When it’s finally time to say goodbye to an anime that we’ve grown attached to, we all hope that the sendoff will do the characters justice and pay tribute to what made us love the show in the first place. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Here are five of the most poorly written, horribly received, and downright embarrassing endings that have ever disgraced the face of anime. These are the top 5 unsatisfying anime endings!
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 – March 2012
It’s no secret that mangaka Tite Kubo had a rocky relationship with his editors at Shounen Jump over the years that Bleach was serialized in its pages. Even after main antagonist Aizen was defeated, Kubo had to keep introducing new villains and increasingly ridiculous powerups to secure Bleach’s place in the lineup. The animators and voice actors for the anime were clearly phoning it in after a while, and then the manga was abruptly cancelled and saddled with a severely rushed ending that left many plot threads hanging. The anime adapted the manga ending pretty much exactly, leaving Bleach fans with several arcs full of garbage that they could never fully endorse. Such a shame...
4. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Otober 2010 – December 2010
Gainax has developed a reputation for ending its anime in the most bizarre ways possible – from Neon Genesis Evangelion’s pencil-drawn navel-gazing to Mahoromantic’s weird afterlife to Kare Kano’s abrupt cutoff right at the beginning of a new arc, they’re no strangers to unsatisfying endings. The one that hit us the hardest, though, was the final scene of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
After a final battle consisting of a giant penis monster, Garterbelt dying and reviving over and over again, lifelike legs closing the gate to Heaven, and other mindbending oddities, Stocking takes out her swords and chops Panty up into 666 pieces. She says that she’s been a demon this entire time and that Brief now has to collect Panty’s pieces to bring her back to life. And then the show just ends, with no second season or follow-up works at all to make sense of that ending. Um... what!?
3. Ousama Game The Animation (King’s Game)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2017 – December 2017
King’s Game was a certified train wreck from the very beginning, but it only got worse as it screeched to the end of the track. Nobuaki has lost most of his classmates to the death game by this point, leaving only himself and a handful of other faceless, unlikeable characters to quibble over how to defeat the mysterious king (which turns out to be a computer virus that developed from a real virus... somehow) once and for all.
They deduce that the only way to stop the game from repeating again at another school is for every single one of them to die, so after Nobuaki gets decapitated like a chump, the sole remaining player sacrifices herself by walking into the ocean. Well, that was stupid, but at least they stopped the cycle of violence, right? But suddenly, we see a street scene in Japan and everyone’s phones start going crazy with the arrival of a new game. Listen, King’s Game – we didn’t like you in the first place, but rendering your entire plot worthless was the last straw!
2. Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen – Mirai-hen (Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Future Arc)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2016 – September 2016
This anime original addition to the popular Danganronpa visual novel series serves as the last chapter of the Hope’s Peak Academy saga that the first two games started. It had already been getting mixed reviews, but the last two episodes were such a dumpster fire that even the most ardent supporters gave up. The explanation for the Final Killing Game made most of the previous events pointless, Class 77-B somehow came back from the dead and stole the spotlight from the main characters, and Kyoko’s sacrifice was rendered moot when she also came back to life (the English dub even acknowledges this, with Kyoko’s voice actor musing that her resurrection makes no sense). It’s a similar ending to King’s Game, but since we actually cared about the characters in Danganronpa, it stings so much worse.
1. Fairy Tail: Final Series
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: October 2018 – September 2019
Fairy Tail was a good anime – not the greatest ever made, but it had a few fantastic moments and its likeable characters and exciting setting made for an enjoyable series that rightfully garnered it a sizeable fanbase. Then everything changed when the Alvarez Empire attacked. Zeref, the overarching villain who had been the man behind the man for almost every antagonistic group so far, had been shown in an earlier arc to be a frightened recluse with an uncontrollable power to kill everything that got close to him. It was a really interesting move to make Zeref’s image so terrifying and inspiring to other villains, but for the man himself to be a shell of what they thought he was.
When the final arc came around, however, he suddenly had an entire army full of people and acted like a confident cookie cutter supervillain. Mangaka Mashima pretended to kill characters left and right, reviving them at the last second to rob their sacrifices of any meaning. Natsu had lost his initial motivation long ago, the final fight was just one contrivance after another, and the entire thing felt pointless. Longtime watchers stuck around to the end out of duty to their once beloved franchise, but the love was all gone. Mashima, why? ...Why?
We’re also disappointed with Naruto’s ending for similar reasons to Bleach and Fairy Tail, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun shut down a blossoming relationship between the two leads with little more than a cheap joke, and Bunny Drop’s manga ending retroactively tainted the entire rest of the series.
What did you think of our list? Did we miss any endings you find unsatisfying? Were you happy with any of these endings? Let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!