Hoo boy. Here’s a loaded question if ever there was one.
Endings have a lot of power. Obviously. In many ways, they can make or break a story. Depending, of course, on the story itself. Some series out there, I’m sure, it’d be almost impossible to imagine ending any other way. We all have our favorite endings. But then… then there’s anime. Now, anime tends to deviate from the original source, all the time. It comes with the territory of doing an adaptation. There’s always going to be some transformative element when it comes to moving a work from one medium to another. That is, itself, a much broader topic, probably not suited for the tiny post format of this series. This is a question specifically about endings. Put simply, what do we all think of anime that have endings differentiating from the original source?
For those curious, the catalyst of this was We Never Learn, which ended the series’ anime run rather conclusively. Meanwhile, the manga is still going. And it’s kinda weird because… I don’t see how the manga can go on for a whole lot longer, considering the timeframe that the story has to exist in. So they probably could’ve squeezed another season out of it. And let me be clear. I’m not mad over the conclusion that the ending came to. I like it when a harem anime actually has the nerve to choose a definitive girl by the end and I don’t really get bent out of shape over who’s chosen, provided they did a good job of setting it up. But when I watched that ending, I couldn’t help feeling a bit… cheated. Because the series didn’t feel like it ended. It felt like it just… stopped. It was unsatisfying in the extreme. Especially given how much stuff they just kinda skipped over in an honestly lame montage in the last 5 minutes. There was no real conclusion.
And all of that is leaving aside much more famous examples like Toradora and (uy…) Soul Eater. Bones is well known for taking some pretty egregious liberties with the source material, in general. But the point here is endings. I do think they have their place, actually. Creative license exists for a reason. And I think it can be interesting to see different interpretations of where a story might conclude (I love me a good “What If?” scenario, after all). And I know a lot of the time it’s because the source is still going and the studio can’t sustain making the anime forever, so they just try to end things on their own terms, as gracefully as possible. But I know there tend to be a looot of examples of series that go the way of the anime-original ending that people roll their eyes at. Which is fair. As I said, they can kind of destroy a story if not handled well. So what about you? What’s your take on anime-original endings? Are there any you particularly enjoy, perhaps even more than the ending of the source material? Perhaps any you think should’ve been left alone?