That Anticlimax Was Rather Anticlimactic

Do you ever hear stories about series with terrible endings? As good as everything that came before was, sometimes the end can completely screw over everything that came before. The best example that comes to mind is the manga version of Usagi Drop, where the concept of family values from earlier on got sidelined for something considerably less wholesome (and the less you know about it, the better). For a long time, these were the kinds of stories I’d been hearing about the ending of Psyren, whose production run was tragically cut short. From the very beginning, I went into the series knowing that it would have a poor ending, but I was determined to enjoy it regardless. Just the other day I finally reached the end, and there’s only one thing I have to say.

That was your big anticlimax? 

Before I go on, I should explain part of the premise for this series. Psyren centers around a group of teenagers who get sent to the post-apocalyptic future, where they gain a variety of psychic abilities and travel back and forth through time to try and prevent the fall of civilization. It’s about an order of magnitude better than that description would indicate, but sadly the voters at Weekly Shonen Jump didn’t think so, which resulted in the eventual cancellation of the manga.

Looking back on things, it was very obvious that things had become condensed from what they were originally meant to be. For one thing, a large number of the villains ended up having their fights shoehorned into the last major brawl when it felt like they had been intended for much greater things. The girl who personally designed the Tavoo creatures? Never really got a decent meeting with the main characters. One of the few subjects from the experiments that made the main villain (whose power is guns that shoot torrents of ice)? Gets one fight and is roasted alive. These people were first introduced at an early stage, and this was clearly meant to foreshadow the eventual importance they never got.

The other obvious evidence of being rushed was Nova, the Psyren equivalent of Bankai. It was introduced shortly before the major battle at the end, and the main purpose of it was to have the main hero and heroine reach the level the would have been at the natural end of the story, but in one day. This power allows the main character to steamroll the two strongest enemies in the story in less than a chapter each. Who would have thought the ability to create spheres of annihilating energy could turn into something so broken?

However, in spite of all this, I didn’t find the finale of the series to be all that bad. Why exactly is that? I think it mainly has to do with the fact that I knew the anticlimax was coming for a long time. I could never remember what people said would happen, so an image of the possible ending just kept building up in my head. I’d seen or heard about truly famous WTF endings in anime, and by the end I was almost expecting something along those levels. Compared to fractured journeys through the psyche of the lead or complete betrayals of whole character dynamics, simply having a rushed ending is not something to worry about for very long.

This kind of feeling happens all the time, although it’s usually the reverse. How many times has something been hyped up as being impossibly good by everyone, only to turn out to be nowhere near the quality described? When you spend so much time around bloggers and reviewers, I think it’s actually fairly common to build these things up in your mind as more spectacular than they really are. That’s actually a part of why I’m trying not to go to far into what I thought about the rest of Psyren. It was enjoyable for sure, and this ending did nothing to subtract from that aside from making me a little curious as to what could have been.

Posted on February 24, 2012, in Misc. Rants, Psyren, Series and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Man, lots of posts about endings!

    It is pretty amazing what the power of hyping (or de-hyping) can be for your enjoyment of a story. Sometimes I just prefer people to hand me a link rather than giving their opinions.

    … an ironic mindset for a reviewer, but there you go.

    • This is just the time where a lot of stuff is either concluding or talking about concluding. There’ll probably be another post about an ending soon, since one series I read is having its finally chapter soon.

      Well it is possible to review and not overhype. You just need to state facts and not be all “THIS IS AWESOME WATCH IT NAO!”

  2. I think to feel the real “WTF is with this ending” is to not know anything beforehand or given the wrong impression the ending was good. At least that’s how I feel. If I’ve mentally prepared myself for the bad ending, it will end up looking not too bad for myself.

    • I would say that actually a major problem with aniblogging (or any form of social media community) is that we are directly and indirectly influenced in opinion and forethought regarding whatever the topic is. If you see people talk about how they enjoed the show, people will often commune and give something a higher ranking than it perhaps honestly deserves. The same with when something is consistently rated as average.

      Even the “many bloggers” we are influenced by who present these opinions, are often subject to influences of their own.

      Whilst yea the community is great for discussion, I try not to jump into all the “boo-hooray” discussions, as majority opinion is rarely majority opinion nor a measure of how much you as an individual will enjoy an anime.

      That said, I actually enjoyed Psyren and a few chapters I was left really wanting to read the following. But as I did finish and think, “is there more or…”. So yea, anti-climax would describe Psyren perfectly.

      • Those influences can be difficult to deal with sometimes, but I still prefer it to going into a series blind.

        I thought Psyren was good too, and I wish it didn’t have to go the way it did.

    • That’s true about a lot of things, really. Knowing about it in advance makes it hurt a bit less.

      • Yea, I guess what I said works for most media really. I like looking into previews and such but I try not to get swept up in pre-release debates. I’d rather just view the anime and make up my mind.

        I guess one of the reason a lot of blogs don’t last, is that they are all saying the same thing. The whole “boo-hooray” discussions only contribute to this. I think it would be interesting to see the diversity of opinions if people didn’t have access to others’ thoughts before writing. Probably why I find your manga blog “feels” so different to everyone else’s, (aside from the obvious reason) because there aren’t a huge other manga blogs to be influenced by.

        Great post though. Seemed to have spawned a meta-discussion if nothing else!

        • Being one of the few does feel a bit liberating. I do know a couple people who discuss manga, but not every series I read, and even then I don’t always agree with what they say.

  3. “…which resulted in the eventual cancellation of the manga.” “What The Fuck Did You Just Say!!!” That was funny.

    I’ve yet to read Psyren yet, though i definetly want to, but from what you described, the ending isn’t as bad as people has stated. I mean, i’ve read some trainwrecks of endings from Cancelled manga ( Looking at you, Zombie Powder), but this doesn’t sound so bad.

    • I didn’t even intend that when I first got the picture. It just seemed like the perfect line to use that way.

      I think you would enjoy Psyren. It’s fairly short compared to most Shonen Jump series, so someone like you should finish it pretty quickly.

  4. While I love a great ending, anti-climaxes don’t bother me so much as long as I’ve enjoyed the rest of a series. His and Her Circumstances was left open-ended and although it was disappointing, I still really like the series. Meanwhile, Chrono Crusade had a really unique ending that was the only part of the series I enjoyed, but its ending couldn’t make up for my disappointment with the rest of the series. So I guess for me it’s the journey that counts.

    • I suppose that unless the ending is really bad or really good, it’s hard for it to affect the rest of the story. I can’t think of too many stories where the end changed the opinion of the rest all that much.

  1. Pingback: Psyren – Review « Shades of Grey

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