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But Now I Must Go

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Bart: Work here is done. I'm needed elsewhere now. I'm needed wherever outlaws rule the West, wherever innocent women and children are afraid to walk the streets, wherever a man cannot live in simple dignity, wherever a people cry out for justice!
Crowd: [in unison] Bullshit!
Bart: ...all right, you caught me. Speaking the plain truth, it's getting pretty damn dull around here.

A.K.A. "Mary Poppins Syndrome". An easy way to add anywhere from a twinge of sentimentality to a whole extra Tear Jerker scene to the end of your movie: after helping out and saving the day, The Drifter character must leave forever. It's used a lot in solo series of many an Ensemble Dark Horse, as their adventures alone can't keep them in the small town forever; they have to plausibly be able to get back to the team.

Excuses for why they need to leave are varied. Perhaps once their job is done, they are no longer needed and must set off for a new job, as with the Knight Errant, or fulfill their longstanding promise to return to their distant home. Perhaps they are bound by a supernatural curse or spell that states they can only come back every X years or they can only stay for X days. Maybe they're really some kind of Fantastic Sapient Species or godlike being, unable to settle down in this world and enjoy human comforts. Maybe they're just a traveler and can't deny the call of the open road or the cry of the sea. Maybe they seek further adventure and danger or maybe they see civilised society as having no place for rough men like them. Maybe they're a Destructive Saviour whose continuing presence could do just as much harm as the threat they helped neutralize. Maybe they must Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Maybe they are starting or completing the Journey to Find Oneself. Maybe they want their heroism to remain Shrouded in Myth. Maybe the final cut is missing some scene that could explain this.


It doesn't count if the character was already dying for some understandable reason, has some kind of good, understandable, plot-related reason to leave, or goes off to a Heroic Sacrifice. This is when the character has become loved and respected by other characters and has to leave for no other reason than "he must".

This tends to happen a lot in Yuri anime, especially if the lovers in question don't end up crazy or dead.

Compare Riding into the Sunset, Off-into-the-Distance Ending, Save the Day, Turn Away, No Place for Me There, Walking the Earth. Also see I Choose to Stay, which is the polar opposite. Not to be confused with Potty Emergency.

As an ending trope, expect SPOILERS.



    open/close all folders 

  • A Verizon cellular phone commercial has a biker getting ready to leave and telling his lady love that she can't come with him because he rides solo...and then she asks about the crowd behind him. "Well, except for my Network."
  • In the original final video of Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like video series, the Old Spice man gives a fond farewell to his viewers:
    Old Spice Man: Well, friends, like all great things, this, too, must end. There's giant oaks that need chainsawing into yacht boats, Bermuda Triangle mysteries that need solving with huge magnifying glasses, and everyone knows I could use one or twelve medals for winning exotic car-drawing competitions. I must ride my jet-ski lion into the sunset. I know a lot of you have written me and commented on my works, but I am just one ridiculously handsome man. I can't write to everyone, but please know that I consider you my dearest and closest Internet friends. I'll never forget this time we've spent together. I love you, always. SILVERFISH HAND-CATCH!

    Anime and Manga 
  • One Piece does this once per arc; after thwarting the villain's plans or ending his reign of terror, the Straw Hats sail away (Sometimes with a Navy battleship in hot pursuit) from whatever place they stopped at, with some We Will Meet Again mixed in occasionally. It's even more heartstring-tugging when a new crew member is saying goodbye to their loved ones as they join the Straw Hats on their adventures.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Does this with the titular character. The spirit of the Pharaoh, Atem, has regained all his memories and faces one last trial to determine if his fighting spirit can finally rest from the burden of defending the world. He is then able to take his rightful place and rejoin his family after 3,000 years in the Afterlife.
  • D.Gray-Man: Allen pulls this in chapter 205 after he discovers that Apocryphos is at the new HQ and that his inner Noah is slowly taking over his body, after saying goodbye and confessing to Lenalee. She doesn´t take it well.
  • Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop. He leaves the Bebop one final time (much to Faye's dismay) to confront his past and Vicious.
  • Ogremon, from Digimon Adventure.
    • And more importantly, The DigiDestined in the last episode. Of course, Kari and T.K. are back for Digimon Adventure 02, and most of the others stay somewhat in contact with the Digital World by helping the new crop of DigiDestined.
  • Fist of the North Star:
    • Both the anime adaptation and the manga end with Kenshiro leaving his sidekicks Bat and Lin to wander alone.
    • The very first story also has a moment like this, when Kenshiro leaves the village after saving Lin from Zeed.
  • This trick is being pulled half-way through the Air anime, where Michiru disappears after Minagi's mom starts remembering her surviving daughter, since Michiru is a fragment of a dream created by Minagi and a manifestation of how Minagi sees her deceased little sister. It still doesn't really explain though why she had to just vanish, especially since she first hangs around for still another day after her nature is revealed, during which Minagi's mom accepts her as her daughter's friend. Obviously the makers of the series wanted to squeeze as many tears out of it as possible - as if the ending wasn't sad enough already.
    • And then it was suddenly subverted when we see Minagi's half-sister, who looks exactly like a younger version of, and is also named, Michiru. Contrived Coincidence? I think not.
  • Layla Ashley in Avenger. After defeating the unbeatable Big Bad, resolving her personal problems, and bringing about a new age of prosperity to the entire planet, no less.
  • This happens to the Major in both Ghost in the Shell movies, but especially in Innocence.
  • The original Reinforce in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. Oh, c'mon, do you really think the lead girls wouldn't be able to befriend the crap out of her defensive program anytime while blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs?
    • They really couldn't. It was annihilated completely.
    • Fate also does this at the end of the first season, but it's made clear that she and Nanoha would see each other again and the first episode of A's shows that they kept in contact during the interim.
  • Azumanga Daioh: Done by Yukari in the final episode, where she shares a few parting words with her students, following their graduation ceremony. The girls express their heartfelt gratitude and bow as their former homeroom teacher takes her leave.
  • The Secret of Twilight Gemini: After Lupin has exposed Jean Pierre and foiled his schemes, the fabled Geltic Treasure is finally revealed. Lara asks him to stay with her and continue to help her restore the Geltic Tribe to its former glory, but he gently declines, by telling her he had other engagements to keep. Though he promised he'd always remember her and their time together, in Morocco.
  • Anthy Himemiya in Revolutionary Girl Utena, after Utena is ret goned for saving her. Then she calmly changes her clothes, lets her hair down, goes to Akio's office with Chu-Chu on her shoulder and her travel bag in her hands, tells him she's leaving Ohtori to find Utena, and finally is able to take command of her own life. The last time she's seen, she and Chuchu are happily Walking the Earth, hoping to meet up with Utena someday.
  • Manatsu and Kai from Uta Kata return in the OVA just to invoke this trope.
  • Parodied in the School Rumble manga. Eri invites Harima to her house overnight to work on the school album. To get him to reveal his feelings, Eri's butler cosplays as a character from Harima's favorite show and fights him. Harima leaves the house without revealing his feelings because that's how the episode ended.
  • Chao Lingshen, the very, very sympathetic "villain" of the Mahora Fest arc in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, returns to her own time after her plans fail. The reasons she gives are very vague and suspect (she claims she has no reason to stay in this time, despite some very clear evidence to the contrary) leading to at least half the fanbase wondering if she really did return...
    • Setsuna also tries to pull this, feeling that she doesn't belong now that Negi and Co. know she's half-Tengu, but gets a lecture from Asuna and decides to stay.
  • Pokémon: The First Movie: This is a part of Mewtwo's back story.
    • Entei almost says this word-for-word in the final of the third movie.
  • In Den-noh Coil, Isako simply leaves town and gives Yasako one last phone call, telling her they might meet again. Considering through how much trouble Yasako went to save her that's quite egregious—but Yasako actually takes it very well.
  • Kino's Journey: Kino's modus operandi. Reach next town, stay for three days and two nights, then gone. The number of times I Choose to Stay is even considered could be counted on a single hand.
  • At the end of Kurogane Communication, Haruka and Katano leave their robot families on earth behind to look for the last human survivors on Mars.
  • At the end of Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally, Lelouch, having become the Demon King in C.C.'s place, is forced to leave his sister Nunnally after saying goodbye to her.
  • For the original Code Geass, fans who refuse to accept the Word of God statement that Lelouch was killed in an attempt to claim this is what happened instead, usually saying that he and C.C. are now Walking the Earth together. The sequel movie which is actually set in an Alternate Continuity shows that this is the case for him and C.C. after saving the world once again.
  • At the end of GaoGaiGar, Mamoru tearfully says goodbye to everyone as he blasts off in Galeon to eradicate any possible Zonder that may evolve in the galaxy, giving new meaning to the ending sequence we've been watching for the past 40+ episodes.
  • Rappi Rangai both parodies this and plays it straight; inevitably, protagonist Raizou ditches the current 'princess' he's helped save, usually scrambling to pull this trope off while in tears due to believing he's been rejected or some similar reason. Played straight when the princesses don't actually want Raizou to leave, but he cuts out of there before any of them could say so.
  • In Risky Safety, Risky and Safety successfully beat destiny and reunite Moe with Yuya... but then tell her they have to go to their respective homes now to await punishment, telling her they'll always be her friends as they turn to light and vanish. But don't worry, it turns out that their punishment is to remain apprentices for nearly a century longer, which means being sent back to Earth—they use it as an excuse to stay with Moe.
  • Ginko in Mushishi at the end of every episode. Justified in that he's an attractor of the troublesome creatures who cause problems for the humans in the series. For this reason, he'll never be able to settle down in one place.
  • In the final episode of Eureka Seven, the way Renton left the Gekko and Holland commented that he has graduated from Gekkostate.
  • In Fresh Pretty Cure!, now that Moebius's reign of terror is over and Labyrinth is a safe place to be again, Setsuna, Hayato, and Shun return to Labyrinth, though it's implied that they can come back to visit the Cures any time they want. Which they do. At least with Setsuna.
  • Subverted in Is This a Zombie?. Eu tries to bail out on the group in episode 9 following an incident where Yoruno forced some very heavy-duty emotion out of her, leading some pretty big shit to nearly go down, but over the next two episodes she decides she can't stay away forever, especially not from Ayumu, so in episode 11 she tells him she'll always be with him, no matter what.
  • Manga-only example: Mon Colle Knights. At the end of the last chapter, the Knights use the Monster Items to revive Gren, at the cost of losing the items and causing the portal to fade. Before leaving, they mention that they will never be able to visit Mon World again, though certain things afterwards suggest that, in fact, they do. (The anime ends with a new quest for six new Items beginning after the defeat of Reda and Oroboros.)
  • At the end of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar, Saga loses her ability to see fairies anymore, and explicitly states that she never saw any of them again after Sugar found her Twinkle. Would not have been as contrived if it was just a matter of Sugar having to start her journey as a full-fledged Snow Fairy, with the chance that they'll meet again someday.
  • After the climactic last battle of GUN×SWORD, Van of the dawn walks off without saying goodbye to most of the good guys, presumably out of a need to figure out "what next?" It's a poignant ending. But the tearjerking is assuaged because the last scene of the series shows him being reunited with Wendy years later.
  • Riruka from Bleach, in manga chapter 479. She leaves Urahara Shoten without saying anything, then uses her powers to leave Karakura as she thinks of Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime, thanking them for their friendship. Then she returns in the final arc, having been recruited by Urahara.
  • The eponymous character of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, of the Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence variety. But don't worry, she'll be Homura's BFF forever, that's what she said.
    • Technically she never left as she's now, in her words, "everywhere at once." However, only magical girls who are about to die/become witches can see her in their final moments, so it counts. She even spends her last moments with Homura apologizing that she has to go.
    • Madoka: I'm sorry, I have to leave now. Everyone's waiting for me.
  • Akiko, Taka and Junichirou from Kasei Yakyoku. The three leave Tokyo few after the Great Kanto Earthquake: Taka and Junichirou take a boat together to abandon the Yakuza, whereas Akiko leaves to live her own life.
  • Destiny of the Shrine Maiden: Chikane must go, because Himeko just killed her to complete the ritual.
  • In the Pita-Ten manga, this is inverted to But Now You Must Go when Kotarou accepts that even though he loves Misha, he can't keep her with him and has to stand on his own two feet, and asks her to remove his ability to see the supernatural, and therefore his ability to see her.
  • In the series finale of Transformers: The★Headmasters, after ensuring that the Decepticons can never return to Earth, the Autobots leave as well, with the Witwicky family bidding them a final farewell.
  • In Getter Robo Armageddon, the original Getter Team sends the Shin Getter team back to their universe so that they can protect it while the old team faces down the Invaders for all eternity.
  • Momiji returns to the God World after completing her task at the end of Binbougami ga!
  • In Sailor Moon, filler villains the Makaiju and the two aliens Ail and En depart at the end of their arc, having earned their second chance from learning what love is.
  • This is the first scene of Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero. Akatsuki Ousawa was a human who ended up in the Magical Land of Alayzard. He defeated the Demon King and saved the land, then decided to return to Earth despite Queen Listy El Da Sherfied, who had fallen in love with him, begging him to stay, although he promised he would return one day. However, his reason is that he swore an oath to protect the Demon King's young daughter Myuu, and felt that she would be safer on Earth. The rest of the series is their adventures on Earth. He does return to Alayzard a few times.
  • Julia Asuka and Ru-Kain pull this in the Blue Comet SPT Layzner third OAV, returning to Grado together after Julia unlocks the MacGuffin that lets them do so, so they can start working on peace there.
  • At the end of Naruto, Sasuke leaves to Walk the Earth after reconciling with Naruto. According to Word of God, he's leaving to investigate the origins of Kaguya Otsutsuki and her plan to revive herself to prevent a similar thing from happening again in the future. Interview available here.
  • In the final episode of Wish Upon the Pleiades, the President, having repaired his spaceship, flies off into dimensions unknown. The girls also must return to their separate universes, although it's heavily implied that they'll meet each other again within their own timelines.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku pulls this more than a few times. In his childhood, he leaves his friends several times to either train, to look for the 4-star Dragon Ball, or go after someone. He also leaves behind the people he saves like Suno and Upa, some who never see him again. At the end of the Cell Saga, Goku chooses to stay dead since most of the villains in Dragon Ball Z came to Earth because of him. He does it again at the 10-year Time Skip after the Buu Saga; he decides to live in a village with a boy — the Reincarnation of Majin Buu — to train him to become a martial artist. Dragon Ball GT ends with Goku riding away on Shenron's back and not being seen for one-hundred years.
    • Dende leaves with the rest of the Namekians to look for a new world at the end of the Frieza Saga. He comes back near the beginning of the Cell Games.
    • After everything with Cell is dealt with, Future Trunks returns to his timeline and take care of the remaining androids. He returns in Dragon Ball Super. Then he does it again at the end of that arc, moving to a new timeline entirely.
  • Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note: Not after some act of heroism, but Sunahara pretty much uses this phrase at the end of The Valentine Knows after a romantic discussion with Aya over the starry sky. The reason for him to leave is he's been a really bad victim of Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, and after having released from arrest twice without any charges, he believes he already gets a bad reputation as a Japanese Delinquent that he'd rather leave town. Although they promised to have a Long-Distance Relationship.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice: Yuri tries to invoke this by telling Victor that he'll be retiring after the finals. It backfires horribly; this actually prompts Victor to break down in tears and accuse Yuri of being so selfish.
  • Sakura Quest: After Yoshino spends an eventful and emotional year fulfilling her contract of helping to revive the town of Manoyama as the "Queen of Chupakabura," she decides to leave because she doesn't want to "surrender to the feeling of being at home."
  • In Tenchi Universe, the girls leave Tenchi after their journey to Jurai to clear their names. As it turns out, life without Tenchi is totally boring and they all race back to Earth.
  • Okko's Inn has this in the ending. After Okko learns all she can and comes to terms with her parents' deaths, the ghosts leave to be reborn in human bodies.
  • In Mini Moni The Movie Okashi Na Daiboken, thanks to Queen Nakajalinu's magic the cake castle becomes as big as an actual castle on the inside, with multiple floors and a dungeon.
  • Alisa of the Silver Hair ends with Alisa sailing away, telling Mio she'll return when she can once again call herself "Alisa Honjou."
  • The Vision of Escaflowne somewhat infamously utilizes this trope at the end when Hitomi returns to Earth, despite a) having a magical pendant that lets her instantly teleport between Gaea and Earth at will, b) returning to Earth not two episodes before but returning to Gaea to be with Van, and c) the strength and purity of their young love defeating the Big Bad and restoring peace to Gaea not five minutes before. Vision of Escaflowne Abridged actually lampoons this ending. See the Fan Works folder.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • In Superman Vol. 1 #338, when Superman and Supergirl finally succeed in enlarging the Bottle City of Kandor, the Kandorians choose to live on a Brigadoon-style planet called Rokyn, which phases in and out of the universe at lengthy intervals.
    • Crucible: After succeeding in saving the titular interplanetary superhero academy, Supergirl is offered a job as a Preceptor, but Kara politely declines the offer and returns to Earth where she's starting a new a life and her help is very needed.
    • Many Happy Returns: After failing to save Kara, Linda retires from heroing and leaves her hometown forever.
  • A conceit of Star-Lord was that it was a disguised training manual to allow humans to survive the imminent invasion by the Interstellar Federation, and was published and edited by a benevolent being named the Starlord. In the last issue before Starlord merged with 2000 AD, the Starlord said he had trained humanity so well that the Federation was too scared to invade Earth, and so he was leaving to help other planets.
  • Lucky Luke rides off singing into the sunset after every adventure.
  • X-Men:
  • Ultimate X-Men: After defeating Apocalypse, Jean Grey took off into the outer space. She returned in the next issue, as it was revealed that was causing problems in the galaxy during her journeys.
  • In Immortal Iron Fist, Fongji, the Iron Phoenix, just disappeared after she merged with the Phoenix Force.

    Fan Works 
  • The Pony POV Series uses this at the end of the Dark World Series — Twilight, having worked hard with her friends to earn their happy endings and succeeded, becoming the Alicorn of Happy Endings in the process, accepts that she now has a duty to help as many beings everywhere earn their happy endings as well, and tearfully says goodbye to her friends (with Apple Pie admitting that while she doesn't like it, this is how it has to be).
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: After turning back the forces of Chaos in the Siege of Terra, The Emperor leaves the Imperium in the hands of the surviving Astartes and Imperial commanders before ascending into the Warp to fight the Gods of Chaos, beginning the path that would lead Him to becoming Princess Celestia.
  • The Ultimate Evil:
    • After the last Demon Portal is closed, Nataline parts ways with the J-Team, to continue hunting monsters elsewhere. However, she makes it clear that if they ever need help with demons again, she'll be more than happy to help.
    • The story ends with Valerie leaving Uncle's Rare Finds to catch up with her mother in Toronto and sort out her mixed feelings about everything that's happened, promising to return (which she does at the beginning of the sequel).
  • The Vow: In the epilogue, Zhan the Wolf Boss leaves China and takes his pack with him in order to find for all of them a new life somewhere in the West, free from the impressions of China's people that have been worsened due to their actions under Lord Shen. Jade accompanies them out of love towards Zhan.
  • Children of an Elder God: After the War, Shinji and Asuka leave their remaining friends. Misato and their friends ask them if they really have to go, and Shinji and Asuka reiterate that they can't stay because they don't belong among humans anymore. Subverted because Misato and their friends followed them a while later and they were together again.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Supergirl must leave Sunnydale after the team manages to defeat Zol-Am. Kara doesn't want to go but Buffy warns her the Powers That Be might hurt her if she stays, and asks her Kryptonian friend to trust her to handle Sunnydale.
  • In the House fanfic "Invasion of the Cuddy Snatchers" the homeless man who thinks he's Batman and may actually be Batman! says this to Foreman.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Variant at the end of the fourth arc, in which it's the main characters effectively saying this to the characters from Canterlot High before returning to their native dimension, and the story continuing their adventures from there.
  • Subverted and Defied in Vision of Escaflowne Abridged, in an ending that's widely considered Better Than Canon because it doesn't involve this trope. And unlike the Maybe Ever After of canon, in the abridged ending, They Do. When Hitomi tells Van she can't stay forever since she has a family, friends, and life back on earth...
    Van: Oh, well... I understand...
    Hitomi: Oh, don't take it like that. We can see each other any time we want.
    Van: Well, yeah, but you mean in that lame, symbolic, "I'll see your face whenever I close my eyes" way, right?
    Hitomi: What? No! What kind of a weak, cop-out ending would that be? I mean, I have a magic "instant teleport anywhere" pendant, and since Gaea runs on Narnia Time, if you play your cards right, I can be Queen of Fanelia during passing period and never be late for math.
  • Fire!: After the conflict is over, Thor, his wife Sif and their Asgardian companions return to Asgard permanently.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily opens this way, as Gladion decides to tackle the Grand Trials in order to become stronger. He also has no intention of letting anyone know what he's doing; Ash and Lillie only find out because they catch him out on the beach before he goes. The confrontation that follows triggers the Crossover element of the work, as he finds himself pulled onto the Train instead.

    Film — Animated 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven: Charlie leaves Anne-Marie for Heaven, despite saying that goodbyes aren't forever.
  • Cars 2: Lightning McQueen leaves Sally to go with Mater in the World Grand Prix.
  • The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones: In this crossover film, Hanna-Barbera's two well-known families meet each other in the past after Elroy Jetson invents a time machine. They switch places (The Flintstones as well as the Rubbles go to the future where Fred and Barney work for Mr. Spacely while George works for Mr. Slate). Also in the past, Judy falls in love with a "stone-ager" named Iggy. At the end of the film, The families return to their respective time periods. Judy is crushed to leave behind Iggy but is consoled when she meets his descendant in the future.
  • Pocahontas — John Smith must return to England and leave Pocahontas's side.
  • The Secret of NIMH: In the first movie, Justin & the rats leave Mrs. Brisby for Thorn Valley. In the sequel, Timmy leaves his family behind to fulfill an off-screen prophecy in the valley.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Merlin blasts away to Bermuda. When Wart asks if Merlin ever comes back, Archimedes only answers, "Who knows? Who knows anything?"
  • In The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin has to go to school, starting the end of his childhood. As he puts it himself, he's not "going to do just nothing anymore". This also leads to a Bittersweet Ending.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Maruti must leave the village and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence after turning into Hindu God Hanuman and saving the village from the volcano monster. He did seem to came back in the series adaptation though.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World The dragons leave to stay in the hidden world. The film leaves the possibility of them coming back without definitely saying they will, by having Toothless reunite with Hiccup years later, but it's unknown if this was just a temporal reunion or not.
  • Ralph Breaks the Internet Vanellope decides to stay in Slaughter Race, but she and Ralph keep in touch.
  • Toy Story 4: Woody decides to stay with Bo Peep and says goodbye to the others.
  • Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Rose Wilson asks the Martian Manhunter to stay, but he's promised to protect our Earth. Wonder Woman tries to comfort him by pointing out there's likely another Rose Wilson on their Earth, but the Martian Manhunter gripes that she's probably evil.

     Film — Live-Action 
  • James Bond: 007 leaves every single Bond Girl to date, because he travels the world without a relationship.
  • Pete's Dragon (1977): Once Peter is safe and Happily Adopted, Elliot tells him that it was time for him to go, as there was another orphan who needed him. Adding that they'd never see each other again. Peter is saddened to hear it, but says he understands and sees him off.
  • Mary Poppins: Once the affairs of the Banks Household are in order and properly squared away, the eponymous nanny takes her leave in search of another family in need of her services.
  • Nanny McPhee, A.K.A. the "modernized" Mary Poppins. She even lampshades it: "As long as you need me but do not want me, I will stay. When you want me but no longer need me, I must go."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • Used movies one and three, with Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • Also with Will Turner at the end of the third movie, due to his new curse. However, a scene after the credits shows him returning to Elizabeth and their kid ten years later.
  • Blazing Saddles: Sheriff Bart provides the page quote, after saving the people of Rockridge from Heddy Lamar's ("that's Hedley!") ee-VILL, which can be seen, here.
  • The Santa Clause: Scott leaves Charlie forever, because a lot of kids are counting on him, and he couldn't let down, he had a lot of work to do, so Charlie let him go, even if it meant that he would miss him.
  • Pale Rider plays the trope straight, with the mysterious "Preacher" leaving town on his pale steed, after freeing its citizens by dealing with LeHood and his Hired Guns.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: the Ringbearers Frodo and Bilbo, together with Gandalf and the other bearers of the Elven Rings, take a ship from the Grey Havens to Valinor, leaving behind a world which they saved. The last Ringbearer, Sam, also departs 63 years later.
  • Michael, a movie starring John Travolta about an archangel who visits Earth. He ascends to a higher plane of existence at the end of the movie. Since he has used up all his visits to Earth, he can never return again.
  • Happened in Jack Frost (1998) (The family movie). The titular main character is trapped in the body of a snowman in order to say goodbye to his family. They spend a good deal of the movie trying to keep him from melting and getting him to a nice cold mountaintop. Upon accomplishing this task, he drops "but now I must go" for seemingly no reason and disappears into the wind.
  • The movie Finian's Rainbow ends with the dad (Fred Astaire) picking up his carpetbag and cane and heading out. On his beloved daughter's wedding day. And the only reason she gets to say goodbye and get half an explanation is that she spotted him leaving. Way to make your daughter's anniversary memorable, Daddy Dear.
    • Subverted in the musical theater show. Dad gives an explanation of what he's going to do next.
  • The movie Chocolat almost ended this way. Vianne had previously dragged her daughter Anouk through several moves, usually because they got thrown out, and also because her own mother had done the same thing to her. After the story is settled and the pair hasn't been thrown out of town, Vianne gets set to move on anyway — but then realizes that she wants to stay, and instead dumps her mother's ashes out the window, leaving her mother's spirit free to roam and no longer forcing the family to accompany it.
    • This trope is played straight in the original novel by Joann Harris, however.
  • The titular characters of ¡Three Amigos!! pulled this one at the end of the movie because their characters in their Show Within a Show always did it.
  • Subverted at the end of the Good Burger movie: Ed gives Dexter a teary, heartfelt farewell speech, though neither of them is going anywhere.
  • Kevin Costner's character in Waterworld, who decides to set out on the ocean again once the protagonists and their people have found and established themselves on "Dryland", partly because he's used to the solitary life and also an ocean native, saying that solid ground "doesn't move right".
  • In Shaolin Prince, after the titular Prince had killed the main villain and avenged his family's death, he actually relinquishes his throne to his younger brother instead, deciding that he's better off spending the rest of his life in the Shaolin temple where he was adopted and raised by the monks, and to become the new head abbot of the temple.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Invoked after the T1000 terminator has been destroyed, along with the other traces of Skynet technology, leaving only one to be disposed of: the chip in T800's head. But because it's programming wouldn't allow it to self-terminate, it needed Jon to do it for him.
    T800: "There is one more chip. And it must be destroyed..."
  • The plot of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium revolves around the titular character's sudden plans to "leave" for absolutely no reason.
  • Casablanca, 'cept it was the love interest who left. A similar scene occurs in the ending of the Pamela Anderson film Barb Wire (albeit the gender roles are reversed).
  • The penultimate scene in Big Trouble in Little China inverts this when loner, truck-driving hero Jack offers would-be love Gracie the opportunity to settle down, only to have her lament that the only way she would stay with him is if he maintains his nomadic lifestyle.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Marty finally returns to the year 1985, but without Doc, who remained back in the year 1885 to save Clara Clayton. Before he can dwell on it, Doc appears in his newly created steam locomotive time machine, to let Marty and Jennifer know he was alright... and introduce them to his new family: his wife Clara, and their two sons, Jules and Verne. Doc also leaves Marty with a copy of the photo they took together, back in 1885, as a parting gift. Then bids him and his girlfriend farewell.
  • Lisa, at the end of Weird Science. She has successfully transformed the lives of Gary and Wyatt, getting them popularity, girlfriends, and most importantly confidence. So she decides to become a gym teacher...
  • Play It Again, Sam: Alan Felix (Woody Allen) imagines that Humphrey Bogart is with him and confers with Bogey to take decisions. In the end, Humphrey Bogart chooses to leave as "You don't need me any longer."
  • Óscar, Kina y el láser, a 1978 Spanish movie (adaptation of a short story) about a child who builds a speaking laser device. "The Laser" helps Óscar in his adventure and, when the plot is over and Óscar goes to bed saying goodnight, the Laser farewells him, apparently feeling there was no need for the Laser to stay.
  • In Going My Way, Father O'Malley likes St. Dominic's and would probably prefer to stay and be the parish priest. But he was sent there to right the ship for a church that was struggling financially, and that having been achieved, he is dispatched to another ailing parish. Father Fitzgibbon, the old priest at St. Dominic's, is disappointed.
  • Sanjuro: The Lord of the region offers him a job, but Sanjuro doesn't show up. The Lord reveals that he knew Sanjuro would never be able to settle down like that, and the young samurai Sanjuro had been tutoring chase after him to change his mind. Ends up subverted; after having to kill his Not So Different adversary, Sanjuro's too upset to stay, but he won't be venturing on either, with the implication that it's time to retire his blade.
  • In Moonwalker Michael Jackson turns into a spaceship and flies away, while his young friends say "He's going home." Subverted though in the fact that he comes back...immediately.
  • In UHF, Philo makes his grand exit this way.
    Philo: You're welcome. Well, it appears that my work on this planet is finished, so I must now return to my home planet of Zarquon.
    George: [dubious] Oh...okay. Have fun!
  • In The Legend of Bagger Vance, after helping Matt Damon's character regain his golf swing, Bagger Vance leaves never to return, cementing his Magical Negro status.
  • Played With in Pulp Fiction, when Jules has a near-death and then near-life in prison moment in the same day, he decides he must leave and travel the world. Not only is he not a heroic character, but the story is told out of order.
  • In Prancer, the title character leaves Jessica Riggs for Santa's sleigh, in a streak of light.
  • In Stuart Little 2, Margalo leaves Stuart to fly south for the winter. However, Stuart believes that in a silver lining, Margalo would be back in the spring. This happens in the animated TV series.
  • Doctor Mordrid: The all-knowing Monitor commands Mordrid to return to the Magic Dimension after the villain's defeat so that the wizards' existence doesn't become known to humanity, though Mordrid returns right before the credits roll to be with his Love Interest.
  • At the end of Mad Max: Fury Road, Max doesn't join the rest of the heroes on the Citadel's elevator. He shares one last look with Furiosa before vanishing into the crowd. He helped them take the Citadel but he has no desire to rule it with them.
  • Rollo and the Spirit of the Woods: As soon as the Balance Between Good and Evil in the forest is restored and the eternal darkness is lifted, the Master of the Scales continues his journey without even joining the Dance Party Ending or offering more than a wave for the protagonists.
  • Averted in Queen of Outer Space. Once their rocketship is repaired the astronauts must depart to Earth, much to the disappointment of the Lady Land they've just liberated from the evil Queen Yllana. Then they receive a Video Phone message from their superior ordering them to remain on Venus rather than risk using a damaged rocketship. Unfortunately, it will take a year for a rescue ship to arrive. The final scene is the middle-aged professor saying joyfully, "A whole year!" as he's glomped en-masse by gorgeous man-hungry Venusians.
  • Wolves:Although all the bad guys are dead and Lupine Ridge is now safe, Cayden and Angel end the film riding away together on Cayden's motorbike (because Cayden being a fugitive no longer matters, apparently?). They plan to come back, though.
  • Cheeky version in the teen comedy Don't Talk to Irene. The titular outcast is a megafan of Geena Davis and talks to a League of Their Own poster on the ceiling of her bedroom when she needs advice and encouragement, imagining her responses — which are spoken by Davis herself, who also appears in a Dream Sequence when the heroine faces her Darkest Hour. After Irene proves her doubters wrong, she has one last conversation with Davis in which the latter says she must now go to inspire other girls, and Irene actually senses her leaving. Confirming that Davis is in fact a Spirit Advisor, the next day the bully tormenting Irene the entire movie apologizes to her, whereupon she hears Davis's voice in her head...
  • Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts steals a giant pin on the Isle of Bronze, which awakens the titan Talos. When Talos is defeated, he falls and crushes Hylas. Hercules leaves out of guilt; Hera explains this is actually because Zeus has other plans for Hercules at the moment.

  • Wood from Dragoncharm pulls this on Fortune in the Heart of the Maze.
  • This is a recurring theme in the light novel series, and the anime adaptation, of Kino's Journey in which the main character, as a drifter, has a self-imposed limit of staying three days upon reaching a town or rest stop and can give no exceptions regardless of the situation. This is in order not to form attachments to prevent the ideal of traveling. A little different in that the plot follows Kino to each next place. This is explored deeper when the main character, eventually revealed to be female, discovers a place she can finally grow used to loving while becoming acquainted with someone sharing many common and reminiscent traits with her. Coping on her decision on whether or not wishing to finally settle down, the conclusion is the final episode of the anime adaption, whilst the light novels simply continue, and still are, after that point.
  • Mightily Oats, of all people, in the Discworld book Carpe Jugulum. And he is spoken of later in Unseen Academicals.
  • Robert E. Howard did a superb But Now I Must Go ending for the Solomon Kane story "The Blue Flame of Vengeance":
    "I am a landless man." A strange, intangible, almost mystic look flashed into his cold eyes. "I come out of the sunset and into the sunrise I go, wherever the Lord doth guide my feet. I soul's salvation, mayhap. I came, following the trail of vengeance. Now I must leave you. The dawn is not far away, and I would not have it find me idle. It may be I shall see you no more. My work here is done; the long red trail is ended. The man of blood is dead. But there be other men of blood, and other trails of revenge and retribution. I work the will of God. While evil flourishes and wrongs grow rank, while men are persecuted and women wronged, while weak things, human or animal, are maltreated, there is no rest for me beneath the skies, nor peace at any board or bed. Farewell!"
  • Running with the Demon. John Ross drifts back out of town.
  • After half a book of back story, this trope basically becomes the entire premise for the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman books by Brian Jacques.
  • Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, resulting from Mandella and Potter's return to Earth after their first tour of duty, during which thirty years have passed on Earth due to Time Dilation from Faster-Than-Light Travel. Mandella's father is dead; his mother is dying of cancer which The Government's socialized medicine system refuses to treat because she is not worth it, and she has taken a lesbian lover. Potter's parents are forced out of their home for defying government regulations and end up on an agricultural commune under assumed identities. They are killed while Mandella and Potter are staying with them by raiders looking for food. Needless to say, the two re-enlist in the Army and get off that Crapsack World.
  • Un Lun Dun by China Miéville's defies this trope. At the end of the book, the protagonist Deeba is told that she has to return permanently to her home in mundane London because travel between London and UnLondon is too difficult to allow her to return. Her response is to burst into laughter, systematically list all the people in the book who've traveled back and forth between the two along with how easy it was for them to do so, and say, "Of course I'll come back!"
  • Five of the seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia involve the heroes being sent back to England in the end. Averted in The Horse and His Boy because the main characters were natives, and subverted in The Last Battle where they were Dead All Along, so going back wasn't an option.
  • A Wrinkle in Time has this with Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit.
    "I'm terribly sorry, but we can't stay. You see, we have to..." But what it was they had to do was never said, as there was a gust of wind, and they were gone.
  • At the end of the first part of Thus Spake Zarathustra, Zarathustra tells the group of followers that have gathered around him "Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves, and only when you have all denied me will I return to you." He does, indeed, return.
  • At the end of the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Kahless, the original Kahless tires of his life as The Emperor and decides to leave. His subjects ask him where he will go. Deciding to play up on their myths of him (mostly so they'd leave him be), he points to a random star and tell them to look there. 1500 years later, they do.
    • The whole point of the novel is demystifying the figure of Kahless and showing him as just a man. In fact, the whole idea of forging the first bat'leth from his own hair dipped in lava was merely a dream he had. He promptly makes a sketch of the weapon and takes it to a blacksmith.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force Ghost continued to advise Luke Skywalker for a while after Return of the Jedi, but he eventually moves on to the afterlife, much to Luke's sorrow.
      Obi-Wan: Not the last of the old Jedi, Luke. The first of the new.
    • Obi-Wan's Force Ghost does make two more appearances in the New Jedi Order series. First, to congratulate Luke on the birth of his son, then to celebrate the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong.
    • In Star Wars: Kenobi, the living Obi-Wan defies his character role as The Drifter by not leaving at the end of the story, even though it would be the simplest solution to the problems caused or aggravated by his arrival. Instead, it's his love interest Annileen and her family who leave, because Obi-Wan has to settle in as The Hermit to watch over the infant Luke Skywalker. Annileen's shock and dismay when he tells her that he can't go with them play out similarly to a scene of the Drifter saying he can't stay in town.
  • In Warrior Cats, several characters do this, most notably Cody, Shortwhisker, and Snookthorn.
  • In How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford, Jonah does this. After the death of his handicapped twin brother, he leaves for good. He even makes sure nobody can find him by taking all pictures of him post-puberty and putting his baby picture in the yearbook.
  • In The Divine Comedy, Virgil, being one of the damned, must return to Hell at the end of Purgatorio. Dante does not take this very well.
    Virgil to Dante: Await no further word or sign from me: your will is free, upright, and whole.
  • When deciding whether to stay Trapped on Draconica, Ben tries to Take a Third Option and go home but use his power to travel between worlds to visit Draconica, but Dronor says he has to take that power away. After thinking about his worried sick mother and encouragement from Erowin he decides to go home. It is understandable why he chooses to go back but why he has to choose at all is less so. Its a dampener on an otherwise unambiguously happy ending.
  • In Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, the title character has to return to his home planet in the end.
  • In the 1980s Care Bears book The Trouble with Timothy, Friend Bear explains herself this way to Timothy. "I'm your friend, your snuggly, furry friend. In fact, that's my name, Friend Bear, and I come from the land of Care-a-lot. I'll be around as long as you need me, but when you don't need me so much, I'll be on my way."
  • Due to her conscience conflicting with the group decision, Johanna Reyes leaves Amity in Insurgent.
  • In the canonical form of the legend of St. George and the Dragon, George refuses all offers of rewards for liberating the town and saving the princess, and instead rides away right after the whole town has been baptized. This does not apply to the many popular adaptations in which St. George marries the princess (which is out of place for a true saint).
  • The Cloud in Loskutik And The Cloud can't stay in the same place for very long, especially on the ground, so they have to leave in the last chapter, bringing a bittersweet tinge to the happy ending.
  • Inverted at the end of Seekers of the Sky. The protagonist Ilmar decides he can't follow Marcus (a possible messiah) where he's going and stays behind. The rest of the group rightly views him as a traitor, but he knows he's probably the only one who realizes that Marcus will never be a true messiah and will, at best, repeat the Redeemer's mistake (becoming a king of men rather than redeeming humanity in the eyes of God) and, at worst, become the Tempter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used straight in The Adventures of Pete & Pete. In the two-parter "Goodbye, My Little Viking", Little Pete parts ways with his best friend and personal superhero Artie (the Strongest Man - in the world!), who realizes that he is no longer needed more, and sets off to find a new kid who does.
  • Angel:
    • Parodied when Wesley joins the cast in "Parting Gifts". Wesley pretends he must do this, while secretly hoping to be invited to stay, but Angel and Cordelia play along with the pretense.
    • Later played straight in "You're Welcome" when Cordelia comes back for one last guest spot, gets "her man back on track", then basically says "now everything's going to be OK, a pity I won't be here to see it since I must move on". It's more Tear Jerker in the show than that description, obviously.
    • Also Lorne's final fate in the post-series comics.
  • Arrow: A few in quick succession in the season 7 finale.
    • In the flash-forwards, the older generation of heroes decide to take the blame for the damage done in the course of saving the city, meaning they have to go on the run. But they know the younger generation will keep the city safe without them.
    • Oliver and Felicity decide to move out to a small town where Felicity can give birth and they can be safe from the villains hunting them. They plan to return eventually, but the Monitor shows up to call in Oliver's deal. Oliver needs to come with him to help save the universe, and he will inevitably die during the coming Crisis. Oliver tearfully says goodbye to Felicity and their infant daughter. Partly averted because the Monitor uses Time Travel to allow Oliver to spend some time with his grown-up children and to properly say goodbye to them.
    • Back in the flash-forwards, Felicity says this is the last time she'll see her children. They're confused since she's been on the run before and managed to stay in touch. She says it's different this time. She then meets up with the Monitor, who warns her she won't be able to come back from where he's taking her. She accepts that and just wants to see Oliver again, and they walk through a portal.
    • Later on, Lyla uses a device the Monitor has William build, before telling John she has to go and steps through one of the Monitor's portals. However, she comes back at the end of the episode in a new outfit, claiming that she's Harbinger now, moments before the sky turns red.
  • Also the default for The A-Team, as they couldn't stay in one place too long without being caught by the military.
  • In the final episode of Battlestar Galactica, Adama does this rather abruptly. Starbuck jumps on the bandwagon and immediately ascends to a higher plane of existence.
  • On The Daily Show, when a longtime correspondent or contributor leaves the show, they receive a farewell, which includes a montage of amusing moments during their time. In 2015, before then-host Jon Stewart himself left the show, Stephen Colbert came back and humorously complained about how he didn't receive such a send-off, playing a self-prepared montage.
  • In Diablero, Mayaken feels that he's a monster and he doesn't deserve a happy home with Keta, so he tells her that he'll come back to her when he's had time to figure things out and flies off.
  • The Doctor from Doctor Who shows something of this; he saves the day, and then leaves again, never staying. It's been suggested in the show this is because he's afraid to look back at the trail of destruction he leaves behind — or, more humourously, because he's worried about being asked to pay for the collateral damage he's caused.
    • A strange subversion of this trope is used in the Doctor's regeneration in "The Parting of the Ways". He tells Rose he'll still be there, "but not like this. Not with this daft old face."
    • He is forced to face the consequences of his own actions a few times, such as in "Bad Wolf", which takes place a century after "The Long Game". Instead of freeing Earth from the tyranny of the Jagrafess, his actions result in a complete shutdown of the government, followed by decades of chaos before an even worse example of tyranny takes hold, forcing people to participate in deadly games and others to watch them.
  • Game of Thrones: Benjen leaves Bran and Meera at the end of Season 6 as the Wall has magic spells carved into it which prevent the undead, and by extension him, from passing.
  • No matter how much the people he interacted with wanted him to stay, The Littlest Hobo would always leave at the end of the episode. As the show's theme song sums up: "There's a voice...that keeps on calling me...down the road, that's where I'll always be..."
    • Spoofed in an episode of Corner Gas, and Hank wanted Hobo to stay in Dog River. When Wanda explains that leaving when the trouble is over is what Hobo does, Hank wants to stir up more trouble to get Hobo to come back.
  • Chef Gordon Ramsay sometimes has this effect on Hotel Hell or Kitchen Nightmares when he's finally fixed the restaurant or hotel, but the owner(s) wish he could stay longer.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, several characters leave the show in this manner. Some of them return for a brief time, though. For example, Jax leaves the show halfway through season 3 after Stein's death. He returns for the season finale and reveals to have a wife and a daughter now. Rip also leaves the team in the season 2 finale... only to come back in the season 3 opener, revealing that he has set up a new Time Police agency to replace the defunct Time Masters. Amaya has always been aboard on borrowed time, knowing she would have to return to the 1940s eventually in order to ensure the existence of her granddaughter Mari.
  • Used quite a lot in The Lone Ranger, as he goes off into the sunset...leaving grateful townsfolk behind, wondering, "Who is that Masked Man?"
  • One episode of The Mandalorian has the titular character arrive in a small town that's coming under attack from raiders, and he agrees to teach them how to defend themselves and help them fight off their enemies in exchange for room and board. As it goes on he bonds with a woman there, they clearly have some feelings for each other, he wants to stay, she wants him to stay, The Child is happy there... and then a bounty hunter arrives gunning for them. He realizes he needs to keep moving to keep him, The Child, and the village safe, and so he bids them farewell and flies off toward the sunset.
  • Power Rangers did this a few times:
  • Played in The Secret Circle, as Jake does this after saving Cassie, though he soon returns.
    • Diana does the same in "Family" since she's lost her father and can't handle having dark magic.
  • In Supernatural, the Winchesters are constantly moving on to their next hunt, even if there are some cases where they meet someone who might inspire them to want to stay longer (Cassie Robertson, Sarah Blake, Lisa Baerden, etc.)
  • This is the default ending for most of the Ultra Series, as the Ultras are assigned to Earth from their homeworld and when their tour of duty is complete, they must return. In Ultraman and Ultraseven, this was given further meaning, as they were badly hurt and they couldn't be healed on Earth.

  • "I'll Follow the Sun" by The Beatles
    And now the time has come and so my love I must go
  • "Heard It in a Love Song" by the Marshal Tucker Band.
  • "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • "Sous le Vent", by Garou and Celine Dion.
    • Fait comme si je quittais la terre / J'ai trouvé mon étoile / Je l'ai suivie un instant...
  • Janelle Monáe's song BaBopByeYa.
    My freedom calls and I MUST GOOOOOO!
  • Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On"
  • Scot-Irish traditional song "The Parting Glass" doesn't make it clear whether the singer is dying, or simply leaving forever:
    • So since it falls unto my lot/ that I should rise and you should not....
    • The same goes for "Loch Lomond", in which the singer is most definitely dying. Me and my true love shall ne'er meet again...
  • "Farewell" by Gamma Ray is a clear example.
  • The Allman Brothers Band, "Ramblin' Man." "When it's time for leavin', I hope you'll understand..."
  • Supertramp: "Goodbye Stranger, it's been nice/Hope you find your paradise..."
  • "Back on the Road Again" by REO Speedwagon.
  • "The Stranger Song" by Leonard Cohen: "He'll say one day you caused his will // To weaken with your love and warmth and shelter // And then taking from his wallet // An old schedule of trains, he'll say // I told you when I came I was a stranger".
  • Kids Praise: The end of the second album has Psalty tell the kids that he needs to go visit other kids, but that he'll see them again.
  • Tom Petty's "Time To Move On".
    It's time to move on, time to get going
    What lies ahead, I have no way of knowing.
    But underneath my feet, grass is growing.
    It's time to move on, it's time to get going.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: After His resurrection, Jesus says goobye to His disciples and returns to Heaven.
    Jesus: "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:2)
  • After Paul Bunyan was beaten by a man with a steam-powered chainsaw in a tree-cutting contest, he and Babe the Blue Ox packed up for the Alaskan wilderness, realizing the era of the lumberjack was drawing to a close.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted
    • There is a charm, Hero Rides Away, that rewards heroic-themed Solar Exalts for doing this.
    • For the heroic Abyssals, they must do this even if they want to stay. Otherwise, the folks they just saved will be hit by an ultra-lethal death-wave, or worse.

  • This is merged with And the Adventure Continues for Willy Wonka in the West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in what amounts to a Not His Sled twist on the ending of the source novel. In the book, Charlie won't inherit the factory until he comes of age, but here he becomes the new owner immediately and after a wild celebration, the boy and his family realize Mr. Wonka has already left ("Looks like he's left you to it"). After they enter the factory to begin their new lives, Mr. Wonka — concealed in the King Incognito disguise of an elderly tramp (who was last seen in Act One encouraging Charlie to buy the Wonka Bar that turned out to contain the last Golden Ticket) — appears and reveals to the audience that he is moving on to other worlds, such as theirs, to continue creating wondrous things now that he is no longer tied down to the factory. With that, he vanishes into thin air...
  • Hamilton features the song "One Last Time", dramatizing George Washington's decision to step down as president, as noted in the real-life folder.
  • The opera Paul Bunyan ends with the unseen title character bidding his friends goodbye, saying that he has to move on now that they have succeeded in taming the wilderness:
    All I had to do is done,
    You remain but I go on;
    Other kinds of deserts call,
    Other deserts whisper Paul;
    I must hasten in reply
    To that low instinctive cry,
    There to make a way again
    For the conscious lives of men.
  • Peer Gynt invokes the trope in running away from every responsibility and his true love in the process.
    I have a heavy burden to shoulder, I must carry it alone. You have to wait for me.

  • Mata Nui in the conclusion of BIONICLE after having completed his destiny.

    Video Games 
  • Every game in the Ys series always ends with Adol getting on a boat and sailing off into some new epic adventure. Sometimes it's with his Heterosexual Life Partner Dogi, sometimes it's alone. But, it always has some maiden who's clearly infatuated with him seeing him off at the docks to give a final farewell.
  • This is very common at the end of the The Legend of Zelda games. Either Link's sidekick leaves Link or Link leaves Hyrule to go on a journey.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Navi leaving Link at the end because Link isn't a Kokiri and the only reason she was sent to him was so he could fulfill his quest. Once that was done, she couldn't stay with him any longer.
    • Majora's Mask started with Link getting sidetracked while searching for his friend. At the end of the game, Link leaves Termina and Tatl to continue on that quest.
    • The ending of Wind Waker has Link leaving his grandma and sister to search for new land. Similarly, Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, the true identity of the King of Red Lions, turns down Zelda's request for him to stay with them to find a new land to call home, as he feels himself to be forever bound to his fallen kingdom of Hyrule.
    • There's also Minish Cap where Ezlo leaves because the door to the Minish world is about to close and won't reopen for another hundred years. At least he leaves a parting gift.
    • At the end of Twilight Princess, Midna, now free of Ganon's curse, seals herself and all other Twili from Hyrule for eternity by destroying the Mirror of Twilight. The Mirror is corrupting and evil, and they will ultimately need to destroy it after they are finished using it. At the very end, Link is seen riding away from Ordon village on Epona, but it's never said where he's going.
    • One of the multiple endings to Spirit Tracks has Link leaving if you select the "Dunno" choice when asked what do you want to do after the bad guy is defeated.
    • At the ending of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Fi, the spirit living within the Master Sword and your companion throughout the game, seals herself in the Master Sword in eternal sleep after the defeat of Demise. Impa also leaves by dissolving into tiny balls of light.
  • The ending of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Alucard rescues Richter Belmont and meets up with both him and Maria at a cliff overlooking the former spot of Dracula's castle. He tells them both that because of his cursed lineage, he was better off gone. That being said, Alucard departs to return to his eternal slumber (much like at the end of Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse). Depending on certain variables in the game, Maria will either respect Alucard's decision to disappear and return home with Richter or confess her love for him and follow him.
    • The radio drama sequel subverts this trope (read: Maria follows him), showing that a year later, Alucard and Maria are living together.
  • Mewt at the end of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. He obviously has a strong attachment to the world (come on, the reason it's there is because he wants it to be), yet he reverts the world back to real life at the end, with one of these moments.
  • Persona:
    • Happens to the main character at the end of Persona 3. He falls asleep and never wakes up because his soul is keeping Nyx from returning to destroy the world. And this is the GOOD ending.
    • Happens to the main character at the end of Persona 4 when he has to return to his parents. Though considering the series, things could have been much, much worse. Something of a subversion in that we know from the very beginning of the game that he'll be leaving town in one year. And depending on which dialog choices the player chooses, he might not want to leave at all. Also, in the True Ending, Teddie says that he's decided to stay in the TV world, but the rest of the cast calls him out for being overdramatic, pointing out that he can easily go back and forth between worlds and will be back in their world as soon as he gets bored.
      • Sequel Persona 4: Arena undoes this one: In order to investigate Teddie's call to a tournament for Persona users, Yu Narukami (the protagonist's Canon Name) returns to his friends in Inaba less than two months after the end of the game.
      • While Yu does leave Inaba once more after the events in Persona 4: Arena Ultimax, Golden's extended epilogue has him returning to Inaba again, with no indication that he's going to be leaving permanently, if at all.
    • At the end of Persona 5, the protagonist completes his year-long probation, and leaves Tokyo to return to his hometown. However, the rest of the team decides to accompany him on his road trip back home.
  • Averted in an interesting way in Lunar: Eternal Blue. Lucia leaves Hiro on Lunar (a terraformed Moon After the End) so that she can go back and terraform Earth. In the Playable Epilogue, he finds a way to follow her and stays with her. Presumably through Human Popsicle, he is able to be with her when her job is complete, centuries later.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Princess Nyna does this in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem. After all the Break the Cutie that she went through for her heritage/position and the terrible mistake she committed for the sake of the continent, she decides to leave Archanea in the hands of Marth and Caeda and leave.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Ninian and Nils return to the dragon world together if Eliwood doesn't have an A support with Ninian; if she does, Nils goes back alone. Also, Athos uses up the last of his life energy to help fight the final battle, and the Tactician ends up leaving for reasons unspecified.
    • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, this takes place if Gerik doesn't have a shared ending with Natasha, Joshua or Marisa and he decides to leave his native Jehanna. And it always happens with Knoll, who leaves after Grado is rebuilt. It's subverted if Cormag has a shared ending with Tana, as he goes away but Tana searches for him until she catches up with Cormag and makes him her personal knight.
    • Ike from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, who disappears to lands unknown at the end of the game, either alone or with a companion depending on what supports the player did. As a bonus, he appears in exactly the same pose as in the page image, complete with a memorial of sorts. There are rumors that in Fire Emblem Awakening that he had crossed over into another world...
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, almost all the Kids From The Future decide to leave their parents and their future selves so they can rebuild their own lives in the now liberated present, whether alone or with a boyfriend/girlfriend if they have enough supports (It's all but stated that they cannot return to the Bad Future they come from, anyway). The only exceptions are an unmarried Noire (who stays with her parents now that her complicated relationship with her emotionally/mentally unstable mother is mended) and an unmarried Severa (who leaves to travel around but is said to return to her parents' sides regularly to "yell at them for old times' sake")... though this is retconned in Fire Emblem Fates as in at least one world she, Owain and Inigo eventually do leave. Additionally, if Henry remains unmarried, he simply goes away and disappears.
    • At the end of the Revelation route of Fire Emblem Fates, after the defeat of Anankos, and as the Avatar is crowned the new king or queen of the reborn Kingdom of Valla, his/her Parental Substitute Gunter quietly leaves the scene.
      • Whether Laslow, Odin, or Selena get married or not, they're stated to return to their homelands if they live to the end of Conquest or Revelation (unless one of them married the Avatar). This is because they are Inigo, Owain and Severa from Awakening.
      • Some the Second Generation characters also do this once the war is over. The list includes Ophelia, Soleil, a married Shigure, an unmarried Mitama and the Kanas of either gender.
  • Planescape: Torment ends like this with The Nameless One.
  • Likewise the Baldur's Gate series in Throne of Bhaal, in the ending where you accept godhood.
  • Tales Series
    • Kratos in Tales of Symphonia.
    • In Tales of Phantasia, it's practically a Foregone Conclusion that when Dhaos is defeated and the world is saved, Claus and Arche will have to return to the past. Arche is a bit of a subversion, since she's a half-elf, and thus will still be around in 100 years, but Claus...
    • Tales of Xillia pulls this off with Milla in the final scene of the game. She decides to become the new Maxwell and leaves the human realm for the spirit realm.
    • Tales of Xillia 2 pulls this off with Milla again, but this time it is treated as a Foregone Conclusion for it to happen. After joining the party, Milla openly admits that she only has a limited amount of time to remain in the human realm. At the end of the game, her time is up and she has to return to the spirit realm. Her sister Muzét joins her in leaving the party at this point, though she has no such restriction and is the only Great Spirit who can easily go between realms, due to her powers.
  • Played straight by Snake while talking to Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and a weird series' of aversions in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where it's always made clear by Old Snake that once he's done with his one final mission, he'll retire to die alone. (Otacon even says this to Sunny after Johnny and Meryl's wedding)In a weird twist of this trope, we get to see what he does after leaving, which is to kill himself to prevent a mutagen FOXDIE from spreading. Then Big Boss comes out of nowhere and gives him a CQC Hug, tying up all loose ends in the plot, and Snake comes back with Otacon, according to The Stinger, thus averting the trope
  • Ryu's ending in every game he's been in. One of the most memorable phrases in gaming history from his ending in any Street Fighter II: "Already seeking the next challenge, ceremony means nothing to him. The fight is everything." As we read it, the players see a lonely Ryu calmly walking into the sunset.
  • Done for the hero in Quest for Glory IV; in the middle of the reward ceremony, Erasmus locates the hero via scrying and teleports him to Silmaria for the events of the fifth game, remarking "He's a hero, and heroes go where they are needed."
  • The Avatar from Ultima IX: During ALL the game it's said that you won't be back to Earth nor Britannia (the planet where the game is set) but you will ascend to another form of existence. The full name of that game is "Ultima IX: Ascension". No less.
  • Mana Kirishima must do this in the Neon Genesis Evangelion: Girlfriend of Steel game. And this is the happiest ending, people.
  • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team... though it ends up subverted, as the protagonist stays after all.
    • Played straight in Gates to Infinity. For a little while, anyway.
    • Subverted in Super Mystery Dungeon. Your partner in Super Mystery Dungeon is (canonically) the second Pokémon in the Mystery Dungeon games to die. The partner's death involves them disappearing in a ball of light when you are supposed to leave for the human world, and, after explaining that they chose to erase their memories with the player due to them being Mew's reincarnation, they vanish in the ball of light, never to be seen again... Until the postgame story, where the player's wish to be with the partner causes the partner to be Back from the Dead.
    • Subverted in Pokémon Gold and Silver. Red seems to have gone away since the events of the previous games, and not even his mother knows where he is; however, he is still around. He eventually appears as a Bonus Boss.
    • N Harmonia in Pokémon Black and White.
      • The sequel implies that Hilda and Hilbert pulled one of these off-screen.
  • Dragon Age
    • Morrigan does this at the end of Dragon Age: Origins. The Warden can follow her.
    • All Awakening epilogues state that after a few years of service, the Warden-Commander leaves for parts unknown. Her/His love interest may follow as well. Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that they are searching for a cure for the blight. You can briefly communicate with them as well through a war table mission.
  • This occurred at the end of Super Robot Wars Alpha when Kusuha's boyfriend Bullet decided it was too dangerous for someone like him to hang he wanted to keep RyuKouOu out of other people's hands. He gets over it by Alpha 3, and asks Kusuha to marry him.
  • Happens at the end of the Wii version of A Boy and His Blob.
  • Throughout Olimar's journal entries in Pikmin, it becomes clear that he's become quite attached to the pikmin and their strange, blue world. Unfortunately, he's got a family back on his home planet, and the toxic atmosphere just doesn't help anything. If you reach the happy ending, the diminutive alien gives the cute pikmin one final glance before shaking his head and leaving them all behind.
  • The protagonists of both Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic games ended the games this way, and Word of God says they left their party members behind. Importantly, they left the seeds for the rebirth of the Jedi Order and the Republic, and their actual fates are covered partially by Star Wars: The Old Republic and an EU novel. Both end up in the Truth Sith Empire, trying to stop the Emperor from starting a war with the weakened Republic. They end up getting betrayed by a temporary ally, with the Exile getting stabbed In the Back by him and Revan being outmatched by the Emperor and kept in stasis for the next several centuries. But he does, however, manage to subtly influence the Emperor to hold off on attacking the Republic for 300 years or so.
  • Happens during The Stinger from Super Mario Galaxy: If you defeat Bowser with all 120 Power Stars, then we actually get to see a cutscene where Rosalina is actually shown bidding Mario/Luigi farewell and flying off to another part of the galaxy, followed by a Luma climbing out of a damaged spaceship. Moments later, however, Mario/Luigi is actually now back on Rosalina's ship!
    • This also happens in the sequel, where after Bowser is defeated the Luma Mario/Luigi travelled with actually ends up seeing Rosalina's ship flying by and telling Mario/Luigi goodbye. However, she does return to help Mario/Luigi complete World S, beat Bowser again, get all 120 Green Stars, and finally complete Grandmaster Galaxy.
  • Fallout
    • Inverted in Fallout. After defeating the Big Bad the Vault Dweller is denied re-entry into the vault by the overseer. He walks alone, into the sunset, cut off from everything he worked so hard to save.
    • Played straight in the Fallout: New Vegas DLC. After saving Christine from the immediate danger at the Big Empty and getting what he came for, Ulysses leaves.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Gardens, you must let your pony cross the bridge to Ponyland at the end.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, this is an unspoken agreement between Donald Duck and Goofy. Due to the "no meddling" rule, they know that eventually, they'll have to leave Sora forever. By the time of Kingdom Hearts II, however, they've gotten far too attached to Sora to leave him.
    • Also a Tear Jerker moment; after Winnie-the-Pooh regains his memories of his friends, he pleads with Sora to stay with him in the Hundred Acre Wood; Sora reassures him that "I will always be with you, right here", pointing out that he'll always be in Pooh's heart.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Geno leaves the party and his spirit returns to the Star Road after the heroes have completed their quest in fixing it and defeating the Big Bad.
  • This is two of seven possible endings for Ein in Riviera: The Promised Land, including the one that's Word of God canonical. They're mostly the same, though; the only thing that changes is whether or not his familiar turns into a catgirl.
  • Sunset's chapter in Live A Live ends with him leaving Succez Town because he's finally learned how to live once more. He wouldn't have had a choice anyway since the Big Bad abducts him moments after he leaves.
  • This is Akatsuki's ending in Akatsuki Blitzkampf, where he tells the defeated Murakumo that his A God Am I stint is bullshit and disappears immediately afterwards. There's even a picture of him walking out and away from Murakumo's lair. He does something similar in his Under Night In-Birth ending, where after defeating Hyde, Akatsuki decides to go to Mount Fuji to check on what's supposed to be an old lab (and where, in Blitzkampf story proper, he faces Kanae and later Fritz).
  • This can happen to the Player Character Prince in Suikoden V if he chooses to. It will definitely happen to his strategist, Lucretia Merces.
  • In the modern Sonic the Hedgehog games, Sonic will usually run off to his next adventure whenever the latest Eggman threat du jour is stopped.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV has Musse pulling off this trope to enact her "Mille Mirage" plan which requires her to fight off against the empire in the shadows and leaves the party after the climax of Cold Steel III. This lasts for all of two weeks before she's reunited with Class VII and they tell her to join them to search for their teacher Rean, who was captured during the finale of Cold Steel III.
  • In the Golden Ending of Undertale, this is one of the two choices you can make once you've reached the surface and Toriel asks you what you plan to do next. If you tell her that you have places you want to go, she completely understands but hopes that you'll come back and visit sometimes. When you make this choice, the ending post-credits scene of the game is a picture of your player character, Frisk, together with all the friends that you/they made during the journey. The other option you can choose is an example of I Choose to Stay.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest I: After saving Princess Gwaelin and slaying the Dragonlord, the Hero is offered the throne of Tantegel, but he declines and sets off on a journey to explore new, uncharted lands beyond Alefgard.
    • Dragon Quest III: The Hero disappears following the celebrations of their victory over Zoma at the end of the game, leaving behind only their sword, armor, shield, and mark to be passed down the kingdom through generations.
    • Dragon Quest VI: At the end of the game, Ashlynn has to leave her friends and love interest and return to Zenithia.
    • Dragon Quest VII: After Dharma Temple is saved, Zev chooses to leave his sister behind, asking Kasim to protect her in his stead.

    Visual Novels 
  • Akai Ito: In the end Tsuzura must go, because she lives in a completely different world from Kei. She even enforces a Laser-Guided Amnesia to make sure it sticks! But if Kei's love for her is strong, she will overcome this amnesia. It's actually rather jarring because, in one of her non-true endings, she actually transfers into Kei's school because she loves her a lot.
  • Two of the endings in Saya no Uta don't really count, since the eponymous character had completely uncontrived reasons for leaving Fuminori in the asylum ending, and was killed in battle in one of the other endings. However, in the remaining ending, Saya becomes ill and dies after just having killed Kouji. We know it's meant to be depressing and cynical, and we know this is what leads up to the worldwide plague of mutation spores, but she seemed perfectly fine up until that point, and nothing was ever mentioned that she would die after fulfilling her biological purpose of reproduction.
  • Kinoko Nasu loves doing this to his characters, apparently:
    • Saber in Fate/stay night, in a tear-jerking scene in which she finally confesses to the protagonist that she loves him, right before vanishing forever. Although in the True Ending of Fate in Realta Nua, it turns out that Saber and Shirou are reunited in Avalon after his death, as long as their hearts and feelings are still connected and they're willing to wait for one another.
    • Archer does this at the end of Unlimited Blade Works, as well as Saber in one of the endings.
    • Several endings in the first storyline of Melty Blood have female protagonist Sion Eltnam Atlasia leaving the town for various reasons, generally to continue her research on curing vampirism. Just about the only exception is the ending where she and Akiha bond. Shiki ponders cutting himself.
    • In the original Tsukihime, it happens to Arcueid in her route. And since the anime is based primarily on the latter, it features this as well. Made extremely jarring by the fact that literally the only difference in her two endings are whether she thinks she can restrain her vampiric impulse. Her "True End" fits this trope and is quite moving. Her "Good End" has her instead laying low until enough of her power returns to resist the impulse, and sticking around.
  • The Bad endings of Yo-Jin-Bo, usually thanks to the pendant taking Sayori back to her own time in spite of her wishes. In Jin's Bad ending, he beats it to the jump, taking off without even waiting around to get paid.
  • Done by Rin Tezuka and Lilly Satou in their bad endings from Katawa Shoujo. Rin transfers from Yamaku to an art school in Tokyo to pursue her artist career, though she's aware that this will emotionally wreck her in the process; Lilly goes to Inverness (Scotland) to rejoin her parents, who left her in the care of her older sister Akira as a child but now want to retake their broken family bonds (Lilly doesn't want to leave her quiet but happy life in Yamaku, but she really wants to reconcile with them.).
    • Additionally, in Lilly's Good Ending, Lilly stays with Hisao after he pulls an almost fatal Race for Your Love... but Akira and her boyfriend decide to go to Inverness instead.

    Web Original 
  • Hamburger Pattie in the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions to return to her own universe (another cybersoap) to settle things there & when things were settled that universe was sealed off & she could never return.
  • The Meme I Must Go, My Planet Need Me.
  • "My Dog, The Paradox" by The Oatmeal:
    "Hello friendbeast, I'm 15 years old now. I have chewed, licked, and humped everything I was put on this Earth to chew, lick, and hump. For now, I must die."
  • Surprisingly for Creepypasta, a few of them pull this off:
  • The SCP Foundation tale "Quiet Days" depicts the organization disbanding after all the weird phenomena they'd been keeping under control suddenly vanish, leaving them with no further purpose.
  • Vegeta leaves with Nappa, Raditz, Buzzkill, and Mufasa at the end of Ducktalez 7, as he regained his confidence.
  • In the My Little Pony Meets, whenever the character the episode is focused on, needs to return to their daily lives or their destination
  • Deconstructed in Red vs. Blue where Epsilon decides to leave with Carolina to investigate Freelancer equipment without saying goodbye to Caboose or Tucker. The next two seasons show the results of this, as Caboose spirals into a depression and latches onto a very dangerous Mantis assault droid as a replacement for Epsilon and Tucker becomes very bitter and angry at Epsilon for essentially abandoning them and constantly clashes with the latter when they are reunited. Epsilon later admits it was a jerk move to do to his friends.

    Western Animation 
  • A recurring theme of The Galaxy Trio was how, whether they wanted or were even invited to stay on whatever planet they had just saved, the Trio had to move on: "Our job is out there."
  • In the My Little Pony 'n Friends episode "Crunch the Rock-Hound", a tale told by one of the ponies ends with the hero leaving the heroine at sunset. While the other ponies are touched, the ever-logical Wind Whistler is unmoved, remarking that it's stupid to start off on a long journey at night.
  • My Little Pony:
  • Parodied in The Simpsons, in which this is the extremely poorly-done manner in which the hated Poochie is Put on a Bus out of the "Itchy And Scratchy" cartoon, from out of nowhere. Apparently Poochie is an alien. And his home planet needs him. And he dies on the way back. Afterwards, Krusty and a lawyer make it clear that he is never, ever coming back, much to everyone's (except Homer) delight.
    • Used in a more conventional way for the episode "Stark Raving Dad", when Michael Jackson/Leon Kompowsky leaves for places unknown after saying "Well, my work here is finished."
    • Also parodied in "Marge Vs. The Monorail", after the monorail crisis is resolved:
      Leonard Nimoy: Well, my work is done here.
      Barney: Whaddaya mean, "your work is done"? You didn't do anything.
      Leonard Nimoy: [chuckles knowingly] Didn't I? [beams away]
    • Mr. Bergstrom leaves Lisa for another school in Capital City.
    • In the Mary Poppins parody episode, Sherry Bobbins does leave at the end, but not because her work is done:
      Don't think it's sour grapes,
      But you're all a bunch of apes,
      And so I must be leaving you!
    • In one episode, Moe of all people does this: After hijacking a one-man propelled flying machine to save Homer from being beaten to mash in a boxing ring, he says goodbye to the Simpsons, telling them that he needs some time to think over everything and then takes off with said flying machine. The epilogue reveals he is doing charity work all around the world. This is all the more surprising considering we're here talking about... well... Moe.
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the episode, "That's My Baby," Daffy derails into mentioning frozen yogurt, leaving Tina behind, into the sunset.
  • Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase: The gang leaves their clones for the real world.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • In "For The Man Who Has Everything" Superman is attacked by a plant called Black Mercy and lives an "ideal" life, complete with a son called Van-El. When he realizes this is just a dream, he has to say goodbye to him as he returns to real life.
      Superman: You are everything I ever wanted in a son. This is everything I ever wanted in a life. But I have responsibilities, Van, and I... have to go now.
    • In "Divided We Fall" Flash is sucked into the Speed Force and nearly dies (sort of) to it, until the rest of the Founders form a Chain of People to pull him out.
      Flash: Shayera? It's so beautiful here. There's a force. A Speed Force. I have to go now.
  • Numbuh One chooses to leave in the Grand Finale of Codename: Kids Next Door to join the Galactic Kids Next Door.
    • Also done to a degree at the end of Operation: Z.E.R.O.; Numbuh One's dad Monty Uno, the titular Numbuh Zero, allows his restored memories to be re-erased as part of the plan to destroy Grandfather, and beforehand destroyed the Recommissioning Device so Numbuh One can't re-restore them. As Monty says in a recorded message, he did it because, "…I'm…just not a kid anymore. I'm an adult. And I have the most important mission of all; Being a good father to my son." In this case, Monty's not physically going anywhere, but removed his Numbuh Zero identity as part of this trope.
  • In the first episode of Darkwing Duck, after dropping off a couple petty criminals at the police station: "Now I must go: The scent of crime is in the air!"
  • Parodied in an episode of Recess where Gus goes to his old alter ego of El Diablo the Dodgeball Player in order to win the game for his friends. After he wins, Gus turns around and goes off into the sunset...until one of the kindergarteners reminds him that school wasn't over yet.
  • This is how the final episode of Transformers: Prime ends. Their mission over, the Autobots must leave Earth and their human friends behind. Except Ratchet, who decides to stick around.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Played for laughs in "Irrational Treasure". After escorting Dipper and Mabel back to Gravity Falls, Quentin Trembley announces he's "needed elsewhere" and, after a brief reassuring speech, rides out of town on horseback facing backwards.
    • In the final episode, Stan announces at the Twins' 13th birthday his intention to join on Ford's expedition at sea, like they planned to do as children, and puts Soos in charge of the Mystery Shack. And at the very end, Dipper and Mabel return to California. "Ready to face the unknown?" "Nope! Let's go."
  • Parodied with Rugrats after dealing with a bully, Tommy and Chuckie prepare to head home for the day. The girl the two befriended is sad and asks when they'll come back. Tommy shrugs and goes "I dunno. Maybe tomorrow."
  • "The Boys of the Chorus" from the Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Up Doc?" is a quick hello-goodbye.
    Oh, we're the boys of the chorus,
    We hope you like our show.
    We know you're rooting for us,
    But now we have to go!
  • Harvey Beaks ends with Foo and Fee reuniting with their long-lost parents, and moving away from Little Bark to live with them. While Harvey is initially upset, he's able to accept their absence, appreciates how they helped him grow as a person, and it's shown they'll be sure to keep in touch.
  • Disney's Paul Bunyan ends with Paul and Babe leaving after losing a logging contest to a steam-powered saw and locomotive, realizing that their time has passed. Still, they're happy horsing around in Alaska.
  • Steven Universe: Future:
    • In the episode “Little Graduation”, Lars and the Off Colors decide to return to space to explore various planets and meet new people across the galaxy.
    • In the finale, Steven himself decides the best thing for himself would be to move out of Beach City and start exploring the country.

    Real Life 
  • George Washington: served two terms as President, then retired. The precedent he established protected the United States from strongman rule for more than a century afterward.
    • In fact, it wouldn't be until Franklin Roosevelt served four terms as president (he died in office during his fourth) that the government felt it was necessary to add a "two-term limit" stipulation for the president to the constitution.
    • During their last week, the departing president typically delivers a farewell address to the nation.
  • The letter anime director Satoshi Kon wrote when he learned he was dying of cancer ends with the phrase "Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go". The Japanese phrase used has the connotation of someone apologizing for leaving the office before everyone else is ready. This only adds to the Tear Jerker quality of the farewell.
  • Inverted at many graduation ceremonies. Many a commencement speech can be boiled down to "But now, YOU must go."
  • Taken to nations range during World War II for the Americans and the Soviets. After pushing the Nazis all the way back to Germany, most coalition soldiers only stuck around long enough for the fires and shooting to stop before redeploying to the Asian theater of the war, where they did it again after Japan signed its capitulation treaty and left only a token force there while the rest went home.
  • Dave Della Terza, the creator of the infamous American Idol snark blog Vote for the Worst, gave this as his reason for shutting down the site in 2013. By that point, the show's ratings were circling the drain (it would only last another three years afterwards), so as far as he was concerned, he and others like him had effectively won in terms of shining a spotlight on all the show's flaws and making it impossible to take it seriously, and there was no point in kicking a dead horse any further.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): My Work Here Is Done, Mary Poppins Syndrome


Steven Universe: Future

Even after making peace with his creator, Cactus Steven has no interest in staying in the terrarium, and instead runs off.

How well does it match the trope?

4 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ButNowIMustGo

Media sources:

Main / ButNowIMustGo