Fall is now in full throttle (almost), with only a few more shows to make their appearance. Contrary to my last post, I ended up picking more shows than those that I’ve mentioned.
The first week is always fun, since this is where we get to see if the hype holds true or not. There are a lot of hyped up shows, and I think it’s safe to say that some held up, while some did not. Here’s my take on the first week of Fall 2011.
First episodes are very important sometimes. They set the tone for how the series will progress. They either give the viewer an introduction to the world, or just let the viewer keep on guessing (in a good way). Done well, and the series itself becomes something memorable. Though, a good first episode doesn’t guarantee the same quality of awesomeness for the rest of the series (like Hanasaku Iroha) and likewise, some shows may have a bad first few episodes, but ends up being great (like Baccano!) However, you can’t deny the fact that you will be turned down sometimes by bad first episodes, or that you’ll be let down by something that started great.
We can either see a first episode as something that immerses us to the world or throws us into the fray. The first one is pretty self explanatory. It’s an episode that provides the viewer with some back story and plot, and some character background as well. For example, Fate/Zero does this by taking its time to explain many aspects about the story right off the bat, like the Grail War, or the Masters involved. It didn’t show us any flashy sword fight despite being a forty minute premier, and instead chose to save the action for the next episodes. Hunter x Hunter 2011 also does this in a more traditional, shounen kind of way, introducing 3/4 of the main characters in a more laid back fashion. Chihayafuru can also be an example of this, as it introduced and focused more on the main heroine, Chihaya Ayase and her love for karuta, while mentioning a few tidbits about her past and her co-main characters. Granted, it doesn’t really introduce you to the whole story, but it gives you some sort of “this is where the story really starts” kind of thing (if that makes sense)
Thrown into the fray is exactly how it sounds; it tosses the viewer into the action with little information about what’s going on. A lot of examples for this within the Fall lineup. The most prominent would probably be Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. More than half of the episode is based on a group of student/fighters trying to land a hit on their teacher. A very fast paced episode that just focused on letting the viewers know “this is how fights will look like”. Following Senjou no Horizon is Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai, which literally starts in the middle of a fray. Their take on this was the introduction of almost (if not past) a dozen eye-catching characters that seem like they will have some sort of relevance to the plot. A more subtle but otherwise similar take on a first episode is Phi Brain, Kami no Puzzle, as it introduces its main lead, and throws him into the fray (his fray being something along the lines of a puzzle solving death match)
Now, you may be thinking, what’s up with the one sentence analyses. Well, that’s what first episodes do. They give you an idea, whether it’s through introductions or through an all-out fist fest, they will eventually get an idea across.
I guess it’s a matter of how much information they let the viewers know, that will determine what kind of idea the viewer will get. Of course, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is more army/rebellion-ish inclined and not some sort of teacher hunt, and Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai, although appealing, isn’t just about some twelve hotties hacking away at each other, but, for someone like me who is not familiar with the source material, that’s what I will forge in my head. Having too much information though, the episode might become stagnant to some, like some post-episode reactions to Fate/Zero.
So yeah, first episodes, I think, are very important to a series, and so far, Fall 2011’s first episodes are good, some more than others, but that’s just my personal biases talking. How about you guys? Do you think that it matters whether the first episodes introduces or not? And, how’s Fall so far? ^^