I really like the decision to leave things vague.
Fiction around the world varies, and it is a very Western model to have closure that ties up all loose ends: everyone gets married, the evil guy is killed, blah blah blah. In your face, this is how this ended. A lot of Eastern cultures, however, thrive on an ambiguous model, one in which a lot of interpretation Is needed or encouraged. Subtle or metaphysical. This particular model is mostly recognized in countries that also recognize Buddhism, and as such can be found in places as varied as Sri Lanka and Japan.
And ah, Japan! Who on this website has Japan and Japanese storytelling not touched? Japan is what I’m emphasizing because it’s relevant and because it’s probably the most encountered (and also because it’s my area of study and where I lived forever, so). The fact is, Japanese storytelling is vague, which, ugh I’m about to use my degree here, I’m so sorry, is part of a shared sense of aesthetic values that be traced back to before the Meiji era—Dr. Donald Keene notes four of these particular aesthetic characteristics, one of which is grace and subtlety. Buddhism’s own doctrines of transience bolster this . . .
By all of this, I mean: How many endings have you seen? How many of them were satisfactory? I was a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother until its controversial ending, but alas, the biggest retcon in history snuffed out that love by blowing apart the dynamics I enjoyed. Similarly, I was a fan of the Harry Potter series until its epilogue—which is called the crapilogue many places over.
These endings spelled everything out and I hate them, I hate them enough that they crushed my entire fandom love for their associated series. I’m not one of the people who can ignore endings and cherish the past—it’s just not me.
What about anime and manga? One of my favorite anime/manga is GetBackers—it ended beautifully and I recommend it for everyone! Every now and again I encounter some poor fool who is convinced it ended with the mains getting together with random chicks and everyone hooks up and blah blah blah—but that doesn’t happen, blessedly. It ends like it begins, same status quo.
This is not to say that all anime/manga are vague, but it is definitely common. I still love Naruto (sigh, who hasn’t been there once) but I worry about its impending end—I worry how the author will take things, whether or not his ending will be ambiguous or in your face—one of those endings will be destructive to my love, though, because if something blatant is announced, becomes canon, then there’s no going back, there’s no overlooking it or daydreaming or creating: there is only finite.
A lot of creators inspire others to create, too. Who didn’t start out drawing fan art? I have my own ideas and comics now because I, at one point, was inspired by someone else’s ideas. If all my own headcanons are destroyed by an ending, that creative urge is destroyed, too. Of course no creator has to change their story to suit strangers—all I’m saying is that the ending to a story has an impact. For me, the vaguer, the better, in order to love something forever.
Off*Beat has been a part of life since I was essentially Tory’s age. I loved it because (embarrassingly) I am like Tory a lot—even the obsessive, stalker type things, haha, which I don’t mind admitting since I’ve mostly grown out of it and am on the internet lol. I liked him and related to him, and even if OB wasn’t a constant presence in my life, I had 2 sets of the TP books—one set I kept at home, the other I brought with me when I traveled. And my friends and I did create! We daydreamed about the characters when they were older and made up little headcanons for them and drew art, too!
So it was with trepidation that I started reading Volume 3 lest it undo everything I imagined for it—not that my little teenage stories were canon, per se, but alas, I feel that their memory is good, the prospect to continue to dream is greater.
This is a real essay, wow. I’m very happy with this ending, even though, yes, I’d love to see The Adventures of Dr. Blake and Colin Stephens; if I don’t, though, they’ll still live in my head and heart.