Without spoiling anything, watching the latest episode of Qualidea Code suddenly brought a certain story arc to my attention that I was not aware about. Seven students were suddenly dead due to an alien attack and one of the names on that list of seven was a major character. So I was perplexed at the time, I thought “Did they seriously just randomly kill off a main character without even showing it?!”, so I turned off that episode, went one back and watched the last five minutes till the very last second.
Turns out, there was more after the credits. And that attack happened in the post-credits. That death, it happened in the post-credits.
I don’t know what it’s like in Japan when it comes to how anime viewers watch shows. Do they stay through the credits as a showing of respect, or is it actually common place to stick around until the very end because most shows also have an episode preview for the following week? I don’t know, but what I do know is that in North America, the credits are usually a signal to the viewer that the content has ended. Are there films and television shows that have post-credits content? Of course, the Marvel/DC movies have been very well-known for having extra little scenes at the end, either during or directly after the credits.
But the thing is, most of these movies and shows do not tip their hand in these scenes and show a MAJOR PLOT POINT! We don’t see Superman’s death in the post-credits of Batman vs Superman, we don’t see Darth Vader telling Luke Skywalker he’s his father in the post-credits of Star Wars: Episode V, we don’t see Simba standing tall after defeating Scar in the post-credits of The Lion King. The major or most important spots in the plot of the content we’re watching isn’t saved for the post-credits, that’s for, oh I don’t know…THE END OF THE EPISODE!!!
The post-credits scenes are usually used for one of two things. The first and the more common is to set up the next episode or film, maybe introducing a new character or hinting at something coming soon by having a brief conversation between two major characters. I can’t recall something as major as the death of a main character happening in a post-credits scene up until Qualidea Code last week. The second is really just comic relief, a cheeky reference or just something so random and silly, it’s meant to make you leave the movie laughing and smiling. The Shawarma scene at the end of the first Avengers movie comes to mind.
There are other anime I’ve come across where this has happened, it’s not the first time that’s for sure. I wish I could recall the one from I believe was the Winter season that did that, but I can’t recall which show it was. But it’s not the first time I’ve had to deal with going back to the previous episode and forcing myself to watch through the credits (cause Crunchyroll’s PS4 app is weird and gets bitchy with me if I try to fast forward to the final minute of the timeline) and watch 30 seconds of important stuff that for some reason they couldn’t have put before the credits.
The credits are meant to signal that it’s okay to turn the show off, change the channel, whatever the fuck. I’m not saying I hate post-credits scenes in general, I think when used properly they can be great. But I think placing a major plot point in that section of the show, especially the death of a main character, that’s not right. Even if it was the smallest side character being killed, that’s not cool. Not everyone watches through the credits, something major like that shouldn’t be placed after the credits, place it before the credits so everyone watching the episode sees it.
Get your shit together, Japan!