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12 Animated Series That Ended With One Final Emotional Gut Punch

January 22, 2021 4.5k votes 919 voters 40k views12 items

List RulesVote up the animated series that wrapped up with a perfect final moment.

Sometimes, one final emotional gut-punch is all it takes to elevate a finale from good to great. The final scene of a TV series is reserved for one last significant moment, whether it be an exciting thrill ride or a solemn walk off-screen. These beloved animated series didn't pull punches; they wanted us to feel the emotional significance of that final hit, which is now burned into our memories forever. 

Here are some of our favorite animated series that just couldn't end without one final emotional gut-punch. 

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  • They just don't make shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender anymore. Well, they do, since Netflix insists on rebooting a live-action version of the series, but if it's anything like M. Night Shyamalan's film adaptation, then we already know what to expect.

    The originality of the original series came from blending the American cartoon style with anime, which resulted in a truly unique art style. And of course the characters, themes, soundtrack, and depiction of East Asian culture exposed many young kids to a brand new world. 

    The series ended after three seasons with a big four-part finale called "Sozin's Comet," which saw the series protagonist Aang struggle with pacifism when it comes to defeating his enemies, especially Fire Lord Ozai (played by Mark Hamill). In the final installment, "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang" Aang has put away Ozai without killing him and life is starting to go back to normal. And just as the series is about to end, Katara follows Aang outside a pet shop and shares a passionate kiss with him, as if the ending wasn't already emotional enough.

    Emotional finale?
  • Don't be fooled by the title. There is nothing regular about Regular Show. The eight-season Cartoon Network show follows the misadventures a blue-collar raccoon and blue jay, Rigby and Mordecai, as they often find themselves in situations either surreal and supernatural. The show concluded with a three-part finale in January 2017 and left its dedicated viewers quite satisfied. 

    In the last segment of the finale, Mordecai and Rigby help Pops go into space and finally rid the world of the evil "Anti-Pops" who constantly threatened their existence. Pops is able to defeat Anti-Pops, but not without sacrificing his own life. The end of the episode becomes a montage of the next 25 years, seeing everyone happily live their lives, astutely set to the song "Heroes" by David Bowie. As if that wasn't enough, we realize that Pops has been watching the last 25 years unfold from some VHS player in heaven. The series ends when he pulls out the tape, labeled "Regular Show."

    Emotional finale?
  • Kim Possible premiered on Disney Channel in 2002 and resulted in four wonderfully adventurous seasons, two made-for-TV films, numerous video games, and even a recent live-action adaptation (which we really don't have to talk about). The official series canon ended with the two-part finale "Graduation Day," where we tearfully said goodbye to our favorite teen-spy heroine and her two companions, Ron Stoppable and his naked mole-rat, Rufus. 

    The series finale manages to satisfactorily wrap up pretty much everybody's storyline, including the two main antagonists (who finally come over to the good side) and even their high school bully, Bonnie. The series ends with Kim and Ron saving the world, just in time for their graduation, ending with a happy montage of the team enjoying their summer. The final scene melted our hearts when Ron and Kim share a passionate kiss before riding off into the moonrise. If those two didn't end up together, fans would've never forgiven the show. 

    Emotional finale?
  • Photo: Sunrise

    Commonly hailed as a masterpiece, the one-season sci-fi/neo-noir/space Western/anime series Cowboy Bebop is still talked about to this day, despite ending over 20 years ago. The series follows Spike Spiegel, a former member of the Red Dragon Syndicate who fakes his own demise in order to become a bounty hunter and take down the criminals he used to help. 

    The series ends with a two-part finale titled "The Real Folk Blues" that results in a final bloody confrontation between Spike and Vicious, the new leader of the Red Dragon Syndicate. Spike is able to slay his ruthless enemy, but not without suffering a serious wound to the abdomen. The series ends with Spike clutching his wound and collapsing down a flight of stairs, leaving his fate unknown in perpetuity (much like that scene in Blade Runner 2049

    Emotional finale?