dropped early only to come back to them and enjoy them, but I’m not sure I’d say it’s only the first episode. Or if it’s the episode at all, and I just didn’t know what to expect and watched it from the wrong angle.

    I loved Interview with Monster Girls from episode one, though. I don’t remember what I thought about Problem Children. I do remember the show growing on me, but it would probably have been a gradual process (as that’s how it usually works for me).

    1. I haven’t watched a sister’s all you need. Maybe I should give it a try as I had entirely assumed it was a siscon show.

      1. The only siscons in the show are the characters in the manga the main character writes, and the outtakes we see tend to be stuff he comes up with to troll his editor. I didn’t know this so I noped out after the pre-credits scene. Mistake.

  7. I agree with Gintama and Beserk , both had pretty weak intro episodes. But I do adore both. monster girls though, I watched more than 5 episodes and dropped it . Maybe it was due to watching other monster girl style shows (monster masume, Dragon Maid , Mongatari series) the girls were just not monstrous enough 😅😂

    1. I think that’s what I liked about Demi chan, It’s not a fanservice show like the others you mentioned, so it hits very differently.

      1. If I remember right Life of a Centaur hit some of the themes , as they showed how Centaur’s drove specially built cars, ways for mermaids to move around on land , and general etiquette towards people with physiological differences . I don’t really remember if I watched the whole series , as it was definitely more of a standard slice of life show.

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