Anime Lengths Whats the Big Deal?

Anime fans want to know, does episode count matter?

It’s common for anime fans to argue about which length is best. I have seen many anime series that varied in length. From those shows, I have a pretty good idea about the importance of length in anime. While most only discuss short vs long anime, I am going to add medium to the conversation.

My goal for this article is to go over the three sizes of anime shows and critique them.
Expect the classic pros vs cons approach with nice anime suggestions thrown in.

What Defines a Specific Anime Length?

The Pros of Long Anime

Long anime has the most expansive universe

The stories take place in areas all around the world and in some cases the universe. Anime of this length can devote more time to the culture, backstory, history etc of its universe.

Anime Lengths DGrayman innocence explation

The Characters

The locations are brimming with so many side characters unlike in shorter anime. Even the main cast could consist of ten to twenty characters. In these shows, even the minor characters get a moment to shine. Naruto Shippuden and Bleach demonstrated this during the major conflicts in their series. Characters get great conclusions to their arc in long anime. They also get more slice of life moments with the frequent filler episodes.

Anime Lengths Naurto's Characters

Bigger and More Epic Stories

The story pacing is more methodical. With a lengthy episode count to work with the writers have the ability to lay the groundwork for an epic story. This kind of groundwork rewards the audience for sticking around after episode one.

Anime Length Epic Stories Kenshin fighting Saito

My Suggestion

Long animes have given me the most value for my buck because of the expansive content in each story.

  • Bleach
  • Naruto
  • One Piece
  • D-Grayman
  • Fairy Tail
  • Gintama
  • Gundam
  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Yugioh
  • Digimon
  • YuYu Hakusho
  • Monster
  • Hunter X Hunter
  • JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
  • Dragon Ball
  • Major

The Pros of Short Anime

They are quick and do not limit your options

At most, it should take two weeks to watch a short anime.
 
Thus this is perfect for full-time students and nine to five warriors.
 
If you want to watch a short anime you do not have to give up watching the large popular shows.
 
The long anime of yesterday now have modern abridged version Ex: Legend of Galactic Heroes, and Sailor Moon.
 
When first getting into anime it’s gratifying to watch a bunch of shows in a quick suggestion. After doing that your understanding of anime will increase.
Anime Length Quick to watch Flashback

They Tell Quality Stories

Usually, these stories take place in one major location consisting of a small cast of characters.
 
Because of this, the story is easier to follow and the characters are more memorable.
 
There are no side arcs or other extra things to worry about.
Anime Lengths Quality Stories Krisu and Okabe

Re-Watchability

Due to the short amount of time needed to watch an anime, another viewing is realistic.
 
Finding your favorite moments is easy due to a small number of episodes to skim through.
 
I find that smaller shows are easier to jump back if I need to refer to something months or years later.
 
Also, with shorter anime, if you take a hiatus from the show you can come back months later and jump right back in.
Anime Length Re-Watchability Samurai Champloo

My Suggestion

Shorter anime will allow you can cover more ground in different genres and studios.
 
Perfect of new fans.
 
It’s fair to say that after watching five short animes you will get a better feel for what type of anime you like.
  • Elfen Lied
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Samurai Champloo
  • Serial Experiment Lain
  • Fate Zero
  • Steins; Gate
  • Angel Beats
  • Ping Pong The Animation
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
  • Escaflowne
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion

The Pros of Medium Anime

The Best of Both Worlds

In Medium anime, you will get a lengthy story with fleshed-out characters.
 
This package is not derailed by annoying fillers or recap episodes.
 
The environments and characters are prevalent but will not overwhelm you.
 
The stories are still grounded and simple just larger in scale when compared to a shorter anime.
Anime Lengths Best of both worlds many Zeros

Complete Stories

Usually, medium animes are complete stories that may span many seasons.
 
This length is good enough to tell a great story without overstaying its welcome.
 
It’s nice knowing that a show is over when it’s over.
The feeling provides good closure and allows you to watch the next show.
Anime Lengths Complete Stories Roy Mustang, Edward, and Alphonse

My Suggestion

Some of the greatest anime fall under this section
 
So, if you want to watch the best that anime has to offer then medium anime is where it’s at.
 
Medium anime should only take a month to watch, which is not too overwhelming when compared to long anime.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
  • Code Geass
  • Death Note
  • Attack on Titan
  • Clannad
  • Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Tokyo Ghoul
  • 12 Kingdoms
  • Full Metal Panic

The Cons of Long Anime

The Length Itself

Unfinished or having too many episodes is a barrier to entry for fans to start watching the show. This is why I have not and probably will never watch One Piece. If you are a full-time student or a work devoting time to a long story is not realistic or sustainable. I am only able to watch a long anime if I am caught up with the show or if I take large amount of vacation time.
Anime Lengths Too Long Yusuke, Kuwabara, and Toguro

Fillers

Almost all long animes will have filler episodes at some point. The purpose of filler arcs is to give the manga enough time to get ahead of the show. No one wants to have to wait out a filler arc to find out the conclusion of an arc. (I am talking about you Bleach)
Anime Lengths Filler Bleach Amagi Arc

The Endings are not always the greatest

Ending a long story is difficult. Because of this many shows prefer to tease a sequel or end in an unsatisfying way. Long animes that end before the manga are the worst. Because you devoted your time to watch over 200 episodes only to get a rushed ending that is barely an ending. Coming back to a long anime is not easy, especially if you are trying to find a specific scene and moment.
Anime Length Bad Ending Yugioh Last Scene

The Cons of Short Anime

Endings can be rushed

Often the ending makes no sense and does not offer enough closure.

There is a lack of character development

With so few episodes the animes tend to focus solely on the main cast with side characters being irrelevant.
 
The side characters are interesting but never go through any major development.
 
Underutilized characters are hard to care about or remember in a story
Escaflowne Hitomi interrogation
Anime Lengths Asuka and Rei in a Elevator

Not Enough time for the plot to develop

The plot of a short anime is very simple sometimes to a fault.

Its length  limits the number of answers the plot can answer

Usually a short anime will need OVA’s and movies to conclude the story

The entire After Life Battlefront

The Cons of Medium Anime

The main issue with medium anime is you will not get the same experience from watching either a short or long anime.
 
Because mediums tend to share aspects of both, without being the best at either.
 
Besides that, I have no specific issues with medium anime.

Final thoughts

Before writing this article, I had never considered the importance of anime lengths. I only experience the differences when trying to re-watch some of my favorite shows. It was nice to take a step back and dive deep into this topic
 
For new fans who want direction do the following:
 
  1. Watch many new short animes from different genres to find out what your kind of anime you like
  2. Gradually work through medium lengths when you are ready.
  3. Long anime is something that you may never have time for so it might be something to avoid altogether at least early on
 
I am at the point where I prefer to watch shows 50 and under instead of watching just one show of 200 + episodes. For seasoned anime fans, what do you prefer?
 
Did I miss some cons or pros let me know below?
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Mymediachops is a blog created by a life long anime fan. My goal is to prove that anime is for everyone. I focus on created content to help new fans get into the medium while also discussing anime that made a big impact on my life.