"WTF" moments are an accepted — and often even anticipated — part of anime. After all, the genre is populated with titles as strange as Reverse Harem or Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and accepts the feasibility of characters with "naturally" green, blue and pink hair. When watching anime, a certain level of weirdness is part of the appeal.
Despite being implicitly irreverent, WTF bad anime endings are totally unacceptable. After a viewer has invested a lot of time and emotion into a series or franchise, the hope is that the narrative arc will come to a satisfying finish. When that doesn't happen, you know there's going to be trouble.
Inexplicable anime endings are not necessarily bad, particularly if the rest of the story has presented a whole heap of craziness. After all, if an anime is about mystical card games played on motorbikes in the future, how buttoned-up can the ending possibly be?
Even so, weird anime endings can still take people by surprise. Whether the story undergoes a massively unexpected tonal shift, throws a twist in at the very last moment, or just breaks the viewer's hearts into thousands of pieces after convincing them that everything would be just fine, a sloppy ending can sour one's memory of an entire series.
Here's a list of some of the most beloved anime that ended on a weird note.
- Video: YouTube
The legendarily gruesome shonen series Beserk follows the medieval warriors Griffith and Guts on their bloody quest for kingly status. Though there's plenty of political commentary to ground the action, the fantasy elements really crank up to 11 at the end, delivering a truly twisted finale.
After Guts rescues Griffith from wasting away in a torture dungeon, Griffith's necklace suddenly becomes a horrifying, screaming face, turns the world into a living nightmare, and offers Griffith the chance to become the ruler of Hell. After slaughtering all of his friends to secure the deal (and engaging in an absolutely sickening rape scene) Griffith takes the job, and the series abruptly ends with Guts walking off towards his next adventure.
- Photo: Funimation
With The Powerpuff Girls's aesthetic and Adult Swim's sense of raucous humor, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is yet another example of Gainax pushing creative boundaries. It's also another example of a classic WTF Gainax ending.
Titular sisters Panty and Stocking are angels with super-powered lingerie and a love of sugar. Like most celestial beings, their job involves slaying evil things, with Garterbelt acting as the "Charlie" to their "Angels."
The show is wonderfully surreal, but nothing could prepare viewers for the curveball it throws in the final episode. As the two sisters are enjoying their "walk off into the sunset" moment, Panty suddenly chops her sister into pieces and reveals that she's been a demon the whole time. It's hilariously fitting, but super frustrating in terms of closure.
- Photo: Toho
Based on Katsuhiro Otomo's groundbreaking manga of the same name, the plot and imagery in Akira is absolutely bonkers, and the ending doesn't leave viewers with any easily decipherable answers.
After Tetsuo — teen motorbike hooligan living in Neo Tokyo in 2019 — is infected by the byproduct of a covert military experiment, his body and mind become monstrous, and he is instilled with godlike powers.
The resulting saga ends with a bang (a Big Bang, in fact). The closing shot of the film sends the audience rushing through a psychedelic tunnel that — though this is not immediately obvious — is actually the start of a whole new universe. Woah.
- Photo: Funimation
This seinen series follows a young witch named Ayumi, who is cursed to lose her powers, and Haruo, the only person who can save her from this fate. Ayumi's mission is to try to awaken Haruo's magical potential, but first she has to get around his three super-protective sisters, who also happen to secretly be witches.
In the final episode, Haruo's potential is dramatically revealed to be linked to the evil and powerful Demon King. However, this actually doesn't matter, because the entire world is stuck in a never-ending Groundhog Day loop with no evidence to suggest that each new reoccurrence will be any different from the last. So, the whole show was pointless then?