It’s that time again: the two-ish weeks in which most current anime series hit their season or series finales. Apart from the shows I’m paid to review on a weekly basis, though, I haven’t watched the end of anything. From Death Parade to Your Lie in April, everything I watch for fun sits unfinished in my streaming queue. Hell, I haven’t even started the second half of Shirobako. So why, apart from not having enough spare time, have I been procrastinating so thoroughly? I can identify two reasons, and I thought I’d talk a little about both this week.
Dropping a show mid-season because it’s not very good is easy enough to understand. What I’m focusing on here is the feeling you get when you enjoy a series and plan to watch all of it, but find yourself putting off the last few episodes. The most obvious reason for doing this is a simple matter of not wanting a good show to be over.
“If I watch the last episode, then there won’t be any more episodes to watch,” we tell ourselves. Somehow convinced that none of the next season’s titles will be any good, we cling to the fantasy of something we like going on forever. As much as we want to know how the story ends, we dread the void that the finished series will leave behind. We end up letting the thing sit frozen in time, perpetually two or three episodes away from the finale.
Luckily, this tends to be an easy hurdle to clear. The need to know what happens next takes over sooner or later, pushing us along through the final episodes. It’s helped by past experience: just as this show moved last season’s hit out of the spotlight, the next season will always bring a new title to obsess over. You just have to sit back and let the production cycle do its thing.
The second reason for procrastination is a bit more complicated. Sometimes, a series spends the whole season walking the line between good and bad, taunting us with a mix of promise and disappointment. The good points make us stick around, but the failures make us dread the ending. “What if the finale sucks?” we worry. Once again, the show ends up going unwatched as we fret over the possibility of leaving with a terrible last impression.
Even if you’ve heard ominous things from your friends or the Internet, the only thing to do is shout, “Leeroy Jenkins!” and charge in. If the ending sucks, then so be it. At least you’ll be done with the show and able to move on to something else. Sometimes finishing an uneven series is like jumping into a pool that’s too cold to swim in: the longer you wait and think about it, the worse it’s going to be. As for me, I suppose I should take my own advice and power through my backlog. See you next week.
This Week in Anime is hastily cobbled together by Paul Jensen. You can follow his ramblings about anime and manga on Twitter.