Sunday, December 16, 2018

Forgetting Plot Points

Have you ever read or watched something where the writers established something and then later seemingly forgot about it? One of the most famous examples is Happy Days where Richie had an older brother, Chuck, but then, one day, Chuck disappeared, never to be seen again. This seems to happen more frequently in animated sitcoms where anything goes. Like on Family Guy, where Cleveland sometimes has a brother, but more often does not. And The Simpsons has to keep changing as the characters fail to age and their pre-established origin stories no longer make sense as time goes on.

Animated comedies changing things is more forgivable because we've long since learned not to expect anywhere close to perfect continuity with them. But what about stories that take themselves more seriously such as anime and manga? I remember reading in Bleach that if someone has a stronger spiritual pressure than someone else, they're immune from attacks from that person. But that was never brought up again. Characters were frequently able to hurt enemies who were stronger than them.

But probably the worst offender is Dragonball Super. I like this series, but it can't preserve continuity to save its life. Plot holes abound, and they're big ones. For instance, it was established in Dragonball Z that what happens in Goku's present does not affect Trunks' future since they're separate timelines. But, lo and behold, the writers of Super evidently weren't paying attention, because somehow they made Goku still alive in the future, even though he had died of heart disease. And even if he was still alive, he never pissed off Zamasu in that timeline, thus robbing Zamasu of his motivation to go genocidal.

Oh, and while we're at it, let's discuss the difficulty of going Super Saiyan. In DBZ, it was established that it's pretty freaking hard to go Super Saiyan. But in Super, it's so easy, anyone can do it with little effort. And don't even get me started on how they scaled everyone to be able to take on Goku.

But, lest you think I'm being unfair, I will be the first to admit I've done the same thing. In Secrets of the New World, I established that Deschanel was barren and couldn't conceive. But, in the very next book, I introduced her descendant. WTF? I've since corrected that in the revised edition, but it doesn't change the fact I wasn't paying enough attention the first time.

So, is this--let's call it retconning--really that bad? I suppose it depends on how invested in a story you get and how seriously you take it. I usually don't care that much about these things, although I did stop watching the WWE because they couldn't follow their own rules. Wow, that sounds ridiculous when I actually write it down. In most instances, forgotten plot points are understandable. You can't remember everything you write, and it seems to be even more prevalent when new writers take over a franchise. Maybe they didn't read/watch everything that happened previously in a saga. This becomes more probable the longer a series goes on. In any case, I don't think it's that big of a deal--or maybe I'm just trying to excuse my own falterings. Who knows?

No comments:

Post a Comment