Order of Watching Anime
When an anime released so many sequels, prequels, remakes, spin-offs and so on, it can get confusing, not knowing which to watch first. Should we follow the order they are released? Or should we watch in chronological order? What about experimenting in a specified order yourself?
The advantages of watching shows in a chronological order is obvious, so that the story flows better. If the sequel’s plots are heavily connected to the prequel, then that makes it more so the reason to watch it in proper chronological order. Even if the stories are not connected much, there also might be slight references to previous prequels, and not having the knowledge to those references loses some level of fun.
Obviously, some franchise specially release prequels to their works years after their success, and one main reason is for viewers to further understand their works. This is certainly the case for Fate/Zero. Story-wise, Fate/Zero is set just before Fate/Stay Night, however, it is better to watch Fate/Stay Night first before watching Fate/Zero as it exposes so much plot revelations and twists which Fate/Stay Night couldn’t cover, so first-timers who are newly exposed to the Fate universe would no doubt be subtly perplexed.
Ultimately though, whether or not the anime is being shown in chronological or non-chronological order does not really matter. What matters the most is your own personal preferences, and to me, what I prefer best is watching anime according to the time they are released, be it chronological or not. One main reason is the difference of quality, enjoyment and production values. I will use Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night again as examples. Comparing the two, Fate/Zero is no doubt innately better, be it visuals, story, characters.. anything. If one watches Fate/Zero first, he will be easily be let down, which completely downgrades one’s enjoyment and appreciation of the Fate universe. So at that end, one should just watch Fate/Stay Night, Unlimited Blade Works and finally Fate/Zero, following the order they were released.
Ghost in the Shell is another franchise I had had experiences with. I watched almost every GitS releases consecutively by this year, which was pretty late as there were already so many different series released by then when I checked in MAL. One is a sequel, another is a prequel, and some are retellings, etc.. I ended up watching the whole thing in my own chronological order and I feel that the series is overshadowed by the more better movies in my opinion. The order that I watched in is GitS (1995), GitS Innocence, GitS: SAC, GitS: SAC 2nd gig and GitS: Solid State Society. In this order, the main problem is between GitS Innocence and GitS: SAC (first season).
For those uninformed, GitS: SAC is released on Oct 1 2002 while the Innocence movie is released on Mar 6 2004. Looking at the order, I should be watching Innocence AFTER GitS: SAC but I reverted it. By doing this, I actually gained less knowledge prior to the movie. For example, I had no idea Batou was so infatuated with dogs, since the first movie didn’t show any scenes of Batou with them. It’s only a fun little knowledge, yet it degrades one’s enjoyment by so much. There’s also the production values to consider aforementioned. For a 2004 movie, the Innocence movie’s quality are tantamount to newer anime films, which is saying a lot. By watching that first, and watching the TV series after that, the disappointment easily downgrades viewer’s expectations and enjoyment.
On a slightly unrelated note, ones who play Devil May Cry will immediately take notice of the series’s awkward order. The stories goes in a chronological order of 3-1-4-2, and players like me, who played DMC3 first will be instantly disappointed at DMC1’s less fluid battle gameplays. So this theory of “playing things accordingly to release dates” could actually be applied to video games as well.
Unexpectedly, the order of watching anime is much more crucial then one thinks. Have you watched an anime which you feel you watched in the wrong order? Are you the type who watched the first season of Haruhi in chronological order? Are you the type who watched Fate/Zero without watching Fate/Stay Night first? Your opinions are always most welcomed.