Follow TV Tropes


Bittersweet Ending / Visual Novels

Go To

As said on the main page, spoilers are unmarked.

  • Amnesia: Memories oddly makes Shin's Good Ending feel this way. The heroine has regained her memories, but those memories include the knowledge that Toma was the one that caused her injuries and memory-loss. She and Shin plan to go to the zoo for a date, but Toma has turned himself in to atone for his crime. Amnesia LATER plays with this a bit more, as Toma is not prosecuted for his actions, but has chosen to leave town as a way to make up for what he's done to the heroine. But Shin and the heroine hold onto the hope that Toma will come back.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has one: The good ending features the six surviving students escaping, only to find the outside world ravaged by the Tragedy. Nevertheless, they decide to do their best to fix the world.
    • New Danganronpa V3: The Killing Game is ended and Shuichi, Maki and Himiko make it out alive, but all their friends are dead, they have no idea what the outside world is like, and their personalities and backstories were all fake (although they consider the possibility that Tsumugi was lying about that).
  • Digital: A Love Story: Hooray, the Internet is saved! Because Emilia sacrificed herself to take down Reaper. At least the whole thing will be remembered.
  • A staple of Nasuverse original works:
  • Tsukihime:
    • In the True Ending for Arcueid's route, Arcueid technically survives, but after saying one last goodbye to Shiki, she leaves to sleep (or seal herself to her castle) to restrain her urges, presumably forever now that Roa is Deader Than Dead. There is an unlockable "Good Ending" of debatable canon.
      • The manga ending has Shiki find Arcueid (which is ambiguous to whatever it happened in a dream or not), perhaps to keep it consistent with sequels (which was Jossed as series of unconnected side stories (Melty Blood was even joked on "based of the non-existent Satsuki ending").
    • Advertisement:
    • Arcueid's is easily matched, bordering into Downer Ending, by the True Ending for Hisui's route, with Akiha killed by SHIKI, Kohaku (who plotted the whole thing) committing suicide, and Shiki and Hisui leaving the mansion.
    • Likewise, both of Akiha's "good" endings are bittersweet. In one, Shiki saves Akiha's life by seeminglynote  killing himself so that the lifeforce she lent him will return to her. In the other, Shiki can't kill himself, so Akiha lives out her life as an insane beast that feeds on his blood.
    • Ciel's good ending is unambiguously happy, on the other hand, unless you're Ciel herself. Why? Because Arcueid cheerfully sticks around and decides to go for a threesome ending of sorts. Ciel is not happy about having to share in her good end. Shiki himself also spends much of his time figuring out how to keep Arcueid and Ciel from killing each other.
  • All the endings of Fate/stay night that aren't outright downers are bittersweet, because just as Shirou's father warned him, he can't save everyone. In particular, either Saber or Ilya has to die, and in the only route where Sakura isn't left in the hands of her (horrifically) abusive grandfather (who might kill her), the only non-downer ending has both of them dying. The first route (which is the one followed by the anime) is the most bittersweet: Shirou wins the war, destroys the Grail, and avenges his father, but Saber is gone, and nothing can take her place in his heart. We're left to ponder what "continuation of the dream" Saber might be seeing, and to hope it'll bring them back together somehow.
    • Made slightly less bittersweet in the Realta Nua ending. As Arturia (Saber) lies dying, Merlin visits her mentally and tells her that if her soul will wait forever; and if Shirou will look for her forever; they will meet restored at the field of Avalon. He makes it perfectly clear that this is impossible. It happens. Let me make that clear. Saber will always, throughout time, for eternity, wait for Shirou, and that Shirou will always be trying to move towards Saber, to find her again. Pity that to unlock the ending you have to get ALL endings. And THEN you have to play the Fate route again.
  • After sitting through the credits for G-Senjou no Maou, you are treated to a Mood Whiplash epilogue. After surviving the chaotic incident he instigated in the climax, "Maou" pays Kyousuke and Haru a visit, which culminated in Haru chasing him and attempting to gun him down. Kyousuke intervened by killing Maou with his own gun, sparing Haru from the media attention and thus, protecting her future as a violinist. After spending 8 years in prison, he meets Haru and her daughter, and assumed that she got together with another person. The trope is then subverted when he asks how old the girl is, with her reply stunning him.
    I'm seven years old, daddy.
  • Green Green: Midori has to sacrifice her life force in order to save Yuusuke's life. Reiki then is willing to save Midori's life, but to do so she has to return to the 31st century. Worst still, the act of returning Midori to the future has wiped everyone's memory that she was there except for Yuusuke.
  • Each of the character's good endings in Hakuouki are this. Chizuru and the romantic interest are together but The Shinsengumi are no more, the shogunate has fallen and most of their friends are dead. Okita's good ending is bittersweet even more so compared to the others given that he is still dying of tuberculosis and thus he and Chizuru only have a limited time together.
  • Harmonia ends with Tipi and Shiona dying; however, Rei resolves to live on and find a world where humans and Phiroids can coexist peacefully.
  • Kara no Shoujo's best endings are bittersweet at best. Yes, Reiji lives and the murders stop but most of the cast is dead including (normally) Toko. And the ending she lives in is a downer ending. The ones that are bittersweet instead of downers are the ones where he catches Rokushiki and is impied to start a relationship with either Kyoko or Hatsune.
  • A couple of the endings in Katawa Shoujo:
    • Hanako's "Friend" ending results in Hisao and Hanako sharing a simple dinner and a nice chess game... but never developing their relationship past mutual friendship. It's also implied that this sort of relationship will eventually prove self-destructive, since Hisao will put Hanako's needs ahead of his own.
    • Shizune's Good Ending can be interpreted as this. It has Shizune, Misha and Hisao preparing to go their separate ways on the eve of graduation while vowing to remain friends and to see each other again one day. They even take a picture doing the Musketeer pose at the gates. It's not explicitly said that they're forced to completely separate, though, and it's said in the game that it could really go in any direction.
    • Lilly's bad ending can also be interpreted as this. Hanako has finally come out of her shell and is making friends on her own, Hisao has found a new direction in his life and a good future ahead of him, but the woman he loves leaves forever for Scotland, to live with her family who she barely even knows, likely spending the rest of her days unhappy, ending up as Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • In the freeware Visual Novel Narcissu, emotionless Ill Girl Setsumi escapes her bleak existence of hospitalizations and discharges, experiences life on the open road, and finds a little bit of happiness for the first time- then promptly kills herself. It's implied that the unnamed protagonist (also ill) doesn't last much longer.
  • The "Agent" endings of Queen's Gambit run in this direction: not as good as the "Super Spy" endings but better than the "Rookie" and "Nightmare" endings. The villain's plots are mostly foiled but not without cost; Shield and her love interest go on about their lives and still have feelings for each other, but they can't necessarily be together and just try to maintain as much of a relationship as they can given the obstacles.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair has this with the good ending. By the end of the night, Momoko has killed Hiro, left Kotoba to die in the breaker room, then hanged herself in order to frame Kamen for the deaths. However, Raiko manages to help clear Kamen's name, preventing her or anyone else from being wrongfully accused, and as a result, starts to become friends with Kamen. In the best variation of the ending, if you saved Kotoba, it's revealed that while he has permanent scars from the fire, he survives the ordeal.
    Rie: I guess even good things can be born from tragedies, huh?
  • Steins;Gate true ending has Rintaro preventing both of the Bad Futures and Mayuri and Kurisu's deaths. Unfortunately, Rintaro had to make many sacrifices to get here: none of the other Lab Members remember any of their experience together, Daru's Kid from the Future, Suzuha, disappeared because of the Time Paradox created by the new timeline, Faris/Akiha's dad is dead in this timeline, Lukako had to give up being a girl and go back to being a boy, and SERN and the Committee of 300 are presumably still standing, plotting to recuperate their losses, and continuing their attempts to Take Over the World, while Moeka and Yuugo/Mister Braun are implied to still be under their thumb. But it is hinted that the members might not have completely forgotten their memories, as shown when Rintaro met Kurisu again in Akihabara and she still had memories of the nicknames Rintaro gave to her, later material shows that Suzuka is eventually born, Faris has accepted her loss (and Linear Bounded Phenogram indicates he somehow survived), Lukako has come to accept themself for who they are, and Moeka and Yuugo have a nice, quiet life working at the Braun Tube workshop, with Yuugo fully able to tend to his daughter Nae. On top of that, Kurisu's abusive, scumbag father Shoucihi/Nakabachi is last shown going to jail for stabbing Rintaro.
  • Depending on which side of the fantasy fence you sit on for the possible endings of Umineko: When They Cry, the final fate of all the cast members is either this, where the Metaworld is real and Battler is reunited in death there with Beatrice and his whole family or a downer, where the whole thing is just made up as a way for an amnesiac Battler to sort out his own thoughts about the Rokkenjima incident. Still, no matter which viewpoint you take, it doesn't change the fact that by the end of the series, almost everyone who was on Rokkenjima is dead.
  • All of Wildfire's endings are either this or a Downer Ending in War: 13th Day for a reason. To be exact, the entire game is Wildfire's Dying Dream.
    Ambrosia: If you have your best friend, you will lose your lover. If you have your lover, you will lose your best friend.
  • All of the endings in the Coda section of White Album 2. Even Setsuna's True End, the closest thing in the game that could be considered a traditional Happily Ever After ending, still hints that not all things are right behind the scenes.
  • Yandere Chan: The only good ending in the whole game is this. Mia's mental instability is discovered and she's being treated, no one died in the process, and the main character still loves her. However, it's noted that Mia will probably never be healthy enough to leave the mental asylum, and the main character seems to be putting their life on hold just to be with her. The rest of the endings result in your bloody demise.
  • Several games of the Yarudora series contain a few Bittersweet Endings, even in their best Endings.
    • Kisetsu o Dakishimete: No matter which storyline you go and no matter what you do, the main heroine, Mayu, won't resurrect and thus you won't be able to become a couple with her. The best you can do for her, is to help her recover her memories and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence; and for you, thanks to her help and the quest you shared with her, it's either realizing you love Tomoko and get a Relationship Upgrade with her, or find a new love in Mayu's sister Mami or with your neighbour the Sexy Lady.
    • Sampaguita: Don't expect coming out unscathed of saving Maria from the Yakuza's clutches by storming their headquarters with Boy and pals, as there's only two possible outcomes: either being jailed for gunning down the Yakuza boss who was trying to shoot Maria; or being killed by said Yakuza boss by protecting Maria with your body. However, after those events, you'll discover (either after you've served your 5-years jail time and reunited with Maria in her native Philippines, or after awakening as a ghost 2 years after your death), to your joy, that Maria had become pregnant with your kid during the time you were living together, and gave birth to a little boy.
  • ClockUp's more serious, cynical, Darker and Edgier games (i.e. Euphoria, Fraternite, Maggot Baits) thrive on this trope, to put it simply. And sometimes, this is the only kind of One True End.

Alternative Title(s): Visual Novel


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: