Cour a word used to describe a series of anime episodes when it was first broadcast on Japanese television. A course lasts three months and typically consists of 10-14 episodes and will sometimes contain a full season if the season is short sufficient.
A cour is essentially a production block of episodes that may or may not break between that block and the next block. It’s comparable to what Western TV shows, like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, do when they produce and air a batch of episodes, take a month-long hiatus, and then return with the rest of the season the show. The second batch of episodes. There are two episode production blocks, but all of these episodes form a season and are released on Blu-ray, DVD, and digitally.
An anime class is no different than saying “A Batch of Anime Episodes” or “The First / Second Half of an Anime Season”. Each three-month block in the Japanese broadcast is pretty defined. Still, each begins in January, April, July, and October and is often named after its corresponding starting month or season.
Planning an animated series in one course rather than an entire season gives the production team and broadcasters more flexibility. For example, if a show airs a twelve-episode show and has good ratings, the show’s runners may choose to produce another show as a follow-up. On the other hand, if the first class goes badly, then the show can consider finished (i.e. not renewed), and the production team loses less money by continuing to work on a less profitable program.
The original Japanese word is ク ー ル, two pronounced kuru courses (oddly enough, the same spelling and reading are great when using the English word in Japanese). It is believed to come from the French word cour, which means lecture or course, and it can be informal to see how the word could have been reinterpreted the same way we do in English when it comes to food.
We have two-course dishes, while in Japan you can enjoy a two-course animated series. Sometimes, if it’s very popular, cooks can even make an extra dish! It’s a bit of an unknown why some English anime fans use the word court rather than kuru. They can refer to the original French origins of the word.
The word is very specific in anime fandoms, and most fans use phrases like Spring Anime or Summer Anime to refer to different animated series that air at different times of the year. The terminology also becomes primarily redundant once an animated series released as a full season. Any division of an animated series on DVD or Blu-ray outside of Japan is primarily due to budget, marketing, and physical disk space and has no bearing on how it was originally broadcast in Japan.
Examples of 1 Cour (Season Show / Episode 11-14)
Examples of 2 Courses (23-26 Episode / Season Show)
Examples of 3 Cuts (50-54 Episodes, Continuous Series or One Year)
Cour is used to amount the length of an animated series. Typically, a single course has 10-14 episodes over a three-month period that coincides with the seasons. This is why a course belongs to the winter, spring, summer or fall season.
Winter season: January, February, March
Spring season: April, May, June
Summer season: July, August, September
Fall season: October, November, December
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