Nothing is more enraging when a good series ends abruptly and horribly, but it happens all too often in anime. Budgets are cut short and second seasons aren’t signed leaving viewers out in the cold. Even popular series beloved by many are not immune to ripping out the hearts of their fans. Let’s take a look back on all of those soul crushing moments, shall we?
*WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD AND HARD RAGING AS THIS LIST GOES FURTHER*
10. Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjitsushi)
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: October 4, 2003 – October 2, 2004
The original series aired before the actual author knew how he was going to end the manga, leaving the writers to pick up the pieces and make their own ending. Despite having 51 episodes to build up to a decent finale, viewers got a slap to the face instead. In order to save his brother Al, Ed throws himself through the gates to exchange the memories of his journey for Ed’s body and into what appears to be Germany during WWII. He meets with his father and they end up living happily ever after? I guess? Meanwhile, Al remembers nothing of Ed and appears as he was when he first disappeared. Only Winry is left to take care of her poor friend.
The series attempted to make amends by releasing a movie dedicated to Ed’s time in Germany and his attempts to make it back from which he came, but the plot was so spotty and all over the place, it lacked any real substance. In addition, the result was ultimately the same, Ed went back to Germany. Thank god Brotherhood was released years later so fans could experience the series and ending they deserved.
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 16, 2000 – September 13, 2004
Inuyasha is a household name for most anime fans and may even serve as some viewer’s first anime, which is why the ending was so particularly painful. After four years of traversing around feudal Japan with Kagome and Inuyasha, the series stopped abruptly with no semblance of a conclusion in site. When I was watching, I wasn’t even aware I was watching the final episode. All the main characters are licking their wounds and Inuyasha steals Kagome away to sulk about how strong he needs to become in order to defeat Naraku.
The credits start to roll, and the anime begins to check in on all the side characters we’ve seen throughout the series. Finally, after the music and credits stop rolling, realization hits. This was the end. Naraku hasn’t been defeated and Kagome hasn’t collected all of the remaining jewel shards. HOW IS THIS THE END!? The rage of a thousand suns begins deep down in the heart as you question your sanity.
Fans eventually were able to see the REAL ending of the series with a sequel series many years later titled, Inuyasha: The Final Act, but for those of us who watched every new episode as it came out was torture. There was never any indication that the series would be picked up again, and so many fans gave up after so many years of waiting. How cruel. No one should have to endure the pain of never knowing. I supposed fans could have read the manga, but that is beside the point. It is the duty of anime directors to provide some semblance of resolution at the end of a series and without ever hinting to producing a sequel years down the line was poor planning.
8. Trinity Blood
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 28, 2005 – October 6, 2005
After all the pretty animation of Trinity Blood lies a jumbled, messy story so it’s no surprise that the ending made as much sense as the rest of the anime. The source material is rather hefty and to fit such a large story and world into only twenty-four episodes seems like such a daunting task. In the last episode, the series seems to rush through events without exactly explaining what is happening. Father Nightroad is killed within the first five minutes and we see leaders of the Methuselah and the Vatican agreeing to peace. In the next five minutes we see Nightroad bursting from his coffin to fight his brother Cain.
During the fight, it cuts to a flashback of Cain and Abel as young boys after a fight. Lilith comes to comfort Abel while a young Seth looks on. One thing the story never makes clear is that Lilith is not in fact Abel’s mother, but is actually their older sister. From here on, the story sprints through events; Nightroad and Cain fly into the sky and disappear, Esther is crowned Queen of Albion, Nightroad is revealed to be alive and pursing Cain, and nothing in the previous episodes is explained, leaving audiences to tilt their heads in confusion and wondering what they just watched.
The saddest part about Trinity Blood is that the original light novels and illustrations are amazing and could never have been contained to a mere twenty-four episodes. The director should have planned out the story better as well as explain who and what people are. As a result of the horrible pacing of the plot, the ending rushes to tie everything into a nice, happy ending while hoping viewers don’t ask too many questions.
7. Ouran High School Host Club (Oran Koko Hosuto Kurabu)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 4, 2006 – September 26, 2006
As this list continues I know there will be some opposition from those reading, but hear this out. Ouran’s ending did not live up to the amazingness that was the rest of the show due to the fact that the manga had not yet ended. The fact that studios continue to try to cash in on popular manga series before their writers have a chance to properly end the story is mind boggling. As a result, Ouran is another victim of money-loving executives looking to peddle off merchandise in order to cash in on young women’s fantasies.
The set up for the last episode isn’t terrible, Tamaki is set up to marry a young lady of similar social stature by his grandmother, the head of the company. Before now, there had been small hints about Tamaki’s position in his family and how much control his grandmother wielded over him, but in the finale that power is solidified. It is painfully obvious that Tamaki is uninterested in succeeding the family business and therefore uninterested in marrying this woman, but makes no attempt to fight the circumstances at hand since his grandmother is holding his mother over him.
Instead, the entire host club puts in an effort to smack some sense in Tamaki via chase scene. Haruhi is sent ahead to win Tamaki back and actually falls from the carriage she is riding into the river. Tamaki jumps out to save her (?), but instead they both embrace and fall together. Tamaki realizes he can’t let others make decisions for him and so he politely breaks off the engagement with the young woman (by basically jumping off that bridge). Soaking wet, Tamaki and Haruhi join the others at the ball being held at their school and everyone ends up happy.
On the surface, the events that played out in the final episode are not terrible. Tamaki learns a valuable lesson and everyone parties on! One of the major problems with this ending lies in the ambiguity of Tamaki’s feelings. Has Tamaki realized that he actually has romantic feelings towards Haruhi or does he still maintain the idea of himself as a fatherly figure? Is Kyouya now actively pursuing Haruhi? Will Tamaki’s grandmother push further? None of these questions have been answered, leaving fans to wonder and yearn for a second season that will never arrive.
6. Macross Frontier (Makurosu Furontia)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 3, 2008 – September 25, 2008
The Macross series has always been a bit overshadowed by the more popular Gundam franchise, but Macross Frontier was responsible for shining light on the series in more recent years. The story involves two lovely young ladies who are pop starts competing for the same man’s affections. Oh, and space aliens and robots. Just the premise alone gets hearts pounding with excitement, but all that fun and energy come to a screeching halt at the end of the second movie meant to tie up the loose ends of the store except when it doesn’t.
Until now, the main male lead who has really no personality, has been pursed endlessly by Ranka Lee and Sheryl Nome. Ranka Lee is basically the ambassador for aliens where Sheryl has artificial powers through song that allow her to communicate with the alien bugs as well. The final scenes of the second movie have both Ranka and Sheryl singing a heart-pounding duet while Alto, the male lead, flies in his sky robot to embrace the giant alien bug in an act of good faith on humanity’s part before it destroys everything in its path. Once he reaches the alien’s palm, he turns to Ranka and Sheryl and clearly tells Ranka that he isn’t that into her. Next, he addresses Sheryl only to be cut off by pretty much dying (or at least it’s heavily implied). Sheryl screams and passes out after using up the last remaining energy she had. Everything fades to black and viewers see Ranka Lee sitting next to a cryogenically frozen Sheryl. The end.
Apparently viewers are supposed to just assume that the giant bugs that were terrifying humans earlier are pacified with Alto’s self-sacrifice and everything is alright now. The most horrible thing the movie failed to accomplish was to finally have Alto choose between the two women. For my own sanity, I like to think that he was going to choose Sheryl because Sheryl is way superior to Ranka. The world couldn’t survive a Ranka and Alto ending. What happens to Sheryl though? She was on the verge of losing her voice earlier in the movie and expended her last amount of strength during the final fight, so is she dead or can she just not sing? Or is she dead because she can’t sing anymore? Ranka Lee is a mystery as well. She is somehow related to the giant bug aliens, so will the greater human society accept her or will they continue to love her as a pop idol? So many unanswered questions and fans never get the satisfaction of knowing who Alto chose nor the accompanying romantic scenes that would ultimately follow such a decision. Perhaps the writer’s couldn’t choose or wanted to prevent an all-out brawl between Ranka and Sheryl fans, so they decided to cop-out instead. Cowards.
5. Diabolik Lovers (Diaborikku Rabasu)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: September 16, 2009 – December 9, 2009
I will preface this section by saying that I did not like Diabolik Lovers at all nor did it make me feel comfortable in any way. This is the first series I actively cringed when the main character repeatedly stated the word, “No” and was violated anyway. The ending was even more enraging. The entire story circulates on the main character’s mysterious foster father sending her off to a mansion of hot vampires to be a sacrificial bride. Once she realizes her situation, she is tortured by thoughts of why her father would do this to her. She finds a diary about her father in a secret room, and it’s left at that. Out of nowhere, the dead mother of three of the hot vampires takes control of her body with help from an Uncle that appears out of nowhere. She stabs herself with a silver dagger in order to free herself of the dead woman and falls into a coma like state. The entire time she is on the couch recovering from beings stabbed, all the men sit around and talk of her awakening process. Only one guy thinks to give her a potion to drive the dead spirit out of her forever. She awakes and is suddenly a vampire and NOW everyone cares what she has to say.
The entire series leading up to this point, she was treated as a food source and something to play with, but when their fun is threatened they all of a sudden care. In addition to this, they reveal that her father knew nothing of what she was experience which is rather hard to believe when they have one of his diaries in the household. One of the last scenes also shows the evil mother locked up inside a room with no hopes of escape, but if she is a spirit and not alive how is this possible? Now that the main character is a vampire, will she breed with the other men to create baby vampires? If they are undead how do they have babies and do they age at all? What is even going ON?! I suppose the only way to find out is to play the otome games the show was based from, but they are currently only in Japanese. English speakers are out of luck.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 3, 2013 – June 26, 2013
On the whole, Karneval is atrocious. The manga, which is ongoing, may be the best thing since sliced bread, but viewers who are unfamiliar with the manga will never know this. The story is confusing and hard to follow and new characters are introduced almost every episode, not giving ample time to understand who they are or why they are involved. The series does a poor job of explaining who exactly the main character is as well and so the series ends with an equally garbled and confusing ending which leaves the characters back where they started from. During the last episode, everyone is involved in infiltrating their enemy’s secret headquarters. Each character has their own individual fight, and the villain gets away. The good guys also gain no valuable information from this raid as well. This is the end. Done. No more.
Before this, one of the characters who seemed to be the main one in the first 3 episodes name Nai is discovered to actually be some ancient, magical animal that everyone wants to get a hold of and nothing is ever elaborated past this point. The mansion being raided in the last episode is thought to have housed the only person he remembers from his past, who also most likely was using him for something. The story fails to go further into detail about these animals or the goals and aims of the shadowy organization dead set on obtaining Nai. The viewer doesn’t know anything more than what they know at the beginning of the series.
3. Umineko: When They Cry (Umineko no Naku Koro Ni)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2, 2009 – December 24, 2009
With the ultimate success of the Higurashi series, it was only natural to adapt the other visual novel series from the same creator into an anime. Umineko held promise and may Higurashi fans had high hopes. The story was engaging and they characters were extremely likable. The anime was almost reminiscent of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games that were quite popular around the same timeframe. Despite its amazing story and setting, the ending was a horrible failure. Beatrice and Battler continue their battle of truths after Battler’s soul is revived by Ange revealing that she is his sister.
Ange dies for breaking the promise of keeping her identity secret and as a result, Battler is out to win. Kinzo’s spirit appears once again and attempts to aid Beatrice, but Battler quickly ends the battle by stating in blue that Kinzo was never alive at the beginning of the fourth game and on. Beatrice confirms in red that there have been no more than seventeen people on the island at the beginning of the games. Battler goes on to explain each game using human means which ultimately leaves one final riddle to answer. Beatrice asks, “Who am I?” and Battler begins to unwind the mystery before Bernkastel and Lambdadelta decide to cut him off. They both want Beatrice to continue with her game forever as a form of torture.
The most aggravating part of the ending is the fact that the audience STILL does not know who Beatrice is. The story has been gearing up and is finally about to reach its climax, but then tricks viewers and rips everything away. The circle of logic is doomed to repeat itself forever. It’s a horrible ending that leaves viewers angry for wasting time attempting to solve all of the mysteries presented and gaining no reward for doing so. The headaches induced by finishing a series with no resolution are a real thing. The ending even left more questions to answer once it was finished. Mysteries that are never solved leave a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.
2. Berserk (Beruseruku)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: October 7, 1997 – March 31, 1998
Based on the manga of the same name, Berserk is the favorite son of the anime world that everyone loves to hate. After watching Guts and Griffith’s relationship grow, Griffith is enveloped in jealousy after being severely wounded and tortured. Griffith ultimately decides to turn his back on Guts and his companions in order to seek power as a demon. His former friends now serve as blood sacrifices for his cause and are quickly killed and eaten one by one.
Guts remains the last man standing when Casca is revealed to him naked. Guts makes an attempt to go to her, but is bitten and held by his arm. The blood egg cracks open and Griffith, now a demon, emerges only to rape Casca. In a desperate act to save Casca, Guts cuts his own arm off, but is immediately held down by tentacles as he is forced to watch Griffith finish the job. The credits then roll and the final episode ends.
The worst part about Berserk is the fact that after the story final makes its way into the meat of the story and Griffith emerges as the enemy, the story ends. The whole anime feels fit to be a prologue to some epic tale of revenge, but viewers are cut off at the immediate climax. Whenever I encounter someone who has recently seen Berserk I often am asked the question, “Was that it?! Tell me there is an ending.” I have to sadly shake my head and deliver the bad news. Though now at least there are glimmers of hope in the new movies, though fans had to wait for fifteen years.
1. Neon Genesis Evangelion (Shin Seiki Ebangerion)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: October 4, 1995 – March 27, 1996
Everyone has heard of Evangelion even if they haven’t watched it. Evangelion is a classic and changed the way people viewed animation for a very long time, but the ending is indescribable. Normally a summary of the last episode would be placed here, but the last three episodes are indescribable. The last scene has Shinji sitting in a chair surrounded by the entire cast throughout the series clapping.
Viewers often wonder if they have gone insane once the series has been finished. Hideaki, the director, even received death threats via mail from fans demanding a real ending. He answered their cries with the movie Death and Rebirth, which left fans fuming even more. If you ever have the pleasure of watching this amazing series, you should just forget about the ending or you may end up bursting a vain in your forehead.
Nothing leaves a salty taste in a viewer’s mouth after devoting days of their lives to marathoning a particularly interesting series only to be left cold and alone in the end with no semblance of salvation in sight. The best thing to do in most cases is to turn to the source material, but if all else fails there is always fan-fiction.