The answer isn’t really clear cut though. Anime is often funded by various companies and continuously funded shows depend a great deal on marketing, viewership and hundreds of other factors that determine if it’s worth keeping around. Which is what makes me wonder about some of these freakishly long shows, many of which brag well over a hundred episodes. Often these shows contain long story arcs connected by a very vague overall goal. For example, Shugo Chara’s overall goal is simply for the main character to find out who she really is. You can’t get much more vague than that. Fairy Tail’s overall goal is bit more specific, Natsu is looking for his mentor. But the how isn’t ever worked out and often that plot point is forgotten amidst the many missions he’s on thanks to his guild, the side stories based on other character’s pasts, etc.
While a few of these longer shows do a pretty good job of remaining entertaining, not all are the level of writing most preferable in a show. Perhaps this is due to the overall plot needing to be a bit vague and rather unattainable for it to continue on so long. Or maybe creators begin to depend on the show’s name pulling in viewers and not the quality of the show itself. It’s hard to tell. In any case, it makes me wonder, at what point should there be a line? Sure the companies funding these shows are the ones who usually decide how long a show can go on for (manga is a different deal entirely). However, when should anime fans draw a line? As a fan who has a rather… um… “high standard,” I wonder if some of these shows get more slack than others due to their length and popularity. After all, would one be willing to watch a show with the same amount of vague plotting in a shorter show? What about the characters? Could they be as stereotypical and lackluster?
There is a saying, “If you try to please everyone, you will end up pleasing no one.” I can’t help but think that some of this holds true for longer running anime shows. Trying to appeal to too many fans at once can really wash a show out.
What do you think? Do you like longer shows? Hate them? Or do you think it doesn’t matter either way?