When an anime doesn’t end up quite as good as the concepts and plot it tried to tell suggested it could be, varying theories as to how it could have been succeeded get thrown around. One of the most common gripes is that it needed more episodes. Off the top of my head, anime I’ve seen this theory thrown out for are Angel Beats, [C], Xam’d and Jyu Oh Sei, although I’m sure there’s plenty of others. However, in all 4 of these cases, I am not convinced that more episodes would have helped. It would have just resulted in more of the same.
Take Angel Beats for example.
- The world it created made no sense. It needed more episodes to explain it thoroughly.
- It didn’t explore the side characters very well. They needed more episodes to give them more depth.
- The tone of the anime shifted unnaturally and felt jarring. It needed more episodes to smooth out the transition.
Yeah, I don’t agree with any of these. The tonal shift is what the director, Seiji Kishi, does in all his shows. He deliberately uses it for either comedic effect or shock value. Now I don’t think he did that particularly well in Angel Beats, but that’s a different story. Given more episodes, he would have continued using that tonal shifting style anyway. The characters lacking depth didn’t come about through lack of exploration of their characters. Almost all of the characters that didn’t have their back stories explored were one-stock joke characters anyway. There was no back story to tell. Giving them back stories would have come off as trite. No extra episodes would have changed that, unless the show changed their personalities entirely, and that’s not what they wanted to do in the first place. As for the plot making no sense, that’s because the very core of the plot was borked from the start. The world would have made no sense no matter how long they tried to explain it, because the very fundamentals of it made no sense. More episodes would just have made it make no sense even slower.
Jyu Oh Sei races through what seems like it should be a sci-fi epic in the space of 11 episodes. But none of the scenes that occurred necessarily felt rushed in of themselves. The reason it’s so short is because the show didn’t really care about its characters or developing them. It’s token, soulless development. Giving it more episodes would have simply made the anime drag through scenes the viewer didn’t care about. Keeping it short, in my humble opinion, actually kept it watchable. It could be argued that it needed to take better care of developing its characters and giving them personalities and souls, but that’s a problem with the story, not because it was given too little episodes.
And so on and so forth. My key point I’m trying to make is the lack of episodes in of itself isn’t what these anime are lacking. It’s a different problem. In solving that problem, the show might naturally need more episodes to do that in, but don’t trot out the excuse of needing more episodes when something is flawed. Obviously there are cases where more episodes were obviously needed. Anything where the plot doesn’t finish obviously needs more (although sometimes you get people wanting every single bit explained, resulting in some twats asking for more episodes of Madoka), and some genuine cases where an anime with a finished plot still needed more episodes. But please, think about what the problems with the anime in question are before you start claiming it was flawed because it ‘needed more episodes’.