"End of the World" Special
Bastian: Fantasia has totally disappeared?
Childlike Empress: Yes.
Bastian: Then, everything's been in vain.
Childlike Empress: No, it hasn't. Fantasia can arise anew, from your dreams and wishes, Bastian.
Bastian: How many wishes do I get?
Childlike Empress: As many as you want. And the more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.
Childlike Empress: Try it.
Bastian: My first wish is...As a conclusion, the protagonist (or in rare cases, another character) has the power and opportunity to completely remake the world as he sees fit. This can serve as a final exploration of the character and his values, or of the overall message of the show. It can be thought of as the ultimate expression of the goal to Take Over the World. A more heroic example of the villainous ambition to remake the world In Their Own Image. In video games, can be a form of Multiple Endings. Related to Reset Button and Outsourcing Fate. Since the end of the world generally also takes place at the end of the story, there be UNMARKED SPOILERS! ahead (otherwise, the page would look like swiss cheese).
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Anime and Manga
- In the Big O episode "The Show Must Go On", the character Angel enters a mysterious control center to apparently become the Director of Paradigm City, then appears as a Humongous Mecha to erase the ruined city from existence and replace it with a slightly tweaked version of how it existed at the start of the series. This is only one interpretation; nobody really knows what that episode was about.
- It was supposed to be explained further in the third season, except there was no third season despite the second having paid off its budget in time for renewal of a possible third season.
- In Generator Gawl, the eponymous character gains the power to reinvent the universe after nearly dying.
- In Magic Knight Rayearth, Hikaru ultimately becomes the pillar (the person who makes Cephiro into an image of her mind) of Cephiro after two seasons of strife. Her choice is to ultimately end the Pillar system and to move the power of shaping the world to its inhabitants instead, allowing her to leave and making the world not prone to destruction because of the emotions of one person. The manga ending breaks the fourth wall when Hikaru asks the reader to come up with a new name for Cephiro.
- In the end of Mai-HiME, Mai actually rejects the power to reshape the world as she sees fit, arguing that it is immoral.
- One of the major reveals in Neon Genesis Evangelion is that none of the people in charge have any intention to prevent the looming End of the World as We Know It. Everything is part of a huge plan to get an End of the World Special and the actual conflict is between the different groups involved, who have rather different ideas who is going to decide what the remade world will be like.
- Shinji decides to spend the last two episodes contemplating his life and trying to make sense of everything that has happened to him up until that point. Some have suggested that these last two episodes are Shinji's train of thought while the world ends in End (see below). At one point of this sequence, we see a possible world that Shinji could live in, one in which he doesn't have to pilot the EVA and his mother is still alive. Asuka is his childhood friend, he crashes into Rei while running to school and is overall happier. The sequence ends when Shinji realizes that he could be like that in another world, and that he can stop hating himself and stop being a wuss. Overall it counts as a subversion.
- In End of Evangelion, Shinji has the choice to complete the Instrumentality of souls, turning all of humanity into one dreaming soul where there can be no pain or loneliness, or to reject it, and free humanity to live as a collection of individuals.
- Naturally the first example is done in a spoof of a tired love comedy sequence. Congratulations, Shinji.
- If you didn't like the Love Comedy Sequence, the Movie version goes for the entire world melting into oceans of womb juice that resembles Tang, then all of it being sucked into the Vagina Hands of a Planetary Sized Naked Teenage Girl with Angel Wings, while playing the most comforting suicide song in the history of anime. In English. Yes. Now imagine if you were Japanese and didn't understand a word of what they were singing. It would be like Ominous Latin Chanting, but...worse.
- Annoyingly enough, this has even carried on into Fanfics, where Third Impact basically means the writer can do WHATEVER THEY WANT, no ands, ifs, or buts.
- In RahXephon the eponymous Mecha is an artificial god which eventually grants this power to its pilot. This is revealed through All There in the Manual.
- In Scrapped Princess, Pacifica is given the choice to free humanity from its enforced prison or leave them there in blissful ignorance of the real world.
- The titular character from Serial Experiments Lain eventually decides that the thing most wrong with the world is that she existed at all, and removes herself from existence.
- In the first season of Haruhi Suzumiya, the final episode (broadcast order) involves Haruhi, a girl with godlike powers, on the verge of unconsciously destroying the world and creating it anew out of a combination of jealousy and boredom. As a matter of fact, the entire plot of the series revolves around preventing Haruhi from doing such a thing. The kicker is that it may have already happened at least once, but nobody is totally sure.
- Kyon gets the choice in Disappearance. Nagato creates a new world where he's a normal high school student and he's forced to choose to start this new world and end the previous one or return to his old world filled with weirdness he claims he hates. Guess what he chooses.
- In Vision of Escaflowne, Dornkirk tries to create a utopia where everyone's desires will be fulfilled. Essentially, this Zone of Absolute Fortunate grants everyone, to a small extent, the power to achieve their desire. Unfortunately, as there is a war going on, most desire the death of their enemy. Whoops.
- In the end of Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai, Sasshi summons Eutus, who releases his true power as a super ultra Onmyou Mysticist, who then proceeds to do what they always do- but this time, he does it right. He even includes Eutus and Mune-mune.
- In Mirai Nikki God is dying and looking for a replacement. This is one of the privileges of the winner. Yukiteru ultimately wins, but is so broken up over Yuno's death that he doesn't do anything but sit around for a thousand years..
- In Princess Tutu, Fakir breaks the control Drosselmeyer has over the town and decides to write his own ending to the story instead. It's implied that his ending simply restored the town and its people to the way they would have been without the story. However, the ending also says that Fakir is writing a new story...
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Madoka made a Wishplosion that caused the universe to be recreated to accomodate her rule. Similar to Lain example above, this also Ret Gone her from reality.
- A variation occurs in Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure, when 2 separate universes are merged into one, which contains the best parts of both (according to the subconscious wishes of the protagonist, facilitated by the godlike power of his Humongous Mecha).
- The three Choushin goddesses do this at the end of the third Tenchi Muyo! OVA, although the only real change they make is fixing the damage the villain did, rewinding time to before it happened, and reverting the villain to an infant and removing his powers.
- Comics writer Grant Morrison is particularly fond of this trope. At the climax of his run on Doom Patrol, Danny the Street (a sentient fragment of a lost, fantastic world) expands to become Danny the World, filling the 'real' world with mystery and significance.
- In The Invisibles, the character of Dane is, according to some, the new Buddha, who helps 'deliver' humanity into a new state of existence in the final issue (his last words, and the final words of the series, being "Our sentence is up").
- At the end of the main Nodwick (print comic version) story arc, Yeagar receives the power to make the world perfect for himself. Fortunately, it's been explained to him that anything he changes may cause undesirable side effects, so he restricts himself to tweaking a few details that change his party's immediate situation from "certain doom" to "a winnable fight".
- This seems to be what happens at the end of Alan Moore's Promethea and Miracleman.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog comics, at the (rushed) conclusion of the conflict with Mammoth Mogul, Tails — now the more-or-less omnipotent Titan Tails — uses his power to overcome Mogul, then gets to recreate the universe. He leaves it the same as it was before, except with Mogul sealed away.
- The premise of the Marvel Cross Over event House of M when the Scarlet Witch goes insane and uses her powers to remake the world so that mutants are the ruling race. At the end, she does it again, reverting the world to normal but leaving the mutant population at a tenth of its former size.
- At the end of the Superman storyline Emperor Joker, Joker, being The Joker, destroyed the universe. Afterwards, Superman supervises Mr. Mxyzptlk rebuilding the universe, with the help of the Spectre.
- Also, in Batman: The Brave and the Bold's Lighter and Softer Animated Adaptation, the middle of the episode seems to invert it with the Joker recreating the universe in his own image with playing cards via Apocalypse How Class X-4 during his Villain Song while keeping his henchmen, his girlfriend Harley Quinn, his longtime nemesis Batman, Bat-Mite and Joker-Mite alive, so that he can kill only Batman and then bring him Back from the Dead repeatedly. However, it takes a Death Montage, some Reverse Psychology from the Dark Knight, a Journey to the Center of Batman's Mind, and an Alternate Universe in which the Dark Knight doesn't exist, for the Joker to finally snap and relinquish all his powers to Bat-Mite, after which Bat-Mite finally plays the trope straight by restoring the universe with a snap of his finger, Setting Right What Once Went Wrong.
- Reed Richards once did this to the entire multiverse by using the Ultimate Nullifier against Abraxas
- Valiant Comics' Solar: Man of the Atom had done this subconsciously, and was later implied to have done it many times without even realizing it (and a few times deliberately as well).
- Happens in the film Dark City in which the main protagonist John Murdoch frees the world from the shackles of The Strangers and recreates it to be a better place for all those who inhabit it.
- At the end of the first Highlander film, Connor MacLeod wins this after defeating the last remaining Immortal; a vaguely-described ability to influence world leaders using the collective knowledge and wisdom of the other Immortals, or humanity, or something.
- In the film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent is given the choice to make changes to the rebuilt Earth. The only change he makes is to remove himself and Trillian by leaving to explore the galaxy.
- The first The Never Ending Story film ends this way, as the page quote indicates.
- In the novel Foundation's Edge by Isaac Asimov, the protagonist is faced with the choice of giving galactic power to the Foundation, the Second Foundation, or Gaia. He makes his choice and then there's another sequel where he tries to figure out why his choice was right.
- Happens at the end of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (second book) to Linden who uses the opportunity to remake several important natural laws.
- In the book Good Omens, Adam is encouraged to greatly reshape the world and rebuild it to his design, but decides to simply let the world continue. He does make sure his quaint old-fashioned village stays that way and doesn't move with the times though.
- Confessor, the final book of the Sword of Truth series, does this in spades. Richard Rahl, once he opens the Boxes of Orden and acquires godlike powers, takes the opportunity to tweak several things about his world that have always bugged him: removing the poison from red fruits in the Midlands, bringing back the Temple of the Winds, and balancing the magic flowing into the world thus resulting in a rebirth of wizardry. Oh, and lest we forget, Uplifting millions of people from across the world who disagreed with his personal beliefs and dumping them on a parallel planet with no magic and no afterlife. Included in the Brave New World was his sister, though for some reason she wanted to go.
- At the end of Brian Stableford's Day of Wrath, Mark Chaos gets the opportunity to reshape the galaxy as he sees fit, and is told to choose between the worldviews of two mutually opposed time travelling well intentioned extremists. Chaos, naturally, decides to Take a Third Option - he leaves the galaxy exactly as it is, to follow it own destiny.
- In Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy. Once Joshua Calvert finds the Naked God, a Sufficiently Advanced Alien, or at least a machine left behind by such, it gives him the opportunity to save the world from the invasion of the dead and the opportunity to reshape the Galaxy as he sees fit. He promptly relocates the entire Confederation outside the Milky Way to form a tight star cluster, making interstellar travel much easier, thus forcing Humanity to become much closer socially and ideologically, as well as physically.
- In a rare non-ending example, the main character remaking the world as he sees fit is a major plot point in The NeverEnding Story.
- At the end of Dean Koontz's short story, A Darkness in My Soul, a psychic goes on a Journey to the Center of the Mind and finds God trapped in the psyche of an insane genius. He then absorbs God's powers and uses it to abolish the oppressive society that Earth has been ruled over and removes all weapons of mass destruction, as well as removing the evils that plagued mankind.
- Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series ends with the destruction of everything bar the main character, who is tasked with creating a new universe. He decides to screw that and just recreate the old one.
- In the Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy series, this trope is played with twice in the "maybe vision, maybe time travel" sort of way: first, Horus is whisked to the future where the Empire has been stagnating for thousands of years, the Emperor rules as a living god to all his subjects, and half the Primarchs (Horus included) seem to have been wiped from history. He decides to "fix the galaxy" by turning against his father...not realizing that he was being directly lied to, and that vision would come about because of his treachery. Later on, Alpharius has a similar experience, and has to choose between siding with the Emperor and watching all of Mankind continue to stagnate and bloat until Chaos implodes and destroys the galaxy, or side with Horus to help him win, the universe goes through hell for a couple of centuries, then Horus has a "My God, What Have I Done?" moment and starts a(nother) self-hating civil war that wipes out the rest of humanity but saves the cosmos at large. He joins Horus, figuring a race-wide Seppuku was better than the end of everything; what actually happens is basically the worst parts of both outcomes.
- This actually happened twice in Mistborn, once (as is eventually revealed) by the Lord Ruler a thousand years before the first book, and again by Sazed at the end of the original trilogy. Given the nature of how things work in the Cosmere, the trope is also likely to apply to other works by Brandon Sanderson.
Live Action TV
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Parting of the Ways", Rose absorbs the time vortex and acquires godlike powers. Once she's used them to solve their current problem, the Doctor absorbs the energy into himself before it kills her (providing an excuse for him to "regenerate" into a different actor) and removes the inconvenient godlike abilities from the plot. Rose uses her powers to wipe out the Daleks (except for the ones who survived in another dimension), to resurrect Jack Harkness (a little too well, as it turns out), and to write the words "Bad Wolf" across time and space to cause this chain of events.
- Then in "The Big Bang", the Doctor reboots the universe with Big Bang Two, but it's Amy who has the power to bring back everything that was erased by the crack, by trying really really hard and remembering. This includes her parents, and the Doctor himself.
- At the end of Breath of Fire IV the heroic Ryu merges with the insane Fou-Lu to become the greatest of The Endless. The player's choices determine whether Ryu dominates the new entity and casts the Endless out of the world, or Fou-Lu dominates it and ends humanity.
- The city-building gameplay elements of Dark Cloud could be considered an expression of this concept. The male protagonist is gifted by the Fairy King with a magical apparatus called the Atlamillia which endows him with the creative potential to salvage lost resources from the previous world stored in Atla and rebuild that which was destroyed by the Dark Genie during the game's opening.
- At the end of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Kain can choose to sacrifice himself to restore balance to the world, or rule Nosgoth as the king of vampires. The later games in the series go with the assumption he chose world domination.
- Later games reveal that the first choice would throw the world into even greater unbalance eventually. Which doesn't stop those who don't know it (all but Kain and a select few) from hating Kain's guts for his choice.
- In Deus Ex, the protagonist has the option to rule the world as a transcendent being, as a conspirator, or to plunge the world into anarchy. In the sequel Invisible War, the player may choose to force transcendence on the people, ally with two other factions, or destroy everybody — with unforeseen consequences.
- A recurring plot element in the Shin Megami Tensei series, but especially in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne. The main plot of the game is set after The End of the World as We Know It in a world-in-potentia called the Vortex World. Various factions, called Reasons, are fighting over who gets to recreate the world as they see fit. Although the main character, the Demi-Fiend, is a demon and cannot build his own Reason, he can champion whichever he chooses and rebuild the world in that Reason's image. The Demi-Fiend can also choose to reject all the Reasons and restore the world as we know it or maintain the Vortex World. Another ending was introduced in the Maniax expansion, in which the Demi-Fiend throws his lot in with Lucifer and destroys the world before joining the fallen angel on a Rage Against the Heavens.
- In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, you either use the Schwarzwelt to bring humanity under the control of God, use it to bring humanity under the control of the demons, or destroy the Schwarzwelt instead of changing the world with it.
- In Persona 2: Innocent Sin, after Nyarlathotep destroys the world, Philemon tells the heroes that they can recreate the world with their wills for the better, but lose their memories of each other. Three of them imagine better futures for themselves but the last member doesn't want to forget, causing the next game's plot, Eternal Punishment.
- Devil Survivor 2 plays with this by establishing the Akashic Records are, metaphorically, the program reality runs on. Said program, to continue with the metaphor, can be edited, deleted or recreated depending on who's currently controlling it. One can choose to use the Records to edit Earth to suit a perfect egalitarian world, a ruthless meritocracy, replace the current admin of the Records with a more sympathetic one, restore reality with the archived file on the past world (with varying success on averting a Vicious Cycle), or outright destroy the Records and make it impossible for any admin to ever rise again.
- The Infocom Interactive Fiction game Spellbreaker ends with the player confronted by his Evil Twin, created as a result of Equivalent Exchange, who it turns out has been manipulating the player into gathering the Cosmic Keystones he needs to remake the world in his own image with himself as its god. The player has only a narrow window of opportunity to sabotage his "End of the World" Special; it's possible to accidentally unmake the entire universe as a result of removing the centerpiece of the tesseract entirely, but by replacing it with something non-magical, the universe is remade without magic, and without the player's evil doppelganger.
- In Knights of the Old Republic the character must choose whether to save the Republic from the Sith, or become their new leader and continue the war. Notably, the sequel allows you to set what choice your character made in the first game and alters the plot accordingly, although the differences are minimal and do not affect the main storyline.
- Fable II ends with your character getting the keys to the Spire, the reality altering device that Lucien fucked you over so many times to try and power. Here you must make a Sadistic Choice: raise your family (who Lucien has murdered) from the dead...or raise the thousands who died in the Spire's construction in their stead. Or just get a lot of money.
- Of course, you're never allowed to use it to make your own world like Lucien was going to, oh no...
- Mana Khemia Alchemists Of Alrevis has a twist on this: The main character has the power to remake the world right from the start, only he doesn't know it, yet.
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past ends with Link touching the Triforce and making a wish on it to revive several people that had died, and generally give a happy end to everyone he's met.
- Avalon Code: This concept is the plot of the whole freaking game.
- The entire journey of Mother 3 is to see who will summon the Dark Dragon first, and how they'll use it to recreate the world. In the end, despite Lucas pulling the last needle, the world is still destroyed, but the ending implies everyone is still happy and it was for the better.
- Super Mario Galaxy. At the end of the game, Bowser's galaxy collapses into a black hole that sucks up the whole universe and blows up all of existence. Rosalina creates a brand new universe.
- Oracle Of Tao: Ambrosia does this in the most literal way possible. The world before this is a Dream Apocalypse centered around her and she makes it real.
- Cyrus' goal in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games is to use the legendary Pokémon of Sinnoh to destroy the universe and create one in which there is no suffering...and also no happiness, because he considers all emotions to be the source of weakness and suffering.
- Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates is based heavily around this. Beings called Star Singers are capable of choosing between a nearly infinite number of alternate worlds, and all magic makes subtle use of this. The villains' desire to exploit this. In the end the heroes gain the true version of the ability, allowing them to create an ideal world rather then just selecting a flawed one.
- Penny Arcade Adventures: The metaplot of the game is that the world goes through a continual cycle of destruction and rebirth, becoming more horrible and deranged each time. The Brahe clan has conceived a plan to stop this cycle by preventing the world from being reborn and therefore sending everything to oblivion. Tycho, one of the protagonists, breaks from his clan and instead tries to seed the next rebirth with a perfectly good individual: his niece Anne-Claire. In the end, he succeeds.
- Makai Kingdom begins with Lord Zetta destroying his Netherworld, and much of the game is about rebuilding it piece by piece by conquering new territory.
- In minus, the eponymous character simultaneously resurrects every human and beast to have ever walked the earth, crushing both the current inhabitants and the freshly-risen dead. Through a conference of the Smartest People Who Ever Lived, it is decided that everyone should just stay in the afterlife. The extraterrestrial creators of human life decide to turn the newly empty earth into a theme park showing what Earth was like right before everyone died, which is then visited by ghosts. And that's the end of the comic.
- Irregular Webcomic! destroyed all of time and space, when in every single story thread simultaneously, someone mucked with time. With everyone dead at the same time in an endless expanse of gray, the troublemakers all figured out how to restart all the story threads at the same time. Every one of the threads is now in a reboot.
- In Homestuck, this is what's supposed to happen: the players cause the apocalypse in their own universe, but through playing the game they get to make a new one. Unfortunately, things haven't gone quite according to plan.
- Sort of happens in Ace Lightning - except that Mark only has the option of deleting Ace's "world" (i.e. the video game) from his hard drive, and he chooses not to.
- Technically, anyone with sufficient programming skills could have changed the game further, but the resident Geek wasn't in on the secret back then.
- In The Angry Beavers episode "Millennium Beavers", Dagget and Norbert are chosen by a mysterious disembodied voice and whisked away to a mysterious void to create a new universe after the ending of the old one. When the brothers screw things up with their squabbling, the Powers That Be decide to give up and continue on with the previous universe, putting Dag and Norb back where they belong.
- In Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben uses Alien X to restore the universe after the Anialargh destroys it. Since Alien X is an omnipotent Reality Warper, he can remake the universe in any way he sees fit. He sees fit to remake it with no changes whatsoever.
- Except for a different mascot for his favorite smoothie shop and a sweet hoodie.
- Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated ends with the gang using the Heart of the Jaguar to destroy the Eldritch Abomination and rewrite history. While it's not explicitly stated that the gang was able to affect the recreation of the universe, it still ends up being a "perfect world" where Crystal Cove is a normal town, the supernatural really doesn't exist (except for Scooby, of course), and the gang all have bright futures ahead. Only they — and, oddly, Harlan Ellison — remember that this isn't how things always were.