The problem with long running series

Today, we have a guest teacher for this anime/manga lesson. It’s Sakata Gintoki-sensei! There was this one episode in Gintama where the Yorozuya trio discussed about the problem with long-running TV anime and manga series. That is, the anime would eventually catch up with the manga if there are no interferences to make. Many anime fans might be already familiar with this, but the neophytes out there might need this lesson to really know what is going on, even if this is just a glimpse of the whole thing.  Read on…
Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.21_[2011.11.09_21.19.08]Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.24_[2011.11.09_21.19.21]Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.30_[2011.11.09_21.19.32]Weekly manga series typically have 17 to 19 pages in every issue, while anime series have 22 to 24 minutes in each episode. Reading a weekly manga chapter takes about 10 minutes, which means that each episode can adapt 2 chapters of the manga. With long running series like Naruto, One Piece, Fairy Tail, and Gintama, the anime will surely consume the source material at a pace that will nearly bite the tail of the manga.

That is why animation production staff resort to filler arcs in between the story that actually took place in the manga. Most viewers don’t like these fillers, while a minority actually enjoy them or bear the pain of having to watch them. To further delay the chase, they would also review the events of the previous episode before the OP theme starts playing. Studio Pierrot is known for its use of the remaining air time for “extras” after the ED theme (Tokyo Ghoul, Naruto, Bleach). Those “extras” are usually off-cam skits that are more likely to appear as BD/DVD specials had other animation studios done the job.

Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.33_[2011.11.09_21.19.53] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.39_[2011.11.09_21.31.19] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_03.41_[2011.11.09_21.40.07]

But! Gintama has an additional way to do this, which reminds me of the scenes where characters of anime greet the viewers in every special occasion, such as New Year’s, or the writers make a special episode/arc for that occasion (e.g. Space Brothers, Meitantei Conan, Gintama [again], Naruto, Bleach). Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_04.32_[2011.11.09_21.41.45] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_04.38_[2011.11.09_21.41.55] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_04.39_[2011.11.09_21.41.59] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_04.44_[2011.11.09_21.42.07] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_04.48_[2011.11.09_21.42.15] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_05.00_[2011.11.09_21.42.32] Gintama 092.mkv_snapshot_05.02_[2011.11.09_21.42.38]Yes, this is how we roll at Yorozuya. 🙂

This isn’t really irrelevant, so let me list some rants/comments I’ve read/heard from other anime and manga enthusiasts, and my reactions (in my head):

  • *Sees 4 chapters of an ongoing weekly/monthly manga* *Likes the story* Oh my gosh! Why doesn’t this have an anime yet! –> Seriously? *facepalm* A manga usually needs at least 2 years worth of material before they get adapted into an anime, although adaptation offers from anime studios may be sent as early as one year of serialization.
  • *A comment on the page of a mangaka whose manga was adapted into anime* Please continue making new anime like OOOOOOOO!!! It’s just so awesome! –> No. The animation studio (with the limited budget) is responsible for making your animu, not the mangaka.
  • What the hell? This manga is soooo stupid —> Oh really? Then make your own manga. 🙂
  • Since OOOOO Studio will animate this thing, I’m now quite hesitant to watch this. —> Don’t put the blame entirely on the studio. Check the production staff first before you blindly judge their works.
  • Why didn’t they make a sequel for OOOOOO?!!!! –> Hold on, just because you (and other people) like the animu on this side of the world, that doesn’t mean it sold well in Japan (DVD/BD sales). If they sold poorly, there’s a very slim chance you’ll even get a special/OVA.

[I’ll list more if I recall/hear/read anything]

It’s not like I have known everything from the start, but anime like Gintama and Bakuman. have taught me a lot of things I didn’t know about the technical and professional aspect of making anime. Months or years of watching anime should be able to teach us these things, right? All I hope is that one who claims to be an anime watcher and manga reader should know these things before he/she posts something that will sound stupid. Peace yo~



8 responses to “The problem with long running series

  1. Pingback: Which came first? | AniRa·

  2. Hahahaha oo nga, daming nagagalit na mga fans ng Naruto sa mga fillers. yung tipong akala mo sila yung gumagawa nung manga kung magalit. pero ako, ayos lang yung mga filler episodes. well, mostly naman comedy yung mga ganung episodes sa Naruto. 🙂

    • Hahaha. Yep. 🙂 Actually, I didn’t watch the fillers/skipped most of them, because I wanted to see the progression in the story written by Kishimoto himself. 🙂 As for Bleach, the only filler arc I skipped was the last one.

  3. Well said. There is a scene in Bakuman where Nizuma Eiji turns down an anime offer for his manga because it’s still too early that the anime would eventually catch up to the manga. I don’t mind fillers because I understand that they’re not doing it mindlessly but because they want the manga to advance without catching up to it.

    • Thank you. As I said in my posts, fillers are one way of preventing the anime from catching up to the manga. It’s just that majority of the watchers who have read the manga do not really appreciate any content in the anime that was not originally written by the mangaka (Though some mangaka, like Mashima Hiro, help the animation staff with the writing of the fillers). Though I have to admit that I am one of that group of fans, as I have seen some fillers that weren’t as entertaining as the original arcs in the manga. I have to commend the arcs which were done quite really well (like those in Fairy Tail). 🙂 But those who do not read the manga might appreciate the fillers more than the manga readers can.

      • I completely agree. Many popular anime are notorious for including LOOOOOONG arcs of fillers. You know which I’m talking about. 😉
        However, just like what you said, there are many anime such as Fairy Tail and my favourite ONE PIECE, which has great fillers. Perhaps I’m a bit biased just because OP is my most favourite. Oh well.

        I really don’t mind fillers, just as long as they stay that way, as fillers. When the anime start to deviate from the manga’s plot, that’s a different story.

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