One of the goals that I set out to accomplish when I restarted this anime blog was to finish a bunch of the series that I’ve left “on-hold” for all these many years. Currently, my MAL list shows 61 series on-hold, and that’s after I’ve whittled down at least five series in the past two months. I don’t think I’ll ever get that number down to zero, to be honest, and I think for some of those shows I’ll just have to admit my defeat and leave the rest unwatched forever.
The three simulcast series that I watched through Crunchyroll are done. All three of them — Tari Tari, Moyashimon Returns, and Natsuyuki Rendezvous — had nice, pat endings. I really doubt they would announce a sequel for any of those series later; and even with Moyashimon‘s teaser, after this season’s cooler reception, I would be very surprised if they decide to make more.
Maybe it’s just the Tari Tari aftermath speaking, but I feel somewhat nostalgic talking about the endings of these series — was it really only thirteen weeks ago that I was suffering through one of the hottest summers in New York City history? Now, the air is cooler and I feel I would have to start wearing scarves soon… And I no longer have these shows which kept me going through the summer to look forward too. I will have new shows to replace them, of course, but it feels so odd even thinking that. Were they just summer flings that we would forget once the sunshine and warmth have faded away?
Okay, melodramatic, but I’m sure a seasoned anime fan would know exactly what I mean.
To paraphrase a fellow Crunchyroll viewer, “I like it when a series ends and you don’t have to ‘go read the manga’ for a proper ending.” I absolutely agree with this sentiment. A story shouldn’t float indefinitely in limbo. Don’t just pan out and leave the characters standing there. Give it an ending, even if it diverges from the source material. I shouldn’t have to be forced to seek out other media to get my closure.
Though I guess you could argue that there are such things as unconventional endings that are meant to fuck up your head anyway. There are stories that just end abruptly, and nobody knows what happens next, not even the storyteller. Does this mean the story that came before it is bad? Does this mean that the story shouldn’t have been told in the first place?
I was educated in a Western mindset where I expect stories to end “happily ever after” or if not, then it was probably a moral tale advising me against certain bad behaviors. I expect all loose ends to be tied, and for every small detail to be accounted for. In watching anime (and Japanese films) over so many years, I’ve noticed that the concept of the fully-accounted happy ending isn’t a common practice. Some anime end with the hero dying, some end without addressing the main conflict brought up in the first episode, some don’t show you if anybody survives in the end. In instances such as these, I think a wise anime fan would adapt to these circumstances. Is the ending always the goal, the measure of success? Not really. As the cliche goes, it’s the journey that matters.
Of the three, I liked Tari Tari’s finale the most. I knew that the events were leading up to their eventual parting, so I felt that I just had to enjoy their time together, with them, as much as possible. I knew that the urgency to form the club, to participate in the festival, and to perform for the festival came from their collective desire to be together, to make their last few months special — even if this wasn’t their conscious decision at the beginning. When the ending came along, like them, I felt I was ready and I was happy to see what the future had in store.
With Natsuyuki Rendezvous, I actually thought that the ending was great. I had more of a problem with the middle. I felt that Hazuki and Rokka were just getting to know one another, so it took a great leap of faith for me to believe that Rokka was already in love with Hazuki when she realized that Atsushi had taken over his body for all that time. For Hazuki, I could accept how his feelings have been stewing for her even before they met formally, but I really wished that we had more of a chance to hear what Rokka was thinking and feeling. This is an example of an anime where there were numerous points where I wasn’t satisfied with the journey, so I just wanted to get to the final boss and ending as quickly as possible.
With all types of fiction, for every satisfied watcher, there will be the one (or many) who wasn’t okay with how things turned out. As a student, I always found that one of the most interesting aspects of discussing literature — we all watched or read the same work, why are our reactions to it so different? Many times, our reactions come out of better stories than the original pieces themselves. And for me, that’s a great reason to keep blogging
and writing; out of these animated stories that we all watch, our own stories come out as a result, ad infinitum.