Created By: MarkIV on March 2, 2013 Last Edited By: MarkIV on March 14, 2013

Abrupt Ending

The plot is speeding along merrily and BAM! Ending.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
An ending that gives little or no warning of its approach. There are three types:
  • Mild: It's obvious that it's the end is coming, but it still feels very sudden e.g. due to a fast plot pace. This only applies before the last episode/level.
  • Intermediate: Genre Savvy viewers/players can tell the ending is coming, but others will feel the impact.
  • Harsh: There is no warning whatsoever that the ending is coming until the last level, fight or scene.

Generally, this is a comic/webcomic, TV and Video Game trope as you usually can't tell how long the plot will last in these media. Can overlap with Left Hanging or Gecko Ending, depending on how the ending is written.

As this is an Ending Trope, spoilers will be unmarked.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • The ending to Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: the villain has been defeated, the city restored, the MacGuffin explained... and BAM! The villain is still alive, one of the main characters was evil all along, kills the other by chopping her into hundreds of pieces, and announces the only way to get her back is to reunite the pieces. The remaining heroes set out to do just that, along with the villain's mooks. Many fans consider it discontinuity, as it's basically a Sequel Hook for a sequel that won't happen.
  • Ranma 1/2 is an Intermediate as the preview of the final episode in the penultimate episode uses really sad music and the episode title hints at its nature, "Someday, Somehow". This also qualifies for Left Hanging.

Comic Books

Film
  • Birdemic has the protagonists being attacked by vultures... again, only for a flock of doves to arrive and make the eagles leave. The characters then watch all the birds fly away while triumphant music plays. No reason is given for why this is a victory. End of movie.

Literature
  • Tha´s of Athens cuts to the epilogue rather abruptly, when the eponymous heroine disembarks in Ouranopolis and her later life is only alluded to. The probable explanation is that the author wrapped up the novel as quickly as he could before succumbing to illness--he died later the same year it was published.

Live-Action TV

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Terror Island is set in motion when roommates Sid and Stephen each refuse to buy groceries, and each launches increasingly Zany Schemes to force the other to buy groceries. The comic ends when Sid and Stephen resolve the latest story arc by calling off their squabble and buying groceries together. The grocery purchase happens entirely off-screen and without any foreshadowing--it simply gets announced by Sid and Stephen out of the blue in the final page.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • March 2, 2013
    Koveras
    The title attracts misuse as endings that involve actual automobile collisions.
  • March 2, 2013
    MarkIV
    Feel free to suggest a better title then.
  • March 2, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Literal example: Multiple Troma movies have a running gag where the last scene in the move is a car-crashing scene originally shot for Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., re-used anytime the movie ends with a character driving a car.
  • March 2, 2013
    Noaqiyeum
    ...isn't this No Ending?
  • March 3, 2013
    MarkIV
    This isn't No Ending as there is actually an ending.
  • March 3, 2013
    thewriter
    Can't you just call this Abrupt Ending or Sudden Ending?
  • March 3, 2013
    Koveras
    How exactly is DEHR an example? It's pretty clear that the game will end soon after rescuing Dr. Reed, because that has been the driving point of the entire story.

    • Thais Of Athens cuts to the epilogue rather abruptly, when the eponymous heroine disembarks in Ouranopolis and her later life is only alluded to. The probable explanation is that the author wrapped up the novel as quickly as he could before succumbing to illness--he died later the same year it was published.
  • March 3, 2013
    Rotpar
    I fail to see how DEHR comes to a sudden end. Also, what Unexpected Gameplay Change?
  • March 5, 2013
    MarkIV
    Koveras, the plot of the original DE was much more complex, so veterans could be forgiven for expecting more. Rotpar, you go from fighting elite guards to zombie-like, crazed civvies; that's a big change.
  • March 5, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Sopranos infamously ended the entire series on a blackout in the middle of a sent
  • March 6, 2013
    TMOverbeck
    • One episode of Monty Pythons Flying Circus has the lead character in the "End Of Show Department" at a department store. After going through different ways to end the story, the clerk goes, "Well, how about a sudden ending?" Blackout.
  • March 6, 2013
    thewriter
    The Sopranos's example belongs under No Ending.
  • March 11, 2013
    MarkIV
    There must be more examples than this...
  • March 11, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • Birdemic has the protagonists being attacked by vultures... again, only for a flock of doves to arrive and make the eagles leave. The characters then watch all the birds fly away while triumphant music plays. No reason is given for why this is a victory. End of movie.
    • Marathon has the player ally with the S'pht and push back the bad guys. Then Durandal tells you that he's going to fly away on the Pfhor ship, and just after you talk one last time to Leela the game abruptly ends.
  • March 11, 2013
    arromdee
    See also Gecko Ending.
  • March 13, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Terror Island is set in motion when roommates Sid and Stephen each refuse to buy groceries, and each launches increasingly Zany Schemes to force the other to buy groceries. The comic ends when Sid and Stephen resolve the latest story arc by calling off their squabble and buying groceries together. The grocery purchase happens entirely off-screen and without any foreshadowing--it simply gets announced by Sid and Stephen out of the blue in the final page.
  • March 13, 2013
    Chabal2
    The ending to Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt: the villain has been defeated, the city restored, the Mac Guffin explained... and BAM! The villain is still alive, one of the main characters was evil all along, kills the other by chopping her into hundreds of pieces, and announces the only way to get her back is to reunite the pieces. The remaining heroes set out to do just that, along with the villain's mooks. Many fans consider it discontinuity, as it's basically a Sequel Hook for a sequel that won't happen.

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