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Gainax Ending / Anime & Manga

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Anime & Manga are pretty infamous for often having bizarre and incomprehensible endings.

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    Studio Gainax, Studio Trigger, and Studio Khara 
There's a reason Studio Gainax is the Trope Namer. Many of their anime pioneered these kinds of bizarre and nonsensical endings, a trait that would carry over to its successor company, Studio Trigger. To wit:
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. Due to the budget effectively being shot, the final two episodes consisted heavily of stock footage, musings on human nature, discussion of the characters' psychological problems, some mention of the Human Instrumentality Project, and a High School A.U. with a Rei Ayanami on Genki. Even the movie ending, while straight-forward, is pretty bizarre by normal standards, and would be considered an example by the standards of most of the other things on this page if the TV ending hadn't out-Gainaxed Gainax. Word of God says that the movie was the original planned ending.
    • And despite being made to basically advertise and coincide with the anime, the manga's massive Schedule Slip resulted in the initial few differences snowballing into altered plotlines, to the point that Shinji actually is relatively badass during the Mass-Produced Eva battle and saves Asuka - only for the rest of the ending to happen anyway, and then suddenly everyone is living their days normally again with no memory of the series of events occurring, to the point of Shinji not recognizing Asuka when they see each other in public. And the crucified-pose Evas from End of Evangelion are just part of the landscape that's taken for granted.
  • Mahoromatic on three levels:
    • It seems to end every episode in this manner. In fact, the entire premise of the show is that as a non-rechargeable combat android, Mahoro can literally number the days till she deactivates, and the viewers are constantly reminded of this fact.
    • It should be noted as well that that the countdown is never finished, as Mahoro's ultimate attack drains the same energy that keeps her alive; she is forced to use it in the second season, leading to the Time Skip enigmatic ending.
    • In that ending, she comes back in some form right as Suguru dies. Possibly as a memory, possibly as some sort of afterlife, or possibly as them both being restored to life. What.
  • Gunbuster's final episode was animated in black and white, with gray tones, alongside intense still shots during the final battle. And then, after the black hole bomb goes off, it takes them 12,000 years to make it back to Earth. (Due to the relativistic affects of near-light-speed travel, probably only a day had passed from their POV) And then "WELCOME HOME!" (with one of the kana backwards, even), which was absolutely awesome and genuinely heart-wrecking, even if it left a billion unanswered questions. While it all does work to increase the dramatic tension, given who produced the show, there have been a lot of suspicions over the years that it was done more for budgetary reasons than for any reasons of high art. The Black and White stuff was actually more expensive to do at the time, as it is much more requiring to paint in greyscale, also including the fact that you need to compensate for the color detail with drawn detail. Likewise, the episode is done in a downmatted widescreen, and all comedic tone is dead, simply finalizing the evolution the show takes from a fanservice-filled parody into something much darker.
  • He Is My Master, another show animated by Gainax, is a light, funny, gag series about a guy with a maid fetish. How else to end the series than with a sudden Mood Whiplash into angst and philosophizing?
  • Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi has an ending that may make no sense whatsoever to you if you didn't follow the shows' philosophy and possibly solve the Moon Logic Puzzle.
  • Creative differences caused a Gainax Ending in Kare Kano, abruptly ending the story just as a new arc was starting up.
  • Gainax truly managed to outdo themselves with Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, and that's saying something. In more or less chronological order: Panty spends an undefined amount of time as a farm girl (the setting of which is otherwise staged), Panty and Brief finally do it, Brief accidentally unlocks Hellsmonkey, which is a giant penis ghost, Corset turns Scanty and Kneesocks into weapons and kills Garterbelt before fusing with said giant penis ghost, Chuck and Fastener turn into awesome monster things, Panty and Stocking use Garterbelt's credit card to buy enough weapons to attempt to deliver an awesome finishing blow. They miss and hit Heaven, which summons a pair of lifelike legs to close the gate that Hellsmonkey is coming out of. This pair of legs turns out to be Panty and Stocking's mom. And Garterbelt dies again, only to come back to life. Among all this, the heavens are actually pierced with a drill. Big Bad dies, but then isn't dead, Stocking is actually a demon WHO KILLS PANTY, and now Brief must retrieve Panty's 666 pieces and bring her back to life. It's still not even clear if all this is actually the ending, or even canon. In fact, it's so big of a Gainax Ending that the characters who didn't see it coming react to it in much the same way the viewers do.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann actually manages to invert this. The opening scene makes absolutely no sense compared to the rest of the series (as well as contributing nothing to the story and is never mentioned again), and Word of God is that they "lost that plot thread somewhere." Fans came up with the idea that it was some alternate timeline, and the creators said Sure, why not. It appears to be a preview/flashforward to a part of the final battle near the end of the show, but viewers watching it for the first time will have no idea what is going on, and when the events the scene should be in finally come, nothing matches with it (it also includes a character who dies in the first few episodes).
  • Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise. Rather than addressing whether or not Shiro's mission is successful, the film ends with an abstract montage of everyday life and the rise of civilization on the fictional planet.
  • Houkago no Pleiades. Yep, even their otherwise straightforward 30-minute Magical Girl OVA manages to have a weird ambiguous ending. The Big Bad does a Heel–Face Turn, but then is dragged off to who-knows-where by... his earrings? He throws his coat to Subaru, who finds a single flower growing in the otherwise desolate weird holographic garden. This is taken as an indication that he's still alive, or something. In the full anime, Minato turns out to have been in a coma the whole time, and after the girls all return to their respective, separate universes, he is still in a coma. It is unclear if he will ever wake up, although the ending scene tries to imply a happy ending. How the powers, alien magic, different universes and memory manipulation even worked in the first place is still up in the air.
  • FLCL inverts this. After a rollercoaster of plain craziness, the series ends on a heartfelt and rather straightforward (but still open) note with Haruko giving Naota a farewell and reciprocating his feelings, probably the sanest thing she's done in the entire show. It's where the Coming-of-Age Story aspect really shines, with Naota finally acting like a kid while he still can. The non-Gainax produced sequel ''FLCL Alternative on the other hand...
  • Joked about in Kill la Kill, where the final episode preview consists entirely of Senketsu hoping Studio Trigger (which was created by former Gainax employees, specifically those responsible for the aforementioned Panty and Stocking) doesn't screw up the finale. In the end, Kill la Kill averts the Gainax Ending, but kills off poor Senketsu.
  • Inferno Cop outright mocks its Gainax roots by suddenly shifting the plot to a Cosmic Horror Story of sorts by paying homage to the Third Impact, resetting the universe, making everyone Inferno Cop, revealing that the pregnant woman from the first episode is actually a Scarlet Witch Expy with power beyond the gods, giving Inferno Cop the ability to overpower her, making Inferno Cop do a Heroic Sacrifice, and letting the credits drag on for eight minutes. However, it's ultimately subverted, considering that the rest of the series is just as insane.
  • Darling In The Fran XX, while having a more conventional Bittersweet Ending, has the final battle where Strelitzia turns into Strelitzia Apus, which is Zero Two, the heroine, in giant form. As the series at least grounded in (pseudo) scientific approach before the final battle, it's very weird.
  • SSSS.GRIDMAN couldn't avoid one of these after its numerous Evangelion references, but takes a slightly less weird and much more optimistic approach. Alexis Kerib is defeated when Gridman busts out his "Fixer Beam," a previously unmentioned weapon which allows Rikka and Sho to convince Akane to break out of Alexis. The subsequent explosion turns everything in the Computer World back to normal, more or less. Gridman explains all this with a vague speech about how Humans Are Special, and delivers the final blow with the "power of mortality." Anti, who was thought to have been killed by Alexis, is alive, saved offscreen by Anosillus the 2nd. Anti's bandages fall off his face, revealing his previously injured eye has turned from red to blue; how it healed and what this implies is anyone's guess. The final scene is (apparently) the real Akane Shinjo waking up in her bedroom... in live-action. Was it All Just a Dream, or is this supposed to mean something else?

  • In Future Diary:
    • The final anime episode consists of Yuki escaping the Lotus-Eater Machine and convincing 1st!Yuno to not kill 3rd!Yuno, and so she stabs herself, allowing Yuki to win the survival game. He then returns to the Second World, which is now a vast expanse of nothingness, and mourns her for 10,000 years. In the anime, it ends there. The manga adds about three more pages of story, where Yuno suddenly breaks through the wall of space-time with a hammer, telling him she is the 3rd!Yuno, with 1st!Yuno's memories implanted, and they go off to the Third World to rule as Deus's replacements. And Nine/Uryuu has flying babies.
    • The ending from the manga did make it into the OVA adaptation of the special "Redial" chapter later on however.
  • The anime of Excel Saga actually inverts this trope; in the last few aired episodes it suddenly gets a real plot going and is much more serious. Then in the final (albeit unairable) episode, it becomes even more weird, as if to make up for the serious finale. The last thing that happens is Hyatt coughing up so much blood that the entire planet is flooded and everyone drowns while Excel scream for help. Then during the end credits, Menchi has switched places the translator. The episode finishes with Excel telling the viewers telling the viewers about the first episode in the place she would normally tell about the next episode.
  • Chobits starts out as a typical Magical Girlfriend-cum-Moe show, then, about halfway through, gets... er, weird. And to top it off, after spending half the series contemplating the sentience of persocoms, the single most advanced persocom in existence states that she isn't really sentient, and neither are any of the other Chobits - they're highly advanced, naturally, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, they're only following their programming. Most of the fans interpreted this turn of events as a gigantic middle finger from CLAMP. In the anime, they are sentient.
    • It should be noted that in the ending of the manga, Zima actually says the opposite of what Freya said. One popular theory is that she was just in denial, because pretending her emotions weren't real was a way to attempt to cope with the pain of the incident that led to her 'death'.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena has an Ambiguous Ending that's surreal, but then again, so is the rest of the show. Then the movie showed up, which is somewhat of a symbolic true ending to the show despite taking place in an Alternate Continuity. The entire thing could be considered a Gainax Ending to the show, what with the environment itself moving around at random, but then the climax to the movie involves the protagonist turning into a car, who her girlfriend proceeds to drive under a castle on wheels and into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The symbolism is still consistent, yes, but it really goes off the rails regardless.
  • Dragon Ball GT. What happened to Goku in the last episode? He just leaves without even saying goodbye. Vegeta knows something's up, then suddenly his clothes are seen left on the ground. But in Dragon Ball when they die, they die with their clothes (In fact, that shot is out of sequence and is shown after the end of the next couple of events). But then he's off to visit Kame Sen'nin and Piccolo, who both also know something's changed about him, but a mere "Are you...?" is not very helpful. When they take their eyes off him for a second, there's suddenly no one there. Then the dragon balls merge into Goku as he rides away on Shenlong's back, then he disappears. Then many years later he reappears as an adult to an elderly Pan and his descendant Goku Jr. but only in glimpses. Where does he go? What happened to him?
  • The makers of the Air anime were likely shooting for a Bittersweet Ending, but the ambiguity of what happens after Misuzu's death leaves many viewers in the dark.
  • CLANNAD: After Nagisa, Ushio, and Tomoya all die of various tragic causes, Tomoya's last wish to "save Ushio" somehow causes a time-reset to the day Nagisa died in childbirth. This time, she doesn't die, and they all live Happily Ever After. Understanding this apparent Deus ex Machina requires a lot of analysis of the dialogue between Ushio and the Garbage Doll before the Illusionary World collapses; but that side-plot itself is never really explained. It's probably meant to emulate the true/good/best ending unlocked in a Visual Novel by achieving 100% Completion. The very last scene is the most inscrutable of all, and may imply that Fuko orchestrated everything.
  • Robotics;Notes has a Gainax Ending for its Show Within a Show, Gunverral: clocking in at five minutes, tops, the leaked last episode showed several robots, including the eponymous Gunverral, walking into a furnace within a structure called the Grand Obelisk, which fires a beam into the sun, causing it to go supernova. The show's Big Bad, Anubis, is wiped out, along with the majority of humanity, in a twist that eerily mirrored a conspiracy by a shadowy organization in the real world.
  • The bizarre way they treated Tetsuo's fate in the ending of the AKIRA anime counts. Gainax is even one of the production companies involved in the film.
  • The Big O, partly because of the head writer's love of Mind Screw and partly because it was only intended to be a season finale. To summarize: The former Union agent Angel discovers that her memories of her childhood are false, and the enigmatic Gordon tells her that she's not a human being. He then leads her to an elevator going deep underground. She reappears either turned into or controlling a negative-colored mecha that erases everything it touches, finally leaving behind only a Star Trek-style holodeck grid, until Roger calls out to her to stop, giving an impassioned speech ending with "You must stop denying your own existence as a human being!". She seems to ignore him, but after both her mecha and Roger's erase each other, there's a flash of light, and the entire world reappears as it was before episode 25 at the very beginning of the first episode, with exactly one thing changed. Full synopsis here. Message boards were flooded with "they pulled an Evangelion on us!". They weren't sure if they'd be able to have a third series, but only the epilogue would have changed - Chiaki J. Konaka originally had a different epilogue which went into more detail than the one we got and literally ended with a curtain falling, but was asked by the U.S. network to write a less conclusive ending in case they picked it up for a third season. They didn't in spite of the series paying off its budget in time for renewal of a 3rd season.
  • Blame! has an incredibly confusing ending that had many readers scratching their heads, but the truth is that it was a good ending. Killy found (by pure chance, and after losing half his head) an uncontaminated place in which Cibo's "egg" could "hatch" and give birth to a child with Net Terminal Genes.
  • Xam'd: Lost Memories. An Ancient Conspiracy of soul-eating albino children. A stillborn Death Seeker kaiju. Only a mass-sacrifice Combined Energy Attack can stop the Big Bad, except not. The main character goes to a Journey to the Center of the Mind and defeats the Big Bad by giving him his name... Or was it the laser? Instrumentality! The main character dies, and gets better nine years later for no reason. And he has inexplicably aged in the meantime.
  • Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature does this. At the end, Bagi is left prowling the jungle with her human intelligence destroyed, and Ryo just decides it would be better to stop trying to catch her.
  • The manga version of Sound Horizon's Ark starts out straightforward enough, but a few pages into the second and final chapter, it takes a sudden detour through WTFville into Gainax Ending Land.
  • While the ending of Chrono Crusade is better explained than some of the other examples here, due in part to some poor planning from Daisuke Moriyama and a rush to get everything explained in the end, the last volume or two of the manga feels like there's a sudden Genre Shift mixed with several open-ended questions, unless you were clever enough to pick up on subtle foreshadowing throughout the series. Some of the weirder points of the ending include the revelation that the demons are really Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, Rosette's soul leaving her body, causing her "death" and a trippy afterlife scene that ends with her and Mary Magdalene entering her body together to revive her, Chrono finding out that the demon Hive Queen was a human woman that was kidnapped by the demons and transformed into Pandaemonium—who was pregnant with human twins that would grow up to be Chrono and Aion, Chrono and Aion charging at each other for their final battle, only for the manga to cut away and change focus, deliberately hiding the outcome of the battle and Satella freezing herself and Florette/Fiore into crystal, and the two of them found and revived in the year 1999 and forced to start over their lives after (almost) all of their old friends have passed on. While the Gecko Ending of the anime is depressing enough that many fans prefer the manga ending, it's still known for being quite weird.
  • Following the pattern of its own insanity, Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has one of these, in which Fei Wong has somehow been defeated, Watanuki and Syaoran did something, which somehow resulted in bringing Syaoran back to Sakura from weird black void-thingy, the clones went *poof*, and Syaoran and Sakura appear to have gotten their memories back.
  • ×××HOLiC qualifies. After its sister series Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- ends, Watanuki takes over the magic shop and fulfills wishes. Then after a few story arcs, the entire series ends in two chapters mostly involving a dream sequence after a 100-year time skip. Clamp even teases the reader by dangling a loose plot thread in the final panels.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo ends with the entire cast saying "This is how our show ends?!" although it was really more a subversion of the unresolved cliffhanger imposed by the show's cancellation.
  • In Lucu Lucu, you expect the main character, Rokumon, to end up in a Shipping with Lucu (at least in the first 30 chapters, and you keep hoping)... but, that's not quite what happens... You see Rokumon was used essentially as a sim game by Lucu to learn humility, and his whole entire life has been a lie throughout the 'entire manga. His dead-father-turned-living-talking-cat is also not his real father and his whole entire memory comes back in the last 5 pages of the manga.
  • Gantz. Did he save the girl? Why was he running from the train all over again? Cut to Gantz once again, almost as if started from the beginning…? The last several episodes of the anime are an original idea of the director. They do not follow the manga at all.
  • Darker Than Black, both seasons. Both finales actually contain scenes apparently inspired by the TV ending of Evangelion, although the scene in the first season is actually in the middle of the episode and the parts following it make it a bit less mindscrewy. The second season, on the other hand, is a perfect example of a mindscrew ending.
  • The Berserk anime's ending could be considered a Gainax Ending. If you watch it without ever reading a bit of the manga, you'll have a lot of trouble understanding the fact that towards the end, monsters unknown to each and every character start showing up and eating them, which is hard to understand because the anime doesn't even mention the existence of other behelits apart from Griffith's. Oh, also the anime ends abruptly, with Casca being raped by Griffith (now as Femto), while Guts is forced to watch, being subdued by a group of demons and losing an eye after carving his own arm off to escape some other demon's grip, with no sign of closure whatsoever. No epilogue, not even different credits, it just ends. It didn't get cancelled or discontinued either, it's supposed to end there. Talk about downer ending. The strangest thing is that after the credits we see a healed Guts leaves Godo's house to have his revenge on Griffith. In the anime it's never explained how that happened. Talk about No Ending or Left Hanging.
  • Madlax. Totally leaves the viewer hanging over the fate of three of the supporting cast. Plus the cause of some intense arguments over if Margaret resurrected Elenore, Vanessa and Carrossea or not.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: The whole series was a Mind Screw, so of course it gets one. Lain creates a new reality where she doesn't exist. That part makes sense. But then she has a discussion with herself about resetting reality and the true nature of the Wired, which only creates more questions then answers. An emotional Lain then tells her alternate self to "stop"... and the other Lain quite literally stops, flickers and vanishes. Then Lain's father appears and she has tea with him while they're both floating in the sky. It's not terribly clear if Lain's father is actually real, a hallucination, or God himself. In the next scene Lain re-introduces herself to an older Arisu in the new reality. Finally Lain appears in a static-filled screen and says that she'll "be with you forever"; the context suggests she's speaking to Arisu, but it's also possible she's speaking to the viewer. The last scene is of the electrical wires that appear at the end of the Once per Episode opening montage. Yeah, your guess is as good as ours.
  • While the serious and mystery aspect of the plot of Boku no Futatsu no Tsubasa was hinted at through most of the series the ending was extremely rushed making it all extremely odd. The majority was a Romantic Comedy with loads of characters and their changing feelings. A good chunk was all about Mako's gender and keeping her hermaphrodite status a secret. Then the last chapter throws at us: Mako is half an alien, an evil group want to hold her ransom and get the advance alien technology from her royal alien family. To stop her friends from getting hurt Mako decides to return to her alien home. Then she comes back to be with her non-blood cousin Hiromi... which had never been hinted at before in any shape or form.
  • The climax and after credits bit of the Gundam 00 movie. Apparently the ELS were just a race who had lost their home and misunderstood humanity and Setsuna merged with the ELS becoming almost godlike. And his Gundam could grow flowers. Word of God says that Setsuna becomes the ambassador for the humanity, which led the aliens to live in its own place created nearby the Earth. In order for him to not getting sick while talking to them, he merges himself with ELS and ended up living for years with the same face. His Gundam also gets upgraded (but we can't see what it looks like due to the flowers covering it). But then it is still confusing.
  • The ending of that one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! with the Dedede dolls in it. Seriously, King Dedede actually ends up flying into space and past a planet shaped like him as a result of Kirby swallowing one of said Dedede dolls.
  • The original Shaman King qualifies. The heroes go to sleep the day before the final battle. After that, it cuts to a series of scenes with Manta and Anna, including a short dream. After that, the series ends. The final battle is neither shown nor spoken of. The ending is unknown. All we get is a "The End" author's note. Luckily, Shaman King Kanzen-Ban finally showed the ending, but that came out MUCH later.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The fact that the ending is a Gainax Ending isn't due to Madoka becoming a god, it has more to do with the fact that the show takes great pains to make this series a Darker and Edgier Genre Deconstruction for Magical Girls. Then the climax turns it into a Decon-Recon Switch. Combined with the rather suspect/curious symbolism and timing of the Grand Finale (Due to some issues, it first aired on Good Friday), you have quite a few people still scratching their heads over the whole thing. The Bolivian Army Ending that suddenly appears after the credits throw more confusion as we have a sudden shift to an open desert with Homura facing off against a bunch of wraiths, and the writer didn't feel like going into details - it was an homage to Blade, of all things. What's meta about it is that Gen Urobuchi, the writer for the series, was taken aback by some of the fan interpretations like Homura being the only magical girl left alive; in a way, fans thinking like that is a Gainax Ending in itself to his writing the show.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion. The Puella Magi foiled Kyubey's plan, everything's fine, and Homura can finally see Madoka again. All good, right? Wait, did Homura just hijack Madoka's god powers?. Viewers can find clues that this would happen, but probably not until they watch it for the second time. The least subtle of those is the scene with Homura and Madoka in the field, which serves to set up the ending.
  • Guilty Crown. All of the final episode is incredibly symbolic and bizarre, but the actual ending, a Time Skip to the protagonists celebrating Hare's birthday, leaves no questions answered about what happened after the events of the story, save that Tsugumi became a teacher.
  • Parodied in the Gintama anime: in one episode, Sunrise ends up cancelling the show earlier than expected, which results in the cast trying to find a fitting Gainax Ending to the series during the whole episode. And yes, this means the main characters were expecting to be cancelled. Just not yet.
  • Mahou Sensou had a mostly incomprehensible Kudzu Plot to start with, with several plot twists and revelations being introduced only to never get mentioned again. But then the final episode takes it all Up to Eleven. The Ghost Trailers attack Subaru Magic Academy and a major battle ensues, during which Takeshi shouts his evil brother Gekkou's name more times than one cares to count. Then there's suddenly a massive explosion, and Takeshi wakes up at Subaru... in 1998, surrounded by teenage versions of various adult characters. The show then abruptly ends without any explanation of... well, anything at all.
  • Tsukuyomi: Moon Phase. The series is a comedy that is sometimes dark, what with fighting all the vampires and death usually lurking near. The last anime episode, though, ends with everyone somehow suddenly stuck in a floating house on the ocean and only one person in the group questioning why. The episode ends with the house sinking because the huge cork keeping the water out was removed. It's the last episode of the anime, with a bizarre title, leaving probably many a fan going "....What?"
  • Shin Mazinger. It ends on a horrible cliffhanger, with Mazinger defeated and the Earth seemingly about to be taken over. It seems to be a hook for a Shin Great Mazinger sequel, given that this reflects the ending of the original Mazinger Z and beginning of Great Mazinger, but there's no plans for one.
  • The anime for Sorcerer Hunters definitely fits this description. After killing off every hero besides Carrot, the last episode splits its time between Carrot's solo battle against the Big Bad and modern day Tokyo with the other heroes. Then somehow Carrot calls to them, they hear him from across time and space, they somehow come back to the world and proceed to power up (usually involving clothing getting blasted off), and rather than this leading to them having a battle against the baddie, they all run over to Carrot with big smiles and laughter. But wait! There's more. The Big Bad is banished, somewhat without fanfare in silent-film style, with a closing scene of what is presumably Carrot hitting on a modern day girl, not that we see the hero.
  • In Saishuuheiki Kanojo, the female lead is a normal teenaged girl transformed into a cybernetic doomsday weapon. At the end of the series, it seems as though all life on earth is destroyed, except for her boyfriend... and there's no sign that there's any way he'll be able to survive for long in what's left. A tiny spark that seems to be all that is left of her descends into his hands, and suddenly we're back to the moment they met in the first episode, roll final credits.
  • Hanaukyō Maid Tai. A mild version in the second series La Verite. Ryuuka proposes marriage to Taro again and beats him up when he doesn't agree, the other maids all try to kiss him but he escapes. He meets Mariel and they walk off into a white background hand in hand.
  • Episode 26 of Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ ended on a downer note and a Diabolus ex Machina with a few more added bangs. Reiji is shot dead but it's unknown if Ein dies. She simply lies into the grass and smiles. Sharp eyed viewers say Ein picked apart a toxic flower which would have killed her, others feel she survived.
  • RahXephon, as expected from being, um, 'inspired' by Evangelion, featured a final episode containing mostly symbolism and a Journey to the Center of the Mind that led to a final real-world mecha battle, the apparent Big Bad being unceremoniously shot anticlimactically for no apparent reason, followed by the entire universe being mysteriously reset. And yes, at some point the main character's psychosomatic journey involves his images of several of his friends and acquaintances saying "congratulations!" to him.
  • Legend of the Blue Wolves has a Bittersweet Ending in that Jonathan is forced to kill Leonard, the man he loves, in order to free him from the control of the aliens that had absorbed him. As Jonathan salutes him in tears, on-screen text indicates that this battle was mankind's first victory against the aliens. Cue after the credits—two individuals who hadn't even been introduced up to this point are riding an elevator and discussing the war. When the elevator opens, they find to their shock an alien spaceship buried deep underground. What does this mean? Nobody knows, because the anime was never finished.
  • After seven years of Black Comedy, Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei went into the twilight zone. Superoptimistic Kafuka Fuura (the second-billed character of the series) was Dead All Along, but had previously signed up as an organ donor. Her organs, charged with her positive qualities, were implanted into a group of girls possessed by suicidal spirits. Their teacher was trying to exorcise them all along. Meanwhile every time Kafuka was seen by the viewer, she was actually a hallucination covering up another girl (some Foreshadowing was given throughout the manga in that Kafuka was never seen in shot of the entire class). And as if that weren't enough... the manga finally ends with sort of a Deconstruction of harem manga in that the teacher marries twelve of the girls. One at a time (whichever one is currently possessed by Kafuka). When Kafuka switches over to another body, he divorces the current and moves onto the next. Lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Fourteen is strange enough, but the ending takes the weirdness to a whole new level. The escape rocket reaches the edge of the universe, and it turns out that the universe itself is ending. America suddenly sees a light outside of the rocket, and follows it until he's outside of the universe. He discovers that the universe the story took place in was a bug crawling on the road in another universe where everyone looks like Chicken George. America stops the bug from being hit by a car, and the driver of the car puts the bug back in the forest. Kiyora appears and reveals that the children are all bug spirits, the rest of the kids exit the bug and talk for a while, and everyone comes to the conclusion that this new universe is Chicken George's. The final shot is of Chicken George and Chicken Lucy, alive and in the new universe.
  • The horror manga Zashiki Onna follows a college student's attempts to get away from a creepy-looking Yandere, the penultimate chapter of which climaxes in her hunting him down through a hospital and catching him. The chapter after this does not mention what ended up happening to either of them, or who the woman was or what she wanted. It mostly consists of random old women gossiping about events from earlier in the series before cutting to the protagonist's best friend meeting with his neighbor, the yandere's original target, to talk about the events of the story, before abruptly ending with "The End?"
  • Daitarn 3, of all things, ends this way. See The Fellowship Has Ended for more details.
  • Eureka Seven AO pulls a convoluted one of these, causing quite a backlash. Truth erases himself with the Quartz Gun, but it inexplicably Cosmic Retcons him back into existence as the Nirvash's "archetype" (some sort of power-boosting soul thingy). It's revealed that Elena is not Ao's sister. His sister was Dead All Along, Taken for Granite as an infant because of high trapar density or something. He'd suffer the same fate if he returned home with his parents, so, instead, he Quartz Guns all the Secrets and Scub Corals out of reality, accidentally wrecking Nirvash in the process and sending them both bouncing through time. For some reason. Eventually he returns to roughly his own time, and is conveniently able to stop randomly time-hopping, but his friends probably don't remember him. "Probably" because we never find out… it just ends there. Truth straight-up admits that he has no idea what the implications of Ao's actions are. The fact that Truth turned into the Nirvash because of the second retcon means that the effects of the third are unpredictable. He also said that he didn't want to destroy all of the Scubs because there's no telling what that would do to Naru. So naturally, the implications of firing the Quartz Gun the third time are never revealed.
  • Several anime series have taken a similar style of ending that can be described as 'goo falls, everyone dies'. In Key the Metal Idol and Paranoia Agent, for example, the protagonist essentially transforms into a literal sea of blue slime, that washes down and drowns all villains and heroes alike. Then after this disaster, life begins anew for the survivors.
  • In Hamatora, Art, who was thought to be dead, returns to anticlimactically kill the sickly, injured bad guy, and then proceed to shoot the main character in the head(?).
  • Parodied in the first episode of Carnival Phantasm, a spoof of Fate/stay night and Tsukihime. After a very violent game show for the Holy Grail, Shirou decides the Grail is too terrible to be used and must be destroyed. He promptly uses its powers to shatter it, but inside is... an anthropomorphic cat. Which suddenly summons an army of itself to kidnap Shirou and take him aboard their spaceship. The other characters are dumbfounded.
    Rin: Why are you making this sound like it was a good story?!
    Kirei: That's because I don't know what to do!
  • Samurai Pizza Cats: Cat Ninden Teyandee's finale involves a comet on a collision course with Edoropolis. Thanks to a last ditch effort by Speedy Cerviche/Yattaro (with a pinch of Deus ex Machina), the comet is destroyed. It seems at first that Yattaro might have died in a Heroic Sacrifice, so the mood is bittersweet. But then he comes back safely. Everyone rejoices, including Omitsu/Lucille, known for her habit of launching missiles from her hair when excited. She is so overjoyed to see him alive that she launches a giant nuclear missile from her hair, which blows up the parts of the city that haven't already been damaged by the comet. The nuke scene was cut from the ''Samurai Pizza Cats'' dub.
  • Yakitate Ja Pan: The manga itself is pretty weird, but after the big bad is beaten, in a very Shonen-style battle, with declarations of friendship, etc., somehow, the heroes need to... fight global warming? This is a plot point that starts 6 chapters before the end, was never announced, and was resolved in as bizarre a way as the weirdest parts of the manga.


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