Most fans of anime and manga expect a happy ending. The big bad gets defeated and most if not all of our heroes survive. However, ever once in a while, an anime and manga series will shock us with a downer ending. Of course, many of these series generally have dark tones so those endings shouldn’t be shocking. However, most of us are trained to expect a good ending no matter what. A downer ending ranges from sad to tragic. So what are my top 5 favorite downer endings?
5. Lust contemplates her existence (Fullmetal Alchemist)
In episode 35 of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 series), ‘Reunion of the Fallen,’ Lust begins to question her existence. Where does she come from and what would happen to her when she dies? She sees a man from her past, Lujon. She taught him alchemy to save his village from a mysterious disease. Turns out that the disease was created by Envy. The Homunculi hope that by giving Lujon a fake philosopher’s stone he will search and make a real one for them to steal. When Lujon admits that he loves Lust, she kills him considering him “worthless.” Without his stone, the villagers all die from the disease and Lujon’s wife dies in his arms.
4. Tokyo Ghouls tragic ending
The Anteiku staff are destroyed by the CCG. Touka and Nishiki are forced to abandon their loved ones. Yoshimura is captured by his daughter Eto and will be used as a “donor” for Dr. Kanou’s experiments. Juuzou and Kuroiwa are maimed, Shinohara is left brain dead. Hide goes missing, Kaneki, Amon, Takizawa, Koma, and Irimi are assumed dead. Tsukiyama is comatose. Kaneki is betrayed by two of his allies, Uta and Itori, who take pleasure in Kaneki’s demise.
3. Battle Royale Continues
Battle Royale takes place in a fascist alternate-timeline Japan. The government random chooses high school classes and sends them to a isolated island. Armed with weapons, and under the treat of death they are forced to kill each other until only one remains. This is called “the Program.”After all the death and mayhem, Shuya and Noriko survive. They escape to America, but all of there friends are dead. They are haunted by memories of the battle royale and their relationship become strained. Finally, despite the failure of this edition of the program, the system remains intact. Meaning that future high school students will continue to go through the program.
2. In Devilman Crybaby humanity becomes extinct
The 2018 adaptation of Devilman by Go Nagai, follows Akira Fudo. He becomes a “devilman,” after he makes the demon Amon’s power his own. With this new power, Akira hopes to protect humanity and his love ones. He fails though. He loses everything. His girlfriend Miki is murdered and brutally dismembered by a mob. His best friend turns out to be Satan (Ryo). Akira is killed. Then God destroys Earth. The entire series is dark, but you did think Akira would win at the end.
1. Griffith becomes Femto (Berserk)
In the Berserk, Griffith betrays his Band of the Hawk and Guts. After a year of torture he’s rescued by Guts. Using the Crimson Behelit he summons the Godhand. Transporting everyone to Hell. Griffith sacrifices the Hawks. Guts and Casca remain. As she is attacked by demon Guts tries to save her, but his arm gets caught in a demon teeth. Reborn as the demon Femto, Griffith sexual assaults Casca in front of Guts. Who then cuts off his own arm to try to save Casca. However, he’s dog-piled by more demons, that claw his right eye out. The anime ends here, while the manga continues. Berserk has one of the most depressing endings.
Do you have any anime or manga endings you think belong on this list?