So, it’s the beginning of the season, and we all know what that means: It’s once again time for a cascade of “First Impressions” articles all across the anime blogging community. People are giving their initial reactions to the first episodes of the various anime that are starting to air.
Every season, part of me wants to join in, but I don’t.
Whenever I bother to read a first impressions post, I sort of tune out partway through and end up skipping to the last couple paragraphs. A lot of them are way too long and aren’t very valuable for their length. Further, most of them tend to overlook things that I’d otherwise be excited to read about in a first impressions post.
Let’s break down the formula. First, there’s discussion of the show on a whole, perhaps the pedigree of the studio and staff, and maybe some talk about the hype leading up to the show. Then, we get a synopsis of the first episode. Then, we get the author’s impressions of the story, characters, and art. Some even venture further and try to pass judgment on the show based on the first episode.
This way of going about things has a number of issues with it. Firstly, the very purpose is unclear to me. Is a “first impressions” meant to be read before watching the first episode of a show? After watching it? Instead of watching it? Many of these articles spend a significant chunk simply recounting the events of the episode, which is of little value to those who’ve already watched the episode.
But if you’ve already watched the first episode of a show, why even read a first impressions in the first place? That brings me to my next point.
The “First Impressions” concept has a lot of egregiously unrealized potential. Fact is, I’ve seen nobody try to go beyond the “episode synopsis + opinion on the episode” formula, and there’s so much more that can be looked at past that.
Where’s the preview that assesses a show’s potential? Let’s talk less about what about what the first episode of any given show is (Something anyone could find out just by watching the show) and start talking about what the presentation of the show’s first episode means for what the show could be. Let’s talk possibilities. Let’s talk speculation. Let’s take studio and staff into account to try and predict what direction a show will go in.
Granted, this kind of preview would require the writer having perspective, but that should be expected anyway. I think we can make previews something fun and exciting to look forward to every season; something more than just synopses and opinions; something everyone can find value in, whether they’ve formed an opinion of their own on the episode or not.
We can cut out the synopses and add in our speculations and our assessments of the show’s potential. Take out what doesn’t add value and add in stuff that does. That’s how we make things better.