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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.