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Split-cour airing format is a noticeable trend in the anime industry recently. Unlike most multi-season shows that are aired two or more seasons in succession, split-cour shows have a break in between that usually lasts 3 months (1-cour). However, these cours are produced as a single product over the course of several months, not two separate anime, per se. For more information on cours and split-cours, this question might help.

Recent examples of anime that followed this format are:

  • Space Dandy - Winter 2014 [break: Spring] Summer 2014

  • Hitsugi no Chaika - Spring 2014 [break: Summer] Fall 2014

  • Aldnoah.Zero - Summer 2014 [break: Fall] Winter 2015

  • Tokyo Ghoul - Summer 2014 [break: Fall] Winter 2015

Some upcoming anime that are announced to be split-cour are Durararax2, F/SN UBW, and the Grisaia VN franchise, though I'm not really sure. Anyway, as the title states: I want to know what was the first anime that used this format of having a 3-month break in between cour/s.

  • I'm not sure about the latter three I mentioned since I'm not yet following them, so can anyone verify? Also, feel free to add more notable series that used the format if you think more people will recognize them than my examples. – romcom_god Dec 30 '14 at 12:00
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Based on an AniDB search (details below), I'd wage that first such series was Fate/Zero. It started airing on 02.10.2011, had 1 cour break after episode 13 on 25.12.2011, resumed on 06.04.2012 and finished on 24.06.2012.

I ran an advanced search based on following criteria:

  • ( ) characters in title (AniDB marks cours by putting year date in parentheses)
  • must be a TV Series
  • between 10 and 28 episodes (your definition, as I understand it, requires "regular" cour formats)
  • first episode already aired

Because of deficiencies in AniDB search engine, I could not specify several useful indicators, such as sequel-prequel relation. So I sorted results by air date and examined each individually.

There are older series that aired with a split, but you requested it to be exactly 1 cour (3 months) long. Notably, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is described by Wikipedia as having been planned from start to end before airing:

The staff, consisting of over 300 people, spent roughly two years planning the series.

However, the split took 2 cours, from 29.03.2008 to 05.10.2008. If not for the 3 months condition, I'd say that this was indeed first series to air in split-cour format.

Another case is Major, which also had longer split (from 10.06.2006 to 06.01.2007) yet aired before Gundam 00. However, at the time of airing, it was not a "finished product" but ongoing adaptation of still unfinished manga.

  • Thank you for your detailed and well-researched answer, +1! (I'll wait for a while before accepting as there might be other contenders).MSG 00 and Major may be a valid answer as well since I just basically based the 3-month rule by the question linked above. There may or may not be an explicit rule for the length of the split, though I'd guess 3-cours is the limit. – romcom_god Dec 30 '14 at 14:10
  • @senshin It doesn't find 1st cour of splitted series, because it retains original name (without year date in parentheses) and it is exactly how I wanted it. It does capture 2nd (and eventually later) cours, and 2nd cour of Valvrave is on page 4 in results linked in my answer. It also captures sequels with same title and some non-splitted series which use parentheses in title, hence why I looked briefly into each result. – Red Dec 30 '14 at 15:30
  • @Red Oh, you're right, my bad. – senshin Dec 30 '14 at 15:41
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White Album was technically a split cour, way back in 2009

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