Time skips are a pretty common element in anime, so i am by no means saying that only these series are involved with using them in their plots. These four are simply the most popular series to use time skips so it makes sense that i look at them specifically. The question is which had the better time skip. I might as well say it right now that my answer to the question is Naruto and fairy tail.
The purpose of time skips is to change things up a bit. Maybe a story has reached the end of its road as far as current events are concerned, or maybe all the mystery has been squeezed out and the author feels it necessary to inject fresh life into it; or maybe it is a matter of changing the characters and adding some further development that wouldn’t be possible in the current timeline; either way time skips will bring about the change of that era in anime or manga and start a new one, so it is almost like the anime is starting anew.
In considering which anime executed the time skip best, it is a simple matter of looking at pre-time skip, post time skip and how much impact and influence the time skip had on the overall story line, not far down the line but in the immediate future, usually the first arc after.
Pre-Time skip:> All four had pretty epic finales to the first parts of their stories. Naruto saw Naruto and sasuke finally face off, Sasuke came int
o his own as he mastered sharingan and his cursed seal transformation, naruto finally showed sasuke what he could do and Orochumaru finally made his second move. Bleach saw Aizen’s fall and Ichigo
reach his peak, power wise. One piece caused events to enter the new world and brought about a change in the era of piracy while seeing the demise of several characters. Fairy tail delved deeper into the fairy tail guild with the S-Class test, the introduction of the passed fairy tail masters, the three holy fairy tail magics and final showdown between fairy tail and the dark alliance’s strongest guild, Grimoire Heart. Hades, the strongest villain to date made his appearance and we finally saw some dragon, with Archnologia bringing the first part of fairy tail to a close in a most spectacular manner.
Of all the four, Bleach had the weakest ending. You would think that seeing Ichigo achieve final Gentsuga tensou and unleash Mugetsu, Seeing Aizen activate the Hougyoku, Ishhin’s appearance, Urahara’s fight and everything else that happened would have a spine tingling effect; and it would have, if all that had happened nearly 110-150 episodes ago or 50-100 chapters in the past. By the time these events happened we were all pretty much tired of this arc and Aizen; so a lot of excitement was over shadowed by relief that he was finally gone. Kubo dragged events out too long, to the point that everything that happened at the end just couldn’t muster the impact and epicenes it should have had. Even the revelation of Gin’s true intentions didn’t matter as much as they should have and i will admit that i didn’t care much for his death. Bleach messed up here and only a few moments, like Yamamoto’s fight and Ichigo Vs. Uluqiora saved this arc.
One piece had the strongest ending. technically the first part closes with the Marine ford arc but i would say that it stretches back a far as sabody Archipelago. That is where the gears first began turning in moving one piece towards this awesome end. I re-entered one piece and began the Sarbody Archipelago arc after marine ford was over (or nearly over) so i had the privilege of watching it all at once, over a period of a few weeks. There were way too many moments here for me to zero in one just one thing that made it so epic. The straw hat’s defeat was spectacular and logical and you could really believe that they were
The appearance of the white beard pirates was everything i expected it to be; there were so many characters at play with so many different powers and stories and intentions, both on the pirates side and the marine side. It felt like the whole world had come to Marine Ford. Of course White beard and Ace ( and Baggy whether you like it or not) stole the show.
Any Naruto fan can remember that final arc and knows why it was so epic. Many would point to the sasuke naruto battle being the pinnacle of the arc, but i would point to the Konoha 11 battles. They proved themselves to be more than genin.
Fairy tail changed things around and for once focused on the guild and its battle against a powerful enemy, unlike the norm where Natsu and crew go off to have an adventure. It was hilarious, especially the scenes with that big guy with the voodoo dolls; we saw god slaying magic for the first time, Cana of all people got some actual character development, Hades was every bit the monster a master should be and of course Achnologia blew me away as a fairy tail fan. I actually didn’t see the fairy tail time skip coming, which made it all the more epic. It caught me off guard.
Post-Skip:> I am not a fan of how One piece and Bleach executed the events following the time skip. it was cool to see the straw hats reunite. The idea of a shonen post time sk
ip arc is usually to show off how powerful the characters have become. The idea is to show case strong enemies that the heroes are now able to annihilate with their new powers that they couldn’t defeat before. The fish man island arc was terrible
for a post time skip arc. I might have accepted it before the time skip but not after. I could waste time mentioning so many things that were so wrong with it, but i will keep it short. The enemies were simply not worth the time. Not Luffy, not Zoro, but Ussop and Fanky could have wrapped up that entire affair by themselves. What is the point of a threat that event the weakest members of the team like Nami and Chopper could have eliminated.
It seemed like a waste, the amount of time spent simply keeping these characters busy running around because it was obvious that if they met the villains, the villains would be instantly defeated. So much of what happened here was unnecessary.
Bleach is no different; the full bring arc was crap. Again the villains were simply ridiculously weak, and what makes me hate that is the fact that they were so ridiculously hyped yet when it came for them to deliver, they fell flat on their stomachs. Even Ginju (if that is his name), after al the hullabaloo of going bankai, couldn’t touch Ichigo. It was obvious that the idea was to show just how much stronger the characters had become, but Kubo failed that when he made the villains so weak. Seriously, none of the shiningami had to do anything new to beat the enemy and i had been looking forward to seeing how strong Rukia had become with her promotion. But of course Kubo chose to put her in a stupid situation with bears and toys. Kubo could have found an easier way of giving Ichigo back his powers. What irritates me the most is how cool some of the designs he created where, especially Ginjo’s bankai and how wasted they all were. Fairy tail is still going strong in its first post time skip arc and, even with some of the glitches of the Daimatou enbu, it is setting up to be fairy tail’s best arc ever. We saw all out brawls between fairy,
every other guild they ever introduced and a whole new set of mages and magics, all determined to contend for the big prize. Beyond that is the absolutely thrilling mystery that has been written into the overall plot by Hiro, who is proving to be a master at deception and misdirection. With the introduction of Eclipse, the royal family of Fiore, powerful mages like Kagura (maybe my favorite outside Erza), Minerva, raven tail, Eclipse, possibly zeref and the dragons, this arc has more than tripled the quality of the previous S-Class arc.
Clearly fairy tail isn’t a better series than the other three. But in considering the arcs before and after a time skip, fairy tail is miles ahead of one piece and bleach.
Naruto stands only a little higher than fairy tail, if not at the same level. The saving Gaara arc was actually exciting to watch, at least much more than fish man island or full bring and did quite a lot in finally introducing the Akatsuki to us, Gaara Vs. Deidara, Sakura Vs Sasori and a host of other events. We entered into a new place in the story and there was a freshness to the arc, like the series was starting a new. Here Naruto stands above one piece, bleach and even fairy tail; there are blunders made by Hiro that i simply cannot ignore.
Time skip impact:> It would be easy to say that Naruto can’t be considered to have had the most impact because it had its time skip ages ago and thus had more than enough time to
build upon its story while beach and one piece and even fairy tail are all fairly recent. But that would be false reasoning as i am not talking about ov
erall progress that has occurred in the story since the time skip but immediately after, in the first arc. In Naruto we finally got to see Sakura in action against Sasori. Sure she couldn’t have beaten Sasori on her own but neither would Chiyo have achieved victory without her; either way she faced an Akatsuki and won, in her one and only moment to shine in the series. We saw Gaara’s rise, how he had achieved the title of kazekage and gained the hearts of his people, clearly a result of what Naruto did to him. He showed himself a totally new individual, both i spirit and in power. That fight with Deidara was incredible. It had me on the edge of my seat, not really knowing who had the upper hand at any one point in time.
Naruto did a lot in that first arc and showed that the entire series had in a way changed, and taken on a darker more serous tone. This was new Naruto.
Bleach, there is really nothing to say about it. The exact same characters before the time skip were the exact same characters presented after. Nothing changed, besides making Ichigo a little more whiny. The time skip, as far as i am concerned, had absolutely no impact on the story. If Naruto impact had the greatest impact, then bleach had the least, or rather no impact at all. It was a waste and truth be told absolutely unnecessary. The story could have done without it.
Fairy tail sits in the middle in that the main characters didn’t actually undergo a time skip; the world did, which makes the time skip here unique. The characters were all the same but everyone they knew and everything had changed. So basically the time skip impacted everything there was to impact in fairy tail, which would make it superior even to Naruto if not for the hiccups in this present arc.
The primary characters in fairy tail had more of a struggle because the world had changed around them and even the weakest of mages that they knew had become a threat; and thus they had to find a way of making up for lost time in as short a period as possible. Many people disagreed with the second origin plot, that it was power too easily acquired and given away, that fairy tai didn't have to work for it and thus it invalidates any development they might show. That was true when second origin was first introduced but not now; because the second origin power up hasn’t been used by anyone except Erza and even she didn’t need to use it until the very last battle. IN other words during the time skip the fairy tail mages weren’t left behind, it was every one else that finally caught up to them and their power, otherwise a daimatou Enbu seven years ago would have been pointless; fairy tail would have won it without trying.
This time skip was necessary whe you consider that fact, because none of this competition to fairy tail’s might would have been possible before; Hiro found away of making a lot of strong enemies available in a short time. it was clever and well done as it forced event the likes of Natsu to (some what) grow and learn to overcome the new foes.
One piece falls in line with bleach. We saw very little impact of the time skip in the fish man story. Sure they were stronger and you could see that, but the enemy was simply too weak for it to matter. It wasn’t the best foot first into the new world. I am not afraid to admit that fish man island bored the heck out of me.
Overall i believe Naruo had the best time skip and made best use of it in the short time, followed by fairy tail. As some might point out, One piece is still developing and bleach, well, like is said, bleach didn’t need the time skip and even with the interesting events of the thousand war arc, the time skip doesn’t play a role.