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Old 2013-07-15, 20:25   Link #1
Triple_R
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Two common types of anime, which do you prefer?

I find that many anime shows play out like one of the following...

Anime A: Good start, good ending, but a middle that dragged a bit and was a bit lackluster.

Anime B: Slow and/or weak start, dissatisfying and/or messy ending, a middle that showed lots of promise and had some strong stretches that you loved.

Given the pros and cons of each, which would you rather watch, all else being equal (i.e. equally likeable casts, genres you're equally fond of, etc...)?
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Old 2013-07-15, 21:42   Link #2
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I'd tend to think Type A (strong beginning and end, weak middle) would be more satisfying, but then again Mai-HiME is one of my all time favorite anime and its ending is pretty notorious. (Though to be fair, I didn't find the ending as bad as I expected it to be when I rewatched the series -I've even come to feel it serves some of the character arcs pretty well.) Actually come to think of it I'll usually tolerate a weak ending if I liked the characters, but a strong ending can only do so much for a show I've been finding so-so.

Though it depends how weak I find the ending too. There was one show that I considered a shoe-in for my show of the year in 2012, yet my enthusiasm for the series went downhill pretty quickly after it ended, and I think my dissatisfaction with the ending was a big part of that. Or perhaps the problem was more that it was a dissatisfying ending on a show that I felt should have a satisfying one -I might have been more forgiving if it was an adaptation based on an ongoing novel series as opposed to an anime original that had run its course.
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Old 2013-07-15, 21:46   Link #3
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I'd go with A.

Most of the time B isn't worth sitting around for. Kinda like the NGE series.
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Old 2013-07-15, 22:10   Link #4
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Overall, I'd have to argue for A- at least as far as the show itself goes. While I might find that I would question continuing with the show in the middle, lackluster part, the end would bring it all together satisfactorily.

That said, I've generally found that type B shows have far more interesting discussions online. There's a lot of merit in discussing the great parts, and also in picking apart just where the show went wrong (and disagreeing with each other over it, of course).
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Old 2013-07-15, 22:32   Link #5
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I think the choices are a bit slanted. I don't think you will find very many people who will out-and-out say "oh, I want to watch a show that has a disappointing ending that doesn't live up to its potential". But you don't generally know in advance whether you'll like an ending. Even if you were to wait until many other people see it to get some sort of public consensus, you may very well find that the masses see things differently than you do. I know there are a number of shows where I've liked the ending even though a lot of people hated it, and vice-versa.

By the same token, I'm not a person for whom a "bad ending" will necessarily ruin the whole show, particularly when the ending connects to the rest of the story. So in that sense, assuming I otherwise love the show, either a "weak ending" or a "weak middle" may not make so much of a difference to me in the end if I like everything else well enough. Actually, a weak middle could be more devastating if it causes me to lose interest and not even bother sticking around to the ending (I'm absolutely not a "completionist").

I think Darthtabby's point is also important: it's also worth considering whether the ending was really intended to be an "ending" or just a "stopping point". For stories with on-going source material, I tend to be more understanding if I know the story will go on (whether it turns out the anime ever does or not).

Most writing teachers I've met will tend to teach the "A" model of writing: to bury your weaker points in the middle, but make sure you have a strong opening and ending. I think a lot of anime are intentionally structured this way, but definitions of what a "strong ending" are vary a lot. "Stopping point" endings notwithstanding, I don't think most authors intend for endings to be "dissatisfying", even if they're controversial or somewhat symbolic/metaphorical. Sometimes it depends on the message they're trying to send and whether the audience is receptive to that message.
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Old 2013-07-15, 22:44   Link #6
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
I think the choices are a bit slanted.
How so? If you can think of a better wording for it, I'm all ears.

I honestly don't have a strong preference between the two. I just noticed that a lot of my anime viewing experiences fall into one category or the other, which I find a bit interesting since these two categories are obviously completely different from one another. You could well be right about why both of these types of anime arise though.

I'm basically curious to see if other anime fans share my experiences here, and if so, which of the two experiences they prefer overall.

I should add that, for me, a recent example of Type A is Gargantia. And a recent example of Tybe B is Love Live! Of those two, I personally found Love Live! more satisfying overall. It makes me wonder if we put too much stock on beginnings and endings, and not enough stock on the middle sections.
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Old 2013-07-15, 23:01   Link #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
How so? If you can think of a better wording for it, I'm all ears.
Well, I just think that, given those two choices if all else is equal and they know in advance what will happen, people are more likely to choose a "lackluster middle" over a "dissatisfying and/or trainwreck ending"... but, in reality, you can't usually choose how you'll feel about the ending until you see it. And I mean, I think what people would really rather watch is a show that remains consistently exceptional all the way through.

If you clarify that you mean "looking back on the shows you've watched in the past, which of these two patterns have tended to describe your favourite shows?", I guess that's a bit different. In which case, most of what you're really asking is "how important is a strong ending to your overall appreciation of a show?" To that question, my very non-committal answer is "somewhat". I do know people who would answer "very important" to that question, though.

Like I said before, as someone who is not a "completionist", a strong beginning and a pretty-strong middle are important to keep me watching... otherwise I may just lose interest. And by that point, having enjoyed it that much, I'll probably be more accepting of the ending.
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Old 2013-07-15, 23:10   Link #8
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
Well, I just think that, given those two choices if all else is equal and they know in advance what will happen, people are more likely to choose a "lackluster middle" over a "dissatisfying and/or trainwreck ending"...
Based on your feedback, I edited the wording a bit. Hopefully it's more neutral now.


Quote:
If you clarify that you mean "looking back on the shows you've watched in the past, which of these two patterns have tended to describe your favourite shows?", I guess that's a bit different. In which case, most of what you're really asking is "how important is a strong ending to your overall appreciation of a show?" To that question, my very non-committal answer is "somewhat". I do know people who would answer "very important" to that question, though.
That's pretty much what I'm aiming for, yeah.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sound of Azure View Post

That said, I've generally found that type B shows have far more interesting discussions online. There's a lot of merit in discussing the great parts, and also in picking apart just where the show went wrong (and disagreeing with each other over it, of course).
That's a good point. A strong middle spurs a lot of discussion, and so does a disappointing ending.
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Old 2013-07-15, 23:37   Link #9
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I like Type C - consistent from start to finish (e.g. Hyouka, Tari Tari)

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Old 2013-07-15, 23:40   Link #10
Triple_R
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pocari_Sweat View Post
I like Type C - consistent from start to finish (e.g. Hyouka, Tari Tari)

I agree with you on Hyouka and Tari Tari. They were both very consistent, and that's part of the reason I consider them two of the five best TV anime of 2012.
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Old 2013-07-15, 23:50   Link #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triple_R View Post
I find that many anime shows play out like one of the following...

Anime A: Good start, good ending, but a middle that dragged a bit and was a bit lackluster.

Anime B: Slow and/or weak start, dissatisfying and/or messy ending, a middle that showed lots of promise and had some strong stretches that you loved.

Given the pros and cons of each, which would you rather watch, all else being equal (i.e. equally likeable casts, genres you're equally fond of, etc...)?
In my mind Anime B types are those that have the majority of their time focused on really engaging in the idea behind their show. Meanwhile, Anime A focuses on the introduction and the conclusion of the idea, but fails to deliver in the actual exploring of it.

Take Sword Art Online for an example. I thought that the middle was the highlight, and that the day-to-day exploration of the SAO world was the best part of the series. I absolutely love to see the idea behind an anime pan out and get explored in a variety of ways. When the ending came around for the first arc, I found it very disheartening because I would have liked to have seen more of that world.

Typically, I prefer those Anime B types considerably more. I suppose you could say that I like to watch anime to experience these new worlds and these interesting ideas, rather than to see some plot start and then finish. Much in the same way that side characters typically get more fans than the main character, I find that the world is far more interesting than the plot.

Fortunately for all of you I had written a long paragraph about Mobile Suit Gundam and how the world was so much more interesting than the plot and the characters but I decided to cut it because I'm a nice guy.
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Old 2013-07-16, 00:08   Link #12
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I'd like to add a type D where the beginning sucks, but the end is spectacular.

Well, let me think of some that would fit in each; it's a bit hard since many of the stuff is neither A nor B; going down my MAL with all anime I rated passing or better as well as what I gave them individually (gogo, unscientific tiering!)

A- Steins;Gate (9), Tiger and Bunny (9) , Shin Sekai Yori (9), Fate/Zero (9), Durarara (9), Kemono no Souja Erin (8), Inu X Boku SS (7), Hana Saku Iroha (6)
B- Clannad (9), Nana (9),True Tears (8) , Ano Hana (8), Mai Hime (8) , Yu Yu Hakusho (8), Kanon (8), Sola (7), Angel Beats! (7)

I would say it's much easier for me to approve of A since I usually look upon these better. Though I often end up talking about a successful show in B a lot, and often times it's because I'm really attached to a character's critical moments that cause momentary spikes that can be talked about. It can also be said that adequate type B shows seem to be seen favorably by me no matter how terrible the ending is, and damn a lot of these shows have shitty endings.
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Old 2013-07-16, 00:46   Link #13
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Originally Posted by Archon_Wing View Post
I would say it's much easier for me to approve of A since I usually look upon these better.
This is basically the reason for the writing theory about having strong beginnings and endings: because that's what the reader will remember most. It stands to reason that shows that are most positively-rated will tend towards those with the strongest endings, because the ending is usually fresh on the mind of the person doing the rating at that time. Likewise, a show that's great all along but fumbles at the ending may end up being a bit unfairly punished in ratings because the anger/disappointment hasn't yet subsided. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to pass and maybe a re-viewing before people can take a more holistic view and re-consider their feelings about the work on the whole. (Shows that fumble in the middle may actually benefit further because people who give up in the middle may just drop the show without rating it... though it may be offset by completionists who get increasingly bitter with each passing week...)
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Old 2013-07-16, 01:09   Link #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
This is basically the reason for the writing theory about having strong beginnings and endings: because that's what the reader will remember most. It stands to reason that shows that are most positively-rated will tend towards those with the strongest endings, because the ending is usually fresh on the mind of the person doing the rating at that time. Likewise, a show that's great all along but fumbles at the ending may end up being a bit unfairly punished in ratings because the anger/disappointment hasn't yet subsided. Sometimes it takes a bit of time to pass and maybe a re-viewing before people can take a more holistic view and re-consider their feelings about the work on the whole. (Shows that fumble in the middle may actually benefit further because people who give up in the middle may just drop the show without rating it... though it may be offset by completionists who get increasingly bitter with each passing week...)
Well, I think a huge hazard is that people look back in retrospect and will be like "Omg, now that I think about it, this ending makes no sense. I've outgrown..." This feels to me as a desire to simply pass the final judgement (aka rating) for the sake of doing it. But truth is the process may never end.

I think this desire to want to be objective often detaches oneself from the actaul experience with viewing. You can poke holes in everything if you stare long enough, but in reality did it affect the experience?

And indeed, certain shows like Clannad and Angel Beats have some pretty questionable endings (In retrospect I think even less of those now), but then when I look back on random scenes from the shows themselves, I remember that I actually greatly enjoyed whatever I watched. So, yea, in some cases it may cause some anime to be seen better in retrospect, and in particular, I've been more forgiving of Angel Beats even though I was pretty critical when watching it and I have never rewatched it.

For some of the more controversial endings, it may take months or even years to reach a complete conclusion. Evangelion was definitely a huge one for myself, since my initial reaction that ending wasn't very pretty.
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Old 2013-07-16, 01:24   Link #15
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Beginning eps are important to gain interest and the ending eps is important to keep remembrance. Middle is probably the least important if you had to choose, but really the best shows are ones that are great from start to finish and have at most 1 (max of 2) episode that are weaker in a 1cour series or 3-4 max eps that are weaker in a 2cour series.

Probably why Clannad After Story aged pretty weakily for me. I was bored at the beginning, the middle was a masterpiece but the ending was banal.
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Old 2013-07-16, 01:46   Link #16
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Type A.

If an anime has a slow start, I will drop it, easily. "Why so shallow" you ask? I don't have time to watch 230584273 anime per season, so whatever excites/entertains me during my "sampling period" stays. That's why first impressions are extremely important.
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Old 2013-07-16, 01:56   Link #17
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Definitely A. As has been pointed out, it's the strong ending/way an anime ends in general that determines whether I like it or not. My favorite examples (warning: my views may be a bit controversial): in terms of strong middle but weak ending, there's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Find a group of mecha fanboys and they might tell you it's one of the greatest animes ever; however, the epilogue after the credits literally killed the entire show for me (to this day I refuse to ever re-watch it). On the other hand, despite it really being an asspull, I loved how Mai-hime ended. RahXephon is another example of weak middle but strong end, and then there's also Gundam, Wing in specific. On the other end of the argument, since I was recently thinking of it, you have Pumpkin Scissors, where I felt the ending could've been so much more. And then there's Rosario + Vampire, which has a special place in hell to me (the anime could've stayed almost faithful for the first season to the manga, but the last episode was a sign of things to come in the second season)
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Old 2013-07-16, 05:49   Link #18
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Type C. OVERALY consistent show whith satisfying end . I don't mind slow begening or quality swings with good and weaker episodes evenly mixed through whole show.

Though Actuly I prefere type D the most. Anime with great start, awesome middle and breathtaking finale. Is it weird?
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Old 2013-07-16, 05:50   Link #19
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I go for A... Who wants a trash ending...?
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Old 2013-07-16, 05:55   Link #20
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Though Actuly I prefere type D the most. Anime with great start, awesome middle and breathtaking finale. Is it weird?
I don't think that kinda show exists though lol.
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