Cour and Season can sometimes be confusing as some terminologies coincide with each other. Some could confuse the second cour to be a second season and some still have no grasp as to what a cour could really be and how it is different from a season.
There are a lot of terms in anime that require an explanation or further elaboration and this is where we impart some knowledge to you especially to those fans who are just starting into animes to help you further understand the terms that are used in anime series and hopefully, to be able to make you appreciate anime more.
A Cour is a three-month period of television broadcasting of an anime where an anime is aired on a portion of a television program within or over the course of one period. A cour is used to determine the measurement of the length of the anime series. It is based on the French term “cours” which literally translates into “classes.” For anime, cour is used to determine how many episodes would be there in the three-month period.
Animes that are episodic are, more often than not, either a single cour or a split-cour or a double cour. A single cour is those animes with episodes that are spanning from 10 to 14 episodes all in all while a split cour spans from 24 to 26 episodes where the broadcast would be divided into two and there would be one season in between. As for a double cour, it has 24 to 26 episodes but it airs in two consecutive seasons.
To illustrate it better, here are examples. For a single cour, an example would be the Quintessential Quintuplets where it has 13 episodes in one season and it airs continuously within the whole Winter Season.
For a double cour, a great example would be Jujutsu Kaisen. The anime series has 24 episodes and it continuously aired for two consecutive seasons, from Fall to Winter, with no three-month break in between or no hiatus for one whole season.
For a split-cour, the best example would be Re: Zero and Mushoku Tensei. Both animes have two parts to complete their episodes and in between, they take a break for three months or one whole season. Mushoku Tensei has 23 episodes all in all and its first cour just finished as it airs through the Winter season. It would have a break in Spring, and will only be back once the Summer season arrives.
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, yes, these are the seasons and it comprises of three months each. This determines when the series would air. The season can also mean the whole run of the anime series from its first episode to its last. Here are the months that fall into each season:
Winter Season: January, February, March
Spring Season: April, May, June
Summer Season: July, August, September
Fall Season: October, November, December
A cour measures the length of the anime and determines which season the said run of the episodes belongs to while on the other hand, a season determines when the cour of the anime will be appearing. A season also indicates the first and last episode of the anime just like a chapter in a book. Once the new chapter arrives, it marks the new season.
This is to put some convenience as to the time markers of the shows. It is confusing if shows would just run randomly and have a break in between the height of the story unless there is some valid reason for the show to stop like how shows were put to a halt in 2020 during the onset of a global pandemic. Cours and seasons are determinants of how the anime series would run throughout the time frame it has been given.
More than that, it gives the viewers a perspective of the length of the show, from when it starts to when it ends, to even when the anime would have a break in between or not. Also, this is to provide the production team a heads up on how the anime would be airing and how they would make a timetable for the production of the whole anime.
It can also help streaming sites like Funimation to determine whether the show would be feasible for an English dubbed version. Some animes have their English versions falling behind a few episodes and could take up the time of the break airing the dubbed version. This can also be considered a technique for the shows to make their own mark and be remembered. Repetition is really key.