Friday, January 1, 2010

Top 5 Anime Resets

Happy New Year, everyone! Out with the old and in with the new. Or in the anime world, out with the old and in with the reset.

To honor the beginning of a fresh new year, we celebrate the

Top 5 Anime Resets.

Resets are those anime series-ending cataclysms that turn out to be . . . maybe not the ultimate demise of the world after all. Instead, the story culminates in a reboot, rewind, and/or revolutionary sort of resolution. It’s not over; it’s just begun. So let’s begin!

[Caution, newbies: Show spoilers ahead!]

#5 - Neon Genesis Evangelion/End of Evangelion

Probably the first show that comes to otaku minds when they think of reset endings. We’re talking about the extended “End of Evangelion” ending.

And talk about an ending. We don’t understand it, of course, but basically everyone explodes into orange marmalade while a giant Rei does her impression of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. One psychedelic trip later, we wake up with Shinji and Asuka (the latter with hints of Rei and Misato), in a bloody newborn world.

Our interpretation? The two teens are the next Adam and Eve, chosen to begin a new world—as long as they don’t kill each other.

#4 - Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Season 1)

This show’s version of a reset is different than what you typically expect. The last episode follows Togusa as he comes to terms with his colleagues’ apparent deaths and arrests following Section 9’s betrayal and blacklisting by corrupt officials. The most human and relatable of all Section 9 agents, Togusa decides he must continue to fight the good fight on his own.

But the next thing we know, Togusa finds the entire Section 9 team alive and well and back in “kick butt” commission. After revealing the top-secret plan to fake Section 9’s demise and appease the big wigs, the squad welcomes Togusa back and returns to their business of cyber anti-terrorism.

No universe-shattering conclusion here, but just as resolvingly jolting as the best of any anime reset.

#3 - Wolf’s Rain

In this unique apocalyptic fairytale, we witness the band of heroes fall one-by-one on their quest to “paradise.” Finally, lone survivor Kiba collapses on top of a snowy frozen lake.

Just when you think all hope is lost, springtime comes double-time: snow melts, Kiba’s body plunges into thawed water, and flowers sprout up everywhere. Then we see a new world with all the heroes alive and well, if not quite what they used to be.

Makes you think the next time you see a wolf.

#2 - Rahxephon

This show by Studio Bones (Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist) follows the Evangelion model and makes it better. That includes the ending, too. We get a more definitive vision of the reset world. Fallen heroes are back and alive again, and better off for it too. Joyful families, marriages, kids, and world peace after a freaky wrestling match between mecha-merged Ayato and Quon.

The latter we could have done without, but if that’s what gets us to a happy world free of attacking blue-skinned atonal aliens, we’ll take it. Oh yeah, and we finally get the whole story behind that painting.

#1 - The Big O

The show must go on. And that’s exactly what happens after Roger’s final negotiation with the reality-controlling Angel. After the screen goes all white, we witness a familiar scene and narration as Roger drives his Griffon to another negotiation. In fact, it’s the same sequence as the very beginning of the show’s first episode.

But not exactly identical. Two changes: Roger no longer wears his wristwatch that calls Big O; and Angel and R. Dorothy smile as they watch their hero drive by. What’s next? That’s up to the viewer (and many discussion board forums). And the ambiguousness is one of the best parts of anime.

Can’t handle ambiguousness?

Then click on the following links for different viewers’ interpretations of the show endings. More importantly, decide for yourself!

End of Evangelion

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (Season 1)--Actually, it’s not that complex. So check out the first Ghost in the Shell movie—if you’re older than 17—then review trivia and the summary here.

Wolf’s Rain


The Big O

Now wasn’t that refreshing? Easier than resetting the VCR. Yes, we still have one of those. Maybe 2010 will bring Tivo.

Until then, our New Years resolution is to eat more pocky!

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