"An era may be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted."There was a time our lives and the world were new and full of wonder, when innocence and curiosity led people to explore, trust each other plainly, make amazing discoveries, invent amazing technologies, or simply make awe inspiring works of art. And then it ended. It can be because we, or the world we are born into, have grown up. It seems smaller by comparison, understandable; no longer mysterious, full of adventure and romance. Children can't grow up to be famous explorers if there are no new continents to explore (space or the deep sea floor being expensive future exceptions), and some works of art made with the expertise of long dead masters can never be truly replicated, whether sword or song. This is what the End Of An Age feels like: tragic, cynical and full of loss. There are many plots and stories that evoke this trope to add the bitter in a Bittersweet Ending, or less commonly as something to be fought against in order to preserve the Age or at least the relics thereof.
- An Adventurer Archaeologist inspired by stories of The Time of Myths and other bygone wonders may make it their life's work to prove it existed, and the story becomes a quest for a MacGuffin or other unique relic of the time.
- If it's a Coming-of-Age Story, it can be children trying to live one last adventure before growing up because Growing Up Sucks, or even trying to grow up... only to discover they've lost something in the process.
- Or most heart-wrenching of all, destroying said Age or its relics to keep them out of dangerous hands, perhaps even having to do so simply to survive.
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Anime and Manga
- There are a handful of Axis Powers Hetalia fics that picture Nations at either the end of the world or their own "lifetimes." Whether it's peaceful, violent or tragic depends on the writer. But let's just say that they take it well...
- Sometimes, this can include the end of a particular era of their history. Such as the French Revolution or the final years of Austria-Hungary.
- In canon, England reflects on the loss of the British Empire, and France thinks about Joan of Arc and Napoleon as he's being defeated by Germany in WWII.
- The Big O's Paradigm City is a unique example in that the Golden Age was forcibly suppressed and all memories of that time were erased, thereby skipping the long decline. The result is a grungy, post-apocalyptic noir New York City in which the Lost Technology is memories and the occasional Black Box pops up in the form of giant robots, artificial stars, and advanced androids.
- Season 1 was quite possibly the last TV anime to be drawn on cels and transferred to film.
- Fairy Tail has this with the Tartaros arc. Nearly the entire Magic Council was assassinated, Acnologia kills Igneel, the other dragons are revealed to have already been killed by Acnologia, Zeref destroys Mard Geer permanently and makes off with the Book of E.N.D., the Fairy Tail guild hall, along with a good portion of Magnolia Town, was wrecked in the struggle and Makarov disbands the guild at the end of the arc.
- As a fantasy historical story near the end of the Edo period, Hakuouki depicts the end of the age of The Shinsengumi and of the Japanese warrior as Westernization and its advancing weaponry are becoming more prevalent and the characters learn to cope and adapt to it.
- The end of Legend of Galactic Heroes is the end of one era of human history.
- Throughout Lone Wolf and Cub, it's both expressed and strongly implied that Feudal Japan is about to come crashing down and that Itto is "the Last True Bushi."
- Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force shows the start of the end of the magic age for Lyrical Nanoha, with the Eclipse having Anti-Magic strong enough to actually make magic obsolete and force the (re)introduction of physical weapons, unlike StrikerS where the heroines could simply power through it. However, the sheer amount of Fanon Discontinuity raises the question of whether this series will stay canonical, especially given its sudden "hiatus".
- Many of the works by Miyazaki evoke this trope (Castle in the Sky, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke to name just three).
- My Hero Academia: This is what happens after the climactic battle between All Might and All for One. Although All for One was left defeated and subsequently imprisoned, the battle used up the last remaining "embers" of One for All that allowed All Might to remain a hero. Recognized throughout the world as the Number One Hero and The Symbol of Peace, it was his presence that inspired hope in the populace and served as a warning to villains. With his retirement, villains that had been driven into the shadows start coming out of the woodwork to strike out at a world that has lost its greatest protector. Other heroes have recognized this with the noted rise in crime rates being a sign of everything that All Might built is slowly crumbling down.
- In Natsume's Book of Friends, many spirits are departing and/or becoming weaker as less and less humans believe in them. An example is when one shrine god vanishes entirely when his last worshiper dies.
- Humanity is going through this in Neon Genesis Evangelion. SEELE is trying to bring it to an end on purpose.
- One Piece. Several characters have different views of what exactly this "New Age" brought on with the death of Whitebeard at the end of the War of the Best, confirming the existence of the One Piece and therefore ushering a new wave of pirates to sea is about, mostly thinking of a world in the verge of chaos or an age where pirates no longer chase their dreams. For example, the Marines seem to think of it as an age where pirates are more ruthless than ever, whereas Trafalgar Law thinks of it as an age where the Marines' days are numbered, and X Drake thinking this is a new age for the Marines as well upon Akainu becoming Fleet Admiral and they receiving unprecedented power by the World Government. Eustass Kid seems to hold the belief that pirates are in an Evil Power Vacuum, dog-piling over each other to get at One Piece — not so much about being the Pirate King anymore. Bellamy believes this "New Age" is an age without dreams. And Blackbeard? He thinks of it as the age of his own world domination.
- Toriko has a chapter aptly named "End of an Age", because Midora causes so much destruction to the Human World that 100 nations are unable to function properly, as the ecosystems are destroyed and, in turn a shortage of ingredients breaks in. Truly the end of the Gourmet Age. In turn, due to this shortage, IGO creates Food Pills to try to apease the hunger, because the only way to get ingredients is to go to Gourmet World.
- Sailor Moon states that an unidentified length of time ago, the entire Solar System was ruled in peace by The Moon and its queen, and every planet was a utopia, in an era known as the Silver Millennium. Now, though, every planet but Earth is dead. (Sailor Moon does promise via Time Travel, though, that the future will be bright — and based in Tokyo.)
- Scrapped Princess. Its entire premise revolves around an Ancient Conspiracy to restore the world from its (both physical and metaphorical) cage.
- In Sgt. Frog, a flashback chapter revealed that shortly before Dororo reunited with his platoon mates, the denizens of the ninja village he had been living with (including his friend Koyuki) were forced to re-integrate with normal Japanese society after Japan's "department of ninjutsu" was disbanded.
- Holo of Spice and Wolf decides to leave the villagers she helped because they say that they don't need a harvest god anymore. While she initially helped them by making the crops grow, she occasionally had to do the opposite to prevent the growing village from being struck by the Tragedy of the Commons, which made them resent her. In the first episode, before she leaves, we see her portrayed in the village harvest festivities as an oppressive force and a thief instead of as a wise benefactor.
- In the original light novels that progress past where the anime ends, this trope is made more explicit as Lawrence and Holo travel further northward towards her home. The old gods of nature that reigned before the rise of humans have been killed or forced to flee their homes by the Moon-Hunting Bear, the survivors quietly blending into human society. Even Holo admits late into the series that her kind's era is fading, though that doesn't mean she can't find a new life with Lawrence.
- The aliens of Tokyo Mew Mew see Earth as exactly this due to pollution.
- Partially pollution, and partially because these "aliens" are actually the original inhabitants of the planet, and want to know what the hell we humans are doing bumming around in their property.
- ∀ Gundam has this as its distant backstory. They even have a name for it: The Black History. That backstory happens to be the entire Gundam franchise up to that point; Word of God adds in most later Gundam series to backstory.
- Urusei Yatsura had this in the third movie "Remember My Love". When Lum is kidnapped, all of the Oni leave Earth to find her. Eventually the character's lives return to those of normal teenagers; time even becomes unstuck and our characters advanced to 12th Grade. This is all wiped out, and the original timeline restored by the end of the movie.
- Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou shows the "age of the calm evening" before "the night of humanity". This is paralleled in Alpha's own development.
- In Attack on Titan, the country Marley had previously exerted dominance over most of the world through its use of Titans in warfare for a long time. But now, the rest of the world is developing technology strong enough to combat Titans and even defeat them. So the current priority for Marley is to try to find a way to regain their dominance.
- In a broader sense certain comic books are said to bring about the end of an age, Kingdom Come for instance is often cited as the end of the dark ages of comics.
- Even more common is to describe "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" (Amazing Spider-Man #121) as the story that marked the end of the Silver Age and the beginning of the Bronze Age of comic books.
- Batman #400 is the last story of the pre-Crisis Batman, and ends with: "And so the night of resurrection nears its end, but when next he strides forth from this dark womb of bats... it all begins anew. 'Hello again. Beware... forever.'"
- Crisis on Infinite Earths is about the end of the multiverse and the birth of the universe. Several other comics came out at the same time dealing with each hero's personal End of an Age.
- Dracula vs. King Arthur ends with the Knights of the Round Table dead and Camelot in ruins after the war with Dracula. Arthur knew well before going into battle this was going to happen. And as a final request, rather then rebuilding the kingdom, that Excalibur and the Holy Grail be returned to the Lady of the Lake in hopes of his kingdom's subjects making their own future.
- In Earth 2, after Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman died fighting off the parademon invasion, the world considers the "Age of Wonders" to be over. Five years later, superheroes start to appear again.
- Gold Digger — magic and magic users still exist but the age of magic is over and most magical beings retreated to other realms some time ago.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck has this as an overarching theme. As Scrooge travels and learns from everyone he meets throughout the latter part of the 19th century, he is a witness to the end of the Frontier-era. The age of the riverboats end as the railroads take their place, the cattle barons time come to an end as the Great Plains are divided up into homesteads, the great gold rushes are at an end, and the Twilight of the Old West finally occurs in 1890, as the frontier is officially closed, America has been settled, and the great names of yesteryear passes into legend. Finally, Scrooge becomes part of legend himself as he participates in the last gold rush in Klondike, finally striking it rich at the top of the world.
- One of the key themes at the heart of Batman: "The Long Halloween" is the mob and traditional criminals in general having to come to terms with their own increasing impotence as the age of flamboyant supercrime begins.
- This is also the idea behind the Malibuverse comics. The superheros were Human Popsicles from the last "golden age" of men. Or demons. By the way, we are the tenth generation, while they were the ninth.
- By the time The Just #1 begins, the legacies of famous superheroes have not seen any real battles since the previous generation had put an end to war and crime, instead living their lives as celebrities. However, after years of complacency, Earth-16's era of peace comes to an end with the rise of Alexis Luthor.
- Alan Moore's Superman story "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" is about the end of the Silver Age Superman legend and all the myth surrounding him.
- In Dungeon: The Early Years a knight asks if Hyacinthe will avenge his father's death by the traditional way (duel witht he offended party one at a time), Hyacinthe says he will use the modern way (slit everyone's throat while they are sleeping. The knight goes away mourning the end of the romantic era and the chronologically this is the last book of Early years where all the other stories will take place in Dungeon Zenith, where barbarism rules and Hyacinthe becomes a bitter Dungeonkeeper who attracts adventurers to die in his castle.
- Astro City: The Dark Age tracks the effects of the end of the Silver Age on Astro City, as exemplified by the Silver Agent being put on trial and sentenced to death in a cynical ploy to destruct the public from the failed Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.
- The Code Geass fic The First Servant, which takes place after Zero Requiem, chronicles not only the end of one era but also the events leading the end of another. Which involves Empress Nunnally's death and the final downfall of the Britannian Empire.
- The 1983: Doomsday Stories has this trope as one of the overarching themes. The world as we know it ended in 1983, with the remaining Nations doing their best coping with the new one taking its place. On the other hand, it's also treated as a Dawn of an Era: humanity's rebuilding, Survivor-Nations are finding their place in the brave new world and the pre-Doomsday Nations are coming to terms with their ultimate fate.
- In the Pony POV Series, the G2 world is shown to have been a Golden Age of pony civilization, surpassing even the modern day of G4/FIM (according to Luna, the ponies of that period had even landed on the moon, technology that the FIM ponies do not have). We've so far seen from two different perspectives — first from Celestia, and then from the main seven G2 ponies — how this period came crashing down when Discord's brother Destruction basically nuked the planet back to the Dark Ages in order to prevent the G3 world from coming into existence, thereby preventing the errors of that period from causing universal collapse.
- When the four first meet Grunnel in With Strings Attached, he speaks longingly of the good old days when monsters and Tayhil roamed around and the skahs happily slaughtered them. But the skahs were too efficient and killed everything off, and for the last ten years Baravada has been in the grip of the Rusting: there's nothing for the skahs to do any more, no one is breeding (though Grunnel doesn't talk about that), even the populated places are falling apart, and the gods won't do anything about it. The four have to fake being sympathetic, as they are Actual Pacifists and disgusted by Grunnel's joyous descriptions of piles of bodies. And later, they are not at all happy about inadvertently providing the means to reverse the Rusting. Though they do manage to prevent that.
- The subject matter of Eugenesis deals with the end of war on Cybertron, but there's hell to pay first.
- Legend of the Goddesses shows Celestia and Luna's childhood in a village populated entirely by alicorns, and that alicorns possess a Battle Aura which surrounds them at all times. Four hundred years later, for no adequately explained reason, alicorn birth rates have dropped, the males of the race are gone altogether, and so they're integrating with the other pony races, while those who do live no longer have auras, not even Celestia and Luna themselves.
- A New World depicts a Gensokyo where Yukari has long since died. Without her to smuggle human meat from the other side of the barrier, human-youkai relations degrade to a far harsher balance than Reimu could ever have dreamed of, beginning a slow descent into oblivion. Ran and Keine fear this is the start of Gensokyo's death, but Maribel arrives with time to spare to prevent this and begin reversing the stagnating effects. As it turns out, Yukari successfully predicted her death and all ensuing events, and arranged her final trap to usher Gensokyo, Luna, and all of Earth, into the Dawn of an Era.
- In A Spark of Ice and Fire Barristan Selmy and Jon Arryn believe this is the case with the arrival of Agatha Heterodyne. With her inventions of guns and engines (to name a few), Barristan fears that the time of knights and honourable battle is over. While Jon believe's he is simply too old to see the new world the brilliant Spark will create.
Films — Animated
- This is a major theme in The Illusionist (2010) as nobody wants to see stage magicians anymore and nobody believes in magic.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 has this as a theme of the story as the advent of the cannon threatens to make kung fu irrelevant and useless in battle. However, Po averts this spectacularly by discovering an effective kung fu Catch and Return technique to defeat cannon fire, making kung fu still a vital skill in battle that can counter artillery. Furthermore, Po rather casually makes it clear that he can teach his friends this technique, which means it will be spreading throughout China in due time.
- The ending of Song of the Sea. Saorise regains her coat and sings her song, ushering all of Ireland's fair folk across the sea to Tír na nÓg. She also sacrifices her selkie coat to remain on Earth with her human family, taking with it the last remaining bond to the fairy world.
- Cars 3: The NASCAR-style stock racers like McQueen are quickly being sidelined by new GT3/Le Mans-style racers such as Jackson Storm.
Films — Live-Action
- The downfall of New Hollywood is traced to the box-office success of Star Wars and the colossal failure of Heaven's Gate three years later.
- In 13 Assassins, the age of samurai is drawing to a close, which is reflected in the conflicting ideas about justice among the main characters.
- Apocalypto: The Mayan civilization is on its last legs, and the Spaniards arrive to the Americas.
- The Artist is set during the twilight of silent films and the emergence of talkies.
- The lightning strike to the clock tower in Back to the Future arguably represents the beginning of the eventual decline and decay of Hill Valley's town square. Or, in a broader sense, it perhaps symbolizes the end of America's 1950s post-war boom.
- It's largely only subtext in the film, but the novelization of Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf makes it clear that for the Norse people the dawning of the age of Christianity means the end of the age of myths and legends, something which Beowulf greatly resents.
- Boogie Nights deals with end the close-knitted 70s, 80s porn producing subculture and the rise of the open market porn industry. Little Bill, played by William H. Macy, appears in the 70s scenes, frequently complaining about his wife. However, at a New Year's Eve party, ushering in 1980, Little Bill shoots his wife dead, says "Happy New Year" to the shocked partygoers, and then shoots himself in front of them. The scene sets the tone for the grim, uncertain 1980s after the carefree, hedonistic 1970s.
Sam: The town will never be the same. After the Tangiers, the big corporations took it all over. Today, it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior's college money on the poker slots. In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played. Today, it's like checkin' into an airport. And if you order room service, you're lucky if you get it by Thursday. Today, it's all gone. You get a whale show up with four million in a suitcase, and some twenty-five-year-old hotel school kid is gonna want his Social Security Number. After the Teamsters got knocked out of the box, the corporations tore down practically every one of the old casinos. And where did the money come from to rebuild the pyramids? Junk bonds.
- Downfall is about the end of World War 2 for the Germans as the Nazi fantasy world comes literally crashing down on their heads.
- Dragonslayer. The end of magic and dragons, and the start of Christianity.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: ruminates on the twilight of the optimism of the 1960s in America. Johnny Depp says the famous "Wave Speech in voiceover while peering out a window.
- In The Flintstones, Mr. Slate announces the passing of the Stone Age with the invention of concrete.
- Played in Forrest Gump. Many have interpreted Jenny's death from a disease that might be AIDS as being symbolic of the death of the 1960s/1970s counterculture in the early 1980s.
- Freddy vs. Jason can be seen as the end of the era of classic slasher films, being the final canonical film of both the Friday the 13th and A Nightmare On Elmstreet franchises, the last time Robert Englund would play Freddy, and the last entry in the original crop of slasher films before the remakes began.
- Good Bye, Lenin!: The end of East Germany and, more broadly, the end of communism in Europe.
- In the last segment of How the West Was Won ("The Outlaws") there's a running theme that the days of hot-shot gunslingers and train-robbing outlaws are almost at an end, with all the most famous examples of each having died already. The big showdown between Marshal Zeb Rawlings and outlaw Charlie Grant is portrayed as one of the last of its kind as the West loses its wildness.
- The final third of Into the Storm (2009) showcases the post-war period. It has a very melancholic feel to it, displaying the definitive end of the British Empire and the downfall of Winston Churchill and the sort of Imperialistic, larger-than life politician he represents.
- The Last Days of Disco. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- The Last Samurai and The Hidden Blade are both about the end of the samurai age. In The Hidden Blade, an expert in western culture even teaches the samurai how to run in the "western style."
- Nicholas and Alexandra: The film dramatizes the fall of Tsarist Russia. Count Witte describes it in such a way.
Count Witte: None of you will be here when this war ends. Everything we fought for will be lost, everything we've loved will be broken. The victors will be as cursed as the defeated. The world will grow old, and men will wander about, lost in the ruins, and go mad. Tradition, restraint, virtue, they all go. I'm not mourning for myself, but for the people who will come after me, they will live without hope. And all they will have will be guilt, revenge, and terror. And the world will be full of fanatics and trivial fools.
- A recurring motif in Ocean's Thirteen, various characters remark at different points at how the casinos and heists in Las Vegas have changed around them ("You're analog players in a digital world"). The changing of the times also divides the crooks of the setting between the heroic Gentlemen Thieves who abide by the codes, and the villain of the movie, who sees the modern Las Vegas as an excuse to betray it.
- One of the themes of the first Once Upon a Time in China, lamenting the fading of Kung Fu in the face of modern weapons. Particularly exemplified by Anti-Villain Master Yen.
- In Once Upon a Time in China, there is an ever present melancholy throughout all the films that the era of the noble and heroic Chinese Warrior is ending and is paving the way for Westernization and how the characters deal and cope with it.
- All in one film, Pacific Rim covers the end of the Kaiju-free Earth, end of the Jaeger's golden age, and lastly the end of the Kaiju era...perhaps.
- In the Pirates of the Caribbean series, there is an ongoing theme that the end is near for the era of Wooden Ships and Iron Men - an age of freedom and adventure that has been memorialized ever since. Indeed, the series takes place vaguely in an early-to-mid 18th century setting, the very end of The Golden Age of Piracy. The seemingly unstoppable progression of sequels has rendered this theme somewhat awkward and ironic.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Black Pearl is briefly referred to as "the last real pirate threat in the Caribbean".
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Cutler Beckett had a speech about how the world was changing and there would soon no longer be a place for pirates like Jack Sparrow.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Sparrow and Barbossa had a similar conversation; the point gets driven home when they stumble upon the body of the Kraken.
Barbossa: The world used to be a bigger place.
Jack: The world's still the same. There's just... less in it.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides hammers the point home even more so with the Spanish destroying the Fountain of Youth at the end of the movie.
- Pretty Baby depicts the end of Storyville, a Red Light District of New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Roger & Me: The film highlights the end of company towns and the businesses that promised lifetime employment, in favor of a more globalized, greed driven world.
Moore: [narrating] As we neared the end of the twentieth century, the rich were richer, the poor, poorer. And people everywhere now had a lot less lint, thanks to the lint rollers made in my hometown. It was truly the dawn of a new era.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country ends with the final mission of the original Enterprise and her crew. In a way, especially for fans, it was emphatically the end of an era. It also had The Federation finally make peace with their long-time arch-rivals, the Klingons, marking the end of the Cold War era in Real Life.
- The Old Republic in the Star Wars universe, shown in its final stages of decline in the prequels. In the original film (A New Hope), Obi-Wan describes the good old days of the Jedi Knights to Luke.
- Sunset is about both the end of the Old West and the end of silent movies.
- The Hungarian film Sunshine chronicles Hungary's fall from glory, from the upbeat optimism of the Habsburg Monarchy to the bleak and fatalistic 1956 Revolution against the Soviets.
- The Boris Karloff movie Targets, both in terms of plot and production, marks the end of one age of the horror film, and the dawn of a new one.
- James Cameron's Titanic (1997) can arguably be this, especially for the viewpoint of the Present Day Rose.
- The Serbian film Underground is about the dissolution of the united Yugoslavia, which the film mourns. Many critics did not appreciate the film's romanticizing of Tito's communist regime.
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit? links the construction of the Pasadena Freeway to the end of old-timey Los Angeles culture, represented by The Golden Age of Animation come to life. For anyone who knows the history of LA, that was actually somewhat Truth in Television. It's the freeway that was a major factor in the basin's development and subsequent suburban sprawl. However, the freeway was actually built seven years before the film is set, making it strange that the very idea of a "freeway" is presented as a novel concept that everyone but Judge Doom thinks Will Never Catch On. Also, living cartoons never happened.
- The Wild Bunch is set in the Twilight of the Old West, with aging outlaws heading to Mexico and taking on One Last Job.
- Discussed in Yamato. Kamio, being one of the surviving crewmen of the eponymous battleship, has spent the past few decades mired in Survivor Guilt, unable to move on. By recounting his tale to Makiko, he is finally able to acknowledge that the Showa period has come to an end and let go of the past.
- Daughters of the Dust: Peazant family matriarch Nana fears that in leaving the island, her family will forget its Gullah roots and become assimilated.
- Marcel Proust's A la recherche de temps perdu is set against the backdrop of the decline of the French aristocracy and the corresponding rise of the middle class between the 1870s and 1920s.
- The Banned and the Banished sets one of these up, then argues that it's actually a good thing, because What Measure Is a Non-Super? is no longer in effect.
- According to J. R. R. Tolkien, this is the entire point of Beowulf: after the age of heroes comes to an end, the Geats face a dark and uncertain future.
- Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End follows this form, with two twists: the setting is science fiction, not fantasy and the present-day real-world is construed to be the Golden Age, relative to a (future) alien invasion.
- David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series takes place in the last years of the world-spanning Han Empire. One of the main protagonists has made it his life's calling to forestall the end.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, ancient civilizations (such as Atlantis) had risen and fallen. Evil Sorcerers frequently find their magic from olden days.
- The Dark Tower: "The world moved on."
- All-World, where Roland lives and most of the action takes place, was once dominated by magic, which was used to power the twelve Beams which hold the world together. The setting's Precursors eventually replaced the magic with technology, and when they died out in nuclear war, the machines began to break down, causing the world to fall apart at the seams, both literally and metaphysically.
- John's reign is the downfall of the immortal land Pentexore in Dirge for Prester John.
- Sourcery might be considered the last gasp of the age of, well, sourcery. Magic, and the humans who wield it, have been considerably scaled down since then, making things less wondrous but a hell of a lot safer. The events of Sourcery also killed off many of the most powerful and dangerous wizards which lead to Ridcully becoming Archchancellor and ending the age of Klingon Promotion among the wizards. The wizards become more laid back, less aggressive and more scholarly wizards were able to rise to positions of power.
- Men at Arms started the transformation of the City Watch into a modern police force and ended the age of the police being marginalized by the guilds, palace guards or the army. Old school coppers like Colon and Nobby don't really fit into it anymore and are nostalgic about how things used to be.
- Interesting Times features the last gasp of Cohen the Barbarian and his band of geriatric barbarian heroes - a literally dying breed of men on the Disc whose days are soon to be ended by encroaching civilization, and the fact that they've been pretty much everywhere on the Disc anyway. The Silver Horde elect to go out with a very big bang, first here and in the loose "sequel", The Last Hero.
- Jingo and Going Postal: as incidental detail in both books, the ferocious and savage non-human species called the Gnolls, who like rogue Apache Indians terrorised the overland trade routes through the wilderness in Equal Rites, are seen to capitulate to realpolitik and give themselves up to encroaching civilization, like reservation Indians in 1890. Jingo sees their debased remnant entering Ankh-Morpork to take up the bottom rung on the social ladder, as scavengers and rubbish-pickers. In Going Postal there is a strong hint, from the coachmen who are relieved the former hunting grounds of the Gnolls are suddenly so empty, that the last wild gnolls were victims of a sudden and mysterious genocide akin to the defeat of the Native Americans.
And we never knew what caused it, Mr Lipwig.
- Unseen Academicals ended the old, very brutal way of playing football and many of the old movers-and-shakers are not happy with it.
- The short story "Troll Bridge" is basically about Cohen and Chert being the last gasps of bold warriors who kill things without asking many questions, and trolls who live under bridges and eat people until the aforementioned bold warrior kills them. The Disc is mostly about what happens to a Heroic Fantasy world afterwards.
- In Dragonlance this actually happens twice. Once after the Cataclysm, when all of the gods(except for the Gods of Magic) withdraw their presence from Krynn, taking with them Priestly magic. Wizardly magic is still around, but Wizards try and keep a low-profile due to persecution. All of Krynn enters a dark age that takes three centuries to recover from. The gods return during the War of the Lance. It happens again after the Chaos War, with the gods going away except for Takhisis due to her stealing away the world. All magic is gone from the world this time around, but it only takes about five years for Mysticism(which is akin to Priestly magic, except it relies on the casters faith in themselves) to be discovered and Primal Sorcery(actually the oldest type of magic, akin to Wizardly magic) is re-discovered fifteen years or so later.
- Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East and Book of Swords trilogies both end this way. At the end of Empire, Ardneh undoes the Change, restoring the power of science and technology, and sending the power of magic into a (very) slow retreat. At the end of the Book of Swords, the gods die.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ruminates on the twilight of the optimism of the 1960s in America. See: the famous "Wave Speech."
- In The Gods Are Bastards, the end of the Age of Adventures — and the various characters' and organizations' reactions to it — is a running theme of the story and a driving force behind much of the plot.
- The book Gone with the Wind deals with this directly. Ashley tells Scarlett that following the collapse of the Confederacy, the former cottonbelt aristocrats are living a day-to-day götterdämmerung.
- In A Harvest of War firearms make their first appearance in Draeze, the urban setting of the novel, ending the pre-gunpowder era.
- In How to Train Your Dragon it's hinted by the older Hiccup narrating that the end of the the time of Viking heroes, as well as the disappearance of the dragons, will be brought on by his younger self.
- Julian takes place as the old Hellenistic paganism dies out, to be replaced by Christianity despite the best efforts of Julian and later Libanius.
- At least half the stories relating to Arthurian mythology, including the musical Camelot and T.H. White's book The Once and Future King, focus on how swell the age of Camelot was and how much it sucks that it's over.
- Tolkien's Legendarium:
- The Lord of the Rings is literally set at the end of the Third Age, with the last of the High Elves leaving for the land of the godlike archangels (Valar). This is an ongoing process, with unnumbered years where the Valar coexisted directly with Middle-Earth, three Ages of ascendance for the elves, and then a slow dimming away, with Middle-Earth eventually becoming the world we know today. These are called the Ages of the Children of Ilúvatar, and the Fourth Age is the first Age of Man. As such it is both Götterdämmerung (for the First and Second Ages) and The Magic Goes Away (for the Third).
- This trope is the heart and soul of The Silmarillion, which details the history of Tolkien's universe from the beginning of time up until the events of Lord of the Rings. Each Age of the world ended with the irretrievable loss of some precious entity or artifact and the overall image is of a world that "grows ever colder" (in Gandalf's words). So for example, the First Age ended with the War of Wrath where Morgoth was defeated in a titanic battle and finally imprisoned by the Valar, but not before most of Beleriand is destroyed and two of the three Silmarils, the last unpoisoned light on Earth, were lost forever.
- The Gondorians suffered from this after the time of the "Ship-Kings." Their great, mighty nation dwindled away as a kingless state. Arnor on the other hand never recovered from their losses in the War of the Last Alliance, and Isildur's death a few years later.
- Guy Gavriel Kay does this twice, in both The Lions of Al-Rassan, and The Last Light of the Sun. The former deals with the end of Moorish Spain, and the latter with the last Viking raids on England. Both are very nostalgically written, and capture the uncertainty and sadness that comes with the end of something grand, be it good or bad.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon laments the gradual inaccessibility of Avalon - the spiritual center of pagan Britain — as the Goddess-worshipping religion is superseded by Christianity within the lifetime of its last priestess, Morgaine.
- Part of C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia is that only children may enter it, so as the cast ages they become excluded from coming back.
- Jack Kerouac's On the Road uses this trope symbolically when Sal finally settles with his wife and leads a peaceful life, leaving Dean, the embodiment of his reckless youth, to wander behind.
- The Revelation Space universe created by Alastair Reynolds had the Belle Epoque which came to an abrupt end with the Melding Plague which destroyed all nanotechnology. In one moving scene the protagonist is traveling in a train to Chasm City when an automated holographic display activates, showing the city in its former glory. The local residents just stare straight ahead, doing their best to ignore it.
- The novelization of Revenge of the Sith, which is generally considered to be very, very good, brings up the concept in its introduction, which gives brief rundown on the situation of the Republic as it stands, how important Anakin and Obi-Wan are to it, and then finishes with a single sentence:
Though this is the end of the age of heroes, it has saved its best for last.
- Shannara has this. First came the age of the faeries, featuring various magical nature spirits, which ended in apocalypse. Second was the modern, technological age, which also ended in apocalypse. The third, current age is one mainly of magic, although the lost technology from the past shows up occasionally, and the most recent books have solar powered airships. That is, sailing ships that use sunlight focused through crystals to levitate and billow the sail.
- Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series includes an effectively infinite number of these, including one explicitly described, and a second implied at the end. The series also combines this with the Dawn of an Era: new Talents of the Power are being discovered, lost ones are being found anew, vast advances in technology are being made. The present Age is ending; a new one is beginning. One character even lampshades it upon seeing a demonstration of the world's first firearm, saying: "The world just changed in a very big way."
- Orkneyinga Saga: The summer after the death of Svein Asleifarson on what was supposed to be his last viking expedition, his sons Olaf and Andres set up partition walls in Svein's great drinking hall at Gairsay. This marks the end of Viking Age customs, as people other than kings and jarls do no longer go raiding and have no longer need of drinking halls.
- In Wolf Hall, Cromwell contemplates the end of England's age of chivalry, which he doesn't consider to be such a bad thing. He himself has argued against costly wars where the King leads his army, the banking houses of Florence and Antwerp are starting to be the ones with real power in Europe, and most displays of chivalry are now confined to tourneys and the tilting yard. This is particularly evident when the Earl of Northumberland says he can do what he likes because of his army, Cromwell threatens to take that army right from under him by having the man's creditors call in his debts all at once, and the threat works.
- The first book of The Traitor Son Cycle definitely has this feel - the Wild, once far beyond the Wall, is now commonplace within Man-controlled territories, the the once-powerful Morean Empire is growing bankrupt, and the battle of Lissen Carak, which would be little more than a skirmish just twenty years ago, is considered the most important conflict of this generation. Over time, however, as the heroes make progress, it becomes less of an end of an era, and more a beginning of a new, possibly better one.
- Wet Desert: Tracking Down a Terrorist on the Colorado River: Upon having his proposal for a dam on the Snake River rejected by the bureau, Grant realized that the era of dam building in the United States was over and no new dam projects would be built.
- Kings of the Wyld: With the monster population down and the world safe, gone are the days where a few strong fighters could wander into a nearby forest, kill a bunch of monsters, and get a name for themselves. Now most of the fighting is done in arenas, and the pageantry of the mercenaries has been cranked up until the knob falls off. Gabe's Rousing Speech at the end points out that the world is obviously not saved, since there's a giant horde attacking Castia.
- Halfway through the Hell of The Divine Comedy, the decline of humanity throughout the ages is visualized by a giant statue of crying old man. The tears are not water, but blood, and they don't come from the statue's eyes, but from it's many cracks. Looking at the statue's golden head, one would hardly be able to notice the tears, but looking down, the cracks in the statue become more and more pervasive as the statue's gold turns to silver, which turns to bronze, and then to iron, and finally to broken clay. From the tears of this crumbling monument to civilization comes the four rivers of Hell, which come together at the Devil's pit.
- In the Sir Apropos of Nothing book The Woad to Wuin, part of Hecate's We Can Rule Together offer is the threat that if she fails, the world will sink from an age of magic, heroes, gods, and destiny into an age that's nothing but mundane. Since Apropos is a Cosmic Plaything who's suffered a lot of pain from all those things, he turns her down in the hope that a mundane world will be safer all around.
Live Action TV
- While there were already a few on America's Next Top Model, the 21st cycle brought gender inclusion full circle: the highest-ranking female contestant would finish fourth. Three men would go on to battle it out for the title.
- Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda exists in a time where the great civilization known as the Commonwealth had fallen. Cynically, attempts to recreate it have so far simply resulted in corruption of power.
- Babylon 5 uses this lightly at the end of the Shadow War. While it emphasizes the new beginning for the younger races, there are mentions that with the passing of the Old Ones the universe has lost some of its mystery and wonder.
- Most of the Powers That Be, and even the demons in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, are tired, and of mixed blood with humans. The True Demons left long ago. Angel actually managed to interject a sense of sadness that this had happened with the character of Illyria, an Old One (the gods among the True Demons) in a Fish out of Temporal Water role.
- Cranford chronicles the end of the agricultural age in England and the coming of the Industrial Revolution, as symbolised by the railroad. Elizabeth Gaskell, who wrote the three novels the TV series was based on, also wrote a nonfiction book about this transition, called The Last Generation in England; material from this was also used for the show.
- The last episode of Dinosaurs brings this theme home after suggestively dancing around it for most of the series.
Earl: Dinosaurs have been on this Earth for 150 millions years, and it's not like we're going to just... disappear.
- The destruction of Zordon in Power Rangers in Space symbolizes this theme.
- Revolution takes place 15 years after the Blackout stopped electricity from working and ended human civilization as we know it. The events of the series mark the end of the post-Blackout scavenger period where the desperate survivors tried to build a new life for themselves in a world without electricity. The young people coming of age barely remember the pre-Blackout world and new nations have formed on the ruins of the old USA.
- The murder of Stringer Bell and arrest of Avon Barksdale in The Wire marks a major changing point in the story arc. Mainly, it kickstarts the ascension of Marlo Stanfield's gang.
- The typically much darker second series of each generation in Skins is pretty much this for the end of the age of teenage rebellion and innocence and the beginning of adulthood and responsibility. The Gen 1 finale rammed it home with the group's separation, while Gen 2 wove it through the series and addressed it on a more individual level.
- Stargate SG-1: The Stargate system is a leftover from a much older galactic civilization. Most of the dominant alien races barely understand the technology they use, and the ones who do are dying or gone. This is a type 2, as Terran humanity is implied to have potential equal to or greater than the old powers, but things will probably still keep declining for a while.
- The Federation in Star Trek is somewhat sickly by the end of Deep Space Nine. One of the villains in Star Trek: Insurrection even comments that the Borg and the Dominion attacked because they knew the Federation was decaying; however, this may just be the rantings of a Nietzsche Wannabe.
- Other episodes show that the Federation continues to expand and thrive centuries into the future, including having the Klingons join.
- Important to note Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was intended originally to be a Star Trek Series set long after the fall of an even greater Federation than reached at the end of Deep Space Nine, where the Klingons took the places of the Nietzscheans. Explains a few things.
- Upstairs Downstairs depicts, through the changes in the Bellamy household, Victorian England slowly yielding to modern Britain (with the Revival guiding the following household to the end of the pre-WWII and Cold War era). Downton Abbey does the same with the Crawley household.
- The Blue Öyster Cult anthem Golden Age of Leather is about the last stand of old unrepentant Hell's Angels for whom the world has got too small, who choose to go out and die in a blaze of glory:
There passed from man to man/A wanton child, too dead to care,/ That each would find his pleasure as he might;/For that fantastic night was billed/As nothing less than the end of an age,/ A last crusade, a final outrage...
- Puff the Magic Dragon is about the end of childhood innocence and imagination, not pot.
- Ice-T's "Gotta Lotta Love" is about the Watts Truce ushering in an age of peace.
Woke up the other morning. I heard a rumor. They said the gang wars was over...
- The song "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles, which relates to the replacement of Radio as the national medium. In an interesting side note the music video was the first one to ever be played on MTV. In producer/composer Trevor Horn's own words, he felt that "an era was about to pass".
- Don Henley's "End of the Innocence" and "Boys of Summer".
- The Bruce Springsteen song The River is about a man who steadily has to give up his dreams and face the realities and responsibilities of life, with the eponymous river symbolic of those dreams.
But I remember us riding in my brother's car,/ Her body tan and wet down at the reservoir/ At night on them banks I'd lie awake and pull her close just to feel each breath she'd take./ Now those memories come back to haunt me/ They haunt me like a curse/ Is a dream a lie if it don't come true?/ Or is it something worse?
- The Golden Age of Hip Hop starting around the very late nineties into the early oughties.
- Kurt Cobain's suicide is considered to have hastened the end of the Grunge era. (Generally speaking, 1996 was the last year of grunge.)
- The rise of Punk Rock was the beginning of the end of Progressive Rock.
- The Disco Demolition Night of 1979 ended disco's brief dominance in music that had been popularized with Saturday Night Fever, coinciding with Deader Than Disco.
- The biggest symbol of the rise of the "teenybopper", meaning a separate class of people defined by teenagers moving away from their parents' culture, was the time when Frank Sinatra became the very first musical teen idol. Ol' Blue Eyes was the first music star to elicit screams from moonstruck teenaged girls, copious copying from teen boys eager to mimic their new idol, and disgust from the older generation toward the skinny Italian who was causing all this commotion. Sinatra's rise to fame thus marked the end of the era where there were no defined generations, pop culturally speaking.
- The album Queen of the Wave depicts the downfall of Atlantis and the loss of their advanced knowledge, due to the Atlanteans' own corruption and the machinations of an evil wizard.
- Sabaton's song Shiroyama combines this with Last Stand to cover the fall of the samurai and the end of Japanese feudalism. The song itself is about the bravery of the last samurai in the face of the Curb-Stomp Battle they were on the receiving end of. The 500 Satsuma samurai are outnumbered 60:1 and armed with swords against Imperial guns - the fact that they even survive until dawn is impressive.
Imperial force defied, facing 500 samurai
Surrounded and outnumbered
60 to 1, the sword face the gun
It's the last stand of the samurai
Surrounded and outnumbered
Until the dawn they hold on
Only 40 are left at the end
None alive, none survive
Mythology and Religion
- The Bible has several examples:
- The loss of a "Golden Age" in this case is the "fall of man", and being cursed with sin, suffering, and death.
- Both destructions of Jerusalem are this for the Jews.
- Similar to Ovid, the Book of Daniel compares the four ancient empires around the Mediterranean (which reigned over the Israelites) area to metals: Babylon is gold, Media is silver, Persia is bronze, and Greece/Macedonia is iron. (Some interpretations have it Babylon, Persia, Greece/Macedonia, and Rome.)
- According to some interpretations, inverted in Revelation, where the result of the Final Battle between God and Satan will result in the Dawn of an Era that restores humanity to its former glory.
- Dharmic religions (mainly, but not limited to, Hinduism and Buddhism) has the Wheel of Time, with ages beginning and ending in perpetuity like the seasons. An age typically come to an end due to evilness (World Half Full or goodness) of men have exceeded the threshold of that age. Sages usually see the current age as part of a long decline in morality, and claim that the old time was better, but the better time had to go because people lost righteousness and began to misrule the world. With the ending of the age of wisdom, people also lost superhuman powers, lifespan, and the capacity for morality.
- The Trojan War is often believed to be the event that put an end to the Heroic Age of Classical Mythology.
- The concluding Arthurial myths, depicting the fall of the King's forces to foreign invaders and disappearance of Merlin. Not very surprising, as they initially emerged as patriotic tales by Britons who were fighting the Anglo-Saxon invasion - and eventually lost, effectively The End of the World as We Know It for them.
- Shadowrun by FASA adapted the idea of different Worlds or Cycles from the Mayan calendar. The Sixth World started in 2011 with the renewed rise of magic (our own magicless world was the Fifth Age), but there had been previous ages, many thousands of years ago, where magic was far stronger, strong enough that everyone could do magic and Horrors from Another Dimension had broken through and walked the Earth. This was the setting of Earthdawn, another Tabletop RPG by FASA.
- Later, they expanded this concept into the future, with a new RPG set in the Eighth World.
- Exalted is another Tabletop RPG example. The world had an incredibly advanced state of magical technology in the First Age, when the godlike Solars ruled over everything. Then their servants rebelled, replacing their system with the less-advanced Shogunate. Unable to maintain the Solars' technology, they've slowly lapsed into more and more primitive societies, aided by a massive plague and an invasion of the chaos beyond the boundaries of reality.
- Of course the First Age takes place directly after the Primordial War, which culminated in the Three Spheres Cataclysm, which retgoned nine-tenths of Creation right down to erasing existential concepts and possibilities. Those outside Creation at the time (Fair Folk, etc.) describe the High First Age as a "tiny, burnt-out remnant" of what Creation used to be.
- The exact principles behind the decline are detailed here.
- Besides, the present Second Age is basically Celestial Exalted - free. Which are, to remind, powers to topple gods and primordials. So by generating a Solar (or Lunar, Infernal and whatever else splat you fancy) for a campaign you are heralding the end of said Second Age, right here.
- Of course the First Age takes place directly after the Primordial War, which culminated in the Three Spheres Cataclysm, which retgoned nine-tenths of Creation right down to erasing existential concepts and possibilities. Those outside Creation at the time (Fair Folk, etc.) describe the High First Age as a "tiny, burnt-out remnant" of what Creation used to be.
- Most of White Wolf's earlier RPG, the Old World of Darkness, had a sense of Gotterdammerung. For instance, Mage: The Ascension had a group of magi called The Technocracy using the power of belief to erase the fantastic from existence. Changeling: The Dreaming was probably the worst, though; the period of fae influence on the Earth was described in terms of seasons, from "Spring", when myth was vivid and the fae interacted fully with humans, to "Winter", when the Dreaming is mostly cut off from Earth and everything fantastical withers and dies. And most of the game takes place in Autumn...
- And now, in Mage: The Awakening, we have the fact that, in the time before history, there was a great civilization of all-powerful mages (Atlantis) who, through their hubris, brought about the creation of the Abyss (a great gulf of anti-reality between this world and the higher "Supernal" world), which led to the destruction of Atlantis, the scattering of mages, the loss of much magical lore and artifacts, and the general weakening of magic. Things have been getting worse ever since.
- Similarly, in Werewolf: The Forsaken the Uratha believe the Material World and the Spirit World used to be one, until the death of their great ancestor Father Wolf tore it apart. Despite not technically being a "paradise" (depending on who you ask), the general consensus seems to be that everyone's worse off for it.
- Vampire: The Requiem has its own example in the Camarilla, the vampiric government of the Roman Empire. It wasn't perfect, but it was the one time when there was an overreaching body of vampiric politics that oversaw the span of the "known world"... and it fell when Rome did, making modern vampiric politics almost entirely local with occasional feuds between covenants.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: Enoch, the First City, where vampires and humans coexisted.
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse lore states that the Weaver, the Wyrm and the Wyld worked in harmony at one point until the Weaver ensnared the Wyrm and the latter went mad and hellbent on destroying the world from within.
- Demon: The Fallen: the titular Fallen know that they were better off before...erm, the Fall. To the best of their less-then-perfect memory, everyone else around was better off, too.
- Ironically, the fact that every other splat's having its Dark Age makes now the Golden Age for Hunters. They might not readily agree, but imagine them trying vampire hunt in Enoch or witch hunt in Atlantis, and you get the idea.
- Naturally, this trope is seen in Dungeons & Dragons:
- Eberron featured the imperfect but relatively idyllic continent-spanning (in theory) Kingdom of Galifar, which allowed slow yet steady improvements in sapient rights, Magitek, concepts of justice, and educational standards... until finally an ascension dispute broke out and the five provinces collapsed into over a dozen warring states over the course of a hundred years. When the dust finally cleared, nationalism, distrust, and cynicism ran high. Many of Galifar's achievements remained, but not the optimistic outlook that allowed them in the first place. For those not paying attention, it's World War I in fantasy-land.
- In Forgotten Realms, ancient Netheril was a highly developed magocracy where even servants used minor magics, Magitek was used routinely and most main cities were made of mountaintops cut off, overturned and enchanted to float. When all magic across the world "turned off" for a short while, the empire fell — literally. The same event damaged the 'Weave' which supports all magic on Toril, so the goddess who guards it curtailed access to prevent more damage and the greatest spells of old Netheril just don't work anymore. Now even their minor artifacts are guarded jealously by new owners.
- Also, subverted by the epoch of Myth Dranor. It's known as a lost Golden Age (magical Renaissance and goodwill festival). But with all its wonders, it wasn't completely idyllic, nor was its technology absolutely superior — for example, some Myth Drannan magic items are vulnerable to explosive overload, while modern counterparts aren't. As well, the end of the age led to a proliferation of the arts.
- The default "Nentir Vale" setting of 4th Edition takes place 100 years after the collapse of Nerath, the last great human empire. Towns and villages are pretty much states unto themselves and there's no central government, so the heroes are usually all that stand between a community and the dangers of the wilderness. The history of the setting also has other collapsed empires, making the rise and fall of nations cyclical.
- The last book of the 3.5 edition was 'Elder Evils', which introduced various Elder Evils capable of wiping out whole campaign worlds-or at the very least, radically altering them. According to interviews, the idea was to give players the option of wiping out/changing their old campaign worlds to make one more compatible to the new system.
- In Magic: The Gathering, the Time Spiral block concluded with almost all of the original, godlike planeswalkers dying or becoming human to save The Multiverse, and more limited, mortal planeswalkers rising to take their place.
- The End Times of Warhammer; the Old World was completely destroyed, with almost all the characters slain in the final battle against Chaos (with only a small spark recovered by Sigmar to create a new set of realms). Out of universe, Games Workshop used the End Times as a sendoff for Warhammer Fantasy, concluding the story to make way for Age of Sigmar. Fan reactions were mixed, to say the least.
- Warhammer 40,000 has the Dark (or Golden, if you ask the Adeptus Mechanicus) Age of Technology, when mankind first colonized other planets and created amazing technological advancements. Most of the fanciest stuff used by the Imperium are barely-understood and often nearly irreplaceable relics of this time.
- The general underlying theme of humanity in 40k is that it is doomed to die a long, slow death from not only its own beliefs but also the vast hordes of unimaginably strong aliens, traitors and daemons. But that is very far away and right now has lots of explosions and chainsaws.
- For a specific point, the Horus Heresy killed the Emperor's dream of a unified, secular human empire, plunging the Imperium into the theocratic Crapsack World is is today.
- The Eldar are no better off - most of their greatest achievements came before the Fall. It's unclear in their case, however, how much this comes from loss of knowledge or lack of the resources required to put that knowledge to use. The Eldar are rather deep into this twilight. The only real consolation that the Eldar have is the growing strength of a new god to replace their dead pantheon, a god of the dead that grows stronger with each slain Eldar. Essentially, he will reach such great power when the last Eldar dies that he will be able to kill Slaanesh... but all the Eldar will still be dead.
- Gamma World D20, the Darker and Edgier version of the setting, has some feel of this. Humanity had advanced science to an incredible degree, with robotics, bio-tech, genetic engineering and nanotechnology not merely possible, but commercially available — that's right, you could create your own life-form in your living room, and do it legally. Then came the catastrophe, and, well, most people barely know how to build crossbows and forge swords, or maintain old-fashion slug-thrower type guns, never-mind create technology that manipulates matter on the atomic level, maintain robots with human (or greater) levels of intelligence, or design whole new lifeforms from scratch.
- Witchcraft. The future iteration Armageddon deals with...well, Armageddon. Though instead of what everyone expected (The Old Gods vs. the Fallen Angels vs. The Heavenly Host with mortal and immortal creature caught between them), an Eldritch Abomination came in and waged war on everyone—and it's winning, forcing the groups to team up or die.
- Secrets Of The Third Reich has this as a backdrop for the setting. Albeit the world is slowly turning more and more into this as World War II drags on and on.
- A heartbreaking moment towards the end of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The main characters realize that as thrilling and exciting as their adventures and lifestyles were, they have to accept the fact that they're over and they need to move on. Or do they? The show ends on a high note.
[We] must accept the con is done,
But now and then you may recall,
the moments when you had it all.
You had the charm, you had the talent—
and by god, you had some fun.
It was a ball, it was a blast,
and it's a shame it couldn't last,
but every chapters got to end you must agree!
- Spring Awakening is this in spades.
- Richard Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen chronicles the end of an age. In Das Rheingold Wotan is warned that a dark day is dawning for the gods. By the end of Siegfried, Wotan's power has been broken by the destruction of his spear and also the last of the giants is dead. In Götterdämmerung the gods are finally destroyed, the dwarf Alberich who made the ring of power can only appear in his son's dreams and the ring itself is cleansed by fire and returned to the Rhine from which it came. Humanity are left alone in the world to make their own fate free of the corruption of supernatural beings.
- Hair is considered the end-marker of the golden age of musicals that began with Oklahoma!.
- The backstory of Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura has both magic and technology being far more powerful 2000 years ago, in the time called the Age of Legends. In the present, Arcanum is undergoing an industrial revolution which is clashing with its history that was largely ruled by magic over the millenia. The two being fundamentally incompatible isn't helping matters.
- Asura's Wrath Has the final ending VIA DLC be the end of an Era for the Shinkoku Race.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag features the end of The Golden Age of Piracy as a major part of the story, and Edward's Character Arc. As the events of the game progress, Edward witnesses as each of his fellow pirate captains die off one by one, and their "pirate republic" in Nassau is overtaken by the British Navy, until Edward is the only one left, driving him to abandon the pirate lifestyle for the Assassin Order. This bittersweet line of dialogue in the game's last scene sums it up quite well:
Jenny: [excited] Do you think we'll see any pirates?
Edward: [sadly] No... There's not much chance of that anymore.
- The storyline of Batman: Arkham Knight deals with this, as it opens with the line "This is how it happened. This... is how the Batman died." Batman himself recognizes this, as a major part of the end of the Riddler and Penguin side-quests is Batman making it clear that this will be the last time he'll see Catwoman and Nightwing, respectively, even if you complete those sidequests before the finale of the main plot, which ends with his identity as Bruce Wayne outed to the world, and Wayne Manor blowing up, seemingly with Bruce and Alfred in it.
- The storyline of Chrono Trigger features this. A long time ago, there was the Kingdom of Zeal, inhabited by people with incredible knowledge and powers, and all of this is absent in all subsequent epochs.
- In Dark Souls, the Age of Flame was brought about by the Lord Soul's triumph over the dragons, and is currently fading into nothingness. The player's mission, eventually, is to Link the First Flame and allow the age to continue. If the serpent Kaathe is to be believed, this is to the detriment of mankind as a whole, as Lord Gwyn's torturous and futile persistence as the fuel of the flame is delaying the Age of Dark, which might be mankind's golden age, to the benefit of the gods. Upon defeating Gwyn, the player may choose to take his place and prolong the Flame for a while longer or begin the Age of Dark.
- In the trailer for Dragon Age II, Flemeth mentions that those who face destiny head on and seize control of it are the ones who change the world forever. By the end of the game, Hawke's personal rise to power and the choices he/she makes do change the status quo. For better or for worse, the uneasy stalemate between Mages and those who would suppress them has been shattered by Hawke's actions, and the world stands on the edge of ruin or a new age.
- Dwarf Fortress starts with a golden age of legends, which gradually gets worse as great civilizations are destroyed by such disasters as carp, kamikaze elves, overpopulation of cats, nobles,...
- Development marches on — as early as .14, it takes the efforts of Fortresses and Adventurers to go from Age of Myth to Age of Legends, and then to Age of Heroes, an effort which involves slaying the humongous rampaging beasts. v.21 introduced a class of Night Beasts to be slain before all fantastical creatures could be considered extinct.
- The Elder Scrolls
- Morrowind marks the end of the way of life for the Dunmer (Dark Elf) people as it had been for the previous 4000 years. By the end of the main quest and the Tribunal expansion, the Tribunal (a trio of ascended Dunmeri Physical Gods) have lost their power and two are dead. As later works reveal, events (both natural and supernatural) over the following centuries devastate the Dunmer people, making them the heaviest-suffering race during the 4th Era.
- Oblivion, though it ends on a somewhat hopeful note, marks the end of the 500 year-old Septim Dynasty and with it, the 3rd Era of Tamriellic history. As later works reveal, the 4th Era is one of extreme strife and turmoil compared to the relative peace of the 3rd Era.
- Skyrim's Dragonborn DLC offers a smaller-scale example. On Solstheim, there is only one silt strider remaining. Its caretaker explains that when Red Mountain exploded, almost all of them were wiped out. Now, they are extremely rare and the one the player encounters is one that happened to be discovered by chance, protected in a cave and is now dying of old age. For players used to Morrowind and the almost ubiquitous use of silt striders as a form of transportation, this can come as a huge shock.
- The collapse of EVE Online's titular Eve Gate, a reinforcing mechanism to a naturally occurring wormhole between two galaxies, caused one in the game's backstory. It has been at least 10000 years since then, and the various empires formed from the colonists stranded in New Eden are only now starting to get back up to tech levels remotely approaching what they had before. note
- Evolution: The World of Sacred Device as set in a world where humanity was only just reaching modern-day standards however there were ruins left behind with powerful artifacts remaining. A couple of the characters wield said devices as weapons.
- The sequel elaborates. And by elaborates, we mean reveals that Linear is one half of the instruments that wiped the previous civilization out, and the other half has just convinced her to come along to do it all over again. The Power of Love prevents this.
- Fable: The Journey marks the end of the Heroic bloodlines and with them the Age of Heroes. However, Gabriel's victory over the Corrupter heralds the dawn of a new age where heroes are not born, but made.
- Fallout: New Vegas shows that the world of Fallout (at least in the west coast) is no longer a radioactive Scavenger World, but starting to rebuild itself into a new civilization.
- Arcade Gannon's companion quest takes this in a different direction. It shows the Enclave Remnants, a retirement-age squad of former Enclave soldiers. The Enclave were the Big Bad of Fallout 2 and Fallout 3, and were, quoth Arcade, "a Fascist paramilitary organization." They were also the descendants of the pre-war United States government and elites, and considered themselves the last vestige of real America. Orion Moreno tells the story of the evacuation of Navarro, the last Enclave base, a few years after the destruction of the main off-shore base that ends Fallout 2, saying, "Kiss America goodbye, boys and girls." And it's true; the Enclave are the last organization that existed before the nuclear war, even if they did so in secret.
- This also applies to the Mojave chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, and possibly the entire west coast Brotherhood by proxy. The same group that helped you destroy the Master in the first game, stop the Enclave in the second, and preserved a lot of nifty weapons technology gets nuked if half the factions get their way, and the other two aren't particularly keen on preserving the shrunken remnant hiding in a pre-war bunker, either. It's mostly their own fault, but that doesn't make it any less difficult for most players.
- Fate/stay night shows this, as the power behind her basic spells used by the servant Caster (who lived in the Age of Gods from the Ancient Greek legends) would take a modern-day magi around a month of to accomplish, and her multi-word spells are seen as bordering 'True Sorcery' or a miracle. She casts in one word spells that would take an excellent magus around a full minute of casting.
- On the other hand, what counted as a True Magic in her day is now common practice as the science of magecraft has advanced. There are less magicians now simply because people have been discovering the principles behind the old Magics and reproducing them. As such, it's actually a bit of a trade off because the likes of Caster could not hope to really match someone like Zelretch and his... well, Zelretch Kaleidoscope/Sword. In fact, Caster appears amazed at the sheer potential Sakura possesses in Fate/hollow ataraxia. The verdict? Caster is a cheater for being able to use her divine casting language.
- It should be noted in the Nasuverse, while magic has steadily decreased in power, magical creatures have NOT. Vampires, in fact, tend to get much more powerful (but much less sane) with age. The most powerful of the Dead Apostle Ancestors are by no coincidence also the oldest.
- Several of the Final Fantasy games:
- Final Fantasy VI ends with the death of the last Espers and the fading of magic... not to mention the entire world being a scarred ruin of what it used to be, although that happened at the game's halfway point.
- Final Fantasy X ends with the end of the thousand-year oppression of Sin. While on the whole this was a very good thing, as people didn't have to worry about their towns being wiped out if they exhibited too much technological advancement (or sometimes just at random), the Fayth had to sacrifice themselves to allow this to happen, meaning the powerful magic of summoning was lost forever.
- Final Fantasy XII saw the end of the rule of its so-called "gods" Occuria. This left mankind able to determine their destiny from now on. Strangely enough, it was the goal of the Big Bad all along, and he succeeded.
- Final Fantasy XIII sees the end of the fal'Cie, who had ruled over Cocoon for a very long time. Like the above examples, this too left humanity free from supernatural forces. While it should have meant the end of magic since only l'Cie could cast magic, the sequel, Final Fantasy XIII-2 may prove this to not be the case.
- XIII-2 results in the destruction of Pulse. XIII-3 results in the destruction of BELHEUZE. Which is even more epic than the first two games combined.
- Final Fantasy XIV - the original, not the remake - ended very much with a bang, as Bahamut levied its powers against the Eorzean civilizations, resulting in the end of the Sixth Astral Era.
- In Final Fantasy XV, the end of game has the death of Noctis, ending the Lucis line. And also, the deaths of Luna and Ravus, ending the line of the Oracles and the House of Fleuret, meaning the ability to speak to the gods is gone forever.
- In God of War III, Kratos finally and personally ends the reign of the Greek pantheon and Greece as a setting.
- The Golden Sun series has this, done on purpose by mankind. The two major options are a world brimming full of magical alchemy but with the potential of evil people going on a dictator spree, or cutting off the source of alchemy which results in the world slowly dying over the course of millennia.
- This seems to be a running theme in Grand Theft Auto IV and one of its sidestories. Most of Niko Bellic's employers are either dead or in prison by the end of the game, and he is told repeatedly that with the feds closing in, organized crime as they know it is on its last legs. "The Lost and Damned" sees the dissolution of the Lost MC, and hardcore, all-American biker gangs in general.
- At the end of The Jedi Masters, the death of or victory by the Greater-Scope Villain of the KOTOR series ends the KOTOR era. If the Big Bad wins, the galaxy is consumed or conquered by the D'arth Syyth. Otherwise, the death of the Big Bad and Freedon Nadd's ghost broke the Sith so thoroughly that they will not be able to rise again for a long time.
- In Legend of Legaia, you've defeated the Big Bad, freed the world from the clutches of the Mist, and brought peace to Legaia. However, the Seru-kai is dead, your Ra-Seru have given their lives to save Rim Elm, and according to Dr. Usha, most Seru will die off in the next year, possibly bringing Legaia back to the stone age. But human spirit is strong and there is hope with people to follow the heroes and carry out Tieg's will.
- Behind the cheery cartoony graphics, this was the theme of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker — the end of the era of the war between Hyrule and Ganondorf, with both of them in the end lying crumbling and forgotten, slowly eroding to nothing by the unending force of the waves, all their magic departed and memory forgotten.
- In Lunar: The Silver Star, it is declared at the game's finale that the age of magic has ended and shall be replaced with an era of technological advancement. Make way for Steam Punk! The sequel reveals that a thousand years later magic is still around, but fewer people can use it and it has to coexist with advanced technology instead of being the dominant power in the world.
- Mass Effect 3 has this trope connected with Dawn of an Era. The game consists of Shepard cleaning house and tying up all kinds of galactic-scale loose ends in preparation for the final battle against the civilization destroying Reapers. It's possible to cure the thousand-year Depopulation Bomb inflicted on the krogan, and the centuries-long animosity between the quarians and the geth will come to a head one way or another. The endings of the game either result in Shepard taking control over the Reapers, him destroying the Reapers or causing organic and synthetic live to merge together. Two of the three endings result in the Reapers turning into some sort of benevolent guardians, but the overall result is that the galaxy is now free of the Reaper threat, allowing civilizations to flourish without being destroyed after reaching a certain point in their development.
- Might and Magic 7 reveals that the Silence mentioned throughout this and the previous game was exactly this, if you complete the "good" path.
- Might & Magic 6 and 8 make it clear that a) this was closer to a full-blown After the End, although with some added disasters thrown in to help it to that state, and b) this happened to many, many more worlds than just this one.
- Phantasy Star II: At The End Of The Lost Age. The subtitle is not just for show. At the end of the game, Mother Brain has been destroyed, destroying the technological civilization of the Algo system and sending Mota into a technological dark age. As for Palm, the throneworld of the system? It went away in the middle of the game.
- Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army takes place during the time period where Japan was furiously modernizing into the 20th century, yet hadn't left behind the old world yet completely. This gives the game a very unique flavor and appearance. There's one important mission involving a vengeful rickshaw puller who's out of work because of automobiles, for a start.
- Red Dead Redemption takes place in 1911, in the final years of the Wild West. The encroachment of Federal control is a major theme in the third act. All of which is foreshadowed during the opening cinematic, when John Marston gets off a ferry at the same time as a brand-new automobile is being unloadednote , before he boards a train, all in order to reach a place where horses are still the primary means of transport.
- Skies of Arcadia had six ancient civilizations which were all nearly wiped out in a massive meteor storm. One of those civilizations were Abusive Precursors. The Big Bad's goal is to harness that power and bring an end to the current era.
- Starcraft II Legacy Of The Void ends with this for the Protoss, as the Khala, a tool of enslavement devised by the Xel'Naga who uplifted them, is abandoned and the Purifiers (robots) gain status as equals in Protoss society.
- The Suikoden series had the Sindar, a highly advanced civilization that has ruins left all over the world. Not much is known about them, or why they fell.
- The legends say that their leader was the bearer of a True Rune, the Rune of Change, which compelled them constantly abandon their civilization and reestablish it elsewhere, hence the ubiquity of Sindar ruins. Which might mean that the Sindar still exist somewhere, but unless Konami revives the series we'll never find out.
- The end of Tales of Vesperia had the protagonists forced to destroy all blastia, a material people are dependent on for magic and everyday life, in order to prevent the world's destruction. However, the tradeoff is that they create Mana and Summon Spirits.
- After the hero defeats Typhon in Titan Quest, all the greek gods (and presumably the egyptian and chinese too) leave the world behind, ending the age of gods... and beginning the age of man.
- Some of the entries in the Total War series involve the end of certain eras in history, whether it's the twilight of Rome in Barbarian Invasion or the Meiji Restoration in Fall of the Samurai.
- The entirety of Total War: Shogun 2 : Fall of the Samurai is the end of the samurai reign in Japan, as Westernization marches in and the old ways are no longer viable in facing the foreign threats. Bye bye swords, welcome Gatling guns. You can be one of the Shogunate clans and try to preserve the regime, but no matter how you achieve that, the old days are over. See also the Japan entry in the Real Life, below.
- You can take this Up to Eleven— you can declare that Japan doesn't need either Shogun nor Emperor, and turn the land ruled by your clan into an independent Republic. Be prepared for the onslaught, though. Historically, only Satsuma Domain and Republic of Ezo attempted it. They ended very badly.
- In the Medieval II: Americas expansion, this is a subtle overlying theme if you play as one of the Mesoamerican factions, like the Aztecs or the Mayans. You could completely change history and prevent European colonisation, but things definitely wouldn't be the same for these factions ever again...
- And the Teutonic expansion campaign details the last remaining pagan people of Europe, the Lithuanians, and their grim war for survival in the face of relentless Christian expansionism. Converting provides a number of powerful bonuses such as access to knights, cannons and arquebus, but clinging to the Good Old Ways is possible.
- Empire: Total War marks the beginning of The Enlightenment at the year 1700, as the petty kingdoms of feudal Europe have become a distant memory and many of them seek to become vast, intercontinental empires. The opposite is true for the Mughals, who have controlled nearly all of India for centuries but now have outdated armies and an incompetent ruler, and they usually get steamrolled by the Maratha Confederacy or by The British Empire. The last remaining free native American nations find themselves surrounded by European colonists and lack the numbers and technology to fight back and prevent the take-over. Portugal is reduced to a struggling Vestigial Empire as the once-backwards nations of Britain and France politically unite and technologically catch up, and Poland-Lithuania, an ancient Eastern-European kingdom famed for the Winged Hussars, will likely fall to the imperialist ambitions of their Prussian neighbours to the west.
- Touhou: Gensokyo is a last-ditch attempt to preserve the existence of the supernaturals. The supernaturals begin to fade from this world as technology arose and humankind no longer believe in the fantastic. This theme is played heavily in Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith.
- In the manga Wild And Horned Hermit, the subject is brought up again. Even within Gensokyo, the old ways are starting to fade. Youkai are starting to no longer be feared, unknown entities, but are acting more like occasionally dangerous eccentrics.
- Transformers: War for Cybertron sees the collapse of Cybertronian society as Megatron assassinates Sentinel Prime and corrupts the planet, forcing most of the population to flee to outer space.
- Shown in detail in Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, which basically consists of rats biting each other as they flee a sinking ship. The transformers have gone from immortal masters of technology to another pack of violent refugees.
- Vandal Hearts mentions an ancient, technologically advanced civilization in passing, that's where the train comes from. Vandal Hearts II's world is actually a post apocalyptic wasteland.
- Pretty much the standard ending of the World of Mana series is the destruction of the Mana Tree and the loss of the world's magic, until the new Tree (grown from the ruins of the old) is ready (in about a millennium or so).
- This is universally presented as a good thing, or at least preferable to the alternative. With the exception of Secret of Mana, aka Secret of Mana.
- In World of Warcraft, at the end of the Cataclysm expansion, the Dragon Aspects tell you that they have forfeited their powers in their efforts to destroy Deathwing, and now walk among you as (sterile) mortals.
- The apocalyptic Terran/Argon war in X3: Albion Prelude caused the Ancients to shut down the X-Universe's gate system to prevent the races from wiping each other with artificially intelligent warships (also because the war was diverting forces that had previously kept the wild AI race, the Xenon, in check; the Ancients specifically called it a firebreak). They did not do so lightly, knowing full well that the shutdown would and did effectively destroy galactic civilization, isolating every colony and all the races from each other, including allies. X Rebirth takes place several decades later, and things still haven't gotten better for most systems, with the hulks of the warships from the war being used as power sources by isolated colonies.
- Ys, the seemingly trendful paradise, pulled from the height of its prosperity into the abyss of infinite isolation. How could such a land simply vanish from the face of the earth?"
- The real Gotterdammerung in that series happened when the Eldeen civilization got submerged in water due to humans' trying to control Weather-Control Machine for their own ends. Comparatively, the titular Ys was a minor case as it was a small empire built by the two survivors of the Eldeen civilization with the power of the Black Pearl.
- The world of Enroth, the setting of quite a few of the Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic games, is destroyed in the intro to the fourth Heroes game when two incredibly powerful swords collide, an event that is built up throughout the third game and its expansions. The theme of the fourth game is rebuilding and rising from the ashes with each campaign revolving around attempts to build new lives on a different and unfamiliar world. This had a bit of real-life subtext, since Heroes IV and its expansions would be the last games 3DO produced before it went under and the franchise was bought by Ubisoft.
- Sonic and the Black Knight has this being the reason for Merlina's Face–Heel Turn as she refuses to let Camelot fall and seeks to entrap it and the world around it in stasis. Sonic is adamantly opposed to the idea and has to battle her as Excalibur Sonic to get it through to her.
- Occasionally discussed throughout the Metal Gear series, with characters predicting the end of the "age of heroes" as warfare becomes increasingly mechanized and a Super Soldier like Snake starts to become a thing of the past.
- In Linburger, the Cyll were once were the typical Our Elves Are Better, with long lives and high class. Unfortunately, some strange, catalclysmic event happened in the distant past, stripping the Cyll of their long lives, and now they live in slums with the other Demihuman races.
- In Yosh!, the magic in the world was sealed away in the distant past after the Magi abused it and were beaten down by a unique individual who was completely immune to magic. The story begins in a world that looks much like our own, a few years after some of the sealed magic was released, causing a world-spanning magical event. The results of that event include Cat Girls, Talking Animals, and Functional Magic, among other things.
- YouTube's discontinuation of the annotation feature was this for The Annotated Series. Their last season, which was made between march 2017 (the month in which the discontinuation of the feature was annouced) and May 7 of the same year (the day said feature was scheduled to be removed) was even named "The End of an Era". They shall be dearly missed.
- Open Blue's Back Story has the Iormunean Imperium, precursors (based on the Roman Empire) who were more or less the greatest civilization in the world... until they turned a blind eye to some heretics, causing their goddes to turn her back on them while they were in the middle of a war against invading barbarians.
- The first two years of The Questport Chronicles take place in the millennia-old eponymous village. Then a jealous magician destroys the village, and the next two years of the Chronicles are concerned with the survivors searching for a new home.
- To Boldly Flee discusses a lot how internet criticism is one day going to die, but in the end this is seen as cynical nonsense while "we're a family" wins out. However, with the scandal of the website in April 2018 revealing the horrific backstage mistreatments of its contributors, many contributors left the channel and it may signify the end of the era about them being the biggest pool of critics in the internet.
- U Realms Live, with the death of the Sun Dragon Phanto, the once peaceful Realm where Elves and High Bears were immortal and could only feel emotional pain ended, and the six Children of the Sun Gods became the source of all the Magic in the Realm, from Light to Dark.
- In the AlternateHistory.com timeline A More Personal Union, the conclusion of the Great War completely alters the course of European history, as the Hapsburgs lose control of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, while the latter also loses its northern half to Denmark and Poland.
- Adventure Time could be thought of as a sort of inversion; the Age that ended to become the world seen in the show is actually modern Earth. When the apocalypse happened, it apparently led to the introduction of several new species, magic, and adventure (making it seem the more wondrous of the two). But yet, episodes dealing with the setting's past give it a nostalgic and tragic feel. The end of one episode set 1000 years in the future reveals that the Candy Kingdom will share this fate.
- The Legend of Korra:
- It's made clear in the second season that people are becoming increasingly less connected with the spirit world then they were in the original series, though the modernization of the setting has led to breakthroughs in technology, such as automobiles, radios, telephones, etc., making it somewhat bittersweet.
- The second season ends another era, with the spirit world no longer separated from the human world, and the Avatar losing her memories of the Avatars before Korra. Quite the change.
- In the Peter Pan & the Pirates episode "First Encounter", Peter said that when he cut off Hook's hand (illustrated by a Scream Discretion Shot), things in Neverland would never be the same again.
- The Simpsons:
- Season 5's "Cape Feare" was the last episode by the original Simpsons writing team (e.g. Sam Simon, David Stern, Jeff Martin, Jon Vitti, Jay Kogen and Wallace Wolodarsky), most of whom left the show afterwards.
- Spoofed in the Season 10 episode "D'oh-in' In The Wind", where a couple of hippies say that the 60s ended the day they sold their VW Bus — December 31, 1969.
- "Bart the Mother", also from Season 10, was the last Simpsons episode to use the production code "#F##", the last episode to feature Phil Hartman (playing Troy McClure, and a closing dedication for him), and also the last full-length Simpsons episode written by David S. Cohen (his last Simpsons work was the "Treehouse of Horror IX" story "Starship Poopers"), who became executive producer and head writer for Futurama and adopted the name "David X. Cohen" there.
- Season 14's "Helter Shelter" was the final episode aired to be animated with cels before transitioning to digital ink and paint.
- Season 20's "Lisa the Drama Queen" was the last episode to air in standard definition and feature the classic opening sequence used since season 2, before switching to high definition and introducing a brand new opening sequence.
- The Aardman Animations short Stage Fright is about a stage performer struggling to get by as his assistant leaves to star in moving pictures.
- Within the context of Cartoon Network it can be said that Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show was not only the end of Ed, Edd n Eddy but also the end of the classic Cartoon Cartoons era as a whole, ending a run that had started more than 10 years before. A Johnny Bravo film seeing him going to Bollywood which wrapped up his series premiered two years later in 2011, which is seen simply either as a hidden parting gift or a throwback of the era as the film's existence is not that well known and the Bollywood influence overshadows the Cartoon Cartoon "style".
- The (final) cancellation of Justice League Unlimited marked the end of the DC Animated Universe that had been a staple of cartoon programming since 1992.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic marked the end of the My Little Pony franchise being marketed exclusively to young girls, due to the rise of the brony fandom, and this also caused several other merchandise-driven and child-oriented shows to evolve to allow for adults to derive just as much entertainment as kids. While the show is still a bit on the girly side, it's much more gender-neutral than its predecessor generations and still draws insane levels of engagement from its fandom's different age groups.
- Mass Extinction events are this in general. Before one occurs, one group of animals forms the dominant species, evolving into the most wondrous beings. But then a Mass Extinction Event occurs, which means the ruling group of animals gets extinct, causing another to take its place, beginning a new age, in which evolution takes yet another route.
- One of the most well-known examples of this would be the meteorite collision that ended the Mesozoic era, and hence the extinction of the dinosaurs. And with the end of the age of the dinosaur, the rise of the mammals soon followed.
- The ending of the Paleozoic thanks to the Great Dying is an even earlier example.
- And a bit more than two billion years before that, the "Oxygen Catastrophe" marked the extinction of most anaerobic organisms as oxygen first became a significant part of Earth's atmosphere.
- The end of the Paleolithic Ice Age for a number of reasons. First was the extinction of most of the world's megafauna. Many large mammals that were once common throughout the world went extinct completely or were reduced to a handful of surviving examples (ex: rhinoceros used to live in almost every continent save Antarctica, South America and Australia, now they are only found in Africa and parts of Asia). The second was that human beings evolved and rose to become the dominant species on the planet. This could be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your personal view.
- The end of the Bronze Age brought with itself a collapse of several ancient cultures like the Mycenaeans, the Hittite Empire, the Mitanni, and with the Kingdom of Egypt somehow managing to survive by the skin of its teeth. Some archaeological evidence even suggests that this end was one of general chaos, disarray, and violence, with signs of war and hushed whispers in the few surviving sources talking about the mysterious "Sea People".
- Alexander the Great is somehow both the End and the Dawn of a New Era. On one hand, his conquests increased the knowledge of the world, spread Greek Civilization as far away as the Indus River and transformed society like few before him did. On the other hand, his empire brought the end of the Persian Empire, ended the classic period of Athenian civilization and the resulting Dark Ages saw the Decline of Greece in favor of Rome as the hegemony of the Mediterranean.
- The Assassination of Julius Caesar marks the end of The Roman Republic.
- Pompey's invasion of Judea is seen as the beginning of the end of classical Judaism. The destruction of the Jewish Temple and the Revolt of Masada is also regarded by Jews as the beginning of their status as diaspora.
- The Roman Empire has many endpoints as well:
- Emperor Julian the Apostate's failed attempt to curtail the spread of Christianity by reviving Hellenism is seen as the Death of the Old Gods, the end of classical paganism and the unchallenged and unopposed rise of Christianity in cultural hegemony.
- The barbarian invasion of Odoacer, forcing the abdication of Romulus Augustus marks the definitive end of the Western Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire would continue however for some time.
- After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Europe was cast into the Dark Age, and large parts of Roman technology and culture were forgotten. Of course, sixth-century Europeans didn't see themselves as being in a Dark Age, and many may have been very happy not to be on the business end of Roman imperialism any longer. Also, "Dark Age" in this context doesn't necessarily refer to the standard of living at the time but rather the fact that we're "in the dark" about a lot of what went on then due to a dearth of contemporary writings. Nowadays most historians refer to this time period as the Early Middle Ages to avoid the connotations of the word "dark."
- The Rise of Islam is seen as the end point of Late Antiquity since the conquests of the Umayyad Caliphate broke the joint story of the Mediterranian, dominated at the time by the Eastern Roman Empire and still having the the religious factor as unificator, and permanently began the drift between the East and the West, the former eventually becoming more Greek and Slavic while the West shifted its power from the Goths to the Franks.
- After about four centuries of Han dynasty note rule, in the 3rd century AD the slow disintegration of the first long-lived empire to dominate all of China was punctuated by a coalition of nations south of the Yellow River effectively declaring themselves independent as new states. The fighting eventually ground to a halt as everyone went broke and had to sue for peace, splitting the empire into three de facto countries whose Emperors each claimed to be the sole legitimate heir (aka the 'Three Kingdoms' era). It would be several centuries before the Sui, and their almost immediate successors the Tang, managed to reunify all former Han territory, a difficult task in particular due to somewhat chaotic post-Han migration undermining the old ethnic status quo of the region.
- Culturally, ethnically and linguistically, the fall of the Western Roman Empire created a huge shift in the general population of Western Europe, which happened far more gradually than the political and military changes, but were arguably much farther-reaching. For most of the Roman Empire's heyday, Western Europe was politically dominated by the Romans of Southern Europe, though most of the region was culturally dominated by various indigenous peoples who could be broadly described as "Celtic" (though that term was invented by Greek historians, and they never called themselves "Celts"). After Rome's legions deserted them, the Celtic peoples of Western Europe were suddenly at the mercy of the far more aggressive "Germanic" peoples of Central Europe, who became the predominant cultural force in the region within a few centuries. To this day, the region formerly known as "Gaul" is known as "France" (after the Franks), while two of its largest regions are known as "Lombardy" and "Normandy" (after the Lombards and the Normans), and the country on the Northern side of the English Channel is called "England" (after the Angles), with "Anglo-" being a universally recognized prefix for all things English. As a result of centuries of invasions by the Angles, Saxons and Normans, the Germanic-derived language of "English" is now the most widely-spoken language in the world, with the Celtic-derived tongues of "Irish", "Scottish Gaelic" and "Welsh" spoken only by a handful of faithful devotees. English-speakers even still refer to the days of the week by names derived from the gods of the Norse pantheon, which was shared by the Anglo-Saxons. note
- The beginnings of the Viking's raids were the heralds of the end of the stability brought by the Carolingian Empire, reemplazing with the various sacks across all Europe.
- The Viking Age itself ended fourfold with the failed settlement of Newfoundland, the Christianization of the rest of Scandinavia, the part where King Harald III of Norway failed to invade England months before the Norman Conquest, and the launching of The Crusades which opened up trade routes in the Middle East.
- The destruction of Baghdad in 1258 at the hands of the Mongols ended the Arabian Golden Age, which had probably ended by the time of the crusades in most places, but probably continued on in Baghdad. Overall this was a period of decline in relative power for quite some time (thanks to the Crusaders, Mongols, and the Reconquista in Spain and Portugal) but it wasn't until Baghdad was utterly destroyed that Islam's decline really set in. The city of Baghdad was razed, the greatest center of Islamic learning was destroyed, and more people died in that city than (possibly) in the destruction of any other up to that point in time. Losing these centers of learning crippled the progress of Islam. After Baghdad fell, the momentum of Islam shifted from the Arabs to the Turks, the Mongols who assimilated into Islam much later as well as the Empires in India.
- The Purge of The Knights Templar by King Philip le Bel is also seen as the final nail in the coffin of the Crusades, since having outlived its original purpose as a Church Militant, the Templars changed role as a banking organization was seen as a liability.
- The Black Death, as well as the short coldening of Northern Europe are seen as parts of the end of the prosperity of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, replacing Europe with famine, conflict and crisis from which the fifteenth century was famous for.
- The Battle of Crécy as part of The Hundred Years War is considered to be the beginning of the end of classic chivalry. Knights on both sides were part of the old warrior nobility of Europe, but the English longbowmen beat them both, having been training weekly with one of the most powerful but difficult-to-master weapons in history for at least a century before the war began. And knights, particularly French knights, were notoriously impetuous, and several battles in history were lost due to undisciplined, glory-hungry knights insisting on being the first into battle, even going as far as riding over their own archers, such was their eagerness to get to grips with the English. As such, the English forces led by Edward III and Edward the Black Prince defeated the French forces of Philip VI despite being outnumbered at least 4 to 1. And, after the battle, the peasants mercilessly killed the incapacitated knights.
- The abandonment of the Congress of Mantua's planned crusade against the Turks before it had even begun at Ancona in 1464 is considered to mark the final death of the temporal power of the Papacy over the Princes of Europe. Envisaged by Pope Pius II as a grand final crusade, creating a United Europe to fight and finally annihilate Christendom's common enemy, Islam, the "paper crusade" was ignored by almost every European power of note. When the miserable Crusade fleet, a tiny flotilla of barely seaworthy Italian warships, finally sailed into Ancona, the elderly Pope crossed the Despair Event Horizon and died two days later. The Vatican's power was never quite the same.
- The capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 marked the end of The Middle Ages, and it was also the final defeat of the Roman Empire that had been in existence for almost two thousand years. By then, the Empire was just The Remnant and Land of One City, but the defeat sent shockwaves through Christendom. The fifteenth century also brought the flowering of the Italian Renaissance, and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation that ended the religious dominance of the Catholic Church in Western Europe.
- Of course this is a highly contentious issue - for others the End of The Middle Ages is marked not by the fall of Constantinople, but by Columbus' first voyage (1492) or Luther's Reformation. And from a Greek-Byzantine point of view there were no Middle Ages, the fall of Constantinople marking the end of antiquity. To a large extent, "The Middle Ages" is a construct of snooty Renaissance writers badmouthing their antecedents. In the view of many (social) historians, the Middle Ages went on until the 18th century in many respects throughout large parts of Europe.
- 1453 also signaled the end of the Hundred Years War, which meant the end of the English dream of taking the French throne (and uniting both crowns). Despite losing a good chunk of its population, France won the war, and recovered all the English territory on French soil. This led to England becoming an island nation for the first time since the pre-Norman Conquest era.
- The end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485 spelled the end of the feudal system in England. Its conclusion, the Battle of Bosworth Field, is also seen as the Twilight of Chivalry. Richard III became the last English king to be killed in battle, as well as the last king of the old Plantagenet bloodline. His successors, the Tudors, were quick to establish a top-down royal bureaucracy and civil service to keep the nobles in line—largely because no one wanted a repeat of the Wars of the Roses.
- In 1492, a mediocre sailor named Christopher Columbus led three ships across the Atlantic in an attempt to reach China and India. What they found was something different, and what happened next was nothing short of The End of the World as We Know It for Native Americans. European diseases spread far in advance of European settlers, killing up to 90% of the Indians infected (estimates for the number of Indians killed by disease at the time exceed ten million). When the Europeans themselves followed, the results were no less tragic, with widespread pillaging, forced conversions, and genocide. Thousands of years of Native American civilization, including two of the mightiest empires the world had ever known, were destroyed in less than a century, leading to the concept of Indians as backwards primitives.
- While not less dramatic, the treatment of the Amerindians was something that varied between the areas of influence of either European power: in the Spanish kingdoms, there were laws to protect the Amerindians from the abuse that the original Conquistadores and their descendents made them suffer (how much were these laws enforced varied between the continent) and actively required the assistance of the native nobility and a sort of respect towards the works of the original populations; the Portuguese and the French, although as not as active as the Spaniards, allowed native populations to be integrated to their territories; on the other hand, the English colonists actually argued that because the Amerindians that lived in their borders had not reached the cultural and technical level of either the Aztecs or the Incas, they couldn't become part of the colonial system. In short, if you were a native and lived in a Catholic zone of influence, your chances of living were better than in the Protestant zone of influence.
- The 1512 defeat of Florence by the Medici and the Pope (supported by Spanish troops) marked the end of the Florentine Republic and the classic period of the Renaissance. Until then, Florence had been the center of European finance and arts, the home of Giotto, Cimbue, Donatello, Leon Battista Alberti, Pico della Mirandola, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. By 1512, the center of gravity had shifted to Rome, the Medici were no longer a banking family but had become hereditary nobility and after the fall of Florence, Niccolò Machiavelli who had formed the Florentine Militia was sacked, tortured and exiled. In his retirement, he worked as a playwright and later wrote a small book called The Prince.
- The age of the Italian Renaissance ended with the Italian Wars of the 1490s, and its subsequent invasion by Spain, France, and the Holy Roman Empire in the early 16th century. Of course, the invasion of Italy spread the Renaissance ideals to rest of the continent, making it also a Dawn of an Era to the European Renaissance.
- There are two points at which the Sengoku Jidai are said to have ended. The first is the official point, the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, where the forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated those of Ishida Mitsunari. Despite some resistance beyond the battle, the Sengoku period is usually declared to be over after this by most historians. The other is more symbolic, the Battle of Nagashino twenty five years prior, where Oda Nobunaga destroyed the famed Takeda clan cavalry by using European arquebus in rotating volumes of fire. Guns had been used before this battle, but the tactics used by Nobunaga kick-started an arms race and forever altered the Japanese attitude towards warfare. Both are seen as the point when the traditional age of Samurai engaging in honorable single combat, Ronin wandering aimlessly from town-to-town and the political plotting of the daimyo ended. Often viewed in the same light as the declared end of the Western frontier in American culture. note
- The English Civil War and the subsequent Glorious Revolution, marked the decline of the English monarchy from rule by divine right to the status of constitutional figurehead. From then on, the Parliament were the real rulers of Great Britain and continued to call the shots right to the present day.
- The Glorious Revolution was also seen as the end of Scotland as a distinct society, the 1706-1707 Acts of Union led to Scotland acceding to England and forming the state of Great Britain. This Hanover-Stuart Wars and the Jacobite Rebellion was the last major civil conflict on English soil. The Battle of Culloden was seen as the final nail in the coffin of the Stuart Kings and the end of Scotland as an indepedent power.
- The Golden Age of Piracy, which began in the mid-1600s, petered out in the wake of the War of the Spanish Succession with the passage of the Treaty of Utrecht and the rise of conscript armies. The most iconic era of the period, centered on the Pirate Republic was a brief seven year period that ended when the English Governor Woodes Rogers occupied Nassau. The death of Bartholomew Roberts, the most successful pirate of that era, in 1722, is seen as the end of the period.
- The rise of Louis XIV and absolute monarchy was seen as the end of the old feudalism later celebrated in the books of Alexandre Dumas. Formerly, the King ruled by feudal contracts. By taking power fully, the King eroded the powers of the old aristocracy, made them mere figureheads without armies and levies, brought them to Versailles to live a life of Conspicuous Consumption. By centralizing power at Versailles, Louis XIV also began the process of transforming France from a Kingdom to a nation state.
- France's defeat in the Seven Years' War marked the end of its North American Empire. It also marked the beginning of the end of Native tribes on the East Coast. Formerly courted by either France and England as an ally against the other, the rise of a single European colonial hegemony in North America left them with fewer allies than before. Their losses of life and land in the period from the French and Indian War to The American Revolution marked the migration of the tribes westward, and the start of their marginalisation and exploitation as minorities in a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominated America.
- The French Monarchy overall suffered constant defeats and decline in the 18th Century which in turn led to The French Revolution. The death of Louis XVI by guillotine in a formerly Catholic nation (as opposed to a Protestant nation in the case of Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War) was the end of the Divine Right of Kings as a concept of sovereignty and absolute monarchy. The 1793-1794 French Revolutionary Wars, as per Carl von Clausewitz and later observers, was the first total war and France's victory, despite later revolutionary reversals, marked the rise of the nation and the end of Kingdoms.
- The Napoleonic Wars in turn, led to the end of feudalism across Europe, started the process of de-ghettoizing Jews, introduced meritocracy and modern bureaucracy via the Napoleonic Code. His conquest of Spain resulted in the end of Spain's rule over its Latin American colonies. Napoleon's final defeat likewise marked the end of France as a major European power on the Continent. The period afterward was characterized mainly by the dominance of the British Empire in European affairs, which itself would end with the First World War.
- The rise of total wars in the wake of the French Revolution changed the nature of warfare. For about the previous 150 years, warfare, while bloody, was conducted by relatively small armies led by nobles for relatively small gains. By the late 18th century it had become almost ritualistic. The Napoleonic Wars threw all that out the window, with whole national populations mobilized for the first time in centuries and armies swelling to hundreds of thousands. It could also be considered the birth of modern Nationalism. Previously the nobles and monarchs of Europe were a class unto themselves - having more in common with each other than with their own people. At the start of the Napoleonic Wars, the entire Russian court spoke in French. By the end of it, they were speaking only Russian.
- In 1842, the British forced the Chinese Empire to accept a humiliating peace after two-years of Curb-Stomp Battle in the First Opium War. While it was hardly the first time that the Chinese military forces were defeated by foreign "barbarians," it was the first clear reminder that the Chinese had fallen decidedly behind technologically and needed to change significantly.
- The 1857 Indian Mutiny was something of a Fully Absorbed Finale for Indian feudalism as a whole. It was the last time Indian kings and queens led and commanded armies in battle, it saw the final end of the Mughal Empire with the final two heirs brutally executed and the Emperor exiled to Burma. Delhi formerly a Land of One City of a Vestigial Empire was occuppied by the English. The Mutiny also marked the end of the East India Company as a major player in international commerce. The British government took over the administration and formed the British Raj.
- The Crimean War (1853-56) is considered this in the history of European diplomacy. While it was relatively insignificant militarily and characterized by blunders and incompetence, it broke the international system based on "legitimacy" created (or restored, depending on your perspective) after the Congress of Vienna and opened the way for the rise of nationalism and nation states. It set the stage for creation of Germany and Italy, and later the Balkan states, and in so doing, paved the way for World War I.
- Commodore Perry's arrival in Japan hastened the end of isolationist feudal shogunate rule, which officially came with the ascension of Emperor Meiji in 1867 and started the Meiji Restoration in 1868. From that point, Japan embarked on a programme of rapid industrialisation.
- More tragic-romantically, this is the definite end of the samurai rule. People saw that the samurai regime of Tokugawa couldn't defend the country from the dangblasted foreigners and feared that Japan would become the next China. Wars ensued. The new country that rose from the ashes of war then allow every citizen to hold positions of significant power, not just the samurai.
- In fact, the name that scholars use to refer to this period is Bakumatsu — The End of the Curtain.
- In Europe the slow decline of autonomous noble power began in this period as well. From the greater military power of politically unified nations, a rise of absolute monarchs, the spread of revolutionary political thought and the growing economic power of lower classes the nobles were unable to compete. While there were holdouts for a long time (some European states still have official positions for nobles) it was never the same.
- The American Civil War marked the end of several American political and social concepts, chattel slavery only being the most obvious. The Union victory redefined the United States as a singular nation with a strong federal government that had supreme authority over its constituent states, rather than a loose alliance of semi-independent nations. Moreover, the idea of voluntary and legal secession from the Union was dead in the water, as per a 1869 Supreme Court decision.It was also one of the first modern industrialized wars, along with the Crimean War and the unification wars in Germany, bringing the conception of modern warfare on a vastly more destructive scale to bearing. The cultural tensions between the North and South, however, would prove more elusive, and still linger to some extent to this day. True legal and social equality for Blacks and other minorities would also take another 100 years or so to be actualized.
- In 1890, the US Census officially declared that the "Frontier" no longer existed. This marked the end of American expansionism and of the "frontier culture" that had characterized the US until then. Interestingly, this is about the time that the US started to turn outward to gain more resources, much to the dismay of its Latin American neighbors and, later, countries in the Eastern hemisphere. A lot of historians have noted this.
- World War I, the War To End All Wars, is considered to have ended an era. Before that, human progress seemed unlimited and war and many other ills would be abolished. Alas, the mighty technologies of mass production and automation can be applied to killing people. The realization pretty much put the kibosh on the centuries-old idealism of the Enlightenment. Nice work, fading monarchies of Europe (And France, United States, recently-turned-Republican Portugal and China, Brazil and Japan).
- It also signaled the end of many old European powers, with the German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires imploding from a mix of war fatigue, ethnic nationalism and revolution.
- Very much the sense of Sir Edward Grey's famous words about the outbreak of World War I:
Sir Edward Grey: The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.
- For all his flaws, Woodrow Wilson also had serious reservations about what would come next:
Woodrow Wilson: I can predict with absolute certainty that within another generation there will be another world war if the nations of the world do not concert the method by which to prevent it.
- WWI also brought the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, which is (today) largely seen as the last Caliphate. Turkey saw a secular zeal to overthrow anything that smelt like Islam in the government. The Arabs and Persians carved new states out of Ottoman-ruled lands, in many cases with the eager help of the more successful, non-Muslim empires of the time: British, French, American, Russian, and so on. Arab Nationalism was in vogue, and it seemed that government backed by God is 'so yesterday'.
- It also saw the end of several other long standing monarchies, like Germany, Austria, and Russia.
- Arab Nationalism got a rude awakening immediately after World War II and the following decades, which saw the UN acknowledging the state of Israel. The inability of Arab nations to put an end to Israel caused Arab Nationalism to meet its end of age, and in many cases replaced by religious zeal. Within the Islamic world, there's a slow but unrelenting trend of the end of inclusive nationalism, with an idealism of re-building the Caliphate that was lost following World War I. It would be interesting to see where this cycle leads...
- In a similar way, World War I is sometimes considered to have dealt a fatal blow to the concept of Christendom. Unlike in the Middle East, the triumph of secularism in the West seems permanent and appears to only be getting more entrenched with time, notwithstanding some reactionary backlash.
- World War I and the sinking of the Titanic two years earlier were arguably the one-two punch that brought an end to The Gilded Age, as the elites of Europe and America were confronted with the realization that they were Not So Invincible After All.
- In China, the Xinhai or 1911 Revolution, coupled with the Beijing-region General Yuan Shikai turning on the Emperor, saw The Empire of The Qing and the Chinese Empires ended forever in favour of a protracted civil war known as The Warlord Era. The victory of Chiang's Guomindang in the 1931 Central Plains War (over the forces of three of China's five remaining Great Warlords) was the effective end of The Warlord Era, though the nominal end had come when - in 1928 - The Guomindang had taken Beijing and been recognised abroad as the first legitimate Chinese government since Yuan Shikai had died in 1916. And then, the Communist victory in the 1946-1950 Civil War (the official end coming in 1949, when the Communists declared the foundation of the People's Republic) was an even bigger End of an Age. So yes, China had a lot of these in the 20th century (in fact, there was another one in 1978 - see below).
- The stock market crash of October 29, 1929 ended the economic prosperity of The Roaring '20s, triggering The Great Depression for years to come. It also cemented the rise of Fascist regimes in Europe during the following decade.
- The close of World War II in 1945 (and the freeing of various formerly "conquered" and "settled" territories) marked the end of Fascism and Imperialism. Decolonization became a watchword, and when taken together with rebellion and revolution in the Empires of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal the 1970s saw a world without military-political colonialism (so-called 'economic colonialism' is another matter) and geographically large empires.
- The end of WWII also marked the end of roughly a century of power concentrated largely in European hands and marked the rise of two superpowers outside of Europe - and with it, the Cold War.
- WWII also marked the shift from naval supremacy to air power, the culmination of a process that began during WWI. War and devastation could be brought to cities far behind enemy lines, and the mighty navies of the world were sitting ducks without adequate air defence.
- The War also helped further the decline of European Monarchies, as the Italian, Yugoslavian, Romanian, and Bulgarian thrones were abolished within the next few years, the later three seeing Communist governments rise in their place. It also led to the Emperor of Japan becoming a symbolic figurehead.
- The 1956 Suez Crisis is seen as the final nail in the coffin of British Imperialism and marked its end as a global superpower with the USA and USSR calling the shots. Likewise, French defeat at Dien Bien Phu and the Algerian Crisis, ended the French empire as well.
- The onset of the Cold War essentially marked the end of the age of traditional warfare, largely because the advent of nuclear weapons suddenly made it obsolete; while the United States and the Soviet Union remained bitter enemies until the latter's downfall, they never formally declared war on each other, knowing full well that the resultant nuclear exchange could very well bring about the end of human civilization. Every war that the two superpowers waged during the Cold War was a small-scale "proxy war" aimed at containing Communism (or spreading it). Likewise, every major war that the United States has declared since the fall of the Soviet Union has been a small-scale war aimed at containing terrorism and rogue states. It's quite unlikely that the world will ever see another war on the scale of World War II, with the world's most powerful nations duking it out on the field of battle.
- Much of the nostalgia surrounding both New York World's Fairs (1939-40 and 1964-65) focuses around the former being held just before WWII and the latter being one of the last straight examples of the shiny jetpack future prior to the Vietnam War and The '60s 'back-to-nature' movement.
- The 1960s is considered the End of American Innocence (or Naïvete).
- Symbolically tied in to that, President John F. Kennedy's New Frontier (also known as "Camelot"), ended when he was assassinated in 1963.
- The "Summer of Love" is said to have died with the Altamont concert in 1969, with the Manson Family murders can be seen as putting the kibosh on the hippie romanticism of the 1960's. The Fall of Saigon in April 30 1975 that ended the Vietnam War was considered the end of the 60s as the Post-Vietnam hippies began to be seen as cloudcuckoolanders.
- In the early 1970s, the Watergate scandal, leading to President Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974, has also been considered an end of American innocence, in terms of the public trust formerly held for the office of Presidency. The Presidency lost a lot of prestige in the eyes of the public.
- The breakup of The Beatles in 1970 was the end of the '60s, musically.
- August 1968 saw the withdrawal of the last remaining mainline steam locomotives in Britain. Since July 1967 and the end of Steam in the South of England, steam had been restricted to lines in the Northwest. By August 1968, these locomotives were restricted to Lancashire, on goods working and the odd passenger service. The last revenue-earning runs were made on 3rd August, followed by a series of special trains the following day. After one last excursion a week later, the age of steam in Britain officially ended.
- Similarly, in 2018 it was announced that China's Sandoling coal mine, the last to use steam locomotives, would shut down in 2020. China was historically regarded as the "final frontier" for revenue steam operations, keeping them on long after other countries had dropped them. After Sandoling closes, only a few scheduled trains with steam power will remain in countries like Poland, Pakistan, and Germany - all of them primarily operated for tourists. 2020 or so will mark the end of a global age of steam that stretches back almost 220 years.
- The 1960s saw the end of the the golden era of Ocean liners. Most cite the retirement of the SS United States, the last ship entirely committed to a transatlantic route,note in 1969 as the end of the grand liners. This was because jet airliners could now do their job in a fraction of the time. The next few decades would see the end of ocean liners as a whole as more airports were constructed and there was no longer a need to transport people by ship.
- The post-WWII economic certainty of the Bretton Woods system was thrown into disarray by the costs of the Vietnam War, industrial unrest, emerging culture wars, and the oil crises of the 1970s. The knockout blow came with the election of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, signalling the start of the neo-liberal financial deregulation era.
- With Deng Xiaoping's triumph in ousting Mao's hand-picked successor in 1978, there came the de-facto end of Communist economic policies in China, and state capitalism was gradually introduced.
- The Iranian Revolution of 1979 ended the reign of the Pahlavis and started a radical change in Iran.
- The 70s is often considered this for boxing, especially the heavyweight division.
- The 1980s and AIDS are considered the end of The Sexual Revolution.
- The stock market crash of 1987 triggered the end of the "Greed is Good" mentality of the 1980s.
- The Golden Age of Video Games came to a screeching halt with The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, and coincided with the rise of home computing and the Japanese video games industry.
- For all intents and purposes, Walt Disney's indirect influence over the future of Walt Disney Productions ended with the release of The Black Cauldron in 1985. That movie's box office failure gave Disney's new management team of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, Roy E. Disney, and Jeffrey Katzenberg the leverage they needed to fire the remaining Walt-era executives and transform the studio into the more business-minded and Hollywood-esque Walt Disney Company, which not only led to its revival in the late 1980s but also set it on its course into becoming the multimedia empire it is today.
- The Cold War era ended after the fall of Communism in Europe and friendship between the reforming USSR and America was called The New World Order by Bush 41. Some took it another (facepalming) way.
- The dissolution of the Soviet Union dissolved one of the largest political entities in human history, sparked a rise in ethno-nationalism and completely altered Central Asian, Balkan and Eastern European politics.
- Coinciding with this the death of Tito in 1980 led to a situation where the one unifying figure in Yugoslavia was gone and no other figure was capable of stepping in without sparking resentment and distrust from leaders of the other ethnic groups. Happening at the same time as the collapse of the Soviet Union this meant the end of Yugoslavia and its own (much more violent) dissolution.
- For awhile, U.S. foreign policy became confused. For decades, the U.S. had centered its foreign policy on battling the Soviet Union, so its disappearance was met with a So What Do We Do Now? reaction.
- Jim Henson's sudden death in 1990, just as he was preparing to sell his studio to The Walt Disney Company so he could focus more on the artistic side of creation than the business side, turned out to be this in its way. After his death the deal with Disney fell through - this was followed by years of sales and resales fracturing ownership of the company and its properties, while both his original work and new productions building upon his legacy were rarely capitalized on by distributors and often overlooked or dismissed by audiences. In particular, in The '80s the "classic" Muppets looked set to join the panoply of Disney animated characters as beloved by multiple generations, but by The New '10s were at the low point of the Popularity Polynomial — even the 2011 revival film The Muppets made their fall from attention a plot point. When that movie became a hit it seemed as if a comeback was all but certain, but its sequel Muppets Most Wanted flopping three years later seems to have hindered a true revival, leaving the Muppets' parent Disney (who ended up buying the Muppet franchise in 2004, but not the company itself) back at square one.
- The early 90s saw India transitioning from a mixed-economy to a free market economy, marking the end of India's formerly socialist leanings and the move towards middle class consumerism and Conspicuous Consumption.
- The mid-90's saw Japan's economic bubble burst. Their global dominance in the automotive and computer manufacturing fields suddenly ended, leading to a steady decline that some say mirrors the "Great Recession" America suffered a decade later. While still an important player in both industries, Japan is no longer seen as taking over the world and focus has instead shifted to China. In Japan, this era of sudden economic downturn is known as "The Lost Decade".
- Although The British Empire had long been a shadow of its former self, the handover of Hong Kong to China is popularly seen as its official end. Adding to the symbolism was the decommissioning of the royal yacht Britannia the same year; its last overseas mission was conveying the Prince of Wales and the last Governor of Hong Kong back to the UK after the handover ceremony. The death of Princess Diana, and subsequent backlash against the lack of public mourning by the Royal Family, also permanently changed how the British people (and those in the other Commonwealth realms) would view the monarchy.
- The opening of Usenet to all AOL users in 1994. See also Eternal September.
- The Trisakti Incident in Indonesia at 1998 marked the end of the Suharto era known as Orde Baru, when many of Suharto's dirty secrets were exposed. For 32 years, he used corruption to build up Indonesia as a strong powerhouse in Asia and swiftly shutting down any of his oppositions, installing himself as a dictator. With the end of Orde Baru, Indonesia entered a new era of democracy, with all its advantages and disadvantages, but most of the stability provided by Orde Baru are gone.
- The Columbine shooting in 1999 is sometimes considered an end of 1990s peace and idealism.
- Several moments in computer history have been cited in hindsight as when IBM lost dominance of the PC platform and its transition to "Wintel":
- Compaq using the 386 chip in its own computer before IBM did.
- The PC clone manufacturers rejecting IBM's Micro Channel Architecture (MCA) used in the PS/2.
- The success of Windows over OS/2.
- The bankruptcy of Commodore in 1994 marked the end of prominent alternatives to the PC platform. A combination of mismanagement and difficulties producing a decent upgrade without breaking compatibility saw the Amiga winding down into a very small hobbyist platform, while the competing Atari ST had already been out of production for a while. At the same time, Japan's PC-98 and FM-Towns started slowly integrating PC compatibility until they eventually became completely homogenised. Only the Apple Macintosh remains, and even that has migrated to using Intel chipsets.
- The 20th Century was said to have ended, both politically and culturally, on September 11th, 2001, and the Long War/Terrorism era began.
- DreamWorks Animation's Shrek (2001) and the failure of Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire officially ended The Renaissance Age of Animation.
- There are a pair of video game age endings that happened during the The Sixth Generation of Console Video Games. "The Death of the Dream"—the end of the Sega Dreamcast— saw SEGA go from a major console developer to a third-party game publisher, ending the Nintendo vs. Sega console wars that defined the medium during the previous decade. And with the fall of Sega came the rise of the Xbox and Playstation, where Microsoft and Sony essentially took their place among "Gaming's Big Three".
- The switch from analog to digital television. For decades, television programs were broadcasted with an analog signal and many people watched their programs with antennas on their TV sets. By the 2000s, when high definition started to take off, many television sets produced at that time were made with digital signals instead of analog, which meant the sound and picture came out more crisp. TV programs took advantage of the digital signal for better quality images and sound (including HD formats) and by 2009, the federal government ordered that all basic programs/television channels had to convert to digital formatting in order to free up space on the analog spectrum for emergency services that needed them (such as firefighters and police). The transition looked likethis.
- With The Millennium Age of Animation, many traditional animation techniques died out in lieu of digital technology, with the last animated series to be hand-painted on celluloid either ending or switching to newer methods. The success of Toy Story in the previous decade and the aforementioned Shrek at the beginning of the millennium also led to the effective end of 2D animated features in North America.
- The original cancellation of Toonami in 2008 is considered to be the end point of the 1990s anime boom. While other animation blocks with a focus on Japanese animation existed before and since, the Cartoon Network run of Toonami is the longest-lasting of these and is credited for giving a large number of action anime mainstream exposure before the advent of streaming sites such as Crunchyroll, due to being on a general family channel rather than a Niche Network.note
- The announcement that Studio Ghibli might be closing its doors for good and Hayao Miyazaki's possibly permanent retirement is seen by many as the definitive end of an age for Japanese animation. Later subverted, when Miyazaki announced he'd be working on a new movie.
- 2014–2015 was considered to contain the end of an age for several types of late night shows:
- David Letterman's announcement in April 2014 that he'd retire from hosting The Late Show in 2015 (his final show aired May 20, 2015) led some to believe it marks the end of an age in late night television stretching as far back as The '60s, when Johnny Carson began hosting The Tonight Show.
- Stephen Colbert taking up the mantle is another, since it meant the end of The Colbert Report after a decade of dominating the news pundit scene in its unique parody way.
- Jon Stewart's announcement in February 2015 that he'll retire from hosting The Daily Show later that year (his final show as host aired August 6, 2015) signifies the end of an age of satire that started with the Bill Clinton presidency in The '90s. Of course, John Oliver with his own hit, and even more unrestrained, satire show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, disagrees.
- With the Windows XP OS officially having support from Microsoft cut off on April 8, 2014, many people consider the end of XP to be the end of the golden era where many people to this day still consider XP as the best OS by Microsoft. While Windows 7 has come close to being what an upgraded XP would be, XP itself is considered the standard.
- On top of that, the desktop computer market which Windows XP was tied to has been sent into a slow decline by the rise of smartphones and tablets. Their failure to get a foothold in the mobile arena has led to them going from the primary way people got on the Internet to accounting for only about 1/5th of Internet access worldwide.
- Saturday Morning Cartoons slowly started to decline around the early 2000s as station affiliates (namely NBC, Fox, ABC, The WB, CBS and finally the CW) began ceasing their animation blocks with the rise in digital cable and censors lobbying for more educational shows which hardly any child would be willing to watch, mainly those of Litton Entertainment. The Vortexx was the last of these and even then was made up of reruns of previous shows. However, in 2014, its spot was brought out by Litton, thus bringing an end to the era of Saturday Morning Cartoons.
- In 2013, the Sazae-san anime switched entirely to digital animation, marking the definitive end of cel animation in mainstream media. The format had previously been dying out in the 90's (for animated movies) and 2000's (for TV shows) and had already been dead in the West since 2004, when Ed, Edd n Eddy switched to digital.
- In December 2014, US President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced their plans to normalize relations between their two nations by re-establishing one another's embassies (the first US embassy in Cuba opened July 1, 2015), effectively ending a 50-year embargo.
- Fidel Castro's passing in November 2016 also marked this to some. Many saw him as the Last of His Kind, thanks to his status as the last surviving Marxist-Leninist world leader. Vox elaborates on the subject:
"Castro matters because he was the last living symbol of the Cold War at its peak. His death puts an exclamation point on the end of Cold War style of ideological conflict between capitalism and communism. In some ways, it’s the most 2016 thing imaginable."
- Fidel Castro's passing in November 2016 also marked this to some. Many saw him as the Last of His Kind, thanks to his status as the last surviving Marxist-Leninist world leader. Vox elaborates on the subject:
- The rise of Netflix, Red Box, Hulu and other sites geared towards renting/streaming movies and TV shows online led to the decline and eventual extinction of Blockbuster and other video rental stores. Well as franchises anyway, there are still a few manager-owned stores still kicking.
- In February 2018, Best Buy announced that, starting on July 1 of that year, they would no longer sell CDs. Around that same time, Target also announced that they were considering a major policy change regarding how they stocked CDs that would likely discourage record labels from shipping them to Target; specifically, they would only offer CDs on a contingency basis rather than placing them on store shelves. Since these two companies were the largest retailers that still sold CDs, it largely signaled the end of the mainstream distribution of music on CDs and other kinds of physical media. Additionally, the fact that this occurred during the height of the Vinyl Revival (an ongoing period of increasing sales of the formerly-"dead" gramophone records that started in 2007) may end up re-cementing the vinyl record as the de-facto form of physical media for music in modern society, after thirty years of CDs being the dominant physical format for music.
- March 2018 saw the end of Toys "R" Us as a retail chain when they filed for bankruptcy, joining former rival chain, KB Toys, who had closed their doors nine years prior and ending a 70-year legacy.
- Chinese scholars have described China as this since the time of Confucius himself, if not before. This hasn't been affected by the fact that China's had at least three Golden Ages since unification.
- The idea that man is in a state of cultural degeneracy from a perfect golden age is Older Than Feudalism. Plato complained that the youth of his age were degenerate and antiauthoritarian.
- Hesiod, above, was writing during the age after the Dorian conquest. They brought iron with them, but a lot of things were lost from the previous age — like writing. So, it was the dark Iron Age.
- Due to an asymmetry in the space of all events, we perceive time as flowing from a state of low entropy to a state of high entropy.
- Atlantis in new-age/pop-culture/pseudohistory.
- Global Warming. Welcome to planet "Eaarth", in the words of Bill McKibben.
- Mass Extinctions as a whole.
- A Growing Up Sucks example is when your most significant role models in childhood start succumbing to the mortal coil. David Bowie's death due to cancer on 10 January 2016, is a prime example. The passing of celebrities Lemmy, Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, Terry Wogan, Natalie Cole, and Prince within weeks of Bowie – and each other – compounds the sense of loss. Later in the year, there was the passing of Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Leonard Cohen and George Michael, among others. In particular, 2016 has been cited as being significant because the celebrities involved represented a golden era of bold cultural risk-taking, coupled with the increasing ubiquity of social media, and that the two countries that gave most of these celebrities, the UK and US, were hit by seismic political events (Brexit and the Trump election) that year as well.
- When the Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it ended 86 years of misery for them and their fans, creating a golden age for the Red Sox as they won the title 2 more times after ending their drought: one in 2007 and another in 2013. It also signaled the rise of the Curse-Buster era in American sports, when several teams ended long droughts since their last title, if they had even won it at all, including:
- The 2005 Chicago White Sox (88 years)
- The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies (28 years)
- The 2010 San Francisco Giants (56 years)
- The 2015 Kansas City Royals (30 years)
- The 2016 Chicago Cubs (108 years)
- The 2017 Houston Astros (55 years)
- 2010 Chicago Blackhawks (49 years)
- 2011 Boston Bruins (39 years)
- 2012 Los Angeles Kings (45 years)
- 2006 Miami Heat (18 years)
- 2008 Boston Celtics (22 years)
- 2011 Dallas Mavericks (31 years)
- 2015 Golden State Warriors (40 years)
- 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers (46 years)
- 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers (26 years)
- 2006 Indianapolis Colts (36 years)
- 2009 New Orleans Saints (52 years)
- 2013 Seattle Seahawks (39 years)
- 2017 Philadelphia Eagles (57 years)
- Early in 2017, the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the "Greatest Show On Earth!" announced it would cease performing, citing a massive drop in audiences (and thus, profits).
- The history of the Universe itself. Several events marked the final of different epochs, and unless it ends before, it will pass through eras whose ends are marked by the death of all stars, proton decay, and finally the evaporation of black holes... and, as Science Marches On, later who knows.