How to Watch Anime: The Rule of Mami

Mami is hot. Also, your teacher on how to watch anime.

I’m sick of people dropping shows in the first episode. There is no other show more misrepresented this season than Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita, a witty social commentary on society and environmentalism. People call this show “horrible” or whatever; they only watched the first episode. What rights do they have to call a show bad from the first episode?

I’ve been going to MyAnimeList too much recently.

Just watching the first episode is not enough to warrant two things: giving the show a 10/10 or dropping it.

To me, first episodes are often misleading. Most studios put the cash into the first episode because they act like a hook, luring the audience in. They also showcase their best artwork there. This is problematic for anyone trying to forecast the future; first impressions are always shaky and maleable.

My 200th anime, Macross Frontier, had a rockin’ first episode. But it disappointed the hell out of me. While the visuals are great, the characters are downright unbearable. And the last episode, while a marvel to look at, ends at a cheap place. Expectations are not the best way to judge something.

So there is a rule that I follow. Most people know it as the “three-episode rule”.

I call it the “Rule of Mami”.

Tomoe Mami is from the most badass magical girl show (besides Nanoha), Puella Magi Madoka Magica. She’s an important character in the show at the first half, especially in episode 3. The third episode involves the clever twists and turns later found in other episodes. By this time, Madoka Magica has developed a clear tone and direction. This spot is a good place to gauge your preference for the show.

And this applies to all shows (except movies, of course).

Now, I’m going to apply the Rule of Mami towards shows I’ve already watched and given my verdict. Some of them are obscure; some of them are well-known. I will write down the show name, whether I like the direction of the show at episode 3, and the final score in my MAL page.

By the way, a 6 is a good score in my rating; my average rating in MAL is 6.9.

Let’s see how it works:


The first episode is a strong yet quirky opening. I had my doubts while watching it. Could it just be one of those shows with a great opener but sucks overall? I went on and when the third episode finished, I was hooked. After finishing Kamichu!, I gave this show a 10/10.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

A powerful first episode as well. It looked like a show I might watch more, I thought to myself. It probably deserved the hype. Yet, as I went on watching, I got sick of the darn little brats who call themselves the “protagonists” of this josei show. Episode 3 bored me to tears. I gave this show a 5/10.

Shirnyaku!? Ika Musume!

This started off with a slow first episode. I thought it paled in comparison with its hilarious first season. Yet, the third episode gave me some laughs. According to the Rule’s prediction, this show will have its non-funny moments and hilariously funny moments. So I stuck with it and gave this show a 6/10.

Lucky Star

Worst first episode ever. The third episode has some genuinely funny moments, but I’m annoyed by their weird usage of characters. Their side-characters are the funniest in the series and yet, they are thrown into the bin. Which is what the Rule of Mami predicted. I’m not sure how I finished the show, but I do know I gave this show a 3/10.


With a silly premise like “LESBIAN MAHJONG”, I gave this show a shot. Its first episode was terrifyingly boring. But when they start shuffling the tiles on episode 3, I got hooked. And I became a Saki fan. I still have fond memories of this show and I can’t wait for Saki 2. 8/10


This show started off great. In fact, it passed the Rule of Mami easily with Minorin and Ami. Yet, this is the one of the few times the rule failed on me. The show is separated into two halves: comedy and drama. Because the first three episodes are in the “comedy” half, I thought this show was going to be great.

When it came to the drama half, ughhhhhh…

I will talk about why I hate this show (except Minorin, Ami, and astronaut girl) in the near future. I gave this show a 2/10 because I like the side-characters a lot.

This post is totally not an excuse to post hot Mami pictures.

Like most rules, the Rule of Mami is fallible. But its success rate is huge.

I’ve found a ton of shows that I would have dismissed if I was an idiot and only watched the first episode. Shows like Aria, Last Exile, Neon Genesis Evangelion, ef, Nanoha, and more.

It’s a rule that forces people to be more open-minded. It gives you time to get the “feel” of a show without wasting too much time. If you still dislike the show in the third episode, then drop it. But if you find out that all of a sudden you like it, keep watching it.

It’s a simple rule. Everyone should use it because everyone will stop being bigoted and start sounding reasonable.


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About Kastel

My panache feels very hard.

13 responses to “How to Watch Anime: The Rule of Mami”

  1. kindra2004 says :

    I don’t think that you have to watch at least three episodes. In most cases, it would be nothing but wasting your time.

    • Trollkastel says :

      I like the writer of that post a lot (I have read some of his other posts) and his arguments are great, but we are from two different schools of thought. We will never agree with each other in this post.

      This is because I cannot dismiss things too easily. Am I wasting my time? Yes, but I’m watching anime and do aniblogging — both giant holes of wasting time. And Twitter is taking one giant chunk of time as well. So time is not an issue here; I’m more concerned in knowing and judging things.

      If time is important, then of course the Rule of Mami/three-episode rule is useless. I’d say, “To hell with it”, if you found out the world was really ending in December 21, 2012. But not in this case.

      And this isn’t about a rule that says, “Look: three episodes will show you how great this show is!” This is a rule that says, “Let’s give this show a chance: Will I be interested if I keep on going?” Saying “Meh, I only watched the first episode of Anime X and hated it” is just plain silly.

      Especially for written posts, something that will be preserved in lifetimes.

      I feel annoyed siding with fanboys, but they are right: Chances should be given. Opinions should be solid and justified with evidence, not flimsy “whatever, man”.

      I encourage people to discuss about the appropriate measure. I still think the Rule of Mami is a great compromise between watching it fully and dropping it after the first episode. 1 hour of bad anime is not going to kill people.

  2. etery-chan says :

    Hmmm~ we have free time to waste to begin with, that’s why we are browsing the internet. Watching additional 2 x 20 minutes isn’t going to kill me.

    That blogger said some pretty good things though, about how the faggots said things such as “Your so-called plot hole will be explained later on, just give it a rest, you bashers. Unlike you, I’ve read the novel and already know about the details, you mongrels.” I really want to slap those people, because, what’s the point of the anime if we have to read the source material?!

    And it’s true, in the end, we simply need to use our brain. Sometimes I watched three episodes before dropping an anime, on another occasion, I dropped them on episode 1, calling it shit, and have never regretted it. Something like “There’s no way my little sister can be this cute” will never appeal to me anyway.

    • Commander Obvious says :

      oreimo is great ;_;

      also we dont believe in the brains argument
      humans are biased to begin with
      whatever we do is idiotic unless justified with evidence

      every work should be given a chance
      under a state of tabula rasa

  3. schneider says :

    I used to think like this, too. Until I lost a lot of my spare time. I can only watch as many shows with what little time I have now, so I would want to spend this time on anime that would give me the maximum amount of enjoyment. That means I watch what I like. I’ve been watching anime for years now. I’ve seen a lot of stuff. I know what I want. I know what I don’t want. I think I can make that judgment call on my own.

    Just because I drop something before three episodes doesn’t make me a bigot, really. It’s more of me wanting to use my time effectively. If the show turns out to be good or surprising, well, there are blogs that could tell me that.

  4. Kai says :

    For me, I don’t just watch 1 or 3 episodes. Through waiting and waiting and checking out blogs, I would had already know which anime is better and which is not, and with that knowledge, I marathoned the whole show as soon as it’s completed. Marathoning type is ftw.

    • Trollkastel says :

      Interesting idea. I do prefer finding the anime myself though because then, I can act like “Look, I’m such a hipster for finding Anime X!” I also used to do marathons, but my stamina got worse (despite being fitter through constant exercising).

      Seriously, I got lazy in watching anime these days.

  5. carlobisda says :

    I tend to follow this rule somewhat as well…..If they can get me with a story hook by the first episode then I am sold but if not, the 3 episode rule is a good gauge.

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