I always see that different stories in the same anime series are usually called with either "hen", "arc" or "season" as seen in the examples below.

  • Hen (編)
    JoJo no Kimyou na Bouken - Stardust Crusaders - Egypt Hen
    Alps no Shoujo Heidi: Alm no Yama Hen
    Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden Gekitou-hen / Hokuto no Ken: Raoh Gaiden Junai-hen
    Arata naru Sekai: Kako-hen / Arata naru Sekai: Gendai-hen / Arata naru Sekai: Mirai-hen
  • Arc
    One Piece: Arlong Park Arc / One Piece: Sabaody Island Arc
    Bleach: Arrancar, The Arrival Arc / Bleach: Arrancar, The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry Arc
    Naruto: Chuunin Exam Arc / Naruto: Pain's Assault Arc
  • Season
    Aldnoah.Zero 2nd Season
    Girls Bravo: First Season
    Moonlight Mile 1st Season: Lift Off

I observed these differences:
Hen: Always added at the end of the title. Sometimes it is made suffix with a hyphen.
Arc: Used to logically divide long running series.
Season: Always used with a number starting from 1.

Why do they choose one over another? For example, why don't we say "Moonlight Mile: Lift Off Hen" or "Naruto: Chuunin Exam Season"? Is this only a matter of choice or do they differ in meaning?

  • 2
    "Hen" and "arc" are synonymous with one another. The differences between your example for the two is that one is predominately romanized Japanese, while the other is completely in English. For an example, One Piece's 17th Season is the "Dressrosa Hen," it's 9th season is titled the "Enies Lobby Hen."
    – кяαzєя
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 20:31
  • Adapted content might not start from from the beginning. Such is the case with the HxH 2011 anime, so they include the Arc name to let the the audience know where it's starting off at. Some original anime and adapted don't usually have this because the story arcs aren't that long to merit it (i.e. short arcs) or because the series themselves are short.
    – кяαzєя
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 20:35

1 Answer 1


Arc is English word and Hen is Japanese. They both indicate storylines (separation by what is happening in story), whereas season is used to split the anime by industry and commercial timeline (commonly by actual seasons: Winter 2015, Fall 2015). Multiple arcs may comprise a single season or multiple seasons maybe needed to finish a single arc.

Take One Piece for example. Season 3 and Season 4 of One Piece anime actually share arcs.

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