Longest Running Anime

Written byChristian BeckettPublished on

Do you know which anime it is?

When you think of long running anime series, what comes to mind? Dragon Ball Z, Naruto maybe? Even Pokemon and One Piece have aired over a 1000 episodes! 

Would you be surprised if we said none of the aforementioned anime series are even in the top 10 longest running shows. (Although currently sat at #11 on 1100+, Pokemon would be expected to break into the top 10 soon).

So, what is the longest running anime? 

Well, we’ll tell you!

Well not yet, here’s the 3rd and 2nd longest running anime.

3rd – Ojarumaru (1,860+ Episodes) 

Original Run: October 5th 1998 – present

Episode Length: 10 minutes

English Title: Prince Mackaroo

The anime features Ojarumaru Sakanoue, a five year old prince from the Heian era who accidentally time warps to modern day Japan.

The adventures centre around the Prince dodging a trio of young oni who are trying to get back a sceptre that he stole from Great King Enma.

The series has spawned many video games and a manga series adaptation which was serialised in Shueisha’s Saikyo Jump magazine between 2012 and 2014.

Interesting Fact: The anime received an Excellence Award for animation at the Japan Media Arts Festival in 1999.

2nd – Nintama Rantaro (2,245+ Episodes)

Original Run: April 10th 1993 – present

Episode Length: 10 minutes

English Title: Rantaro The Ninja Boy

Adapted from Sobe Amako’s manga series, Rakdai Ninja Rantaro, the show follows the adventures of three ninja students: Rantarou, Shinbei and Kirimaru. 

A total of 25 series have been released so far, often containing a different number of episodes (series 1 has 47 episodes, whereas series 2 had 120!). Every episode title also ends with the phrase ‘no dan’ (the step of).

Interesting Fact: A live action film was released in 2011 and was later followed with a sequel titled Nintama Rantarô Natsuyasumi Shukudai Daisakusen! no Dan (Ninja Kids!!! Summer Mission Impossible!) 

So if you thought 2000+ episodes was a lot for a long running series, wait until you see the total of the longest running anime of all time.

1st – Sazae-San (7,701 Epsiodes)

Original Run: October 5th 1969 – February 21st 1974

Episode Length: 7 minutes

The show is about a mother named Sazae-San and her family life. The family drama showcasing everyday problems of everyday people, has been recognised by the Guiness World Record for the longest running animated TV series.

It’s amazing how they did 7,701 episodes in just 4 and a half years!

Interesting Fact: The anime is based on a manga that was first published in a local paper all the way back in 1946!

Other long running anime for context

Thought that Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Naruto and Pokemon were possibly the longest running anime? Only Pokemon and One Piece comes close. Here’s the numbers for context:

Pokemon – 1,150+ (April 1st 1997 – present)

One Piece – 1000+ (October 20th 1999 – present)

Naruto – 500 (February 15th 2007 – March 23rd 2017)

Dragon Ball Z – 291 (April 26th 1989 – January 31st 1996)

Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters – 224 (April 18th 2000 – September 29th 2004)

Sailor Moon – 200 (March 7th 1992 – February 8th 1997)

With One Piece already having an ending in place according to creator Eiichiro Oda, it is unlikely that it will reach the heights of the top 3 – however, with Pokemon games having no end in sight do you think it will reach the the summit of the longest running anime of all time?

Only time will tell.

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