There you are watching the latest episode of your recently favorite anime. The ending song blazes on your stereo and you’re excited to watch the trailer for next week’s episode. Then you see something so horrifying your heart drops and your eyes fill with small cascades. Next week’s episode will be a recap episode! Folks, it’s a painful concept indeed. Many times here at Honey’s Anime we sighed and cursed that a recap episode was coming when we felt it wasn’t necessary. Though, through our pain and heartache, we’ve come to ask a very important question. Do We Need Recap Episodes in Anime? Our article today will argue for why we don’t need recap episodes but also two reasons why they are necessary.
There’s Nothing to Forget!
Anime—in Japan especially—comes out frequently and with dozens of series airing simultaneously. Maybe that’s why anime studios think recap episodes are needed to remember what happened in various stories that have meatier narrative. We won’t argue that some shows—One Piece and Gintama—need recap episodes after every huge arc since it can be easy to forget small details, but anime that only have twenty-four episodes or even less don’t need recap episodes. When a show releases weekly and assuming most are paying attention to each episode, it’s hard to argue that a recap does anything to help us remember something we might have skipped or skimmed over.
Tend to be Overly Simple
There have been recap episodes that added some new content to a story and we truly don’t hate those type of recaps. It’s interesting to see another character’s perspective which in turn gives us two sides of the same tale. Re:Creators had a good recap episode that reminded us of the current story but gave some interesting current events and side stories we didn’t see in the main series. Rarely do recap episodes do that though; most recap themed episodes are just cuts of several episodes thrown together and with a narrator discussing what happened. It’s moments like these where we turn the TV off and watch another show or play some games to ease our sadness.
Production Teams Need Breaks
While we all love watching anime shows and groan when a series is delayed or an episode skips a week, we forget there’s a reason for that. Anime studios rarely work on only one show and often have teams that are assigned to several different series that could all be airing in the same season. Recap episodes are a god send to anime studios as it gives them time to either work on future episodes or allows them to take much needed breaks for a small window of time. That’s why next time you want to curse out a studio for making a recap episode, try to remember there might be a reason for it and in turn a week without your favorite series won’t kill you.
Anime creators aren’t stupid when it comes to making anime work for an audience. Don’t be fooled and believe that a recap episode was made just to take a break or to hurt your heart. Often, anime studios might make a recap episode to build up suspense and/or create more hype for an upcoming episode or beginning of a new arc. Think about those times that you see an episode end with a cliffhanger and then learn next week will be a recap episode. Doesn’t that fill you with a myriad of emotions? That is what the studio wants! They know that making you wait a week will hurt but equally make you desperately crave that new episode and make it a stronger episode if it is done well.
Recap episodes in anime can be truly painful things. The fact that we are forced to wait not one week but ultimately two weeks for a new episode can hurt in ways only an anime fan can truly understand. As bad as recap episodes are though, as we showed above, they do sometimes serve a greater purpose and that can truly make the pain be mitigated a bit. How do you readers feel about recap episodes? Do you love them, hate them or feel indifferent about them? Comment below to let us know! If you loved this article and want to support us, remember to keep stuck to our beautiful hive here at Honey’s Anime!