Anime is known to be strange, a little out there- ok, maybe a lot out there. The strange hair colors and outfits, the insanely sad back stories, the powers, and so on- it is expected and accepted.
So it is no surprise that the best anime endings are all over the map from sad to strange, bittersweet to downright shocking. Check out the following list of some of the best anime endings that fit a large array of categories:
1. School Days Series Ending
Like an animated version of an Investigation Discovery episode, School Days ended on a shocking and rather sad note. So why is it considered one of the best endings?
Simple- it was completely unexpected. Poor Makato! How was he to know that Seiko was a knife-wielding “possessed” lunatic?
Or that someone would be walking around with his head after he died? (Perhaps had he known, he would have made a bigger effort to be faithful.)
The shock value of the lunacy alone earns this ending a spot as one of the best.
2. Clannad Series Ending
Remember this one? The sweet little romance between Tomoya and Nagisa that turned to more tragedy that one person should have to endure?
Nagisa passes right after childbirth, leaving Tomoya with alone with their daughter. Heart broken and distraught, Tomoya does not take to being a parent.
In fact, he would rather drive himself into a drunken stupor. Eventually, he feels love towards his daughter, who promptly dies.
How much loss can one man take? With no prior explanation, Tomoya is suddenly back in time with his wife before she passed.
Maybe he went back to drinking? Regardless, this time she lived, so he got another chance with his family- well, we assume.
This one actually ended with viewers feeling lost and confused. Though some would consider this a bad ending, but people still talk about it over a decade later.
Good or bad, it is one of the best because it is quite a memorable and intriguing ending.
3. Fullmetal Alchemist Series Ending
This is a back and forth, emotion gripping, edge of the seat ending if there ever was one. Edward dies trying to set his brother free.
His brother then gives himself as an exchange for Ed’s life. Ed wakes up with a whole working body, and realizes what his brother has done.
Ed then offers his life for his brother’s life. Now, his goes back into his body but is somehow a ten year old, and Ed is pulled through the Gate and is back in our world.
The constant back and forth like a ping pong ball was definitely an ending worth mentioning.
4. Code Geass R2 Ending
Another epic cliffhanger that had all the fans talking is the Code Geass R2 ending. Did Lelouch die to save the world?
Or did he survive? Was it him driving the cart at the end?
The questions and the debate went back and forth constantly. Fans had different theories and entire explanations about how their theory was correct.
Any ending that gets fans that involved, consistently breaking down and analyzing it, deserves to be named one of the best anime endings.
5. Assassination Classroom Series Ending
This ending makes it to the bittersweet section of best endings. From the beginning, Koro Sensei said that he would destroy the earth if he was not assassinated.
And up until the last episode, it can go either way. Over multiple episodes, students were coming up with ideas- things that might have prevented Koro Sensei from having to die.
Everyone who really paid attention noticed little things that could have changed the course, and everyone became hopeful. Though many fans thought and hoped Koro Sensei would survive, that was just not to be.
It was bittersweet because the world would survive, but they had to assassinate Koro Sensei. It was an emotional ending that had many in tears.
6. Gurren Lagann Series Ending
To be fair, this entire series was quite strange, so it is no surprise it would end on such a strange note. After all Nia, Simon, and the other survivors made it through, you would think there would be a happy ending, right?
After everything settles, Nia and Simon are getting married. Literally, they are at their wedding.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Nia just falls apart physically because the Anti-Spirals, which gave her power, are gone. Why can none of these characters have real happy endings?
Well, the drama, sadness, and injustice of it all is what makes it such an excellent ending- when viewers are hoping beyond hope that something finally goes right, and then the rug is pulled out from under them. Emotional endings are great endings.
7. Toradora! Series Ending
It seems that most people were unsatisfied with Taiga and Ryuji ending up together in the end, but that is kind of how these things go. The leaders of the show generally end up together.
This ending is one of the best because it has a happy ending. After the confusion of discovering feelings for one another, Taiga and Ryuji took the plunge and got together.
This ending also makes the list, however, because of the emotional complexity of it and how it got fans talking, debating and analyzing.
8. Gunbuster Series Ending
This emotionally gripping series ending was a completely different look at sacrifice. In many series, movies, and so on, we see characters sacrificing their lives for others.
And this is in no way meant to diminish any of those sacrifices. However, the Gunbuster’s ending was a more tortuous type of sacrifice.
When one gives up their life, the suffering will not last long. It is the people they leave behind that suffer the most. In Gunbuster, however, Noriko’s and Kazumi’s sacrifice was to be the ones left behind, so to speak.
They accept having to live at a separate time from the others. This results in them living 12,000 years after they left. They then must spend the rest of their lives separate from their loved ones- a very tormenting sacrifice.
9. Diebuster Series Ending
Though this, too, is about sacrificing to save others- and this time physically- Diebuster also brings to attention the fact that aging is inevitable yet something to be embraced. In the ending, Lal’C discovers and admits that glory was not what she was searching for.
She had longed for connection, but with her friend sacrificing her life, she no longer wants to live. This emotional ending points out a lot of important things- losing your youth, the difficulty of being an adult, learning to be unselfish, and the need for companionship.
It is quite possibly one of the most enlightening endings ever, which is why it is on this list.
10. Kill la Kill Series Ending
Cool points for the show that did not have to kill off its entire cast to make a memorable ending. The Kill la Kill series ending was wonderful enough without that.
While Senketsu did die, and it was heartbreaking, the creators did not overdo the death scenes. And they ended it on a very positive note by reuniting sisters Ryuuko and Satsuki.
It is nice to see love and joy instead of death and misery at the end of every anime episode.