In a perfect world, most fans would enjoy all the anime that gets produced. Sadly, this isn’t the case since we do not know what the show will give us until we watch it. This leaves us with the usual remark, “It gets better, I swear” which is frequently used as a defense. I’m a firm believer of that because any show can have a potential of becoming good. This leaves us with the question, what exactly makes a good anime? I will explain just that along with my experiences.
Naturally, I’m not familiar with the source material unless I have read it before hand. As a result, I usually play it safe and choose shows that might interest me so I don’t get burdened with discontent. Since trying new shows is a big gamble, you have to set the expectations low or you will become dissatisfied every time. This is also the main reason I never watch everything in a particular season and do things at my pace. It allows me to maintain a positive attitude. This eventually leads us to the taste testing since we can’t expect a good impression on the first try.
One of the mistakes many make is not giving shows that have potential a fair chance. Unless the first episode is horrible and you see no improvement from it what so ever, it’s always a good idea to watch three or even four episodes to see if it becomes better. Although I have written off taste testing in my previous editorial since I always watch beyond the grace period, they are very helpful when you are trying something that you are not sure about. For instance, this happened when I watched Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. I thought the show would turn out bad. However, I was wrong since it became one of the most enjoyable shows in the Fall 2010 season because of the random jokes and parodies. With that, you should always try a little before giving up. Heck, you might even enjoy it more as the show goes into more character development or improve the story’s premise.
This leaves us to what I consider as good Anime. I think there are many things that contribute to this. First off, I like shows that entertain me. This can range from watching a show consisting of girls having fun or even something that has an interesting plot and setting. The characters play a big role in this since they are driving the story. However, if I hate a certain character like Takashi from Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai, who is perhaps the weakest male lead I ever seen in my life, I tend to get annoyed and in some instances, I drop the show if it persists. In addition, execution also plays a significant role in making it entertaining. This means that the show should at least stay faithful to the source material (if it’s an adaptation), has good animation/music and does not add gratuitous fan service that doesn’t contribute to anything. This is one of the main reasons why most shows Kyoto Animation produces are very popular. They succeed at all the things I mentioned and more. Not only that, I have noticed that other studios like Production IG, Shaft, PA Works and Ufotable who also produced great shows at the same level. I think this depends mostly on how talented the production staff is. On the other hand, not all shows can succeed and therefore, I have witnessed shows that let me down.
Although it’s rare, there are instances where shows have really disappointed me. This can happen when you have reasonable expectations, which never gets met. For instance, the second season of Nogizaka Haruka was one of those duds since I came into the second season expecting more of the same. When I watched the first episode, I got bombarded with even more fan service, a very generic tsundere and a relationship that remains unresolved. I also witnessed this with Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai before I dropping it at episode 8. There are many reasons why people feel this way. The common reasons typically include poor story telling, a disappointing finale, boring characters or excessive fan service. On the other hand, there are some people who watch it just to bash it in the end. While it’s their right to do it, I do question them since they are probably better off watching something that they enjoy. If it gets to a point where I cannot take it anymore, I would just drop it since life is short. Then again, there are some people who enjoy terrible shows just for enjoyment or as a guilty pleasure of some sort. Therefore, it’s fair game.
Overall, it’s difficult to determine what anime is good since people’s opinions are subjective. We are always going to have different opinions because of our tastes. Still, I believe that we should give each show a fair chance and not give up based merely on first impressions, unless there is a reasonable possibility that it will never improve.
With that, I leave a few questions for you to think about: What qualities you consider important in a good Anime? Also, what anime you watched that gave a bad first impression, but got better as time went on?