The Appeal of Episodic Anime

It’s the last day of March and I find myself both drowsy and for the most part bored. I did manage to cull my “plan-to-watch” list over the week but these past few days have just been so static (though it may be because I haven’t adjusted to not having anything to do). To alleviate these feelings I went with a sort-of last resort past-time for me – watch random episodes of any series that I have. Intriguingly, I almost, always found myself going for shows with an episodic format.

I don’t watch the whole series though. For example I’d watch two episodes of Arakawa Under the Bridge and then afterwards going for an episode of Working!, then maybe Mushi-shi, or Jigoku Shoujo, or well, you get the idea. (I actually began doing this more often for an American TV series) Some episodes I’d just choose randomly, while some episodes I remember being awesome and choose that.

That’s basically the appeal that I was getting at. Episodic shows, like the name may imply offers stand-alone episodes that are perfect for just lounging around when you have nothing else to do and to watch. Well, you could also pick-out an episode from a series with a proper story flow, but for me, in the times that I’m just too out of it, I can’t bring myself to “get into it”, like the moments where  you have to pause and think “did this or that happen yet in the story” or “is that character gonna do that in this episode”.

But with episodic shows, there’s just the characters, the situation and in some cases just a sliver of plot. Just pick an episode, sit back, laugh if the need arises, and relax.

We don’t really see this quaint use of episodic shows during a new season because, let’s face it, we want plot in our shows (unless of course the titles outright declare that they won’t have a plot to begin with) which then leads to people turning down these types of series. It’s also the same for when you’re going to marathon a series like this. It’s usually a bit tougher to go through episodic shows like you would any other show because most of the times there’s no drive, like a story arc, to jump to the next episode.

I’m not saying that episodic anime should just serve as boredom busters but, given the times when I am bored, they’d do a way better job keeping me awake during a siesta period, than say a plot-heavy psychological series.

So, do you guys share the same sentiments as me on this one? ^^

8 thoughts on “The Appeal of Episodic Anime

  1. Ah, you pretty much covered all the biggest positives and negatives of episodic shows. Some of my favorite anime are episodic, such as Mushishi, Kino’s Journey, Aria, and Nichijou. Lately I’ve enjoyed watching random episodes (or even just random skits) from Nichijou. Very easy to get into, and doesn’t take any time at all.

    • Awesome. Oh, I didn’t know Aria was episodic. I’ve had it on my list fot quite some time since almost everyone but me has already watched it
      lol, although I haven't watched Nichijou, I sometimes look for the "janken" sequences on youtube for some laughs ^^

  2. Comedy works best as episodic because there is no real plot. I usually watch everything in one go instead of leaving and coming back after a while.

    An anime with a plot is not so good as episodic anime. Naruto fillers have become hard to watch now that they are episodic. I prefer filler arcs, not filler episodes. It isn’t as bad if it’s an actual series since they should be leading up to something.

    • Now that I think about it, I can’t name a comedy series that I’ve watched that is not episodic. And yeah, if it’s good, I’d rather just watch it in one sitting. ^^

      It depends for me. If the plot is way awesome I’d most likely enjoy it a bit more, but then again, if the characters of a certain episodic anime are more enjoyable to watch, I’d choose that. It can go either way. But I do agree with what you say about filler arcs. They’re not necessarily bad for a series (FMA did a wonderful job) as long as it holds some sort of semblance to the overall series.

    • Each series have their strengths I guess. In terms of repeatability though I’d give a slight edge to episodic anime, but yeah, when it comes to which type of series keeps us wanting more, story bound series are way better ^^

  3. I need to pick out shows I watch in a more careful manner too. Last season, I didn’t care what the hell I picked, and just try to catch up on whatever anime I find interesting. For most “episodic” ones like Papa Kikinasai is still fine, but I find out I tend to “forgot” some details as in Another when I watch too much. Right now, I’m reverting back to my old style, wait until the anime accumulates a lot of episodes (most probably till the finale), and marathon all in one go, be it a “story flowing anime” or an “episodic anime”.

    • I usually pick out shows from the completed list of announced titles a couple of weeks before the new season (or in some cases, I pick a show right from the announcement months away) so I more or less know what I’m getting into. I’m pretty impatient though, lol, so I wouldn’t be able to wait until the show’s finished, lest I spoil myself, which is a bad option ^^

      But yeah, it’s better to just watch a story flowing anime in one go, and just watch one or two episodes of episodic every now and then. And, lol, even if I followed Another weekly, I still forgot some things from it (especially the things about the class list)

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