There's been a big debate among anime fans in recent years as the amount of anime produced each year has dramatically increased. Some fans think there'd should be less (going back to one or two new productions a year), while some like the many options available now. But one prominent anime director has thrown their hat into the argument.
According to SoraNews24, Seiji Mizushima, director of classic such as Fullmetal Alchemist and Gundam 00, expressed the notion that anime fans would be better off if there were half as many anime currently being made.
アニメ、今の半分でも誰も困らないと思うんだよなー。同じクールに2本やってる監督とかも居るし、大変だろうに。供給過多でしょう。視聴者はどうやったって全部見れないし、現場は常に人材不足だし。何のために作ってるんだろうなぁ……。一つ一つちゃんと作れた方が良いんだけどな。— 水島 精二 (@oichanmusi) June 24, 2018
Mizushima tweeted, "I don't think anyone would be worse off if the amount of anime getting made was cut in half. Some directors are even handling two shows in the same season, which is an incredibly tough schedule. There's just an excess supply of content, and there are never enough people in the studio to get work done. What is the point in making so much anime? It'd be better to do a proper job of making series one by one."
The sentiment that there are far too many anime is a sentiment shared by many fans, and it's surely one they would agree with, but then it begs the question of which half Mizushima deems unnecessary. Although there are currently about 20-30 shows each season (and those are the smaller ballpark numbers), there's an audience for nearly every series out there.
Sure there are plenty of generic series, just like there are generic new entries in any medium, but the wide variety of options for anime series is definitely a major improvement from the last few years. With the last decade's shift to 12-13 episode length series (light novel adaptations have taken advantage of this model most), more niche properties have been able to find new audiences simply because they're being produced.
Though Mizushima's point of the tougher schedule certainly is fair, the fact that there are more anime series out there doesn't mean they lack quality. It just means there are more opportunities for lackluster series to get out there, but those very same series are clearly marred by fans and brushed aside and forgotten when new greats arrive.
As with any medium, more of its content means more chances for failures and successes. It all just depends on what type of mindset you have going in.
For those unfamiliar with Fullmetal Alchemist, the series was first created by Hiromu Arakawa. The story follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who learn alchemy in order to bring back their deceased mother. After a terrible miscalculation, however, the two brothers pay a terrible price with Alphonse even losing his body and linking his soul to a suit of armor. As the two boys search for an alchemy that will restore their bodies to their original forms, they join the military and deal with a whole host of new political, ethical, and moral issues.
Bones' first attempt in 2003 successfully ran for 51 episodes, but was marred by fans for its pacing issues and deviations from the original source. Bones produced a more faithful adaptation in 2009 with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and most fans assumed the live-action film would parallel this series since it was pretty much beat for beat with the original source.
The recently released live-action adaptation for Fullmetal Alchemist (which is now available for streaming on Netflix) has been met with fan acclaim, but this view isn't exactly shared by critics as the film seeked to include as much of the original series' material as possible in order to please fans.