HomeBlogOtaku EncyclopediaWhat Are Cours, Arc, And Season In Anime Episodes?

What Are Cours, Arc, And Season In Anime Episodes?

Every anime show has regular episodes, special episodes OVA, ONA, seasons, arcs, and filler episodes. All these features of a show make it unique and worthy to watch. Moreover, if you are a beginner who has just started to watch anime, I assure you are in the correct place. Sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming to keep up with new terms and trends. Due to the effect of social media, a new word is invented regarding anime every day! But don’t you worry. It is very typical to be confused; therefore, I will be helping you understand the difference. Today we will get to know the meaning of the terms- Cours, Arcs, and Seasons.

Meaning Of Seasons

First, let us start with the most accessible word- seasons. Simply put, it means a set of episodes. Usually, In an anime, a season has either 12 or 24 episodes. Once those episodes are finished airing, the anime moves to the next set, now called season 2. Japanese TV has a specific way of airing an anime, as mentioned below.

  • Winter season (1st quarter) from January to March.
  • Spring season (2nd quarter) from April to June.
  • Summer season (3rd quarter) from July to September.
  • Fall season (4th quarter) from October to December.

Why Do We Need Seasons?

Image: YouTube

The most critical question we come across is why? Why do we need seasons when the show can be completed in a single run? The answer to it is pretty simple. It is because of the production system. As you might know, anime shows are mostly adapted from the manga. However, it takes a lot of time to perfect the characters and complete the animation. So producers broadcast episodes (one season) and take a big gap to complete another season and air it. Sometimes the gap is of a single quarter. However, sometimes it might be taken as long as a year.

What Are Cours?

Cour or Cours (plural) is a french word for a quarter. It is used to represent the span of anime episodes during their broadcast. A 1 cour anime runs for three months, even if it’s of 12 episodes. A 2- cour show would run for half a year, a three cour show would run for 3/4th a year, and a four cour show would run for an entire year.

It is prevalent in American TV shows as well. However, the term cours is mainly used in anime. They tend to air a set of episodes first, take a break for a few months and broadcast another batch of episodes. These sets of episodes are called seasons, and the duration they get released in are called Cours.

Why Are Anime Series Produced in Cours?

The main reason behind this is ratings. The show often tends to get more ratings when produced in cours rather than an entire season.  This system also helps determine the renewal of the show. For example, if the first cour of the show gets low ratings, the next cour is canceled so that the producers don’t waste money on a less successful series. Hence, they lose less money. However, if the show gets good enough ratings, the renewal of it is confirmed.

What Are Arcs?

Image: Narutopedia

Arc refers to a particular storyline in an anime. The term is mainly used in longer anime shows like Naruto or One Piece. For example, in an anime, many episodes are dedicated to an event or defeating a villain, which is essential to the main plot. These are called arcs.

Like in Naruto, the number of episodes dedicated to overthrowing the villain Zabuza is collectively known as the Zabuza arc. Filler arcs exist too. These refer to the set of episodes that don’t add to the main plot. Such episodes are generally skipped by viewers. However, if you want, you can enjoy those. You might wonder why do we use the word arcs. Some anime shows have too many episodes and remembering the episode numbers are very hard. So instead, the usage of arcs makes it easy for the viewers to discuss.

Swastika Mitra
Hello, I'm Swastika Mitra. I love writing, and I plan on pursuing journalism. I started watching anime at the beginning of lockdown and haven't stopped ever since. At first, I thought of it as a short-lived hobby, but I was wrong.

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