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Sliding Scale of Endings

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Originally, the word "comedy" meant that the story ended on a positive note, and the word "tragedy" meant a Downer Ending (or, at the very least, a Bittersweet Ending). The meanings of these words have evolved over time, but the concept remains: Some stories end happily, and others...not so much. This is a scale of how happily a given story is bound to end. See Multiple Endings when a work has more than one possible outcome (good, bad, AND neutral).


Good Ending


Neutral Ending

  • Ambiguous Ending: The ending is left purposely vague in some way, so that one or more outcomes are unknown.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The good guys win, but due to terrible tragedies, they will not be able to fully enjoy the victory. Alternatively, the heroes die, but everyone else good is happy.
  • Happy Ending Override: It's a happy ending, but something happens in the period afterwards and before the sequel to ruin it; the sequel is a chance to start again.
  • Multiple Endings: A character's actions in the game decide how the ending turns out.
  • No Ending: The ending is ambiguous. Did the heroes win, or did they all die horribly? The author or creator ain't talking, so it's up to the viewer to decide.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: All well and good if you have the protagonist ball. Anyone else? Sucks to be you!
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  • Gainax Ending: The ending is confusing and full of Mind Screw; differing interpretations can lead it to being placed in any of these three categories.

Bad Ending