Shakespeare famously remarked that “brevity is the soul of wit,” but I suppose these anime creators didn’t get the memo (Side note: An unabridged Hamlet performance is like four hours long, so, pot…meet kettle).
Anime has been checked with famously long series since the development of the medium. One Piece alone has over 1,000 episodes and has been around for over 25 years, and that’s not even close to the longest running anime on this list. (And FYI, there are multiple ways to define the longest-running anime—air date of first episode, episode count, the number of days worth of content… For our purposes, I’m going to use the last value because it feels the most obscene.) So sit back, relax, and get ready to stroke the long white beard you’ve grown after reading this list, because we’re gonna be here for a while.
Our shortest watch time award on this list goes to Chibi Maruko-chana magical girl anime that began airing in 1995 and is still running to this day. So far, the series has clocked in at 1,329 episodes and would take you 21.27 days of consecutive watching to see it all the way through. The series is about a young suburban girl named Maruko who is a charming little menace in her neighborhood, always getting into trouble. She’s been at it for 27 years though, meaning that she would be in her early to mid-thirties by now. That’s exponentially less cute. Get a job, Maruko.
doraemon is a cute little story about a cat-like robot from the future who befriends a fool-of-a-Took kid who can’t do anything right. The titular robocat acts kind of like a guidance counselor from the future, helping the kid get his shit together so he can actually make something of his miserable life. Obviously, it’s taking longer than expected, as this series has been running since 2005 and clocks in at 1,217 episodes. Total watch time? 22.25 days. I think this cat robot is a victim of the sunken-cost fallacy. Cut your losses and run Doraemon, this kid just can’t cut the mustard.
Manga Nippon Mukashi Banashi
This anime gets top marks for having the best title on this list. The animation style is also pretty gosh darn cute. The series is based on Japanese folktales for children, retelling famous stories such as “Momotaro” and “The Moon Princess.” The series started running in 1975 and clocks in with a total of 1,494 episodes. You could watch it for 24.9 consecutive days. I don’t know how Japan didn’t run out of folktales before the series ended in 1995. That’s 20 years of stories. Quite a mythology. Damn.
The silver medalist on our list is soreiki! Anpanman, a series about a superhero, Anpanman, who has an anpan (a red bean paste-filled pastry) for a head, and protects the world from an evil sentient germ. The character is basically a walking advertisement, and appears on everything you’d ever want to sell to a kid. He’s used to market clothes, video games, toys, snack foods, and anything else you’d ever want to buy for your sticky little progeny. He even surpassed Hello Kitty as Japan’s top-grossing animated character in 2002.
Where can I meet this guy? A girl’s gotta pay off her student loans somehow. the Anpanman anime has been around since 1988, clocks in at 1,572 episodes, and would take 25.42 days to watch. The series has also spanned 33 movies. He’s been around in manga since 1973, making him 49 years old. That’s prime silver fox sugar daddy age, y’all. Get in while the getting is good.
The longest-running anime on this list puts every other anime here to shame. Sazae-Sanan anime about a former horse girl who moves to the big city, has been running since 1969 and is still going. The series clocks in at a whopping 2,640 episodes, almost double that of our runner-up, and would take you in a month to watch all the way through. 37.44 days. The girl of this series certainly makes Sazae-San the resident size queen of this list. Honestly, girl, flaunt it. If I’d been around since 1969 and still looked as good as you do, I’d be flaunting it too.
Featured Image Credit: Toei Animation
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