July 10th, 2005


Jumping the Shark

So who made the rule that anything that turns out intriguing, and well, or even remotely so, must by the end of a series have its quality go down faster than Monica Lewinsky at the Democratic Convention? And I'm not even talking about the inevitable decline in quality as things drag on and on and on just because they don't have the balls to end things while they've still got some magic left. I mean things that apparently have a set ending in sight from the get-go, but yet just lose their momentum during the journey to actually *get* there.

I'm musing on this as I'm struggling with the continuation of two things that I at least used to be intersted in.

Just the other day I received the third DVD of Saiyuki: Reload from Amazon.com. Now while the original series was... okay, maybe it wasn't the epitome of Deep Anime, but it had cute guys, cool action, a good dose of humor... generally good stuff. But with reload? The animation quality to me seems "off," and lowering the more I watch it. For the most part the enemies seem unoriginal, and uninspiring, and the plots are barely more than rehashes of the first series at times. Oh, and the ending theme is, well, tolerable, while the opening theme... isn't. But of course, I'm left with either just dropping it totally and not getting to see how the story ends, or continuing on knowing at this point that it'll never recapture the magic of the first season, and not knowing if I'll even really get to see anything "new" that really catches my eye.

I'm also thinking about this because I finally managed last night to finish my re-read of Lord of Chaos, as I try to slog my way back through the Wheel of Time series in preparation for the eleventh (ugh) book which is apparently due out in October. At least that's what Amazon says, feel free to insert the usual platitudes about trusting the bookstore people, lack thereof. And of course that is if I were for some reason to decide to pick up the hardcover. About the only way I figure that's going to happen is a) an impulse purchase if I see it relatively cheap at the bookstore, or b) if people whose taste I know and trust start commenting how it's, if not the best thing since sliced bread, at least a very marked improvement over the last few books.

I can tell more and more than around between books five and six is where things really started to fall apart for Jordan, because that's pretty much where my reading progress went from a nice galloping revisit to old friends, who I'd frankly forgotten were as good as they were thanks to the latter books, and straight into a slog-fest where I have to practically force myself to read a bit every few nights just to get through. Well, HOPEFULLY at least this time I can manage at the end of the readthrough to finish off Crossroads of Twilight - which I have honestly not yet at this point actually managed to do. I'm also noticing that I'm going from "now why did this character annoy me? They seem human and naturally to me" straight into "oh. THAT'S why I couldn't stand that character. Yeah, they need to die now."

(And for the record, the more I re-read, the more I'm thiking that Taim might be Demandred after all - Jordan's had a few other instances sprinkled throughout the books where someone didn't recognize someone else due to the need for Dramatic Tension or what have you, even when they should have. And there are really really FAR too many incidents that point to that outcome, more than any red herring should ever be freaking allowed to have.)

Which reminds me: I really need to find a new newsfeed, or try to get in on the paid part of my old one. *grumble*

Anyhow, in the same vein as the topic, see also: Fushigi Yugi, and, much as I hate to admit it, probably Rurouni Kenshin. Although that latter is more the dragging-on-longer-than-it-should syndrome, rather than the "end clearly in sight but getting lost along the way" one. Seems like there was something else I wanted to mention along these lines as well, possibly a manga or two, but can't think of it right now.