good anime series with disappointing ending

Good Shows Gone Bad: 15 Anime Series With Disappointing Ending

We’ve all been there – falling in love with an anime after getting hooked by cool animation, intense drama, and charming characters. You eagerly burn through episodes or even whole seasons…only for a lackluster final episode to completely fail to deliver a satisfying conclusion.

It’s utterly devastating when stories you’re passionately invested in flounder sticking to the ending. Even the most promising anime is at risk of closing poorly if the writers don’t know how to neatly tie up the narrative and thematic threads that had viewers clinging so closely to fictional universes and personalities.

As an anime veteran who considers analyzing endings a critical part of evaluating any series’ lasting impact, I want to examine 15 anime series with bad endings that utterly dropped the ball wrapping up their ambitious sagas – and why their abrupt, confusing, or unearned resolutions so bitterly disappointed loyal fans.

Best 15 Anime That Ruined Its Ending

Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995)

Anime That Ruined Its Ending
  • IMDB: 8.6/10
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Psychological
  • Studio: Gainax, Tatsunoko Production
  • Watch on: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

What Went Wrong:

Hideaki Anno’s legendary mecha anime masterpiece spent 26 episodes analyzing loner protagonist Shinji’s severe depression, anxiety, and identity struggles while piloting humanity’s last defense robot Evangelion.

Critically exploring psychology remains utterly groundbreaking. However, the finale outright abandons any examination of Shinji’s turbulent mental state that was the entire show’s foundation.

Instead, it goes into weirdly abstract instrumentality symbology and introspection about human consciousness itself. Dropping the ball on an emotional character-centric conclusion after getting the audience intensely invested in Shinji’s mental well-being for over 20 hours felt like ruthless narrative betrayal.

The Promised Neverland (2019)

promised neverland, anime with dispointing ending
  • IMDB: 8.2/10
  • Genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Horror
  • Studio: CloverWorks
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation, HBO Max

What Went Wrong:

The Promised Neverland instantly earned confidence for its first season’s constant terrifying tension. Viewers became wholly attached to the lovely orphan characters and fascinated by the reveal that their idyllic home secretly farmed children to feed demons.

The escape plot had us utterly hooked…until halfway through season 2, everything compelling about the suspenseful cat-and-mouse game vanishes instantly.

Instead of showing whether Emma, Norman, and Ray can outplay their captors, the show arbitrarily leaps years later – conveniently after the children somehow staged a miraculous off-screen overthrow fans were desperately waiting seasons to see executed!

Skipping that long teased payoff climax so the anime could rush reboot its own timeline remains an infuriating waste of phenomenal buildup.

ERASED (2016)

anime with the worst endings
  • IMDB: 8.5/10
  • Genres: Mystery, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix

What Went Wrong:

ERASED had a killer premise sending blocked manga artist Satoru back to his childhood to uncover buried memories helping prevent a kidnapping and solve serial murders.

The stakes stay gripping as we try to unravel the mystery alongside the protagonist. However, the ultimate reveal depicts the surprisingly generic culprit with little coherent motive exploration given only one episode to explain his backstory.

After painfully slowly doling out clues for 12 episodes, failing to deliver a fully fleshed psychological profile behind the killer’s drives makes the denouement inadequate to justify the drawn-out mystery’s investment.

Darling in the Franxx (2018)

darling in franxx
  • IMDB: 7.3/10
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi
  • Studio: Trigger, A-1 Pictures
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Funimation, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

This epic mecha anime constructs fascinating dystopian sci-fi worldbuilding around children raised solely to pilot Franxx robots yet deprived of any emotional development.

The messy interpersonal drama proving the pilots develop agency and bonds despite literal programming aimed at preventing identity growth remains Darling in the Franxx’s strength…until the climactic space battle versus some random, asinine giant girl monster-metaphor completely disconnected from all human relationships the plot valued!!

Trading humanist themes of the found family for CGI explosions水 Crystal clear evidence of creator Atsushi Nishigori totally losing narrative focus at the end.

Related: Best Underrated Anime Series You Don’t Know About

Death Note (2006)

death note Anime That Ruined Its Ending
  • IMDB: 9/10
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Police, Psychological, Supernatural, Thriller
  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Where to watch: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Iconic crime thriller Death Note utterly redefined anime conventions by making its sociopathic supernatural serial killer the protagonist.

For 37 episodes, the elaborate mind games between eccentric detective L and calculating killer notebook user Light Yagami make Death Note wholly addicting viewing as genius rivals duel over moral questions of justice.

Yet frustratingly stupid, irrational missteps undermine characters in the literal final episode, ruining the intellectually satisfying cat-and-mouse tension so meticulously crafted until that point.

The nonsensical swerve remains a permanent stain on an otherwise legendary anime known for air-tight plotting.

Sword Art Online (2012)

sword art online
  • IMDB: 7.6/10
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures
  • Where to watch: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Sword Art Online traps gamers inside the fantasy virtual VRMMO they planned only playing for fun, raising unique existential stakes. Kirito and friends’ dangerous quest to release minds from the risk of digital limbo keeps SAO intense for nearly 50 episodes.

Regrettably, the cumbersome real-world rescue mission culminates abruptly as a quick light show before the “humdrum” time jump epilogue – completely skipping the emotional payoff of witnessing survivors reconnect that should be most narratively satisfying!

Denying viewers closure on the nerve-wracking rescue’s emotional implications makes all the obsessive immersion feel oddly shallow and wasted.

Claymore (2007)

claymore good anime with bad ending
  • IMDB: 8/10
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Studio: Madhouse
  • Where to watch: Funimation, Crunchyroll

What Went Wrong:

This dark medieval action series focuses on Clare joining an order of Claymores – elegant but unstable warrior women fused dangerously with demons – sworn to protect towns from monsters despite the fear and hatred of regular citizens.

Much of Claymore’s intrigue explores societal prejudice towards Clare’s kind. But inexplicably by the Teresa flashback finale, the narrative abandons examining Claymore’s persecution almost entirely despite the meticulous setup!

Changing course to weird extra-dimensional battles claymore politics previously ignored makes zero strategic sense given independent warriors were so disconnected from larger Holy Organization power structures until that arbitrary l

Related: Action-Packed Shounen Anime Series to Watch

Fena: Pirate Princess (2021)

fena pirate princess
  • IMDB: 7.2/10
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Studio: Production I.G
  • Where to watch: Adult Swim, Crunchyroll

What Went Wrong:

This Adult Swim adventure anime promised a fresh swashbuckling pirate fantasy led by spunky incognito princess Fena eagerly escaping her past.

Although inconsistent pacing caused hiccups, lush visuals and charming banter buoyed fans’ enthusiasm uncovering Fena’s identity and destiny.

Yet any showdown against the nefarious English lord abruptly evaporates after utterly pointless plot detours focused on misleading glowing orb Mcguffins!!

The still-shot epilogue forward even omits long-teased family reunions that should be most cathartic! Talk about reckless rush jobs dashed on the rocks! Admiral Yukimaru deserved to face Fena’s fury for vile assassination attempts more explicitly.

Princess Tutu (2002)

princess tutu
  • IMDB: 8.1/10
  • Genres: Comedy, Magic, Romance
  • Studio: Hal Film Maker
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

This uniquely heart-rending mahou shoujo explores the tragedy of storybook characters escaping their predestined fairy tale prisons.

Anguished Prince Mytho’s shattered heart and soul make for painfully gripping drama as gentle Ahiru tries restoring his fractured pieces by magically transforming into the brave ballerina Princess Tutu.

However, an ambitious narrative examining broken destinies and sacrifice gets scrapped entirely in the happy ending skipping over any consequences of existing solely as an illusion! We earned a more thoughtful conclusion around these magical girl themes.

Attack on Titan (2013)

attack on titan
  • IMDB: 9/10
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror
  • Studio: Wit Studio, MAPPA
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu, Funimation

What Went Wrong:

Despite MAPPA Studios’ beautiful work continuing Hajime Isayama’s monstrous post-apocalyptic epic, Attack on Titan’s conclusion cour disappointingly stumbles sticking its always captivatingly complex narrative.

Specifically, the manga’s latter half notoriously grew overburdened tackling societal critique threads, resulting in the anime’s truncated final season part hastily trying to tie up loose ends.

Unresolved plotlines like Historia’s lineage feel utterly unfinished after initial seasons carefully laid intriguing groundwork. The amiably vague last scene skipping forward years adds insult to injury rather than securing fans closure.

Related: Best Ninja Anime Shows: Get Ready For Fun Adventure!

Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)

fullmetal alchemist
  • IMDB: 8.4/10
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Studio: Bones
  • Watch on: Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll

What Went Wrong:

Before Brotherhood faithfully finished adapting the manga, the 2003 version forged ahead struggling once outpacing Hiromu Arakawa’s incomplete comic chapters mid-show.

Where both series strongly fulfill the wide-eyed Elric brothers’ poignant quest towards resolving talkative armor Alphonse and proud prodigy Edward’s tragic bodily damage from the youthful alchemic disaster, the original anime’s writers improvised a depressing deviation removing restoration of hope.

Worse, the baffling 2005 sequel movie Conqueror of Shamballa introduces Nazis?? Sheer narrative desperation further denies devoted fans a coherent conclusion. The entire messy, arbitrary plot dumpster fire damaged a phenomenal franchise.

Gintama° (2015)

  • IMDB: 8.7/10
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Parody
  • Studio: Sunrise
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Running gags fueled Gintama’s long reign as comedy king, with absurdist humor sharpened by occasional serious political arcs pulling goofball samurai Gintoki into heroic stands protecting commoner aliens and rebels from ruthless regime evil.

Years spent disarming villain Takasugi culminate in an all-out clash raising the bar and delivering a satisfying payoff…yet at the decisive moment, Gintama outright trolls its loyalists substituting an anime-original ending and skipping everything we wanted resolved!

No redemption for Takasugi’s extremism, Katsura’s earnest idealism wasted, and the beloved Odd Jobs family’s bonds blatantly sidelined for empty fan service. Series director Yoichi Fujita’s audacious bait-and-switch rightfully earns salt.

Akame ga Kill!

akame ga kill good anime series with disappointing ending
  • IMDB: 7.8/10
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Studio: White Fox
  • Watch on: Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Akame ga Kill! drew viewers into Night Raid’s ruthless rebellion against a corrupt empire with stylish action and charismatic assassins carrying symbolic Imperial Arms weapons.

However, seeking mainly bloodshed shock value, the abrupt tragedy ending erases fan favorite characters for sadness’ sake alone without concluding proper narrative justice or character arc payoffs built carefully over episodes. Randomly introducing previously unmentioned super weapons also cheapens the intimate combats.

Angel Beats!

angel beats anime with the worst endings
  • IMDB: 8.1/10
  • Genres: Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Studio: P.A. Works
  • Watch on: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Character backstories and quirky visual gags made the mix of purgatory adventures and existential high school drama compelling over 13 episodes even as Angel Beats pruned its extensive cast ruthlessly each arc.

But few ghosts apart from leads get emotional closure resolving their lingering regret traumas shown preventing peaceful passing on.

After emphasizing how cruel destinies hurt protagonists when alive, letting grief chains continue binding most to limbo violates themes about finding inner peace.

Related: Best Romantic Anime Movies Will Melt Your Heart

Tokyo Ghoul

tokyo ghoul Anime Ruined Its Ending
  • IMDB: 7.9/10
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror
  • Studio: Pierrot
  • Watch on: Funimation, Hulu

What Went Wrong:

Over two seasons, audiences rooted for the complicated bonds between humans and newly turned half-ghoul Kaneki as he struggles to find belonging torn between societies that reject his divergent needs.

Unfortunately Tokyo Ghoul:re relegates phenomenal personality dynamics integral to previous tragedies so irrelevant by the final arc that no one cares about the bloated concluding fight spectacle itself.

Choosing conventional battles over the unconventional bonds once so gripping represents utterly bankrupt narrative priorities.

My Opinion on These Anime With Bad Ending

These anime endings upset me so much because fans get wildly attached. When it seems creators stop caring and let things fall apart, it hurts way deeper than regular shows.

What frustrates me most is the wasted potential – all these series were nearly masterpiece-level if only they nailed the endings. But instead, they ruin everything right at the climax, crushing fans’ hopes.

After loving the cool ideas and characters for so long, awful rushed finales feel like betrayal. As a loyal fan, I still blindly hope someday they fix these endings we can’t accept after years of dedication.

In the end, crappy finales ripped fans’ hearts out by failing our investment when it counted most. Is anyone else still raging about an ending that ruined their favorite anime? We deserved better closure!

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