Almost Otaku: What's the Ideal Length for an Anime?

Topic started by No_name_here on Sept. 14, 2010. Last post by daikari 3 years, 10 months ago.
Post by vergilius (147 posts) See mini bio Level 13
Monster is 74 episodes and manages to stay reasonably tense and interesting the whole way.   I think what let it succceed has to do with breaking the story into manageable chunks, having a large cast so that we don't get bored of the same few characters, and never completely losing sight of the overarching story arc.
 
I think that a lot of writers have trouble with the needs of a long series, especially pacing and maintaining constant forward action.  I'll take some examples from manga.  Bleach, for instance, has gotten its feet tangled in all its characters, many of whom are there just for giggles.  One Piece has done a good job, by contrast.  it also has a large cast, but the enter and leave the series as appropriate.  The addition of the latest member of the straw-hat crew was foreshadowed all the way back in like, Volume 1 or something.  Since we know where Luffy's going and why, and since there's a reasonable amount of hinting and foreshadowing that goes on well in advance of the plot unfolding, things largely seem to be going somewhere and things don't feel made up as it goes.   Monster has similar things going for it.
 
At the end of the day, a story should be told in as long as it takes to tell that story.  So I guess if I had to give a rule I would say, "Anything goes, except for filler."
Post by ShadowKnight508 (5,319 posts) See mini bio Level 19
Moderator
@Nanashi said:
" I agree and see some of the same ideas stated here that if something has a good story that I'd follow it/ watch it no matter how many episodes. There are some exceptions, like Naruto or Bleach where I've invested enough of my time into those that despite the filler, I'll stick with those shows. At the same time a anime like One Piece or Gintama, has a really long episode list up front and that kinda discourages new peeps from watching it. Lastly I think it's pretty fair to state   12 episodes- is a minimum(again their are exceptions)    24-26 episodes- something that is good story driven.   50'ish episodes- something that has more than one season and follows the manga to the letter.   anything with more episodes than 50 I think exists because it is a cash cow and and will continue to exist as long as their is a fanbase for it. "

This...in my opinion, I was sad to see shows like Angel Beats! or Elfen Lied end after only 12 or so episodes. Some shows are too short, in my opinion, and should have had more episodes in the series. 
 
Ideal episode count? 18 to 24 episodes (in my opinion). Longest series that I have watched is Bleach (Ep. 1 thru Ep. 94 so far) and InuYasha (Ep.1 thru 52 so far), the shortest being the 3 episode Read or Die series (This anime should have been longer...sad to see it end so quick).
Post by FoxxFireArt (2,638 posts) See mini bio Level 25
Moderator
I think part of the appeal of FLCL is because of it's length. Sure, it could of used a few more episode to flesh out the character relationships, but the length makes it very appealing to newer audiences as a testing ground for anime. It's not a huge commitment of time for the experience. one of the main reasons [adult swim] plays it so much,
 
Fullmetal Alchemist needed to be as long as it is, because it's based on a larger narrative. If they would try and sum it up. It would of been more akin to movies based on book. Much the the depth would of been lost. Though. I say that having not watched any of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood de to the utter lackluster finale of the original anime.
Post by LordCmdrStryker (6 posts) See mini bio Level 6
@FoxxFireArt said:
Though. I say that having not watched any of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood de to the utter lackluster finale of the original anime. "
NO!  Nonononono!  See, the original FMA stopped following the manga after like... 12 episodes I think.  Brotherhood follows the manga faithfully all the way to the end which makes it a whole lot better.  You should totally watch it.
Post by PenguinDust (1,008 posts) See mini bio Level 13
I believe an anime should take as long as it needs to take to tell the story.  Most of the time, though they are cut short due to premature cancellation or non-renewal.   Konjiki no Gash Bell (aka Zatch Bell) was one such series.  It ran at 150 episodes which might feel a bit long to some, but the end was compacted into 10 episodes when the word came down from above that the show was being canned.  And, there in lies a big problem when this occurs.  A long series like Gash Bell will set up multiple story arcs as well as a major theme that runs through the show.  When that is cut short, all of that needs to be wrapped up in less time than reasonably required.   To a lesser extent, Soul Eater was another one that felt as if there was a lot more to be told in that show but due to time restraints (the show caught up with the manga) changes were made and the whole thing was compacted.
 
However, I don't believe that longer necessarily means better.  So Ra No Wo To is a short 13 episode series about a girl soldier stationed away from the frontlines.  It's a great tale with intriguing characters, and I might add, it doesn't need to be longer than it is.  It sets a premise in the first episode and that is completely answered in the final show.  So, unless the producers arbitrarily extended the length of the show by inserting fluff, there is no reason to lengthen it to a full 24/26.   
 
Looking over my list of favorites, I am all over the range from One Piece at 460+ episodes to one shot OVA/movies like Project A-Ko and Kiki's Delivery Service.   If I absolutely had to pick, it would be somewhere between 50 and 60.  If I like a group and story, I want to spend as much time as I can with that cast. 
Post by agila61 (87 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@PenguinDust said:
" However, I don't believe that longer necessarily means better.  So Ra No Wo To is a short 13 episode series about a girl soldier stationed away from the frontlines.  It's a great tale with intriguing characters, and I might add, it doesn't need to be longer than it is.  It sets a premise in the first episode and that is completely answered in the final show.  So, unless the producers arbitrarily extended the length of the show by inserting fluff, there is no reason to lengthen it to a full 24/26."
This is exactly right. Sora no Woto is a Science Fiction novelette. Its going somewhere that takes around 12 episodes to reach. To be a half-year series, it would need to have a second story to tell, and since the whole world was created to tell that particular story, the odds are high a second story set in the same world would fall flat. F.L.A.G. is similar: 13 episodes and the story has been told.
 
Lots of the better Science Fiction anime are basically novels, and 26 episodes works well. Last Exile, Cowboy Bebop, Planetes, Scrapped Princess, The Third. Some space opera like Outlaw Star could go on, but then exploring the universe with a different crew and ship is more fun, a la Angel Links. 
 
Same with some fantasy series, like    Wolf's Rain, R.O.D. the TV (but maybe watch the Read or Die OVA first), Simoun.  

Sometimes a series of series works better than a single set would work, because there are no filler episodes. Aria the Animation (13), Aria the Natural (26) and Aria the Origination (13) works better than a one year run of 52 would have worked, with Aria the Animation going to air in 2005 and the manga not completing until 2008. Maria sama ga Miteru (w/season 1 "timecast" streaming on YouTube to publicize season 4 for sale) started back in 2004, and it was like 2008 or 2009 that the light novel's author finished the main story line. The 13 episode seasons 1, 2 and 4, and the 5 50min episode "season 3" OVA, hit the high points of the light novels, but catching up to the light novels and animating filler would have been entirely beside the point for fans of the story.   
Post by kenichi_san (5 posts) See mini bio Level 4

This is such a difficult question, because it depends on the anime itself.

Some series i have watched was way to short to get to know the characters or they just left a big chunk (plothole) out of the story. And the other part is the series that keep going on & on, when nothings really happens.

My experience is that i have always wanted the short series to be longer, and the long ones shorter =P really annoying

Post by bunnypoppop (4 posts) See mini bio Level 10
I think 26 is perfect with 1-3 OVAs (if any). But most are 13 that I watch.
Post by Mezmero (69 posts) See mini bio Level 10
3 words: follow the money.  What sells, lives.  Pick your idiom but this is an open and shut case of business.  It's all about programming schedules and transitioning manga writers in TV show writers.  Seriously is this even a discussion?  I probably has something to do with normal television cycles for Japan.  I'm not a business man so I wouldn't know.
Post by daikari (8 posts) See mini bio Level 8
I like animes because you can see action and detail you just can't get in manga. Which is why I hate it when anime don't follow all the way through the manga. There are lots of animes that are really short but I think they could go alot longer.  There are even mangas that are long going that I'm surprised hasn't gotten an anime.
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