When I watch Anime, I experience all sorts of emotions. These emotions usually vary on how well the story is told and how deep I get into it. There are times when I’m completely enthralled with a show. I’m unable to turn away and my blood boils hot from thinking on how the next episode is going to play out. Then there are times when the anime can completely kill my mood. The story goes into a direction I do not like or it completely traps itself into an inescapable rut of clichés and forced drama. Eventually it all comes down to the ending. Japan is notorious (in my opinion) for creating bad endings to what many people would agree to be a good series. This can happen for a multitude of reasons. Some of the reasons include cancellation, the unwillingness to choose one ending and stick with it, or the fear of backlash of the fans from the ending not being up to their standards. I’m sure at times they leave open endings because they hope they might get a second season. You’ve probably noticed this is usually not the case in many instances. However, there are creators who know this is the only chance they might get and they create absolutely fantastic endings. Some of these endings are so fantastic that you almost forget that a large amount of Anime has subpar endings.
This has to be the best ending an anime has to offer.
Subpar endings can absolutely ruin a good anime for me even if my emotions ran high the entire time. Toradora is a great example of this. Toradora was one of the first recommendations that I received when I first started getting back into anime. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but I went into the series hoping for something interesting. I got everything I could possibly ask for when watching Toradora. Every episode flew by without even a notice to time. I wouldn’t even realize the episode was ending until I heard that transition music into the ED. It was always very impressing to me how flawlessly they would transition from the episode into the ED. Every time I heard the music for the ED, I got a twinge of sadness in the pit of my chest. I wanted more. As the series went on, whenever the ED music started I got hit with a harder dose of sadness. I didn’t want this anime to end and every single ED brought me closer to the one place I didn’t want to be. Of course the ending had to come and when it did, I was devastated. The series that I had spent so much time laughing to, crying to, and generally being awestruck by ended in the worst possible way. It was like there was a black mark on this anime that I would never be able to resolve. I immediately went searching online for something more, anything more. I wanted something more than a headbutt, more than a one sided “I love you”. I never found anything. I did hear about an OVA that was coming out with the Blu-ray release and it was speculated to be a sequel to the series. We quickly found out when it was released that it was just a standard unaired episode taking place sometime during the series. I still haven’t been able to watch the OVA due to this fact. I want something more, but I want something more in “closing” department as opposed to the additional content department. Due to that last scene, Toradora will forever have that black mark against it. Unless the VN gets a translation then I can live happy with a pregnant Taiga. That would be one of the best endings for me.
This is a perfect example on how being tsundere can ruin an anime.
I’ve spoken enough about bad endings. Let me give you an example of an ending that I was absolutely in love with. Shakugan no Shana III has the perfect ending. It gave me everything I could ever want that I didn’t get at the end of the first and second season. While the first season of Shakugan no Shana ended on a pretty good note, the second season ended in one of the worst possible ways for me. There was absolutely no closure and at the time I wasn’t sure if it was going to get a third season. I was horrified at the prospect of the anime going this route. Just like Toradora, I searched the internet for anything more. This time I found some fragmented stories that showed the story was still going on and I shouldn’t be worried. Eventually Shakugan no Shana started to fade from my memory as a series I enjoyed, but was ultimately upset with for ending the way it did. Season three changed all of this. I was excited that I might get an ending I could really enjoy. I also found the story to absolutely wonderful and it was probably the only anime that I kept up with as it came out during that season. I was excited for each week’s episode. Every week gave me a new reason to keep watching. When the ending finally came I was overjoyed. Something that I had been waiting for since the end of season one had finally happened and to top it all off, he stopped being a torch. I couldn’t have been happier with this ending.
Anime can give people so many different and sometimes conflicting emotions. This is probably one of the many things that make anime so great. We get a story that we can immerse ourselves with and learn to empathize with all the characters. It’s one of the biggest reasons I watch anime. What about you? Has there been an anime to strike such a hard chord that you’ll never forget it and did the ending just cement its place in your soul?