In modern anime, there are a few big names that stick out in terms of popularity and running time. Some of these include Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, and Pokémon.
Outside of the more mainstream names, there have been thousands of other series created, with some dwarfing these large properties in both age and total viewership. In fact, there has even been a handful of series that have remained on the air for over 50 years. And that begs the question: what is the longest-running anime series?
The longest-running anime series
Adapted from the manga of the same name, Sazae-san is by far the longest-running anime series of all time, with over 2500 episodes to date.
Beginning in 1969, Sazae-san remains on the air each Sunday evening to this day. The show follows Sazae Fuguta and her family.
The series boasts a vintage art style that has remained consistent throughout its long air time and stands out amongst its more recent contemporaries. Sazae-san was the last television series to use the vintage cel animation method before eventually switching to digital in 2013.
Behind Sazae-san there are other vintage anime series that have continued to air for decades. These include Doraemon which first aired in 1973, as well as several shows that began in the ‘90s, including the hugely popular Pokémon series. (As long as Doraemon has run, it still trails the latter trails Sazae-san by around 250 episodes.)
Production for Sazae-san was halted during the recent COVID pandemic, resulting in reruns instead of new episodes airing. But the studio is back in action producing new content once again.
Since it’s so far ahead of the rest, even if Sazae-san was to cease production today, the show will likely hold these records for years to come.