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Anime & Manga

"Stories like these don't have happy endings."
Benny, on Hansel and Gretel, Black Lagoon

Film — Animated

Alice: That was a very sad story.
Dee and Dum: Aye, and there's a moral to it!
Alice: Oh, yes. A very good moral... if you happen to be an oyster.
Alice in Wonderland (after they recite The Walrus and the Carpenter)

Film — Live-Action

"Empire had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All Jedi had was a bunch of Muppets."
Dante Hicks, Clerks

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''"We cannot let this be... THE END."'note 

"They say that 'evil prevails when]good men fail to act.' What they ought to say is, "evil prevails.'"
Yuri Orlov, Lord of War

"In one of the countless billions of galaxies in the universe lies a medium-sized star, and one of its satellites, a green and insignificant planet, is now dead."

"Science fiction... double feature
Frank has built and... lost his creature
Darkness has conquered... Brad and Janet
The servants gone to... a distant planet
Whoa-oh-oh-ohh
At the late-night... double feature... picture show
I wanna go
Ah-ohh
To the late-night... double feature... picture show..."

Ernie: Who'd want to see a movie with a sad ending, Bert?
Bert: Titanic.
Ernie: What?
Bert: Titanic had a sad ending.
Ernie: No, Bert. Roll the film! Come on, Bert. Come on.
Bert: Gone with the Wind.
Ernie: No, Bert, no.
Bert: Doctor Zhivago.
Ernie: Shh, quiet, Bert.

Advertisement:
"When the dust settled from the collapse, 5 trillion dollars in pension money, real estate value, 401k, savings, and bonds had disappeared. 8 million people lost their jobs, 6 million lost their homes. And that was just in the USA."
Ending Scroll, The Big Short

Literature

"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."
George Orwell, closing words, 1984

"And whichever way I go from here, it's hard to see this story having a happy ending."
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Live-Action TV

Tom Servo: So evil won, grampa?
Mike: Yes, Billy, even your puny soul is doomed.

"And taking a look at the long range forecast, continued snow, darkness, and extreme cold. This is Howard Handupme. Goodnight. [Beat.] Goodbye."
Dinosaurs (final line of the series)

Music

"When you reach the part where the heartaches come
The hero would be me
But heroes often fail
And you won't read that book again
Because the ending's just too hard to take"
Gordon Lightfoot, If You Could Read My Mind

All your letters in the sand cannot heal me like your hand
For my life still ahead, pity me
Queen, "'39"

Jerry was a race car driver,
Twenty-two years old.
One too many cold beers one night,
and wrapped himself around a telephone pole.
Primus, "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver"

Tabletop Games

"The Antediluvians destroy the world in their struggle, and drain all life to fuel their quests for godhood. All of humanity dies. All the animals die. All the plants die. Everything in the sea dies. Only the characters are left, the last dwellers on a planet as barren as the moon. They have nothing left to feed on, except each other, and then — a torpor that never ends, or the mercy of the sun. For extra irony, let the death-struggles of the Antediluvians propel the characters to the ancient site of Eden, now blasted and dead like the rest of the world. What do the characters do? When all hope has failed, when they have lost everything, when there is nothing left to achieve — what then? What do the characters choose as their final actions before they too meet their end?"
— "And the Rest Is Silence" ending of Vampire: The Masquerade: Gehenna

"The Wyrm's victory is the world's ruin. Life continues, but horribly changed: a land covered with toxin-resistant weeds and dead trees, vermin and pests where larger animals have died, humans scrabbling, stealing, murdering and eating each other to live, or worse still, serving the Wyrm-Lords openly for their daily 'bread'. If the troupe's characters live to see this horror, make it obvious that this is not simply a 'regime change.' It is the death of Gaia, and the corruption of all upon Her corpse to the service of hate and filth."
Werewolf: The Apocalypse — Apocalypse

"When all is said and done, the world writhes in the throes of Descent, damnation seemingly everlasting. Magic still lives, though the numbers of its practitioners are much diminished, save for the Fallen. Demons, dark spirits and Unspeakable Horrors from Beyond walk the Earth with impunity, and some lord over scattered enclaves of miserable survivors as dread taskmasters and cruel barons. The Fallen revel in what they have wrought and settle in to enjoy an eternity of ruling over a helpless human race largely reduced to Iron Age civilization and subject to depredations unknown since the worst excess of the priests of the demon-gods of the ancient world.
If the characters have done well, then some manner of resistance lives on, surviving another day to bring the fight to the Aswadim once more and topple them, so that the centuries-long (at least) process of driving out the dark can begin anew. For now, however, it is enough to know that the End has come and gone, and Ascension has proven to be a lie, a feast of ashes supped upon in sorrow by a failed human race."
—"Judgement", Mage: The Ascension — Ascension

It happened so fast. That’s somehow the worst part. Thousands of years of human civilization and millions of years of evolution and biodiversity, all wiped out in a matter of days. And it's our fault. When people talked about humanity destroying the Earth, I never took it quite so... literally.
There’s nothing left. I was lucky enough to make it to Antarctica, to one of the scientific outposts. But this is no kind of life. It’s just as barren here, but everything is covered in ice instead of that grey dust. At least I have a chance, though. The people left behind — there’s no way they’re still alive. Then again, maybe they’re the lucky ones. Being eaten by robots takes only moments. It’s probably better than starving to death....
—"Nanopocalypse — Post-Apocalypse," The End of the World: Revolt of the Machines

Theatre

"A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
Some shall be pardoned, and some punishèd.
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
"
Prince Escalus' closing elegy, Romeo and Juliet

Video Game

"Sorry, we're all outta happy endings today! We only have ones that end with horrible beatings."

"I was kind of hoping for a happy ending."
"Sarcastic" Hawke, near the end of the game right after everything starts blowing up, Dragon Age II

"IN MEMORY OF A PATRIOT WHO SAVED THE WORLD
192X-1964"
The nameless tombstone of The Boss, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Hope Estheim: Noel? But why...? You were safe, everything was fine.
Noel Kreiss: The future changed. It changed. If you change the future, you change the past. The effects ripple outwards, up and down the timeline. The seeress is forced to see it all.
Hope Estheim: You mean Serah... she saw this vision?
Noel Kreiss: Yes. And it killed her. Serah. She knew the risk. If we altered the future, she knew what would happen; that her life could be in danger. But she still chose to save it. I wanted to protect her... I thought I had. I thought she was safe.

"Nobody said this was going to be a happy story."
Varric Tethras, Dragon Age II

"Thus marks the beginning of the flame's end. Despair washes over the empire, the continent...the world. But don't lose hope. Even in this darkness, flashes of light remain. In every heart, every pair of joined hands, and in eyes fixed firmly on the future. Rest for now... then rise once more. To see this wretched fairy tale through to the end.
To be continued..."

Igor: In the end, your rehabilitation was not carried through. It appears... I have underestimated you.
Caroline: (Hits the cell bars) YOU INCOMPETENT PRISONER!
Justine: The assistance that we provided was all for naught.
Igor: Our game has ended; ruin shall be coming momentarily. Enjoy spending the rest of your life in there... repenting for your actions.
Persona 5, in the bad ending where the Protagonist is Killed Off for Real by Akechi

M. Vonel: Hello inspector. We have audited your recent activities. Your involvement with a group calling thesmelves THE ORDER OF THE EZIC STAR has been uncovered. Several members of this gruop have been arrested in Arstotzka. At least one EZIC member has confessed to receiving your help. This represents treason of the highest order. Goodbye inspector.
Monologue: The execution is scheduled for tonight. Your family's safety is unknown. EZIC has been crushed. The balance of justice is restored. Glory to Arstotzka.
If ending #14:
Monologue: [A note appears from under the cell door]
EZIC note: INSPECTOR - YOU HAVE BETRAYED US AT THE LAST MOMENT. THIS CHAPTER OF EZIC IS OVER - WE CAN OFFER NO HELP TO YOUR FAMILY.
Papers, Please, endings #14 and #17

Web Original

"And that's how the show that had captivated America one year earlier ended — not with a delicious cherry pie, but with blood running down a defeated Cooper's smiling face."

"Oh, jeez, what a total downer!"
Coach Z, Homestar Runner, "Homestarloween Party"

"I went through all that torture just to be given the middle-finger salute?!"
The Angry Video Game Nerd, reviewing Kid Kool and getting the worst ending.

''"And thus ends the tale of Ravandil 2. The macabre tale of the elf that brought on the end times over a petty squabble over a bully named Bitchworth.

"It really gets to me that none of these characters can do anything to avert the coming sadness. Xion ends up deciding that submitting to a cruel fate is the best option for everybody, and that gets her killed. Roxas decides that defying fate is for the best, and that gets him captured. Axel has no idea what to do about fate other than to delay it as long as he possibly can, and he ends up losing his two best friends. As we later learn, his only reason for existing. You know, people complain that nobody dies in Kingdom Hearts, and that's a fair complaint, however, they instead go through an insane degree of emotional trauma to make up for that, and I think that's a fair substitution. It traumatizes me, that's for sure."

Western Animation

"What did you expect from an opera? A happy ending?"

"Oh... zis ending stinks..."
Fifi La Fume, Tiny Toon Adventures in the end of "Out of Odor"

"That was the saddest story ever!"

"Sometimes, there are no happy endings."
Batman to Robin in the end of Growing Pains

"There's nothing we can do now. It's over. It's over."

Patrick: Maybe a story will cheer you up. It's called The Ugly Barnacle.
(SpongeBob eagerly listens)
Patrick: Once, there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died. The end.
beat
SpongeBob: That didn't help at all!

"Poor, poor Sheep. Swanky won't kiss him. He's freakishly huge. And now the military has captured him! Sheep is a total failure... THAT'S THE END!? That's worst, most depressive ending I've ever heard!! Do it again!"
Ben Plotz, Sheep in the Big City in "Going of the Sheep End"

Real Life

"There's nothing on Earth like really nailing the last line of a big book. You have 200 pages to tickle their fancy, and seven words to break their heart.”

"People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy."

"Life's a bitch. And then you die."
Don Carpenter

"A grand opera cannot have a happy ending — unless you consider it a happy ending when all the characters are too dead to sing any longer. Some do."
Katharine Dayton, "Gypsies, Nobles, Peasants, Etc."

"Sad ending, isn't it?"

"I think there's a great potential in horror fiction that isn't easily available to realistic fiction. This is the potential to portray our worst nightmares, both private and public, as we approach death through the decay of our bodies. And then to leave it at that—no happy endings, no apologias, no excuses, no redemption, no escape."


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