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Gecko Ending

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When a visual adaptation must have an ending, but is based on a work that has not finished yet, there are two possible solutions. One is to find a good stopping point in the original work where emotional closure can be given without actually ending the main plot in any significant way. This comes with the risk of fans complaining of this being a "non-ending"; especially when this involves a romance arc, as the result can be either No Romantic Resolution or Maybe Ever After, which may or may not be satisfying.

To avoid this, some productions may opt instead for a Gecko Ending — creating an original conclusion/Grand Finale out of whole cloth which resolves (or hastily buries) all the show's hanging threads and unresolved plot elements. In this manner, the original series simply sheds the adaptation, like how a gecko abandons its tail. Naturally, this requires that viewers who keep up with the original work ignore any later revelations within it or the adaptation's attempt at a conclusion could make no sense, even if the plot lines for both had so far been pretty similar.

There's also a third option if your show is popular enough to continue going — wait for the writer to get farther ahead — but that would involve lots of waiting, and if your show has a tight production schedule that doesn't allow for a more seasonal model, this is not a realistic option. Of course, you could always use Filler until the original catches up. A major risk with that, however, is the possibility that the author Died During Production. Particularly if said author has yet to complete a work and is now elderly or in ill health.

Naturally, restarting the story at this point would have to involve either: a) an extreme tangent to the original material, or b) abandoning the plot so far and starting up an Alternate Continuity. Not that either option hasn't been implemented, either.

In anime, this often implies that the series Overtook the Manga, but only in the broader sense that there's no manga ending available yet, not in the sense that there isn't enough manga chapters to fit into the anime. In fact, a movie, OVA, or short series may have a Gecko Ending even after compressing and omitting large parts of the manga. Anime works are also sometimes prone towards restarting the entire thing, exactly towards either the extreme tangents or Alternate Continuities mentioned above (Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Hunter × Hunter all took some variation of this).

Some studios have averted this trope by working closely with the original creator to carefully time the anime to end around the same time as the manga. Pulling this is off is obviously rather tricky, so most studios still prefer one of the above options.

This seems to have become a dying practice in The New '10s as, if a work is popular enough and there's demand for it, more and more studios are now willing to hit a stopping point to allow the manga's buffer to build up before resuming, essentially taking a more seasonal approach akin to Western programming. Or, at the very least, opting to hit a spot in the narrative that indicates And the Adventure Continues to encourage viewers to continue the story via the source material.

Compare Adaptational Alternate Ending, where the original work did finish its ending before the adaptation but was changed for other reasons. Not to be confused with the Gainax Ending.

As this is an Ending Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • 07-Ghost, notoriously so, ended before the actual adventure even started.
  • Air Master: The anime finished three years before the manga, it was inevitable, though completely strange. The ending was almost a mix between a cliffhanger and the quick tying of strings.
  • The anime adaptation of Akame ga Kill! splits off into an original ending at "Kill the Fate"note, since the manga had not progressed much further than those episodes by the time the anime was produced. Several characters (most of both Wild Hunt, and the Rakshasa Demons, for example) ended up getting Adapted Out, while others that were already introduced died in a much different way than was established in the manga. Some of which ended up suffering from Death by Adaptation. The manga actually followed much of the same plot beats from the anime's final battles, but Kurome, Tatsumi and Mine survive to the end.
  • Film example: AKIRA, in which the loose ends were tied up in a far different fashion than in the manga (and much earlier, story-wise). Not a terribly surprising example, considering what a Long Runner the manga was.
  • The Beelzebub anime followed the manga closely until the Akumano Academy arc, where it diverted greatly in the final moments of the penultimate episode, and it ended with Baby Beel and the other demons returning to their world, only to return to our world shortly thereafter.
  • Only about the first nine episodes of Black Butler (2008) up to the end of the Jack the Ripper arc (and parts of the much less popular Curry arc) were directly adapted for the anime, as the series Overtook the Manga very quickly. Only around 40 chapters had been released when the anime first aired, meaning the creators didn't have much material to work with. As such, the first series quickly goes in a completely different direction that more or less wraps everything up by the end. A second series was eventually ordered, which ended up continuing the series (Retconning the Gecko Ending into a Cliffhanger in the process) with even more original material that overall left the fan base divided. A third season, two OVAs, as well as a 100 minute long film were eventually released years later, which ignores the diverging material from the anime and adapts three arcs (the Circus Arc, the Phantomhive Manor Murders arc and the Luxury Liner arc, respectively) from the manga.
  • The Blue Exorcist anime goes in a very different direction from the manga after episode 15. Characters like the main character's mother and grandfather make an appearance and the Big Bad true intentions are revealed. Things that manga had yet to address at that point. It's notable that when season 2 began, it completely ignored every anime-original plotline, starting right after the Amaimon fight (and removing the anime-only elements from Rin's subsequent trial/animating new scenes that fit the manga for flashbacks).
  • Played with in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. The final episode in the anime ends shortly after a new Big Bad was released, new villains with insane new powers were starting to show, and everybody is rushing to do battle with the new villains. It's even lampshaded in the last three seconds by the cast's reaction to Dengakuman being the one to announce this.
    Dengakuman: This is the finale! Bye-bye!
    Everyone else: THIS IS HOW OUR SHOW ENDS?!
  • Bokurano: Apparently the anime's director wasn't too thrilled with the original manga and decided to take it in his own direction; the fact that he could justify it by the manga not having ended yet was just a bonus. As a result, the anime is mostly similar to the manga (albeit with some new story elements) up to the end of Maki's arc, at which point it goes into entirely original territory. The later anime does include some plot twists from the manga, such as Tanaka being Ushiro's mother and Machi being from another world, as well as not being in the contract.
  • A weird instance with B't X. The anime's last 14 episodes (actually OVAs) were rushed out even though the manga still had several years to go. As such the final few Devil Knights are arbitrarily forgotten, Juggler doesn't undergo a Heel–Face Turn, we never see the Machine Emperor, and Aramis just kind of goes away. The manga's leadup to the final battle with Raphaello is, as you'd expect, much better. But here's where the irony comes into play: in the manga, the final battle with Raphaello is insanely short and lacking any kind of fulfilling climax, whereas the anime's is a much more emotional affair complete with a Tear Jerker of an insert song.
  • The anime of Bunny Drop cuts off the story just before the manga's Time Skip. Since the post-Time Skip material is highly controversial to say the least, this is a rare example of a Gecko Ending where fans actually preferred it that way.
  • Claymore: Near the end of the series it became apparent there weren't enough episodes to reach the point in the story that would have provided both a satisfying climax and a canon end to the series. Thus small edits crept into the final canon arc helping to pave the way for what many fans thought was a ridiculous and ultimately unsatisfying conclusion.
  • Cross Game is one of the first series to use the aversion method mentioned in the description. Since Mitsuru Adachi had the whole manga mapped out before it began, the anime producers were able to create a faithful adaptation of the entire manga, even though it was nearly a year away from ending when the anime began airing. Both the anime and manga concluded within a month of each other, with nearly identical endings.
  • The DearS anime cut down the majority of the sci-fi plot to focus on the romantic comedy aspects, so the ending just had Takeya accept his role as Ren's master, causing the DearS enforcers to back off of her. Not much else happens.
  • D.N.Angel followed the manga somewhat closely for most of its run, then added a slightly rushed ending onto the end of it.
  • The Elfen Lied anime mostly ties up the plot threads that had been opened so far and is quite faithful to the first chapters of the manga. However, the manga had not progressed much further than those episodes by the time the anime was produced, and the anime eventually diverted into its own continuity.
  • Excel♡Saga goes for this from the beginning as part of being a parody of adaptations in general. Although various stories from the manga, which had only the first several volumes released at the time, are adapted into the anime, numerous original characters and plot points are introduced starting from episode 1 and end up becoming major focuses of the show; no attempt is really made at keeping up with the manga, which would take over a decade to conclude its completely different story.
  • The Eyeshield 21 anime stops right after the Final Battle between Sena and Shin. After some talk, the anime shows Sena being announced in the NFL, along with a few other characters, while the manga continues on with the Devilbats facing fiercer and stronger opponents in the Tokyo Tournament. The manga finished mid 2009, after a world wide football tournament where every major player in the series teaming up to take on the U.S.A. team. The manga ends with Sena, Kurita, Kotarou, Riku, Monta, Mizumachi, Unsui and Suzuna all going to Enma university together, with the rest of the players mixed and matched at other universities, and a Sequel Hook in the form of the Rice Bowl.
  • The 1986 Fist of the North Star movie was produced while the manga was still in serialization, adapting 75 chapters worth of material in a rather condensed matter. As a result, Toki and Mamiya are nowhere to be seen, Shin and Rei are the only ones of the six Nanto Seiken grand masters to appear (the rest were yet to be introduced, as the hierarchy of the Nanto branches wasn't even established at this point), and many of the major villains from the manga's early story arcs (namely Colonel, Jackal and Uighur) were reduced to henchman roles. At the end, Raoh hijacks the plot by killing Shin and taking Yuria captive, Rei dies without ever confronting his rival Juda, and Kenshiro ultimately ends up losing the final fight (being spared only due to Rin's intervention). Yuria also disappears without a trace during the final fight, having been blown away by the intense battle aura caused by Ken and Raoh's fight, and her survival is left open for interpretation (in the manga she was assumed to be dead following the events of the Southern Cross arc, until it was later revealed she was just hiding).
  • Flame of Recca condenses a 33 volume manga's first major arc into 42 episodes. In order to wrap up the plot, they have both the Big Bad Mori Kouran and the Anti-Hero Kurei die in a CAR CRASH, proving once and for all that several tons of steel are more efficient than a magical fire dragon wielding ninja. Kurei never even gets the opportunity to redeem himself — he just dies as a baddie.
    • Although the OVA seems to have fixed these issues.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) created a completely new second half with help from the mangaka, with almost everything that happened after Greed's introductory arc being anime-original. Unlike with a lot of other series with Gecko Endings, the intention here was always to tell essentially an entirely different story, keeping only the starting point and the basic elements of the original. This was due to Arakawa believing that telling the same story twice would be pointless, since she had so long to go with the manga and didn't want the story cheapened with filler, which they would have to rely on if they tried to adapt the manga story faithfully. A Truer to the Text adaptation, Brotherhood, was created once the manga was close enough to the climax for filler to no longer be necessary.
  • The 2001 anime adaptation of Fruits Basket stops at a place in the manga (around volume 6) where there aren't any plot threads left hanging, and before a new arc begins and a ton of new characters are introduced. It also has a very different interpretation of Akito due to the character being shrouded in mystery for much of the manga; namely that in the 2001 anime Akito is depicted as male, but in the manga she's revealed to actually be female, having been Raised as the Opposite Gender. The manga actually wrapped itself up nicely after 23 volumes with the curse breaking and Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends. The 2019 anime adaptation averts this entirely, as it aims to cover the entire plot of the manga and is Truer to the Text.
  • GANTZ adaptations:
    • The makers of the anime knew they'd have to make a Gecko Ending from the very first episode, and subsequently started planting hooks that would eventually become significant in the final arc, which was completely made up, right from the beginning. It's actually quite impressive seeing characters who appeared in the background of some early scenes showing up as major characters for the final game.
    • The movies pulled a more typical Gecko Ending: the first one was a fairly straight adaptation of the manga, but the second, GANTZ: Perfect Answer, only uses certain elements from it (such as the team having a "civil war"). The main plot and especially the ending are brand new, and very far removed from how the GANTZ world works in the manga.
  • The Get Backers anime only did a fraction of what had been done in the manga by that point, with about a fourth of the 49-episode series being one-episode fillers and the last eight episodes being a rehash of an earlier arc. The finale attempted to kinda-resolve the established mystery of the "gods" who controlled Mugenjou and Ginji's possible connection to them, but didn't bother addressing the other mysteries surrounding the supporting cast. Or the other main character, for that matter. Poor Ban almost comes across as Ginji's sidekick, instead of his partner. What makes this even more noticeable is that for the portion of the series that is directly adapted from the manga, it's a remarkably accurate and thorough transplanting of the action from the comic page to the screen, right down to tiny asides of dialogue that hint at greater mysteries to come... which the anime then never gets to.
  • Getter Robo Āḥ, as the original writer had long passed away, made an And the Adventure Continues ending. After Shin Dragon emerged from the Earth to stop Bug, the credits roll and we cut to Mars. Takuma and Baku, the latter of which was last seen in the far future, bust Kamui out of his jail cell, and the reunited Getter Team set out to challenge one last enemy: Getter Ten, a larval Getter Emperor.
    Takuma: "The past and future can both eat shit. The future...the only future that matters..."
    Getter Team: "Is the one we create!"
    Takuma: "Change, Arc!"
  • The anime version Great Teacher Onizuka generally followed the manga quite accurately at least to the point where the manga was when the anime was on air. The result is that the series gained a gecko ending in the last 2 episodes of the series to tie up all the loose ends and explain the actions of the class — something which didn't occur in the manga for a few more volumes.
  • Heaven's Lost Property averted this for the first season, simply using a badass manga chapter for its ending. The second season, however, completely made up the last two episodes, finishing a plot the manga didn't end until the next year. Meaning there was almost no manga plot left except the one used for The Movie.
  • The televised anime of Hellsing follows the general plot of the manga relatively well for a few episodes. Unfortunately, the manga had not progressed much further than those episodes by the time the anime was produced. Consequently, the anime's creative team had to essentially go with what they had for the remainder of the series, as well as add a Gecko Ending. The result was a totally different plot from that of the manga (which finished around 7 years after the anime first aired), several characters unique to the anime, a Big Bad that bears almost no relation to the one in the manga, and a quite strange ending that has several key characters experience rather different fates. Alucard is never trapped by the Schrodinger's Cat quandary and Walter survives with no mention of his traitorous past. Both of these plot points were, however, not present in the manga until many years after the anime was finished.
    • The outcry for a more accurate and faithful anime translation resulted in the creation of Hellsing Ultimate, a series of OVAs that follow the manga extremely closely.
  • Highschool of the Dead: The anime ends with the main cast leaving Saya's house in a humvee, ditching it in the highway because of "them", and walking towards the shopping mall, but haven't met with a policewoman, who's going in the opposite direction. The manga just finished with those plot points, although with in different ways.
  • His and Her Circumstances ended up with one of these, as Masami Tsuda was incensed by how the anime was handled and refused to allow another season.
  • The Nippon Animation OVAs of Hunter × Hunter (from 2002-2004, after airing a 62-episode TV series) cut off the story at the end of the Greed Island arc by showing a final shot of Gon meeting Ging just after he teleports to a Hunter using the alias "Nigg", before the screen fades to white. The 2011 anime averts this by revealing that he actually teleported to Kite, continuing the story and staying true to the manga.
  • Karin. Karin's entire family is subject to Disney Death, the last-second villain more or less gets the evil sucked out of him, and Karin's nosebleeds are never resolved. The only closure is Kenta letting Karin "inject" him anytime he wants. The manga, on the other hand, went in a different direction much earlier, lasted longer than the anime, and provided a slightly more downbeat, but altogether more conclusive ending.
  • Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl's anime ending was a gecko ending, as only two volumes of the manga had come out when they began the anime. Oddly enough, the anime and manga endings are remarkably similar.
  • Kuma Miko: Girl Meets Bear's ending for its anime adaptation was horrendously bad - ending with the main character suffering a mental breakdown, vowing to leave the city and never return and her friends saying that she did the right thing, joining her back in their country town where her breakdown leads to her mentally regressing to a five-year old. The anime's ending was so bad that the manga's creator wrote a politely-written post criticizing it on Twitter and one of the people who worked on the anime removed it from all of his resumes.
  • Loveless's anime ended while the manga was still going, leaving us with a Mind Screw non-ending.
  • Magi: Labyrinth of Magic's first anime season starts diverging after the conclusion of the Balbadd arc where they switch between anime-only and manga content throughout the Sindria arc, but diverges completely into an anime-only territory throughout the Zagan arc where everything goes haywire, not only changing around the whole reason for going to Zagan's Dungeon, but adding an anime-original ending where Alibaba gives in to the influence of black rukh, and ending up as a fallen King and turning on his companions to be defeated as the anime's alternate ending instead of what occurs in the manga where a trap is established for the main cast once they completed the dungeon and are rescued by their Sindrian teachers. The odd part is that, despite how much the manga content changed here, it still ends up following the manga again when the second season started.
  • MÄR is an odd example in that the manga ended way before the anime did. The producers however thought the manga ended with too many loose ends. So entirely new content was added in near the end of the series, resulting in a Gecko Ending. That's right: a manga that ended before the anime got a Gecko Ending. And thanks to someone who had the balls to use Executive Meddling correctly, you get to enjoy a more satisfying conclusion.
  • While the ending of the Maria Watches Over Us anime does round off the arc between Touko and Yumi rather nicely, many issues are still left unresolved. Will Yoshino be able to accept Nana as her soer? How serious are Shimano and Noriko? How will Yumi fare in the new Yamayurikai? And, most importantly, what effect will the relationship between Yumi and Touko have on Yumi's relationship with Sachiko?
  • Midori Days. Fortunately, there was a story about halfway through the manga which needed only minor modifications to become a satisfying ending for the anime.
  • Since the manga for Moriarty the Patriot is still ongoing when the anime ended, the anime ended with Sherlock chasing William down to Switzerland after their plunge into the Thames instead of them being rescued by Billy the Kid and heading off to America before embarking on further adventures in The Adventure of the Empty Hearts.
  • Murder Princess has one of these, which is odd because the manga is only two volumes long and ended before the anime was made. (There was presumably some overlap in development time.) The anime largely agrees with volume one, but diverges sharply with volume two, right down to the nature of certain characters.
  • The anime adaptation of My Bride is a Mermaid follows the manga with minor alterations up to Chapter 28 and then diverges wildly, with the manga carrying on with zany Slice of Life stories involving Sun's numerous often-yandere Forgotten Childhood Friends and the anime veering into a Rescue Arc where Sun is abducted, with some of the new characters from the manga being belatedly introduced in the OVAs. Starting at Chapter 68, however, the manga starts to generally follow the path of the anime's finale.
  • The anime adaptation of My Monster Secret ends with Asahi and Youko becoming closer as a result of his staying over at her house (and dealing with her dad). Sounds nice and clean, right? Well, except for the part where the anime Adapted Out Rin Kiryuin, Asahi's Grandkid from the Future, who introduces a major overarching plotline that has ramifications throughout the rest of the story: in her timeline, Asahi and Youko did not get together. Granted, this is mainly because the anime was in production about halfway through the manga's run, stopping approximatelynote  on Chapter 33 while the manga wouldn't end until Chapter 196.
  • Nagasarete Airantou's Anime totally overhauled the second groom catching contest so that Ikuto was fighting the four chieftains to meet the sea god in order to save his sister. In the process, he also found the lost men of Airantou and didn't tell them where their women were .
  • The manga of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind eventually ran on to seven volumes; the feature film included elements from the first two volumes and an original ending.
  • NEEDLESS: The anime diverged from the manga in Episode 22 and ended with a final battle with Arclight, rather than having the group scattered.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: The first anime (Negima!) parallels the volumes one through six of the manga in its first 20 episodes or so, and then hurtles into a sudden and somewhat hasty Grand Finale arc, in the process skipping over a vast landscape of storyline and character development and abandoning several plot threads just set in motion. It would appear that the studio had planned for more than one season to tell the full manga story, and then were disabused of that notion with less than a third of season left to tie things up. The result is a conclusion that, while dramatic and fulfilling the promise of the show's premise, is abrupt and seems to come out of left field with no warning — especially the shocking event (killing Asuna on her 14th birthday) that sets the concluding action in motion.
  • The anime of Omamori Himari ends with the demise of a powerful evil ayakashi, potentially giving hope for Yuuto's dream of human-ayakashi coexistence. It doesn't even attempt to resolve his Unwanted Harem problems.
  • Oreimo has not one but two Gecko Endings on a row. Particularly bad because the second one finished what was touted as the "True ending to the novels!", but... it wasn't.
  • Ouran High School Host Club's anime ends in such a way, with a two-episode plot about the club possibly closing down. While it doesn't really leave any loose ends, there is the frustration of not knowing who Haruhi picks... It pretty heavily implies Tamaki, considering everything, but yeah, they left it open so a second season COULD start if they were ever picked back up.
  • PandoraHearts pulled a big Gecko ending after the Ada arc that left anyone who was running through both simultaneously shocked. Especially considering that up until that point it had followed the manga flawlessly.
  • Pilot Candidate only lasted 5 volumes before ending with Clay being assigned to a different role at G.I.S. while a strange series of attacks are happening at G.O.A.. The anime didn't even make it that far, ending after 12 episodes and Zero's first space battle with Hiead and Clay after Erts Vinry Cocteau was promoted to pilot after his brother Ernest Cuore's death.
  • The Princess Jellyfish anime followed the manga almost exactly for the first 4 volumes (in only 9 episodes, no less), but then covered volume 5 and a couple chapters of volume 6 in broad strokes in the last two episodes, while hastily introducing an anime-only character and wrapping up plot-threads that wouldn't actually resolve in the manga for many more volumes.
  • The anime of Psychic Academy only went through a third of the events of the manga, ending right after it had just finished defining the love triangle, without making the slightest effort to resolve it.
  • While the second Rebuild of Evangelion film diverged from the original by its second half, the third film outright abandons retelling the original story to craft a new setting 14 years into the future, firmly placing the films in an Alternate Universe to the original (leaving aside fan theories about continuation). This is a case where the original work had two endings, both of dubious value for thematically concluding the story.
  • Record of Lodoss War OVA, which received a gecko ending cause of budget restraints. The funny thing is the nature of this ending: It is the actual ending of the story, however with different characters. When they got the funding to make Chronicles of the Heroic Knight they basically told viewers to forget the second half of the OVA since they pick up the plot after the "War of Heroes" in the series. Which means the series in itself doesn't make sense if you don't know the OVA and it doesn't make sense if you know it but are unaware of the second half being a gecko. It still might not make sense to some viewers because of smaller inconsistencies due to the OVA also changing some events from the manga and novels, and thus missing the motive behind Ashram's anger in the TV series. Since non-Japanese reading fans of the franchise lacked access to the original novel, the easiest way for them to make sense of the events in Chronicles of the Heroic Knight was for them to regard it as a sequel to the Record of Lodoss War: The Grey Witch manga.
  • Rosario + Vampire's second season not only had to end before the relevant manga was finished, but also had to adjust for the fact that the first season had only covered a small part of the manga's first ten volumes. The biggest difference is that Tsukune never went ghoul and needed a soul-lock gizmo to keep him human. This led to an entirely new ending involving a character we hadn't met in the manga yet.
  • The Rose of Versailles: In an unusual example of this trope, an alternate version of Episode 24, titled "Portrait of a Burning Rose", was made specifically to wrap up the series in territories where the anime was cancelled due to scheduling issues. This episode hastily recaps everything up to Episode 35, ending with Oscar and André affirming their love for one another. "Portrait of a Burning Rose" was never re-aired or otherwise redistributed as a result of the circumstances behind its making, resulting in TV guide listings and screencaps from a VCR recording being the only evidence of its existence.
  • Saiyuki's 2nd sequel, Reload: Gunlock went this road, especially with the author's health problems in recent years- interestingly, for a long time, it was thought that the direction the season Big Bad Hazel Grouse had gone in was completely random. And then the most recent volume of the manga came out.
  • The anime adaptation of Seraph of the End ended at 24 episodes covering all the material the manga had released to that point (including the chapter published a little over a week after the anime finished). While the endings events roughly correspond to the manga chapter, it cuts out several bits of important dialogue and adds an anime original epilogue that would render the subsequent plotlines in the manga impossible to adapt.
  • Seton Academy: Join the Pack!: The anime ended in 2020 with one season while the manga ended in 2021. While the anime omitted some chapters and rearranged others, it concluded with the Team EX plotline. Then the final moments ended it on a cliffhanger with Seton Academy under attack from the giant insect students of Fabre Academy. Giant insects and Fabre Academy are never mentioned in the manga. An OVA reveals that Seton Academy defeated Fabre Academy offscreen before finally ending things with a Hot Springs Episode.
  • Shadow Star. The show was abandoned half-way through, leaving much of the story hanging, with the main villains barely appearing at all after the sixth episode and there being almost no explanation of why Akira stabs her father. Considering how things went in the manga from thereon, it may have been for the better.
  • Shaman King: The manga ended with a Gainax Ending with Manta suddenly dreaming of the cast in fairy tale getups and heading off to rescue Princess Hao. This was eventually rectified with the special edition volumes which properly closed the story. The 2001 anime, which had largely diverged from the manga midway through the storyline, ended with a typical final battle between Yoh and Hao and complete with a Gondor Calls for Aid bit. Manga readers would know that killing Hao doesn't solve the problem as he has the power of reincarnation and can come back some years later, but it wrapped things up more conveniently than the manga. 20 years later, the series got another anime adaptation in 2021 which covers the series from beginning to end in it's entirety.
  • Soul Eater is a prime example. This manga series continued for nearly five years after the anime ended, at the rate of a chapter a month. For instance, the witch Arachne turned herself into pure madness and tried to take over the world only to be countered by Maka's supernatural 6th sense enabling her to strike at her incorporeal form. The anime series had Arachne die on screen by being eaten by the Kishin, who also dies on the TV screen but was missing in the manga until the final segment of the story.
    • The anime split off from the manga just early enough to establish the differing storyline rather than just slotting one in once they reached the final few episodes. Which is fortunate, given using the Baba Yaga arc as it stands in the manga would have left far more plot threads hanging. For instance, Kid's Sanzu Lines of Shinigami (those white stripes in his hair) turned out to be a very big plot point in the manga, but not until much later on; in the anime, they were consolidated into a Heroic Safe Mode that bordered on Ass Pull. Despite this, the manga's ending was still hinted at since the weakened Lord Death's mask cracked even more when Kid managed to connect all three briefly. The final credits also showed a handful of scenes that hinted at the story getting back on track towards the manga story if only vaguely.
  • Soul Eater Not! somewhat ended on a Gecko Ending. While both the anime and the manga ended in a final confrontation with Shaula Gorgon with the main trio, how it plays out is slightly different concerning character placements and the ending.
  • The Spiral ~Suiri no Kizuna~ manga was nowhere near a conclusion, let alone the answer to the series' two big mysteries, when the anime ended. On the bright side, Kanone didn't die...
  • The anime adaptation of Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee ends just after the battle with Cabernet, and starts diverging from the manga's plot after the Veritably Abbey arc. Some characters' fates are changed, such as Noir going to live with those who could not become spirit, Lawrence allowing Cabernet to absorb him to power it up, and Garrard and Valentine (who are evil in the anime) going on the lam. The anime also omits Lag's search for the truth behind Amberground, as well as the events leading up to him fighting Spiritus.
  • Trigun is noteworthy for not only having a Gecko Ending, it has two key plot points to the manga which was finished about a decade later.
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, when animated (somewhat faithfully at first, to vehemently anti-canon later on) by Beetrain, "ended" the series at the end of Season 2, when Sakura encounters a boy who seems to love her even more than Syaoran, but that boy is actually made of a ton of feathers. And no, Sakura doesn't end up absorbing a single one. In a dialogue between Kurogane and Fai, Kurogane asks if the journey will ever be over, and Fai responds that he doesn't want the journey to ever end.
    • The series had five OVAs produced that picked up where the last canon episode by Bee Train left off after the Rekord Country arc. The first three OVAs, Tsubasa Tokyo Revelations, continued exactly from that spot, which was good since those who didn't read the manga could still follow the story. Unfortunately, the second two OVAs, Shunraiki, picked up two whole arcs later after the Infinity and Celes arcs in the manga. Many fans who had not read the manga were pretty confused about what was happening.
  • X/1999 the movie and, to a lesser extent, the TV series. Though in this case the manga itself currently has No Ending, since CLAMP stopped work on it abruptly and it's still on a cliffhanger.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's had a bizarre example where the English dub being done by 4Kids Entertainment abruptly pulled one during the dub of the third season. The dub removes everything after the end of Yusei's duel against the Three Emperors of Yliaster, eliminating the Arc Cradle storyline. Instead, the dub ends in a heavily edited episode that can loosely be called an ending.
    • 4Kids had already done this before with Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, making the decision that instead of adapting Season 4, they'd just change Season 3 so fusing himself with Yubel killed Jaden. That's right, 4Kids actually made their dub of an anime darker than the original.
  • Zatch Bell!: Because of the author being injured, the anime reached the fight with Zeno before it was finished, so the anime had him defeated without the Character Development he gets in the manga. The Clear Note arc was never animated and the series ended with a shot of Gash and Brago about to duel each other. This may have been an intentional foreshadowing of the final battle of the manga.

    Comic Books 
  • The Archie Comics run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures started with an adaptation of two episodes of the cartoon show, revolving around the search for three mystical gems called the Eyes of Sarnath. The cartoon wrapped up the storyline quickly, with several more episodes of searching culminating with Shredder grafting the three gems onto his helmet. The comic went off on a completely different plotline, until 45 issues later when an alien robot named Sarnath showed up looking for his eyes...

    Fan Works 
  • The Daria fanfic "God Save the Esteem" rewrote the series up until "Is It Fall Yet?," then opted not to do the final season. While this gave Stacy a Downer Ending (she was committed, having developed multiple personalities), it's ambiguous but cautiously optimistic for most of the other characters. The author later added a Distant Epilogue that still skips over season five.
  • In A wand for Steven, thanks to Steven and the Gems' unique and unpredictable effect on the world, the story ends before the events of Deathly Hallows.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Direct-to-DVD movie adaptation of the teen girls' book series The Clique has an ending that's almost completely incompatible with what ended up being the conclusion to the book series (or for that matter, incompatible with the direction the book series had already taken up long before filming started)
  • Similarly, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) ends on a high note with Earth being rapidly rebuilt by the Magratheans and restored to the state it was in just before it was demolished, as well as Arthur and Trillian becoming an Official Couple. Again, sequels were a possibility, but poor box office performance killed their chances of getting made.
  • Pokémon Detective Pikachu did this out of necessity, since the game it was based on ended on a cliffhanger with nothing resolved. When the sequel to the game released, it actually took quite a lot of cues from this movie.
  • The movie adaptation for Scott Pilgrim was filmed before the final volumes of the series' release. The ending is based on early notes that didn't make it into the final copy of the book. But it still ends with Gideon's defeat and Scott and Ramona going through the Subspace door to start their relationship over, just like how the series ends.
    • Interestingly, the movie originally ended with Scott and Knives together, and this ending was fully scripted and filmed and can be viewed online because the script was written by someone who only had knowledge up to the end of volume five (which culminates in something of a Darkest Hour for our hero) and Bryan Lee O'Malley's notes on volume six (which originally ended with Scott being alone, which would have been an even worse way to end a movie). They eventually redid the final scene so it fit with the book's actual ending, but much of the movie had been done with a different outcome in mind, so the revised final scene comes across as more of a Bittersweet Ending.
  • Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was made into a feature film while the book series was still ongoing. The film's story loosely adapts the first three books (though not in sequence), but its ending is original, hinting at the secret society eventually revealed in the later books and Count Olaf's role in the house fire. Presumably it was written this way in case sequels based on the remaining books were never greenlit — which turned out to be the case...until Netflix came along and decided to adapt the books unto a full-length TV show that borrows elements from the film.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The relationship between Dallas and its spinoff Knots Landing produced a strange example. Dallas had an infamous plot twist in which it turned out that the events of the prior season had been All Just a Dream. Problem was, Knots Landing had already based a number of plot developments on the death of Bobby Ewing, which was retconned out of existence by Dallas' "dream season". The two shows became alternate continuities from there on out.
  • Game of Thrones overtook the published A Song of Ice and Fire books starting with the fifth season. Book author George R. R. Martin supplied all the plot he'd planned for the upcoming novels, which the remaining seasons were based on. Because the show increasingly diverges from the novels over its length, it's not clear how much of the TV show's conclusion is based on Martin's outline and how much is unique to the show. Only a few events, such as the deaths of Shireen Baratheon and Hodor, and the series ending with Bran becoming king, have been confirmed to be based on material from future books.
  • Hell Girl. Not the anime — that came first. But the Live-Action Adaptation didn't run long enough to do the back half of the anime's storyline, so it had an original ending which was very different.
  • This happened with the Sharpe television series version of Sharpe's Battle. Bernard Cornwell had been asked to write another novel for them to adapt, but hadn't finished the manuscript when the television script was needed. So the first half of the episode follows the novel quite closely, then the second half has a completely different ending that cuts out a subplot of Sharpe being blamed for a massacre of Portuguese troops, adds in a subplot about a group of Irish turn coats, and changes the fate of a number of the guest characters (notably Lord Kiely, who's given a much more sympathetic death on screen).
  • Jill Murphy didn't write an official conclusion to The Worst Witch books, and after Season 2, the TV show had run out of material to adapt. So they produced entirely original material, and the Season 3 finale wrapped a few plot points of the series up; Mildred is discovered to have a rare magical gift, saves the school once again and finally seems to win Miss Hardbroom over, Drucilla abandons her friendship with Ethel and makes a Heel–Face Turn and Maud is elected Head Girl for the next year. There were two spin-offs - one showing Mildred in college, and the other showing her cousin now attending Cackle's.

    Video Games 
  • Death Gate mixed parts of the first four books in The Death Gate Cycle with a totally original ending, since the game was being written at the same time as the last book.
  • The early Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z games for the Famicom managed to avoid this for the most part by adapting already completed story arcs (although they did take extensive liberties with their material). On the other hand, Dragon Ball Z III for the Famicom ends on a cliffhanger with the introduction of Cell just after Androids 16, 17 and 18 are defeated.
    • Dragon Ball Z: Super Butoden 3 for the Super Famicom was made just when the Majin Boo arc was starting. As a result, it has a rather incomplete story mode that covers only the 25th Tenkaichi Budokai tournament, with the fat version of Boo as the final boss.
  • The first Rebuild of Evangelion movie didn't have much to make a complete video game out of. To this end, the developers of Evangelion: Jo for the PSP decided to have the game follow the events of the anime series after the events of the movie, leading to one of two endings: a bad ending that follows the events of End of Evangelion, or a good ending where Rei doesn't follow through with the Human Instrumentality Project.
  • The Famicom game version of Fist of the North Star 2 (which was released only a few weeks after the anime series debuted on TV) only covers the Tentei story arc that the anime started with. Since the Tentei arc didn't have much in the way of worthy adversaries for Kenshiro in the original manga (as the focus was mainly on Bat and Rin leading the Hokuto Army), the game designers created a set of new Gento Kōken masters alongside Falco and Solia to compensate for this. Taiga and Boltz (the Green and Blue Generals of Gento respectively) would also show up in the anime as minions of the evil Viceroy Jako (substituting Jako's sons, Jask and Shiino), but Bronza remained exclusive to the game (his role as the Red General is assumed by Shoki in the anime, an already established character from the manga). The Nameless Shura who kills Falco in the manga also shows up as the True Final Boss.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle uses major fights from each of the manga's sections as story mode. But as Part 8 was still early in its run when the game was developed, the story mode for it has the protagonist fighting all the previous JoJos (and Baoh, if he was downloaded) before going off to find Yasuho Hirose.
  • Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 takes place during the Fourth Shinobi World War, but since the manga was still ongoing at the game's release, the game's story ends after Naruto breaks Tobi's mask and he decides to escape and regroup, instead of continuing with The Reveal of Tobi being Obito Uchiha, thus giving victory to the Allied Shinobi Forces. The Five Great Shinobi Countries shinobi return to their villages while the Kages discuss on preparing for a counter-attack against Madara's group along with improving the peace between them and their countries. Naruto is congratulated for his victory upon awakening from his battle with Tobi in Konoha and is spurred by the spirits of his parents to join his friends. Sasuke, however, leaves the Mountain's Graveyard to find Naruto.
  • The One Piece: Pirate Warriors games end differently compared to the original source:
    • Pirate Warriors 3 ends with Dressrosa arc. Because said arc was still ongoing by the time the game was released, the developers went for an alternate ending where Luffy and Law fight Doflamingo in the arena.
    • Pirate Warriors 4 also does this with the Wano arc. However, the arc had been ongoing for a whilenote , so certain story beats follow as close as they can and we get to see Kaido's Devil Fruit power.
  • SINoALICE's Taiwanese server shut down in 2022 just after it got to the first half of the Act of Elimination, whilst the other two servers (Japanese and Global) were still running. As a result, it received a special final mission a week before it shut down, diverging from the second half and wrapping up the story by revealing it to be All Just a Dream. Around a year later, the Global server shut down as well, and it got the same special final mission.

    Visual Novels 
  • The original 1988 Japanese computer versions of Snatcher were rushed for release, concluding the story on the cutoff point before the third and the final act, even though a proper ending was already written for the game. SD Snatcher featured a very different version of the ending than what was actually included in the later CD-ROM-based remakes of the original Snatcher. For example, unlike the CD-ROM version, Randam actually survives at the end of SD Snatcher.

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: An in-universe example in the Show Within a Show / Recap Episode "The Ember Island Players". In the episode the events of the series are retold, Abridged Series style, in the form of a play put on by a group of Fire Nation actors. Since this takes place before the series finale the characters don't know what the end of the story is going to be, so the playwright makes up his own climactic ending, wherin Zuko and Aang are both killed and The Bad Guy Wins. Given the location, everyone in the audience except the Gaang considers this a Happy Ending. As Sokka promptly lampshades it:
    Sokka: I guess that's it. The play's caught up to the present now.
    Suki: Wait! The play's not over!
    Sokka: But it is over! Unless... This is the future!
  • The animated adaptation of the The Maxx ends with the Maxx finding peace in his own Outback, as the one he thought was his was in fact a part of Julie's psyche, while the comics version continued the story without anything like this happening.
  • 4Kids Entertainment's changes in an episode of Winx Club resulted in a Dub-Induced Plot Hole, necessitating a very unsatisfying Gecko Ending, without even bothering to explain things. In this case, they simply picked scenes from other episodes and redubbed them (which they've done quite a few times, although not for tacking on a new ending).

Alternative Title(s): Rushed Adaptation Ending