Happy 2016, everyone. With the new year still new, I thought about writing up my first list post. As it turns out, I didn’t nearly watch enough new anime last year to justify a “best of 2015″ post. Instead, I want to talk about what I call the Tetris Moment.

Tetrismoment1

I’m assuming most of you will be at least vaguely familiar with the famous puzzle game. Thinking about it brings back nostalgic childhood memories. Do you remember building up the Tetriminos, leaving a one-square-wide gap for the I-Tetrimino so you could clear four lines at once? This is known as getting a “Tetris”, and it’s worth a lot more points (and satisfaction) than clearing those four lines individually. With every line you build up waiting for the final piece, things become more challenging, until you start asking yourself if it really was worth putting yourself in so much danger instead of just clearing a line here and there. When the I-Block finally appears in the little preview window, you want to scream with excitement. And when you manage to drop it safely into the gap, it’s time to congratulate yourself on your courage, perseverance and perfect execution.

The Tetris Moment in fiction is the perfect instant where everything falls into place after a big, careful set-up. It can occur at the dramatic heart of a wham episode or plot twist. It can be the perfect ending you only realize was inevitable after journeying all the way there with the story’s characters. The writer can choose to set up the Tetriminos in secret or have the characters build up the pieces out in the open. Audience reactions can range from epiphanies to retrospective appreciation to an outburst of relief that the creators did have a somewhat coherent plan beyond what, until then, felt like a big mess of insanity, after all. Simply put, it is the moment when everything makes sense.

Over the following days, I will look at two of the most famous Tetris Moments in anime as well as two personal favorites. As these moments tend to coincide with important plot points, there will be heavy spoilers for all of the titles on this list.

Tetris Moment 1: “Just as planned.” (Death Note)

Tetris Moment 2: “I offer them all.” (Berserk)

Tetris Moment 3: “I am your twin star.” (X)

Tetris Moment 4: Zero Requiem (Code Geass R2)