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Old 2013-09-24, 22:05   Link #1
Triple_R
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The use of flashbacks in anime.

One anime I'm watching now that uses flashbacks extensively is Kimi no Iru Machi. The first few episodes go backwards-and-forwards through time as though the plot was riding shotgun with Marty McFly in a Delorean. A few episodes later, this anime even had a decently-long flashback within a flashback.

Flashbacks are a staple of anime, used fairly frequently to reveal background details about major characters in key moments. The anime Free! recently did this to add greater detail for the character Rin.

Speaking personally, I have mixed feelings about flashbacks.

I think in some cases they're a good way of learning more about a character through actually seeing what that character went through earlier in life. It could be hard to learn about that otherwise, without giving the narrative a strange starting point. I also find that devoting an entire anime episode or two to a flashback narrative can be a good way to provide a welcomed break from the main plot - Shakugan no Shana used this very effectively a couple times, imo.

On the other hand, the problem with flashbacks is that they tend to run contrary to what we learn about first impressions. To go back to that Free! example...

Spoiler for Minor Free! spoilers:



Given my own mixed feelings on flashbacks, and given how frequently they're used in anime, I'm curious to know what my fellow anime fans think of them.
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Old 2013-09-24, 22:16   Link #2
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It definitely is a good way to learn about what a character went through in life to better understand the plot, IMO, if it is well placed. If it isn't, it's just weird and feels out of order.
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Old 2013-09-24, 23:01   Link #3
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The most cliched use of flashback I like the least is often found within shoujo series: used as a revelation that several characters used to meet long ago when they're children and no one was any the wiser about it.

That's what I can think of about the subject now. Would add a bit more content after I finish this little something first.
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Old 2013-09-24, 23:14   Link #4
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Flashbacks are nice because in any given moment we're only able to recognize a character in that point in time. It's difficult to go in depth in how characters develop into the ones they are today.

Of course, I feel they need to be connected somehow; no cheapshot boohoo flashbacks that never get elaborated on or stuff that's reminding us of last episode 4 times.
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Old 2013-09-25, 02:24   Link #5
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Old 2013-09-25, 08:23   Link #6
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SKET DANCE GODDAMNIT.
Yes, that. HOLY SHIT. And Puella Magi too.

Hakkenden uses them well too, just giving hints sometimes.
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Old 2013-09-25, 10:13   Link #7
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The worst use of flashbacks I've seen so far is in Naruto Shippuuden. It's like these guys have to reach a monthly quota or something. Flashbacks in this anime are both overused and misused. Once they replayed a whole scene from the same episode even though you had seen it 5 minutes ago. It might not be relevant to this thread though, since I believe the OP is thinking of previously unshown scenes about past events, as opposed to already aired footage which is (sometimes unnecessarily) shown again.
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Old 2013-09-25, 19:10   Link #8
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Flashbacks were used really well in Baccano! To me anyway, felt like the plot was a lot stronger and exciting, and still kept the story on the train.

I agree with Renmazuo about being over used in shōnen and especially Naruto, way too many.
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Old 2013-09-26, 00:47   Link #9
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I don't mind seeing a lot flash backs in KINM. I'll be honest, I really liked it. Just imagine the lots of side tracks, fillers, fan service etc. that that anime will face if it had to included every chapter of every volume to be animated. Talk about budget, talk about time. I think KINM as my example pretty did well. I think the series is still understandable with only the flashbacks to explain some points that isn't cleared out.

I don't mind flash backs as long as the main arc is on the right track as it should be. Side tracks gives me either memory loss or bitterness that aren't important anyway.
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Old 2013-09-26, 23:03   Link #10
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It seems like, on the whole, people view flashbacks as a good thing... unless they're just a glorified cost-cutting measure.

Yeah, that overall take on flashbacks probably fits best with how they've been used lately in anime.
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Old 2013-09-27, 01:30   Link #11
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No one mentioned TenTen's flashbacks? lol

I didn't mind it in the manga since I like read those volumes quick as fuck but for anime watchers it went on for weeks and weeks and weeks.
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Old 2013-09-29, 22:41   Link #12
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Agreed with the OP about breaking first impressions. I hate flashbacks that bring out a character's personality that is incongruous - especially if they're unrealistic as well - with how that character is portrayed at first. If you've watched Attack on Titan, you'll perhaps understand. It's a really extreme example.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erneiz_hyde View Post
The most cliched use of flashback I like the least is often found within shoujo series: used as a revelation that several characters used to meet long ago when they're children and no one was any the wiser about it.
Agreed. Good for dramatic effect, though, albeit may come off forced.
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Old 2013-09-30, 00:10   Link #13
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As a die-hard shounen fans, I say F-you to flashback. They have caused enough pain and suffering to make a lot of grown people cry enough to fill up an Olympic size swimming pool.
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Old 2013-09-30, 07:57   Link #14
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Shin Mazinger had an odd use for a flashback. One episode ended with Tsubasa yelling at Kouji about the Photon Beam, and the beginning of the next episode skipped forward to the next day. I was confused as to whether I missed something, until a flashback showed what happened between episodes. They could have like, put that scene in chronological order, but for some reason they didn't.

It was interesting, at least.
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Old 2013-09-30, 08:35   Link #15
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Originally Posted by Shyni View Post
Shin Mazinger had an odd use for a flashback. One episode ended with Tsubasa yelling at Kouji about the Photon Beam, and the beginning of the next episode skipped forward to the next day. I was confused as to whether I missed something, until a flashback showed what happened between episodes. They could have like, put that scene in chronological order, but for some reason they didn't.

It was interesting, at least.
IIRC, Sunrise also did that in Gundam SEED (after the cliffhanger that is Strike Gundamís re-entry into atmosphere). Not just SEED, many other animes did that kinda flashback too. I just canít remember it right now.

And speaking of flashback, I think Gundam SEED Destiny is one of the worst series in using flashbacks. They pop up, like, once every five minutes, again and again, in almost every episode and some of them have bad timing. Not counting recap episodes and bad writing, the flashbacks alone makes the whole series such a chore to watch .
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