Recently, I read a review for Parasyte (Kiseijuu) wherein it was stated there were many significant plot holes. By my definition, though, there are only two, and they’re incredibly minor. In the 550 anime series I have seen, there are relatively few of what I call “true” plot holes. My defintion is “an error or inconsistency that cannot be reasonably explained by fans.” Wikipedia defines a plot hole as any gap or inconsistency in the story that goes against the plot’s “flow of logic.” The wording alone reveals that this is a definition dependent on personal perception, in the same way as my own.
Most supposed plot holes can be explained by interpretations drawn from careful re-watches of the series or interpretations taken from the manga version. In a lot of cases, plot holes related to a character’s actions can simply be chalked up to the character being himself instead of a logical robot like critics seems to want. There are many other reasons why what you think are plot holes aren’t really plot holes. Some will be covered here. We’ll alo look at some anime series wherein all the questionable elements can be explained by fans. Big warning for spoilers below!
In Death Note, there is a great example of a “famous” plot hole that isn’t actually a plot hole. Many people say that Light from the first 26 episodes would never have enlisted the help of Mikami and would never have fallen for Near’s switch of the fake notebook. Light has always been portrayed as amazing but very human. Well, all humans make mistakes. Light Yagami was way more likely to slip up than before, suddenly being faced with great tension and difficulties following 5 years of everything going his way. The mistake cost him (almost literally) the world. Is this a plot hole? No. It’s an instance of a character acting according to human principles rather than detached logic alone.
Tokyo Ghoul is an example of an anime that many say has plot holes or inconsistencies, but explanations can be found by close examination and speculation of either the anime or the manga. The answers are usually clearer in the manga in this instance. Some very helpful information on a variety of topics and characters was left out of the anime. I’m not the biggest fan of Tokyo Ghoul, but if I see people saying stupid shit I just have to contradict them. Take one example. From the manga and even from the anime of Tokyo Ghoul, there are subtle hints that Rize’s “death” was some kind of setup. Still, an astounding number of critics wonder why she conveniently “died” from falling beams.
Some anime series leave a lot of content details up to interpretation. One example is the anime Ergo Proxy. On the first casual watch, you probably won’t understand anything. On the second or third watch, if you are being observant and thinking carefully, you’ll get what happens at all the main points and understand the world in Ergo Proxy. Not every little thing is explicitly explained, though. This leaves room for individuals to think for themselves. Some fans will always insist they are right and that’s the end of it, but we can never know for sure. (By the way, Ergo Proxy is a great show and you should watch it if you like anything in the psychological genre.)
Casshern Sins is an underrated anime that not a lot of people know. Those who try watching it often miss the beauty of the story because they go about it expecting the wrong things. True plot holes probably do exist in this show. For one thing, I can’t think of a way to explain how Luna came back to life later in the series. But that isn’t the point. Casshern sins is not meant to be a smooth story with a narrative that explains all the important points; its purpose is to make you think, and see things from the point of view of Casshern as he journeys through the ruined world. In cases like this, don’t let something like plot holes ruin what could be a beautiful and even life-changing experience for you. Watch it to the end and see what thoughts it sparks.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) is an exemplary case of an anime that strives the whole time to prevent any true plot holes and to clearly explain things that may seem vague or inconsistent at first. Still, a few instances arise where people claim there is a plot error or a hole in character consistency. The complaint that Gon went “too dark” towards the end of the Chimera Ant Arc is not a true plot hole. As a person who has never experienced loss before, and never had the most mature form of morality from the beginning, Gon reacts to the death of Kaito (Kite) with childish hatred and blind fury.
(You can argue that Kaito being reborn as the redhead girl is a plot hole. It’s not reasonably possible to gather from the anime that the Queen’s last fetus was Meruem’s twin and that it became filled with Kaito’s spirit after his death. However, the manga states that this is the case some time after the Chimera Ant Arc. Before that part of the manga was “out,” Kaito’s rebirth was a true plot hole. Now that the manga has retrospectively told us the truth, however, it can be explained by fans and is therefore not a plot hole by my definition.)
Future Diary and From the New World are anime series with too much left unexplained or vague. That very vagueness, though, leaves enough room for speculation to let fans like me explain away all supposed plot holes. Here is an example from each one.
(Mirai Nikki) Why doesn’t Yuno Use God Powers during the show?
It’s entirely possible that Yuno has no God Powers anymore after fixing the First World and then jumping over to the Second World. Everything god-like Yuno seems to do is actually being done by Murmur. But let’s leave that aside and assume that Yuno and Murmur both have some divine powers. Why doesn’t Yuno use hers to win every battle and get out of every bad situation?
To start with, there’s the issue of practicality. If Yuno used her God Powers in a conspicuous way, the Second World’s Deus would certainly notice. Then he would take action to correct the mistake in time and causality by eliminating Yuno and/or canceling the survival game. Obviously, Murmur and Yuno can’t have that happen. Also consider that Yuno seems to leave most god-related things up to Murmur. In episode 24, it’s Murmur who takes Yuno to the Third World via time-leap. Murmur was the one who sealed off Yuno’s memories as well, just after the murder of the Second World’s Yuno. On a related note, we don’t know for sure if Yuno is willingly giving her God Powers to Murmur; it’s possible that Murmur is manipulating Yuno, having retained much of the power of the First World’s Deus.
There’s one other important point to contemplate. We can’t be sure that Yuno always remembers she became God of the First World. If you don’t remember becoming God, you won’t think to try to use godlike abilities. In episode 24, we saw that Murmur sealed off some of Yuno’s memories. That might have included the memory of her having God Powers. It also explains how Yuno’s memory changed to perfectly suit her situations in episodes 10 and 14. Murmur is probably controlling Gasai’s memory. In episode 22, Yuno may not have known that letting Yukki see Akise’s message was a big deal. She only killed Akise out of jealousy after that infamous kiss. But Yuno does remember the full story by episode 23, when she suddenly starts trying to kill Yukki.
(Shinsekai Yori) Why couldn’t the humans kill the Monster Rats in episodes 18 to 20?
First of all, they do kill most of the Monster Rats that come into town. Still, there were overwhelming numbers of human casualties. Why? If you put yourself in the shoes of the panicking humans in episode 18 for a moment, it’s plainly apparent. Monster Rats used sneak attacks in the dark, disguises to make them look like children the elderly humans, and poison arrows and poison blow-darts for weapons. Death of Shame would prevent the humans from dispatching Rats that looked human. The Queerats may have been carrying blades in their mouths, like Squealer did in episode 7 to kill enemy guards. Most of the humans were never trained to use Cantus to harm anything, and probably, they’ve only ever killed chickens and fish with the occasional cow. It makes perfect sense why so many Cantus Users were slaughtered.
Back to what I mentioned in the opening, Kiseijuu has no plot holes that I consider significant, but it has at least one minor one. Migi’s physical strength and his weight when he detaches from his host is different in some fights than others. You’ll probably only notice if you’ve watched Parastye 10 times like I have. In episode 2, Migi maintains only minimal contact with Shinichi and is able to skewer the heart out of a Parasyte-possessed dog high above him. But in episode 13, when the unattached Migi tries to cut Detective Kuramori in half, he only makes a laceration on the man’s arm, saying “I lack sufficient weight.” See how minor that is? It doesn’t even matter.
One more example. When it comes to Parasyte, people also tend to say Shinichi getting stabbed through the heart in episode 5 is a plot hole because Migi was capable of protecting him and had every reason to do so. But that’s not quite right. Migi couldn’t make any certain moves because Shinichi was holding him back with a knife, threatening to cut Migi off if he didn’t shut up. The invading Parasyte might kill Shinichi, but if that happened, Migi had several back-up plans (like restoring Shinichi’s heart). On the other hand, if Shinichi cut him off and refused to cooperate, death was certain. Migi did not want to detach from his host because doing so would be slightly riskier than letting the Parasyte attack Shinichi. Remember, he almost always picks the way that entails less risk to himself.
I’m satisfied now. The rant is over. Until next time, “my cute kittens”!
(Edit: If any readers want to tell me some plot holes in the series mentioned here, or in any other series which I have seen, please do so. Comment away! If you liked this post, please check out more of my rants, like I Love Anime AND Social Advocacy, Why Bloom Into You is Outstanding, and Is Ouran Highschool Host Club Progressive?
4 thoughts on “Rant: True Plot Holes”
I really enjoyed reading your perspective on plot holes that seems to get lost in translation for people. Bringing up Ergo proxy was a great example. I loved the series have yet to rewatch it suppose then I’ll have a better understanding of the series as some parts still confuse me. People need to appreciate I feel for a show is good or bad. Good argument 🙂
Thank you for your comment! It means a lot to me to get some feedback. I’m pleased you liked my argument. Ergo Proxy has major rewatch value by the way. I missed a lot of important things on the first watch but got most of it on the second.
Really interesting perspective on the episodes. I like your perspective with Mirai Nikki. It actually never crossed my mind for a moment, but now that I think about it after reading this, a huge lightbulb came up.
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I’m so glad you appreciated it!
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