Here’s my honest confession: I never heard about the 3-episode rule all my life. Heck, I didn’t even know that such a rule exists.
It was only when I watched Anime-Gataris that I came across the 3-episode rule for the first time.
Should you go and watch Anime-Gataris so then you can learn more about the 3-episode rule?
Well, as much as I do encourage you to learn more about this rule, I don’t recommend you to learn about it from Anime-Gataris, though.
Is it because Anime-Gataris was a bad anime or something?
That answer will depend on you. Sure, the premise behind Anime-Gataris is all about the anime, the industry, and the fans in general. But the story seems to be filled with over-the-top gag style like Osomatsu-san for the most part.
I will say right off the bat that it’s not the anime that I would recommend people to watch. But I have to give credit to this anime because that was where I learned about the 3-episode rule for the first time.
3-episode rule: what are they?
In a nutshell, it’s a rule where you can pretty much grasp what the story is all about by watching the first three episodes of the anime.
Yes, that’s the 3-episode rule in general.
If you’re planning to watch a specific anime, just watch the first three episodes and decide for yourself whether you want to continue watching the anime or not.
Think of it like sampling the story, anime-style.
Instead of watching the anime for an unknown amount of episodes, you only cap it to just three episodes.
Why some people find the 3-episode rule a terrible rule
Well, it’s not surprising why some people find this rule to be a bunch of bull crap. After all, the rule of thumb is to watch just the three episodes so then you can decide whether to keep watching or drop the anime.
They’re right about that. It is a terrible rule.
For one, most stories for the anime adaptation are never designed with this rule in mind.
Sure, there are quite a few anime adaptations that align well with this rule simply because the anime will only be running for 13 episodes at most.
But I will say that it’s more like a coincidence rather than by design.
Even if it’s doable, I still find it unrealistic for the story to reach the juicy part by episode three. That tends to be the case when the story has so many moving parts that the juicy part can only happen much later.
Take Hortensia Saga for example where the story only begins to pick up its pace in the fourth episode.
Just imagine if I dropped this anime after watching the third episode. There’s a high chance that I may regret my decision for dropping the anime just about the anime is heading to a more interesting part of the story.
Yes, I don’t like how the outcome turns out for Alfred. That’s another story for another day. But the anime somehow does illustrate that the 3-episode rule isn’t the hard and fast rule when it comes to judging the anime.
Do you even need to watch until the third episode to continue watching the anime?
This is another reason why the 3-episode rule is bull crap. If the anime already makes you hooked during the first episode, then you don’t even need to wait until the third episode to come up with your own verdict for the anime.
Is there really such anime?
Of course, such anime does exist. But you can only get that kind of anime if you’re clear enough on what kind of anime you like to watch in the first place.
Even with the 3-episode rule, it’s not going to help you if you don’t even know the kind of story that will sweep you off your feet.
Should you even adopt this hard and fast rule?
If you’re on the fence about the anime or you’re watching the anime in a genre that you don’t usually watch, then it’s fine to adopt the 3-episode rule. I even use this rule when I’m unsure about the anime as well.
After all, you can only know whether the anime is interesting or not when you watch the anime for real.
As much as you’d like to think that the anime seems promising based on the synopsis alone, it doesn’t mean that the anime will turn out to be like what you expect.
I’m sure that you come across this situation where you find the synopsis for the anime to be interesting only to find out that the anime isn’t what you expect.
In this situation, it’s fine to adopt this rule if you’re willing to give the anime a chance.
But if you feel like the story seems interesting enough but three episodes aren’t enough to justify your decision, then it’s fine to bend the rule a little bit.
What matters the most is you find something that you enjoy watching.
If it takes more than three episodes to make you come to a conclusion, then so be it.
P.S If you enjoy reading light novels, particularly with the story that allows you to learn something new, then you may enjoy reading my Trigger Locked series.
Curious about the series? You can learn more about the series right here:
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