Size Matters

Don’t shake your head and giggle at me. You know what I’m talking about, and you know it’s the truth. Length is pretty important. Too short, and you’re unsatisfied. Too long, and it can be too much to handle. Everyone has a different preference, and some claim to not care, but be honest…the length of an anime series matters.

This is something that I started thinking about recently, when deciding on an anime for the club to discuss. I set a requirement that the anime be no longer than 26 episodes, so we could potentially watch and discuss it all. I then started thinking about my favorite shows, and how long they were, and I noticed a trend. For the most part, I prefer shows in the 26-52 episode range. To me, I feel that gives plenty of time to tell an engaging story, without letting it drag on for too long. I’m constantly entertained, I never feel like I’m wasting any of my time, and at the end, I wish there were more to watch, but I’m completely satisfied with what I watched.

If a show starts to drag on, I just get tired of it. Even if it’s a show I really enjoy at first, like Bleach…after a while, it just feels artificially bloated. Too much filler, too many extended fight scenes, and what was once a fun and fresh series with entertaining characters starts to feel like the same thing week after week. Again, that’s just my opinion. I know there are plenty of people out there who look forward to each new episode, and I’m glad they still enjoy it so much. But as for me…there’s so much out there to watch that I find it hard to justify such a lengthy commitment.

Of course, the opposite is true, too. Unless the show stays incredibly focused, 6-12 half hour episodes just isn’t enough. Characters tend to suffer, the world isn’t fleshed out…something just seems to be missing. Like I mentioned, it’s good to want more, but you shouldn’t feel like you need more to enjoy the show. There are shows out there who can pull this off, though, and that’s a testament to great story telling and planning.

The example I like to point to for perfect anime length is Cowboy Bebop. During it’s 26 episodes, we’re introduced to an intriguing world filled with fascinating characters. Questions are asked, and most of the answers are given. You’re always going to want more, because it’s just that good, but the show tells a complete story. It doesn’t feel like anything was left out, and nothing feels like unnecessary padding.

Those are my thoughts about the length of an anime. So now I want to know what you think. Do you agree? Am I too picky? What’s your perfect size? Or maybe this just doesn’t matter to you. Whatever you think, feel free to share.

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