There is nothing better than an engaging anime with a story so dynamic that you can’t help but become completely devoted to witnessing the fate of your favorite characters. There is nothing worse, however, than seeing a great anime run on for entirely too long.
There are many anime that easily soar into the triple digits when it comes to their total episode count, despite the fact that it might not be necessary to carry the plot on for that long (or half that long, in some cases). Unfortunately, this is a fate that is all too common for many of the highest rated anime series. What starts out as a great story quickly devolves into a sad attempt to keep a dragging on even though the quality of the story development is starting to suffer. Simply put, even in the world of anime, too much of a good thing always turns out bad.
Pokémon is one of the longest running anime series of all time. While the show is certainly enduringly popular (and a consistent money-maker), that doesn't mean all of its fans are content with the anime running on for so long. Pokémon is a bit of a different case from other long-running anime, however.
The games are still one of Nintendo's best-sellers and even the phone-based Pokémon GO became a global sensation. The problem with the Pokémon franchise is that after all these years, it (ironically) has never really evolved. For more than two decades, we have seen Ash Ketchum attempt to "catch 'em all" as a 10-year-old boy. And for over 20 years the Pokémon anime has been holding on to the same cookie cutter plot lines. It makes the entire series rather predictable. The Pokémon anime just seems to be past its prime with no plans in sight to actually make the series more dynamic and less stagnant.
The Dragon Ball franchise will forever be watched and beloved. Nobody will ever forget anime's longest battle ever between Goku and Frieza. And come on, every time a Saiyan achieved a new level of Super Saiyan, it felt like Christmas regardless of the time of year.
Unfortunately, this series is still trucking on and getting farther and farther away from its awesome roots. There are now a ridiculous amount of different timelines and universes, which means there are also too many different versions of one character. The villains are starting to lose depth in exchange for creators just trying to make a bad guy more powerful than any we have seen before.
All this has done is force the Saiyans to keep getting more powerful in obscure ways —Super Saiyan Blue, anyone? All of this means that human characters are increasingly pointless, since they will immediately be annihilated by any villain they dare try to challenge. The series could have easily ended after Dragon Ball Z and still kept fans happy.
The Yu-Gi-Oh! series was easily the most popular "gaming" anime of its time (well, in terms of card games come to life, anyway). Maybe that's why creators felt the need to drag it on for so long. The first season of Yu-Gi-Oh! was a wonderful balance of character development, intense plotlines, and epic battles.
It seems to be the only season that truly understood that while the battles themselves were cool, they meant nothing without a dynamic plot surrounding them. The Duelist Kingdom arc was great for that. Afterwards, however, the series seemed to go off the rails a bit with arcs that focused too heavily on introducing new monsters and new battle mechanics without giving viewers much to enjoy from a storyline or character development perspective. It became a show all about the card battles, while a shallow plot plodded along in the background to make it seem like the duels were necessary.
The entire Naruto series has more than 600 episodes under its belt between the original series and its successor Naruto: Shippuden. Of course, fans would hardly find reason to complain about Naruto’s length if the anime was packed with original content driving the overarching plot, while also still providing a decent amount of closure on subplots along the way.
Instead, the anime starts to just feel like it never ends. There are a lot of filler episodes that stretch the series out with multiple “big finish” fights that seem like they would be epic enough to end the series. The anime series is just insanely bloated, even down to the final arc.