Bilaal Masum / Staff Reporter
Time skips are a very common plot device used in various forms of media ranging from movies, tv shows, video games, books, comics, manga, and anime. Most people have absolutely come across a time skip or 2 while watching their favourite tv show or reading their favourite book, but what is a time skip?
Time skips are a plot device where there is a gap in time purposely put in the plot where the story does not cover exactly what happened during that time. For a good example of this, take a look at the training cliché:
These time skips can be very useful in a story when progression in the plot or characters is necessary, but the plot still needs to keep moving forward. Rather than making the reader/watcher/player sit through something that could bore them, mess up the pacing of the story, or add a lot of unnecessary details and information for the reader/watcher/player to take in, the creator of the media makes the decision to skip over the minute details of what happens during the time skip and can instead look back at what happened in retrospect if necessary while still moving forward with the story.
There are many examples of extremely well-used time skips in today’s media, however, there are absolutely some time skips that rise above the rest and really show what potential a time skip has to add to a story.
The time skip in the anime/manga Boruto is a prime example of such an exemplary time skip. The time skip in Boruto is special in the way that the very first scene shown takes place after the time skip. This opening scene is incredibly intense, showing that the village of the main characters has been destroyed, the main character is fighting with an unknown character with unknown power, and it even hints at the possible deaths of the two main characters from Boruto’s precursor Naruto.
Aside from being an explosive start to the series, this opening scene lets the reader/watcher know that there will definitely be a time skip sometime in the series and gives a little glimpse into what comes after this time skip to make the reader/watcher excited for what the future of the series could bring. The beginning scene also serves to attract people who may not have been interested in the series before.
Another great example of a time skip can be found in the video game The Last of Us, first made in 2013. The game puts a great emphasis on its story which is divided into 4 parts: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring; and between each season there is a time skip so that the player can quickly get to experiencing the exciting and interesting events of the next season.
The time skip between each season is also a great way to see how the characters develop without making the game incredibly long and making the player go through every second of the 4 seasons. For example, at the end of Winter, Ellie, a 14 year old girl and one of the main characters go through a very traumatic experience; and once there is a time skip and the player is suddenly in Spring you can very clearly see how Ellie has been affected by what happened. Ellie is very sombre, quiet, and self-absorbed compared to her optimistic and outgoing self the player has seen and occasionally played as throughout the other Seasons of the game. It’s saddening to see the change and how the other main character tries to help Ellie, and it serves to make the player even more invested in the story of the game.
All in all, when handled right, time skips are a great plot device that can truly improve a story and take it to the next level, and hopefully people will be able to see even more great time skips in media in the future.