Manga Endings

Why are good endings in manga so rare (not counting cancelled manga) and which is the worse ending style in your opinion, unrealistically happy or bitterly unresolved? (examples below)

On the one hand you have overly happy endings like Kokou no Hito or Naruto where every consequence of the final struggle is tossed aside to make people feel happy at the end or nostalgic for having enjoyed the series at some point...but it offers no material conclusion to anything that happened and makes it impossible to take the struggle seriously upon reread since it doesn't go anywhere.

But on the other hand, you can have a series like Mugen no Junin where every plot line is brutally killed off before it can meet its ultimate resolution and the series resolves itself by saying nothing that happened actually mattered or Sket Dance where everyone gets a happy end except the guy who helped everyone else as if he didn't learn anything from the series and just totally regressed in the end. These endings seem intent on ending things where they started (a shitty thing for anyone who enjoyed following the journey) but the way they add a time-skip to just confirm things never worked out positively just seems excessively bitter.

Does anyone know if culturally the Japanese actually think these sorts of endings are satisfying or is it expected most people just want the thing to end after a certain amount of time and don't care how? I just feel like it's the ultimate dick move by the author since no matter how much you loved the series the first time, upon reread it will always be unfulfilling in the end.

tl;dr Why can't manga authors go for endings that resolve stuff?

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How Kokou no Hito has a "overly happy ending"? Dude lost some fingers. He will never be a great climber again.

Well maybe you don't know but the real guy the story is about died, and he also died in the novelization of his life which is what the manga was adapting

It's overly happy because after all these struggles, it broke the rules of its own universe to give the protagonist a happy ending he couldn't have had, it spent 40 chapters or so saying there was no way he could survive, in a story where readers knew he actually didn't and then randomly at the last page he's revealed to be just fine and had no consequences (not being able to climb is not a consequence, since he was not supposed to take that final climb to begin with)

The author even mentions he decided last minute to have him live because he couldn't decide, it's pretty obvious he did it because he felt bad having him die, but the problem is that invalidates the entire final arc and the actual message of the manga

I agree that him dying would make more sense, i just don't agree with "not being able to climb is not a consequence". Climbing was his biggest passion, of course is a consequence.

And about Blade of the Immortal: that manga was kind of aimless long before the ending. I wasn't expecting a proper conclusion to the main plotline anyways so for me the ending was ok.

Anyways, of all manga i have ever read, Lone Wolf and Cub and Ashita no Joe are the ones with the best endings.

>Does anyone know if culturally the Japanese actually think these sorts of endings are satisfying
I haven't taken the chance to go over many 2ch (5ch) threads for manga finales, but I think there's at least some overlapping agreement between 'us and them' per say on some things. Like for example Eden no Ori, it was a bit of relief to all the blueballed stress I felt about how it ended to see that at least some guys on a matome site were wtf'ing as much as I was. I don't know if it's enough to speak to their culture wholly, but I think we can be glad enough that there are no stupid 2ch posters and that like us they can spot bullshit where it stinks.

Manga authors are infamously bad at doing endings primarily because they aren't really written with an ending in mind. You never know when a series is gonna be axed, but at the same time you want to stretch it out for what it's worth. You're rarely 100% prepared when the shoe finally drops. How folks like Mizukami consistently manage to nail their endings is beyond me, though.

I thought that the ending of Blade of the Immortal was ok. Not great, but ok. It was more about the journey than the destination in the end (as cliche as it sounds).

>the way they add a time-skip to just confirm things never worked out positively just seems excessively bitter
I fucking hate most endings with a time-skip epilogue. I'd rather have something unconclusive sometimes. I want to see the plotlines properly closed, but not to the point of explaining us how the MC went to America to work as a rocket scientist, that best girl married some loser and popped out three kids who look exactly like their parents and other shit I don't give a fuck about. Let some things up to the reader's imagination.

No, the Kokou no Hito mangaka decided to have Buntarou live because Fukushima happened when he was drawing the last chapters. He was shocked and wanted to offer a hopeful ending, where even if you lose important things you can still go on.
Also I thought Buntarou never made it to the Everest in the novel anyway, and died in the Alps or something.

Endings are hard. Even most authors suck at them. Which is why most authors advise to come up with an ending first. Which manga and anime writers most likely never do.

TWGOK and Prison school both got good final chapters but the monkeys paw is that both had abysmal final arcs leading up to them. I think both mangaka had the broad strokes of their endings planned for a long time but fumbled in getting there.

I think it the phenomenon has a lot to do with the publication schedule of manga becoming a marathon for authors that can possibly lead to burn-out on their own stories and often not leaving time for good plot structuring.


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Well, fair enough, I'm not saying he was wrong for being affected by current events but I'm saying rather it's a bummer because it affects the timelessness of the story. It was a story with a very specific end in mind all along, changing the end basically undoes the story and what does it suggest about the legacy of the actual guy who died?

The happy ending should have been that he made it to the peak, not that he then magically lived afterward despite knowingly making the biggest mistake of his life that actually was a mistake. Everyone else dies but him, it's a little hard to accept as a resolution.

>Lone Wolf and Cub and Ashita no Joe are the ones with the best endings.
I already know the ending to Joe but I will have to move these way higher up my priority list, I've meant to read them for years and I'm getting a little too tired of manga where the ending just leaves me feeling stupid for getting so invested in everything.

Blade of the Immortal is just fresh on my mind because as much as I loved it while it was ongoing, I decided on the weekend to dig out all my tanks and read the entire thing all over for the first time since it ended

I did the whole series in a day-and-a-half of nothing but reading and while I noticed some things I missed the first time because there was too much time between chapters, I felt like the ending basically fucked up every single plotline imaginable and by the end I felt Samura was just trolling people (like having the strongest character in a series about close combat get killed by the only barrage of gunfire in the series that just comes out of nowhere, or having the final battle be with the protagonist using some giant's arm that he put on backwards) but even with everything ending badly and the happy endings going to characters who didn't really matter, it was that ninety year time-skip that was so insulting

Why would the author think anybody wants to have it confirmed that Rin loved Manji until her dying day so much that she entrusted her love to her own descendants to pass on, and when they do (only two generations later!), he already forgot she ever existed and it's revealed everything that the Itto-ryu was fighting for was meaningless because swords got outlawed (as if implying Japan's military today doesn't exist because they became soft and not because they did exactly what the Itto-ryu wanted and it bit them in the ass)

Like, Jesus, the author basically went out of his way to say that nothing in this series mattered and the only guy left who was there for the stuff has already forgotten all about it (who the fuck forgets probably the only person that ever tried to give up their life to save you, and in so few years too!)

And Manji being alive in ninety years doesn't even make sense with all the bullshit about how the doctor said what makes him immortal is his need to repay for his past and yet he just forgot all about his past

>like Mizukami consistently manage to nail their endings is beyond me, though.
because he never drags his stories

This is probably something that should have been mentioned in the OP, since obviously short works can have great endings, it's more the notion of a series that lasts for a decade or more or has hundreds of chapters or more having a bad ending that is frustrating because by nature those are the series the people are invested in, for the longest period of time. What's the point of an author dragging out a series for twenty years if the ending will be insultingly bad, might as well stop it earlier and start a new work.

Maybe I wasn't paying attention but I still don't understand Lone Wolf and Cub's ending.
Why Retsudo allowed Daigoro to kill him? Why did he call him "Grandson"? I don't remember anything about Daigoro's mother being related to Retsudo

I never wanted to remove a memory so badly like this manga. I swear it was so good, but this broke me. Why the fuck did it end?
Picture is Fujimi Lovers

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I love you


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What did he do to deserve such a cruel fate?

>Endings are hard. Even most authors suck at them. Which is why most authors advise to come up with an ending first. Which manga and anime writers most likely never do.

True. Statistically, they're going to be spending far more time writing middles than endings.
I think the prominence of manga in Japan, and its serial nature and sometimes aggressive cancellations, just reinforces the difficulty until it's almost an overall cultural blind spot; the medium actively encourages them to not plan ahead, and denies them even the indirect experience of seeing other authors get good endings.

Compare to the opposite extreme of the west, which has less emphasis on comics and more on movies and novels. Even though we also do longer series, we're still holding on to an old informal rule: at least the first book/movie should have a clear end so it's not total shit if it wasn't popular enough to be continued.
That has the side effect of authors writing as many endings as beginnings, at least until they get more popular.

Cage of Eden had one of the worst non-endings I have ever seen.

It was so good in the beginning. It had great girls, an interesting story and the drawing quality was alright. How could it end in such a disaster?

Well, if you look at American comics that are creator-owned and long-running in the same way manga are (there's not a lot of them), they do tend to fall into similar traps when it comes to endings (for example, Transmetropolitan does the exact same thing as Kokou no Hito where the entire final arc is driven by the idea the protagonist will die and knows he's dying and then in the last page of the series he's magically recovered), though you would think manga would be less likely to do that stuff since it's much more the work of what should be a single vision (though obviously there are outside influences).

I would have thought knowing you could get cancelled would actually reinforce an author to know their ending before they start, so that no matter when it ends, it will be a well-remembered work in their final legacy that can be gone back to by any fans they later acquire and not just a story that had potential and went nowhere.

Not my blog, but Devilman, Onani Master, Molester Man, Oyasumi Punpun, Uzumaki, Aku no Hana, Slam Dunk, these have good/great endings, but yeah, if you think about it, they doesn't resolve stuff much

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Thanks to that fucking manga i have very low expectations for the ending of every new manga i pick up.

You have to consider also that mangaka don't really get a lot of practice writing endings. Many manga last waaaaay longer than novels. An industrious writer can probably write about a novel every year or so. Successful manga can go on for decades. Even a manga like Assassination Classroom, which is pretty restrained for a successful SJ manga, lasted 4 years. Mangaka continually practice the "beginning" (oneshots, early axe serializations) and the "middle" (successful serialization), but they comparatively rarely end a sustained story. Even authors of novel series that get milked to shit over decades, like manga, have to give an ending to each individual installment, so they still end up having more experience.

Well it got cancelled so you shouldn't have expected much.

The fuck you mean Bossun didn't have a happy ending?
The guy's actually doing the one thing he figured out he wanted to do for himself.

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Most long running media tend to have poor or bad endings. Manga, books, TV series, or movie series. It is just really tough to have a satisfying end without falling into cliches.

One of the few good manga endings also comes from the manga that recognized that Japan doesn't give a shit about endings

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I guess it's a positive end if you're a Christian or something but I didn't feel like completely running away from his life and everyone who cares about him and he cares about is the definition of a happy ending. The way it was written out of nowhere felt much more like he had a crisis of not knowing what to do after high school or how to be a dependable person to everyone he cared about so he abandoned everyone to start over somewhere else.

It would be very different if he made the decision earlier and was working towards it or if he was able to do this stuff without having to cut out everyone else from his life. I mean the story was previously about him adjusting to his family, his twin brother and his friends and then when he helped them all, he left as if he couldn't figure out where he fit in to all that. I don't know, the way it was done so drastically after a nice comfy series, it may as well have ended saying he took a trip to some place and killed himself and everybody else lived happily ever after.

The flaw in that case is more the way it was written, not necessarily the stuff that happened.

>Fujimi Lovers
How do you ruin such a brilliant premise?


>disliking the ending of kokou no hito
Ok, edgefag.

I dont know, I wished for an actual ending. I wished i could forget ever reading it. The idea is brilliant but not 100 times. The suffering is too great, my heart still aches.

>guess it's a positive end if you're a Christian or something
What a weird thing to say.

Just be honest about the ending. You just didn't like that he and Himeko didn't end up together at the end. That was the only bad thing about the ending. Bossun not wanting to go to college and instead go off and find a career where he is free to help people is perfectly in character for him. The entire series was setting that up.

Because the majority of mangaka aren't able to end the series on their terms. It's like TV shows, where nobody knows when the series will get the axe, so they either rush the ending or pad it out way too much.

Sorry I didn't know of any other religions that did missionary type stuff. It's a very Christ-like sacrifice and therefore unappealing to me because it feels unrealistic.

I guess we were reading different manga but that's fine. That one was probably on me because I interpreted his actions the way a person with suicidal tendencies would, but it definitely came out of nowhere and was not at all what anything was building to. How could a manga about saving and befriending people who came to rely on you and coming to terms with your family be building to leaving everyone and being a lone wolf character who saves strangers without the help of his friends.

It wouldn't have felt so weird if he did it locally or something, the Himeko thing was stupid sure, but that's just a bad way to not resolve something, Shinohara could have done the same thing without Bossun literally running away and it would seem more in character and positive.

I guess it could have also been a big buddhist with him forgoing material wealth or a career for a life of being a nomad helping people for self fulfillment.

I think if they just had Bossun and Himeko end up together or acknowledge their feelings then it would have ended fine. I think they just passed it off as Bossun not realizing his feelings for her yet and even though Hemiko did did not come across well given how much time was put into their relationship.

Fuck this manga. I thought we had things settled with the cake but nooooo. MC doesn't deserve this.

>MC doesn't deserve this
I am still thinking why the author didnt gave him a happy ending.

I know this manga is pretty new and it's a SOL, but if mc and meido never get to hold hands I'm going to be depressed.

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What the hell are you me? I just started reading it 15 minutes ago. I feel really bad for the MC. I get Fujimi Lover vibes from the manga, I hope it doesnt end like it.

I just caught up 10 minutes ago. I'm not getting as heavy despair vibes from this one, more of a bittersweet feel. I'm curious to see where this goes. I kinda hope the witch shows up and is able to touch the mc. I can already picture the witch teasing mc, which then gets the maid angry.

Apparently this was only part 1, but it's already been 5 years..

>Apparently this was only part 1, but it's already been 5 years..
We should give up
>I just caught up 10 minutes ago. I'm not getting as heavy despair vibes from this one, more of a bittersweet feel. I'm curious to see where this goes. I kinda hope the witch shows up and is able to touch the mc. I can already picture the witch teasing mc, which then gets the maid angry.
That would be fun, reverse tease is great. Its really bittersweet, i hope for a diabetis ending.

Me too, but Japan likes their bittersweet endings. I kinda expect it to end abruptly with an open ended ending.

Why do the nips have such a shit taste?