About two weeks ago, “Naruto,” the wildly popular manga series about a boy ninja, ended its 15-year run.
The story ended almost exactly how I wanted it to. The exact same dreams I’d spent imagining with my friends and doodling in class had come to fruition. I literally clutched my chest because my heart felt so full.
But now what? What do I look forward to now that it’s over?
Friday evening I spent about two hours describing the entirety of “Naruto’s” plot to my (clearly way too patient) father and another half hour trying to convince my friend to read the series.
Getting my friends and family to read my favorite books or watch my favorite TV shows has always been a top priority of mine. I want to share my experience with the stories with my friends, but just as importantly, I want them to share their experiences with the stories with me.
Describing the plot of “Naruto” to my dad or getting live-text updates about my friend’s thoughts on “The Office” allows me to, in a sense, vicariously relive my initial reactions to the story.
Once, my brother told a waiter his meal tasted so good that he wished he could throw it up and eat it again. In the same way, after finishing a good book a lot of fans wish they could go back and reread the book for the first time.
With the achievement of a series finale comes a desolate emptiness. You find yourself going back to reread or rewatch your favorite scenes. Maybe you turn to fan fiction to write some post-ending stories of your favorite characters.
Sometimes these post-ending fan fictions are practically considered legitimate canon by certain fans who share the same ideas. These fan fictions can also pose some problems if after a period of time authors add details to their established stories.
While many “Harry Potter” fans flocked to J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore to read the new mini-stories about Potter characters, many Potter fans rejected the stories because they contradicted fan-created perceptions of the characters.
Especially with long-running series, fans grow increasingly attached to their own ideas of how the story should end. The longer the series, the more time allotted for fan passion to increase. This puts a lot of pressure and importance on the final installment of a series. When it’s a story that millions of people have grown with and known for years, their individual preferences for the story’s end latch onto a larger part of each person’s core.
Take “How I Met Your Mother,” which left practically its entire fan base in disarray after a shocking plot twist at the end of the final episode. People were outraged, writing manifestos against the writing of the show. In turn, the creators of the show actually released an alternate ending with the DVD box set, most likely to appease angry fans.
Despite the disappointment and frustration with the end, fans still appreciate the entertainment that the show provided over the years. “How I Met Your Mother” was recently added to Nick at Nite’s lineup, ensuring that its reruns will be available for anyone who wishes to revisit the better episodes.
When a beloved series ends, whether you’re satisfied with the ending or not, there is always going to be a certain grief. Something you invested time and personal interest in ended, and sometimes it’s hard to accept that there will not be a new chapter coming out next week.
But no matter what your favorite series may be, as J. K. Rowling says, much like Hogwarts, it will “always be there to welcome you home.”
Hanna Greenblott is a sophomore English language and literature major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.