The 10 Most Controversial Anime Endings of All Time
The 10 Most Controversial Anime Endings of All Time

The 10 Most Controversial Anime Endings of All Time

The 10 Most Controversial Anime Endings of All Time

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Warning: This article has major spoilers for the Attack On Titan finale (as well as other anime).

Oftentimes, when an anime comes to an end, the fans begin to dissect and examine its conclusion. With a magnificent series like Attack On Titan finally over, fans have camped on opposite sides, and are heavily polarized by the finale.

But it’s not just AOT. Controversial anime endings have long been a topic of discussion amongst otaku. After all, so many things can make a diehard fan feel unsatisfied when their favorite anime is done. Perhaps it’s a case of an unfaithful adaptation of the manga, or the death of a fan-favorite? Either way, shock, anger, melancholy, and extreme grief are the order of the day for these polarizing series. These 10 anime have sparked some serious debates about their conclusions, and now, the highly divisive Eren Jeager, and the rest of the Attack On Titan crew have joined the ranks.

10. Tokyo Ghoul

Tokyo Ghoul was quick to win the love and attention of its audience after its first season. The anime was set in a world where humans and man-eaters called Ghouls co-exist. In this world, a college student named Kaneki becomes a half-ghoul after an accident and is forced to experience the life of being a ghoul and hiding his new identity from humanity. 

Despite its first season garnering praise from critics and fans alike, the rest of the anime went downhill pretty fast. The last season especially left its audience quite confused, and its conclusion didn’t help its case. It was miles apart from what the manga readers were expecting, and the liberties taken were seen as an unfaithful detour from the source material. Overall, Tokyo Ghoul went from being insanely loved, to being an extremely polarizing anime, particularly for its rushed and confusing ending.

9. Puella Magi Madoka Magica

The seemingly magical cutesy anime presented a dark and thought-provoking narrative, something different than what the genre’s audience is used to. The story follows Madoka Kaname, a seemingly ordinary girl who is offered a chance to become a magical girl. However, she soon discovers the grim and tragic consequences that come with this new power. 

Puella Magi Madoka Magica enjoyed a lot of fan praise during its run, but its conclusion would damage all the world-building it had created. The incredibly sad anime story ended with the protagonist Madoka erasing herself from existence. Why? In the hopes of rewriting the universe’s rules and preventing any more magical girls from becoming witches. Fans continuously debate whether Madoka’s self-sacrifice was a win or a loss, especially because her friends are left with no memories of her. 

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8. Berserk

Berserk is a dark and gritty fantasy anime that chronicles the harrowing odyssey of Guts, a solitary warrior scarred by a tragic past. Driven by an unquenchable desire for vengeance, he confronts a malevolent and supernatural entity, known as the God Hand. While the anime will forever remain acclaimed, Berserk’s finale did not sit well with the fans, and it’s fairly easy to see why.

The original run of Berserk concludes with the shocking and traumatic Eclipse event, in which Griffith’s betrayal triggers a nightmarish massacre within Guts’ mercenary band. Just as the destinies of Guts and his comrades hang in the balance, the series leaves viewers on a suspenseful cliffhanger, leaving numerous unresolved plot threads and an abrupt, unsatisfying conclusion for its audience.

7. Devilman Crybaby

Devilman Crybaby entered the anime world with quite a bang, shocking viewers with its graphic content and intense narrative. Moreover, its thrilling content took a back burner to an even more exciting plot. This modern reimagining of a classic, the series follows Akira Fudo, a young man who becomes a Devilman, a being with the power of both a demon and a human. As he battles demonic forces, Akira navigates the complexities of his dual nature and the moral dilemmas that arise. 

Saying goodbye to a beloved character in the finale can hurt, but bidding farewell to all the characters? Now that’s sure to ruffle more than a few feathers. Devilman Crybaby ends with a worldwide apocalypse where every character, including Akira, dies in a disastrous battle between angels and demons. This extremely controversial end left many fans of the anime in utter shock and disbelief. Furthermore, it began to stir up some major discussions about its symbolism and meaning. While certain viewers embraced its daring exploration of the grim, tragic reflection on the perpetual cycle of violence and hatred, some found it excessively harsh and merciless.

6. Akame Ga Kill

Akame Ga Kill is a dark and action-packed anime that follows Tatsumi, a warrior who joins an assassin group known as Night Raid, to combat a corrupt empire. Fueled by a desire for justice, the group targets high-ranking officials and faces intense battles and moral dilemmas. 

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Throughout the series, we watched many main characters meet their tragic ends. However, the worst of all was the death of Tatsumi, the central character. In its final episodes, the series strays far from the manga and concludes with the death of the entire main cast. While some viewers found this conclusion realistic, others felt that it deviated too much from the hopeful end of its source material.

5. Attack on Titan

To say Attack On Titan is a beloved anime is an understatement. Now, with the acclaimed series finally ended, the conclusion polarized fans all the more. Set in a world where humanity is on the brink of extinction due to giant humanoid creatures known as Titans, the story centers on a hapless youngster named Eren Yeager. Eren and his friends join the military to fight the Titans and uncover the mysteries of their walled society. 

After a decade-long watch, viewers finally said goodbye to the brilliantly written characters. However, Attack On Titan’s finale didn’t impress everyone. The series ends with Eren killing off 80% of humanity and setting his friends up to be the heroes who kill him. The anime also strayed slightly from the ending proposed by the manga. While many manga readers were happy for the change, many anime-only watchers found the series’ end anti-climatic and underwhelming. Some have called it sloppy and rushed, while expressing that the story’s end could have been treated with a bit more care. 

4. Code Geass

Code Geass is a sci-fi anime set in an alternative future where the Holy Britannian Empire has subjugated Japan. The series follows the story of Lelouch Lamperouge, a young man who acquires a mysterious power called Geass, enabling him to manipulate others. Subsequently, he employs this newfound ability to lead a rebellion against Britannia. 

This politically charged anime concludes with Lelouch orchestrating his own assassination to establish global peace. His intricate plan involved assuming the role of a despised tyrant and using his death as a catalyst for worldwide unity. While some viewers lauded the ending for its profound sacrifice, others found it selfish and an act of manipulation.

3. The Promised Neverland

The gradual descent of The Promised Neverland after season 1 came as a major shock to fans. What was touted as one of the most hyped anime of 2019 took a downward, messy turn. The mystery thriller anime revolves around a set of orphans living in a seemingly idyllic orphanage but the children soon discover a sinister secret: they are being raised as livestock for monstrous creatures. Overall, the anime follows their desperate escape plan. 

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As aforementioned, season 2 of this thrilling anime was a true letdown. Despite the manga being complete, the anime chose to skip the most popular arc of the story. Moreover, the anime was extremely rushed, attempting to squeeze a fully-formed longform series into 12 episodes. This caused several plot holes and a rushed conclusion, making it one of the most controversial anime endings of all time.

2. Death Note

Indeed, Death Note is renowned for its captivating rollercoaster of suspense and intrigue. The psychological thriller anime centers around Light Yagami, a brilliant high school student who stumbles upon a supernatural notebook granting him the power to eliminate anyone by writing their name. As Light exploits the Death Note to rid the world of criminals, he catches the attention of the enigmatic genius detective, L. 

While the series enjoyed widespread admiration within the anime community, its conclusion has continuously sparked debates. In the final episodes, Light is outwitted by L’s successor, Near, a twist that some fans felt was an abrupt departure from Light’s unbeatable character. Critics also noted that Near’s character lacked the depth and development necessary for Light’s defeat to carry the same weight. With L gone, many had expected a tragic, yet realistic end. However, introducing a perfect savior right at the tail-end of the anime was frowned upon.

1. Neon Genesis Evangelion

Often cited as one of the most iconic and polarizing anime series of all time, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a groundbreaking mecha anime that follows Shinji Ikari as he is recruited to pilot a giant bio-mechanical robot to protect humanity. With many psychological elements, the characters are truly relatable in almost every way. 

However, the series ends with a self-examining exploration of Shinji’s psyche, instead of an actual conclusion to the anime’s ongoing plot. This left many viewers perplexed and frustrated. Furthermore, the abstract and surreal nature of the ending raised numerous questions. Neon Genesis Evangelion has been complex since its first episode, but the ending literally had fans demanding for a straightforward resolution to the overall narrative. 


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