Top 10 Anime First Episodes

In anime, making a strong first impression is crucial. The first impression is more than just an introduction; it is an art form in and of itself, since it requires the writer to simultaneously inform, encapsulate, and entertain the audience. The medium of anime as a whole is full of cultural and aesthetic eccentricities.

Given that any anime fan can judge a series' quality based on its first episode, it's truly remarkable when a series can earn that confidence right away. An excellent first episode isn't always essential for a good anime. There are animes like Steins;Gate and Gurren Lagann that will test a weeb's patience but will reward them properly. There are also some anime which start off with a bang but end up disappointing.

Regardless of how the anime turns out in the end, we will talk about the best first episodes which can get anyone hooked!
The Top Ten
1 Pokémon, I Choose You! (Pokémon)

Not only did the first episode of Pokemon signify the start of Ash's adventure, but it also marked the beginning of a worldwide phenomenon. This episode does a fantastic job of introducing the audiences to the Pokemon universe. It outlines the basic rules of the Pokemon universe and demonstrates why we should care for Ash Ketchum, our protagonist. Ash is a dedicated and caring Pokemon trainer, as shown by his willingness to sacrifice himself to protect his Pikachu. It was the same Pikachu who had ridiculed and electrocuted him all day. This episode also does a great job of demonstrating the initial bonding between the Pokemon and their trainer (a bond that would go on for decades).

This really is a list about being #2. 'Pokemon, I Choose You!' is such a phenomenal episode that it makes the #1 pick quite obvious. It's as obvious as Shou Tucker being the most hated anime villain. No competition what-so-ever!

The beginning of an era!
'Pokemon, I Choose You!' tells an emotional story of the beginning of the journey of our beloved Ash and Pikachu.

Everything that needed to be done was done on the first episode of Pokemon.

2 The World of Swords (Sword Art Online)

Oh, goodness. If Sword Art Online stayed as good as its first episode and didn't devolve into a gamer fantasy harem show, maybe I would have liked it. For as much hate as the later half of the first season received, even the haters can admit that the show presented a world of possibilities – rather literally. It introduced you to the world of VR gaming that we wish existed and not the subpar VR gaming we have. It introduced you to an MMO where you could take a sword in hand, party up, and conquer the world. Then it introduced you to the plot and with one fell colorful swoop on that random wolf, it solidified the main character's will to survive. That last moment of the episode was chill-inducing, and that chill made you want more.

For as much hate as Sword Art Online receives, even the haters can't deny that it has a near-perfect first episode. The show presented a world of possibilities. And the first episode beautifully introduces the main protagonist, builds the world of SAO and effectively sets up a goal for everyone. The world-building was executed to perfection and the viewers can not but get hooked to the series.

Say what you want about SAO but the first episode just got you hooked!
It was stupid to cut the Aincrad Arc short, they set the bar with this arc and never managed to exceed if afterwards.

This is like top 10 anime betrayals. They tricked me to watch a horrible anime with a perfect first episode.

3 Surprised to Be Dead (Yu Yu Hakusho)

Yu Yu Hakusho is one of the most near-perfect shounens that stands out the test of time. The first episode of this series captivated anime fans of different generations. It is one of the most emotional episodes in all anime out there.
After saving a young boy from getting hit by a car, the infamous delinquent Yusuke Urameshi dies after getting hit himself. Moments later, he meets the Grim Reaper and gets a chance of getting his life back. But Yusuke rejects the offer thinking that the world would be better off without him. But after witnessing his emotional funeral, Yusuke realizes how much he means to everyone and how much valuable his life is. It's a touching scene that sets Yusuke up as an unlikely hero on a quest for moral redemption.

Yu Yu Hakusho had an incredible first episode, it was well structured and made you want to watch more. Also introduced you to characters who all had depth. Accomplishing that alone in the first episode is something I can't actually recall seeing in very many other anime. The English dub has more impact here as well In my opinion, the VAs do an amazing job, (with the exception of maybe the two douche teachers).

Yu Yu Hakusho is a true Gold Standard Shounen. The first episode was nothing but a straight sucker punch to the heart. I was not ready for crying like a baby!

I am a huge fan of Pokemon but I think it should be #2. The emotional punch of Yu Yu Hakusho's first episode just hits slightly harder. That said, I still don't mind Pokemon @ no. 1.

4 To You, in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 1 (Attack on Titan)

You have to admit, you were probably hooked after the first scene of Attack on Titan. It begins with a terrified townsfolk watching as a giant human-like monstrosity looms over their wall. Then you get that beautiful and addictive OP, afterwards expecting carnage, but it rewinds a step to the previous peaceful village life. Once the titans start attacking at the end, you need to see what happens next.
This episode embodies the sense of world-building, uncertainty, and twists that define not only the series, but also what it means to be the first episode. "To You, in 2000 Years: The Fall of Shiganshina, Part 1" is, in so many words, heartbreaking.
All about the characters and the atmosphere of the episode suggests that they are stuck, and this feeling is only heightened until the action begins. Episode 1 conveys the exact degree of helplessness that humanity is in and the desperate need for a savior as the Titans attack and Eren looks terrified through a collapsing city full of ...more

Eren killed his mom. The End

My favorite anime

5 Flashing Before My Eyes (Erased)

The first episode of Erased: The Town Without Me is the best setup episode in anime, period.
The episode introduces the viewers to Satoru Fujinuma, a young manga artist struggling to make a name for himself following his debut. But, that was not the only thing in his life that Satoru was feeling frustrated about. He was also living with a strange condition only he was able to experience- 'Revival'. A strange phenomenon where one is transferred back to the moment right before something life-threatening occurs.
Maintaining high quality visuals, the episode slowly creates a mysterious environment that gets the viewers hooked. The steady pacing makes the entire episode an epic thrill ride from which the viewers can't take their eyes off for a moment.

This episode is straight up addicting. The way it steadily creates a mysterious environment, you have to stick around and know what's next!

Amazing episode and to think that the rest of the anime is even better says a lot about Erased

6 Izuku Midoriya: Origin (My Hero Academia)

"Here's the sad truth- all men are not created equal. But that won't hold me back. If anything, it pushes me to do better."
"Mom, that's not what I needed you to say. Couldn't you see?"

The most important job of a first episode of an anime is to make the viewers care about the protagonist. No anime does it better than My Hero Academia. Midoriya's extreme amount of personality, selflessness, passion, and positivity make him one of, if not the best anime protagonist of all time. From the very first moment, our emotions attach to him. And his dream becomes our wish. We don't just like him because he's the protagonist. We love him because we feel that he deserves to succeed. The premiere's character work is strong, but so are the strides that the series takes towards building and fleshing out its world.

The first episode of My Hero Academia I actually cried hard. it is a little embarrassing but its true, the reason I cried is because of deku crying, the sad story behind deku, and how deku actually succeeds in getting a quirk. so tears of sadness and joy really, and I think if you can make the audience get an emotional development ( not in a weird way) then I think that is a good show. My Hero Academia is to this day my favorite anime I could rewatch it 1000 times over again and still love it so 11/10 for me!

This episode was enough to tear jerk u right from the start. The world of MHA is opened up with the sad story of a single boy with a dream crushed by they very person he envied most. The first episode also introduces the heart racing and invigorating plot when a villain attacks Midoriya, and nearly kills him—in the first episode! This show will hook you from the start.

This episode forced me to sympathize with Deku. Small Midoriya is so precious!

7 The Day a New Demon Was Born (Code Geass)

If you like plot twists, you'll most probably love Code Geass (though that's not the only thing the anime is all about). Although the plot is twisted like a wet dishrag throughout the series, it does so more than most anime in the first episode alone. The first episode, though largely serving as a setup for the rest of the plot, does so with flair. It's got twists, it's got setting scenes, and it's got action. It's all perfectly blended together, with that one teasing, enticing smile at the end that says you're in for a wild ride.

Never saw so many plot twists within the first episode.
A massacre? Best friend reunion? "Death" of a main character? Mysterious power and the first use? The protagonist's true identity?
And that grin at the end.

8 The Shield Hero (The Rising of the Shield Hero)

The Rising Of The Shield Hero successfully grabs your attention with its cracking and strong first episode. The plot was laid out brilliantly, the world, characters, and everything else was set up beautifully.

Everyone loved the concept that the main hero is treated as an enemy instead of a savior. That whole scene where Naofumi is falsely accused had everyone sympathizing with our main protagonist. A switch is flipped within him and he goes into badass mode. It makes you so excited to watch him kick the unjust unfair system to hell and watch him rise to the top and give justly payback. Also, it perfectly sets up one of the most hated characters in anime history.

9 Enter: Naruto Uzumaki! (Naruto)

Many great journeys begin with the first step, and looking back, it's incredible to see how small and far distant it all began. Looking back at the first episode of Naruto, "Enter: Naruto Uzamaki!" provides an instant sense of satisfaction as nostalgia, as the similarities between his present and past selves provide every lifelong fan with the same touch high as looking through old yearbook photos.
For those who are about to be introduced to Naruto, the first episode regularly draws in a large number of viewers, as its heartfelt, grungy look at childhood loneliness and loss is enough to tug at anyone's heartstrings.
The level of depth to such an arrogant character and efficient world building to a unique, ninja world brings wonders that, based on this episode alone, the series was ever a Shonen successor to Dragon Ball.

10 Beginning (School-Live!)

Unlike a lot of other entries on this list, the first episode of School Live can test the patience of the audience and also trick them hard. It looks so cute but it is anything but cute! If you're not into school or slice of life anime and watch about half of the first episode, you'll probably think that you're wasting your time. However, the true intrigue occurs at the very end of the first episode, and it is enough to tempt you into the next. Throughout the first episode of School Live, you follow the chipper, innocent main character as she goes about her perky normal school day with her club mates who live at the school. SPOILER ALERT! However, at the end you find out that all her happy school life events were all just a delusion to cope with the fact that this fragile little girl is trapped in the school with a few others during a zombie apocalypse!

The Newcomers

? The Great Plan (Speed Racer)
? Kosuke Ueki's Law of Righteousness (The Law of Ueki)
The Contenders
11 Asteroid Blues (Cowboy Bebop)

I'm not sure if it's possible for the introduction of the most charming anime protagonist could have been any better than what we got.
The mysterious opening scenes, the hunt for a desperate drugged-up bounty, the sensational soundtrack, the chase scene across the asteroid colony, the kick-ass fight scene between Spike Seigel and Asimov, the bitter ending- all of it culminated into one smooth ride that could have only come from Cowboy Bebop.

come on, it's a very good episode! I mean, you see a saloon full of drunk men, and suddenly... a pregnant woman appears! Can it be more original than that?

Okay- 3, 2, 1, let's jam!

12 121045 (The Promised Neverland)

The Promised Neverland has one of the most captivating first episodes ever! And it's just the beginning of its road where it became the king of 'One More Episode Syndrome'.

It took me a little longer than 5 minutes to tell myself I would be totally invested in it. It's such a new take on anime, sort of like a prison out-break but more terrifying and nerve-wracking…but that's what makes the anime fun! (The image looks cute but hell naw.)

I didn't watch until the end but the first episode was good with an amazing plot twist and overall athomsphere.

13 Assassination Time (Assassination Classroom)

Within minutes of watching the first episode, the whole concept of the show is laid out in front of you. The teacher is a strange alien who blasted a hole in the moon, and a classroom full of reject students at an academically elite is tasked with killing him.

The plot was interesting enough, but what really sold me was Koro-sensei. I mean, cool, funniest character, and the best teacher ever? And did I mention he's an octopus-man capable of flying at the speed of Mach-20, who's threatening to destroy Earth unless his students can assassinate him within a year? Take my money please!

14 Ryomen Sukuna (Jujutsu Kaisen)

This is pretty great, honestly. While the plot is nothing new, it's still a good time, and the creature design is super good! Also, I love how much silence there is in the non occult scenes- it's much more realistic than I'm used to from popular anime, so that's a plus.

It's not the best but deserves to be in top 10.

15 Departure × And × Friends (Hunter x Hunter)
16 The Handsome Swordsman of Legend: A Man Who Fights for Love (Rurouni Kenshin)

The Handsome Swordsman of Legend: A Man who Fights for Love introduces the Protagonist and Deuteragonist of the series, Himura Kenshin and Kamiya Kaoru, respectively. It's funny at start but quickly gets action packed and makes the viewers want more.

17 Tragedy (Tokyo Ghoul)

The first episode displayed what the show is all about- blood and gore!

This anime just goes from 0 to 100 fastest.

18 Rough Sketch (Another)

The first episode of 'Another' creates a 10/10 first impression for the viewers. If there is one thing this series has going for it, it is atmosphere. From the get go, this episode maintained a feeling of a dark, dangerous plot with the protagonists not having a clue what was going on around him. 'Rough Sketch' nails the tone the anime wants to take as it does a fantastic job of really capturing how creepy and psychological Another truly is.

This is one of my favourite horror/gore animes. The plot is very good. The animation is also very good. It surely gives you more and more creepy vibes from the very first episode.

Tbh I don't remember the first episode well anymore but it's still one of the best thriller animes out there with unreal vibes.

19 Fullmetal Alchemist (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)

This wasn't very good. FMAB is a legendary anime but it took a few episodes to set things up. The first episode was averager, to be honest.

20 I'm Luffy! the Man Who Will Become the Pirate King! (One Piece)

The first episode was very intriguing to me. I always heard about one piece but was a little skeptical to try it. Mainly because of how many episode's there are, but I am happy to say that I will defiantly continue watching this show!

Title's a bit long, but the episode was a good way to kick things off. I think my favorite part was where Coby is trying to talk to the piriate leader and the Luffy points at her and says, "Hey Coby, who's the fat lady?"

21 Beginner (No Game, No Life)

When in doubt, recommend your friend who's curious about anime to watch NGNL. Colorful. Captivating. And lewd enough to make them question their sanity. It'll get them started into this dark path.
I watched the first episode at 11:30pm. I then did not stop watching No Game No Life until there was no more No Game No Life to watch. It's a damn addictive show!

One of the most addicting first episodes ever!

22 The Heart of the Cards (Yu-Gi-Oh!)

They took a children's card game and turned it into an epic sports event.
Within the space of a single episode we meet Yugi, his friends, his grandfather and the badass Kaiba. In the same episode, we get to see holographic card monsters fighting it out, Yugi's transformation with swag and impossible hair, the logic defying heart of the cards and that epic duel filled with over-the-top visuals. Sign me up for this chaos, baby!

Perfect starting episode

23 The Day I Became a Shinigami (Bleach)

In this episode we meet Ichigo, a slightly smug pile of attitude who gets a rude awakening when he discovers that there's more to the spirit world he saw as exclusively his own when he meets a Reaper named Rukia.
To give more detail on such a short episode would be spoilerific, so I'll stop. Here's what I'm getting at: Speaking to non-anime fans, like myself: this pilot episode may force you to concede that anime IS a valid art form, if occasionally sketchy. Some of the humor in this pilot is slightly off in timing and some of the lines are a bit negotiable, but overall it's an entertaining opener that makes me want to see what happens next, for better or for worse. Coming from someone who had little patience for this animation style, that's no mean feat. Give it a try. You may be surprised.

24 Tiger and Dragon (Toradora!)

Toradora had to make you fall in love from the first episode to be considered a romance series, and it delivered. Ryuuji and Taiga are two characters who beg to be loved for reasons that are all too relatable. Ryuuji is a nice guy that just looks mean and Taiga looks pretty but has a bad attitude – those key aspects are established in the first episode. The silliness in which it establishes this premise does so perfectly, making it so that if you are a fan of romance anime, you know this is a series for you.

25 Rebirth (Death Note)

This episode is impossible to forget because it perfectly encapsulates everything what is entertaining about the series while also introducing a mystery and a world of its own.
Although the Death Note effectively sets the rules of the universe, it is the vast wisdom and eccentric façade of main character Light Yagami that draws the audience into "Rebirth," as he takes on the situation with a confidence that is at times inspiring and at others remorselessly terrifying.
Death Note is an ever complex scenario that gains the trust of its viewers through intrigue and intelligence, bringing the series to a furious start.

Some anime series like to go from 0 to 100 in their intensity through an action sequence. Death Note, however, did things a little differently. It went from normal apathetic student to "I will become a god of this world" in 30 minutes. There isn't a lot that happens in the first episode of Death Note aside from setting up the whole series. Light is introduced, the death note is found, and then Ryuk shows up and shinigami explains the whole thing. However, that is intriguing enough, but it is the final declaration of Light that makes you need to keep watching.

If we counted first two episodes, Death Note should have been #1 (or at least close). But the first episode of Death Note is not that great. Other than the introduction of Light, the Death Note and the shinigami, nothing quite happens. The first two episodes should have been a long episode like The Rising of the Shield Hero.

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