How Anime Has Changed Since The Streaming Age

This is yet another thing that has been on my mind for a while. I mean, all of these are kind of obvious if you have watched older anime from the 2000’s or so to now. A lot of production has changed because since the beginning shows used to be a lot more episodic and longer. Now that I think about it, all media has become short and much less episodic than before. I mean, they still exist in criminal investigation shows that are somewhat weekly and episodic in nature, but the higher priority and lime light shows come from the ones with short episode counts and stronger story elements too. Anyway, this is about anime. 

A lot of the concepts on how anime has changed since looking at reboots of older series or modern attachments to older franchises. Those being Trigun Stampede, Tokyo Mew Mew New, and Mobile Suit Gundam Witch From Mercury. And all sorts of new looks and ideas behind each of them that gave each franchise a fresh coat of paint on an older thing. All to bring them into the new era. You know, whether they are successful or not. Especially since each older series is attached to their certain eras and it’s hard to escape from those eras even if they try hard as they can to do it. We see that happening all the time.

Anyway, here are the major differences that I think everyone has seen already.

Shorted Lengthed Shows/Seasons and Breaks

The first obvious thing that I will mention, but it informs how everything else happens these days. With the rare exceptions of long running shows that have lasted forever like One Piece and Detective Conan, most series are going to be much shorter and/or have breaks in between. The standard show length these days is one cour or 12-13 episodes. Sports anime and battle shonen series that last for a while are going to have two cour runs (or sometimes 1 cour runs) and then have a break period before the next season appears. This change is fundamental to all newer anime series compared to older shows.

Tokyo Mew Mew New’s first season was 12 episodes long and the newer season will air this year at some point. Much different then its original year length run at 50 something episodes. I have a bit with the pace that Trigun Stampede is going, it’s going to be one cour long when the original Trigun is cour in length. The Witch From Mercury just ended its first cour and the second cour will start sometime this year. So different from the original Gundam’s run where it ran for 43 episodes for 43 straight weeks. Things have really changed and it’s hard to say whether it’s a good thing. It’s probably about the same, just handled in a different way. 

More Ideas/Plots Per Episode

In the era of short anime series, you can’t have episodic anime series anymore. The stories are much tighter and more brisk than ever. That means involving more little things going on than ever before in each episode. Older anime series could have an episode focus on one thing at a time allowing us to see the cast reacts to a different situation. Even if plots were similar episode to episode, the situations were different enough where you can see the different side of each character.

When you see something like Tokyo Mew Mew New and Trigun Stampede, their episodes are more filled with stuff. Each character is given at least a little bit more to do but the plots take over. I don’t have past knowledge of Tokyo Mew Mew New, but I have heard enough people talk about the past series to know this one was faster and busier than before too. Or Trigun Stampede’s first episode giving away all the details that were hidden throughout the entire first Trigun series’ first half. 

Less Memorable Side Characters

Another obvious thing, but is worth mentioning time. With short episode counts and stories which are much shorter in length too. The side characters aren’t as important or as memorable as they once were. Especially in shows that still have larger casts that can’t spend as much time developing everyone as they could back when shows had at least two cours of length or longer. Some shorter series get away with it by having the casts be shorter. In this example, Tokyo Mew Mew New and Trigun Stampede have smaller casts that give each one some good bit of focus when they need it.

Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch From Mercury, on the other hand, has tons of side characters. A lot of them sit on couches and were attached to major players in The Witch From Mercury in some way. Yes, some of those couch sitting characters stood out more than others because their personalities were allowed to inform their interactions with other characters which is good. It generally means that only a general feeling of who these characters are and where they came from were felt throughout the show’s structure and sometimes that is good enough to get why The Witch From Mercury’s world is the way it is.  


So yes, the world of anime production has and hasn’t changed since then. While technology has improved the lives of animators and other production staff since the more analog days, I feel like their exploitation has changed much since then. People are still being worked to the bone for the things they love to do. The difference is that it is appearing these days. More anime popping out all the time, just in shorter intervals of length and execution. That seems to be the way of the world right now. I love watching newer anime and I love watching older anime and I find the differences separating them to be so interesting. This is still puddle deep in those regards of thai exploration and maybe I should look deeper in how older and newer anime have changed in the future.


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