The Dark Side of Pacing

June 4, 202011508 min

No matter how long a series goes on for whether it be for the standard twelve episodes or over one hundred. There is one thing that is just as essential as starting off on the right foot, and that’s how to end the series correctly. Some may be wondering why when the show was entertaining and exciting all at the same time? While some may be satisfied with this and indeed some shows are null to this rule – series with each episode that are fewer than twelve minutes in length, for example – but others need to leave a lasting mark on the viewers’ minds and even their hearts.

Now I don’t know when others learned this outside of American elementary school, but we were taught about the very basics of pacing. Pacing which every story – no matter the length – has, and while some stories are better than others for a plethora of different reasons. They all follow the same structure – or at least try to. Pacing is the bare bones of any narrative, and while some stories are better equipped with it than others, usually one of the first things that will make or break anything from the viewer will potentially be the flow of events.

Pacing is critical for any form of storytelling, whether through books, anime/cartoons, or even movies. What differs from any television series is that it comes out weekly, making the excitement build up over time. Now, this is a double-edged sword because if fans continue to watch the show and the show is ongoing toward its seasons’ climax, it gives the viewers fuel to feed the flames of excitement. Enthusiasms with every passing episode will grow larger and more robust, but no matter how massive the fire is, there are only two ways to extinguish them; being anticlimactic and having a terrible ending.

When it comes to anime series, if the source material is being properly used – and sometimes disregarded – the series should be celebrated, especially to the original fans of the manga. If the anime doesn’t stay faithful to its source material, then it’ll potentially lose some of its original fanbases support. Take Rosario + Vampire, for example, where the series threw out the plot of its source material and focused entirely on fanservice. Rosario + Vampire was a fun little haram anime that seldomly inserted action elements tossed in whenever needed – or not. The entire series was based around a monster of the week gimmick, which quickly got tiresome. Though fans quickly dismissed both seasons and refuse to acknowledge them as anything but trash.

While Rosario + Vampire had thrown out their source, a real example of terrible pacing within anime is Soul Hunter. This series is an immeasurable question mark on what could have been an exciting series, and possibly the worst resurrection to any series the world has ever known. Despite the series coming out and finishing in 1999, the manga had been going strong since 1996. Unfortunately, the series barely covered any original source materials, more exciting villains, and storylines, and fortunately, it was concluded at a mere twenty-six episodes. Though in reality, what could a series do in only twenty-six episodes? The answer is simply to take the Hunter Exam, of course.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the show surprisingly got another try nearly twenty years later, though they did do better than its predecessor, it still failed. With such a vast manga catalog to choose from, the story could easily be attractive. At the same time, it also meets the proper pacing speed for any adaptation – especially with twenty-three volumes to choose from. However, the actual problem was catastrophic within this version, and arguably much worse than before. The series tried to cram all twenty-three volumes into twenty-three episodes. I’m just shocked that the series made it that far before it imploded upon itself.

With terrible examples of either disregarding source material entirely or having no pacing whatsoever will be detrimental to a shows success. Whether it will go onto span multiple seasons, or not doesn’t necessarily add any value to the series, and worst-case scenario, it’ll ruin the entire series. While if a series can continue to keep viewers entertained and attract fresh eyes, then a new problem will soon arise, and brand-new difficulties will come to order. Which, is a never-ending cycle of events, and this truly isn’t a new concept or problem upon an entertainment vessel, let alone television series. Nevertheless, amidst so much anime being consumed and produced each year, possibilities for failure are getting bigger and bigger. Perhaps one day, we’ll all be able to enjoy the best adaptation to our favorite manga or light novel series, and actually, be proud to have read the series long before the anime was even announced.

Cody Senpai

Cody Senpai is the creator of BakaNow, an anime review website that specializes in spoiler-free reviews for everyone. He is an avid anime watcher who has traveled to Japan numerous times to not only experience the culture and history but also to build friendships with people through a common interest. He is an avid animation fanatic from birth and even went on to major in communication to help share the importance of the stories we love to watch and listen to. Cody lives in Denver, Colorado and loves to do anything adventurous.

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