The time skip is a common narrative tool that allows an author to fast-forward through time and transport the reader to a different time and place in the story. When used properly, a time skip allows the author to obscure events that will be revealed later in the story while also skimming over mundane or tedious plot details.
There are a number of anime that use time skips as a narrative device to great effort, but there is an equal number where the time skip falls flat with fans. Time skips that pass over important moments irk fans to no end and often confuse and complicate the story more than they help.
Overall, Naruto handles the time skip from the end of the first series fairly well. Still, there are some details that are glossed over that would have added depth to the story. As many fans have noted, Masahi Kishimoto’s development of his female characters lacks proper attention, and this is certainly the case with Sakura.
While an entire arc is dedicated to Naruto’s training under Jiraiya, episode 141 is the only time viewers get to see Sakura training with Tsunade. The entire time skip feels a bit wasted, considering some episodes could have been spent developing Sakura’s character and personality to a point where she feels like a legitimate main character and not just a glorified sidekick.
9 Tokyo Ghoul
At the end of the second season of Tokyo Ghoul, many fans of the anime were left wondering what was going to happen to Kaneki and the others ghouls from Anteiku and Aogiri Tree. It came as quite a shock to many when Kaneki appeared in season three, not as a ghoul, but as an amnesiac CCG investigator with a completely different look.
The entire tone and plot of the story completely changed, and many fans were left wondering what had happened during the two-to-three-year time skip. Many of the other characters aside from Kaneki also changed their appearances, and some even adapted their personalities, which completely disrupted the continuity of the story and the connection many fans had to the characters.
8 Code Geass
The ending of season one of Code Geass contains a nail-biting cliffhanger that had many fans wondering whether Lelouch or Suzaku was dead. The beginning of the second season completely threw many fans, as it did not pick up where the story left off but jumped into the future with a Lelouch that had no memory of his time as Zero.
While it is later revealed that Lelouch’s memories were altered by Charles, the time skip leaves many questions unanswered. There is no real explanation as to what happened after his memories were erased or how others’ memories were erased such as those involved in Zero Requiem or students of Ashford Academy. The transition ultimately feels rushed and unfinished, with fans expected to just accept it and move on.
7 Death Note
The cat-and-mouse struggle between the murderous idealist Light Yagami and the eccentric investigator L is one of the highlights of Death Note. Their intellectual dueling is what makes the series such a classic for many fans, and it sets the tone for the rest of the story.
However, the four-year time skip after L’s death and the introduction of Near as his replacement in the hunt to catch Kira was difficult for many fans to get behind. It’s never explained what the task force was doing during that time, and Near gets very little in the way of an introduction or backstory, only that he grew up with L and is his genius-level successor. Ultimately, the fact that Near was able to pick up where the investigation left off and bring it to a close with little on-screen effort made all the struggle that L went through feel unearned.
6 Dragon Ball
The Dragon Ball franchise is littered with time skips due to the fact that the characters are always dying and having to be revived by the Dragon Balls. While some of the time skips are warranted and skip over mundane training montages, such as the ones before the 22nd and 23rd Tenkaichi Budokai, others are more glaring and awkward.
The Android Attack arc features a three-year time skip where the cast is supposedly meant to be preparing for the attack of Androids 17 and 18, but the skip doesn’t end up serving the team well. Then there is a seven-year time skip immediately after the end of the Cell Arc, during which time Goku decides to stay dead and Gohan becomes the main character. These frequent time skips can cause fans’ heads to spin as they struggle to adjust to the constantly changing time settings.
5 Attack On Titan
The four-year time skip between the end of season three and the start of season four in Attack on Titan frustrated many fans of the series. While the time skip at the beginning of season one allowed fans to quickly get into the plot centered around the Scouts’ battles against the Titans, the later time skip left many fans confused as to what had happened during that time.
The change in time was initially jarring, as fans struggle to understand where and when they were in the story due to the sudden loss of perspective. Although many of the events that transpired during the time skip were eventually filled in, Eren Jaeger’s transformation during that time from hero to antihero still bothers some fans, as his psychological evolution feels rather abrupt.
4 Fairy Tail
The magical adventure story Fairy Tail features one of the most shocking mid-series cliffhangers in anime. At the end of the Tenrou Island Arc, it appears that all of the members of the Fairy Tail Guild on Tenrou Island are destroyed by the Black Dragon of the Apocalypse, Acnologia. The story then skips forward seven years into the future, beginning the X791 Arc. As it turns out, the members of the guild were frozen in time, and return unscathed near the end of the x791 arc.
Fans complain that this time skip’s sole purpose was to allow other guilds and mages to gain strength to compete fairly with the overpowered Fairy Tale Guild in the lead up to the Grand Magic Games arc, but this ultimately proves pointless, as the Fairy Tail Guild members quickly level up and become overpowered once again.
The iconic Evangelion franchise has fans all over the world who either praise or criticize segments of the universe. One of the biggest flops for many Evangelion fans is the 2012 movie Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. The excited speculation prior to its release was sadly replaced by complaints of the film’s incoherent plot and confusing takes on the film’s characters.
After the ending of the second movie, Shinji wakes after spending 14 years in a coma. Everyone around him still treats him like a nuisance and forces him to pilot alongside Kaworu, whom the audience is expected to accept. The film never really explains what happened during Shinji’s extended absence, and many fans walked away disappointed with the end result.
2 One Piece
Near the end of the first part of One Piece, after the disastrous events of the Marineford Arc, things looked pretty dire for the members of the Straw Hat pirates. At the start of the Sabaody Arc two years later, the Straw Hat crew reunites on the Sabaody archipelago and resumes their quest into the New World.
The pacing after the time skip frustrated many fans, as the events of the story began to feel more disjointed, repetitive, and bogged down. Additionally, the events after the time skip appeared more inconsistent compared to the events in the first part of the series, with characters’ appearances completely changed and their new powers varying wildly from situation to situation.
Kentaro Miura’s dark fantasy story Berserk is one of the most popular and longest-running manga of all time. While the exploits of the black swordsman Guts continue to fascinate readers, one source of complaint among fans is the time skip that occurred at the end of the Golden Age Arc.
After the events of the Eclipse, two years pass before the start of the Conviction Arc. This period of time encompasses the Black Swordsman Arc, which also happened to be the first volumes released in the manga. Fans of the new anime missed out on the events of this arc and therefore missed a lot of the great interactions in the story between Guts and many of the Apostles, as well as his confrontations with his former friend and mentor, Griffith.
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