Anime, like every other story, has an end, and if you're anything like me, you'll feel that slight sadness whenever the credits roll on a really good show that you've been following. Take CLANNAD for example. Don't get me wrong. I personally do not like the WTF ending, and I don't consider it the ending. I consider the extra episode an ending, because it finally gave me closure by showing Kyou in a bathtub. Then, one of my friends came up with the picture you see up there. It made me start wondering: What if CLANNAD ~After After Story~ happened? Or CLANNAD ~Ushio After~ happened or something. Would you be able to imagine yourself in that future?
So why the hell am I still ranting about After Story's ending? And why do I think Kyou's bath scene is called an ending? And what am I trying to make of this anyway? Well, for the first question, it's because I cannot stop believing the fact that KyoAni succumbed to having to please their fans more than taking a firm stance in the story. And Kyou's bath scene to me was a good ending because it finally showed me what I longed to see over the entire time I was watching CLANNAD. It ended it for me. My wait was over. I can die happy. That's why.
As for the last question, it turned out that even after the curtains fell on Toradora just a week ago, I found myself watching Toradora 25 for the 10th time. I realized how addicted I was to a story that actually ended it all. I realized how amazing a story could be by killing the plot right at the end. I finally realized that even though its ended, the spring season is coming with another big package of wonderful shows to be enjoyed. And all that could not have happened without the previous season's shows ending.
It was quite a revelation for me, because now I can put the past behind me, and finally believe in the fact that our lives are indeed full of endings. We need endings. It turns out that in the end, it didn't really matter if ending was good or bad. All that mattered was that it ended. This is also probably why many people I know have stopped watching shows like Naruto or Bleach. Simply having a show go on and on and on tends to drag you along, and that innate desire for an ending would start to turn your enjoyment into frustration, and create that discontent inside you, and breeds contempt for the show.
This is also probably why a Future in Anime is completely unrealistic. Ai-chan will never row the gondola to complete her prima exam under Akari's supervision, and Ushio will never live to enter high school, and Ayu would never marry Yuichi, and Tsukasa will never mother two cute children who are just like her and her sister. This is perhaps a cruel consequence of the fact that as much as we'd love to see those characters more, at the same time, unknowingly, we also wish it would end.
But we can take comfort in the fact that although the anime world is perpetually transient, our lives will go on, and they will go on for a much longer time than any anime show ever will, and finally when the day comes to pass when our role in the world has ended, the credits will finally roll on our lives too.
So let's take this chance to enhance our lives a bit, and make sure that our ending is not a rushed one, like most of JC Staff's productions. Let's make sure that we paint the grass on our side of the river a little greener, and make our grapes a bit less sour, and make our love lives a bit sweeter, because when we look back on our lives, people will judge our lives based on how much character development we've gone through, how much they wished we would go down another route, and how wonderful it would be if that love triangle lasted a little longer.
And when people will finally remember us, we might find life again in their imaginations and illustrations, and finally live in the two dimensional world we've always wanted to be in, and finally follow Ushio to the gates of her high school, sit in Ai's gondola, meet mama Tsukasa, and ask Ayu if she still visits the tree stump in the forest.
After all, one can dream, can one not?