Something I’ve noticed about the community is that… Anime fans do not value mystery. Even, like, mystery components can easily be seen as controversial. This was very apparent when Stein’s;Gate started airing. A minority of the audience actually liked episode 1 and 2 and even fewer genuinely understood what Stein’s;Gate was going for. Actually a very similar problem Re:Zero is having.
To be honest, I don’t blame them. Nothing about mysteries is easy. Not for the writers or the viewers because there’s so many things you have to get right if you wanna get the viewers to believe in the shock factor that comes with writing a mystery. That generally involves letting the viewers in on what you’re trying to do but you don’t want to tell them, otherwise, it’s just a ruined surprise. And you have to balance that wave, no matter how you write it because it doesn’t matter how much you plan a reveal; if the viewers DO NOT believe it- it all goes down the drain.
But really, the hardest thing is that, in many cases, the viewers do not understand some of the hints that the writers put in. In Attack on Titan, an anime that’s not known for acting “cartoony” for lack of a better term, there’s a moment where steam comes out of Eren‘s head and to a lot of people this was just a cartoony comedy scene. But it was actually a major foreshadowing to a “giant” reveal. But there’s plenty of scenes like this that people, sometimes, don’t even get because they don’t really understand how to analyze potential scenarios. So, to them, it’s just a major flaw in writing. At least, that’s how most critics will chalk it up to. Re:Zero initially started with a bit of controversy because the protagonist just suddenly appeared in a new world without any explanation. Not many people think in hindsight and in a manner of speaking that’s what keeps a lot of critics from being able to accurately analyze mysteries.
There are windows or exceptions, depending how you look at it, that can help alleviate some of the difficulty of writing a mystery. The mystery can follow the same pattern as the identity of the story. To better explain this, I am going to talk about Nanatsu no Taizai or Seven Deadly Sins. And spoilers, in case you at all care enough to watch it. There was a battle in, I believe episode 4, where Meliodas and Gilthunder have a bit of an exhibition match that results in Meliodas acting kind of like a goofball. His attitude is supposed to sell how overpowered he is and there’s, like, plenty of scenes in this battle as well where he shows that. But then he just gets dicked on by Gilthunder for some reason and is forced to retreat. Fast forward to, somewhere around episode 19 to 21, they make a huge reveal that the entire fight was simply a message from Gilthunder telling Meliodas that the holy knights are corrupt and he’s being forced to cooperate with them. And it’s completely, balls to the walls, insane that anyone would believe this but it is believable because Seven Deadly Sins is balls to the walls ridiculous! So, it’s pretty cool they pulled a huge plot twist by matching it with the identity. In addition, they managed to explain why their fight in episode 4 had such an anticlimactic ending. Because even though it was such a fittingly brutal battle- they never intended to kill each other. Which is equally in-FUCKING-sane!
But anyway, that was just a small anecdote of what I see in how others in the community value mysteries and maybe an explanation as to why they view them as such. If you liked this, then be sure to support me any way you can, very much appreciate it.