Whenever one anime season ends and another begins, I try to use that time to finish series on which I’ve fallen behind. This season, that meant Celestial Method and Unlimited Blade Works. I could have predicted what followed, though: I’ve staved off FSN, since I have a few months until the next cour, and I started back on Celestial Method to discover that I no longer had a desire to finish that show – it had lost me well before the ending.
The problem with Sora no Method was exactly what Draggle pointed out in his score card – “Boring, dumb conflicts.” I gradually lost interest when the series started to prove to me that there would be no depth, nothing beyond the redemption of cute characters I cared little about. The beginning was captivating, the end (which I read about on Wikipedia) seemed alright, but the middle was absolutely lacking.
Too often, series go this direction, with an in-between that is rushed, jumbled, and overly complicated or drawn-out, boring, and unimaginative. Sometimes, though, a middle act will be just right. A memorable one is in 5 cm per Second, where the second story, “Cosmonaut,” was my favorite. Understated, memorable, lovely, it came together nicely when the rest of the movie couldn’t quite do the same.
If life is like an anime, I would say almost all of us are in that middle act. Our beginnings are mostly defined for us by family, and our endings feel like a tidal wave, carrying a surfer toward a destination set up through our years of choices and acts. But the long middle helps define who we are. Will we live meandering, pointless lives? Will we rush about without coming to the point? Or will we live fulfilled existences, dishing out mercy and grace by how we spend our days?
So while we can’t understate the significance of beginnings and ends, let us not forget the middle – the here and now. For a mediocre second act reflects poorly on the entirety and ultimately , on who we are and what we’re here to do.
* Permission to repost granted by the artist