Bad endings are the worst.
As usual I’m late with this post, something you should probably expect at this point. Nevertheless I’ll apologize as always and say something about how I’ll get it out on Monday next week. Here we go.
Sorry for being late, I’ll try to get next week’s post out on Monday for real this time.
There we go. Let’s begin.
Like I said at the beginning, bad endings are the worst. I’m not talking about if all the characters die or something (that can actually be good in a way), I’m talking about the story just failing to be wrapped up or just a clearly half baked mess. That kinda bad ending. The idea for this post came to me as I watched the series finale of a certain crime-drama show the ended Monday night; I got the idea because the ending was terrible. 8 seasons and this is how it ends? What an absolute waste. But it’s not just this show, no, no, no, there are many other shows that can’t nail the ending properly. Sure I get it that writing the ending to any long running TV show/book series/anime/whatever will be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. It might take some time, lots of ideas to play with, but once you get it right it’ll be something that will leave your followers with something good to remember.
Just going off my personal experience I’ve noticed that most Western shows and movies for the most part like to tie everything up nicely and conclude things in a story. I’m not saying this happens all the time, but more often than not things are brought to a close by the ending, unless the story is meant to end in an open way. In anime it seems like the ending can usually be quite open and many ends not being nicely tied up like you might expect. I’m guessing this is for a number of reasons such as: one of those “read the light novel/manga/visual novel” type ends where they just expect you to have the source material on hand to finish the story yourself, or maybe it’s just because they had to rush things and it turned out bad. How do these two things relate?
Well looking at the first part unless the story is supposed to end on a definitive note, an open ending, when done well, works nicely. Certain TV shows, like the one I mentioned above, are a classic example of open endings as most crime-dramas usually end with the gang going back to their normal lives, solving crimes and doing their daily routine. Season 7 of this show had that exact ending, everything was dealt with, all the back story for each character was nicely wrapped up, it was a perfect ending yet for some reason they made another season which was terrible aside from a few good parts. By far the ending disappointed greatly as it raised some massive questions like the person who was burned to death in the beginning of the ep is randomly back at the end just to shoot the main couple, before getting shot himself, then we watch them all bleed out on the kitchen floor. Seven year time skip and the main couple are chilling in their apartment with 3 kids, living the dream. Uh… what? It’s like they wrote two different ends and used both. You don’t do that. Ever.
The problem with this is all because of the fact the whole season was so unnecessary as they just wrote up some random shit to make more conflict where they had already concluded it in the previous season. They caught the bad guy, sent him to jail, fought the demons from the past, finally killed that one creepy guy, and even got married (when the hell did that last happen, huh?) it was the perfect ending for that show, but no they gave it one more season ruining everything. It annoys me because the main villain behind it all was this guy they recently introduced and he just wasn’t the impression you got for the true mastermind behind everything. It wasn’t that shocking of a reveal at all, I wasn’t floored, my jaw wasn’t on the floor as I stared at the TV. I was rolling my eyes going “That’s the bad guy? Him? Really?”, it was so lackluster for someone who’s supposed to be pulling everyone’s strings. Then with a simple beat down it’s over. Seriously? That’s how we’ll end things? Then we have the whole kitchen shooting time skip bullshit after that. By the time the credits were rolling I was just sitting there, not mad, just extremely disappointed. After all that, this is how we’ll end it. Honestly… it was a mess, a complete and total mess. Overall it was a great show but the last season was a waste of time. The story concluded at the season 7 finale, that’s the true end. Everything after was a mistake.
In the same way anime annoys me a lot with its stupid endings. Take Sakurako-san, which aired in the fall 2015 season. It was a very good mystery anime that reminded me a lot of the TV show Sherlock (S4 WHEN?!!!) yet the end was a total disaster. It ruined the whole show for me and it was a legit example of wasted potential. You all complain about Phantom World being “wasted potential”, tch. I realized this might be the case around ep 10 or so as they started introducing really interesting elements, things they only hinted at before, but now it was looking like they were finally going to get into detail about them. Nope, show’s over. Uh… what about that new arc you were pretty much starting? Ah… no, show’s over. It’s when an anime does this, lead the story to somewhere great then cut it abruptly short, expecting you to go read the source material to find out how it ends. That’s the kinda ending I hate. The other type is the half baked ending that so many original shows have. I could also go on to mention the terrible ending for Oregairu S2 and what a disaster that was because it was one of the many huge failures in that show, but I’ll save that for another time. I should also adamantly point out that Iroha is a terrible person and I can’t understand why people like her so much. That’s also a topic for another time.
Writing a story isn’t the hardest thing in the world. I’m sure many of us could do it with some effort. Writing a good end can be a little more challenging, but it’s not completely impossible. For someone who works in this profession you’d obviously think they must know how to write a proper end to a show, yet it seems that’s not the case given how many shitty endings there are to shows. This really shouldn’t be the case, especially if the rest of the show has really good writing.
A prime example of a show that failed at doing so many basic things has to be Attack on Titan. When it aired it was the best thing the world had ever seen. People were crying in the streets because it was such a big deal. Yet the months and now years after it ended all I can think about is how it failed on so many basic elements of story telling. Yes I know a season 2 is coming at some point in the future but that’s not the point here. The point is I can’t ever recall a show with 25 episodes that never even tried to answer a single question raised. They do all this crazy shit, kill all these titans but at the end of the day they’ve made zero progress and are left with a mountain of questions they had 600 fucking minutes to answer. I’m well aware there is another season coming, but you’re telling me that with 600 minutes at your disposal you couldn’t take the time to maybe answer a few important questions for us? You’re not even back at square 1 because you never attempted to leave square 1 in the first place. The part in the back half where they go into the forest to fight titans, I was completely shocked to find out that all took place one morning. Like… seriously, one morning? That’s not a mistake or something? I can’t recall how many eps that whole part took, but to find out it was just a morning’s trip into the forest to accomplish absolutely shit all, if that’s not an example of terrible writing then what is?
I like a good mystery, don’t get me wrong, but I also like knowing the answer too. Sure you need anole time to get things going, but at some point you need to start making progress and start finding clues and answering questions. Apparently not with AoT. If the manga is also like this then did the author even know what he wanted to have happen or is he just dragging it out because he couldn’t think of where the story should be going? Whatever the case is, my main complain with the show is that it goes absolutely nowhere and it’s pretty much like watching 25 straight filler eps because nothing happens. My second complaint is that it’s way too over hyped.
The point of all this is I hate a bad ending. I don’t want to be left with some half baked mess of unanswered questions and lackluster reveals. The ending should leave a lasting impression on you, something you’ll look back at it and say “wow that was a really great TV series/book/anime/manga/whatever”. It’s not impossible to write that ending, be it purposely open ended or nicely wrapped up, but it seems like shows these days are biting off way more than they can chew and because of that you’re left with a mess of an ending rather than a conclusive ending. Am I saying the anime industry is ruined or anything like that? Absolutely not. All I’m saying is that if a show, especially an original, has a really solid premise to it then by all means it should follow through and make the most of it. Don’t start something amazing then halfway through lose that momentum and struggle to wrap it up. I’ve seen it happen far too often and it’s just straight up disappointing as you can see all the vast quantities of potential, only to be wasted by the group of writers that can’t seem to make sense of the very idea they came up with. Sure it’s not easy to write that perfect ending, but if you put yourself in the shoes of the person watching that show or reading that book, would you be satisfied with some half baked ending that looks like they clearly ran out of ideas? I know I sure as hell wouldn’t be.
Eh, well it looks like this idea just ended up being a rant. Oh well, I had a fun time writing this, I should do this more often. Anyways, if you want to share your opinion on bad endings then by all means do so.
That’s gonna wrap things up for this post. I’ll try to get the next one out on Monday, whether or not that actually happens we’ll have to wait and see. I’ll try to, I really will, but if it’s one of those days where I don’t have any good ideas then it might be late. Sorry in advance.
Thanks for reading, take care!