Back in my high school and college days, I used to binge watch TV shows and anime series like a pro. I’d pick one series I’ve been dying to see, sit down, and watch almost the entire thing within a day or two. It really depends on the length of the show. Nowadays, I can barely sit down long enough to watch a show continuously for more than an hour. Watching a longer series is a huge time commitment for me and it’s really rare to simply spend an entire day of my free time just watching TV all day. What’s a busy girl with limited time on most days supposed to do? I discovered the only time I’m able to binge watch anything at all is when series or episodes are shorter in length.
Most anime series have been notorious for being extremely long in the amount of episodes it has. Like regular TV shows, anime is broken up by seasons with each season containing a total of, at most, 24 episodes each. Combine two seasons of an anime series together and you have a whopping 50 episodes or more to try and binge watch over the next week or two. This doesn’t even include any OVAs, or original video animations (extra series or movies that are separate from the main series itself), a show may have.
The amount of episodes in an entire series never intimidated me. I used to binge watch series like Fushigi Yugi, Ayashi no Ceres, or Revolutionary Girl Utena and still craved more like them to watch after I polished off the whole thing. Binge watching shows like the ones I’ve named aren’t easy to do. These shows have more than one season and would total at over 50 episodes if you’re crazy enough to marathon them in an entire day. Go ahead and call me crazy back then because I sure as hell don’t know how I managed to binge that many episodes in between homework and studying.
As much as I have loved the shojo anime series from my youth and now own the entire set of Fushigi Yugi and Ayashi no Ceres (Utena is almost near complete in my collection), I can barely find the time to sit down and relive the experience of watching these shows again. I really want to, I do, but the idea of trying to sit still to marathon these feel nearly impossible to do now. It’s not like these episodes are long. A lot of anime episodes don’t have a run time of an hour. They tend to fall into an estimate of about twenty minutes in length.
Watching episodes of any anime series are much more digestible and you can easily squeeze in maybe four episodes in two hours, if you have the time. This is comparably different from watching an episode of a TV show like Arrow. I’m currently making my way through the first season of Arrow and it’s a really slow process. Each episode is an hour each. By the time I finish one episode, I may only have time to watch one more episode before I have to stop for the day to either go out or take care of something else. Two episodes in two hours versus four episodes in two hours? I feel like I cover more ground when I watch anime than I do with regular shows I really want to watch and enjoy too.
Anime episodes may have shorter running times, but if it’s a show I know I’m going to enjoy or I really like a lot, I’m going to want to watch the entire thing without interruption. Watching a few episodes of Fushigi Yugi and then stopping at five episodes to take care of something else, there’s a good chance I may not be able to pick up where I left off for maybe weeks or months at a time. By then, I’ll barely remember what happened in the last episode I’ve seen. This has happened when I’ve watched Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. I haven’t finished the series, but I find it harder to want to pick it up again after so long. I probably fault my lack of interest in it because I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of the manga so far, but not so much with the anime. When I do pick up where I left off, I can’t even remember a damn thing of what has progressed with the story or characters. It feels more like I’m watching a series for the first time and decided to pick a random episode and start watching it, having no idea what is going on. Not a good thing.
When anime seasons are shorter with episodes only having about 13 in total, like Vampire Knight, I can easily binge watch that in a day. Shorter seasons with shorter run times are perfect for a busy girl like me. I can get my anime fix and be able to finish a series I want to watch. Of course, a shorter anime series should still be of good quality and worth the time to watch. As long as story and character progression can be tied up in the amount of time a lengthier anime series takes, I’m on board with shorter series.
There are exceptions to my binge watching attitude of “shorter is better.” If I start a brand new series and the story is so good that I can’t put it down, then I’ll find a way to binge watch an entire series until I’ve seen all a series currently has. One good example is Steins;Gate. At a total of 24 episodes, I started watching the show a few weekends ago and I easily got sucked into the plot and the characters. I’ve seen eight episodes so far and Steins;Gate having just one season makes it an attainable goal of finishing this series in about two weekends or less.
My days of binge watching 50 plus episodes may be over, but I’ll find a way to watch any show, be it long or short, when I can carve a small window of time in my schedule. It’ll just take me much longer than it used to to finish a series. How I do miss my student days when weekends and vacations were meant for binge watching all the shows I loved to my little heart’s content!