So here it goes, my very first post on AOIA.
The final episodes of noitaminA’s Anohana and [C]is out as we reach the end of the spring season, both finales were equally mind blowing (in a good and bad way). I considered talking about both endings in depth but to be honest, I suck at that and Valence already wrote the one for [C] so lets just talk about finales and endings in general.
Oh, possible spoilers if you have yet to watch the finales, so BEWARE.
As my teacher said today: “The final product is of utmost importance. The process out weighs in percentage as compared to the final, yet the final is what people will consider first before marking your work.” I was half awake at that time but it seems so highly relevant now.
For the first 10 episodes of both AnoHana and [C], I found AnoHana incredibly annoying and [C] highly entertaining. After the 11th episodes, AnoHana is a really slow paced but well written heartwarming (to a certain extent) story that actually resolves everything by the finale whereas [C] was just utterly random, a second Fractale; although I will tell you that Msyu and flations makes every things better. The resolution of a series would ultimately change how you feel about the entire series completely: AnoHana was worth watching and [C] was just utter rubbish (but Msyu isn’t).
Both of the above endings possibly falls under bittersweet: [C] has no one remembering Kimimaro and Msyu disappearing but the future is saved and the financial district still exists which means Yoga can still find Msyu whereas AnoHana is pretty much self explanatory with Menma’s ascension to a higher plane of existence and possible reincarnation. At least the Super Peace Busters now get along.
Generally there are 3 main groups of endings: Happy, Sad and “What the Hell is that, I don’t even-“, in general, but I tend to group anime endings into these 5 categories that may or may not overlap:
“To be continued; or maybe not.” Endings
Most commonly seen in series based on a certain franchise that hasn’t been completed yet so the anime just stops halfway through a arc or makes up its own ending (otherwise known as adaptation decay). I think the proper term for this is Gecko Ending.The most prominent example being the first Negima anime, the Kuroshitsuji anime, the whole of Shugo Chara. More recent examples of such endings would be Infinite Stratos, Durarara and OreImo.
Which also means these endings usually annoy the heck out of me as they are all so very derpy and leaves things hanging around; especially if you won’t get a chance to read the original to find out about the actual story and how things continue.
There’s also another type of ending whereby the original anime in question is highly popular and they create an ending hinting a possible sequel although sometimes they never get to make one. The most prominent example would be Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. The ending screams “TO BE CONTINUED” so wheres P&SWG2?
“Our epic victory by the power of friendship and love.” Endings
Star Driver’s Fabulous ending definitely falls partly into this. So does IS. Every single proper shounen series would fall under this. The ending strictly follows Shounen jump’s “effort, friendship, victory”. No matter how impossible the situation is, the characters will over come it with their combined efforts. It is ridiculously cliche and boring once you’ve seen it more than thrice because the exact same thing happens in every single example.
Bitter Sweet/ Healing Endings
Anime-dom highly favors this ending type because there is a really really long list of shows that can fall under this category. The best example would be Madoka Magica: Madoka becomes god, the world becomes a but no one except Homura remembers her and Kyubey isn’t dead but at least things got better. Code Geass R2 has one too: Lelouch died to bear the sins of everyone in this world, Suzaku becomes Zero, many people died but the world got better.Angel beats has a bitter sweet end to it too, just not that well executed with everyone moving on, Kanade and Yuzuru confessing to each other and Kanade passing on, which leaves Yuzuru alone: it gets better when they sort of meet after being reincarnated.
The key to a good Bittersweet ending is the redemption, acceptance and healing factors. The characters would have to redeem themselves or someone else. After the ending they come to accept what ever bitterness there is and recovers from it, becoming a better person. The Fate/Stay Night anime albeit a milder example pulled it off quite nicely, both Saber and Shirou has come to accept the outcome of the Holy Grail War and Saber in particular was finally able to let go. This ending is also quite a tear jerker if AnoHana is any proof.
“And so we Graduate/continue with our ordinary lives” Endings
The epitome of this type of endings being Azumanga Daioh, Lucky Star then K-On. The graduation part anyway. There is absolutely no plot to slice of life shows, we can only have graduation at the most if the show takes place in school. In fact, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Nichijou ended with everyone continuing with whatever they were doing.
“WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT?!!” Endings
I believe TV Tropes calls this “Gainax Ending” after Evangelion. Another top favourite of anime-dom too, with [C] being one of them, Fractale, Madoka (to a slight extent), Star Driver (and they were left stuck in space just like that), P&SWG (Stocking is a demon!) & Black Rock Shooter (yes, we all know you are BRS but seriously, what the hell).
It is oddly typical of anime to actually end off without explaining a single thing, confusing the heck out of everyone and I get a huge kick out of it every time its done expertly and unexpectedly. I highly recommend Singapore’s Mediacorp to take a leaf out of these type of endings seeing how Mediacorp dramas can’t get any worse.
I’d honestly say I dislike the average happy ending where everyone wins, and I really like endings that troll you (thats just me being odd) though some people absolutely detest such stuff. I do think that the whole spring season is wrapping up quite nicely (minus [C], even Dog Days was better). If all else fails we could just go watch Nichijou on Sunday and brainwash ourselves.
And this might be the longest thing I’ve ever written.