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Old 2013-06-22, 15:06   Link #1
Guernsey
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Why are there only thirteen episodes for anime nowadays?

There may had been a thread like this before but I got ask, why is it that they are doing thirteen episodes for most anime as opposed to 26 episodes? I am not familiar with how they do things in Japan but I do know that most adaptations require a lot more time than what they are giving it.
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Old 2013-06-22, 15:26   Link #2
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Production committees are much more cautious today than they used to be. They prefer to run a series for 11-13 episodes to see how it performs before committing to a second season. There just isn't as much money available as there was in the "boom" years in the last decade.

Also I'd imagine changing tastes play a role. Anime today has a greater proportion of comedies than in years past so there is less need to portray complex stories over 26, 39, or more episodes.
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Old 2013-06-22, 15:32   Link #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Production committees are much more cautious today than they used to be. They prefer to run a series for 11-13 episodes to see how it performs before committing to a second season. There just isn't as much money available as there was in the "boom" years in the last decade.

Also I'd imagine changing tastes play a role. Anime today has a greater proportion of comedies than in years past so there is less need to portray complex stories over 26, 39, or more episodes.
Beat me to the punch.
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Old 2013-06-22, 15:33   Link #4
Kaisos Erranon
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They're far cheaper, yes.
Furthermore, since most anime are promotional in nature, adaptations don't really "need" to do anything other than promote the source.
1 cours is all that's required to do this. Less, in fact, as Kadokawa is proving with their 10-episode seasons recently.
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Old 2013-06-22, 16:24   Link #5
SeijiSensei
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Originally Posted by Kaisos Erranon View Post
Furthermore, since most anime are promotional in nature, adaptations don't really "need" to do anything other than promote the source.
While that is generally true, I notice that even recent original productions generally stick to the 11-13 episode format. Obvious examples are Madoka Magica, Lupin III/Mine Fujiko, Suisei no Gargantia, and AKB0048. The last of these has a sequel; the others do not. Another example might be tsuritama, but noitaminA has often commissioned shows in the one-cour format.

The more interesting cases are shows like Chihayafuru, which is in its second 25-episode season and generally hews quite closely to the manga. If an anime adaptation stimulates sufficient manga sales, as Chihayafuru did, production committees seem willing to invest in another season.
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Old 2013-06-22, 16:59   Link #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Production committees are much more cautious today than they used to be. They prefer to run a series for 11-13 episodes to see how it performs before committing to a second season. There just isn't as much money available as there was in the "boom" years in the last decade.

Also I'd imagine changing tastes play a role. Anime today has a greater proportion of comedies than in years past so there is less need to portray complex stories over 26, 39, or more episodes.
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Originally Posted by Flower View Post
Beat me to the punch.
I agree here. I mean, Love Live had excellent production and we never knew it was getting a second season at all. Based on the popularity and the sales for it, it's definitely getting a second season. Of course this isn't always the case since Production I.G. makes two cours right off the bat (Attack on Titan and Psycho-Pass).

Chihayafuru sort of surprised me with the length it had. I never expected them to make large amount of episodes for these two seasons. Madoka Magica had a great impact on a good amount of people. Although it can't keep itself going for a second season. So another reason why animes could be cut off is that they have no more content to adapt/go with for a second season.

Then you have the increased animations of things.
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Old 2013-06-23, 02:49   Link #7
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Those are some good points but with long running anime especially JUMP manga I don't see how thirteen episodes make sense. To Aru, Shana as well as some other had been doing that for some time now even before the law was implemented but other adaptations, the thirteen episode thing just doesn't work for some shows.
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Old 2013-06-23, 02:56   Link #8
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It might not work from a storyline perspective, but it works from a business prospective; make 13 episodes, and if its popular, make more. Better than making a bunch of eps for a loss.
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Old 2013-06-23, 04:04   Link #9
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Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
Those are some good points but with long running anime especially JUMP manga I don't see how thirteen episodes make sense. To Aru, Shana as well as some other had been doing that for some time now even before the law was implemented but other adaptations, the thirteen episode thing just doesn't work for some shows.
Money, money, money- It's a rich man's world. Anime adaptations of Manga/Light Novels are essentially big advertisements for the original source. The real money comes from there as not many people are willing to drop a couple hundred bucks for dvd/BD, but 5-10 dollars on a book? Perfectly manageable.


(Note that both Raildex and Shana are by Dengeki Bunko- other recent 2 cours adaptations like SAO, AW and Durarara were also by them. Different companies can afford different approach...)
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Old 2013-06-23, 06:00   Link #10
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
While that is generally true, I notice that even recent original productions generally stick to the 11-13 episode format. Obvious examples are Madoka Magica, Lupin III/Mine Fujiko, Suisei no Gargantia, and AKB0048. The last of these has a sequel; the others do not. Another example might be tsuritama, but noitaminA has often commissioned shows in the one-cour format.
Original productions are a HUGE risk. Since they're not based on any source, you'd need to make damn sure you believe that it will make any money. For some, it has worked out better than expected (Madoka Magica proved to be smashing hit), but there have been failures as well (like Tamako Market. which was probably aimed at the same audience that loved K-ON!, but failed to resonate with them. Not a total flop, but not exactly a huge hit, either).

Quote:
The more interesting cases are shows like Chihayafuru, which is in its second 25-episode season and generally hews quite closely to the manga. If an anime adaptation stimulates sufficient manga sales, as Chihayafuru did, production committees seem willing to invest in another season.
Chihayafuru was based on a popular manga, so the PC knew there was an audience for it, thus justifying 25 episodes. While the anime flopped hard, the fact that it raised manga sales by a huge amount means that the advertisement bit worked out flawlessly, giving the PC more leeway to finish the show with the manga, or at the very least make more.

I'm sure a similar thing will happen to Shingeki no Kyojin. The manga was very popular, so the PC knew that they could make 25 episodes without risking too much. Even if the anime fails to sell (unlikely, but still possible), the huge spike in manga sales will probably be enough for more anime in the long run.
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Old 2013-06-23, 07:17   Link #11
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Originally Posted by Lord of Fire View Post
Original productions are a HUGE risk. Since they're not based on any source, you'd need to make damn sure you believe that it will make any money.
Indeed. Of the examples I gave, one is based on the popular idol group, AKB48, and another is a spinoff from the famous manga and anime series Lupin III. Both Madoka and Gargantia are Urobuchi creations; maybe his name alone is sufficient to attract viewers, especially after the success of the first of those.

Iso Matsuo spent seven years shopping around the story for his masterpiece, Dennou Coil, and has spoken since about the difficulties of creating original works in an industry where adaptations are so much the norm.
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Sugii asks about the planning (pitching?) for Dennou Coil, and Iso says he had to do it himself - anime production studios wouldn't take him up on his offer and he was turned away everywhere [until he went to Tokuma]. Animators are not welcome except to do what they're told and since the industry feeds on profits made from making animated adaptations, they don't know how to sell original works. Therefore he had to do it himself.

They don't like it when the original creator goes on to direct the show as well (a director should be working under a production house). Iso can't mention too many details because of certain people in high places... Something about how you can't help certain power positions. [You get what I mean?] (Inoue jokes whether Iso is trying to portray himself as a victim)
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Old 2013-06-23, 08:26   Link #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guernsey View Post
Those are some good points but with long running anime especially JUMP manga I don't see how thirteen episodes make sense. To Aru, Shana as well as some other had been doing that for some time now even before the law was implemented but other adaptations, the thirteen episode thing just doesn't work for some shows.
One issue is the revenue in return for disc sales. A 2-cour series places 3 episodes on a disc for 8-9 volumes while a 1-cour series places 1-2 episodes on a disc for 6-7 volumes at 1,000 yen less. You earn more income per volume for 1-cour shows compared to 2-cour shows when you nearly half production costs per episode. Right now only the titles that'll be predicted to sell well or are expected to finish the story end up being two-cour. Other titles go split-cour (break in-between halves) so they can manage production timing better and sell 12-14 disc volumes instead of 8-9.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos2Frozen View Post
(Note that both Raildex and Shana are by Dengeki Bunko- other recent 2 cours adaptations like SAO, AW and Durarara were also by them. Different companies can afford different approach...)
Correct yet incorrect. Railgun, Index, and Shana are produced from the Geneon/Warner Home Video production committee with those two companies putting in the most funds. Sword Art Online and Durarara!! were produced from the Aniplex production committee with that company putting in the majority of funding. Accel World is from the Warner Home Video production committee. Ascii Media Works is a big part of all three, but isn't the primary financier of the anime.
(note, I just listed the first company (or split in the case of the first three); there are other parties involved, but Ascii Media Works isn't the primary funding company for those series.)
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Old 2013-06-23, 08:26   Link #13
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To be frank, the more and more I see anime with a length greater than around 13 episodes, the more and more I think that it's better this way. I can think of a lot of good shows that were ruined for me by a terrible second half. Then there's pacing issues, which crop up really quickly if an anime is running a length that's just too long, or they've written it poorly.

Sure, 13-episode anime can be wrought with pacing issues as well, often having to condense things, but this is much easier than an anime that is boring. You can artfully cut out the mundane and useless content, or skillfully find ways to keep it in with a much shorter amount of time paid to it than in the source material. I've seen far better attempts at making something short than I've seen making something long.

Edit: I have to ask: Cour? When did this become a common term?
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Old 2013-06-23, 08:48   Link #14
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Edit: I have to ask: Cour? When did this become a common term?
It's been around since the 1980s in Japanese broadcasting, but the international anime fandom has been using it since the late 2000s when we were exposed to it. It makes talking about 2-cour series with multiple seasons easier.

Ex. The currently airing Chihayafuru 2 has had four cours total: 2 in S1, 2 in S2. A columnist at ANN refered to the remaining 12 episodes of the first series as the "second season" when writing about it. Well, what is the "second season" to a reader? The last 12 episodes of S1 or the second series? Too confusing. By saying "S1's second cour" we alleviate that issue.

It also standardizes length of shows that may vary by an episode or two. One-cour is 3 months regardless if it's 12 or 13 or even 14 episodes.
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Old 2013-06-23, 13:43   Link #15
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Economy sucks, stick with what's safe and reliable especially when your audience is niche, and ordering 2 cours of whatever material you have of which most likely is nothing special when you have an audience with the attention span of a goldfish is just too risky. It's best to get your crap over and done with, take the money and run before the audience realizes what a shitty job you're doing.

Not just anywhere, but across all mediums. Though arguably, some shows are so terrible that 13 episodes are too good for them. This is for the better.

This makes perfect sense if you're running a business . You're not here to be an artist. You're here to make a living, and to take risks to make "art" about your aspirations is meant for times when it's booming and you have the space to make those things. In times like these, it's just better to play it safe and survive, especially when you've confined yourself to an audience that doesn't carry or appreciate the same dreams and aspirations as you do. It's not about brief moments of glory, but the long run. And ultimately, the grand majority of shows, companies, and people will be mediocre, and you have to play to those expectations.

Of course, as a viewer, I'd rather hope someone thinks differently.
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Old 2013-06-23, 15:19   Link #16
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Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
While that is generally true, I notice that even recent original productions generally stick to the 11-13 episode format.
This was brought up a bit above, but you might also notice that even 1-cours original series tend to have filler episodes.
Stories in anime are usually far too simple for multiple cours; most often they run too long as it is. If it would result in a more consistent narrative I'd prefer to see shows that are only 6 episodes long.
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Old 2013-06-23, 16:17   Link #17
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Originally Posted by Kaisos Erranon View Post
This was brought up a bit above, but you might also notice that even 1-cours original series tend to have filler episodes.
The usual definition of "filler" is episodes that include additional made-for-TV material not in the adapted work. So, by definition, original series cannot have "filler." If, however, you mean extra episodes that do not move the story forward, then some shows fit that characterization like Suisei no Gargantia with its two fanservice episodes in the middle. In contrast, pretty much every episode of tsuritama, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, or even the first season of AKB0048 develop the plot and characters.

(I'm leaving out slice-of-life shows like Showa Monogatari or Hidamari Sketch for obvious reasons.)

On the other hand Monster has 74 episodes, and none of them are filler by either definition. It just depends on how tightly the show is written. I don't think one can make blanket statements about length.
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Old 2013-06-23, 16:22   Link #18
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He probably meant fillers as in story padding, something which is seen in many kinds of media. Eventhough i agree that some "paddings" have a function
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Old 2013-06-23, 17:03   Link #19
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Well, reality dictates that you have to fill in a certain amount of time, regardless if your material fits it or not. Indeed, being at the mercy of the source writers that may release material whenever, and bean counters demanding you come up with something in that time regardless, tends to result in these things.

If I were to guess another reason beyond risk management for 13 episode anime, it would seem that media is gravitating towards speed. I mean, we're in an age where we can access so many things with a click of a button, that if something doesn't catch the eye, it's simply going to get overlooked.

Also, I wonder how long physical media is going to last.
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Old 2013-06-23, 17:55   Link #20
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Also, I wonder how long physical media is going to last.
Which market are you looking at? In Japan, physical media was never the first way to view something, so it'll still be around. Elsewhere it'll probably move to a niche group of people purchasing it once internet streams become available to 99.9% of the population.
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