Idea: A Comprehensive Guide to Essential Episodes

Mazinger Z. Galaxy Express 999. Ranma 1/2. Astro Boy. There are a lot of anime out there that are considered classics (and rightfully so), but the problem with getting into them is that they can be very, very long with anywhere from forty to two-hundred episodes and beyond. Because of this, trying to experience what made these shows great becomes a daunting task, especially when not all of them are “serial,” and instead have large chunks which are simply episodic and, while perhaps decent episodes, are not the ones that can really grab people by the heart and the lungs.

What I am proposing then is that a guide to these long shows be made, pointing out the episodes which are considered, while perhaps not “necessary” to the viewing experience, to be the apex of the show. That way, anybody who just wants to sample the show but in a meaningful way (not just watch the first episode or two and be done with it) can do so and fully understand the reasons that show is called a classic.

But I can’t do it alone.

When the main focus is to be absurdly long shows, no one person can watch everything to make sure that all bases are covered. I would need help. Possibly, I would have to get one or two people watching any given show and have them report back to me what they consider to be the “big” episodes, and then check it out myself to see just how good they are. Something like that.

Maybe this can apply to manga too.

I don’t have any episode lists to recommend at the moment, but I-

Wait, maybe I do.


(Seriously, watch the entire show)

17 thoughts on “Idea: A Comprehensive Guide to Essential Episodes

  1. Any thoughts on how long a series need to be for considerations? I’d be happy to dust off my Macross and Kimagure Orange Road sets to recommend some essential episodes.


  2. I have only 6 episodes left for LoGH, I agree about watching 1-110.
    Ranma½ is hard to decide what is essential (watched 2½ seasons) because most of them are competition episodes (aka fillers(?)) my conclusion:
    [b]Ranma½: Season 1[/b]


  3. Macross I think is somewhat borderline, because really the series isn’t THAT long and there isn’t a whole lot of filler, but I think certain episodes do stand out.


  4. I would like to contributr, but I actually do not watch watch many really long series. I am interested in the results of this though.

    It would nice to have this done of Black Jack’s 62 episodes.


  5. I usually stay away from really long shows. In fact, the longest show I’ve completed was Nadia: The Secret of Blue water at 39 episodes. 13 of the episodes were filler.


  6. Well, if the anime in question only has like, 12 episodes,
    would that mean all of it is essential?

    BTW, TTGL. Don’t miss any of it, well maybe except ep4.


  7. I could do this for Rurouni Kenshin (95 epsiodes) now that I think about it. The entirely of season 2 is pretty essential, but the bulk of season 1 and 3 could be skipped.


  8. This is a great idea! I’ve though about it too. Sometimes there are just a number of lackluster episodes. It happens even in 12 episode shows.


  9. Not quite Anime, but I thought about starting one of these for the original Transformers show, which suffers from the same problem. Hmmm, I could easily complete have a list within a couple hours.


  10. There’s one in this Bleach thread,but it only details which filler ep.s to skip:

    I’ll add to this that you could,and should,read the manga in place of canon episodes,and check out the best of the filler episodes – 132 and 213-214. The first,because it’s an exploration of side characters’ feelings of being left behind,the latter because it’s a glorious parody of sentai/Power Rangers:

    Other ones… the trouble is that most of them are sequential. You’d have to split them up by arc,rather than by episode. Also you need to consider why you want to power through them – to see the best it has to offer? Because a lot of the best moments in long serials depend upon setting up or calling upon stories,situations and developments weeks,months or years before paying off. Shared history,I think it’s called.

    For my favourite fandom,Avatar the Last Airbender,it would be easier to list the ones that could be dropped without too much confusion.

    Book 1 – Water: 111 – “The Great Divide”,114 – “The Fortuneteller” (though you’d miss out on some great action at the end)
    Book 2 – Earth: 205 – “Avatar Day”,215 – “Tales of Ba Sing Se”
    Book 3 – Fire: None of it. Even the fanservice of 305 – “The Beach” only occupies two-thirds of the episode; the final act showcases a new villain going up against the Gaang for the first time. Okay,306 – “The Avatar and the Firelord” has some narmy dialogue,but it’s essential if you want to understand the previous Avatar’s past.


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  12. I know this post is over a year old but I decided to watch all of Galaxy Express 999 and I must say to choose an essential list out of 113 episodes is not easy but here it is…

    The 45 Essential Galaxy Express 999 Episodes

    1- Departure Ballad
    3- Titan’s Sleeping Warrior
    4- The Great Thief, Antares
    5- Shadow of the Planet of Indecision
    6- The Comet Library
    7- The Graveyard at Gravity’s Bottom Pt. 1
    8- The Graveyard at Gravity’s Bottom Pt. 2
    15- Beethoven of the Water Planet
    16- City of the Firefly
    19- Land of Confession
    20- Professional’s Soul
    21- The Tombstone of Dead Leaves
    22- The Pirate Ship Queen, Emeraldas
    26- The Song of the Skeleton
    31- Fury Planet
    33- Ulatores’ Screw Mountain
    36- The Great Chief, Cyclops
    37- Mii-kun’s Mansion of Life
    42- Femail’s Memories
    51- Artemis of the Transparent Sea Pt. 1
    52- Artemis of the Transparent Sea Pt. 2
    58- The Footsteps of Footstep Village
    59- Idle One’s Mirror
    62- City Without Night
    64- The Sacred Land of Silence
    66- The Planet of the Funeral in the Mist
    68- A Planet Called Curiosity
    70- The Kind Capital of Flowers
    71- Pioneers from the River of Purgatory
    82- A Tale of a Short Life
    84- Planet of the Giant Elephant
    85- The Planet of Illusive Love
    86- UFO from the Planet of Forgotten Parents
    90- The Snow Woman of Andromeda Pt. 1
    91- The Snow Woman of Andromeda Pt. 2
    98- The Last Book in the Universe
    101- The Planet of Eternal Dream Pursuit
    105- Legend of the Young Warriors
    107- The Bird-man of Kilimanjaro
    108- The Destruction of Macaroni Au Gratin
    109- Maetel’s Journey Pt. 1
    110- Maetel’s Journey Pt. 2
    111- The Bat Planet
    112- Farewell, 999! A Vision of Youth Pt. 1
    113- Farewell, 999! A Vision of Youth Pt. 2


  13. @nokisonic
    I disagree. I think both the original version and the director’s cut are worth watching, but I would stay away from the Rebuild film-series though.

    (sorry for commenting on a 5 year old post)


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