Main Esoteric Happy Ending Discussion

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10:48:28 PM Apr 21st 2017
Question about the following:
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: The ending of the show is very uplifting but bittersweet where majority of the Tekkadan members and their allies died. Mars finally got their independence which led to the formation of the Martian Union while Gjallarhorn was reformed, abolishing the Seven Stars and lessening their presence on Mars. However, the guy responsible for the reforms had committed a lot of atrocities and was never punished for it, using the death of nearly half the Seven Stars to reform Gjallahorn, ironically doing what McGillis Fareed wanted. Since history is Written by the Winners, McGillis and Tekkadan's names are forever stained as villains with only a few people knowing what they truly are.

How is the latter not an intentional bitter part of the Bittersweet Ending? I ask because the ending was controversial enough that several entries had to be removed.
01:04:11 PM Oct 4th 2016
It's funny, but while I completely understand why it's listed on the trope page (subjective trope and all that) I still consider the ending to Mad Max: Fury Road to be as good as can be expected given the high level of inherent crapsackiness of the setting. There may be uncertainty for a few years, but with the Vuvalini's knowledge and seeds they may be able to get a better food supply, which means a healthier populace, and eventually sufficiently rebuild militarily to repel pretty much all comers, given that nomadic gangs seem to be getting progressively less of a threat throughout the film series (very serious existential threat in The Road Warrior and Mad Max, obligatory clients to Barter Town in Beyond Thunderdome, relatively easily repelled/annihilated in Fury Road).
12:57:33 PM Aug 5th 2015
I hvaen't read all of Death Note, so I'm not willing to remove it, but it doesn't sound like it's being presented as a happy ending at all, more of a dark version of "And the adventure continues" so should it even be here?
01:38:07 PM Feb 23rd 2015

  • In the 1st Degree has several endings, and the best ending is to convict Tobin of first-degree murder and grand theft. It sure sounds like a happy ending. Well, until you start wondering what will happen to Ruby, Simon and Yvonne as a result of all this. The art gallery is shut down, Simon is back to his old job, Yvonne's career and reputation are probably sunk, and Ruby now has no boyfriend and it is uncertain what she is going to do now. Then again, the game is a simulation of a murder trial and it was likely trying to show that you can get the defendant punished to the full extent of the law, but the people involved in it will still be left to pick up the pieces.

If this is what the game was trying to show then this is not an Esoteric Happy Ending
12:49:36 AM Mar 19th 2014
"the one thing that actually sets them apart from other animals"..."use reason to solve problems" Really? I don't believe that.
12:01:08 PM Aug 16th 2013
Removed the following, second The Simpsons example:

** "Love is a Many Strangled Thing". We are genuinely expected to consider it a good thing that Homer and Bart destroyed an innocent man's life. You'd think they'd at least lampshade it, but nope.

Reason: Not an Example. Dr. Zander is revealed as the episode progresses to be no better morally than either Homer or Bart. Indeed, he snaps and tries to kill Bart. Hardly an "innocent" man.
02:41:26 PM Aug 7th 2013
I'm wondering if I should include the ending of Mirai Nikki. It seems that there were a sizeable number of fans who liked the way it ended, but there's a level of Fridge Logic, maybe even Fridge Horror with a dash of Mind Screw thrown in for good measure. Plus the two main characters only, you know, killed a bunch of people and essentially got away relatively scot-free. Personally, I liked the ending, but still suffer a little confusion due to the whole Alternate Timeline deal and how AU-selves work. Anyone want to add it as an example? I'd explain the ending in detail,'s a little say the least.
07:53:19 PM Nov 20th 2012
I'm confused by this trope's name. I looked the definition of "esoteric", and this doesn't seem like the right use of it, could somebody clear it up for me?
03:53:10 PM Apr 18th 2013
Esoteric means strange, basically. As I recall, it is often used to indicate that something lies pretty far outside the sphere of "normalcy". In this case, it indicates that the Happy Ending is a weird one—the story certainly treats its denouement as if it were positive, but surely there's something strange about how most people died, how the heroes are revered for doing that really nasty thing they did half a book ago, how everyone is not just moving on after the horrors they've seen but flat-out ignoring it, and all without a trace of irony or self-reflection? Of course, you suppose the ending could be called happy, but it is a bit strange.

Does that clear it up?
09:34:44 AM Jul 20th 2012
Accidentally put an entry here that I meant to put under What An Idiot. Need someone to delete that, since I tried to myself but can't right now. (Although, yeah, Keitaro marrying Naru isn't that much different an EHE from Hatsumi marrying Ryouga in Hot Gimmick.)
09:53:17 AM Jul 20th 2012
I've removed it for you.
03:16:22 PM Jul 22nd 2012
09:35:17 AM Mar 15th 2012
edited by ashlay
Mass Effect 3: As someone explained in the past, an Esoteric Happy Ending is a story with a Downer Ending which presents itself as Earn Your Happy Ending.

We say these are considered "Happy" endings by the creators because they present them to you as the "good" endings. The secondary downer aspects of the ending do not disqualify it, they are exactly what this trope is about. The creator says "This is the happiest ending you could possibly get", but because of how sad it is, the fans say "no way, I can think of way happier ways this could have ended."

Now look, it's fine to pull out the more inflamitory aspects of the description, but this is a YMMV and ending (making it even more YMMV) trope. Don't just delete it because you feel it's supposed be downer and other people think it's supposed to be happy. Happy ending does not mean golden ending, we'd have to cut half the examples on this page if we cut out every ending that contains negative aspects.
07:55:23 PM Mar 16th 2012
This trope really needs a better definition in that case. When I read the trope description, I'm seeing an ending that is intended to be an unambiguous happy ending that gets slapped with Fridge Horror or other elements to ruin it. If the ending's darker elements are intentional, it can't count as this in the first place. There's nothing in the description about it being the "best" ending.

If the trope description is this open to interpretation, then it needs to be rewritten.
08:51:31 PM Dec 25th 2011
I think this trope needs some serious cleaning. There are a fair number of entries that seem to follow the belief that *any* possibility of future conflict or trouble turns an ending into this.

IMO, Esoteric Happy Ending should be restricted to endings wherein people legitimately argue over whether its happy or not.
07:20:30 PM Mar 14th 2012
I agree. Not to mention that at least some of the examples are playing fast and loose with what actually happened in the work in question.
02:53:45 AM Jan 27th 2011
edited by loracarol
Moving this here for the time being:

  • The Series Finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wherein Buffy activates a magical artifact that gives thousands of girls all over the world the powers of the slayer. It's supposed to be feminist and uplifting, but after seven seasons of showing that Buffy is Blessed with Suck, it's not quite cheerful to see thousands of unwitting females be granted the same problem-causing powers. The comics rectify this a little. A little.
    • Having thousands of girls get Slayer powers removes the loneliness aspect of it, though.
      • Which makes it an even bigger Wall Banger, as this suggests Buffy's Nakama (including her own sister) means nothing to her.
03:22:36 AM Jan 27th 2011
I don't understand what your Single-Issue Wonk with this is: Buffy states in-series that the responsibility of being The Slayer causes her to feel lonely from being The Chosen One, the only person who suffers from that kind of pressure.
12:39:01 PM Jan 27th 2011
edited by Patrick
I have no interest in arguing this with you.

(And yes, the last two seasons are a major Berserk Button for me, but that's beside the point.)

12:07:44 AM Jan 28th 2011
So you admit to being unobjectively biased then? Good-o.

And I seem to recall someone trying to pull off Aesop Amnesia condescension FIRST.
05:30:44 PM Feb 6th 2011
edited by Patrick
I am taking this to Fast Eddie.
07:32:42 PM Feb 6th 2011
Yeah, not really an example. The natter doesn't help, either.
01:16:32 AM Feb 7th 2011
edited by Patrick
That went real well for ya, didn't it?
03:06:45 AM Feb 7th 2011
edited by Patrick
I will abide with the decision of the moderator. I suggest we put this mind-bogglingly idiotic argument behind us. Shake?
10:49:10 PM Feb 7th 2011
I elect to decline your offer.
08:27:17 PM Apr 6th 2011
Why the heck do you think that always getting the girl means having a happy ending?No,disney isn't enforcing that ugly people can't fall in love with more beautiful people.It would be too easy and predictable if they did it.This could a case of YMAV but I hate people bitch about Quasi not getting Esmerelda.Do they ignore that he has the respect of the people and is allowed to go out into the streets.You know people always complain about Disney being formalic but when they do something different people bitch.Besides he still had friendship with her and Esemerelda is still alive.It is a happy ending for Quasimodo but I think people focus on the fact that not getting the girl means the hero has a unhappy ending.
09:01:20 PM Oct 16th 2011
I assume you meant to start a new topic? Anyway the page presents both sides of this (without natter) so I think its a non-issue.
09:13:47 AM Jul 17th 2010
...this trope makes no sense. Is it a trope where people complain about endings they don't like? Bittersweet Endings? Downer Endings? Gainax Endings?

There seems to be no standard to the trope to apply trope examples to and the introduction gives the impression that there is no standard. It's trying to be a dumping ground for complaining about all the ending types I just mentioned above but there's nothing about it that makes it unique from the above tropes.
09:16:34 AM Jul 17th 2010
The trope is clearly defined. A story with a Downer Ending which presents itself as Earn Your Happy Ending.
09:20:51 AM Jul 17th 2010
But the introduction makes it sound like that's entirely up to individual tropers and the page image even includes an ending that few considered a "happy" ending. Looking at the page examples, it really does feel a place where people can just complain about endings they don't like because the introduction is so vague.
01:10:23 AM Aug 1st 2010
edited by LordSeth
Personally I'd be fine with the removal of this trope because there seems so little point to it. It really is just "complain about endings you don't like" quite honestly.

Furthermore, if the trope is "the author thought this was a happy ending but this editor didn't think so", how do you *know* that was the author's intention? While in some cases you can tell indeed tell that, in quite a few of these examples it's more ambiguous than that.
03:58:27 AM Aug 1st 2010
Perhaps this needs to be reclassified as a Subjective Trope.
11:35:55 AM Aug 1st 2010
edited by loracarol
Yeah, I'd agree. I assumed that it actually was one before, when talking about the UBW Good and UBW True endings of Fate/stay night, which are, to me, undoubtedly Esoteric Happy Endings (it's played as a happy ending, but poor Sakura is stuck being raped by penis worms for the forseeable future whilst her sister (who is not aware of her situation, and would be devestated if she found out) runs away to London with the guy she loves (who has been her only source of support and happiness for the last four years), plus Ilya died a painful death and Rider died pathetically fighting for a master she hated), but many other people do not agree with that. In the end, it depends on your feelings about the characters (who you care for and how much you think Sakura's situation will affect Rin) and where you think the story will go from there.

When I added it to the page, I got into an argument with someone else, who said that it wasn't such an ending and that it didn't matter what I thought because this wasn't a subjective trope, even though similar tropes like Missed Moment of Awesome are classed as "SubjectiveTropes". I can't see how you can define it objectively, because, by definition, these endings are ones that the author, at least, thought were happy endings, and thus some people are bound to agree with them.
08:02:42 AM Apr 24th 2011
Of course this is a subjective trope. It's dealing with interpretations of an ending, there's no way it could possibly be anything else.
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