Some of us more hardcore fans tend to watch dozens of shows every year. As anime fans, we have developed tastes for certain kinds of shows depending on our age, gender, etc. Some are short, at only ten to fifteen episodes while others stretch on for hundreds. But what really makes for the better experience? What sticks longer? Tells the better story? What is more satisfying in the long run? A show that lasted ten, or a hundred episodes? Let’s look at some examples and find out.
What would you say is a short anime? Under fifty episodes? Under twenty? How about under five? One of the things one would notice in shorter running anime is a clearer, more concise story. There is a beginning, a conflict (or several) and an ending.
Some shows I’ve seen with excellent stories are ones like Clannad, which, together with it’s second season ~After Story~ hardly covers around fifty episodes, or some even shorter ones such as Angel Beats!, Serial Experiment Lain or Another.
Naturally, there are more short running shows compared to long running ones, and thus there is more variety. Less chance of getting bored of the same thing. Also, each episode of a short show is usually a lot more eventful. Conflicts aren’t as drawn out, and things progress much quicker to finally reach a solid conclusion.
Genre also plays a big part here. Most romantic, comedy, sexual, emotional, or deep shows are short ones. So fans of moe, yaoi, yuri, ecchi or shojo would most likely prefer the shorter shows. Shows such as Kokoro Connect, Kimi no Todoke, Kiss x Sis, Yuru Yuri, and Lucky Star come to mind.
The downside of short shows usually is that it leaves you wishing for more, – sometimes even during the show, if they skip something which one may have been interested in seeing – but mostly occurs at the end,which in a way is a good thing, but that feeling of having just finished a great show and not knowing what to do with your life is all too familiar to fans of these kinds of shows.
These shows are the ones which tend to carry through for hundreds of episodes, season after season, bringing you more of what you’re sure to love. These types of shows definitely have their good points. Once you grow attached to a character, or a set of characters, you want to see more of them. In a way, they become a part of your family. Especially if it’s a currently airing show and you wait every week for the next episode.
Some people don’t like having to watch the same fight, or same event extended across several different episodes, but other people love it. They begin to truly appreciate the tension, and the struggle of the characters. It brings them closer to the characters, which some love. Further more, the depth and thought put into all the characters and backstories that come into play make things much more satisfying.
Shows like Dragonball and it’s successors had a wide cast of lovable characters that one really looks forward to seeing more of every time. Other shows that come to mind are Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, Fairy Tail, Inuyasha, Gintama, and One Piece. However, long running shows seem to gear towards the shonen demographic with a majority of popular shows being action or adventure. Bleach, Naruto Shippuuden, D.Gray Man, Katekyo Hitman Reborn, and Dragonball Z highlight this clearly, being some of the most popular shows of all time.
However the drawbacks of long shows is their repetitiveness. In most of these shows one notices a pattern after some time, and it gets fairly boring to some. A common staple in action shows is showing an enemy, a struggle against them, coming close to defeat, but finally pulling through in the end. This process repeats for several seasons. Another result of the ones based on mangas are fillers; that is, episodes that don’t actually have anything to do with the story but are just meant to kill time. Nothing is more disappointing than waiting an entire week for an episode only to find a filler episode, or worse, a filler arc. Furthermore, though not the result of the show being long but simply being a shonen show is that the events are often incredibly childish. Despite there being depth in characters in shows such as Bleach, they are being heavily underutilized in terms of plot and dialogue. The same goes for most long running shows. It is clear that long running shows are designed for a less mature audience.
So, that was my take on the differences between short running and long running anime. If you were to ask me, I’d say I prefer the short kind, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch any long running shows. Dragonball Z and Bleach are two of my all time favorite shows. I just tend to find a healthy balance between the two types of shows, usually watching short running shows, but reverting to the long ones in between. Both have their own place and are very entertaining to watch. What are your thoughts? Which kinds do you prefer?