10 Infamous Anime For Their First Episodes

Anime is continually innovative and remains a deeply creative medium of storytelling. It’s not unusual for anime to be hundreds of episodes long, but there’s always tremendous pressure on the very first episode.

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A false start can forever ruin an anime’s chance of becoming the next big hit, while an impressive premiere can turn curious audiences into lifelong fans. People still value first impressions a lot and so anime that seriously rocks the boat with their firsts deserves extra credit. A controversial first episode doesn’t always work in a show’s favor, but they certainly get the audience talking.

Osomatsu-san the first episode is outright banned and unavailable to watch by any legal means. Osomatsu-san is a gag series where nothing is sacred and the first episode pokes fun at the current slate of modern anime as the Matsuno sextuplets consider what kind of series they want to be as they reinvent themselves.

The jokes about The attack of the Titans, Sailor Moon, dragonball, and other anime clips conflict with Japan’s rigid copyright laws. The radical series pushes the boundaries too far and an additional episode has been produced for home video release.

9 Goblin Slayer’s Trigger Intro Is An Aggressive Way To Start The Fantasy Series

Fantasy anime has never been more popular thanks to the boom in the isekai genre that takes characters to magical worlds. Goblin Slayer isn’t isekai, but it faithfully embraces standard fantasy and RPG conventions as it depicts a lowly band of warriors embarking on a dangerous adventure. The first episode of Goblin Slayer plays with audiences’ gender expectations as the heroes are ambushed and suffer dire consequences.

Goblin SlayerThe first features graphic violence and sexual abuse towards its main characters, which continues to persist long after. This punitive tone is absent in the rest of Goblin Slayerwhat makes this premiere such a controversial way to begin.

8 Excel Saga puts its protagonist in purgatory in its first abrasive episode

The Excel saga is a masterpiece of stupidity; it’s a self-aware series that morphs into a totally different genre of anime with every episode. The public is not ready for this avalanche of absurdism in the first episode and The Excel saga repeatedly pulls the rug under the audience so they don’t know what the show will actually look like.

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The main character, Excel Excel, perishes a multitude of times in the pilot alone. The first episode of The Excel saga is an extremely bold way to start an anime, but its latest episode is even more incendiary and was too risque to air on TV.

seven Dragon Ball GT cooks up a new first to erase its first arc

Dragon Ball GT is the anime-exclusive sequel series of Dragon Ball Z. It continues to polarize audiences and it was essentially erased from canon after the introduction of Dragon Ball Super.

Oddly enough, there’s nothing wrong with the first episode of Dragon Ball GT, but the introductory story arc is considered totally problematic as it prioritizes adventure and comedy over action and battles. The English dub for Dragon Ball GT goes so far as to skip the first 16 episodes of the series and condense their events into a single episode, “A Big Problem”, which became the infamous episode.

6 Anime-Only Gintama False Start May Confuse Newcomers

Gintama is no stranger to trolling his audience and playing by his own rules. The anime’s hour-long premiere (which is often split into two episodes) is a love letter to existing manga fans who are familiar with the Gintama universe.

by Gintama the good story begins with the next episode and the premiere is a flash-forward that teases the silliness to come, but it may be a shocking intro for most newcomers. There’s some debate over whether this premiere should be skipped the first time around and then picked up later after audiences become more familiar with the weirdness that is. Gintama.

5 Neon Genesis Evangelion begins with a brutal introduction to its world

Neon Genesis Evangelion is a thought-provoking example of what can be done with the mecha genre that’s widely considered one of anime’s evergreen triumphs. Neon Genesis Evangelion frequently embraces its mecha trappings and engages in heightened battles against kaiju-esque angels, but the series is a grueling meditation on depression, guilt, and responsibility that ends in an existential apocalypse.

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The real ambition of Neon Genesis Evangelion is hidden in its first episode, much like how NERV’s intentions are hidden from Shinji. However, the former is still notable for the atmospheric and unconventional approach it brings to the mecha genre.

4 Puella Magi Madoka Magica sneaks up on her audience with her gender tricks

Cartoon audiences have become so savvy that there are a growing number of shows that use genre staples as a way to deconstruct deeper issues. The colorful genre of magical girls is ripe territory for this kind of introspective subversion and Puella Magi Madoka Magica became the prime example.

The premiere of Puella Magi Madoka Magicaruns like a standard magical girl series with lots of low-stakes nonsense, but a creeping dread hangs over everyone’s actions. The full scope of the series’ horrors is still unclear, but the first episode still does a significant job of breaking the illusion and confusing audiences as to what they can trust.

3 Devilman Crybaby turns into a violent visual explosion

Go Nagai is a storytelling visionary who is responsible for several iconic franchises, but his transformative body horror saga, evil man, remains a popular title for the adaptation. Masaaki Yuasa’s modern update to the Nagai classic, crybaby devilmancovers the same tragic story as the original once an internal tussle begins in Akira over what to do with his newfound strength.

The crybaby devilman pilot is such a memorable start to the series because of the blood-soaked neon massacre that becomes its centerpiece. It’s a shocking display of visuals that becomes the perfect distillation of what crybaby devilman represented.

2 Elfen Lied begins in darkness and prepares the series for sadness

There is no shortage of anime series that intentionally create nihilistic worlds that drag the viewer into the depths of despair. elf lied is 14 episodes that become a heartbreaking meditation on abuse. It’s a series about breaking others down for their differences and fearing the worst instead of trusting the best.

There are certainly other versions of elf lied it could have existed where Lucy’s story is sanitized and Kota is actually able to build a happy ending for her. Instead, Lucy’s story is hopeless and this is reinforced in the opening moments of her moody pilot.

1 Pop Team Epic claims to be a totally different show for part of its premiere

Pop Team Epic is the closest anime to meme culture brought to life. The surreal series offers bite-sized comedic absurdism that weaves its two chaotic characters into mainstream pop culture. Pop Team Epic it always feels like he’s laughing at the audience and ready to reveal an unexpected, self-aware punchline.

Pop Team Epic’s the first episode plays into this energy with a long joke where the anime begins with “Hoshiiro Girldrop”, a fictional series of shojo idols that airs an open and title sequence before Pop Team Epic’s the characters tear it down and take over the programming. The “Hoshiiro Girldrop” content becomes a running joke in the series.

NEXT: 10 Anime That Should Have Ended In The Very First Season

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