So a couple of months ago, I finished watching Scrapped Princess, which was a good show, but not a great one. The ending was interesting, though cheesy/cliche (sort of), and many people I talked to said that the ending was good, but more could have been done, and I totally agree. The setup for an awesome finale was there, but they went (in my opinion) the safer route, and it was still good. Good, but not great. Others felt the same way, and some people even disliked the ending, and thus felt the show ended badly or even that the whole series was ruined for them because there was so much potential that didn’t get filled. If the ending was done right or better, how should it have been done? I can’t answer that because I don’t know that answer, and because if I did have one, it would probably be solely created for my enjoyment.
Whenever I watch anime, I tend not to put that much emphasis or importance on the ending in shows with a main plot important to the story. There’s always the “most anime endings suck hurr hurr hurr” viewpoint that my opinion isn’t based on; for me, the ending shouldn’t define a series. Endings if done well, however, make the show that much more special to you (Cowboy Bebop for the few plot episodes it had, Haibane Renmei, Futakoi Alternative, either Haruhi ending etc. for me), and leave you probably feeling that it was worth it to watch all those episodes for that show. Then there are endings that you wish could have been done much better [Mai-HiME (big climax leads to soft-hitting end – the potential for something grand was there), and .hack//SIGN come to mind here] though the rest of the series for the most part was good. Then there are the endings where you just want the pain to stop if you keep on watching the show for some strange reason (haven’t found one of those for anime, but reading manga? Damn you Ichigo 100% :P).
It’s hard for a series with a certain number of episodes to spend all but the last couple episodes advancing plot, if there is any, and then to quickly wrap things up. Most times, things end too quickly, and leave the viewer unsatisfied with the results. Despite that, if the rest of the series is good for me, how they end it is not going to make me love or hate a show or strongly change what I thought about the show. That’s too rash for my tastes, and it’s too emphatic. Though it is a final resting place for a series (usually… maybe…) and it creates a lasting impact, it shouldn’t be how the show is defined.
I guess an okay metaphor of this is having some person who’s lived a good life, changing things for the better and all that jazz. Instead of dying old and content with all they’ve done like “it should be”, they die a quick death by being run over by a Mac truck. I wouldn’t imagine people going, “because they got hit by a Mac truck, all the good things that they’ve done are now nullified. Because his death sucked, his life sucked (or on another side, that his death was awesome making his life awesomer).” I can’t see how people would think something like that. Granted, the fact is that unlike death, people who make anime should have some idea on how they want to end a series. But the principle applies. If, for example, Manabi Straight keeps being good until the end, where it has a terrible finish, will I say that the entire series sucks or that the legacy of the series is tarnished forever? Heck no (maybe just a little for the legacy part. :P). Obviously the show has rocked for the entire time it’s on save for the ending, and the parts that made it enjoyable shouldn’t be taken away by something silly as a bad end. Though I would be disappointed by the ending, it would still be a show that keeps my interest.
And this is relevant: