This is one conflict that is rarely spoken of as these two mediums rarely have to contend with each other. But it is an interesting question. Which one of these is superior. Which form of entertainment does it better than the other? More importantly, if you could only have one and drop the other, FOREVER, which would it be?
Even as an anime fan, it is a hard question. At a glance i will say that i love anime more than TV. But there have been times where i have felt like i have simply had enough of anime, like i was saturated with the virtual world, and i needed to have a little bit of live action. It is a rare phenomenon, usually occurring after i get my hands on an extremely enticing batch of anime, at which point i end up spending every entertainment related minute watching anime.
The opposite has happened as well, where i feel that i have had enough of live action, and that drowning my self in anime would do me some good.
Technically, it isn’t hard to see where TV fails. Anime has more time to tell a story. A TV program will ran 4-6 months of a year, with several breaks in between. Most times you will get the same episode airing for over three weeks (which is why i stick to DVDs). Some anime will ran all through the year, from January to January. Basically you could say that as a result anime has the better stories. It can take as much time as it wants setting up its world and concepts. TV needs to get to the point as quickly as possible otherwise it risks getting axed.
I am just thinking of all those ten episode TV shows. I am sure they are doing the best they can, but most times, it is easy to see how they cut corners, to fit as much story as possible into as little space as they can before their allotted number of episodes for that year runs out. Anime sometimes feels like it can go for as long as it needs to be (so long as there is an audience) to get its point across. If Naruto was a TV series, Naruto would have been hokage in 60 episodes. Same thing goes for one piece; we would have known what the one piece was within a space of three or four years, and while they would have done the best they could to make the story good, it would have lacked all the back story and character development that makes these two series so good.
Speaking of which, ratings is another issue. I don’t think that anime doesn’t have to deal with ratings the way TV does. I am sure ratings matter to anime producers. But they don’t command the same power that TV does. from what i have seen, in most cases an anime will continue production so long as it has a considerable audience. It doesn’t have to be high, it doesn’t even have to be average; they can even tolerate slightly below average; the point is if there is a few thousand people out there that watch an anime, we shall see more of it.
With TV, i am thinking of fringe whose ratings stood at a steady 2M-3M between its third and fifth season. And it was from the third season that they began to speak of cancellation; at 2M, that could be called average, but Fringe was considered to have low ratings.
it takes a lot more than such fickle numbers to bring an anime down. As such anime doesn’t and hasn’t sacrificed quality for ratings the way TV has. Right now i am thinking some really good shows like THE EVENT and FIREFLY that where cancelled just as they got good. If this was anime, we could expect an episode 200 of these shows.
If i look at it logically, anime is clearly the better medium. The stories are unique and mind blowing and the character development is amazing (in most cases).
But what would you choose, if you could only watch anime or TV but not both? Which would you choose?