Anime Shows Getting Shorter, Fewer Second Seasons, Why So?
Remember the days when we had at least 50 episodes per anime series or say like multiple seasons? Well those days are gone and seems like they are not going to return anytime sooner.
The Economic Situation
The economic situation right now in Japan is not that great. It’s not in a complete state of bankruptcy but it is having it’s hard times. I am not that qualified to talk about the economic situation so I won’t comment further on that.
You may ask what does the degrading economic situation has to do with making anime shorter?
The entire entertainment industry strives on investments. So in a economic depression it isn’t like investors money disappears but the local currency is devalued to stabilize the markets. So the investments shrinks when the investment shrinks they need to do some cuts here and there to comply with the budget so they typically cut the number of episodes.
When a studio decides to invest in making a really long show, they have to keep people connected to the show. I mean to spread the word about the show by the means of advertising. Of course they don’t want to lose viewers.
Plus keeping the buzz floating around for a while is also essential for the sales of DVDs and merchandise.
Japan is making fewer babies. No matter how weird it may sound, it is the ground reality. In sensible words, there are more old people than young. Which translates to a large demographics which may not dispose their money on this form of entertainment.
Sure there is the ever growing international audience but here’s a thing, a large majority of income to anime industry comes from their home ground Japan. Which really makes the aging population a major issue.
Smaller shows require less time to make and it even helps to bring more eyes to the original source material. Smaller arcs give studio to experiment with the material and if it takes off then voila another season.
By now you’ll know the target audience of a particular anime series is apparently teenagers and adults. The kind of audience which usually doesn’t have time or attention span to sit through the entire Yu Yu Hakusho.
Originally anime was targeted towards kids and young teenagers but as the times changed market changed. As a result of which we have some mature but amazing shows like Death Parade or Terror in Resonance. Yes they still make anime for kids but the sheer number of them is quite less. Imagine something like Doraemon.
Sometimes there isn’t just enough source material. I know this may sound weird but if there isn’t enough Manga to make 50+ episodes they would rather go with whatever that is available. Like how Attack on Titan turned out.
Usually most of the popular Manga series unveil their new chapter every month, some are weekly but the better ones are usually monthly. Just imagine how long would it take for it to reach to chapters enough to make a 50+ episodes anime series.
Anime aren’t cheap to make nor were they back in the 90s but that coupled with the economic depressing and shifting demographics is probably the reason why we don’t see longer anime shows. One must also remember that these days Anime series are usually a window to dive deeper into the source material, something like a really long promotion for the Manga or Light Novel. Nevertheless that’s the situation and it just feel like it is going to improve any sooner.
ALSO READ: Why is it Hard to Make a Good Anime?