March 27, 2003

The Undiscovered Country

I have a fear of endings. When faced with the last episode of a show I really liked, I freeze up. I delay, I procrastinate, I find something else, and I put off the big finale because, once I watch it, it's over. That's it, no more, close the curtains and walk out of the theatre. The show that I put so much of my heart into is finished and there won't be any more. It's an illogical, visceral reaction that I just can't help; on the one hand, I really want to watch those last episodes. I want to see how it ends, I want to see how everything's sorted out, and I want to see the big climax. But the problem with a climax is that, by its very definition, it's the last big bang before everything ends, and I don't want it to end.

I think the first time I ever heard this feeling vocalized was during Nadesico. Akito, the main character, mentioned that he had never watched the last episode of his favorite anime because he didn't want it to be over. At the time, I didn't really understand what he was saying (Nadesico was one of the first few full season animes I had watched at the time), but now I do. It's scary to have a show you really cared about, that you watched one episode at a time, speculating about future events in between showings, thinking about its good and bad points, and generally making it a part of your mind, stop.

Just at a glance, I have the unwatched endings to: Kiddy Grade, El Hazard, Gatekeepers 21, Kanon, Saikano, and Farscape, and that's not even counting shows that I delayed finishing for weeks or months but ultimately completed. It's not just serious character dramas that make me this hesitant either; the fact that El Hazard is the most delayed show on that list isn't because I disliked the series (it's more happenstance than anything else). The only real connection all those shows have is that they're all building towards (or in the middle of) a really messy climax.

Someday, I'll watch the last episode for all those shows. Someday, I'll close the book on each of them. I doubt it will be that long from now.

But it ain't gonna be today. I've got 19 episodes of Get Backers to catch up on, and when the last episode of that is released I can always add another series to my list.

Posted by David at March 27, 2003 01:25 AM


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