Just a few days ago, a blog post at the Behind the Nihon Review had myself thinking about the usefulness of the three-episode test I have been using for the past three seasons and questioning the rationale of dropping Anime. As we all know, fans have different tastes and expectations when it comes to the shows they watch. After I took a look of the three episode taste tests and the number of shows I dropped in the past two years, its quite obvious that dropping Anime is rather difficult for myself and I haven’t found a good reason to do so (Image Source).
With each passing season, new shows start airing. For some, it gives them a feeling that they must try each airing Anime out to see which one is worthwhile to watch and ones to drop. Some people do this through a “Three Episode Test” (also called the Three Episode Taste Test) to get a good idea of how the show will potentially be. When I started the initiative back in the Fall 2010 Anime Season, I have only found myself dropping only two shows and continued watching the rest. For me, it was just a glorified three episode impressions posts that didn’t do much.
The main flaw with the “Three Episode Test” is that one never realizes what lies ahead after the third episode since things could get better. For instance, when I watched the first three episodes of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, I thought it’s going to be more of the cute girls doing cute thing. Later on, the jokes got more entertaining as the girls are thrown into more absurd situations like the “Prince and the Pauper” parody in Episode 5. The belief of “the show can better” weakens the effectiveness of the taste testing since three episodes is only a small part of the overall picture unless the show is so terrible that most people are going to stop it. Then again, there were some instances that shows that failed to meet my exceptions like the poorly done ending of Fractale. This belief is going to depend on the viewer and the show he or she watches.
Since I’m on the topic of taste testing, dropping Anime is closely related. As everyone knows, I’m a somewhat generous critic and I tend to enjoy most of the stuff I decide to watch with a few exceptions. To me, dropping a show is liken to giving up since you do not know how the show ends. However, there are some exceptions where I had to drop since the show is completely unwatchable or there is something in the show that made me uncomfortable. For instance, Yosuga no Sora had a good story, but the explicit sexual scenes caused me to feel uneasy. In another instance, I have dropped Rio: Rainbow Gate since the story was incredibly senseless and it focused more on what revealing outfits should Rio wear in each episode.
Then again, this is where my pickiness comes in handy as I only pick a few shows that spark my interest and I would stick with them throughout the whole season. I feel that watching everything the season has to offer is not the best way to see what shows to watch since it could cause Anime fatigue. Only focusing on a select few has enhanced my viewing experience for the best, reduced the need to drop and refined my watching habit.
In conclusion, the “Three Episode Test” effectiveness has increasingly become very iffy from my experience. Some people may prefer doing it this way, which is fine. I just feel that trying every show that airs in a new season is not an ineffective way of determining what show to watch as three episodes doesn’t tell the whole story most of the time, especially when one is blogging about it. This is probably a reason why I continue to only pick a few shows and stick with them like some people have done. Also, dropping anime is also very subjective and can vary person to person. In the end of the day though, you should ask yourself “Why am I dropping this show?” or “Can it get better after this point?” Even if the show manages to be continually bad, there will always be something in the show that you have enjoyed. This is probably the reason why I haven’t dropped Oretachi. Even if the story is a pile of mediocrity, at least it had some funny jokes and cute girls.