An Anime Musing – Good Things MUST Come To An End
In anime, even for the ones which are good, I find that it’s important to have an ending, which is obvious to say the least, but there are some which tries to put more content before the ending, but ended up destroying themselves with a unsatisfied ending; rushed pacing, with unanswered questions and incomplete objectives. There are however, some unconventional anime which uses such vagueness as their own main theme in their ending, but that will be a discussion for another time.
Good things must come to an end, and this stays true for anime as well. I’ll use two main examples; Katekyo Hitman Reborn and Bleach. The former uses it’s time and spread out it’s content throughout splendidly. While the beginning may be a bit draggy, due to it introducing it’s large amount of cast, the show finally felt like it started moving in place after the introductions are over. In latter part of the show, the anime didn’t emphasized as much on those daily life episodes and focuses on plot. While the anime was long and felt slightly draggy at times, it chose to end at the perfect moment, ending just as soon as the Future arc was over. That arc was the most major arc in the anime, occupying almost half of the anime’s series so the studio made a good choice to end it right after that as it feels nicely conclusive. Because of careful planning too, the anime didn’t have a lot of fillers and even if it do, at best, it’s only 2 or 3 episodes blended into an ongoing arc.
Bleach in my opinion, made a wrong choice already early on in the series. Perhaps it is trying to live up it’s name as a “long running shounen series”, together with Naruto and One Piece, but the way it introduced long fillers to drag time due to lack of original source material is pathetic, and almost pitiful. It’s fillers doesn’t even have anything to do with the arc; the characters are jumping from one scene, to another irrelevant scene, then jumping back to the original scene, and this bizarre pattern keeps going on and on. These appear as minor issues in earlier arcs, but eventually became a major problem in the later episodes, most notably, the Aizen war arc, which was originally a good arc, but was ruined way beyond measure. I feel if Bleach ended sooner, it could perhaps wait for more materials and prepare itself for a second season. It’s sad that even though that should be a better choice, the makers decided to desperately carry through, even if these “desperate” anime episodes still earn them money. It’s even worse that they even decided to carry on even after the Aizen war arc, again, with more fillers (I stopped watching Bleach after the Aizen arc). One way or the other, Bleach HAD ended, but I would say it’s a bit too late as the damage had already been done.
For shorter 10-20 episodes series, it’s important to think ahead the planned ending schedule. If a visual novel, light novel, or something with a lot of contents are being adapted, one has to plan far ahead and think whether or not the amount of episode is enough to cover everything and end with all knots tied up. Careful organizations (introductions first few episodes, plot could start at later episodes, etc..) need to be carried out so that the plot does not feel draggy, nor rushed. It is a good time to end a series if most developments and plot points had already been covered and settled.
If you adapting from a manga, it’s even more so important to understand how much original materials are released and just when to air or stop. That is one reason why I like Bakuman, which ends their respective seasons at several intervals. If you compared Bakuman with the manga, it hardly has any fillers (almost none if I’m not wrong, but I stopped reading the manga at some point so I couldn’t be sure) and this is certainly a positive thing, since as you can see, Bakuman’s pacing is top notch.
Careful organizations and planned ending schedules are essential for a successful anime run. After all, anime MUST end at certain points, and it is good that most anime studios had begun complying this concept, ending their anime at idealistic fixed points of the series.
P.S: Ace wrote a post talking about when some series shouldn’t have any further content, since the stories of some anime had been concluded perfectly, adding more content will just going to ruin it. The idea is a bit different but still slightly related. Do check it out!