Shooting the shaggy dog refers to a bleak ending at the end of a drawn out story. Doing so can create a sense of realism as seen in movies like Chinatown but can also create a sense of apathy in the audience if every turn makes the world worse and the the stories conclusion is just more of that.
For the writer, the Manga Gilgamesh is a pure example of shooting the shaggy dog. The plot is a world of darkness and depravity and the story’s conclusion leaves off with the question what was all of the suffering for? What was the purpose of the story if the ending doesn’t just drive home the point that the world is bad, but makes it clear that it can never be good?
Okay, nice, but you left me hanging. I understand your frustration with the story and the trope, but what's the thesis of your article? Are you trying to say the trope should die because it's not redeemable? Or, is there something of value in the trope and the types of stories in which we find it? Or are you going for something else entirely? Consider these questions, and consider exploring other stories as examples. A Series of Unfortunate Events immediately popped into my head. – Stephanie M.1 month ago