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Anime & Manga
- In Waiting in the Summer, while Kaito and Ichika are implied to be together at the end (as evidenced by her in the student film wearing a jacket his sister brought back with her on her trip), Mio and Tetsuro haven't seem to officially hook up yet. However, neither one of them seems to mind the status quo, and at the very least they're still hanging around with each other.
- Heaven's Lost Property: In the anime, Tomoki has sexual tension going on with all of the female cast members, particularly Sohara and Ikaros. He even goes on a date with Ikaros and Nymph, yet the series opts for the first option and doesn't ever come to a romantic resolution. The trope is even lampshaded when Mikako tries to hold a Shotgun Wedding and force him to pick one of the four candidates, only for the attempted wedding to be crashed by yet another girl (a little sister this time). Later, Sohara indicates that she really doesn't mind the status quo continuing for a while longer.
- In the Tokyo Mew Mew anime, Retasu's fate is left open-ended; while the guy that liked her went back to his home planet and the guy she likes is still around, there's no definitive love confession.
- Kyo Kara Maoh! didn't provide any definite answers either, although if you want to ignore the Yaoi Guys aspect of it and just view it as a parody, that hardly matters. However, in this instance, Yuri's lack of a definite decision may be more to avoid the wrath of the fangirls than to avoid upsetting his harem...
- In the Mega Man Star Force anime, Luna and Harp Note at one point try to make MegaMan choose between them. In the original Japanese anime at least, Subaru (Geo) says "We're all just friends, right?" with which the girls are seemingly satisfied.
- To Heart 2: The Unwanted Harem is unresolved after thirteen episodes and four OVA episodes. Well, when you do have twelve women in your harem...
- Ranma ½ ends with none of Ranma's relationship issues being resolved in the slightest (with the implication that the situation is going to persist for quite some time). This is largely due to the author not knowing how to plausibly bring the situation to closure.
- Haruhi Suzumiya is currently in a Type 1 situation. All the girls explicitly and canonically want Kyon (though circumstances and Haruhi are keeping all the sexual tension unresolved for now), while Itsuki claims to be solely playing up the Ho Yay to keep Haruhi from warping him into actually being gay for Kyon (emphasis on "claims"). Also, there's a couple of yuri-laden sidebars in the harem (Haruhi/Mikuru and Yuki/Mikuru), just to complicate matters more. (Haruhi likes it complicated.)
- The anime for Trigun ends with Meryl waiting for Vash to return to her. She loves him, but it isn't entirely clear how he feels about her. Considering it would be a Mayfly–December Romance, it might be unlikely.
- It's implied that Vash sees Meryl as sort of an inspiration for him in the next to last episode. Sort of like a new Rem? Make of that what you will. So odds are even if he doesn't exactly return it, he definitely wants and needs her in his life.
- The manga is even more clear on their relationship. It is much clearer that Vash has some sort of feelings for Meryl all throughout the series, and especially as they kiss their knuckles and press them together (a kiss without touching lips) before Vash fights Knives. Then again when Vash makes his first ever promise to return to Meryl, and asks her to wait for him before he leaves to finish with Knives. Unfortunately the ending is left hanging with no further hints of romance but a Mayfly–December Romance would be less likely in the manga due to Vash apparently losing all of his Plant powers by the end. This may or may not mean he would age normally which could be why he would consider a relationship with her.
- The anime version of Princess Jellyfish ends with an open ending for the Sibling Triangle.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 concludes without ever resolving Feldt's unrequited feeling for Setsuna. Which is especially odd considering how strongly the movie seemed to focus on it. The director claims he was trying to make yet another point about the difficulties of communication with that, basically that Setsuna still had big-time intimacy issues, and did not know how to properly convey his feelings (whatever they were) for Feldt. Even his accepting a hug from her prior to the final battle was a massive step forward for him.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! ends up this way for the protagonist, with the last chapter ending with nothing for him but Ship Tease and sunken ships for the three most popular contenders: Asuna, Nodoka and Yue. It's implied lightly that he hasn't settled down with anyone as of yet judging by the behavior of Makie and some of the other girls. The ending does confirm that he has feelings for someone. It just doesn't say who. Although Asuna, and following the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue, Misora, who previously posed as the priest during Negi's time in the church confessional, was very surprised to hear who it was...
- Sequel series UQ Holder! would later confirm that the girl in question was Chisame, who turned him down at first due to his age, but seems to have married him some years down the line.
- Irresponsible Captain Tylor: The titular captain is a bumbling Chick Magnet with an array of love interests, with the most prominent being the android-spy Harumi and the young empress Azalyn. Nothing happens, however.
- The last few episodes hint at possible romance between Tylor and Yuriko, though, and in the follow-up OV As they officially begin a relationship. In later, unfilmed stories they're engaged.
- The series was originally made as being anti-romance, but the anime adaptation (and later manga adaptations for that matter) of Slayers bring out romance anyway. What was thought to have been a romantic ending came about at the end of the second anime season: Gourry and Lina kiss in another dimension where the former saves her from the Lord of Nightmares, but when they return to the world below, they don't remember it. The final light novel also teases at the idea of romance when Gourry asks to accompany Lina to her homeland, but it's still ambiguous. There's also the Ship Tease between Zelgadis and Amelia, which was mostly left hanging when the new anime seasons were released.
- None of the girls in Infinite Stratos get to hook up with Ichika at the end of the anime, although Houki comes close twice, once at the end of episode 12 (which is ruined by the other 4 pissed off girls), and once again in the second half of the OVA (she confesses, but its muted out by some fireworks that go off at the same time, so he doesn't hear it, and is distracted by them). This, however, is a result of Infinite Stratos being an ongoing light novel, which the anime only showed a portion of. The second anime series was similarly inconclusive.
- Ghost in the Shell has a particularly painful example— despite increasingly heavy hints towards Batou and the Major having feelings for one another by the end of Solid State Society, no real conclusion is ever reached. The theatrical movies fare no better, with even more romantic subtext but no chance whatsoever of things ever ending happily for them.
- In the first season of Rinne no Lagrange, there are numerous hints that Lan gradually triumphs over Muginami when it comes to winning Madoka's affections. In the second season this appears to be reset though, and Madoka seems to like both girls equally. Despite lots of subtext (which even involves kissing), it never becomes quite clear whether the girls are merely friends or perhaps more.
- Shugo Chara! ended without a definite answer to the Ikuto/Amu/Tadase love triangle. Though there seemed to be a very noticeable lean towards Ikuto, especially in later chapters.
- Edward has at least one love interest in Fullmetal Alchemist but nothing ever comes from it as he gets stuck in a parallel universe. Likewise Roy and Riza seem pretty romantic at the end but come Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa and they're back to square one, with Riza barely being a character in the film and Roy being sent far away and spending his time depressed over Ed being gone. Meanwhile, in the manga version of the story, Edward is the only major character who gets his romantic resolution with Winry. Alphonse/Mei Chang, Roy/Riza, and Ling/Lan Fan are all inconclusive, though one of the author's comments in an artbook at least indicated Roy and Riza would have married each other if they weren't in the military and thus not subject to anti-fraternization rules.
- Macross Frontier ends with no resolution to the central love triangle between Alto, Sheryl, and Ranka. The movies avert this, ending by having Alto clearly spell out that he's in love with Sheryl, not Ranka.
- Macross 7 is even worse about the triangle between Mylene, Basara, and Gamlin, since they don't get a movie to resolve their romantic loose ends. Further complicating the issue is the fact that Basara simply doesn't seem to care about romance at all, while Mylene is just 14 years old and doesn't feel ready for a committed relationship anyway.
- Watashitachi No Tamura Kun: The series end with Tamura confessing to both Matsuzawa and Souma, and both of them confess to him, but none of the relationships are truly confirmed or denied by the end of the series.
- Bokura no Hentai ends with no one ending up with anyone despite the Love Dodecahedron. It has two Maybe Ever Afters with Marika and Satoshi and Ryousuke and his childhood ex-girlfriend Hacchi, however the main trio seems to be on platonic terms by the Distant Finale.
- Canaan has heavy romantic subtext between Maria and Canaan however nothing ever comes of it as they go their separate ways.
- The Wandering Son anime ends on an ambiguous note. The love triangle between Nitori, Takatsuki, and Saori is still present but they're on much more neutral terms than before, to the point where they're all friends again. Nitori and her girlfriend Anna have broken up as well. The manga averts this as it continues to the end of high school. Nitori and Anna get back together again and the love triangle ends in none of the couples. Takatsuki stays single (though she has unrequited feelings for Nitori and Saori dates Fumiya.
- Fairy Tail: While Gajeel and Levy have their happily-ever-after — with the epilogue hinting that Levy is pregnant — the manga ends with Natsu being as oblivious to Lucy's feelings for him as ever.
- Runaways was apparently supposed to end with Chase being reunited with Gert, but the series was abruptly cancelled halfway through the last arc, so instead, he runs into a girl who may or may not be Gert, then gets hit by a car while chasing after her.
- Sabretooth & Monet in Uncanny. A Ship Tease where three other characters called out their behavior with each other. M becomes a vampire after being fused with Emplate & Creed offers to let her feed on him. The finale shows they ran off together, with Psylocke comparing them to an Outlaw Couple. In Resurr Xion they're in separate books with their relationship is mostly ignored. Generation X (2017) finally referenced it a year later, with a one-panel callback to an old scene -which still doesn't answer on what happened with them or why they split up.
- Supergirl: Kara's second solo book ends with her childhood crush Dick Malverne showing up and kissing her all of sudden. Readers never got to see Kara's reaction because the series was abruptly cancelled and the character killed two years later (DC had plans for a relaunch but they never materialized). Several decades later writer Paul Kupperberg revealed that Supergirl would turn Dick down. However, Young Love picked up that plot thread and solved it after twenty years: Dick confesses that he loves Linda, he always knew she was Supergirl... and he's dying from cancer. They kiss and he passes away later that night.
- The Child of Love:
- To Rei and Takuma, a character showed up in the sequel. Although the story hinted he had feelings towards Rei, he never shows up in stories set years in the future, and neither Rei nor other characters mention him. Since the sequel never got finished, it is unknown whether they got together or not.
- Hikari and Touji. In “Gifts” (sets fourteen years later) Asuka says she has not talked to Hikari in years and she does not know whether she and Touji are together or not.
- The Replacement Killers seems to be building to this, but for whatever reason the early belligerent tension between John and Meg doesn't have any sexuality to it, and she ends up coming off as more of a Not Love Interest than anything else, ultimately seeing him off at the airport before he leaves to join his family.
- The Woods has this, Heather and Marcy far from getting a romantic resolution, receive no relationship resolution at all; not even a hug or a verbal acknowledgement of the others' existence.
- Subverted in The Best Years of Our Lives. The romance between Fred and Peggy brews and brews and brews for much of the entire 172-minute film (almost three whole hours), only coming to a resolution with 45 SECONDS LEFT and the credits rolling.... Absolutely gut-wrenching to a first-time viewer.
- The ending of MirrorMask shows Valentine's counterpart in the mundane world is indeed real and has him enter Helena's life, but what their relationship will be or if he knows anything about the other world is totally up for grabs.
- Blade shocked Nostalgia Critic when in the end Eric and Karen had no romantic interest in each other.
- "I don't think you know how it works. He's a dude, You're a chick. You have to end up together, even if you have no chemistry at all. It's, like, a law!"
- Primal Fear seems to be setting up the defence lawyer with the prosecutor, and they do have romantic history, but they don't work it out by the end.
- In Snow White and the Huntsman, Snow White has chemistry with both The Huntsman and William, the character closest to the Prince role and they both kiss her at some point. She does kiss William, but it turns out to be Ravenna in disguise, and it is not clear from the ending whether she will end up with either of them.
- Green Hornet ends with the titular character having thoroughly alienated his potential love interest.
- Pacific Rim towards the end, Mako and Raleigh are sitting in the ocean holding each other, for a second it seems like they'll lean in for a kiss...and then they look away to the chopper about to pick them up. They do have a Headbutt of Love, but that's the most the viewer gets out of it.
- "Watch as these two awkwardly flirt in a classic will they wont they relationship. Then, for the first time in movie history...won't."
- Sleepless in Seattle ends with Sam and Annie first meeting each other.
- Eagles Gathered ends without making it clear if Gold and Silver were ever lovers; if they were as of the end of the film; if either is still alive; or whether Gold ever existed at all.
- In The Red Kimono, Terrance travels all the way from Los Angeles to New Orleans to track down Gabrielle the reformed prostitute. He fails to find her, and winds up joining the Army as the United States enters World War I. He stumbles across her by accident in the hospital where she's working as a nurse, right before he's supposed to ship out to France. Terrance asks her to marry him, but Gabrielle tells him to look her up after he gets back, explaining that she needs time to earn her happiness. The End.
- Robin McKinley's Sunshine ends with the heroine showing romantic interest in both her long-term boyfriend and her new vampire love interest. There's really no clue which she'll pick.
Live Action TV
- While it wasn't the end of the entire series, Goren and Eames leaving Law & Order: Criminal Intent is played like this. The latter takes a promotion and keeps it just long enough to protect the former from going through a lengthy trial (which will lead to him being sacked in disgrace) by firing him. (Word of God says it was left open so the Broken Base can decide for themselves whether or not they ended up together.) Even when they return later to finish out the tenth season, there seems to be an air of Maybe Ever After to the partnership.
- At the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's TV run, Buffy is left without a resolved love interest. She is a cookie that is not done baking.
- My Name Is Earl had the Randy/Catalina Unrequited Love Switcheroo never play out to a conclusion despite teasing it.
- Firefly: While Kaylee and Simon finally get together in the Big Damn Movie, Serenity, the UST between Mal and Inara remains unresolved. However, she does say she wants to stay on the ship - for those two, even admitting they actually want to be around each other is a huge step forward in the relationship.
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder: An attraction was hinted at between Kira and Trent in the first half of the series, but nothing ever came of it.
- Before that was the relation between Cassie and the Phantom Ranger that started in Power Rangers Turbo and came back up in an episode of Power Rangers in Space. It was made clear that there was mutual feelings between them however it was never shown if they ever saw each other again after the last time they were seen together.
- Happy Endings hinted very strongly at Penny's attraction to Dave but then Dave and Alex got back together (and broke up again) and the show ended without it ever coming to anything.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor and Clara. "Hell Bent," the Series 9 finale, resolved a number of plotlines and left others hanging. Unfortunately one resolution involved the Doctor erasing his memory of Clara. The closest the two have to a romantic resolution (such as Doctor Who is capable of) is a sequence where Clara decides to tell the Doctor something important and meaningful to her after learning he spent 4 1/2 billion years in a bespoke torture chamber and personal hell just on a desperate gambit to save her life. What she says to the Doctor is left a mystery: the camera pulls away to give the two privacy at the crucial moment.
- In Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter have a mutual romantic attraction through most of the run of the series that they admit to in "Divide and Conquer" but never act on due to the fact that he's her commanding officer and it isn't allowed. Word of God is that they did get together after season 8's "Threads" (after which Jack leaves the SGC to work at the Pentagon), but it's never solidly confirmed on-screen.
- At the end of the original run of Gilmore Girls, Rory is left without a love interest, rejecting Logan's proposal and starting her career in journalism.
- In the 2016 revival, Rory has interactions with all three major ex-love interests (Dean, Jess, and Logan). She gets closure with Dean and forces closure with Logan, but Jess remains around and involved. This did not go unnoticed by Jess/Rory shippers, who had been disappointed by their ending in the original run.
- The written text of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure contains no answer from Isabella in response to the Duke's proposal of marriage. Many theater companies choose to play this as a Maybe Ever After, but that's their own interpretation of the ending; other theater companies imply that she turns him down.
- All of the romances from Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. There are plenty of hints and other showings but the romances never really get off the ground. This is due to LucasArts's insistence on a very short deadline resulting in a lot of content getting cut. There is, however, cut content scripts and mods putting that content back in that affirms romances but regardless leaves romance impossible as the Exile leaves forever at the end of the game.
- In one route of Blaze Union, the Nessiah/Garlot/Siskier/Jenon love quadrangle winds up on hold when the issues that have been plaguing Aegina boil over and she takes center stage. (The other two routes, however, do each have some form of resolution.)
- Ace Attorney never tells us whether or not Phoenix and Iris end up as a couple after the Phoenix Arc, though the fact that she's in jail for an unspecified amount of time probably doesn't help things...
- The romantic tension between Vyse and his two female companions, Aika and Fina of Skies of Arcadia never results in any on-screen or implied romance. However, it was established early in the story that neither girl is jealous at all over Vyse's feelings for the other.
- By the end of Super Mario Odyssey, Mario is finally about to propose to Peach when Bowser makes another, more sincere attempt for her hand at marriage. Mario panics, puts out his own proposal and the two simultaneous proposals after all that just happened causes Peach to turn them both down. She does, at least, calm down and give them a ride back to the Mushroom Kingdom, ensuring they're at least on good terms still.
- Higurashi: When They Cry does not resolve the Rena/Mion/Keiichi love triangle. Rena has more subtext, Mion has more text text, and the story opts to maintain the idea of friendship being most important. This means that Keiichi is still oblivious. However, while the VN doesn't advance anything, Word of God in an interview confirms that Keiichi and Mion will eventually become a thing.
- In the true ending of The Letter, none of the possible Romance Arcs are resolved. All of the surviving characters lose their potential love interests to the curse.
- Little Busters! seems to have this in the Refrain route, unlocked after every other route has been completed. While up until this point the story has been leaning towards primary heroine Rin and nearly makes her the canon heroine even in Refrain, at the end the situation is actually left ambiguous with Rin asking Riki which, if any, of the girls he actually likes. She doesn't get an answer. However if you go through Refrain again, the second time you get the choice to answer yes when Rin asks whether Rikis Declaration of Protection was a "proposal". This replaces the earlier mentioned scene where Rin asks Riki if there is any girl he likes, with a cute scene of them being alone talking (and making out) in the classroom. An oddly hidden option that many do not find.
- In Shikkoku no Sharnoth, the relationship between M and Mary does not evolve into a romance despite some hints. Whether M is even still alive is debatable until the webnovel continuation which clarifies that, but doesn't really resolve anything in regards to the relationship.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!:
- Ant-Man and The Wasp loved each other, but could not actually pursue a romantic relationship during the first season due to his inability to admit his feelings. When Ant-Man found his pacifist beliefs in conflict with the other Avengers' violent behavior, he decided to quit the team, but Wasp did not follow his lead. Ant-Man eventually becomes an Avenger again, after assuming the crimefighting identity of Yellowjacket. His Split Personality seems to again hinder his and Wasp's chances of becoming a couple, but the viewers never find out if the two got over this obstacle, since they fall Out of Focus.
- Hawkeye gets implied early on to have a crush on Black Widow, who teamed up with him on several SHIELD missions. Although Widow soon lands Hawkeye in jail to prevent him from interfering with her infiltration of HYDRA, she eventually manages to make amends with him. However, Widow declines Hawkeye's offer to join the Avengers, and instead kisses him goodbye before running off to see if Nick Fury needs help with another secret mission. When she and the Avengers team up again in the Grand Finale, she and Hawkeye don't have an onscreen conversation with each other.
- The episode where The Mighty Thor meets Beta Ray Bill ends with Lady Sif implying to Thor that she has at least started to develop romantic feelings for Bill, comparing her admiration of Bill's courage and devotion to his fellow Korbinites to that Thor feels for Dr. Jane Foster's courage and devotion to her fellow Midgardians. This pairing never gets brought up again, because the arc containing this episode becomes an Aborted Arc.
- Jem ended on an open ending due to being cancelled after three seasons due to toy sales not being up to expectations. The final episode has Ba Nee reunited with her Disappeared Dad however neither the Two-Person Love Triangle nor the romantic problems involving Riot and Minx are resolved. Jerrica is still flirting with Rio as both herself and her alter ego Jem, Minx still has unrequited feelings for Rio, Riot is still in love with Jem while she doesn't like him, and no one knows Jem's secret identity.