Is there a purpose to episode previews?

I’m still catching up on the current seasonal anime, but a thought came to me while I was enjoying Hanebado!. Wow, that full stop is awkward…

But, um, yes, the stray notion in question has to do with episode previews. Hopefully I don’t have to explain what that is since it’s getting pretty late over here. I just want to write nonsense and uninformed opinions, not detailed explanations…

At any rate, I’m fairly certain that if I asked if you skipped or watched episode previews, the results of such an amateur survey would be mixed, if not split. I wouldn’t mind if you let me know about your stance on episode previews, by the way.

However, I’m more interested in wanting to know if you think episode previews provide a net benefit for anime (and other mediums which can be categorized as episodes). To make things complicated, the status of episode previews vary wildly between anime.

Some series avoid doing an episode preview altogether, which means people who skip the ED can just jump to the next episode or do something else once the ED starts playing. Hanebado! would be such a series.

Then again, some episode previews can also flesh out characters due to the inclusion of monologues or dialogues during the aforementioned previews. I wouldn’t have known my idol, Takakamo Shizuno from Saki Achiga-hen, feels conscious about her lack of physical development were it not for her shy words directed towards a similarly oblivious Ako during an episode preview.

There are also episode previews in which the featured character act out-of-character as a way to at least interact with the fourth wall. The first season of Maria-sama ga Miteru featured some of the wildest episode previews I have ever seen in an anime, in my opinion.

But say you do sit through episode previews. They can be less than five seconds long since the only thing that shows on the screen is an image or a background along with the title for next week’s episode. They can be 10 (or maybe 20? I don’t really keep track…) seconds long since a character is shown rambling or having a dialogue with other characters while clips from next week’s episode appear on the screen. This is no by no means an exhaustive list, by the way, but this should illustrate the point for the most part.

So…is seeing these clips worth it? I mean, the scenes that are being included in the preview are probably selected to get the audience excited or to summarize the next episode with what little time the studio has to provide an episode preview, but we the audience are also given no context. It seems to me the clips which make up this sneak peek consequently mean less to us since we’re not entirely sure what’s being shown on-screen.

With that being said, I still enjoyed the episode previews shown for Love Live! Sunshine!! since it usually entailed girls making funny faces. The fact that the title for the next episode gave me something to guess at as I waited for another episode was also a positive. Is that enough incentive to “endure” an episode preview? Depends on the individual, I guess.

Admittedly, wondering if it’s worth sitting through a short episode preview is actually silly. But it just goes to show that episode previews are probably not given that much thought even though studios do have to go slightly out of their way to include them.

Or something like that. I don’t know. I’m a little curious and it’s late and I don’t want to sleep yet even though it means I’m going to suffer at work. These are all the required conditions to make me write something like this in order to ask you all an open-ended question.


Q: In regards to episode previews, if I’m allowed to borrow the words of a concise individual who is fully aware of the fast-paced life that is emblematic of the year two-thousand eighteen in the common era, I must ask: “dey gud?”

A: ____________________________________________________

43 thoughts on “Is there a purpose to episode previews?

  1. I actually love episode previews that are not just showing what’s going to happen next ep, but have characters come on and talk to each other about what is going to happen next episode. Those make me laugh! Otherwise, I’m not big on previews because I find a lot of the time they get way too extensive and I feel like I don’t even have to watch the episode anymore!! 😕

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  2. You have to remember in the age of streaming, these shows were designed to be on TV (in Japan, at least) and that’s why previews exist. They’re handy if they have insights like Phantom in the Twilight’s (like Dawnstorm mentioned) or if they’re like Boueibu’s (which may just be blue bars on footage and do their job most of the time if not giving insights, but sometimes they have something completely unrelated like complaining about deadlines). They’re only bad when they unnecessarily spoil big plot twists like “MC dies!”, I think.

    My favourite previews are from gd men, which aired in winter this year (they went out of their way to parody Dragon Ball, Re:Zero and Touken Ranbu Hanamaru, among other shows, and…when they parodied Re:Zero in particular, they had the three dudes become Rem, Subaru and Betelgeuse…it really has to be seen to be believed…).

    While we’re on the topic, I actually don’t like Asobi Asobase sock puppet previews, I think they’re a bit too wacko…I think I’m in the minority there, though.

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    1. “You have to remember in the age of streaming, these shows were designed to be on TV (in Japan, at least) and that’s why previews exist.”

      Yes… and no. The “age of streaming” includes weekly watching of current season stuff as well as various forms of binge watching. The former case isn’t that different from watching on TV (as intended).

      That’s why, when I watch a show for the first time, I watch the previews – they’re part of the experience as designed by the production staff. Subsequent watches, well it depends. For example, If I were rewatching HeroAca (where it’s just quick voiceovers with a still screen) I’d likely skip them. WUG’s on the other hand feature the VA’s and a more descriptive style, and I watch them every time.

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      1. Well, normally if they’re streaming only (ONAs or made for a streaming platform), they lack previews and when the shows are streaming, you can afford to skip previews (certainly, you could just do something else in both streaming and TV’s case, but the only one where you can skip previews instantly is streaming). At least, that was what I meant.

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  3. I don’t realize how much I look forward to episode previews until I watch a show that doesn’t have them, tbh. I miss them when they’re not there…but I guess I enjoy those little extra bits more than the actual Previews themselves, like the artwork and stuff. Comedy anime usually have really good episode previews, so those I especially look forward to. Asobi Asobase’s extras with the puppets are SO GOOD!

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    1. I gotta admit, the artwork that usually accompanies episode previews are great and highly valued by yours truly (then again, these so-called end cards are technically distinct from episode previews).

      Hard agree with the comedy anime having good episode previews! ASOBI ASOBASE also brings me great joy with the puppet and is AOTS (for me, at least).

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  4. I love episode previews, especially the ones that break the fourth wall, or offer unusual comedic lines for serious characters. Some offer heartwarming life advice, like Sailor Moon, and others give fans another reason to love the character relationships, like with Free!. Episode previews, so long as they don’t spoil what is next to come, provide hype and excitement for the future. Even if parceled into a mere 10 seconds, I’d never want to see them go!

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  5. I check them out when curious or when they include something extra, like with Mitsuboshi Colors. Otherwise I don’t watch them to avoid spoilers, especially ones published online a few days after the episode aired.

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  6. I think episode previews don’t have much to offer but I usually watch them anyway. I’d skip the ED and watch the preview since it’s only a few seconds long anyway. Sometimes the preview did get me hyped for the next episode, sometimes they’re just there.

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  7. Whether or not I watch them depends primarily on my mood. Some of them are rather cute, though. Example, this season’s Phantom in the Twighlight, goes with the chibi route that summarises important points and helps direct attention to important stuff you might miss (because the show itself, while sort of cute, doesn’t invite close attention). So you get stuff like:

    Best friend character: Oh, and by the way, I’m going to stay abducted for a few episodes.
    main character: Eeeeeeeeh?

    (Or something to that effect – it’s not the most memorable show.)

    Come to think of it, maybe it’s: the less attention you pay to the show, the more useful the previews become (as a focussing device)? Hm…

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    1. Now those are the sort of previews I want to see. Too bad it doesn’t sound like the show in question is that memorable. I myself had decided to skip it, but I don’t know now…

      Hmmm that’s a good point. Perhaps that’s a hidden plus for specific types of episode previews!

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      1. Not sure what to say. The show is probably better than you expected, but not as good as you might hope once you hear someone say that, if that makes sense. The main character and friend are immensly shippable, though, so that might be a plus for you (on the other hand, it’s a reverse harem, so there’s lots of interference). You should know after one episode if you want more or not, and if you never try it, it’s not like you’re missing a masterpiece.

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  8. I tend to skip previews if that is the only thing after the ED. If there’s another scene or if there is a skit or something, I’ll sit through the ED and watch, but just a clip of something I’ll see next week doesn’t interest me and sometimes it actually kills the excitement of waiting for the next episode.

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  9. If I’m binging a show, I don’t bother to watch the preview because I will watch the next episode right away. There’s not much point, in my opinion.

    However if it’s a seasonal anime, I do watch the preview because I have to wait a week to watch the next episode. It really depends on timing, like when I will watch the next episode. I think previews are interesting.

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  10. Honestly for me..they sometimes spoil things, and as such I do not care for them. I can honestly wait a week to find out what will be in the next episode (when it comes to seasonal anime). Honestly as far as anime goes, it’s usually pretty harmless. A lot of these don’t really show much or go into the fourth wall as you said (and those I do like). I also watch a lot of Korean dramas, and there the episode previews are really giving away a lot of spoilers ( I recently saw on that showed a pretty shocking scene of one main character getting stabbed, which robs me of the tensions/shock in the next episode). Overall I have to say that I don’t like them and honestly don’t mind if a show (anime or other) doesn’t include them.

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  11. I rarely watch them since I’m usually invested in the series enough where I don’t ‘need’ them to convince me to watch the next episode. I personally found some previews interesting, others not. It’s weird that they’re included in DVD box sets since usually, the whole reason I rented/bought it is to watch it all in a row with no interruptions…

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  12. I always skip episode previews. They sometimes create expectations for an upcoming episode, and I normally prefer entering a new episode naïve so I can really take things in as they happen without prior expectations.

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  13. I think they have a place. Personally I’ll watch them everytime, because I am a compromise when it comes to watching an episode of anime. Sometimes I like the music that comes with a preview, sometimes the accompanying dialogue is fun. Other times, they aren’t really worth much, but they can make me anticipate or dread an episode.

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  14. i have a pretty meh opinion of previews. the more “preview-like” it is, the less im interested. no real point to watching a few scenes from the next episode for me. there’s an interesting question of whether people who hate spoilers like previews in there somewhere, but that’s a separate thing. i do like the shows that do creative stuff with that short segment after the end credits. asobi asobase is an example of that from the current season, but there’s literally no preview involved in that post-credits sequence. the funniest previews might be the ones that completely undercut their cliffhangers?

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