Anime Endings: Going out in Style
Unlike far too many sports stars, Animefringe knows when it's time.
What is the saddest moment in any anime? Could it be when the two lovers have to part ways, or perhaps when your favorite character's life is taken by the villain, or could it be when a brilliant series finally wraps itself up? What might make this even worse is when a show that you've loved for thirteen, twenty-six or even a hundred-plus episodes leaves you screaming at the TV, feeling like you’ve wasted your time, because the ending was so bad. Although it is still sad, seeing a brilliant show come to a close with a brilliant ending, it can be a wonderful feeling that leaves you feeling satisfied and remembering the series as a joy to watch.
Animefringe certainly has been an incredible experience, and now as we leave, we want everyone to have that satisfied feeling of remembering what a joy it was for people to read our issues throughout the years. In tribute to that feeling, I'm going to talk about some of those great series that went out on top and in the right way. Far too often, an anime series will leave the viewer disappointed and frustrated at the end of the final episode, but when they do wrap up the right way, it's a really great thing. Here are a few that managed to pull it off.
In case you couldn't tell, this article will be very spoiler heavy, and it will ruin some shows if you haven't seen its ending already. If you have, come with us and remember some awesome anime endings.
To start things off:
Midori No Hibi
One of the most surprisingly charming series of the year somehow managed to wrap up its completely absurd and far fetched plot, showing that no matter how different a story may be, it is capable to close it out on a good note. Throughout the show, it was hard to not think about how they would explain the whole hand-turning-into-girl plot device, and exactly how would they react when it was over, but Midori No Hibi actually leaves you saying, "Yeah, okay. I get that," when you realize that it’s just an anime. The main reason for the major event of the story adds a sweet touch to the story, and of course, we always like to see how the power of love reigns true over all in the end. Midori No Hibi has the sweet ending that it was building up to throughout the series, leaving you feeling warm inside, and not wondering what in the world the writer of this show was on when scripting such a bizarre plot.
Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex
Section 9 is disbanded. Every member, except for Togusa, is either presumed to be in jail or dead, and Togusa is left alone to wonder what has happened to the once great organization that he belonged to and to the leader that he used to look up to. You have a government that feels that it doesn't need Section 9, and a public that doesn't want them. Does this mean that we'll be left with a completely torn apart core group that we've grown to love? Please, this is Section 9 that we're talking about. They won't go away that easily. Amid all of the action and chaos, the show pulls together what the previous six episodes had been building upon to give us a satisfying finish that comes full circle. For a show like this, the full circle ending is a fitting way to show how life goes on regardless of outcome, but the lives of Section 9 members are anything but normal.
The best pure comedy show not only makes us laugh, but it brings us along in the lives of a group of high school girls, making us become attached more and more as sports festivals, cultural festivals, and summer vacations come and go. This isn't a normal comedy show in the sense that the lives of these characters did matter. We want to see Chiyo-can make it to America, Sakaki to get a cat that will actually like her, and for all of the others to get into college. They manage to bring us along on this ride, and then they cap it off perfectly with a graduation ceremony where it is hard not to get choked up while watching. In true Azumanga Daioh fashion, however, we're not going to be left on a sad note, as the show picks the mood back up and leaves us with a happy ending for all the characters.
What has quickly become one of the best received anime shows wouldn't have gotten that way without a completely fitting ending that was right in line with the rubbery mold of FLCL. FLCL has almost become a genre itself because of the unique approach that it takes. By the second or third time of viewing the OVAs, you start to grasp what's actually going on in the story, and you begin to see how FLCL does have a great story behind all of the wackiness, and how it brings it all to a close. Perhaps the best thing about FLCL is the fact it actually does have a well-done story that lies behind the great style on the surface, and it does manage to close the plot perfectly. It even makes sense. We see how people's lives continue, and how our little hero has grown up. The closing scene and narrative dialogue gives us an excellent sense of closure, but it does not explaining everything, because this is FLCL, and you should know by now that not everything is going to be that easy.
One movie had to be added to this list, and it was a tight competition between Perfect Blue and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust for its funeral scene, but Perfect Blue edged it out, possibly because of the thrilling and disturbing last scene where you finally get to see the real killer chasing after our pop star lead character. This is an image that becomes ingrained in your head after going on an hour-plus mind trip. Finishing it off is a closing line that will make your eyes open a bit wider, as you hear the lead character speaking with an Osaka accent, showing that now she will finally be herself. Simple put, it is Satoshi Kon brilliance.
I think that we might be able to say that Satoshi Kon is a pretty good director, if by pretty good, you mean absolutely brilliant. Once again, he sends fans on a mind trip, this time over the course of thirteen episodes. Perhaps one of the best things about a show that warps with your mind is seeing how it wraps up and the explanation, but not with every detail; we don't want the plot to be handed to us on a silver platter. Kon gives us a more uplifting ending than what we might have originally thought, as we get to see the Chief battle his demons and win in one of the most creative and well-done scenes in anime. You are left having to put some of the pieces together yourself in the end, but the Lil' Slugger phenomenon is dying down, and people are moving on in their lives. This is a psychological thriller that has the perfect mix of questions and answers when all is said and done.
What is better than becoming completely attached to a character or group of characters, experiencing all of their up and downs alongside them, and then getting to watch them experience the highest of highs and achieve something great? Beck gives you that in its three second-to-last episodes, which could go down as one of the best hat trick series of episodes that you can see in anime. Now another reason that this show is only this list is for how well they handled the dreaded "finishing before the manga" death sentence for far too many shows. Closing out with a slide show, hearing "Slip Out," and knowing that Beck did succeed and all is right in the world was the right way to finish an uplifting series that made you root for the little guy.
Yes, I'm sure that you were wondering when this show was going to make its appearance on this list, and here it is. Simply put, Cowboy Bebop ends in the only way that it could. It is an incredible series, and in this case, the ending is as spectacular as the series. The beautifully tragic show comes to a climax as Spike and Vicious meet in their destined final encounter, with the only result that could truly end this series. It's followed by the famous fade to white and bang, as the viewer is left to reflect on the entire show while the full length version of "Blue" plays, the image of the fading star, and the message about how we're going to carry that weight. As you were reading, you could probably picture the entire scene perfectly, since it's one of the most well-known endings of all time, with all due respect to Neon Genesis Evangelion.
All of the finales of the shows listed above were sad to see, since I had grown so attached to them, but when a show ends on top and on the right note, you can leave satisfied and happy when you stop to look back. Like all of these anime titles, Animefringe is going to leave on top, and hopefully, we’ve given you an experience that will leave everyone satisfied and happy when they look back on the years we’ve spent with you.