I was having a discussion with one of my anime friends, complaining that shows don’t end anymore, they merely stop. He really didn’t understand what I was getting at, and the more I tried to explain, the less he grasped it, so we decided to have a beer and watch some of “B Kei”. (Lovely fan service, but more on that later.)
Still, it is a major concern for me, as I feel it cheats the viewer. Well, I feel cheated.
What is the difference between the two?
“Mahoromatic” is a show that ends. We reach a real conclusion. OK, one could argue that we could follow adult Suguru and maid Mahoro into their new life together, but not really. The show has ended with a happy (of sorts) ending and that is that.
“Death Note” ended. [spoiler]Light is dead[/spoiler] (and I am sorry to have killed the ending for the six people in the world who have never seen the show) and that is that.
“Code Geass” ended. [spoiler] Lelouche is also dead [/spoiler] (confirmed by creators of the show at an anime convention I went to) and that is that. Yes, there is talk of a season three, but it has no connection to what went before.
“Kenichi, History’s Greatest Disciple” stops. [spoiler] Fifty episodes, a grand climactic battle between Kenichi and Ryuto on the rooftops of the city they live in and then….Ryuto runs away, to fight at some future date and Kenichi vows to get stronger. [/spoiler] That is not an ending! You just stopped!
What is the ultimate point of any anime series? To get renewed for another season. It speaks highly of the caliber of show that you produced and the large fan base, who anxiously awaits whatever comes next, so there is a tendency to leave things open-ended. It does no good to kill off the bad guy if you cannot continue the story without them, (especially when you have a really good bad guy) but there is a great deal of frustration if you don’t finish him off.
And if you do that vague death, that doesn’t count either. I mean, that explosion was so massive and all-encompassing, there is no way anyone could have survived it, but things are torn up so badly, there is no way for us to confirm anything. He must be dead (until next season, when we learn he got messed up, but not dead.)
If I am watching an anime, and you give me a character that is a revolting piece of poodle doo, when I get to the last episode, he had best be exploded into a billion different directions, or turned into bean dip, or pounded into humiliating submission. That character must pay dearly for all the morally reprehensible acts they have perpetrated.
If you let them off the hook to fight another day (in another season), I consider that a cheat, as you have not allowed the show to end, but have merely paused the action to resume later on down the road (provided the decision to pick it up is approved.)
Some might say it is a moral stance. The good guy shows how good he is by letting the evil one live, so that he may learn from his mistakes and take the path of righteousness. Forget that malarkey! There has to be some retribution. Maybe you don’t kill them, but strip them of everything (like Nagi in “My Otome”; he was a king, but he ends up on the chain gang, divested of his power, prestige and nice clothing) so they suffer an emotional demise.
So, why not end things? It really can’t be all that hard to move the story ahead: create new villains, throw in some new challenges, and invent bigger problems. I know, it’s never really over, evil doesn’t die (it just moves to a new address) and life goes on, but there has to be a real end to it for the shows.
And it doesn’t have to be a dramatic anime. “Ouran High School Host Club” stopped and for anyone who read the anime, there was a crate load of more tales to tell. Ditto for “Fruits Basket”.
Now, I will make the distinction for shows that were forced to be over, and that’s that for them. “Eiken”, “Jungre de Ikou” and “Magical Play” all were percolating along and then the plug go pulled on them, so you are left hanging in the air, searching for episodes that will never come. Since there will never be a conclusion to them, this is even more frustrating, as we didn’t get anything done!
Is this some grand conspiracy by the production companies? We contract out for 26 episodes and go as far as we can, then call it quits, but not give a real end to it all? That’s even worse!
Is there something wrong with wanting a conclusion? Is there a problem with getting a conclusion? Now, if I am watching an older show that has two or three seasons, then I have nothing to complain about. That show’s run is over and they have built into it the ‘cliffhanger’ to take me to the next season (like with “TowerofDruaga”). But with the newer shows, where a second season is still uncertain, the stoppage is just aggravating, possible one reason I prefer to go after older shows, as they are done and done.