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Quotes / Downer Ending

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Anime & Manga

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

Audio Plays

Mel: I want to live! To walk, to eat, to breathe!
The Valeyard: So did I, once. That was my first mistake.
Mel: But you mean this is it? We're trapped here, together... for good?
The Valeyard: The Doctor — albeit not quite the Doctor — and his loyal companion. Forever.
Mel: But... but I want to go back... go home... be free...
The Valeyard: Oh, Mel. I'm sorry. I'm so very, very sorry...

Comic Books

It had been a long life. The End of the Universe... came and went. But the King did NOT die.

Guard: Heard things were rough down side.
Erma: Yes, it was… difficult.
Guard: Is there anything?
Erma: Thank you, no. Nothing. Nothing at all.
(once alone, Erma grieves for the loss of her mate, her family and her home)

Fan Works

The wind picked up to a howl, and it swept into shore, and it drowned Izuku’s cries beneath it.

By tomorrow, Izuku would be smiling on the news.

By tomorrow, Shiki would be on a train to an interview far north in Akita.

By tomorrow, Inko would be alone again.

"Robotnik's initial dream was to recreate an amusement park, one that rivals the one from his childhood. He does not realize the tragedy of nostalgia. He is doomed never to recreate that feeling. He's built several failed attempts, his most recent in space, but none shall ever bring back the same feeling of his childhood. The first click of the roller coaster safety features. The first ever drop. The worry-filled joy of plummeting to the earth. No. Like Sisyphus, he will continue to fail, as will I. He has damned me to merely race Sonic forever. I can no longer revolt against my chains. I dare say, no one can. I wish I knew the roadmap of my remaining life. But I doubt it would make a difference. I give up."
Metal Sonic's closing monologue, His History Revealed: A Metal Sonic Biography

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

''"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
At the late-night... double feature... picture show
I wanna go
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.

"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


"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, Nineteen Eighty-Four

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

"I did not know when and how much was ended, when I look back from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered along the Crooked Gulch as plain as I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream."

You and Mary stay together, looking after each other. You marry and have two children, Job and Julienne. But there's always something missing. Not just answers. You can't help feeling you've not earned your ease. At a crucial point, you turned away, looked after yourself. Your beating in the copse taught you a lesson. Maybe you should have saved the heroic spurt for when it counted.
Mary has to look after practical things. She eventually resents that. After ten years, you split up. By now, Robert Hackwill is the richest man in the West Country. And Shane Bush is mayor of Sedgwater. You live out your life in mild disappointment. Somehow, without meaning to, you let everybody down.
He fell in October 1918, on a day that was so quiet and still on the whole front, that the army report confined itself to the single sentence: All quiet on the Western Front. He had fallen forward and lay on the earth as though sleeping. Turning him over one saw that he could not have suffered long; his face had an expression of calm, as though almost glad the end had come.
Erich Maria Remarque, closing words, All Quiet on the Western Front

Here ends the Silmarillion. If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.

Eventually everyone went home, and everyone was unhappy.
"You know what he's like..." Mum said to Louise.
I could tell, even though he was really quiet, Dad was unhappy too.
We never got to talk about the holiday.
Something Different About Dad: How to Live With Your Asperger's Parent, Chapter 4

Live-Action TV

"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)

Tom Servo: So evil wins, Grandpa Borgnine?
Mike: That's right, even your tiny soul is doomed, Billy.

"We received a distress call at 0900 hours... arrived at the vessel's last known coordinates at 2120. The ship was destroyed. Cause unknown. No survivors."
(original) Captain Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager, "Course: Oblivion"


"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"

Well the poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
So the story ends, we're told
Pancho needs your prayers, it's true
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Oh, now he's growin' old.
Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho and Lefty"

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


"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

"It's a sad song, it's a sad tale
It's a tragedy, it's a sad song
But we sing it anyway
Hermes, Hadestown

Video Game

"So… there I am. King. King of all the land. And who'd of thought that? Not me. I guess you know who these guys are now? 'Cause, I certainly do. I didn’t wanna know them. And, yep, I may be king, and have all the money in the world, and all the land, and all that stuff, but you know, I don't… really think I want it. I just wanna go home, with Berri, and… I dunno… have a bottle of beer. Hmm. (sighs) It's not gonna happen. It's true what they say. The grass is always greener, and you don't really know what it is you have… until it's gone. Gone. Gone…"

"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

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

"This movie you're know how it ends? I believe there's a pretty big twist at the end. I doubt you'll like it. In fact, I don't think anyone will."

"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.note 
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]
Papers, Please, endings #14 and #17

August has lost many good people in the last few days: Dorota Shaw, Violet Gallacher, and our very own Ellis Munroe. In a police statement released this morning, Chief Dupont has asked people to seek safety in company and remain vigilant. The most recent body, found with multiple stab wounds, is still being examined by August's coroner; they are unable to confirm the identity - or even species - at this time. The killer remains at large.

Visual Novels

And just like that, the case came to an end. I ran away from the courtroom... and wandered the streets alone. I never saw Maya again. De Killer is a man of his word, so I'm sure he released her as promised. I heard the verdict of Ms. Andrews' trial a few days later. She was found guilty, of course. The "miracle" never happen. Maybe it was never meant to. Because a "miracle" is something that doesn't exist.
Phoenix Wright, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All, bad ending for "Farewell, My Turnabout"


"And that ends the story of Ruby, a trainer who believed he had a great destiny, that everything was happening for a reason. Do you know what his last thoughts were, as he watched his first Pokemon die? "I just don't understand." Now isn't that just the saddest thing you ever heard?"
Nuzleaf, Nuzlocke Comics

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"

"For now, it's a tragic ending indeed."

"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."

"Well, that was an awfully depressing ending! Hank dies, the detective loses his partner and turns to alcohol to cope, the girl loses both her fiance and her father in the same night, and the Amazing Bulk is alive and out there somewhere because not even death can stand in the way of those cheeks! And the credits are in Comic Sans! God, why?"

"He just dies?! That's not how the Christmas Carol goes at all!"

"You die. You never achieved your destiny or found your purpose. You died without a name in a world that will forget you. GAME OVER."

Western Animation

"Well, 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"

Herneval: Why do all of your stories end up being so sad?? Wouldn't it be nice to tell a story where the kid does everything right? So he can relax sometime??
Frankelda: The best stories don't relax us, they challenge us!

"That was the saddest story ever!"

"Sometimes, there are no happy endings."
Batman to Robin, Batman: The Animated Series, 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.
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 depressing ending I've ever heard!! Do it again!"
Ben Plotz, Sheep in the Big City in "Going of the Sheep End"

"The Earth Kingdom...has fallen."

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."