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Bittersweet Ending / Animated Films

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As said on the main page, spoilers are unmarked.

  • In The Admiral And The Princess (aka The Blood Crystal), the Big Bad Court Mage has been defeated after his amulet (the Blood Crystal) has been shattered (killing him). But unfortunately, the titular admiral forever remains a heron, and the Big Bad's amulet was the only thing that could turn him back human. The admiral realizes this, knowing he and the titular princess will never be together, and flies away. But not wanting to be without him, the princess begged her father the king and her nanny to turn her into an egret, knowing she won't ever become human again, and possibly not see them or her friends and subjects again. The movie ends with the two birds flying together (and helping lost ships) as the credits roll, accompanied by this song.
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  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Charlie dies again, but he dies saving Anne-Marie and is allowed back into Heaven after saying goodbye.
  • Cars 3:
    • Jackson Storm lost his winning streak, and Lightning has won his bet with Sterling and gets to keep his job, but the fates of Bobby Swift, Brick Yardley, and the other veterans remain unknown, and it's likely we'll never see them again.
    • In a subversion, it's somewhat too sad to see Lightning gotten too old to compete, but it's comforting to see he hasn't given up the sport after sharing the victory with Cruz. He transitioned into being a racing coach like his deceased mentor Doc Hudson for a new racer, Cruz, who has accomplished her dream of becoming a racer when she (and a few others) thought she wouldn't.
  • The Chipmunk Adventure: The bad guys are arrested, and the kids make it home safe, but the question of who won the race is left unanswered, they receive no reward of any kind, and it's implied they'll be grounded.
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  • At the end of Corpse Bride, Emily breaks off her engagement to Victor, allowing him to return to his real fiancée. Even though she doesn't get to marry him, her soul is finally free to move on, and she ascends to the heavens in a flurry of blue butterflies.
  • Disney movies: In case they don’t have a Happy Ending, then they’ll end their films with this:
    • Make Mine Music: In the final segment Willie the Whale is harpooned, but now he's in heaven, free to sing to his heart's content.
    • Melody Time: Happens in two segments. Johnny Appleseed dies, but has left a huge legacy in his wake and is off to grow apple trees in heaven; while Pecos Bill gives up being a cowboy after the death of his fiancé Slue-Foot Sue, but Texas is implied to be a much safer place because of him.
    • The Fox and the Hound: After Tod and Vixey narrowly escape death at the hands of Amos Slade and Tod's former best friend Copper, Copper and Slade are attacked by a huge bear. Tod saves Copper's life but is injured in the process, leaving him at Slade's mercy, who in the end decides not to kill Tod after Copper induces Slade's Heel Realization. Tod and Copper depart with tiny smiles at each other and Copper returns to to the farm as the foxes watch him from afar. It's implied they never see each other again, though.
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    • Pocahontas ends with the conflict between the Powhatan tribe and British settlers having died down. Chief Powhatan has accepted his daughter's love for an outsider. The British settlers come to see that Governor Ratcliffe was the only one really in the wrong. But also, John Smith was shot trying to protect Chief Powhatan from Ratcliffe, forcing him to return to England and leave Pocahontas behind. The lovers wave goodbye to each other with the strong possibility they may never see each other again. They eventually do see each other again in the direct-to-video sequel. John Smith is well. But by that point, Pocahontas has fallen in love with someone else.
    • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo didn't win Esmeralda's heart. Yes, Esmeralda survived. Frollo's dead. And the people of Paris finally accept Quasimodo as one of their own. But he didn't win his love. Though he eventually does find love in the sequel. While bittersweet, it's certainly a kinder ending than that of the book it was based on.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Ray is Killed Off for Real, but he is Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence, as he's seen appearing as a new star next to his star lover Evangeline. And at least Tiana and Naveen get together and the movie's main plotline has a Happily Ever After ending.
    • Ralph Breaks the Internet: Ralph and Vanellope destroy the virus, saving the internet, they manage to order the new steering wheel and fix Sugar Rush, and Ralph returns to the arcade safe, but Vanellope chooses to reside permanently in Slaughter Race and doesn't go back with him, though both still keep in touch with each other and their friendship still goes on.
  • In Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, it's implied that Jack dies as he's finally kissing Miss Acacia, considering he's in bad shape and he threw away the key that keeps his mechanical heart running. Romance is dangerous for Jack's heart even at the best of times.
  • The old Rankin Bass Christmas special Jack Frost. It's about the titular magic spirit trying to become human because he fell in love with a girl. But to be human he needs a horse, a home, gold, and a wife. He manages to find the first three in the process of freeing the town from the evil tyrant; however the girl, while clearly caring about him as a friend, falls in love with a Knight in Shining Armor. Jack turns back into a spirit and blows one of his wintery gusts through their wedding, and the girl comments that it feels like "an old friend kiss[ing] the bride."
  • By the end of Kubo and the Two Strings, both of Kubo's parents end up dying by the end of the film, but he manages to defeat the Moon King. His parents' spirits in their true forms briefly return to him so he may send their boats down the river for the festival, ending the story. Also, Kameyo the widow poses as the amnesiac Moon King's second wife and tells him about Kubo being his grandson, meaning that Kubo still has family to take care of him. Lampshaded by Kubo at the end.
    Kubo: This was a happy story. But... it could still be a whole lot happier...
  • In The Last Unicorn, the last unicorn (Amalthea) finds and frees her fellows, but at a price. As a human, the Lady Amalthea falls in love with Prince Lír. Returned to her immortal form, she can no longer stay with him (or even feel love anymore), so she leaves both her love and her two human friends behind to return to her home in the lilac wood. Even sadder, however, because she has experienced love, aging, and regret- experiences foreign to "pure" unicorns she is no longer as innocent and aloof as others of her kind, separating her even from her own species. And yet, as sad as these things may be, she thanks Schmendrick for them. It is a good thing to have known love.
  • In Monsters University, Mike and Sulley are expelled from the university but they become the close friends that they were in the first movie. Also, they work their way up from being mailmen in Monsters Inc. to eventually become a scarer and assistant team, fulfilling their dream. Mike surrenders his life-long dream of becoming a Scarer and settles for being a Scare assistant. It's a lower position than what he aimed for, but he feels like an equal as he is the one in charge of coming up scare tactics.
  • Once Upon a Forest: The Furlings manage to make it back in time to save Michelle, some humans clean away the remaining poison, the inhabitants of Dapplewood come back and the Furlings are reunited with their families. However, the plantlife of Dapplewood is still damaged , and some of the animals had been killed by the poisonous gas (including Michelle's parents).
  • In The Secret of Kells, the wall did not manage to keep the Vikings out, and there were numerous casualties. Brendan, Pangur, and Brother Aidan managed to escape the carnage and the Book of Kells was finished years later, but during this time Brother Aidan died of old age, and the Abbot believed Brendan was dead for several years. He and Brendan are finally reunited in the last scene of the movie, however, aside from a brief, chance reunion in her wolf form, it's quite likely Aisling and Brendan will never see each other again.
  • Sky Blue. Sure, Ecoban falls, but Jay will almost certainly die, and Woody isn't in great shape either. Oh, and they were wrong about Gibraltar.
  • Toy Story 2: Andy may inevitably grow out of his old toys in the future (and he does - see Toy Story 3), but when that happens, at least Woody will still have Buzz and all his other friends with him, to Infinity and Beyond.
  • Toy Story 3: The toys now have a new loving owner, but they have lost many of their friends to yard sales, donations, and breaking, and will possibly never see Andy again.
  • Toy Story 4: Gabby Gabby now has an owner and Forky is reunited with Bonnie and the toys, but Woody has sacrificed his voice box to Gabby Gabby and decides to stay behind with Bo for the time being, meaning he cannot go home with Bonnie and will presumably never see Buzz and the others again (or at least not for a long time), but he knows there are other toys out there that need owners, and wherever he goes, he'll always have his friends with him.
  • World of Tomorrow: The young Emily safely returns to her own time period, but the cloned Emily is left to die in sixty days due to a meteor, not to mention that young Emily will eventually grow up into her cloned self.
  • 9 ends with The Fabrication Machine finally being destroyed, and 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8's souls being released from the Talisman, so they're finally at peace. But the world is still badly messed up, and the remaining Stitchpunks aren't sure what's left. And the microbe-like creatures in the rain imply that they might've somehow restored life. Probably.
  • Bird Boy: The Forgotten Children has an ending of the very bittersweet variety: Dinky and her friends, Sandra and Little Fox, are nearly executed by the Forgotten Children, but are saved by the titular Birdboy going on a One-Winged Angel rampage to rescue them. Then when they try to leave their Crapsack Island during a storm, they nearly drown when the inflatable duck raft they're riding gets capsized by a wave, and only survive thanks to Zachariah, a fisherman and one of the only people on the island with a boat, who only stayed there to care for his mother, who by this point has already passed awaynote . Meanwhile, Birdboy is shot dead by an oblivious cop whose Inspector Javert superior was convinced that he was a drug dealer, mere moments after Dinky told Birdboy she loves him. Zachariah takes Dinky and the others back to the island, meaning she's still stuck with parents who love their luchador dog thing more than they love her and don't seem to realize or care that she almost died twice in one day. The only two reasons it isn't a complete downer are that the scrapyards could potentially become safer thanks to Birdboy decimating the Forgotten Children, and that Birdboy's soul guides Dinky to a secret cave containing a tree which produces magic acorns, posthumously entrusting his task of reviving the island to her.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: Though the village and the dragons are saved from Grimmel and are still thriving, until the rest of the world is ready to live in harmony with them, the dragons retreat to live in the Hidden World, and fade into myth. Years later, when both have families of their own, Hiccup and Toothless reunite.


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