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.