This is sort of a pilot to a series of posts that I’m going to try to start that I call “Life’s Great Mysteries.” I had originally thought about calling it “Solving Life’s Greatest Mysteries with the Great and Brilliant Marth,” but I figured that was a bit too long (and too modest).
So I’ve been wondering lately about the different trends I see in American TV shows and anime regarding length. If you look at many of the shows in anime recently, they’re all either 12 episodes or 25 episodes long and then they’re just finished.
On the other hand, the shows I follow in America have been going on for 3+ seasons. Scrubs ran 9 seasons, White Collar is sitting on 3 seasons, Leverage and Castle are sitting on Season 4, and Chuck and The Big Bang Theory are on Season 5.
Let’s take the popular shows in the fall season for example to compare. Persona 4 is going to run 25 episodes, which you may count as 2 seasons, Guilty Crown is slated for 22 episodes, which is similar, and Fate/Zero is running 13 episodes, with a second season picking up later.
So I wonder: is this a result of animation versus live acting? My thinking was that on one hand, animation may require more effort because of the strain of drawing and moving every single scene and that may have something to do with the production patterns. But on the other hand, live acting may run into similar stress because of the constant rigidity of real life (aka physics) and the problems of setting and props.
Living with a 12 year old younger sister introduces you to the animated side of America too, and I notice they similarly run for long stretches. So now I wonder if these different production patterns say something about each culture’s approach to entertainment.
Maybe American viewers like to familiarize themselves with a certain cast going through a story while Japan tends to stick to certain motifs starring a multitude of different casts. Or maybe Japan takes an approach of starting on a clean slate when trying new things while America tries innovate while still working around the base they’ve set.
Before you say anything, yes, I know that Japan has live action shows. I don’t really know much about how those sorts of Japanese shows run, but I wonder if they run similarly to American shows. Maybe that would rule out a cultural difference.
Another possibility is that the entire difference is intentional. Maybe producers feel that live actors feel more real to the viewers and are easier to become attached to, making it harder for them to change up their shows. Whereas producers for animation may believe that the flexibility of animation gives them free reign to try completely new characters designs to broaden their viewership.
I’m curious to hear what you all think of this situation. Is there something I missed? Am I completely nuts? Is everything I said nonsensical and boring? Is anime the greatest thing in the world and not at all comparable to 3D? Are the images too distracting from the post itself? All of these are questions that you may have and for which I would definitely want to know the answers. And since you’re all so clever, I’m sure there are other things that I haven’t even thought of that you want to say, so comment below! Not only would I appreciate feedback on this post, but I’d also love to see some suggestions for other questions I might tackle.