A masterful anime ending brings the narrative a sense of closure and draws its extensive emotional journey to an end. Some stories build up their narratives over decades to culminate in a massively anticipated finale, while others prevail as standalone, self-contained series that end after a single season. Regardless of length, fans will get invested as long as the story is executed well and will look forward to the climax of their favorite series with bated breath.
Not every anime series receives a worthy ending. Many long-running shows get canceled midway or fail to create a satisfying original ending when the source material is still unfinished. However, the shows that nail their finales stick with fans forever, proving that their incredible conclusions were always worth the wait.
Updated on October 20th, 2022 by Kennedy King: As the growth of the anime genre continues to increase, more and more series are finally receiving the conclusions that they always deserved. Countless titles have ended over the past few years that deserve recognition for their value as both art and entertainment. Whether they’re staples of the genre or unheralded titles waiting for their big break, they found a way to wrap up their narratives in a more-than-satisfying fashion.
15/15 Dragon Ball GT Ended A Historic Series That Spanned Multiple Decades
The Dragon Ball franchise is quite possibly the most influential in the history of anime, having dominated the shonen genre since its debut in 1984. Over the next three decades, it released 500 episodes and culminated in the series finale of its first sequel, Dragon Ball GT.
Eventually, the Dragon Ball franchise retconned this series in favor of depicting the events of Dragon Ball Super. However, it served as the conclusive finale for over 15 years, leaving a lasting impact in the minds of fans. Dragon Ball GT isn’t as well-received as Akira Toriyama’s other titles, but its heartfelt farewell is the only scene that affirmatively provides an end to what is arguably the most beloved shonen title of all time.
14/15 Naruto: Shippuden Showed Fans The Final Steps In Naruto’s Maturation Process
As with many long-running shone titles, Naruto‘s overwhelming episode count — 720 episodes, including non-canon material — eventually became a barrier to entry for many prospective fans. Those who do make it through the series will be rewarded with one of the most satisfying endings in anime history.
While Naruto and Sasuke’s final bout against Kaguya may be a bit of a letdown, the penultimate episode of Shippudencouldn’t get much better. The titular protagonist is wed to Hinata, marking the final step of maturation for a shinobi who grew up right beside his own viewers.
13/15 Attack On Titan’s Final Season Has Generated As Much Steam As The Colossal Titan
Attack on Titan will air its final episode sometime during 2023. However, Attack on Titan is now two-thirds through its final season, and it’s safe to say that the series has been everything that fans have been hoping for and more.
Several long production breaks risked alienating this show from its viewers, but thanks to its consistently high quality, it was able to reach mainstream levels of success in Western markets. Fans will undoubtedly make the show’s final episode one of the most viewed in history, appropriately solidifying it within anime history.
12/15 Major Captures What It’s Like To Enjoy A Successful Career As A Professional Athlete
Despite its American roots, baseball is the most popular sport in all of Japan. Due to its prevalence in Japan, there are several notable anime series that depict it being played, yet none are more popular than the 154-episode series, Major. Spread across six different seasons, this sports title follows Goro Honda as he rises from the ranks of youth baseball to the major leagues.
Major ran for almost six years, and since it depicts much of Honda’s life as he progresses through his career, the show feels like its spans an even longer period of time. This makes it all the more satisfying when Honda hangs up the cleats on what was undoubtedly a Hall of Fame-worthy career.
11/15 Death Note’s Narrative Is Compelling Until Its Bitter End
In many regards, Death Note is a bit of a black sheep when it comes to shonen anime titles. The show doesn’t follow a conventional shonen narrative structure, and as a result, it has a reputation for being among the most unique series in the genre. This, of course, extends to its ending, which depicts the inevitable death of Light Yagami.
Compared to its peers, Death Note did not have a particularly long run on television — its entire run lasting under nine months — but because of its dense narrative, its thirty-seven episodes feel like they drag on for much longer. By the time Light finally met his end, fans of the series were barely able to conceal their anticipation.
10/15 Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Gave The Story A Proper Conclusion
Fullmetal Alchemist rightfully sits at the top of every anime ranking and upholds its cult-classic status amongst fans and critics alike. The story of Fullmetal Alchemist‘s anime adaptations starts with the 2003 version, which infamously changed the series’ ending due to the manga being still unfinished.
In 2009, the massively popular story received a more faithful remake, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which brought the series’ legendary finale over to the anime-only audience and secured the show’s standing as a timeless shonen classic. Brotherhood‘s intense and thrilling run culminated in one of the most satisfying endings in anime history, and every fan of the medium has to experience it at least once in their lifetime.
9/15 Assassination Classroom’s Ending Made The Fans Rightfully Emotional
Assassination Classroom became a hit show at the time of its release, captivating the fans with its unique premise and vibrant, unconventional characters. The endearing, overpowered monster, Koro-sensei, and his class of murderous delinquents won the hearts of myriads of viewers. Nevertheless, the series’ soul-stirring conclusion made many fans’ hearts sink.
Over the years of the show’s run, everyone got immensely attached to Assassination Classroom‘s lovable cast, so seeing the students of 3-E finally fulfill their mission and put their teacher to rest was shockingly heartbreaking.
8/15 Hunter X Hunter’s Anime Ending Pays Homage To Its Hero’s Original Goal
Despite the Hunter x Hunter manga still serializing, the 2011 anime adaptation of the beloved series concluded its section of the story in a fulfilling manner. Unlike many shows that aim to adapt an ongoing series, Hunter x Hunter made sure to give anime-only fans an end that’s worth the three-year-long wait.
The series goes back to the roots of Gon’s long journey and ends with the long-awaited meeting between the hero and his missing father, Ging. And while Hunter x Hunter has much more in stock saved for the future, this ending was a satisfying finale to this chapter of the narrative’s story.
7/15 Clannad: After Story Made Every Fan Cry Their Eyes Out
The 2007 slice-of-life series Clannad presents the audience with a simple yet authentic story of apathetic delinquent Tomoya Okazaki growing into a better person by helping his female classmates with their internal struggles. However, the show’s second season, Clannad: After Story, transformed the narrative’s unsophisticated premise into something way more emotive and brilliantly soul-crushing.
After Story goes into way heavier themes, covering the concepts of trauma, death, and the influence people can have on each other’s lives. Even if the first season of the show might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s definitely worth the watch for the brilliance of After Story‘s conclusion.
6/15 Kuroko’s Basketball Is A Blast To Watch Till The Very End
During the rise of sports anime in the early 2010s, Kuroko’s Basketball was one of the most popular shows in the shonen genre. Despite its overpowered protagonists and over-the-top basketball matches, the series became a beloved genre staple, managing to engage the viewers with its brilliant character writing and compelling showdowns.
Unlike many other sports series, Kuroko’s Basketball is satisfying and conclusively ends Seirin’s difficult journey to school basketball stardom. The series’ intense finale combined everything fans loved about the anime and gave its all to offering Kuroko’s Basketball a well-realized conclusion.
5/15 Legend Of The Galactic Heroes Delivers A Conclusive Ending To Its Complex Narrative
The space opera genre is famous for its tense narratives that clash countless characters and factions in a never-ending conflict. However, the anime industry has one example of a space opera epic receiving a gratifying finale that leaves the audience satisfyingly heartbroken and content.
Legend of the Galactic Heroes is infamous for its expansive cast of characters, complex political plotline, and frightening length. Nevertheless, the series’ plotline builds up over a hundred episodes to deliver a brilliant conclusion to the long-running political saga.
4/15 Monster’s Finale Clashes Its Ideological Opponents In A Long-Awaited Final Collision
Monster is often regarded as one of the most suspenseful and realistic psychological horror series in the anime industry, uncovering the terrifying depths of human cruelty. The thrilling series follows the journey of brilliant Japanese surgeon Kenzou Tenma from the moment he saves a seemingly innocent boy, Johan.
Johan later reveals himself to be a serial killer, and the series ends with the final confrontation between the hero and his opponent. Monster doesn’t break its extensive story into multiple seasons. The show’s complicated yet endlessly engaging narrative flows as a single tale that concludes with one of the most anticipated clashes in the medium’s history.
3/15 Evangelion Fans Have Been Waiting 26 Years For The Story’s Refined Finale
Neon Genesis Evangelion was a revolutionary reconstruction of the mecha genre at the time of its release in the late ’90s. Unfortunately, multiple production issues led to unexpected changes to the original anime’s ending.
Over the decades, Evangelion‘s creator, Hideaki Anno, has been trying to give the franchise a proper conclusion by reimagining the show through a series of feature films. Finally, 26 years after the anime’s release, Shinji Ikari’s monumental saga came to an end in Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time, a soul-crushing conclusion worthy of the legendary franchise.
2/15 Code Geass Has One Of The Most Memorable Final Episodes In Anime History
The ending of the epic mecha anime Code Geass had an astounding effect on the industry landscape. The thrilling story of Lelouch Lamperouge, the genius teenage strategist possessing a mysterious “Power of Kings,” and his rebellion against the military nation of Britannia captivated anime fans with its intense plot and vibrant characters.
Despite the mixed opinions on the show’s overall narrative qualities, Code Geass’ ending earned the series its legendary status. Lelouch’s sacrificial death in the last episode of the anime’s second season shocked viewers and became iconic for its significance and narrative effectiveness.
1/15 Gintama Ended Its 15-Year-Long Run With A Sentimental Movie
Long-running shonen series rarely get a satisfying conclusion and usually struggle to maintain their quality over the years. An unusual example of a Shonen Jump classic receiving a brilliant canonical finale in the form of a long-awaited final movie in 2021 is Gintama.
The iconic comedy Goliath of the genre had an extensive run and a rich history, persisting through multiple cancellations, studio changes, and fake endings. The final act of Gintama‘s magnificent story received a brilliant theatrical treatment, which was a fitting end to the legendary franchise.
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