Poisoning the First Impression

If you watch a first episode because somebody else told you to, does that then wreck your first impression of a show?

Zeria mentions here “[a]ll too often I hear that anime bloggers say they don’t watch YouTube videos”.

I can’t really speak on anyone else’s behalf, but the reason I don’t watch analysis videos anymore is because of one catalyst – Digibro’s How to Recognise a Terrible Anime in One Episode. I was expecting it to confirm my biases that you don’t even need a 3 episode test to win over a viewer – because, at least, that’s how it goes in my experience. I’ve dropped some anime in under 10 minutes – such as Seisen Cerberus and Lance N’ Masques – because they were clearly trainwrecks, but I also dropped Dance with Devils in its second minute because I knew it was just not my gig.

However, now I feel like I can’t touch High School of the Dead, Gate or Joker Game again without having Digibro’s opinions tainting my own. Granted, I’ve dropped all three at this point, but I feel like aside from Joker Game, which I thought was mildly engaging the first time around and became a chore by episode 3, I gave them the boot because he told me to and not because I tried the shows of my own volition (regardless of whether it was a hatewatch or enjoyment).

Most of the time I would much rather I form my own opinion about a show and have other people’s opinions act as a safety net, rather than taking in the world’s opinions first and then regurgitating them in my notes or in my posts. I know I’m easily influenced and if I were given the opportunity to regurgitate something, I would (whether unconsciously or not – I try to cite people’s ideas if I remember where they came from, but that doesn’t always happen, y’know?).

I suppose first impressions, particularly simulcasts, would be the easiest to “poison” people’s opinions of because of all the people who insist that they get their content out first…well, for the express purpose of influencing others’ opinions. However, you always walk into spoilers of your own volition (or do you…?), so making sure you don’t open any email notifications or posts at the start of a new season is probably for the best, unless you’re the sort who doesn’t know where to begin with a given season or show in the first place.

As for what Zeria is talking about in the post linked up top (which isn’t 100% relevant here, but somehow the post feels incomplete if I don’t address it), there is, quite certainly, a notable gap between anime-oriented YouTubers and anibloggers with not a lot of crossover, but strangely I’ve noted popular YouTubers, such as Gigguk and Digibro, tend to be somewhere in the genesis stories, or even just the stories, of many an aniblogger. So basically YouTubers are kind of like the anime to anibloggers’ manga – because their content requires more commitment in the moment, their fanbases are bigger, but with enough luck, a fan of a YouTuber becomes a blogger.


I feel like I sort of became off-topic at the end of the post once or twice, but that was because this post was languishing in my drafts for a few months before I decided to clean it up and put it out there because it had been almost ready for so long.

So, how about you guys? Do you prefer reading up on other people’s reviews before having a first impression of your own? Or are you the opposite and won’t touch reviews until you’ve made a judgement for yourself?

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8 thoughts on “Poisoning the First Impression

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  1. I wanted to go back and comment on this, but I completely forgot because I’m an airhead sometimes….

    But I’ve honestly stopped watching anything relating to seasonal anime before watching shows at all because I just don’t watch trailers of anything anymore unless I am at a movie theater. Maybe first impressions in blog form are different because I do read those to see how people I like and understand think about first episodes. I do watch youtubers and such, but eventually…

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  2. “If you watch a first episode because somebody else told you to, does that then wreck your first impression of a show?”

    To me… there’s a mismatch between your lead and the body of your post…

    When it comes to somebody telling me I should watch the show, not really, no. I generally only take specific recommendations from a handful of trusted sources. Some, I trust more than others because I know those folks know me and my tastes. I do take recommendations from buzz and hype, but unless there’s a ton of spoilers, those don’t generally wreck anything either. Tons of spoilers can because those are almost always snapshots, and thus can be very misleading as to the bigger picture/whole package.

    When it comes to analysis videos… I don’t watch them. As Sturgeon’s Law specifies, “90% of everything is crap”, and that’s true and then some when it comes to videos. Doesn’t help that the vast majority of the videos are glorified text-to-speech converters, and/or their information density is so low that they take ten minutes to say what I could have read in three. They’re almost always a complete waste of time.

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    1. “To me…there’s a mismatch between your lead and the body of your post…”

      Hmm…I had the feeling something was off when I started getting comments about hype (an important topic when it comes to these videos for sure, but not 100% relevant). The reasons why this post was languishing in Draft Hell were because I didn’t know how to start and end it, plus I thought the concept of “plot poison” was a bit strong (the last of which I was originally attributing my odd feeling towards). I don’t normally agree with you and I don’t about all analysis videos being dismissed as “glorified text-to-speech converters”, but it’s times like this I’m thankful for a more critical eye.

      …Even still, I don’t think I can fix this post (if I ever get the chance to) without redoing it entirely…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with the people that say hype can poison their opinion on series. Starting something for the hype is an idea that can backfire quite badly if I don’t end up agreeing with the hype.

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  4. On the one hand, I tend not to read reviews of shows I haven’t seen (but I’m not fanatical about it). I’ll let them pile up in my RSS feed for a couple of episodes, then see if they saw the same things I did (and I’m quite capable of dropping a show halfway through episode 1). On the other hand, my tastes are odd enough that other peoples’ recommendations often don’t help. I quite liked HOTD, but you have to ignore the fanservice and pay attention to the story.

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  5. I tend to stay away from anime that people are often hyping up as “the next big thing” it’s why I haven’t’ watched My Hero Acadamia yet. I’ll get there, but I want to get there on my own time, not because i’m pressured to keep up with the joneses. I don’t want to come in with too many expectations.

    I don’t do hype, ever..even for the things I love. Hype is one of the most dangerous things in a fandom.

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  6. I won’t read any post that talks about an anime I haven’t seen, no matter how old the anime actually is – unless I’ve already made up my mind to never watch that anime.

    I do think that hype can poison my first impressions of an anime though. Like with A Place Further Than The Universe or Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, both anime I knew were hyped and both I spent the entire anime searching for what exactly it was that made the anime good. Turns out, I just don’t like “cute girls doing cute things” anime.
    If anything, it makes me more reluctant to watch certain hyped up anime, like Cowboy Bebop, which I never plan to watch anytime soon, if ever.

    Considering hype is just another form of other people’s opinions, I’d say you’re correct about other people’s opinions having an adverse effect on first / overall impressions of an anime.

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