Updated: Apr 16, 2018
So, I just started watching Code Geass.
At 50 episodes, Code Geass is not, by any reasonable definition, a long anime. I've seen hundreds of episodes of Naruto, compared to that, Code Geass is baby stuff. Nevertheless, I feel overwhelmed by the prospect of watching so many episodes of one show. That feeling got me thinking - how the heck did I get through Naruto in the first place? How did I watch three whole Yu-Gi-Oh! series without retreating to the shadow realm in frustration?
Below are some tips I've amassed for actually finishing long series.
1. Use Your Down Time
I do most of my anime watching while I'm doing something else. Personally, those times are during my commute, which is on the NYC subway, while I'm on the elliptical machine at the gym, or while I'm doing household chores that keep me in one place, like folding laundry. I know people who watch anime while knitting, drawing, and doing other crafts. When you combine your viewing with another thing you want or need to get done, it becomes much easier to build anime into your schedule.
2. Find A Buddy
One of the best ways to make sure you actually get through a series is to have someone else do it with you. In an ideal world, it's someone you live with or see regularly - I watch a lot of anime with my sister, for example. Some people watch with their SOs, their friends, or even their parents or their children. Whatever the case, you want it to be someone who not only wants to finish the series in question, but who you can discuss it with as you go. This will both help you maintain your interest in the series, and also hold you accountable for actually finishing it. Plus, it's just more fun.
If you don't have anyone in your actual life to do this with, it can also help to find fellow fans online. With screen sharing apps like Gaze, Rabbit, and Synaptop, you can view episodes with somebody on the other side of the world.
3. Skip Filler
Okay, so this is a tip I will personally never follow - I'm a stubborn completionist and the only episodes I skip are recaps...which I still skim through for the new footage. That said, it's not actually necessary to watch filler episodes, especially in massive series like Naruto, One Piece, and Bleach. Yeah, you'll miss out on some fun stuff (Mizuki's backstory in Naruto is wild) but you'll get the meat of the story without losing patience with it.
4. Watch More Than One Series At A Time
This one might seem counter-intuitive - after all, time spent on another anime is time spent away from the one you're trying to finish. That said, breaks are necessary if you don't want to end up dunking the whole project. If you just don't feel like chipping away at DBZ right now, don't. Watch something else - preferably from a different genre. This is for fun, you don't want to push yourself until you hate it.
That said, don't have too many series going at once - otherwise you're unlikely to finish any of them. Have 2-3 side series, maximum, at any given moment.
5. Keep A Consistent Pace - But Marathon When You Can
Your average anime episode is about 20-25 minutes. Some days, that's about all I can manage. That said, if I'm trying to get through a particular series, I will try to consistently watch at least one episode per day.
But on a day where I have a lot of free time, I can watch the time equivalent of a full length movie - 5-6 episodes. Some people can go a lot harder than that, powering through 10-15 episodes in one shot. Personally, my eyeballs would be rolling out my head by that point - but maybe it works for you. Whatever constitutes a "marathon" in your mind, do it when you can. This will not only help you get through the series faster, but it will also increase your enjoyment of it - you're not just squeezing it into the corners of your life, you're actively making time to appreciate it.
Got any other hot tips for finishing up long anime? Let us know!