They may be a considerable time commitment, but some of the best anime series out there are over 100 episodes. They tell complex stories and are able to flesh out a large cast of characters and complex worlds. Fans of shorter anime often crave more when the story is done, and long-form anime may be just the thing they’re looking for.
Considering that the average anime episode runs about 22 minutes, and provided that viewers don’t skip the opening and ending, these shows require a marathon of at least 36 hours. It’s a significant commitment of time that could discourage potential viewers, however, as this list will prove, these series are well worth the effort.
10 Yu Yu Hakusho (112 episodes)
Local delinquent Yusuke Urameshi impulsively dives in front of a car to save a child’s life and is killed. The bad news? Not being fated to die then, the kid would have been fine and Yusuke died for nothing. The good news? Also not being fated to die then, Yusuke’s selfless act earned him a second chance at life and a position as a Spirit Detective.
Yusuke’s job is to hunt down demons hidden on Earth threatening human life. However, over the course of the show, he not only awakens his own buried power, but learns that demons are no more pure evil than humans are pure good. Along with his human best friend Kuwabara, Yusuke also teams up with the fox demon Kurama and the half-demon Hiei.
9 Hunter X Hunter (148 episodes)
Yoshihiro Togashi’s follow-up to Yu Yu Hakusho, Hunter x Hunter takes the main quartet on globe-trotting adventures. Astoundingly strong Gon Freecss sets off on his journey to become a Hunter like his absent father Ging. He’s determined to find out what’s so great about being a Hunter and, once he’s developed the skills to achieve it, hunt down and meet Ging for himself.
As Gon and his friends follow their paths as Hunters, they not only become stronger fighters but learn more about themselves. Killua discovers who he is outside of his family’s expectations, Gon must contend with the consequences of what he does with his growing power, and Kurapika constantly walks the line between his naturally peaceful personality and his desire for revenge on those who murdered his family. Leorio often struggles for screentime, but is much more important in Hunter x Hunter’s current manga arc, as yet unadapted.
8 Dragon Ball (153 episodes)
As a child, Son Goku arrived on Earth with the potential to destroy all of humanity. However, one knock on the head and a loving upbringing by his adoptive grandpa Gohan sets him on the path to becoming the planet’s greatest protector instead. Already one of the strongest kids in anime at age eleven, young Goku leaves his mountain home and begins to get in touch with his true power as a Saiyan.
The original Dragon Ball changed shounen anime forever with its 153-episode run, and its sequel series, Dragon Ball Z, was arguably even more influential, with the introduction of iconic characters like Goku’s sons and Vegeta. Though, as the name implies, Z was intended to end the series, it continued with GT and Super, bringing the franchise’s total episode count to 804, not counting its 19 movies.
7 Yu-Gi-Oh! (224 episodes)
When Yugi Muto solves the pyramid-shaped puzzle his grandpa gifted him from Egypt, it changes his life forever. He unleashes the 3,000-year-old spirit of a Pharaoh sealed inside the puzzle, a dueling champion who will possess his body whenever he plays the game. Together with his newfound gaming partner, Yugi is thrust into the role of saving his loved ones (and later, the world) through what has since become one of the most successful Trading Card Games of all time.
The ongoing franchise as a whole spans several series, totaling 852 episodes. However, the first series, Duel Monsters, boasts an impressive episode count on its own. Though that count is boosted by a filler season or two, those storylines are just as entertaining as the ones adapted from Kazuki Takahashi’s original 1996 manga.
6 Bleach (366 episodes)
Ichigo Kurosaki once lived a relatively normal life, despite his ability to see ghosts. But a chance encounter with the Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki pulls him into a world he never imagined. Now, he’ll have to master all manner of otherworldly powers to defend living souls from the monstrous Hollows.
Bleach’s original run did last for 366 episodes, but the long-awaited adaptation of its final arc, The Thousand-Year Blood War, is currently in full swing. With more than 50 episodes anticipated to air through 2023 and into 2024, this will not only push Bleach over the 400-episode mark but finally completely adapt the original manga to anime.
5 Gintama (367 episodes)
Freelancing is a rough gig, and one that doesn’t pay a whole lot. But it’s what keeps the Yorozuya Gin together and getting by in an absurd alternate seventeenth-century Tokyo. As it happens, a washed-up samurai, his eager apprentice, a super-strong humanoid alien, and their giant dog can get into quite a lot of trouble at work.
As more of Gintoki’s past is revealed and as a main villain finally emerges, the show will take on a much darker tone, Cowboy Bebop-style. However, the majority of the show is devoted to gag after nonsensical gag as the Yorozuya Gin do their incredibly odd jobs. From Gintoki’s constant screeching to conveyor belt shenanigans to one of the best beach episodes in anime, there’s never a dull moment.
4 Naruto (720 episodes)
Naruto Uzumaki has always been rejected by the Konoha Village for the Nine-Tailed Fox demon Kurama sealed within him. Nevertheless, Naruto is determined to become the village’s leader and greatest shinobi. Alongside his mentors and friends, he goes from overlooked failure to the Leaf’s greatest hero.
Naruto ran for 220 episodes, with a whopping 90 of them being pure filler. Like many anime with considerable original content, this was to avoid putting the entire show on hold while the manga continued and built up enough adaptable material post-time skip. Though Naruto Shippuden was well worth the wait, 203 of its 500 episodes were filler as well.
3 One Piece (1,071 episodes)
Every pirate from the East Blue Sea to the West is after the lost treasure of Gol D. Roger, the world’s greatest pirate. Fighting to rise above them all and become the next Pirate King is Monkey D. Luffy. With his rubbery superpowers and his loyal crewmates, Luffy overcomes pirates and Marines alike to claim the treasure and his rightful title.
The show is well known among anime fans for its unique character designs, dynamic animation style, and high adventure. With complex storylines and various characters to explore in Eiichirou Oda’s original manga, there is enough adaptable material that even this far into its run, it has precious little filler. One Piece may be famously long, but there are a few shows that manage to beat it in this department.
2 Case Closed (1,094 episodes)
Genius detective Shinichi Kudou survives an attempt to poison him, but the poison transforms him back into a child. Now, he must conceal his identity, figure out who did this to him, and return to normal all while solving his usual cases, which turn out to be…a lot.
Just about eleven hundred of them, to be exact. The show is almost entirely episodic, focusing on a different crime being solved every week, usually theft or murder. While Shinichi’s attempts to restore his body are technically an ongoing plot line, they’ll never be permanently successful so long as one of the longest-running anime of all time continues.
1 Pokémon (1,233 episodes)
Pokémon was a smash hit when the anime based on the video games began in 1998, and it continues to go strong today. Not only does it have hundreds upon hundreds of episodes, but also an incredible number of spinoff movies of any anime. For most of its runtime, the show followed the journey of aspiring Pokémon Champion Ash Ketchum, but it is currently continuing with new heroes after Ash’s recent departure.
With new regions coming out with each new game, the show has a constant flow of inspiration to draw on. From the forests and meadows of Kanto to the sunny beaches of Alola, Ash met over twenty years’ worth of other Trainers, Coordinators, researchers, and more people who have also devoted their lives to Pokémon. And of course, every region brings hundreds more Pokémon to befriend: catching them all is a lot harder than it used to be!
Settling in for an anime with over 100 episodes means preparing to go on a long journey with a wide variety of characters. Long-form anime can tell a complex story or several stories over multiple seasons, with time for some of the medium’s best character development.