In the anime I've been watching lately, I see a lot of episode 0s popping up, which usually are published after the final episode and usually are not very comprehensible unless you have watched the series itself.

Where did this originate from and why do they do this?

Sample show:

list of Kyousougiga episodes

  • If I had to take a guess, I would say episode 0 is almost like an adaptation of chapter 0. Chapter 0 was the oneshot (a single chapter of a story), and if the oneshot was successful, then the story turns into a manga, gets serialized and published as a series. Thus episode 0 would basically contain the contents of chapter 0.
    – krikara
    Dec 21, 2013 at 5:06
  • @krikara that does sound some what logical
    – Dimitri mx
    Dec 21, 2013 at 13:09
  • Based on a brief MAL search for "episode 0", it looks like most episode 0s are either pilots or prequels. In both cases, the numbering makes sense - prequels are in-show chronologically before episode 1, while pilots are real-world chronologically before episode 1.
    – senshin
    Dec 21, 2013 at 23:18

2 Answers 2


Based on a google search for site:myanimelist.net "episode 0", we find the following episodes:

There's a lot of prequels and pilots1 here. Prequel episodes typically occur chronologically before "episode 1" in terms of show timeline, while pilot episodes typically occur chronologically before "episode 1" in terms of the real world, and so it makes sense for either a pilot or a prequel to be numbered "episode 0".

1 By "pilot", I mean any short piece that airs before a longer anime, whether or not it's a pilot in the US television sense, so this label includes teasers, animation test runs, etc.


I don't know that many or most anime use the Episode 0 format, but a few exceptionally popular series will do whatever they can to continue making money. Extra DVD episodes with full box sets, Episode 0 prequels, theater-release movies are all ways anime series can continue to maintain fan interest after the series has finished on TV.

Other ways series keep or increase fan interest is licensing goods, radio shows, Drama CDs, live events and manga creator appearances.

Anime is a corporate product and corporations want to make money.

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