First, let's look at the two sides and what makes them important. I'll start with the journey, the body of the show. What makes it important is obvious. It's the essence of the show. If you have a 10 absolutely terrible episodes, it doesn't matter what kind of an awesome 12th or 13th episode you have, because no one will have stuck with the show to watch it. What isn't so obvious is just how important the journey is. It's quality is that of the moment, of the act of watching itself. Especially for more vapid entertainment (which I won't call bad offhand) like Brave 10, it's what makes watching the series worth it. If you are a person who tends to live in the moment, then the journey is most definitely the most important part. But even for those of us who aren't particularly present-minded, the body of a show can still be incredibly important. It has to do with the act of enjoying something. If a journey is really good, we can actively enjoy it, something that I feel is underestimated. The journey shouldn't just be a means to the end. You shouldn't watch a show to finish it; you should watch a show to enjoy it.
|I can't imagine anyone who would watch Kino's Journey just to get to the end. The beauty of this show is that it lets you experience Kino's travels, something you can accomplish only by being involved in the moment.|
The big question here, though, is which is more important: the body or the end? If you could only have one of them done well, which should you choose? Journeys can make up for bad destinations, but don't always manage to. Especially if a series is short, the thing people will remember the most is that bad ending, and they'll disregard the enjoyment they got out of the body. The more obvious answer seems to be that a good ending is best. After all, a great ending can make up for a poor journey. To take a book example, let's take a look at Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. In all honesty, I found the middle section of that book insufferable. It was strikingly boring and devoid of things I actually cared about. You may disagree, but bear with me here. After I finally plowed through and finished the second section, I got on to the third, and I was astounded! The book ended on such a high note, full of action and character changes and story resolution and other things I actually felt interested in. Because of the great ending, I have to say that A Tale of Two Cities is an overall worthwhile book. In the case of this book, then, the ending was more important than the body. It can be the same with anime. An amazing ending can make up for a poor body. But then we run into the problem again of few people sticking around to actually get to the end. It took me two months to finally pick up ToTC again, and only because of a sense of obligation I had. When watching something becomes a chore, what's the point? So we're back to square one: which is more important?
A large part of the choice, of course, comes down to is a matter of opinion, personal preference, and mood. The importance of both bodies and endings vary from person to person. As for me personally, I believe that the journey is usually more important. Of course, I would vastly prefer both to be good, but following the "have to pick one" scheme, I would choose journey. I don't consider myself to be someone that lives "in the moment," but when I think about the act of watching anime, I enjoy the experience of watching a good story more than I do the remembrance of a good story. Of course, this varies from story to story (obviously certain stories rely more on good endings than others), but for the most part I want to remember the great time I had enjoying a series rather than the time I spent processing them.
|Gratuitous Danshi Koukousei screencap. For obvious reasons.|