I have been a very long time fan of the anime series GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka), though I have only ever owned and seen the first 4 of 10 DVDs. The series is heavily geared towards adolescent males (shonen) and has its immaturity insecurities, but it’s still a great romantic comedy, with the romantic part paling to the comedy.
So I very recently acquired the rest of the series, and really wish I had just left it off on the forth DVD (19th episode), where the series planning obviously ended. Up to that point, it was very strongly plot driven with character development as the primary outlet. It then turned into entirely filler content with very loose and unrealistic plot. The series was actually following the manga (comic) plot line through episode 14 when it bypassed it in timeline. But really, I couldn’t believe how everything past that point was just so much a waste of time. How people can turn such things of beauty (not necessarily the series visually, but the storyline...) into utter rubbish so quickly always catches me off guard, though I know I should be used to it by now.
Extending series past their originally planned plotline and churning out utter crap is a very common problem among television shows, and especially in anime, as the Japanese have a way of carrying things on for way too long. Think Mario, Zelda, Pokemon, and Power Rangers, but those are just a few examples of Japanese long standing IPs that actually made it to America. American’s may have a way for milking things for all they are worth for profit, but the Japanese not only have extra profit as a driving force, but also incredibly obsessive fan bases (Otaku) demanding more content.
Some other examples of this I have to mention off the top of my head are:
- Nadia - See previous post for more information
- Kodomo no Omocha (Kodocha), a SUPER girly (Shojo) anime, another of my favorite series, is 100% plot drive excellence. Up through episode 19, which I believe to be the true ending of Season 1, the multitudes of brilliantly interweaving story arcs are breath taking and moving. From this point, it continued on for another 83 episodes (102 total) of which I have only seen through episode 44. While the general series worthiness seriously degrades at this turning point, it is still a lot of super-hyper-spastic-fun.
- Full Metal Alchemist, yet another of my favorite series, is an actual example of this problem NOT happening, though it has it happen in a different form. The series has a strong plot driven and well organized vibe that makes me believe the original 51 episodes were all mostly planned out from the start, but a few inconsistencies between beginning and late episodes makes me not entirely sure. The problem comes in the form of the movie, which I felt to be a complete waste of time to watch. I will expand upon this in the future.
- The Simpsons, which really should have ended in season 3, which I like to call “Classic Simpsons”, turned into utter retard-like-babbling rubbish somewhere in seasons 7-10. It was initially a very intriguing show, with witty characters (yes, homer was in a manner quite witty) and plot, but unfortunately, the series degraded by pushing the characters stereotypes way too far and making them boring, repetitive, and predictable, repeating the same basic plots and jokes time and time again.
- And finally, Stargate SG1, which needed to end in Season 7 when the Goa’uld were pretty much defeated, and is still harboring a bastard child known as Stargate Atlantis. While the shows may still have some basic entertainment value, they are still mere husks of their former glory.