Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Area to discuss all things anime related.
User avatar
Emerje
Tech Staff
Posts: 1406
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:21 am
Location: Maine
Contact:

Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Emerje » Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:22 pm

Here's the deal: when it comes to an ending I'm pretty indifferent to how the writer decides to end it just as long as it's well written. If the main character gets the girl I'm fine with it. If the main character finds themselves with a abysmal future ahead of them I'm fine with it. If the main character dies tragically I'm fine with it. I don't look at things in terms of a "good ending" or a "bad ending", more along the lines of something having an ending that's fitting of the show no matter what fate as in store for the characters or the world around them. Like I said, I can't be content with any ending as long as it's well written.

Then there's my brother. We often debate this because any time a show ends on a sour note, particularly when the main character dies, he goes off on a tangent about how he wasted his time and money on garbage like that, wants to throw away the DVD and can't for the life of him figure out why I don't share his feelings. I can remember the first time he really got angry about a series was when finishing Last Exile (I can't believe he's actually watching Shangri-La now), he couldn't believe he spent Geneon prices on the box set and wanted to throw it away (not that I would let him). Other shows that really got to him were Code Geass, X (along with a lot of other Clamp titles I'm sure), Witchblade, everything from Shinkai (while I love all of his stuff), Hell Girl, Death Note, and various others. Basically if it doesn't have a happy ending where the hero wins and saves the day, it's stupid. We're really polar opposites on the matter. I cringe when he comes home with something new because I don't know how he'll react to the ending. And it's not just anime, it's the same with live action TV and movies and video games as well. He's played so many RPGs for hours upon hours and then just drops them cold if one of the main characters dies. We weren't living together when he played FFVII (I was still in high school and he had his own apartment), but I can just imagine what that must have been like.

So here's the question: what do the rest of you look for in an ending? Does the death of a character change your opinion of the series as a whole? Do you avoid shows that only have a negative outlook or do you actually prefer shows with tragic endings?

Emerje
"I don't see the cup as half empty or half full, I see the cup as too big." - Jeremy Clarkson (Top Gear)

User avatar
Littlewolf
Posts: 840
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Boston

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Littlewolf » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:23 pm

Main character deaths don't bother me at all as long as they're executed well in my opinion. In fact, it could be my favorite character in the whole show who just died the bloodiest death out of the whole cast but as long as they go out with style I'm fine. I may be a blubbering wet mess when it's over, but when it is I'll be the first going "OMG THAT SO BEAUTIFUL!! So genius! Where are my tissues! I need to blow my nose"

I'm a girl who can appreciate tragedy. One ending that springs to mind that did this perfectly for me was the Utena tv series ending. I'll admit, after watching it the first go my initial reaction while crying my eyes was yelling at the tv going "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!" But the more I thought about it after, the more it fit, and the final episodes were just so spectacular in the build up and imagery, and well... I still don't know if [spoiler]Utena was dead dead.[/spoiler] In fact it was a rather open ending, but I don't think any anime's ending has ever affected me the way Utena's did. There was just so much to take in, with so many different messages, and I can't think of Utena ending with a bubbly happy ending. It just wouldn't fit.

But there was one instance I just couldn't take it, and that was with Wolf's Rain. I LOVED that show when it came out. The music, the animation, even the story if it was a bit confusing at times, I didn't care because it was so fun to watch. I remember the tv series run just ending rather oddly, and it wasn't a very satisfying ending, but then it was announced that they'd have a couple more episodes as an OVA to finish it off properly on dvds. I was happy, I downloaded the episodes and then... I watched the first one. I don't even think I finished it all, because I remember [spoiler]suddenly being smacked in the face with one of my favorite characters dying, only to be followed by another and I was very upset, closed the episode and called my friend up also watching the series blubbering to them about how horrible it all was and how I couldn't watch a minute more if they were all just going to be killed off.[/spoiler] I decided I'd be happy enough with the official broadcast ending if that was what they were going to give me. Still to this day I never finished all those Wolf's Rain ova episodes.

But I don't go for just tragedy, I'm fine with happy endings. Nothing gets me grinning like an idiot like Cardcaptor Sakura. I'm happy for the rest of a day when an ending leaves me on cloud 9.
Image
See Scott Pilgrim or Die Trying (you may earn a life in the process)

User avatar
Zin5ki
Posts: 1186
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Zin5ki » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:40 pm

I do like a tragedy. Only one out of my top five anime ends on an mostly positive note, such an anomaly nonetheless being heavily cathartic at times.
An ending which is completely bleak and hopeless, one in which the viewer can find nothing uplifting, would be likely to overstep the line for me however. A tragic tale leaving the viewer in nothing but despair isn't very entertaining- a 'cleansing' sadness is more to my tastes.

I find such hyperbolic and off-putting bleakness can be avoided by use of dialogue and music though. Through its skilful use of such directorial touches I can still find something positive in Voices of a Distant Star, which ranks as my second-favourite anime, despite [spoiler]its ending being hopeless for the both of the characters[/spoiler].

Looking towards happy endings, I doubt I'd like something completely rosy. Looking around the happy endings in my collection, two examples I find are Blue Gender, in which [spoiler]Second Earth and its inhabitants are destroyed despite the main couple being safe and together[/spoiler], and also Patlabor the Movie, in which [spoiler]the city is saved, but therefore the antagonist has won completely[/spoiler].
Thus, like my desire for something positive to exist in sad endings, similar 'complications' in happy endings are also to my tastes. The Place Promised in our Early Days probably strikes me as my favourite happy ending to be unaccompanied by any notable expense, but I have a certain bias in favour of its director...

User avatar
Truered
Posts: 635
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:36 pm
Location: UK

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Truered » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:01 pm

I'll probably come back to this later after thinking over some more things, but first off I want to talk about one of the things I really hate in anime. The tacked on "dramatic ending" for a series that for all intents and purposes was fluff. Unfortunately I'm struggling to think of an example (that's useful :P ) but it's usually something like: here's a fluffy comedy series. Some ecchi, slapstick, comedic episodic series. What's this? Two or three episodes left? Well actually there's this bad guy/curse/fate see and someone may die/turn evil/be forced to leave etc.

Also I hate magical girlfriend/magical beings/random unusual characters thrust into a person's life that end with them being separated. Of course if they can return I don't mind, it's open ended. It's kind of amusing that such a series would be mentioned here, but Snow fairy Sugar made me sad. [spoiler]After all that had happened they separate and if I recall correctly Sugar can no longer be seen by the girl. I stalled the last few episodes for ages as I'd found out what happened and didn't want to watch :oops:[/spoiler] When it comes to series such as that with "random character thrust into person's life" I actually prefer the 'none ending'. Sure the big bad may have been defeated, but they all return home and the series comes to a close with a house blowing up or something, the crazy events to carry on as the series draws to a close :3
Image Image Image

User avatar
Bonham
Posts: 941
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:48 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Bonham » Wed Aug 19, 2009 12:21 am

I just want an ending that makes sense as a conclusion to the narrative -- not just for the story, but thematically, as well.

People don't have to like downer endings, but it's their fault for not respecting it should it be a logical finish.

Truered wrote:I'll probably come back to this later after thinking over some more things, but first off I want to talk about one of the things I really hate in anime. The tacked on "dramatic ending" for a series that for all intents and purposes was fluff. Unfortunately I'm struggling to think of an example (that's useful :P )

Think something like Kurenai.

Lapsing into stupid melodrama is the worst trait of Japanese animation, period.

@Littlewolf: Watch Wolf's Rain again (at the very least, those OVA episodes). It's quite sad, though for narrative reasons (as opposed to the naked manipulation common in stories), and certainly not without hope.

@Zin5ki: Can you really think of an anime that is so completely devoid of any catharsis at its end? Jin-Roh probably qualifies. Shigurui is another, though that's more of a retrospective on a historical situation; it can also be argued that is does provide a sense of release, as [spoiler]Irako and Iku do take revenge against Kogan, though it's not a morally fulfilling one.[/spoiler] Then you get something like Gilgamesh, which takes the most perversely (and consequently hilarious) negative view of humanity, creating the most nihilistic ending imaginable...

User avatar
Zin5ki
Posts: 1186
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:07 pm
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Zin5ki » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:37 pm

As regards Jin Roh, I was moved to a certain extent. This was probably dampened by the fact the story was masterfully bleak from its outset however. In a sense it was inevitable that [spoiler]the two lead characters wouldn't end up in a situation whereby they could nurture each other whilst fulfilling their roles.[/spoiler] I found the end result of the film to be predominantly melancholic, as opposed to being fully emotionally cleansing.

User avatar
Sentire
Posts: 2963
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Edgewater, MD, USA
Contact:

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Sentire » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:54 am

As long as the ending makes sense, isn't forced or contrived, and that it's given enough time and respect.

I'm thinking of the ending of "Paradise Kiss". I really struggled with it. I felt like I didn't have enough time to digest what had happened. Sure, it is not the ending I would have preferred... but that is not the problem I had. It was almost like I wasn't prepared well enough for it - but not in a good "surprise - see how clever" kind of way. If that makes any sense. [spoiler]I was upset because of the ending (which is normal),[/spoiler] but more-so disturbed by how the ending came to fruition (my main complaint).

Maybe if I watch it again I might feel differently. The fact is though, I don't think I can bear to sit through it.

User avatar
Zanarkand Princess
Posts: 1700
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:17 am
Location: Right behind you

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Zanarkand Princess » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:26 am

Sentire wrote:As long as the ending makes sense, isn't forced or contrived, and that it's given enough time and respect.

I'm thinking of the ending of "Paradise Kiss". I really struggled with it. I felt like I didn't have enough time to digest what had happened. Sure, it is not the ending I would have preferred... but that is not the problem I had. It was almost like I wasn't prepared well enough for it - but not in a good "surprise - see how clever" kind of way. If that makes any sense. [spoiler]I was upset because of the ending (which is normal),[/spoiler] but more-so disturbed by how the ending came to fruition (my main complaint).

Maybe if I watch it again I might feel differently. The fact is though, I don't think I can bear to sit through it.

Wow. I have the same issue with the end of this series. And no I can't sit through it again either. It seemed like it just wasn't right. Like after getting to know those characters that's just not what they would do. At first I was wondering if it was because of [spoiler]my pairing not "winning"[/spoiler] but then I realized that wasn't it. It slapped you in the face and it felt like Ai Yazawa sold out on her characters for the sake of a moral.
Image

User avatar
Sentire
Posts: 2963
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 3:50 pm
Location: Edgewater, MD, USA
Contact:

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Sentire » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:38 am

You said it so much better than I did. My sentiments as well.

Saikano - well, that's an example of an ending (depending on how much you watch), that even though is not what I may have wanted, I could accept it. It was feasible and I was prepared for it to a degree. Sure, it was in my mind for a few weeks afterward, but solely because the story itself had an impact on me. Not from being disturbed how the ending came forth.

User avatar
Bonham
Posts: 941
Joined: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:48 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Bonham » Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:41 pm

I didn't have a problem with the ending of the Paradise Kiss manga. Does the anime change it?

User avatar
Littlewolf
Posts: 840
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Boston

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Littlewolf » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:37 pm

I don't remember the anime having much of a different ending from the a mangat all. It's been a while since I saw or read it (I'm in need of a Parakiss marathon now that I think about it) but I only recall some minor detail changes here or there. I never really considered the ending sad or tragic either. I thought it realistic for a relationship based off lust, [spoiler]and as yummy as George was, he was never really good for her.[/spoiler]

Now that I think about it I like Ai Yazawa's "realistic" spin as I'm getting older. Originally I read Parakiss while in high school, and I didn't get why it ended the way it did, but now as I read it and continue to fall more and more in love with Nana I find I relate to the girl characters a hell of a lot more than with any other female characters in manga because they don't get the happy endings, and they themselves aren't perfect. The fact that the relationships just don't play out smoothly, along with everything else to their lives just make them seem all the more real to me and well, reading and growing with them they're like the fictional friends that'd fit right in with my real group of girlfriends, and that makes Ai Yazawa's stuff stand out from the rest of the shoujo crowd for me. (Hell, her stuff is the only manga I can get my friends to read actually)

I think I'll give that Wolf's Rain ending another go. It's been years now since I last watched it, and I have been wanting to re-watch it.
Image
See Scott Pilgrim or Die Trying (you may earn a life in the process)

User avatar
Zanarkand Princess
Posts: 1700
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:17 am
Location: Right behind you

Re: Happy, Sad, and Tragic endings. Thoughts?

Postby Zanarkand Princess » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:52 pm

Yes I love Nana. It only gets better as it goes on too. I think that was the manga that made me never want to go back to regular shojo set in 7th grade with a happy end. Stuff like Vampire Knight just pales in comparison.

Now School Days. That was a stupid stupid bad ending.
Image


Return to “Anime”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest