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Despite the failure of Akira in Japan, it brought with it a much larger international fan base for anime. When shown overseas the film was a cult hit that would eventually become a symbol of the medium for the west. The domestic failure and international success of Akira (a 1988 anime), combined with the bursting of the bubble economy and Osamu Tezuka's death in 1989, brought a close to the 1980s era of anime.

Does brought a close to here mean those mentioned events (Akira, bubble bursting, and Tezuka's death) are the causes of the end of 1980s anime era (the reason why the 1980s era of anime had come to an end)? Or does it simply mean that they are just big events that happened to be in 1989, which marked the end of the 1980s era of anime?

//My interpretation is the latter. It would be weird to say that those events caused the end to a decade-long piece of the overall history. The era is defined by the years, didn't it end because that's where we decided to place the end point? If there is cause/effect nuance here, how come "domestic failure" and "international success" of an anime both affected the anime industry badly?

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The default sense of the expression is causative, as given here:

bring to a close: bring (something) to a close [/ bring a close to (something)]

To cause something to end.

  • If there are no other issues to discuss, we can bring this meeting to a close.

[Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015]

However, the non-causative, merely temporal sense can also be found:

.....................

  • The end of the 19/20 season will bring a close to the five-year partnership between New Balance and Liverpool football club [Football Apparel;2020]

.....................

  • Wednesday night brought a close to the second series of ITV's attractive crime-solving vicar show Grantchester [Mediatel News; 2016]

.....................

I'd say the causative reading is certainly possible, probable even, in your example, but it's ambiguous without further context (were there later 'eras of anime' [YES!], or did anime essentially die out? If there were, were they distinct, meaning that the '1980s era' had been essentially terminated in the causative sense by the stated reversals? [I'd say so.])

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  • the original is "brought a close to" not "brought to a close". Doesn't it make any difference? Of course, the anime industry didn't die out at the end of 1980s, It felt into a slump for a while, because of the burst of the Japan bubble economy and then kept becoming stronger and stronger.
    – vozkizz
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 15:46
  • No; 'bring a close to' is a transitive verbo-nominal multi-word verb, optionally separable for non-pronoun objects. He brought it / the speech to a close //// He brought to a close the long speech that had cost him so much time and mental strain to write. Weighty DOs will be postposed. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 15:54
  • @Edwin Ashworth I think that it's best to, finally, finally start to put an end to all the haziness in language, as well. I mean, let's go with bringing an era to a close to mean with the last event of the era. After all, no event can cause the end of time, so, no more causative ones left at the end of an era. Anyway, it's a bit juvenile to take time simplistically, as one dimensional. It fans out as does space. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 23:39
  • Not surprisingly, more and more philosophers believe that reality is less objective. So, perhaps, association of events may be the way to go. In physics, well, it's quantum entanglement, with space being made of time. I wouldn't express the known results of physics quite that way, but, it's the way things stand, at the moment. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 23:40
  • 'Let's ...' suggestions are off-topic on ELU; the U stands for usage. What real people actually do. Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 12:27
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The domestic failure and international success of Akira (a 1988 anime), combined with the bursting of the bubble economy and Osamu Tezuka's death in 1989, brought a close to the 1980s era of anime.

Essentially, the sentence is “These events brought to a close the 1980s era of anime.”

To bring to a close is a phrasal verb = Verb + adverbial = to end; to conclude.

There is nothing causative about the example.

The causative of “These events brought to a close the 1980s era of anime”, would be “These events had the 1980s era of anime brought to a close.”

Edit 12:00GMT, 20211112:

It has been pointed out that, in the paraphrase “These events brought to a close the 1980s era of anime”, the wording should have been “These events brought a close to the 1980s era of anime”, which we can further paraphrase by “These events were ended/concluded by the 1980s era of anime”, which is a passive not a causative.

The causative of this would thus be the awkward “These events had the 1980s era of anime ended/concluded”. In my opinion, this would be wrong as “These events” has no volition or ability to “make an arrangement” for an action to take place, and this ability is essential to a causative.

This awkward phrasing could give way to “These events caused the 1980s era of anime to be ended/concluded” but “to cause” is not a causative verb.

Thus the reasoning is slightly amended, but the conclusion is not.

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  • Thanks. That's my interpretation as well. Still, the only thing that is still confusing me here is the use of the word "combined with". If there isn't any causative here, is using "combined with" appropriate? (as my understanding, "A combined with B" often results into something)
    – vozkizz
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 16:52
  • I have to downvote. Farlex is not the only dictionary giving the causative reading as the only one. Macmillan has, for instance, 'bring to a close': to make something stop He brought the conversation to a close. As I've said, there are non-causative examples, but a bold unsupported 'there is nothing causative' here is unscholarly. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 17:58
  • Note, your paraphrase inverted "a close" and "to," and there's been a lot of discussion elsewhere about whether that alters meaning (not that I'm prepared to take a stance). Did you intend that inversion? And I agree with Edwin, whatever the syntax, that we can't be too dogmatic about the quoted passage without more contextual understanding. Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 18:38
  • Perhaps, likely, the specified events, themselves, were the end result of anime. But, what caused these events? Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 20:14
  • @AndyBonner The inversion was unintentional. I have added to my answer.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 12:05
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Bring is the causative of come, which is in turn an inchoative of stative be:

  • I brought the meeting to an end. (causative)
  • The meeting came to an end. (inchoative)
  • The meeting is at an end. (stative)

The fixed phrase to/at an end goes with all three, meaning the ending. The motion verbs bring and come use the directional preposition to, while the stative/locative be uses locative at.

The causative sense comes from the construction with bring; causatives are always transitive. The inchoative sense is the intransitive one, but it uses come instead of causative bring, which means 'cause to come' (just as take means 'cause to go').

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