When I saw this category, about “never end” and “continue on,” back when I first accepted this Challenge, I did the math and realized that, with a bit of wiggling, I could post this exactly six months after I first began this blog. I figured it would be poetic, if also a bit corny, but I was always a sucker for that sort of thing.
It’s certainly an appropriate time for some self-reflection, as this Challenge has helped me reflect on myself as well.
When an anime we love ends, it’s a very bittersweet occasion. We’re glad for the happy ending, and for everything we’ve gained from watching this anime, but we do hate saying good-bye.
Of course, there are some anime which don’t really give us a proper ending at all. Personal pet peeve: an unfinished story. It irritates me to no end when we have the material needed to finish a story properly, and yet we are left hanging. I am tossing all of those anime straight out the window, for two main reasons: 1) it’s always possible that they might finish it sometime and 2) this should be less about one’s irritation with the ending and more about that sense of wonder that leaves us truly wanting more.
Part of that latter criteria, I think, is how they can craft an ending so good that we can be happy about parting ways, perfectly content and satisfied even while we fondly wish for just a little more. In short: we can dream, and we are happy to be left dreaming.
And, this goes, without saying, but even though I know all of my favorite anime will end, and I will wish they did not, it would just be cheating to pick one that hasn’t ended yet, ya know? 😉
So, with all of that in mind, what is my very top choice for an anime I wish never ended and continued on?
One word: Baccano!
It’s easily among my favorites. It’s a very well-told story, involving a number of intertwining stories, with a number of colorful characters all interacting with each other, and everyone’s playing the lead. There’s humor and horror, adventure and romance, and a whole lot of crazy happenings! In short, it’s a gripping, wild roller coaster of a good time!
I’d probably rank it at number four among my top ten, and I so wish it had gone on longer!
Not only would it have been most entertaining, I’m sure, but there’s a veritable wealth of material they could draw from! Most anime end because, well, the story ends, or they caught up to the manga its based on, or they just don’t get renewed for another season. In the case of the former, they can end it exactly right, but with very little wiggle room for further imaginings. In the latter two cases, it can really suck (see above concerning unfinished stories).
Baccano is fairly unique in this instance (and many others) in how they didn’t really have to end it. There was much more material they could have gone over, as I understand it. Indeed, they only produced sixteen episodes, a most unusual stopping point among anime. Usually we have a baker’s dozen, plus or minus one, or double that… or triple, etc. So to “conclude” the main storyline at thirteen episodes, then produce three more episodes to really wrap things up and bring it all full circle, is very much out of the ordinary. But, like everything else they do in an unusual manner, it works!
At the beginning of the anime, we had the introduction of characters as two of them discuss who, in this story, is the main character, and where the story really begins. With no clear answer, it begins in multiple times and places, with many main characters. Similarly, when the story ends, things are tied up… and yet, not. They chose a very good place, or set of places, to end with, but there’s clear intimations that they could go on and on and on. As we see what has thus far become of all the main characters, we also have the pair who were talking about beginnings now talking about endings. The conclusion they reach is that “the story” can have no true ending, just as it has no single beginning.
As such, we are free, in every sense, to imagine future events, instead of just having them told to us. Then again, we wouldn’t mind having more of the tale told to us, and I intend to get my hands on the manga sometime, but the idea of it is really fun.
It was a very well-crafted ending, like the entire story preceding it. The only thing I would have changed about this ending, and have often wistfully dreamed of… is having it arrive later. 😉