I don’t know if you’re like me but I get a bit intimidated by anime series with really high episode counts. Once it reaches the 3 digits I immediately try to figure out if it worth it. As if watching 10 mediocre 12 episode shows isn’t the exact same thing. What can I say, I’m my brain is special.

And that’s not even getting into 4 digit episode counts. I am honestly interested in case closed and I bet I would love it but man, even if I watch it every single day, it’s gonna take me almost 3 years to catch up! As if anime was a job and it mattered how long it takes me to catch up…. As if catching up is even a thing…

Because I realize that I’m not being the most logical here, and because I think a lot of fans might share my feelings, I decided to take some time and remind myself of the advantages only long-running series have. Here are 5 Pros of long-running anime.

nostalgia is hard to illustrate

5. Built-in Nostalgia

You know how when you watched a show years ago and enjoyed it, it sort of gets this special place in your heart. Because nostalgia is very powerful. But then when you watch it back, it doesn’t always match up to our memories. Or it does but let’s face it, it looks old. And reboots or remakes never work out, right? (I know a lot of great remakes, just humour me on this one)

But when a series has been airing for like 20 years, then it can both be the beloved show of your childhood and a modern currently airing anime all-in-one. You may not be able to ever go home again, but it’s great when you never have to leave in the first place!

Fullmetal Alchemist Van Hohenheim
and we still never learn

4. A Snapshot of Anime Evolution

This is somewhat related to my previous point but have you ever compared the first episode of One Piece to a current one? I mean the art style and designs are largely the same and the art style didn’t change but you really see how much richer and more detailed the visuals get along with how much smoother the animation has become.

For those of us who are really interested in the nuts and bolts of anime, these shows represent a unique treasure trove since you get a much more one-on-one comparison of changes and progression in anime production throughout the years. Something much more difficult to see when comparing different series.

I was trying to find “freedom”

3. Artistic freedom

Even though the anime industry has comparatively little oversight when compared to other media, there are still studios that need to sell their product. But an anime that has been popular for hundreds of episodes is a much easier sale. Not to mention that there’s an assumption of mastery on the side of the author and production team. Obviously, they know what they’re doing.

So it’s often in the later episodes that creative teams really get the chance to try out some things and really create the anime they were always hoping to make. This is not a fast and steady rule but there is still a better chance of artistic freedom in long-running anime (or manga).

that’s one way to go about it

2. Whale jumping!

Ok, so this may be a negative depending on the type of person you are. Do you know what happens when a very talented team of people who are very good at making anime, run out of ideas? Things get weird. Like weird weird! And I love weird!

This is how you get those infinitely memeable moments and classic nonsense I love so much! Sure, you have to be able to enjoy ridiculousness and maybe even the so bad it’s good phenomenon. But when you do, long-running series are a goldmine.

1. Characters

I feel like all my other points had titles that make some sense.

I don’t mean that only long-running series have characters, or even that the characters are better in long-running shows but let’s face it, if you get a chance to really see a character grow through the years, you’re bound to connect way more with them.

In any case, it certainly does give the story a lot more room to develop them and let them have meaningful arcs. There’s something singular and wonderful about a character that has been lovingly allowed to bloom over hundreds of episodes. Even a mediocre stereotype is bound to have an interesting trait or two by the end of it.

And I love characters. I should be all about long runing anime – right!

Did I convince any of you to start a 200+ series right now? I didn’t convince myself… I bet case closed is super fun.

15 thoughts

  1. Hmm, there hasn’t been many really long anime that I’ve stuck with. I liked Inuyasha and that one was pretty long. I think it had like 5 or 6 movies too. I’ve tried both Fairytale and One Piece, but I quit at around episode 50 for both of them. I just got really bored with them. I liked Detective Connan/Case Closed, but I couldn’t find anymore episodes after about episode 45 so I never got to the end of that one either. Honestly, I tend to like the 12 episode series, short and sweet.

    1. I think most people do. Then again. long running series do beat everything else in the popularity raitings but when I talk to people I never see anyone who prefers longer shows.

  2. I’ve tried quite a few long runners, but I pretty much always drop out after some point. I think Hunter X Hunter is the longest I ever stuck with a show (all the way through). It’s easier if they’re divvied up into season’s, but, well, I felt diminishing returns even with, say, Haikyuu. That’s just how I work. At some point the show becomes too familiar. That’s something that doesn’t happen with 10 mediocre shows.

      1. The comment about Haikyuu wasn’t about its quality, it was about how I react to familiarty. I can’t help it. Even in single-season shows of say 11 episode, the default is that excitement peaks early. Oddly enough, there’s the opposite, too. I’m never really excited about the show at all, but then when it finishes airing, I sort of miss it. Nevertheless, I tend to drop out of long runners, simply because I want something else now. (A non-anime-related aspect of that trait: I stopped browsing SFF shelves in bookshops when franchise and series books took them over. It just wasn’t fun anymore.)

        1. That might be how most fans react. I’m not sure where I stand. I guess somewhere in the middle. There are quite a few series I can think off that I really got into after 30 episodes or so… The again there are 12 episode series I thought would have been perfrct if they were cut in half.

  3. I do think if you’re going to get into a long anime having breaks to watch other things are needed because you can hit a wall if that is the only thing you are mainly watching for instance I hit a wall at dressrosa in One piece and even Bleach got hard at certain times.

    I do wonder if you are more likely to watch the aniem if you know it is finished liek Bleach compared to ones still going even if they aren’t like 500+. Also I do think anime having seasons make it easier because it seems less daunting when every season has only 24 episodes compared to watching up to 100 something. Take My hero for example that is 100 plus but it doesn’t seem like that because it has seasons

  4. I think streaming services have spoiled me a bit when it comes to long-running series – I need to be able to watch the whole thing from go to woe, otherwise my risk of getting bored with it is pretty high. What can I say? I hate having to wait! And it’s happened a bit over the course of the last year or so that I have gotten bored with a series that has had a long break between seasons, and I’ve been turned right off…

      1. Hey, I am so old I can remember a time before the internet existed and you had to interact with other people for entertainment purposes….

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