I was looking through some old issues of Animerica I have and one of them – Vol. 4, No. 12 (Dec. 1996) – had a short piece in the early part of the issue arguing long series are worth the emotional, time, and financial investments for the payoffs. This was at a time when many OVA’s were being released in the US as well as longer series like Ranma 1/2 and Maison Ikkoku.
The longest regular-length anime series I’ve watched to completion was the original Full Metal Alchemist series at 51 episodes. I enjoyed the journey & liked the ending when I finished it back in my high school days. Watching it week-to-week helped and I had definitely invested some emotions in the characters along the way. (The longest short-form anime I’ve finished was Poyopoyo at 52 episodes.)
More recently, I’m watching three currently airing anime that have lasted more than three cours – Space Brothers, Hunter x Hunter and Polar Bear Cafe. The first two don’t have any announced ending at the moment as their respective manga sources are still running while Polar Bear Cafe is set to finish at an even 50 episodes in late March.
What was the longest series, anime or manga, that you’ve finished and was it worth the time/emotional investment? (I suppose the same sort “long haul” argument could be made for manga so I included it in the question.) On the contrary, has there been a particular series that you have been put off in starting because of its length?