Oh snap, it’s a round robin.
I’ll be pretty straightforward in my basic opinion here – if a show rubs you the wrong way in the first episode, then there’s really no reason to stick around. I take the stance that life is pretty damn short, and wasting it on vain hopes of a a glorious rebirth in the second episode… or third episode… or fourth… or tenth… seems pretty pointless to me.
One of the nice things about the anime blogosphere is that having access to it gives you the opportunity to follow a show from a distance; for example, I wasn’t terribly impressed with Kanon 2006’s first episode, and ceased watching it. But I still skimmed the episode entries on some anime blogs, and it was through this that I ended up picking it back up again after about eight or so episodes had aired. Conversely, I knew that my decision to toss Yoake Mae Ruri Iro na~Crescent Love~ was well-founded through this same process. It wasn’t that in these cases the reviewers panned or adored, but from their summaries and reflections I could draw my own conclusions that certain shows simply weren’t up my alley – yes, blogger X may’ve LOVED Moeblob Show #486.3, but their entries easily demonstrated for me that the show in question wasn’t of interest to me.
Some of the other bloggers have cited a bit of a ‘bloggers’ honor’ thing – that is, that bloggers owe it to their audiences to continue to follow shows they have committed to. My honest opinion, though, is that this is complete crap. Blogs are vanity projects; they are much like those limited release books that very wealthy people put out, a simple way of garnishing one’s own feelings of self-importance. Given the inherent self-centeredness of the medium, it is absurd to think that a blogger owes their audience anything. It really just comes down to how much of an audience a blogger wants; do they want to be popular, or do they want to continue their own ego-centricity?
Of course, there is some shade over from popularity into stroking one’s ego, as a blog is a bit of a “look at me!” venture generally. We want people to read what we write, and in order to ensure that we must at least take some of the audience’s taste into account. Thankfully, we as anime bloggers have fairly similar interests, and thus fulfill each-other’s need for masturbatory intellectualism (faux or legit) for the most part without needing to draw in a wider audience. Whether we’re actually saying anything profound or just full of sound and fury sans point is another issue entirely.
To backtrack somewhat, I don’t see why one should feel obligated to continue following a show after a crap first episode as simply a viewer. There seems to be some sentiment of “oh, well, we owe it to the show!” in some of the arguments, but let’s look at this conversely – if we are a market group which actually does invest capital in our hobby, don’t the studios owe it to us to not produce junk? Granted, this assumes that most of us do, in fact, sink our money into the industry, and I’m well-aware that many do not. However, it does play at the same principle.
I suppose I come at this from a somewhat different perspective than the anime episodic blogger, as I’ve pretty much progressed to the point where I eschew that approach almost entirely (damn you, Nabari no Ou! I toil away at you for twenty-some episodes, blogging all the way, and then you go and get licensed before I can finish!). I find that it tends to take the fun out of viewing to an extent, and also leaves one feeling as if they should keep enduring a bad series even when they would rather nail their hand to the wall. Its also a bit difficult if one is trying to blog a show with slow subs and lacks decent Japanese comprehension (*coughJigokuShoujoMitsuganaecough*).
But, ultimately, at the end of the day? I say drop the stuff you dislike on the first go, and pick it up if it really looks like it managed to improve later on, because I really do think life is simply too short to invest time in futile efforts. But that’s just me.