Anime is an amazing medium, but it's also one of the trope-iest. Power of friendship, Deus Ex Machina, willpower pushes trough, and time skips. These are just a few of the thousands of tropes rampant in most anime. That's not to say that they're all unenjoyable or anything, just that some are usually detrimental to the writing, while others work to enhance it.
One of the most commonly debated devices is the Time Skip. This is when an anime suddenly leaps forward by at least a couple of months to move the story to a new stage and massively progress the growth of the main cast. Most times, it's incredibly hype, but there are also plenty of examples where a Time Skip basically ruined the show. So, let's take a look at both sides.
10 Needed It: One Piece
One Piece still reigns supreme as the most popular Manga franchise of all time. It's on its 963 chapter (as of November 23rd) and has no signs of stopping anytime soon. Surprisingly, the story is so well constructed by author Eiichiro Oda that most fans still feel the story is fresh and that the show doesn't rely on tropes too often.
It only had its first tournament Arc after 700 chapters after all! Even games fall prey to that trope sometimes! But, the Two Year timeskip at Sabaody Archipelago is one that's constantly debated between fans. Was it needed? Did the introduction of Haki ruin a lot of the creativity behind combat? Frankly, even if it did, the Timeskip was still an overall plus for the franchise as a whole.
9 Didn't Fit: Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail's Timeskip might be one of the worst ever done in Manga. Basically, instead of using the passage of time to fast forward the cast's strength or character progression, Fairy Tail does the opposite. The guild gets frozen in time and the rest of the world passes them by for 7 years. It was a way to make the already overpowered cast a bit weaker, which is fine, but the narrative was weak in order to facilitate that. Plus, they immediately catch up in less than an arc anyway.
8 Needed It: Naruto
In contrast to Fairy Tail, Naruto's skip was only 2 and a half years, but it did a lot more for the characters. A timeskip is a convenient way to surprise the readers with a big power jump, but that's not all. The most important part of a timeskip is character progression or development. While Fairy Tail's skip is based on an interesting concept, it has issues. In contrast, Naruto's timeskip, while a bit less drastic, massively changes the temperament of many of the Ninjas in the Hidden Leaf, Naruto especially. Sure, he's still plucky, but Naruto at the beginning of Shippuden is a much calmer man than his pre-pubescent self.
7 Didn't Fit: Bleach
Finally, the third seat of the Big Three in the early 2000s. One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach. Any anime fan knew all three of these names, there was no avoiding them. And, while most fans of the medium agree that Bleach had a downwards curve in quality, there's no doubt that the concept of its world is one of the best. Plus, those openings!
Anyway, Bleach has multiple time skips, a 1.5-year skip and a 10-year skip in the final chapter. The first skip is alright, but not much changes for the characters. While the second skip encompasses all the problems fan had with the fall of Bleach, and it really almost tied up none of the loose ends of a series that was rushed to completion.
6 Needed It: Gurren Lagann
It's almost impossible to watch Triggers Magnum Opus Gurren Lagann without feeling the hype. The series just exudes such a massive amount of positive energy! Kamina might be the most stereotypical yet beloved character of all time, and Simon's growth throughout the series is second-to-none. Usually, when a character like Simon is pushed into the spotlight, it isn't well received. Especially since Simon is timid by nature and Kamina is the ultimate extrovert. But, Trigger's multiple timeskips proved to us time and time again that they know what fans want from this trope.
5 Didn't Fit: Death Note
Death Note is one of the most well-regarded mystery thrillers out there. Especially because we, the audience, know the answer by the end of episode one, but the journey is waiting to see if anyone else can figure it out. It's a story of intellectual warfare between Shinigami owner Light Yagami and shut-in genius detective L. These two characters and the war between them is what most people come to this franchise for. So, when this war comes to an end and the series skips about 5 years to introduce two new detectives, we were bummed.
4 Needed It: Berserk
Berserk is one of the longest-running manga properties of all time. The tragedy of Guts and his journey to find himself, to find his revenge, and to find a place in this world is one of the deepest and most beautiful stories we've ever read. It's hyper-violent, hyper-sexual, and hyper-beautiful considering the Author Kentaro Miura might be one of the best artists...well, ever.
And, Berserk has a couple of time skips as well. But the biggest one is the time between the Golden Age Arc and the Black Swordsman Arc. Before the time skip, Berserk is based in reality. Yes, there are fantastical elements, but it is used sparingly. After the timeskip, Berserk gets 10 times as metal and stays there.
3 Didn't Fit: Evangelion 3.0+1.0
Evangelion is a character study, not just a giant-mech power fantasy. In fact, it's widely known that the mech aspects of the series serve as a deconstruction of the genre. So, when we watching the third Evangelion movie where time jumps forward 14 years to become a war movie, we became disinterested. Yes, we understand the implication is to have Shinji be just as confused as us, the viewer. But with a story as complete and final as End of Evangelion, did we really need to jumpstart the series again? The way these new Evangelion properties are going, they might as well be a new IP entirely.
2 Needed It: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
This isn't necessarily fair, considering Jojo's Bizarre Adventure wouldn't have a second season without a timeskip. The backbone of the entire franchise is the idea that the main character of each season is a new entry into the Joestar family line. But, could you imagine a 5 season adventure starring Jonathan Joestar? He's a great first protagonist, but we couldn't put up with him for anything more than a single season. Without timeskips, Jojo wouldn't have Stands, international representation, the wide array of memes, or half the charm.
1 Didn't Fit: Robot X Laserbeam
Finally, we want to talk about a manga that was canceled from Shonen Jump after its timeskip failed to stir up any new sales or views. Robot X Laserbeam is a sports series, and with that name, you might infer that it's about a futuristic sport involving machines and lasers? You're wrong. It's all about golf. So right away, golf is a boring sport. But, the series did a decent job keeping us interested with its unique characters. But, when it suddenly jumped 3 years in its first 32 chapters, we knew it wasn't long for this world. Using a time skip that early in a series is very telling of how desperately the publication and author are trying to keep the story relevant. So we weren't all too surprised when the story was forced to "end" not long after.