On manga migration and ‘perfect’ anime endings

Rei Ayanami

I finally found myself a great Rei picture that has her smiling and having fun. Oh, if only Rei were like this – but at least there’s something to expect with Rebuild, right?

This is the problem when you lack disk space. Eventually, because of the lack of things one watches, one writes sparsely and without volume. Although a lot of people who have commented told me that I could obtain extra HD space or new HDs for a cheap price, you may have underestimated our poverty and our dearth of resources right now. Our family just has enough for its bare necessities; my parents pay for my Internet, however, because they no longer pay for my schooling – they only pay for my food, lodging, and Internet. We’re by no means rich, however, so obtaining a new HD is out of the question. I guess the only thing left for me to do is to purge my computer clean of everything: that is, I may delete all the anime I’ve been storing in my computer, just as what scottfrye does with his laptop. There are still good news, however: my new DVD writer has arrived from US given as a gift from my aunt, but my mom’s reluctant to send it here for fear of disrupting the fragile internal components of that technological innovation. What do I have now, then?

I watch only a few anime – I watch School Rumble Nigakki, Air Gear (though I’ve been on a hiatus recently), and Honey and Clover II. I have already deleted Ouran High School Host Club, since I’m frustrated at non-moving, staid and static stories that revolve around fun but not character development. It was fun the first ten episodes, but it got boring afterwards. I watch Akagi whenever it comes out, because Triad’s release isn’t really consistent (not that I’m complaining). After scanning my hard disk – the anime series mentioned above were from pure recollection, I forgot about NHK ni Youkoso, and that practically rounds out the series that I watch, with an occasional Hiatari Ryoukou episode. I haven’t even started watching anime from this season, and although I have the first two episodes of FLAG and the first episode of Kemonozume on my PC, I haven’t even touched them yet, because I simply didn’t want to.

It’s a pain because I want to watch more anime, but sadly I don’t have the space, so I’d have to sate myself with reading manga – and that’s what I’m doing. Dark manga enthuse me, so I’ve started off with the short manga GOTH and then read up on Hitsuji no Uta, Were-Slut (it’s a hentai manga, I know), and after this post will probably read Jisatsu Circle (Suicide Club) and Death Note. I don’t know if Death Note has finished, however, but I probably won’t touch it if it isn’t. All the manga I’ve read that haven’t finished yet have turned into constant re-hashes of their own selves; a paragon of this is Bleach (which now leaves a bad taste in my mouth). I’m pretty happy that fall is a season where there aren’t too many decent shows, because it doesn’t leave me terribly out of good anime to watch (because there aren’t much at all).

* * *

In other things, I would have liked any studio other than GONZO take on the anime adaptation of NHK. Maybe if KyoAni did it (I know this has been said many times), it may par up or even surpass the manga. With GONZO, however, the animation is plagued with inconsistencies (typical GONZO), but at least they’ve strived to remain faithful to the manga. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again that ep5 was among the more cathartic episodes I’ve seen in any anime episode, just as ep24 of Honey and Clover was. I’ll also bet big that the final episode of H&C II will do the same. I can just smell it.

Now on the subject on endings, which among the anime you’ve seen had an ending that contented you, that made you feel all warm and fuzzy inside or lonely and melancholic (pure and raw emotions) without accompanying bathos? As for me, the closest would probably be the endings of my first two favorite anime of all time, which are Tsukihime and Honey and Clover. I liked the subtleties in both their endings; if you didn’t look close at the ending of Honey and Clover you probably won’t even see the four-leaf clover hidden near the bunch of three-leaf clovers near Takemoto’s bike. The confession scene, with Waltz playing in the background as the fireworks portrayed outside what was the upheaval in these people’s hearts was simply majestic, marvelous, awe-inspiring, and magical.

The same can be said with the terse, goodbye words of Arcueid that packed so much eloquence within its salience. The two words ‘Bye bye’ was simply an expression of her love for Shiki, of her love for his kind and her unwillingness to hurt anyone else anymore now that she can dream of him forever in her sleep. The pain accompanying a love that can never realize summed up in a loving and terse goodbye is definitely heart-wrenching, and indeed, it was for me, because I ended up staring at space for a long time after the anime has ended.

I don’t think there are anime with perfect endings, but there are anime with endings perfect for you. For example, if Yakumo ended up with Harima in School Rumble I’d probably be among the happiest guys in the world for that day; likewise, if Rika told Mayama that she really loved him I’d also probably be happy, or if Arcueid came back and consummated their (hers and Shiki’s) love for one another. It depends on the person; for all I know, one may think the ending of FMA was the best, but I personally thought it was just OK.

12 Responses to “On manga migration and ‘perfect’ anime endings”

  1. Anga Says:

    The end in Full Moon wo Sagashite was perfect, probably the best one I have seen in anime.

  2. psgels Says:

    Noein’s ending gets close, same with Elfen Lied. The way Gunslinger Girl ended also deserves credit.

    It’s just so hard to come up with a good ending. I’ve seen very few anime manage to do it.

  3. Michael Says:

    I liked the ending of Elfen Lied as well. I may have had watched it at least three times already, but the ending still tears me apart.

    I agree, psgels: it’s easy to come up with a cool premise, but it’s often hard to end anime well. It either falls flat, becomes idiotic, or ends with lacking closure – I mean, it’s okay to have an open-ended ending (redundant, lol), but there should be at least some closure. EL had an open ended ending, but it was good.

  4. reslez Says:

    My two favorite endings belong to Fullmetal Alchemist and Hikaru no Go. Both were sad but a little sweet, and both managed to remain true to their series as a whole while leaving you hopeful for the characters in the future. FMA got a little bizarre but the emotional taste it left in my mouth (so to speak) was spot-on. Elfen Lied is an example of a series where I liked the ending more than the show itself.

    I don’t think there’s any competition for worst endings/ending arcs to a series, because there are so many that are truly awful. There are some otherwise excellent shows that seemed to fall apart into maudlin incomprehensibility when they get to the end. Among them I’d count Fruits Basket (just painful) and R.O.D. the TV (my brain hurts). It looks like Utawarerumono may fall into the same bucket.

  5. tritoch Says:

    You can add Kare Kano to that list of bad endings reslez.

  6. ~Lost Says:

    Mike, I found Tsukihime’s end lonely and melancholic, yet very much warm at the same time. Lovely.

  7. myopius Says:

    There’s different types of endings for different anime, you might say. For me, the perfect ending to any anime would be one which just unleashes all the character development which has been building up in surprising ways which further change the characters all in one episode, in a way that resolves or “answers” all the interpersonal and plot-related conflicts in the series. In short, exciting and dramatic character development which puts things “right”.

    Most light shoujo based on manga just end up reiterating the basic concept of the story (“ha ha, everything’s still the same, good old character X”) and just further hinting at the possibility of further development. Many longer series of that short tend to have several major arcs which resolve enough character development that by the conclusion of the entire series there’s not much left to resolve, so things just happen to work out, and you’re left wondering “how did we get here with so little fanfare?” (e.g. Honey & Clover II, as I’m sure you’re now aware).

    Full Metal Alchemist did have a pretty good ending, to me, as reslez also mentioned, and the best one that I can think of. It was full of action and really unleash the characters. Of course it was kind of a cliffhanger in a way, and the FMA Movie left off where the series ended–in that way it’s kind of like the FMA series served as the “major” arc which led to the FMA movie’s low-key conclusion (same with H&C and H&C II).

    Anyway, what I think is that it takes real skill to develop a story to the point where you can truly unleash the characters in a way that resolves everything in one “movement”, and that’s why there are many great series but not many truly great endings (well, none that I’ve seen).

    Somebody mentioned Noien and I agree that if the series itself had been higher quality then that ending might have qualified as perfect. It definitely fit the form of a perfect ending, but overall the series was a bit goofy and not really “mature”–quite a few cliches there (“hey what a dangerous science foolishly poineered by greed which we need to stop you say?”) and not a lot of real depth to the characters (other than what we’re meant to assume, like “oh yeah that guy is the grown up version of the other guy and he watched someone he loved die therefore he must be intense”).

    I’d highly recommend you read Death Note, also. The story will blow you away, I wish I could say more (specifically, post a fantastic scan of a 2-page spread which has amazing art depicting something really hardcore in terms of what it means to character development, by principle…). You’ll think that there’s no way it won’t end amazingly, though, and end up disappointed, I’m afraid. So don’t think that, just enjoy it for what it is and what it could be. 🙂 That applies to any anime, I guess.

    I read Goth because someone said it was like Death Note, and I enjoyed but I was left thinking, “Death Note was so much deeper than this. There’s no continuity and no sense of what it how humanity itself relates to the concept of what it means to be goth”. Death Note really is a fantastic manga, even though the movie and probably the anime seem to be trying to emphasize the shounen aspects of it (not that the shounen aspects aren’t really, really brilliant. The end of the 2nd chapter of the manga, and the 2nd episode of the anime I’d guess from the title (“Showdown”), prove that.

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  12. Starlit Says:

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