“To be continued” became a popular video meme format after the airing of the first season of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure anime in 2012. Roundabout was used at the end of every episode, oftentimes with a cliffhanger, with a sepia freezeframe and the words “To be continued” on the bottom of the screen. These freezeframes usually had characters in imminent danger, which is how the meme was used. It was heavily reproduced in video compilations on Youtube showing a funny action that was about to go wrong.
Examples of this meme might include a person walking down a road while looking at their phone, and there being a large dip in the road they are about to fall into. As they walk, the opening notes of Roundabout would play, and right at the moment before their fall, the frame would freeze and “To be continued would pop up in the bottom corner.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has always been tied to classic rock, with almost all of the major characters (or their spiritual manifestations) being named after classic bands. Roundabout, a 1972 classic by Yes, was one of the songs that manga writer Hirohiko Araki put on a short list of progrock songs he wanted to be featured at the end of each episode of the anime. Parts 1 and 2 of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure aired with Roundabout at the end of each episode, but later animated parts of the series had different ending songs. Yet Roundabout is still what comes to mind when many people think of the series, despite its continuing popularity, and the fact that Part 1 and 2 were the least popular parts of the anime.
Mutation in memes is common, but while there are many different versions of the “To be continued” meme, it does not seem to have effectively mutated. It is a format, not dissimilar to the Dolly Parton Linkedin-Facebook-Instagram-Tinder meme, where the core message of the meme cannot really be taken away, any mutation it undergoes is fully understandable. Any video can have Roundabout thrown on top of it, as long as the music and freeze-frame are synced up to the right moment in the action, the meme is there.
Similar memes to “To be continued” are Déjà vu and “It was at this moment he knew, he f*cked up”. Déjà vu was a song included in the anime Initial D, it has turned into many video compilations, usually featuring cars, using a section of the song where there is a rapid instrumental and the singer yells “Déjà vu!”, as soon as it is said, the car speeds up rapidly or starts drifting. “It was at this moment he knew, he f*cked up” is the most conceptually similar to “To be continued” because both feature someone doing something dumb and a freeze frame right before something bad happens. But in this version, when the frame freezes, and you can see the imminent fate of the unlucky person, a narrator calmly says ““It was at this moment he knew, he f*cked up”, then the frame unfreezes and they meet their hilarious comeuppance. So the main difference from Roundabout is that we see the continuation of the scenario.
The popularity of this type of video compilation meme had rapidly declines in the past few years, possibly because of the rise of platforms like TikTok that have created an almost unending source of quick audiovisual humor.