Today’s question was asked in honor of shark week…
PenguinDust: Have you ever encountered an anime you though "jumped the shark" somewhere along its series run? Maybe a better, broader question would be about those "whiplash" moments within some series that shake things to their foundation and make it difficult to continue without seriously reevaluating everything you've absorbed from the show up to that point.
Hmmm… L’s untimely demise in DEATH NOTE was a bit hard to swallow. It definitely changed the whole dynamic of the show after that point, which is really what “jumping the shark” is an issue of. That is, if a show goes on for too long that it drifts too far from what made it appealing in the first place. In the case of HAPPY DAYS (which is what this phrase references) the show got so far from being a feel-good nostalgic trip about Ritchie Cunningham that it became a cartoon almost entirely about the Fonz with gags as ridiculous as water-skiing over a shark. Getting back to DEATH NOTE, the appeal of the show was watching Light match wits with L, and his absence was something Mello and Near could never quite remedy.
Then again, that particular twist is something that goes down a lot easier in hindsight, when you’re looking at the show holistically. DEATH NOTE was supposed to be thriller where nothing felt safe, even main character’s lives. It even added to the sense of verisimilitude that the whole Kira affair would get drawn out for such a long time that, when it finally wrapped up, it would be in such a messy circumstance.
Honestly, these “whiplash moments” you’re talking about are what get me the most excited about any story. As I’ve said many times, I hate convention and predictability, so curveballs that turn everything you’ve watched upside down are what really give me a charge. Like any shock, these kinds of things inspired some emotionally-charged kneejerk reactions, for good or for bad, that you just can't process until the whole show's over.
I think in the case of anime I’ve watched, the times I thought something jumped the shark were actually more exciting twists by the end. In the case of EVANGELION, I can see why anybody would be pulling their hair out in frustration over what seemed like a non-ending. However, when that’s put in context next to the END OF EVANGELION movie, it makes a lot more sense. You viscerally experience what human instrumentality must have felt like.
Anyway, let’s put the question to you, the Anime Vice community. When did shows jump the shark for you?