kashif1: Here's my question, what do you think is a good length for an anime? On one hand you have Bleach which is now almost 290 episodes, Then there are the fullmetal alchemist animes which are both around 60, and then you have stuff that is 27 or even 14 episodes long. What is the best length to tell a story?
This is the fundamental dilemma of all serialized entertainment, isn’t it? When do you stop and when do you keep it going? The standard length seems to be somewhere around the 26 episode sweet spot (which none-too-coincidentally corresponds to a half-year, or two seasons. )That’d seem like the easy answer, but this obviously a little more complicated. Anime and manga are notable for generally being more disciplined about staying finite, even despite pressure from fans. This definitely isn’t a case of one size fitting all.
We explored a similar topic a while back - - when have shows jumped the shark? - - but this one extends a little broader; it encompass shows that were actually too short. If you like something, your first thought once it’s finished is that you want to see more of it - - or, at least, something like it. That’s just natural. And I think I’ve definitely seen some cases where brevity actually works against something.
I thought FLCL, for instance, was something that was cut off a bit too earlier. I think it could’ve been twice as long. I realize the whole thing was supposed to be a less-stressful goof for Gainax, but I still think the show could’ve used more space to explore all the relationships and crazy ideas it only just broached in the show. Eri, in particular, got short-shifted a bit and we really didn’t get to see enough of Haruko’s added interstellar intrigue at the end. As a result, the whole thing felt like a glimpse of a story rather than full-fledged experience.
On the other end of the stick, I’m honestly hesitant to pick up watching FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD because 60 episodes is just so daunting a number to get through. That’s at 20-30 hours of material! Then again, considering how complex the world is, only 17 episodes in, I’m sure they need that many episodes to explore the Elric brothers’ universe. I don't begrudge 'em for that, but that's just a sign of it being a different animal.
I don’t know. Sometimes series get long-in-the-tooth and drift too far from what made them interesting in the first place. Other times, an extended run allows for interesting complexities and “happy accidents” when creatives play round robin with an idea. And sometimes stories are squished into a box that’s too confining. Like I said, no one size fits all.
What do you lunatics think? When has a series go on past its natural life span? When has it been cut before its reached its prime? What’s the ideal length for a show?