Almost Otaku: Jumping the Shark

Topic started by No_name_here on Aug. 12, 2010. Last post by Rabbitearsblog 2 years, 5 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (855 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff
  Better to leave 'em wanting more, right L?
 Better to leave 'em wanting more, right L?

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?

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,746 posts) See mini bio Level 20
@Tom_Pinchuk said:                          
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. 
Yes exactly. Near and Mello were poor substitutes.  
This is the clearest example of jumping the shark since Fonzi literally jumped the shark.
Post by SamJaz (12,522 posts) See mini bio Level 20
I've experienced a few. The worst one for me was in the first FMA series when everyone started turning to wood. Oh how I hate Filler.
Bleach, for me, has almost reached this with Aizen. It's great to have a villain that JUST. WON'T. DIE., so long as he's interesting while he does it. Aizen's just boring.
Post by rouju (20 posts) See mini bio Level 5
Shark moment? Dude, it's hard cuz anime or manga supposed to be on "one-track". So Most shark moment felt it happen cuz it's supposed to $hit happens. Even Evangelion or how the Bebop crew split up is still breaks my heart (I feel that it was needed for the story to be told).
 
Unlike American comic and that Stupid "Ultimatum" arc where everyone dies. (Then resurrected, then dead, then resurrected, just like Dragonball sometimes)
Post by sickVisionz (4,261 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator
A lot of anime suffers from this.  Maybe normal doesn't get a mangaka or anime writer noticed, but there seems to be a genuine dislike for ever making something normal and always feeling you have to push things to the extreme in order to be accepted.
 
Chance Pop Session comes to mind.  It's a show about three girls who are recruited to start a pop group and the ups and downs of breaking into the industry and how it effects their lives.  Pretty simple and not the most unheard of story but they executed it well and I was interested.  But, as usual, they couldn't stop there.  Eventually, it's revealed that two of the girls are sisters... then all three of them are sisters... and finally that they're long lost children of their manager.  That's when it jumped the shark for me and moved into a place of ridiculousness. 
 
Soooo many shows do that.  They can't leave well enough alone and they start tacking on element after element after element until things get pushed into fantastical levels.  My favorite shows either establish themselves as ridiculous from the get go or they at least try to stay within the bounds of what seems sensible for the universe that's been created.
 
For Death Note, the introduction of missile launchers, bondage bad guys and Death Notes getting launched into the stratosphere was where DN jumped the Shark.  The final showdown between L and Light was something they were building up to for a while so it didn't seem that crazy and out of place for me.  Shocking, yes, but not jumping the shark shocking.
Post by kwyrt (31 posts) See mini bio Level 7
I think there is a big difference between that "whiplash moment" and jumping the shark. I agree with Tom. I think when something happens in an anime, or any show for that matter, that turns everything on it's head, that just makes it more exciting. Providing it isn't too ridiculous. I think moments like that are needed at times in anime to keep them from jumping the shark. Jumping the shark to me is the point when I don't care about a show anymore. Whether that's because it just got too repetitive or too ridiculous.
Post by Gaff (213 posts) See mini bio Level 11
There's something vaguely depressing that my examples can be summarized by internet memes... 
 
In any case: 
Dragonball Z. "Are they still on Namek?" You could say that it started the "we don't have enough material, so lets draw stuff out as long as possible!!!" mentality. 
Code Geass / Death Note. I guess it was all according to plan that I dropped both, or in the case of Geass, stayed for the "fan service".
Post by ninjadude853 (464 posts) See mini bio Level 12
@SamJaz said:
Bleach, for me, has almost reached this with Aizen. It's great to have a villain that JUST. WON'T. DIE., so long as he's interesting while he does it. Aizen's just boring. "
Amen
Post by Ryuku_Ryosake (58 posts) See mini bio Level 6
For me Hunter X Hunter's Chimera Ant Arc is the worst Jumping the Shark I have ever seen. That series up until that arc was fantastic and was shaping up to be one of my favorite series ever. Then a Mangaka got ill and so came the understandable ridiculously long hiatuses of the series. Which I would have been fine with if the story kept up it's quality you even got a bunch of extra time to make sure it's even better. However what happened was the Arc quickly devolved into a rip off of the Cell Saga. Also the extremely unique and strategic fighting system it once had has also become "my Ki is bigger than your Ki".
Post by core1065 (13 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Once they hijacked and landed the commercial jet in the desert in Death Note, I was done with it.
Post by EnSabahNurX (5 posts) See mini bio Level 3
T__T death note just went off on a tangent after L's death and I lost interest.
Post by AK_the_Twilight (33 posts) See mini bio Level 13
@SamJaz said:

"Bleach, for me, has almost reached this with Aizen. It's great to have a villain that JUST. WON'T. DIE., so long as he's interesting while he does it. Aizen's just boring. "

I agree. Villains like that are boring.
 
 I'll admit that Death Note got less interesting once L died. Still, I can't think of a decent resolution of the Death Note anime without a twist that enormous. If L "won", it would probably be a lot less interesting.
Post by Mezmero (69 posts) See mini bio Level 10
Yeah Death Note was awesome until L died.  I have a certain distaste for the whole "child prodigy" angle in general and that made Near and Mello unbearable to me for the remainder of the series.  I only read Bleach and I feel like that series jumped the tank of 3D piranhas a while ago with how arbitrarily it sets up new stronger villains and the endless stream of Deus Ex Machina moments.  I liked when androids 19 and 20 appeared in DBZ but the models succeeding them felt absolutely ill-conceived and it was a point where the show started getting worse for me.  Detective Conan has a similar problem when it's revealed that he can change back into an adult with the use of a specific brand of alcohol.  That show has gone on for too long already and despite how ingenious the mysteries still are, the redundant structure of the episodes has reached a point that's just too painful to watch.  I think it's an issue of momentum and timing that  determine these poorly placed plot twists.  I suppose we the audience just have to take the good with the bad sometimes right?
Post by Gasero (167 posts) See mini bio Level 9
I didn't feel that Death Note jumped the Shark when L died and was replaced, it was when their schemes became much more grandiose beyond reason. Rockets, explosions, money rain, etc. It just became too much and lost focus on what was really important (IMO). I still enjoyed it overall, but that started to take away from it.
 
Other series that jumped the Shark for me were Code Geass and Bleach. Code Geass because it became way too sci-fi and added unnecessary characters, and Bleach because Aizen has been the most boring villain for the longest amount of episodes. I have no idea why he is even evil. Not for lack of trying, but because of lack of interest. They're dragging it on for too long.
Post by aurahack (15 posts) See mini bio Level 8
Seriously? L dying is jumping the shark? That was exactly where that series needed to go and the Yotsuba mini-arc after that was the perfect compliment to that event. The awful, awful characters that are Mello and Near were the downfall of that series and it's need to come to a close as fast as it did before going into detail with Light's apprentice and that news reporter lady is what made Death Note's final episodes a total shit-show. :/
Post by sickVisionz (4,261 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator
@aurahack: I think there are two ways of interpreting "jump the shark".  I think of it as something absurdly ridiculous happening that seems out of context for a series.  I think others define it as when something happens that they dislike.
Post by Supermutant2099 (11 posts) See mini bio Level 5
hm.  I have to think about this one but I know a friend of mine thinks Sailor Moon when Chibi Usa/Rini returned as a sailor during the S Season.  To me thinking about that jump shark moment for that show could have been for me introduction of Sailor Stars or even again killing off the Inner Senshi towards the end.  The manga worse with there death.  Also I got agree with for Death Note L dying was it's jump the shark moment.  It just slowly went to a slow death afterwords.  All the drama and everything ended when L died.
Post by Shibumi (24 posts) See mini bio Level 7
Agree about Ls Death (note) 
Once that happened the series went waaaaaaaaaaaay down hill. Gave up on volume 8 i think.  
Bleach with Aizen is another good example...and Dragonball GT. 
SSJ4? What the hell? 
 
@rouju said:
" Shark moment? Dude, it's hard cuz anime or manga supposed to be on "one-track". So Most shark moment felt it happen cuz it's supposed to $hit happens. Even Evangelion or how the Bebop crew split up is still breaks my heart (I feel that it was needed for the story to be told).  Unlike American comic and that Stupid "Ultimatum" arc where everyone dies. (Then resurrected, then dead, then resurrected, just like Dragonball sometimes) "
EH? Everyone who died in 'Ultimatum' (which was a horrible event book to be fair) has stayed dead as far as I'm aware. Only reason it happened was to distance the Ultimate line as far as possible from the 616 universe. Shit, they killed Wolverine (finally)...you can't get much further away than that considering he's in every marvel book these days.
Post by rubberluffy (583 posts) See mini bio Level 16
@Ryuku_Ryosake: 
I love Hunter X Hunter, but yeah, Chimera Ant arc is pretty weak, and it, along with the hiatuses, has hurt my interest in it.  I think Togashi should have wrapped it up with Greed Island, or just with a short arc afterwards, but I can sorta understand that he wants to finish his story, but it is fairly obvious his illness is detrimental to the whole thing.
 
As for other series, I actually believe a LOT of harem series fall under this problem.  Series getting boring?  Add another girl!  And just keep adding them!  But make sure they fit under at least one moe archetype.
Post by LewisLongshanks (12 posts) See mini bio Level 4
I have to agree about Death Note. 
 
As for other animes, I felt the original Full-Metal Alchemist lost it when they introduced Wrath - though that is probably because they drifted too far away from the original Manga material by that point. I also didn't like how Samurai 7 progressed following the village defense, it kind of went too politcal for my liking and somewhat stalemate until the final few episiodes of the anime.
 
And lastly, though this one is more obscure, Otogi Zoshi totally lost the hooks I had into the series once it moved into the modern day era setting midway through the series.
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