Anime: What’s wrong with anime?
So this has been something I wanted to rant about for a long time now. After watching all the anime I wanted to watch for the Summer 2021 season. I discovered something that I just do not like in the world of anime. Now what is that? You might ask. The title of this blog is a dead give away, yes ladies and gents, today’s episode is about the length of episodes but my also extend to lengths of anime in general.
Why episodes need to be longer.
Now let’s be real here, if you have watched anime for a long time, then you may remember a time when episodes used to be on the longer side. Longer side being twenty-five to thirty minute episodes. But as time went on, the duration of episodes slowly shrunk. Now a twenty-three minute episodes isn’t a genuine twenty-three minutes. If you factor in the OP and ED songs, which combined take roughly three minutes, you’re then left with twenty minutes of show.
The studio then has twenty minutes to put together something that is entertaining. Now I am no expert on the BTS of making an anime episode. I understand that there are whole teams dedicated to this line of work, people who put countless hours in to produce an episode/series for our enjoyment. For that, I am forever grateful and appreciative of, however putting that all aside. The studio has twenty minutes to show off their their original work, or to adapt a light novel, web manga or manga. Are there cases where studios are able to properly fill those twenty minutes with everything they want? With the pacing they want and with the story/point of interest that they want? Sure, of course. Attack on Titan is a prime example of this, their episodes average out to be twenty-four minutes in length and for the most part have kept within the twelve episode range, with exception to one or two seasons.
The creation of anime is a business (as we know), I am sure these studios have it down to a science. They know how to maximize everything to squeeze as much profit as humanly possible. However, not every anime is Attack on Titan. Attack on Titan is as close as you can get in terms of maximizing everything. Other anime studios do not have the same luxuries as Wit Studio. Many studios will release multiple anime a year to satisfy all parties, not every studio as their ‘cash cow’. It’s because of this quest to become the best of the best and to continuously find the next best thing; while also satisfying all parties involved, that anime studios have come up with the format that we have now.
While these twenty minute episodes may work splendidly for the studios, as a longtime viewer, it’s not enough. I don’t think that’s enough time to properly tell a story and that is what frustrates me the most. The disconnect I feel whenever I watch an episode that feels messy is what drives me up a wall.
An exception I’m willing to make // What I want.
I would like to see a change in thought. Yes, at the end of the day, these studios are in it to make a profit. However, to get the best ROI (Return on Investment) is through quality of work. Now what do I mean by “Quality of work”? Well this has been something on my mind for some time. There has been multiple anime in the Summer 2021 season where it felt like you were watching a slideshow. Where the action sequences were poorly animated and static. Where the characters didn’t seem all that involved or remotely interesting. Where conversation between characters take up the majority of the episode leaving little to no room for anything else. If the quality of work put into these series is not up to the viewers standards, then chances are the profit made through sales etc will reflect that. If you put out a crap anime, chances are the expected return you thought you would make will reflect the work put out.
So what are other ways where studios can improve? The biggest thing I would like to see changed is the duration of episodes. These twenty minute episodes are good enough anymore, it certainly isn’t enough time to properly tell a story. Which is important to all anime, if you’re unable to tell the story you’d like to tell then the anime will not be as well received as you hoped it would be. Heck, if we had legit twenty-three minute episodes (not twenty-three minutes including OP and ED), I’m almost certain that the story you’d like to tell will be two-times better. While three minutes may not seem like enough time, with regards to anime, those extra three minutes can go a very long way. I would also like to mention that, if the twenty minute episodes were better managed then I don’t mind at all.
Secondly, I don’t know why this has been a problem, but, why are most episodes filled with chatter? (More than the usual). While I understand the point of these episodes are to provide context regarding what the characters are experiencing and thinking, but come on, every episode, for the majority of the episode? Is that really needed? I don’t think it is. No one wants to watch characters talk for the whole episode with bare minimum happening around them. Since when did episodes become animated podcasts? I haven’t got a clue. The biggest examples of this are the following anime: Genjitsu Shugi Yuusha no Oukoku Saikenki, Tantei wa Mou, Shindeiru and Mahouka Koukou no Yuutousei. In my opinion, Tantei wa Mou, Shindeiru was the worst one out of the three and best illustrates what I mean. Less chatty episodes = more entertainment.
Furthermore, I would love to see longer length anime. As we all have come to know, the typical anime length ranges from ten to thirteen episodes. Nowadays you’d be hard pressed to find a series that is longer than what’s considered normal. Obviously there are always a few anime that have twenty-four episodes, but that’s the problem. Why only a few when there could be more. From a business standpoint, it may not make sense to make twenty-four episode anime. It’ll cost more and it also leaks into the next season, where it’ll have to compete with the anime airing then. I also understand that if there is enough content to produce a second season, it would be smarter to turn that into a second season to maximize profits. I get it. However, speaking from a viewer’s perspective, I would love it if there were more episodes to help tell the story. For example, ReLIFE. It was an anime that had thirteen episodes to its name, but having read the web manga, without a doubt, there is enough content for the series to easily be twenty-four episodes. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! could have been a series that contained more than twenty-six episodes. Kimi no Iru Machi could have WELL been over thirteen episodes (how that series only got thirteen when there are 200+ chapters is beyond me). Don’t even get me started on Nisekoi and its 200+ chapters.
Bottom line, I miss the days when we had anime that were over thirteen episodes. I felt like the stories told in them were generally a lot better than the majority of anime that air now. There are exceptions to this rules as there are for most things, however, generally speaking the storytelling in today’s anime fall short given the ten to thirteen episodes limit they put on the series. As a long time viewer, I wish this wasn’t the case, but alas, it is.
In short, there are many things that I dislike about current anime. As this blog is only about the technical side of things, I won’t get into the finer details or else we’ll be here all day. In a perfect world, I would love it if anime were twenty-five minutes long, had less of those episodes where all the characters did was talk and have a series that isn’t thirteen episodes long. I grew up in a generation where all my childhood anime, Bleech, Naruto, One Piece, DBZ, FMA: Brotherhood, Gundam SEED etc, were all over 40+ episodes. I’m spoiled in that regard. I’m not asking for anime to be as long as those ones, but for me, twenty-four episodes is more than enough.
That concludes my rant on “What’s wrong with anime?”. Hope you enjoyed and I’ll see you in the next one.
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