I’m a big strong man, which means I hate to cry. But sometimes I think there are anime out there specifically made to make even the most toughest men alive cry like a baby. I am very torn on the subject of sad things in anime. Like most things in life, when done well it can be very powerful, but when done poorly it can feel overly dramatic. But I think anime has a third option, purposely sad scenes that ensnare the viewer like a boa constrictor for no other reason than to make the reader sad; and it is those traps in particular that make me the angriest. Stop playing with my emotions.
A very good example of this takes place throughout the anime Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
. The anime is about a large earthquake that hits Tokyo, causing it to crumble and burn. Two children who are far away from their parents must work together to cross the ruins to be reunited with their parents. The story synopsis alone makes it seem like a sad show, but that is not what I’m writing about. Within this story, they constantly tease the viewer by placing the characters in situations that are so incredibly sad that you think the anime can no longer continue, but then the situation is quickly remedied by the end of the episode as if nothing has happened; basically, instead of monster of the week, you get sadness of the week. It’s almost as if someone told you your parents have gotten in a car crash, but you rush home to see them standing their perfectly ok.
Most of the time, these incredibly potent sources of sadness do not really add anything to the plot, and are only there to incite emotion. This angers me, because I feel like I have been tricked, like someone somewhere (probably in Japan) is laughing at me getting sad over nothing. However, even though I get angry, I still enjoy it to a certain extent; sometimes working me up in this fashion is a good way for me to be emotionally tied to a series.
I'm complaining about this now because the last few episodes of Angel Beats
are starting to feel like the creators are throwing extra sad tidbits in to make the story even sadder. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying it, but at the same time I don’t want them to make things sad for sadness sake.