There is plenty of fanfare over a great climax. Shows like Gurren Lagann have climaxes that stay in mind forever, but this is a post about the moments or even full episodes after the climax – the resolution. When people say that most anime has bad endings, they are usually referring to the weak or ambiguous resolutions. Here are some that were excellent.
It’s surprisingly difficult to find an anime that even has a resolution, much less a good one. Many anime end right at the climax (Cowboy Bebop), many don’t even have an ending (slice of life), and some are left open for continuation (Berserk, Tenamonya Voyagers). Plus, a lot of them just suck. I could only pick out 5 that I really love, and some are rather controversial. Be sure and mention some of your own favorites in the comments (and use spoiler notices!) I’m sure something like Code Geass would be on this list if I actually finished it lol.
OBVIOUSLY THERE WILL BE MAJOR END SPOILERS FOR THE ANIME LISTED!!! If you want to read anyway, DO NOT READ NUMBER 5 IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT!!!
5. Texhnolyze – Even though this is on the list, it’s a little hard to define as a resolution due to the nature of the ‘climax’. Over the last few episodes we watch every character in the show die brutally. Their death just kind of happen, though, as no ‘side’ takes down any other and, well, everyone just kind of dies one way or another, leaving the main character the only one left. He takes the little girl’s severed head and lets it sail down the river of light and then he kind of just finds a place to sleep, perhaps for the last time, as a pretty song plays. It’s one of those endings that leaves a deep, long-standing impression.
4. Kanokon – If you read my blog regularly, you may have seen this coming. Kanokon’s resolution pushed the show from ‘good’ to ‘great’ to me and immortalized it in my mind. It was the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to conventional harem anime, and a final stamp of the exceptionally liberal attitude of the show. The climax has Kouta and chizuru finally mutually in love, but there is a special resolution after the credits. The couple is about to bang when Nozomu shows up, saying not to write her out yet. Chizuru complains that she is Kouta’s wife now. Nozomu says, “then I am his mistress.” The magical part is that Chizuru accepts this, saying “lets just enjoy ourselves.” While Chizuru does want to keep the officiality of her relationship as the ‘main girl,’ she isn’t so selfish as to deny Nozomu’s love and force her away. After all, she loves Kouta too, so she must understand Nozomu’s love. This kind of relationship philosophy is one I can respect and support – it’s the anti-thesis of the love triangles I hate for these very reasons.
3. End of Evangelion – This is likely to be my most controversial choice. After the world has effectively ended, Rei’s giant corpse is laying in an infinite sea of blood from which giant crosses are springing. Shinji and Asuka are all that remain, lying on the beach of the red sea. Shinji strangles Asuka. Asuka says ‘I feel disgusting.’ End. What can I say? The scene is legendary. Does it make sense? Fuck if I know. I just know it’s amazing in that ‘this makes no sense therefor it is amazing’ kind of way. Call me pretentious.
2. Serial Experiments Lain – Speaking of pretentious. Surprisingly, the Lain ending made more sense than anything else in the show. Lain fizes the world by erasing herself from the memories of the world, thereby erasing herself. She continues to exist in the space between worlds, interacting with the world in unknown ways. It’s a very melancholy, bittersweet ending. Lain obviously must face veritable eternity alone, but we also feel as though she has gained great knowledge and become a sort of silent guardian of the world. Would be my favorite resolution if the #1 weren’t so perfect.
1. Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight – This show essentially has two climaxes – the plot climax in episode 11 and the emotional climax in episode 12. In the emotional one, Mikan overcomes her fear of leaving behind her friends and school to go into the real world and she goes off to America. Like many shows, Manabi deals with the pressure of leaving high school, but then it does what no other show does, solidifying it’s place as my second favorite anime ever. It SHOWS what happens to all the characters. Manabi becomes a freeter working random part-time jobs. Takako and Mei go on to college. Mutsuki becomes a pro baseball player. Momo startsas a freelance journalist. Mikan studies abroad in America. Seeing them all off on their lives was moving already, but after the credits we get a scene of the gang meeting up a year and a half later. They go to their old school and have a blast acting out the opening theme in what can only be called a moving recreation. It’s truly the perfect ending to this perfect series and one that continuously moves me to tears.
(just realized I had 2 ABe shows on this list…)
Two “ABe shows” in character design. What they are is two “Chiaki Konaka” shows — he did scripts for both Lain and Texhnolyze.
By the way, after her conversation with her “father”, Lain begins, cautiously, to write herself back into the world.
Asuka’s “Kimochi warui” takes on a whole different meaning when you hear the same voice actress, as Hazuki in Hyper Police say it after a night of serious drinking, and seeing it subbed as “I have a hangover”. I’ve been told that it’s not the line that Anno wrote for her (which she rejected as not being in character). I’ve never been able to track down Anno’s scripted line, however.
Ran dies in Texhnolyze? I’d forgotten. I do remember Ichise sitting/lying despondent as the end credits roll.
lulz, believe me, I know my Abe, I know who writes the damn things : p they are still Abe shows faar as I’m concerned. You can’t stop my raging fanboydom.
I’m still working out the kinks in my memories with Lain, so forgive me.
Yes, in fact, Shinji’s voice actor ended up strangling Asuka’s for real while they were trying to get the line. She came up with ‘kimochi warui’ when Anno told her to ‘imagine someone masturbating over her while she sleeps’
And damn, you don’t remember Ran dying? That was the most impactful part for me. It was way too gruesome.
That wasn’t Asuka, but an Asuke-Misato-Rei fusion. People think it’s Asuka because it had her hair and red outfit.
Also, your choices… well, I don’t really agree with them (although this only applies to the 3/5 I’ve seen). Mine would probably be Hinotori, Bersek and Terra e.
“Yes, in fact, Shinji’s voice actor ended up strangling Asuka’s for real while they were trying to get the line. She came up with ‘kimochi warui’ when Anno told her to ‘imagine someone masturbating over her while she sleeps’”
Yet more tales to add to the Evangelion lore.
But yeah, I’m having a tough time even remembering any resolutions from any series at all, or at least a tough time discerning a resolution from a usual climax at the end of series. Good call on Manabi Straight, one of my favorite slice of life endings ever. The last scene alone bumped up my personal evaluation of the show by a couple of points. “A Happy Life” :)
Wow, I actually saw 2 out of 5!! Lain and Eva, both great endings. Of course, there’s the vicious rumor that Lain fed off of Eva like a starving child off of a mother’s milk bottle. The Lain folk have denied it..
@ak: That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, and the shows are nothing alike. BURN THE HERETICS.
I’ve only seen Eva, and I like it despite never being sure what the fuck is going on. I’d put Gurren Lagann in, as well as Code Geass. I’ll do a little more thinking…
Ah, I remember that Eva ending. It confused the hell out of me when I first saw it, and reading about it like this has reminded me that it still makes no sense. Texhnolyze and Lain are great in a similar way as well – it’s hard to word the feelings of the viewer at the end of any of those shows, but I know that I was utterly impressed.
You know, I never really thought that hard about the ending to Kanokon. I suppose the way you put it means I can finally stop ‘hating’ Nozomu.