- Broken Saints: despite all the suffering they have had to go through, each of our "broken" heroes is healed in the end, the men by the power of Shandala's love, Shandala by the power of theirs, and the world is saved.
- The two main characters in There she is!! go through a number of tribulations before they get to their happy ending.
- In the interactive poem Today I Die, this is used as a metaphor for overcoming depression. The protagonist must swim with a boulder tied to her waist.
- Ruby Quest is a Cosmic Horror Story featuring plenty of Body Horror and mental corruption. It's got a happy ending. It's also a more literal example of this trope, as players earned their happy ending by going Off the Rails several times, like tranquilizing Stitches (which they couldn't have done without a Dungeon Bypass) and giving him the Group Portrait, motivating him to come back for a Big Damn Heroes moment, and saving Jay, who they were supposed to Mercy Kill. Them being both very creative and surprisingly kind got them the Golden Ending.
- Sailor Nothing is a huge Deconstruction of the Magical Girl genre that has the main character being repeatedly broken, her friends not faring much better, and the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism generally getting cranked up all the way to the Cynicism side, yet it manages to end on a happy note, with the complete defeat of the Yamiko and every character on the good guy's side surviving and earning the normal lives they very much deserve.
- Which apparently was a bad thing, because it meant someone's pick for "designated casualty" failed to die horribly.
- Summed up spectacularly with The Nostalgia Chick's review of Don Bluth's Thumbelina, where the despairing heroine is surprised to find her prince Cornelius alive and well - "Things are impossible! Things are... oh! Hi dead boyfriend! Thanks for coming along and proving my pessimism wrong and not making me work for that happy ending!"
- Neon Genesis Evangelion R (Prime ending)
- When The Nostalgia Critic fell into pretty epic depression in his "Commercials Special", he got to win by doing Awesome Music and be happy for the first time in a long while.
- Sir Ron Lionheart, in his Let's Play of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, went out of his way to set everything right, and we mean every last sidequest. It was a long haul, but it was worth it to see a dawn of a new day.
- Counter Monkey: "The Last Ride of Tandem the Spoony." After making it through a horrendously difficult campaign against all odds, Tandem and the only other survivor find themselves with a ship that can cross dimensions, so they first go home to resurrect their friends, and then everyone was last seen sailing away to whatever adventures await them next.
- Most of the time, a Character Arc in Survival of the Fittest has a Bittersweet Ending at best, due to the fact that almost the entire cast will die. However, in version four STAR comes in to rescue students as long as they're not actively playing the game and come forward for it. As a result, this was how a portion of characters' storylines ended.
- Most of wildbow's Worm is very dark, and it's a very rough ride for the characters, especially the protagonist. But in the end, the world is saved and Taylor survives with a chance to start her life over.
- Pact by same author is very rough to main characters too, and even darker than Worm, but its ending somehow even better: Blake turns into a sparrow and spents his time with Green Eyes and Evan; Rose presumably finds sanctuary from Lawyers in the Abyss and starts hurting them through writing and disseminating diabolic texts.
- Bagger 288 just wants to find a place where he will be accepted. Unfortunately, Bagger 288 is a ridiculously massive mining machine appropriated dubbed by the internet as "Giant-Assed Saw Thing" that gets chased out of wherever he goes by either the military or protesters. When aliens show up though, he sprouts jet engines and takes the invader down with a Heroic Sacrifice, leaving him damaged to the brink of death and, when he sees all the people cheering for him, happy.
- The secret ending has the people turning the area around him into a monument, to never forget him and what he'd done for them.
- Year 3 (episodes 50-70) of Welcome to Night Vale. After a year of Cecil growing increasingly more depressed, unhappy, and discontent to the point of nearly leaving town, a misunderstanding that nearly cost him a close friendship, and desperately missing Carlos, everything is resolved in one night. Carlos returns to stay, Cecil and Dana's friendship is on the mend, Night Vale has a wonderful new opera house, and Hiram is finally jailed for his crimes (except for Violet.) The only person left unhappy is Kevin.
- This◊ recounting of a person playing a Darker and Edgier tabletop game, which was set firmly on the deepest Cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism (to quote the story, "if somebody asked me for help with their sister who was being mugged, it was a hook to mug me") and featured "corruption points" which represent how evil a character has become. The person in question played an All-Loving Hero fisherman who continued being kind and friendly even though Being Good Sucks in this world. Eventually they reached the main villain, who had used an Artifact of Doom to ascend to godhood at the cost of multiplying his corruption points by 100; as he had 750 corruption points before using the artifact, the end result was described as being enough to make an Eldritch Abomination freak out. Just when all hope seemed lost, the player was able to revive and heal himself through a few lucky rolls, and then entered his Limit Break state, the special ability of which was to give himself a damage boost based on the corruption points of the enemy. Since the Big Bad had so many corruption points, this gave him a damage multiplier of 112,500, allowing him to kill the Big Bad in a single hit. Even better, he then used the same crystal used by the Big Bad to become a god; just as the GM announced he had become the new Big Bad, the player revealed that he had 0 corruption points. Since zero times anything is still zero, the Artifact of Doom turned him not into a new Big Bad, but a God of Good. In the epilogue of the campaign, he used his Reality Warper powers to make the world a better place, turning it from a Crapsack World to a World Half Full.
- RWBY: By the end of Volume 5, after the four heroines have undergone a lot of personal trauma and been through a number of arduous battles and a major close call with Weiss, they have saved Haven Academy and recovered the Relic, representing their first victory against Salem's forces. Oh, and best of all, they're finally reunited.
Earn Your Happy Ending / Web Original