Few things could be more frustrating than investing time in an anime series only for it to deliver an inconclusive or confusing ending. Sometimes, it’s because the source material wasn’t finished since many anime are adaptations of manga or novels. Sometimes, it’s because of a lack of popularity, especially if the first and second season’s ratings suffered. There are even some occasions where poor endings are part of a joke in the series.
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But it doesn’t change the fact that these series tend to leave viewers wanting more instead of delivering a satisfying ending. Anyone who devotes their time to consuming a medium both expects and deserves a good ending or, at the very least, a satisfying one. But unfortunately, life is not always fair, and plenty of series fail to wrap up their own tales effectively.
10 Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt’s Ending Teased A Second Season
Although it’s largely a parody show, Panty & Stocking did include some episodes in the series that made it seem as if it had an over-arching narrative. When the anime ended with a climactic battle and a cliffhanger that questioned Stocking’s loyalties to her sister, fans were expecting a second season, and the anime itself made it seem as if one would be coming… but it never came. It’s highly likely that the twist ending and promise of more story were deliberate and actually meant to accentuate the series as a parody.
9 Wonder Egg Priority Leaves Its Viewers Wanting More
Produced by CloverWorks, Wonder Egg Priority is a gripping anime that attempts to deal with themes of suicide, depression, and growing up. The anime manages to handle these topics well enough, but the series ended on an open note. To make matters worse, the Wonder Egg Priority OVA teases fans by making it seem as if more anime is coming as protagonist Ai Ohto is depicted as being ready and willing to dive back into dream worlds and save more girls. The anime ended recently, so it’s too soon to see if a second season is on the horizon… but fans are craving a more conclusive ending, nevertheless.
8 Umineko No Naku Koro Ni Didn’t Get The Ending It Deserved
Unlike its predecessor, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Umineko did not receive the popularity and attention it needed to net a second anime season. Originally a visual novel, Umineko’s ending was poorly received in Japan because many fans deemed it a poor adaptation and it failed to neatly tie up the mysteries from earlier in the novel.
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Interestingly, Western fans don’t seem as bothered by the ambiguity of Umineko’s ending, although it did receive a fair amount of international criticism. With the resurgence of Higurashi as Higurashi: Gou, fans might get the Umineko conclusion they always wanted.
7 Spice & Wolf Ended Before Holo Gets Back To Her Homeland
It’s best for fans of this anime to pick up the Spice & Wolf light novels from Yen Press since only the novels have a proper ending. The anime, however, ended on a huge cliffhanger. Not only has Lawrence failed to get Holo back to Yoitsu, but the anime also leaves it open-ended as to whether Holo and Lawrence will enter a romantic relationship. Holo also drops many cryptic lines at the end of Season 2 that beg to be answered. Luckily, answers are found in the light novels, but anime fans shouldn’t hold their breath for a Season 3.
6 Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Ending Angered Anime Fans The World Over
The poor ending of Evangelion is thanks in part to budget constraints and Hideaki Anno’s uncertainty about how to end the series. Another big part relied on the implicit messages fans were supposed to take away from the series. Evangelion’s ending is too dense and cryptic for the average fan to appreciate, and it certainly didn’t live up to fans’ expectations. However, it’s important to consider that Evangelion is deeply tied to Anno’s experiences with depression in the ’90s. Fans did receive alternate endings in subsequent Evangelion movies, but the original ending to the anime left people with more questions than answers.
5 Fruits Basket 2001 Couldn’t Be Completed Due To A Series Hiatus
By the end of the 2001 Fruits Basket series, it was obvious to fans that Tohru Honda wanted to somehow break the Sohma family curse and free them from their burdens. The climactic episode included Tohru’s first formal meeting with Akito and expressing her intention to continue being involved with the Sohmas despite Akito’s rejection of her. Things got a little physical, but Akito seemingly relented to Tohru’s will. At the time Fruits Basket 2001 was airing, the creator was on hiatus with an injured hand, meaning she couldn’t continue the manga at the time. The anime had to wrap up based on the content that was already published.
4 High School Of The Dead Was Left Unfinished Due To The Author’s Death
Unfortunately, this high-intensity, fanservice-infested zombie apocalypse story will likely never have its proper ending. Series author Daisuke Sato sadly passed away from heart disease in 2017 after battling it for many years, and series illustrator Shoji Sato is not interested in finishing the series without him.
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The 12-episode anime series produced by Madhouse in 2010 ended on a cliffhanger, as no one could have predicted that the series’ author wouldn’t be around to finish his story.
3 Digimon Adventure 02’s Ending Doesn’t Make A Lot Of Sense
Under the guise of closure and wrapping up the series, the very last episode of Digimon Adventure 02 presents viewers with a world where Digimon and humans live peacefully together while the cast of Digidestined has grown up into adults with interesting occupations. But there’s a big logic gap between what fans saw throughout 02 and the end result post-time skip. It’s not entirely clear how or why Tai and Matt become a lawyer and an astronaut respectively, nor is it clear how Matt and Sora ended up getting married. Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna attempted to connect the dots, but fans are still dissatisfied with 02’s supposedly canon ending.
2 Sasameki Koto Fails To Deliver On Its Relationship
Also known as Whispered Words, at the time, this 2000s series presented yuri and shojo-ai fans with the closest thing to representation in anime that actually confirmed lesbian thoughts and feelings. It came off as sort of a gag series at times, but Ushio’s openness about her sexuality and Sumika’s struggle with coming out are very real experiences for LGBTQ+ youth. Fans were expecting to see Ushio and Sumika confess to each other by the end of the series, but they were left hanging instead. It’s a huge disappointment considering Sasameki Koto’s direct handling of its subject matter.
1 Air Gear Should Really Animate The Rest Of Its Story
This 2006 shonen anime has a fun, interesting premise that earned praise at the time of its release despite it cramming in 12 manga volumes’ worth of story into 26 episodes. The manga wrapped up in 2012 and has sold over 18 million copies as of 2020, meaning its popularity could net it an anime series continuation or reboot. The first series sets up the premise, worldbuilding, and struggle for Ikki well enough, but it fails to show fans the rest of his journey to become a top Storm Rider. It also left other narrative threads open, resulting in a rather unsatisfying ending.
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About The Author
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Brittanie Maldonado is a Staff Writer for CBR, and a long-time gamer/cartoon-lover based in the US. She studied English and Comparative Literature at the School of General Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York, so she loves evaluating and analyzing different types of media. She’s worked in fast food, retail, and corporate roles, but she is happiest when expressing herself through writing. Brittanie has a deep love and appreciation for the Japanese language and culture, and she brings this cultural perspective to the forefront when assessing various Japanese media. If she’s not researching or writing, she’s probably gaming or catching up on her backlogged anime watchlist.
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