Tuesday’s Top 5: Ending Themes in 2018

Tuesday's Top 5

Continuing on with our Top 5 lists for the year that is 2018, this week I am turning my attention to the ending themes. Now, this list was a little harder to make because there are plenty of ED’s I don’t listen to after the first episode, which is why in previous years I haven’t even tried to do this list. Then again, if the ED is interesting it will make me hang around and so I’m going to roll out my list.

(If you missed the previous list you can check out my top 5 favourite openings here.)

Now what makes a good ending? I have no idea. I like endings that are fun to listen to or capture a theme in the story, but I also like character focused ED’s or ones that just play with their cast and characters. Really it could be one of a dozen things that grabs my interest, though I can guarantee still images and panning aren’t high on my list of priorities to watch each week.

Please feel free to share your favourites in the comments below.

Please Note – There probably won’t be any spoilers in this list.

Honourable mentions this week go to: How To Keep a Mummy and Darling in the Franxx.

Number 5: Steins;Gate 0 – The Last Game by Zwei

There’s something incredibly plaintive about this ending, which is probably what it was going for and even as it becomes more energised later in the song that underlying sorrow never really fades. As much as I wasn’t the biggest fan of Steins;Gate 0, didn’t dislike it but just couldn’t help but compare it to the original, I really did love this song each week and I will admit I didn’t skip listening even once. Great song, solid visuals, and a really good effort at capturing the core emotion of the story.


Number 4: Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Episode 3 – Negai Hana by Katsuyuki Konishi

This is an odd one because it isn’t the ending the whole way through. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi had some great music and I liked that at intervals various characters would get an ending focused on them, and in this case the Ogre Master’s voice actor performed the song, and in the process very nearly knocked Daisuke Ono off from being my favourite voice actor. The visuals aren’t much with this one, but I really loved this song.


Number 3: Dakaichi – Chuntaka! by Junta Azumaya (Yuuki Ono), Takato Saijou (Hiroki Takahashi)

There’s genuinely no excuse. The song is generic as, the slow pan over the characters and the heavy use of the stereo is pretty lazy. The dance sequence is simple and incredibly twee. And yet, I genuinely love this ending. It make me smile and I genuinely feel like getting up and dancing with the characters by the end of it. So while I will accept this song is very much not a sensible choice, and if I were to rewrite this list in six months it probably wouldn’t be here, right now this song is so getting this spot.

DAKAICHI Episode 1 - Junta and Takato

Number 2: March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 – I am Standing by Ruann

You want an ending that captures a character journey over an entire series, sounds great, and is visually interesting, than March Comes in Like a Lion delivers. I love the song and the mood it sets. I love how it shows Rei over his life and the heavy link to the water and colour symbolism used throughout the whole series. Favourite moment though is when he runs toward the colours and the sisters appear, Hina the last of them at the very centre, Rei’s sun. Truly beautiful and perfect for the anime.


Number 1: Banana Fish – Prayer X by King Gnu

Visually, this is perhaps the least impressive ED on the list, but the music is so incredibly distinctive and haunting and so perfectly suited to the character (as are the visuals) that I can’t help but get totally drawn into this. Just hearing the first few notes of the ED can suck me right in at this point and after listening to it the song will be stuck in my head for hours. I really love it and I feel it is the perfect song for the show so here it is at number 1.


Alright, over to you. What would you pick for your favourite anime endings in 2018?

30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 12

30 day anime challenge copy e1495940892299


Day 12: Best ending to an anime.

Anime is notorious for ending very poorly. So many stories end without resolution asking us to either read the manga, play the game, or wait for a sequel that will never come. So basically, any anime that actually ends is pretty good.

Still, best ending?

I’d have to give it to season 1 of Black Butler. I kind of felt that was the perfect end. Ciel had finally gotten his revenge and had resolved to hand his soul over to Sebastian. Not to mention he was dying anyway. They rowed down a river together musing about his life and getting a few flash backs before they arrived on the island. They had a touching conversation and then Sebastian moved in to finalise the contract where the show ended.


For a story about a boy out to punish those who hurt his family and his pride and willing to sell his soul to do so, this is pretty much the only ending that is going to make sense. It was kind of perfect. Season 2 managed to destroy this moment and that’s probably the reason I dislike season 2 so much.

What is your favourite anime ending?

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Karandi James.


Feature – On Anime Ending Badly

An anime ending badly is kind of a cliché at this point. Particularly if the anime deviates from source material and creates an original ending.

We’ve all watched anime series that have been amazing until that final episode. We’ve all cringed as the show has suddenly veered off a cliff and sent the characters and plot flying in all directions. I’ve often heard it asked by casual anime viewers why do so many anime end really badly?

An anime ending badly is unfortunately all too common.

I don’t actually have an answer but I figured it was worth looking at this topic. Firstly, what are some of the things anime do that considered bad ends?

Number 1: They don’t End.

This is my number 1 pet peeve and the response from some people that you should pick up the manga or the game of light novel or whatever the source material is does not make the lack of ending of the anime any better. While there are some notable American TV shows that also never got an ending (usually due to being cancelled), this seems to be a pervasive problem in anime.

So, even if we remove all the anime that don’t end because they were being used to advertise source material, we’re still left with anime that seem totally open ended. Romances that are just starting and characters that have only really begun moving along on their journey. This leaves the audience thinking why isn’t there a sequel or why would you end it there?

There’s probably no single answer but some of these can probably be attributed to cultural differences. In western literature we are big fans of having loose ends tied up and bringing things to a firm and definitive conclusion. That’s when the story ends (this is a mass generalisation and yes there are some good examples of literature that doesn’t conclusively resolve but statistically most of them will). But this is kind of true of English as a language.

We like to explicitly state what something is and be definite about it. This isn’t necessarily true of Japanese where a large number of things are implied rather than stated.

Would any reason actually make it any more satisfying for you to watch an anime that ‘doesn’t end’? Probably not, but some of those non-endings might be justified.

Key examples are Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, Pandora Hearts, No Game No Life, and dozens of other anime that just kind of stop and we wait for a sequel that never comes or go and read the books.

Number 2: They used the power of friendship?

The old combine our powers, work as a team, and somehow overcome the big scary thing we’ve been unable to even scratch up until this point ploy.

I recently commented on another blog (sorry can’t remember which one) that I don’t mind this so much as long as it is suggested all along that combining powers was an option and that friendship could in fact enhance those powers. if there is nothing to suggest this prior to the last episode than it is just lazy writing to get the characters out of an unwinnable situation.

Seriously, Sailor Moon can pull of a power of friendship ending as the scouts work with the Moon Princess to vanquish Beryl but that’s because love and friendship were core to the story. Just pulling out a power of friendship last minute save for a non-sensical problem is an issue (looking at you Kiznaiver).

Number 3: This is not my real power.

Right up there with the power of friendship. Yep, the hero suddenly has an unlock of some super never seen before (and usually never hinted at) hidden power that of course saves the day.

Same as the one above, if it is foreshadowed than go for it. If they just had no better solution, pass.

And seriously, too many examples of this to count. And this is definitely a sign of an anime ending badly because it feels so cheap and tacky. Also, overused at this point.

Number 4: They just killed everyone.

This is a hard one to really examine because there are so many different responses to this kind of ending. I mean, Shakespeare did it regularly in his tragedies and nobody really criticises that (being boring and long winded and impossible to understand are regularly criticisms but not the fact that everyone ends up dead in most of the tragedies). And I guess what it comes down to is purpose.

Are those deaths purposeful and meaningful to the narrative? If yes, go for it. The story won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but some people will really appreciate that you didn’t try to pull out of a death spiral at the last minute and give lip-service to happy endings.

However, if they are simply killing off a large cast of characters because they couldn’t think of a better way to make your ending dramatic than there is probably a few issues with the story other than the ending.

Another almost gets away with the massacre style ending because enough characters do survive to still feel there’s some kind of victory, but still, there were a lot of deaths in those final episodes and you have to wonder if all of them were needed.

Number 5: So the story actually ended about two episodes ago but now we’re going to the beach/hot spring/etc.

While this doesn’t actually mean the anime ended badly (there was probably a perfectly satisfying conclusion) it does leave you wondering why you are watching the additional episodes other than the fact that someone clearly was contractually obligated to deliver x number of episodes.

So what are some of the anime you’ve found that have a ‘bad’ ending and what is the worst way for an anime to end? Share your thoughts below.

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Karandi James