Is there an ideal length for anime?

Anime vary wildly in length–some have hundreds of episodes (One Piece, Crayon Shin-Chan), whereas some only last 12 or 13 (Tokyo Ghoul, Angel Beats). Each ends of the spectrum have their own problems–watching a long-running shonen is a daunting task that’s bound to be plagued with filler episodes and uninteresting arcs. Similarly, short shows might not have enough time to make a lasting impact. But is there a sweet spot in between? Is length irrelevant to the quality of a specific show? Is an anime more likely to be successful if it runs for a particular length?

  • The shorter the better I say. Yes, the really long and practically endless series keep die-hard fans coming back again and again, and people apparently never get bored with them. But with series like "Detective Conan/Case Closed," "One Piece," and "Pokemon" seemingly stretching onward with no end in sight, I get irritated after a while because there's no end game, there's no ultimate resolution. Conan/Jimmy Kudo never gets back to his normal body and reveals to everyone what happened to him. Luffy never finds One Piece. And freaking Ash never gets any older and never becomes the greatest Pokemon Master. What a load of bull. Shows that can tell their whole story in a perfect condenced set of 13-26 episodes are the shows I prefer, and sometimes even the ones that last about 50. Each may have it's own tendency for a few "filler" episodes, but they usually provide a much greater amount of satisfaction to me in terms of conflict resolution, and knowing the ultimate fate of characters I've come to love and enjoy watching. "Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water" was a great older series that lasts about 40 episodes. "Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood" is around 50. "The Woman Called Fujiko Mine" and "Panty & Stocking" last a simple 13. And all three original "Slayers" tv series last 26 in total. Same goes for "Magic Knight Rayearth" and "Hyper Police." I'm getting into older shows. But I guess I would be included to choose between a one season or two season show (13-26). Shows that last longer with an episode count between 40 and 50 should only last that long if they have something meaningful to say within that time, and they need that time to develop their characters to a point where things can really make an impact once the final ultimate climax begins. Something from the West like "The Legend of Korra" can last much longer, because I feel like the West is more used to writing and constructing shows with a flow, where one season has a single contained story, and then the next season is a continuation of that from a slightly different point in time, and they often don't need cliffhangers in order to get you to come back. Japanese shows, on the other hand, seem to have seasons bleed into each other without much regard for starting and stopping. There's no half-way point if a show lasts 26. Sometimes there isn't even a sense of story progression for groups of episodes, because they drag a plot point out for multiple episodes in order to fill a large gap of space, rather than just make a shorter series, or try to expand the story with some actual important elements. But I digress. – Jonathan Leiter 9 years ago
  • Most shows have that issue where they do too much to quickly and then its the remaining episodes to fill in whatever else there is to make sure an audience exist to sell merchandise to otaku, who are still gonna buy it. – DustinKop 9 years ago
  • I feel as though it is more about timing then it is about the length of the series and how much people are planning on packing into their episodes. Such cases are strongly demonstrated in light novel adaptations. Where there are series like "Black Bullet" and "Date A Live" that do a usual adaptation of 3-4 light novels per 12 episodes. There are even some series like "High School DxD" or "Devil is a Part-Timer" that adapt only two novels and ae still able to cover a good 12 episodes. However, then you have the recently released series "DanMachi" which has a strange means of adapting where the first 2 volumes take up 3 episodes each, the 3rd is only 2 episodes, the 4th being only one, and on the fifth volume we are back to 3 episodes. This makes the style extremely irregular and following an extremely slow pace. – Kmo 9 years ago
  • There is an irritating circlejerk among online anime fans that 13-episode-long series that don't meet the grade would be inherently better off if they were 26 episodes instead. I would love to see this avoided or even exploded. – JekoJeko 9 years ago
  • Sometimes less is more, especially if it leaves the audience wanting a bit more by the end. Some of the best Anime I have ever seen, such as Space Dandy, Fooly Cooly, or Cowboy Bebop, have had pretty short lifespans. Other really good Anime, such as One Piece, have RIDICULOUSLY long lifespans, and are still going. While I do not think that being longer or short really makes any particular Anime "better" or "worse", I think one thing that is often ignored is that, for many people, seeing something that has only a few seasons, and maybe a max of 20 episodes, is much more inviting to watch than something that spans several HUNDRED episodes, all of which you must watch if you want to get the most out of the story. – Heavy92 9 years ago
  • Depends on how material is handled.One piece is popular because of its length and still awesome story telling while naruto is infamous because of its rushed ending. – Akash 8 years ago
  • Around the 30 mark? I don't know. Not 21 seasons like Naruto:Shippuden, that's for sure. – OkaNaimo0819 5 years ago

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