Objection! Does this post need to exist? o.O

Generally, I’m a pretty happy, optimistic guy, at least when it comes to anime. Sure, not every show is a masterpiece, but what’s the point of getting worked up about at TV show? It’s far better to just enjoy it for what it is and get worked up about important things, like why the couple who lives next door always blares music at 2 o’clock in the morning when I have work the next day and IS IT REALLY NECESSARY TO PUT YOUR TRASH OUT IN THE NUDE!?!?

Ahem. Anyway, my point is that I’m generally a pretty forgiving guy when it comes to fiction. Still, sometimes the cynical instincts I developed in my days of youthful indiscretion flare up. In fact, this happened just recently, when I was watching Saki Achiga. Now, this post is going to sound pretty negative towards that show, but don’t take that to mean its a bad show. When I’m watching it, I actually enjoy it quite a lot. However, many things about it beg a question – why does it exist? This is a question I have asked before.

The question here could be said to be “Does it have artistic worth?”, though that’s way too pretentious to me. I prefer to think of it like this – if a story adds nothing to the genre, the medium, or the series it is based upon, why does it exist? To what point or benefit was it written, other than mindless entertainment and the financial gain of the author? The one that most recently made me think this was Saki Achiga, so let’s talk about that one first.

Saki Achiga an odd little side-story in that it doesn’t really add anything to the overall narrative of the Saki universe. The build up with the spin-off’s protagonists goes too quickly to let us get attached to them, and inside of three episodes we’re running into the original series’ protagonists, which the story still obviously revolves around. The struggles of the Achiga girls can be fun to watch, but without serious attachment to them I find that I would rather be watching a proper season 2 of Saki instead. So, if this spin-off doesn’t really add anything to the overall story, why does it exist? Hmmm…

Let’s back up. This “should it exist” thing is a charge I have heard leveled “filler” or “fluff” episodes before, those episodes where there’s little plot going on and the characters are really just faffing about on random adventures. For some reason, the show that always comes to mind here is not an anime, but it’s close enough that I’m going to use it as an example anyway – Avatar: The Last Airbender (the TV show, not that godsawful movie). I think I heard somewhere that if you counted them up, the number of episodes where the gaang was running around on random adventures far outweighed the actual plot episodes. But you know what? That’s okay. In fact, that’s good! It was in those episodes that we really came to understand the characters, so when the plot arrived we were more invested in it. Yet, you could still argue that not much of enduring importance happens in those either. Hmmm.

A (technically) non-anime picture on an anime blog? What’s next, the cast of Glee? …maybe.

Then there are sequels. Some sequels are of seriously dubious worth. Whereas Nisemonogatari really advanced that story with some new and interesting arcs, does K-ON!! need to exist when K-ON! had a better narrative “arc” (Yui growing up a little)? Some of you might debate that characterization – in fact, I’m sure some of you will) – but the sequel felt like far more goofing around to me. But then again, maybe that’s okay too. After all, K-ON! is slice-of-life, and those Avatar episodes were just faffing about. Where’s the line?

Then there was this article that appeared on ANN a few months back, showing a pair of polls about the most desired anime sequels. As I looked through the lists, part of my despaired. Toradora, one of my favorite romances, topped the first. What story is there left to tell?? Perhaps the anime could have ended a bit better – it got a bit rushed in the last few episodes, true – but the whole story was told. Angel Beats! is another. Perhaps it could use a remake one day, giving it all the episodes it deserved, but a sequel? Why! Perhaps the better example is Clannad. Here I truly despaired. That story has been told, people! It is done! To go on would only defile it. It’s like asking for a sequel to Ano Natsu de Matteru, Mahou Shojou Madoka Magica, or Cowboy Bebop. Those stories are done, and more would only ruin them. Those sequels have no right to exist.

Season 2 will never happen, people. You’ll have to wait for the live action movie with Keanu Reeves. That will be…great?

So what sequels can exist? The currently airing Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OF THE DEAD is a good example of one that should, or at least can. The first season didn’t finish the story, just that arc of the story, so a sequel is fine. There is still more story to be told. It’s only the ones that are truly done that should cease, lest they march on forever into painful mediocrity. I’m looking at you, Bleach!

Okay, let’s collect our thoughts. If something adds nothing to the overall story, it probably shouldn’t exist…unless it’s a stand-alone episode within a series, in which case that’s okay. Slice-of-life can probably get away with it regardless, though then again maybe not. Sequels shouldn’t exist when the story is done, but are okay when it is not…unless it’s done to excess, in which case it’s not okay again. The same holds true for the fluff episodes (looking at you this time, Naruto!). So…I’m confused. Where’s the line?

Here. The line must be drawn here!

It seems to me that the line depends upon two things: the piece’s worth to the narrative as a whole, and moderation. If something adds to the overall story, it obviously deserves to exist, even if it ends up being bad. That is, I don’t think even those who were enraged by the Mass Effect 3 ending think that it shouldn’t have existed – they just wish it had ended differently. Those things that don’t ostensibly add to the plot can still exist, but only in moderation. Too many fluff episodes and you’ve got pointless filler, and too much slice-of-life where nothing happens and you get the unsettling feeling that the author has given up and is just milking you for money. I’m looking at you this time, Garfield…what is with these non-anime examples today!?

So let me bring this back to Saki Achiga. Based on those metrics, does it deserve to exist? I’m afraid to say that it isn’t looking good. Now, don’t misunderstand me – like I said earlier, I still honestly enjoy the show while I’m watching it. Yet, I can’t think of a strong reason for its existence other than “author wanted more money.” And perhaps that’s enough – not the author-wanting-more-money thing, but the fact that I’m enjoying it. Is enjoyment alone enough reason for it to exist, even if it adds little to the overall story? I’m not sure. My gut feeling is “no,” but that feels like the first step on a short road towards being a pretentious twitt. Not every story needs to be art, or even add something to the medium. Being enjoyable is enough. But if it doesn’t even add anything to its own story? Eehhh…it’s not looking good.

So, let’s take it to the comments! Is simple enjoyment enough reason for a story to exist, or should it somehow advance the overall narrative, explore the characters, or otherwise add something to the medium? Let’s hear what you think below. And, as always, feel free to send me topic suggestions. My email is StiltsOutLoud@gmail.com, and you can also find me through twitter at @StiltsOutLoud. Untile next time~

Need a picture to end the post with. Why not Zoidberg?

**Special Bonus (?)!** I’ve got a favor to ask of you all. I know I always ask for topic ideas, but this time I’d like to ask for something different – questions. You see, I thought it would be fun to do a little Q&A session in a future post, probably when I’m too busy / drunk / distracted-by-shiny-things to churn out a proper post. But for that, I’m going to need some questions! If there’s anything you’d like to ask me about absolutely anything at all, please email or tweet it at me. If I get enough, I’ll answer as many as I can in a post, and save the rest for later (maybe). Thank you in advance! If your topic suggestions are any indication, I know your questions will be great…and slightly frightening. I can’t wait!


  1. The cynical answer to all this is that entertainment media exists in order to distract us so that the government and businesses may continue to screw us over- but I know that’s not what you’re asking here.

    For your question, well- you explained my sentiments fairly well; If it adds to the story in a meaningful way, and doesn’t fly into an endless chain of derivatives and offshoots- then it’s perfectly warranted.

    1. The cynical answer to all this is that entertainment media exists in order to distract us so that the government and businesses may continue to screw us over- but I know that’s not what you’re asking here.

      Funny, you would think it’s the other way around – with the media existing to siphon the ideas that the governments and businesses uses to screw us over with to enlighten us…


  2. “To go on would only defile it. It’s like asking for a sequel to Ano Natsu de Matteru, Mahou Shojou Madoka Magica, or Cowboy Bebop. Those stories are done, and more would only ruin them. Those sequels have no right to exist.”

    One of the madomagi movie will (or can) be a sequel as i know.

      1. To be honest, Cowboy Bebop is far too open. Spike’s story is done, sure, but there are so many more stories that can be told in that world… As for MSMM, Madoka and Sayaka have closed their stories – but not Mami, or Kyouko, or even Homura…

        It’s hard to find a story so closed that it doesn’t admit a good sequel or prequel. IMO, the problem is when the derivative works become unimaginative and exploitative.

        For example, all of TYPE-MOON works are pretty much sequels/prequels/spinoffs of each other, and yet you won’t find many people complaining about them.

  3. Hey Stilts, what are your thoughts on Naruto: Shippuden? Do you think that Kishimoto was right to have a sequel? Or could they have wrapped up the series without having to use a sequel?

    1. Shippuuden is a bit of a special case. The original manga never stopped, it never “got a sequel”, its just one on-going story that had a time-skip. It was just the anime adaptation that was split into two.

      Personally, I think it was an OK move and it is well within Kishimoto’s rights to have a time-skip if he feels he needs it to advance the story in the desired direction.

    2. I agree with DakkerDB. I stopped actually reading / watching Naruto a long time ago, but while the anime fillers sounded atrocious and the movies are almost certainly shallow money grabs, what was contained in the Shippuuden anime was all some legit story that was left to be told. So yeah, that one is alright.

      I can’t say on Gundam Seed Destiny. Gundam is one of the franchises I’ve just never really gotten into, so I’ve only watched Gundam Wing in its entirety (back when I watched it dubbed on TV as a lad, heh). I tend to think that most Gundam shows sound pretty pointless, though that might just be ignorance talking, heh. Anyone else want to chime in on that one?

      1. I can agree and disagree on you on that one. There’s some good Gundam series but SEED ain’t one of them. Most of the UC one are but they are very sad and depressing at times due to the high body counts on both sides. Also G-Gundam is very good if you want to see some major martial arts action as well. I can’t really recommend AGE though. It’s just, messed up.

  4. Sorry, offtopic: You should copy & paste the text into a word processor when you’ve written the article for some automatic spelling & grammar checking.

    (“to mean its a bad show”, “gaang”, “Untile”)

    1. Yeah, gaang was on purpose. The others were just because I was finishing this post after a night out with friends, so my usual editing rigor was not performed =X

      Thanks for pointing those out, and fixed!

  5. Yes, enjoyment is sufficient justification. If you think about it well enough, all kinds of “deep” art are merely codified entertainment. If people didn’t want to watch paintings for the heck of it, that whole genre of art would have never been established.

    Achiga gives us Toki and Subara (two fun abilities), builds up Teru for the second season of Saki, introduces Kokaji who might just be the final boss of the series etc. It’s not pointless.

    The issue with the show is that I love the general idea of Saki, and I want to love Achiga too, but the producers aren’t making that an easy task. It’s not an issue of ability here, but more of pride and ambition. The original Saki stretched things out to make 25 episodes out of little material. Achiga compresses material to fit in a single cours.

    I don’t want a summary of a mahjong show, I want the show proper! What’s the point of the show if they don’t make dramatic poses before crucial discards, don’t give us psychological warfare over tile combinations and offer no overblown symbolism for the plays? The plot of Saki is damn simple, and I often don’t care about the “what”, I want the “who” and “how”.

    The issue of “who” is also one of Achiga’s hurdles, because it’s minimalistic approach is completely killing it. This show wants fillers, and badly! Give them to us! Slice of life fillers, power-up training fillers, anything – that’s how you bond with the characters.

    I’m sure the vast majority of the people watching this have already seen the original series and want to enjoy this, so there’s lots of good will. Why don’t they take advantage of it? The refusal to milk anything here, be it dramatic scenes, characters or their yuri moments is quite astounding to me. I understand it’s gotten hard to make a two-cours series for financial reasons, but at this point I think I’d prefer the series ending on a cliffhanger with their first nationals match rather than the watered down version we get.

    And I’m only overreacting because I think the series can be really great fun if it wants to :-).

    1. Yeah, more than the question posed in this post, that has been my persistent gripe with Saki Achiga. I want to like the characters more, but we are never given time to come to like them properly!

      …no one is going to read my Saki posts after they get done reading this one, are they? D’OH!

  6. Sometimes, a closed story allows a great prequel instead… Fate/Zero certainly does qualify.
    On the other hand, handle it badly and you will ruin the taste of the legendary original series (Mr Lucas, looking at you…).
    And sometimes, totally another story set up in the same universe will be even greater hit than the original one (as it happened with so many side-character shows branching out into fully fledged stories – probably the most famous example being Ah My Goddess! starting from a mascot in the police car of You are Under Arrest!)…

    1. Or Nanoha coming from Triangle Hearts.

      But yeah, there are always exceptions, and despite my general loathing for prequels (definitely George Lucas’ fault there), Fate/Zero is legit awesome.

  7. Going to be honest, you rambled there at times so I’m not entirely sure I managed to follow your point throughout the whole thing. But for the most part I think I disagree with the entire premise of your argument.

    Based on my understanding, your criteria would say that Full Metal Panic Fumoffu (or the novels it was based on) did not deserve to exist using the same vein you are questioning Saki Achiga. However, while those side stories didn’t touch the plot at all, I actually find Fumoffu the most re-watchable of FMP because the isolated antics of a random episode can be entertaining without needing to re-watch a whole series. So I would say relevance to a story’s plot is a flimsy requirement to judge a show’s “worthiness” to exist.

    Even with shonen shows, the extended fillers often just result from catching up to the original manga too quickly. Unless the case is the source manga progressing too slowly it’s difficult to really blame the anime studios. They’re usually trying to balance giving the author more time while keeping their product relevant and profitable. From the anime end it’s more business than artistic since they’re not the original source, so applying any artistic standard to the business approach is like apples and oranges.

    As for your final point, isn’t the author simply tasked with creating a product that will entertain the audience? If he/she is fulfilling that requirement, then there isn’t really anything to question. Now if the quality of some random spinoff is much lower than usual and not interesting or entertaining, then I can see reasons to start questioning the author for a money grab. But even then, things usually work themselves out because if it gets bad enough people will stop paying money for the product and it fails.

    I guess I’m just not really sure what point you were trying to make here. Again if I’ve misunderstood things, let me know because there were times I wasn’t entirely clear on what you were trying to argue.

    1. Generally I’m not trying to argue anything, I’m just exploring a topic and seeing what you guys think. Well, I say generally, but that’s just so far…I’m sure I’ll get into topics where I have more firm convictions shortly.

      That said…

      “It seems to me that the line depends upon two things: the piece’s worth to the narrative as a whole, and moderation.”

      Fumoffu is wonderful, but it is like a short intermission between two seasons of lovely plot goodness. What if Fumoffu had gone on for 2-3 more seasons? I think there would still be some glorious stuff – the rugby episode is still one of my most rewatched episodes of any anime – but with so many more seasons moderation would have been lost. Then I would have called it into question.

      So yeah, Fumoffu is great, not only because it was hilarious, but also because they didn’t stick on it too long.

      1. But still, there has to be some sort of point you’re trying to get across with your writing. For example, even in the twin tails post, while not exactly deep philosophical stuff, it was clear that you had a view/point/argument/[insert synonym] that you were trying to express (even if it was just that “hey twin tails are really awesome”). To use this post’s topic in a different setting, my journalism teachers always stressed that if an article I wrote didn’t have a clear point or purpose then it didn’t need to be written (deserve to exist).

        But back on topic, if you say that moderation extends to 2(+) seasons, then the basis of this article (questioning Saki Achiga) is rendered null and void. Furthermore if you apply that standard then off the top of my head I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find examples that qualify. And if that’s the case then as a reader I’m stuck looking back at this article and feeling like it was much ado about nothing, literally.

        Given that, I guess maybe it’s a personal thing, but I felt like you didn’t express your point as effectively as you could have. It might just be the type of topic, but I think having a more formed opinion would really have helped get your point across better. Instead I’m left questioning what exactly you are trying to say just as much as I ponder the question being raised, which clearly isn’t the point of writing such an article. I just feel like this wasn’t a good example of the standard of writing you’ve established that you can write at given what you’ve done so far on the site.

      2. The point was to explore the idea, and to encourage discussion. If you don’t think there’s a point to it, that’s fine – I made a joke to that effect in the very first caption of this post. Ohandalso, do bear in mind that I’m not a journalist. Blogging is an interactive medium (as long as comments are enabled), so I don’t have to have a point of view – sometimes just getting the conversation started is enough.

        That said, don’t take my off-the-cuff example as a hard and fast rule. Fiction is subjective, so sometimes two seasons of faffing about is fine, whereas other times two episodes are way too much. It all depends.

    1. Croos~!! I didn’t know you said stuff like that. I’ve been so busy with IRL stuff that I haven’t been able to get in IRC in ages T__T Maybe after I’m back from this trip…

  8. As a consumer, I simply want more regardless of whether it actually adds something new or not. Like TV, ok I have a 23inch monitor Full HD1080p monitor now but I want a 40inch TV for watching anime, does having a 40inch TV actually added new when everything in it the 23inch TV has? Same functions only bigger yet we are willing to spend on it.

    I didn’t watched the original Saki prior to watching Saki Achiga-hen, but the main thing is I actually enjoying the show especially with how intense the last two episodes.

    Interestingly I found To Aru Kagaku no Railgun (a side-story) to be better than the overly convoluted To Aru Majutsu no Index (the main story).

    1. Aren’t a lot of series based off of Light Novels? Asura Cryin’ is one of them. But it did everything right in explaining all the fluff and chaos in the 2nd season unlike the first where it was so much nonsense going on. But I can recommend it because unlike a lot of other Dengeki Bunko stuff where it’s more comedy and romance, this series had more of that and then some. Index can get very complicated due to the large cast of characters most of whom don’t contribute a lot to the story. Horizon they shouldn’t have adapted because of that fact right there but they did it anyway.

  9. Well, to me the Achiga side story at least brings something to the table. We get to know more about the upcoming (most probably) finalists in the main story.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    But that might not be enough for everyone. 🙂

  10. People actually desired a sequel for Clannad? I was already a little worried about watching Clannad After Story, knowing how things flow and how things could end! It’s a perfect romance/drama/comedy that doesn’t need to be further expanded, unless you want a “What if” scenario, where Tomoya ends up with Fuko or something.

  11. Stilts, concerning Sequel for Madoka: What about the drama CDs? Or the games? They are not animated of course and more of side stories or alternative story than a proper sequel (in the sense of continuation of the story)but so is Saki Achiga. Do you think those ruin PMMM? Personally, I think those do add to the PMMM narrative. A proper sequel to Madoka… could be ineteresting actually, if done right, but then a lot of things that normally perceived as bad can good if done correctly.

    1. Those are all a little exploitative, by which I mean that the creators are just milking the franchise for easy money because they know people will buy the stuff. That’s understandable from both a business PoV (if people already like it, there’s less risk) and a consumer PoV (they enjoyed it and wish there was more, so they buy the stuff), but it’s a little worrisome. It really just depends on whether they’re good stories in their own right.

  12. AVATAR LEGEND OF KORRA!<3 while probably not to the extent of say this season's ZET man, if you were sad about the lack of plot in the last air bender (although to be fair its a kids cartoon show you should be surprised it had an overreaching plot at all) then watch Korra because every episode so far has been full on plot/character development jammed in together and its interesting and fun.

    1. Ohh also it adds to the Avatar Mythos by having a new set of characters and we’re going to get info on the adult lives of the characters of the previous season/series.

    2. Not to digress too entirely, but the Last Airbender didn’t have an overarching plot? I beg to differ. We had each member of the Gaang making a soul-searching journey along the way to defeating the Fire Lord. Aang grappled with accepting his guilt for running away and strove to make up for his past mistakes and end the 100 year war. Sokka dealt with his inferiority complex of being a non-Bender and tried to find his place in the world as a tactician. Katara overcame her prejudices and sought to dispel others’ prejudices of how female Waterbenders should only be healers. Toph learned to accept and embrace herself for who she was, while not letting her parents’ narrow-minded views get to her. I could go on… As for Legend of Korra, the only thing I see here is the battle between Korra and the Equalists. No dazzling character development here yet; the only fragment was when Korra was confronted with her fears but that was quickly forgotten in the following episode. However, it’s still too early, so I’ll wait for Legend of Korra to end before I make a judgment on whether it’s a “worthy” sequel.

      1. Korra has had too few episodes to judge it completely, and it appears it will be a show with the length of a 2-cour, instead of the massive 61 episode count of its predecessor.

        But the way I see it, this show is not exactly the continuation of Last Airbender, but its -consequence-. In the previous show, Roku told Aang that he had left a mess for the poor kid, not to mention that the final episodes were very heavy on how Aang was to deal with the problem Ozai posed, and the consequences this would bring. It’s even expanded on The Promise, the graphic novel currently being released alongside Korra.

        Add to this the now 2 flashbacks to Aang’s situation with Yukone, and we have the actual plot of the show. This is certainly not just “Korra against the Equalists”, this is Aang unintentionally leaving a mess for Korra, the same way Kyoshi and Roku did with Aang. In my opinion, that’s the main theme of the show, and this means it might take the entire length of the show to see if it’s a “worthy sequel” to The Last Airbender.

        El Huesudo II
  13. I’ve had similar thoughts about some series too. Yes, it is true that there exists series that don’t really deserve existence due to the part that they lack a meaningful storyline. However, keep in mind that most if not all anime are made with the initial intention for the Japanese people to enjoy. Unfortunately for us, I’m afraid that the industry as well as the majority of anime fandom in Japan have a very different perspective on what they think is more valuable in a series compared to audiences in the west.

    This may be quite difficult to prove to people who don’t know the language. But if you do have a decent command of Japanese, head over to ‘2chan’ or any other major Japanese-hosted anime forums and check out the threads under any of the current anime series. You’ll find that there’s much less discussion on the actual story compared to the eye-candy of the shows.

    Take the Precure series for instance. Not a well received title in the west due to its undesirably cliche plot elements. However, it has surprisingly notable popularity in its home country earning several dozen sequels, movies and video games.

    It is sad but true. The ethics we perceive in regards to the importance of the storyline does not sit well in anime creation in Japan.

    However, the same cannot be said about manga. In contrast, it is the manga that’s much more focused on the story. Which, can explain why some people think that the anime is worse than the original manga because of the story.

    1. That’s depressing as hell, but while you’re right, that doesn’t mean we can’t judge the shows by the criteria we deem as important. It just means we’ll be largely ignored by the creators, because they don’t care about us and are big meanie heads T__T

    2. You’re right about PreCure. I mean even though the girls are all under the age of 16, otaku in Japan don’t care about all that stuff in terms of the story. To me, it’s a spiritual successor to Sailor Moon which we all know can be very serious at times unlike PreCure. It could be a series with the worse story ala Queen’s Blade but as long as the series has something pleasing to the eye, who cares? I’ll admit I’ve been quilty of that but lately, all the shows I’ve seen have started me thinking about the morals and ethics of anime & manga in general. I mean, why do the Japanese think everything is gotta be so, pornographic? When I was younger, most of these series I rarely looked at but now it seems that’s all that’s out there.

  14. I’M glad u wrote this post!!!!!! Look, im probly considered a “troll,flamer…etc.etc” why? Because most of the time i come off as negative or aalways dissing stuff… Ilove this site, been visiting since its start…what dont i like? The overly optimistic stances all the writers seem to take,,i mean really??? Are all these shows really that freaking good?? Some are smoking piles of shit, yet get defended to no end.. SURELY there are other pessimists out there in anime blogger land? How bout adding a writer to your roster that likes to RIP shit APART?!? Why not??? Hmmm? I love this medium as much as the next kat, but it aint all peaches and honey. Yeah, i know this is just my opinion…..but arent all of these articles just that?………switch it up is all i’m saying, its good entertainment. Other than that, a very fine site.

    BROOKLYN otaku
    1. That’s just how we do things around here, my friend. Divine encourages us to point out deficiencies in the things we blog, and we do (well, at least I do), but generally we try to find the good parts because life is too short to get worked up about the bad. Besides, I’ve always thought of it like this…if the writer enjoys what they’re writing about, then the readers will enjoy reading about it, ne?

      That said, I enjoy me some Zero Punctuation as much as the next recovering cynic, so I’m sure I’ll indulge my critical tendencies once in a while.

  15. I think as far as the ANN poll, many people took the sequel as including any kind of OVA, or side story. For example, for Toradora, while the main story was over, they could do an OVA where they take the Amigami SS approach. They add a storyline that picks up some point during the plot and explores a relationship with Ami for example.
    For Ano Natsu, they could do something similar except extend the ending to a few months or a few years after the events of the last episode, the video at the end of the episode answers questions about what happens to Ichika after the ending of the show. A sort of Epilogue OVA could be fun to watch. These two shows would not work for a full 13 episode season, but OVAs could be manageable. I do think you are correct with Madoka however, i dont see how you can really add anything to that show and not affect the overall story. The ending was well done, and it didnt really lend itself to a sequel.
    I do agree with your view that a sequel season should add to the development of the story and the characters. A sequel just for the sake of showing the characters again seems rather pointless in most cases. However, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, take Baka to Test. The second season didn’t really develop the characters that much more, but it was still a good sequel IMO.

    1. Thanks for reminding me about Amagami SS+ plus, because that is definitely a show I should have talked about in my post! That’s a prime example of a show that was made solely to milk a successful franchise. There were some enjoyable stories in there, and Rihoko finally getting her Good End was great to see (though it should have just happened in the original series), but other than that, whyyyyy??

      As for OVAs and such, I maintain that extending those series in any way would ruin them. Yes, you could go back and throw a side story in somewhere in the middle of Toradora with no trouble, though that seems really pointless, so more than once or twice (moderation!) and Stilts will start getting irked. Ano Natsu, though…going past where it stop would absolutely ruin that show. So questions were left unanswered…leave them that way! Sometimes the best stories are the ones where you think “what if” or “what could have been,” and are left wondering forevermore. We got an answer to the main question of the series…let us all choose our own answers to the rest of them.

      Last thought: I think that Baka to Test 2 actually DID develop the characters, at least in a few episodes. Akihisa and Minami’s relationship got some serious development, and then there was that Yuuji and Shouko episode. That one was friggin’ remarkable, especially sitting in the middle of such a shameless romcom. And the Minami-coming-to-Japan / meeting-Akihisa episode, and DAT KISS, and…

      *swoons for Baka to Test*

  16. Garfield didn’t start off great and then falter part of the way through…. it STARTED asking you for money! Jim Davis admitted that he created Garfield solely to make a profitable franchise. It’s ALWAYS been the best example of a business based on something “artist-related”!

  17. Enjoyment should be a sufficient reason for a show’s ‘existence’. However, I want to go a lot deeper into what counterbalances that ‘enjoyment’ factor, how it affects a series as a whole, and what it is you are really getting at.

    To do that, I want to take a different perspective on what you wrote, and explain how it fits into what I think.

    I think what you worry about a lot in this case is something equivalent to ‘brand erosion’. When you note that Toradora, Clannad, etc. shouldn’t’ have a sequel, it’s not necessarily that there’s nothing more to tell, but that it wouldn’t fit into the narrative arc that had been built up to that point. That is, there would be realistically no difference between a sequel and a brand new series, under a different name, with the same plot line. Since those stories have their main narrative arcs completed, totally brand new arcs would need to be built, probably time-displaced. Such arcs might even be in completely different genre, as the issues, problems, and setting are likely to be significantly different.

    I think people instinctively recognize that such sequels could be handled just as well as new stand alone creations as sequels. It’s really not hard to form similar characters around the same archetypes, and tell a story. The only advantage you really gain from re-using characters from an old franchise is that you have a known audience and you don’t have to spend as much time on character introduction. These advantages speak more to the commercial side, where you can ‘cash in’ on a given franchise.

    Give all of what I’ve said above, I think what you fear really is that the ‘brand’, in this case a given fictional universe, will be eroded by the inclusion of new stories in it. Sure, we could write another k-on! esq story about the daily lives of the Toradora cast, but what would be the point? It wouldn’t add to the dramatic narrative, and it’ll only serve to erode the strength and merits of the universe as a brand. After enough erosion, when trying to describe the brand/series/universe, it goes from ‘great, everyone should watch it!’, to ‘it was pretty good, you should check it out’, to ‘eh, it was kinda average’.

    So back to your original point: You enjoyed a spin off or cash-in because you are emotionally invested into the series and it makes you smile to see characters you know and love interacting or doing something, even if it’s mostly twiddling their thumbs. You feel this way because you remember and relate it back to the epic portions of the series. However, the more this happens, the less value the universe, characters, and series has to do. You get immediate entertainment value in part based off of past experiences, but at the same time it erodes the current and future value of those past experiences. Each bit added that does not live up to the standard set erodes the overall value of the universe/characters/brand a bit.

    Eventually, it’ll erode your overall feeling for the series enough that you start having dark thoughts about how the creators are attempting to ‘cash in’ and all that jazz. The concentrated awesome that the universe once was is only but a small part of the what is an entirely average and somewhat forgettable universe.

    So in conclusion, I think present entertainment value is justification enough for any piece of art or entertainment to exist. At the same time, such art may be doing collateral damage to and deceasing the value of the series it is providing entertainment for. You get less and less entertainment from each added piece until it is no longer worth it anymore.

    People are free to take their art in any direction they want. That said, It is a shame and a tragedy when companies and creators destroy their masterpieces by their own hands. Occasionally their sequels even live up to the greatness of the original. Much of the time though, such works are so vastly different in space and time that it might as well have been an entirely new work. Occasionally you see a few series (or universes) that work well (see Nasuverse; that is Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, and Fate/Zero – all of which occur in the same universe but are displaced in space, time and themes that they could very well be set in different universes) but more often than not the additions take away from the universe and strength of brand (and those fond memories of awesomeness) the more is added.

    Some universes/brands are more affected by this than others (As you noted, K-on isn’t as much just because there isn’t as much ‘value’ in that as say, Clannad or Toradora for most people). Also, diluting a universe usually happens slowly, over time, and leads to the sad conclusion that while the sum of a set of works were okay, such works will never be masterpieces (even if the original piece could have been). I therefore think creators who have made something that is highly praised should think very carefully about how they want to expand their universes if they do. And that is about the best we can hope for.

    1. The Nasuverse is a good example of what to do in terms of sequels and expansions mind you. It has an already established universe, good characters, and a good point to start a story. I mean for example Fate/Strange Fake was a fanfic originally but the guys at Type-Moon saw a pretty decent story and decided to consider it part of the canon of the Fate universe.

      The Gundam universe as well is an example of both good and bad. A lot of mangaka, artists, even video game companies see something good about it. Originally, the disaster that’s Gundam AGE wasn’t even supposed to be an anime but someone at Sunrise decided to push the idea and there you go. It’s a good series but not good enough to warrant a target audience to children. It’s more of a teenage series. Look at Gundam Wing, it got a lot of female fans to its showing every week in the 90’s. All due to the “Good-Looking lead” trope which seems to be a popular thing these days. Idea Factory cranks more otome games out than any game company in existance! Some of them have gotten anime adapatations like Hakuouki, Hiiro no Kakera, and Uta-no Prince-Sama! All of them are pretty good though I’m male and don’t play the games obviously.

    2. @Delwack

      I hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but you’re absolutely correct. The additional stories threaten to damage the established universe with their mediocrity, slowly sapping away its former greatness and enjoyment. That’s what happened to me with Star Wars…I went from a total fanboy as a kid to now, where the abject terribleness of the prequels even made me start to see the flaws in the originals. And thus, my childhood is soiled by Lucas’ folly.

      + 5 Stilts points for you!

    1. After Story is not really a sequel. It is just the second part of Clannad (main/nagisa) story. The original game consist of both. Now, Tomoyo After. That may coun as one

      1. Tomoyo After is more of a mix between spin-off and sequel.

        It follows the Tomoyo route, completely separate from the main series (even though we did get an OVA on it). And it tells the story of what happens after Tomoya and Tomoyo start going out, so basically a sequel series to the OVA.

        Now if they decide to animate Tomoyo After, then I would give my approval. It has already been written, and it is every bit as tear-jerking as the original.

      2. LOL, Tomoyo After. Too bad Baka-Tsuki dropped the translation project and it seems there is no progress from Doki fansub either. I want to play that VN.

        @xRichard: agree with Saint Seiya Omega being a good sequel.

    2. Rebuild Of Evangelion is a re-telling, not a pre/sequel.
      And while it of course exists to rake in the cash, it’s also interesting. If only because this time the director isn’t completely depressed.

  18. You make many a point. In fact, there’s a lot of series I feel shouldn’t get sequels either but they do for whatever reasons. Eureka Seven AO is one of them. To me, the story is: Nirvash-like LFO, Monsters?!, Kill monsters, boy without mother (Eureka), no mention of the characters of the previous series, etc. It’s as if they wiped the damn slate clean and expect us to pick up the slack of remembering it all. Aquarion EVOL is the same way. No mention of the characters of the original considering a damn 10,000 year time-skip! All the Yu-Gi-Oh! series have some reference or mentions of all the series before them except ZEXAL because the only thing it has is nothing going for it but a very stupid protagonist. But with that one, the similarities end there so I won’t spoil them. A lot of series that promote some product (cards, toys, etc.) often get sequels but they don’t always relate to each other. Those series now I detest because they often get poor character development, boring stories, and the same concept. The only good thing that really comes out of series like this is maybe something new somewhere which is not always what I expect.

  19. Once again I enjoyed reading about your thoughts in this post and on the topic of whether or not saki achga should exist. As someone that is not familiar with the original saki I can’t help but see achiga not as a cash cow but as a introduction of sorts for people like my self. Which IMO does a good job introducing characters into the saki universe( especially how the old cast is getting introduced into this spin off) so it, in my opinion, makes the show feel like it can stand on it’s own and still introduce a newbie like my self to the franchise.( but this is just my two cents aha.)
    Also i noticed a small mistake(I think? not very great with grammar myself lol) in the post
    “but the fact that I’m enjoy it” shout be “but the fact that I’m enjoying it”

  20. While your comment was obviously drenched in sarcasm, I have to admit I fangasmed at the mention of Glee on the Avatar Picture caption. Three of my all time favorite things are Anime, Avatar and Glee, so I thought that was pretty cool for someone to acknowledge all three.

    As sometimes, it tends to feel like the three things exist in three totally different universe! Anyways, to end a long pointless rant. I love these posts that you have been doing. Love hearing your thoughts! I happily await the next one.

  21. Thats so cool! Its nice to find another fan of the show, on an anime blog of all places haha. I’m going crazy that this last season is going to be ending. I really do love the show. If you ever feel like chatting about the show, I’m always up for in depth thorough conversations.

  22. I am of the opinion that some shows/games/what have you don’t need sequels. Eureka Seven is the most recent offender to me.

    AO has yet to impress me. Right now, all I feel it adds is unnecessary post-series drama to set up for a sequel.

    1. Ao so far has for most part been good, at least most people have received it well so far, a better example I think would be Last Exile Fam, at least Ao is a decent main character especially when compared to Fam. I do agree that Eureka 7 Ao is not needed, it certainly won’t be answering some questions that fans were dying to know about.

      The general need of a sequel is much more evident I believe when the sequel is obviously sub-par when compared to the original.

      In general anime suffers a lot of times from a lack of risk taking, in a lot of way it’s understandable considering the financial situations of a lot of studios, but this also leads to laziness like in K-On!! where it’s basically the exact same thing except without the bit of substance that the original has. Why risk a bunch a money when you can create some cute characters or regurgitate some storylines.

  23. If you want to see more of a series just do I what I did and go in with the intention of only watching 1 episode of Toradora again. Fast-forward 24 episodes later accidental-marathon-style and I there you go – more Toradora.

    Wait, what? Oh I gotcha now. IMO one of the best traits of a good anime is one that leaves you wanting more, but gives you enough that you almost feel like you have to write your own epilogue in your mind. You take the time to consider the characters and the story and are almost compelled to create their future in your mind.

    In Toradora, you wonder how their lives changed and what married life is like for them. In Eureka Seven, you imagine how Renton and Eureka move on with their lives in their new world. In FMA you wonder how the world will change. In Ano Hana you imagined what new dynamics would arise from Yadomi hopefully moving forward in his life.

    On the flipside, when K-ON!! ended I just wondered what I was going to watch next. The same was true for meh anime like Sacred Seven and lets not even go there for Guilty Crown. Shows like that just end………. and that’s it. No further consideration is needed or desired.

    I guess my thoughts can be summed up like this: Decent anime is consumed, good anime is considered, and great anime is celebrated. Only great anime with a combination of a wonderful story with compelling and developed characters will stay with you long after you watch them. There is no reason to revisit and rehash a story that is complete and already well-told.

  24. Good post and I’m inclined to agree with you regarding Saki Achiga. I do, however, strongly disagree with your characterization of K-ON!! as being unnecessary. There was plenty left to explore with the question of what would happen to Azusa after the original four graduated as well as what those four would be doing after graduation. The second season really enhanced the franchise in my opinion and was far from pointless. I think if you want to attack part of the K-ON franchise as being unnecessary the best target would be the reboot mangas, both the one following the original four in college as well as Azusa and her new club-mates. The story absolutely felt complete after graduation and would have been completely fine if it ended there. I love the characters and I’m all for more K-ON but those two manga really made me ask “Is there a point to this?”

  25. Hm… In my opinion, different types of shows each might or might not warrant sequels for different reasons. Sure, plot-based shows who have completed their story might not be worthy of sequels, but slice-of-life shows whose enjoyment comes from seeing the characters interacting, in different situations and the humor that derives from it can get as many sequels as it wants… as long as the characters are still lovable and humor still funny.

    I also think that people sometimes want sequels for shows (regardless of the way it ended) because of the simple fact that they liked the first series and just want to see more of it. After all, emotional attachment to characters can be a powerful thing and it does get pretty depressing after a beloved show ends.

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