The sign of a good episode is when the last few seconds leave the viewer wanting more. Cliffhangers can be an excellent way to keep an audience coming back to see what happens next, and the anime medium is filled with them given how long some of their stories can be. However, there are times when a cliffhanger can kill suspense rather than boost it.
Sometimes it’s because the cliffhanger has no follow-up, and other times it’s because the subsequent episode immediately unceremoniously resolves it. Anyway, some cliffhangers are more anticlimactic than others.
10/10 Buff Nezuko is fun, but ruins the episode’s final moments
Demon Slaughter‘s The “Mugen Train Arc” ended up making a big splash in theaters, though that didn’t stop the anime from including it in season two, with a couple of extra scenes that weren’t shown in the movie. One of them comes at the end of episode 5 when Tanjiro’s imagination takes a bizarre turn and shows off an incredibly jacked version of Nezuko.
On the plus side, there is a fun reference to an extra from the manga. Unfortunately, it also saps the triumph and excitement of the episode’s final moments where Tanjiro and Inosuke derail the derailment train.
9/10 Kazuya confesses to Chizuru, but rewinds it
Admittedly, Rent-A-Girlfriend has more than a few cliffhangers that end up not going very far, but most of them are spoiled by the next episode. However, the last episode of this anime’s first season ends on a big note, as Kazuya admits that he really wants to date Chizuru. It would have been, but he immediately pulls out of it before the episode can really end.
While Kazuya once again crumbles under pressure is no shock to viewers, but ending the season with him admitting his feelings would have made for a decent cliffhanger. Shooting it down so quickly made it feel less like a finale and more like the end of any other episode.
8/10 Zed is alive, but it raises more questions than it answers
Kiba was an isekai that came out before the big isekai boom and managed to tell its entire story in 51 episodes, but the last episode goes on a rather confusing cliffhanger. Zed disappears after his great battle with the spirit Amir Gaoul, and for most of the epilogue it is not clear what happened to him.
Fortunately, viewers learn that he is alive back in his world, with a pair of glowing blue eyes and angel-like wings. Presumably, Zed and Amir Gaoul fused at the end of the fight, although the fight was never shown, so the reasons why it happened and how it brought him home are unclear. Since this was also the series finale, these new questions remain forever unanswered.
7/10 Anime ends abruptly without resolution
So I’m a spider, so what?
So I’m a spider, so what? had two stories running parallel to each other, one with the protagonist Kumoko reincarnated as a monster spider while the other is closer to a more traditional isekai anime. Things come to a head towards the end of the first run when it is revealed that the woman in white and the demon lord himself were both somehow Kumoko.
That’s about where the exciting twists end. The anime ends in a very unsatisfying way, as both stories are abruptly cut off in the middle of the plot with no resolution to anything. This cliffhanger is less like the end of a long season and more like it just stopped.
6/10 It’s pretty unceremonious that Goku suddenly lets everyone train Uub
Dragon Ball Z
Dragon Ball is one of the most iconic franchises in all of anime, thanks in large part to the success of Dragon Ball Z But the way it ends and went to the much less popular GT definitely feels anti-climactic and quite unceremonious too. Fast forward to the future, viewers watch as Goku meets Kid Buu’s reincarnation, Uub, and after a brief battle, they leave to train together.
For such a well-known anime as Dragon Ball Z, this finale and cliffhanger for GT is much less energetic than the rest of the series, and Goku suddenly leaves all his friends and family behind to train Uub, knowing how emotional the finale could have been.
5/10 Lawrence and Holo literally walk off into the sunset and that’s it
Spice & Wolf II
The emotional core of Spice and wolf is the relationship between the merchant Kraft Lawrence and the wolf spirit Holo as they travel together and grow closer over time. At the end of the anime’s second season, after trials and tribulations, the two finally admit their love for each other—an emotional climax that is undermined by the anime’s final moments.
As the city spirals into chaos, Lawrence and Holo team up to continue their journey, and the anime ends on an ambiguous note. Considering everyone else was bracing for upcoming violence from a coup d’état, it seems like it could have ended much heavier, but it fizzles out as there’s no follow-up in sight.
4/10 ExVeemon charges at MaloMyotismon, with zero chance of hitting him
Digimon Adventure 02
The longer the story arc, the more cliffhangers an anime can have. Digimon‘s long seasons tend to make too many of them, but not all are impactful or surprising. At the end of Adventure 02, MaloMyotismon is able to hold back the DigiDestined – except for Davis and ExVeemon – as the episode ends with him charging straight for the Mega level Digimon.
Considering that ExVeemon is only Champion level, it’s no surprise that he had no chance of winning at the beginning of the next episode. Although they got in some good hits, it was somewhat predictable that Davis and ExVeemon weren’t going to put MaloMyotismon down for good.
3/10 The conclusion of Ichigo vs. Grimmjow is interrupted by rags
Bleachthe arcs have always been long, so there are a lot of cliffhangers, especially in the middle of a hard fight. However, Ichigo’s fight with Grimmjow ends up killing his own hype. After Ichigo lands the final blow on Grimmjow, the anime interrupts the Hueco Mudo arc and begins a long-winded filler saga that ends up going nowhere.
As the anime returned to the main plot, the conclusion of Ichigo vs. Grimmjow more like a footnote than a rewarding ending. This cliffhanger was made by how the anime interrupted it.
2/10 Everyone congratulates Shinji, and much remains to be done
Neon Genesis Evangelion
Neon Genesis Evangelion is fondly remembered for many things, though the way the original anime run ended was not one of them. After the third-to-last episode ends with Shinji executing Kaoru, the final two episodes decide to take a surreal deep dive into the cast’s psyche rather than follow it up.
The latter of these two episodes ends on a positive note as Shinji reaches a point of self-realization, prompting everyone to congratulate him and ending with many plot threads dangling. It’s a cliffhanger that derails a previous cliffhanger and ends up not mattering The end of Evangelion comes around.
1/10 Kaneki vs. Arima, the match that has never been shown
Tokyo Ghoul √A
Tokyo Ghoul started incredibly popular, but it’s the second season √A is a notorious example of what happens when an anime loses its plot and meanders while trying to cram too much content into a short episode count. As a result, nothing could possibly have made the ending of this season the least bit satisfying.
Ultimately, √A‘scliffhanger ending disappoints viewers after Kaneki meets Arima. The anime interrupts their fight but implies that Kaneki lost, leaving things on an ambiguous note and cheating viewers out of what could have spiced up such a dull season with an exciting and climactic showdown.
NEXT: 10 Anime Shows That Rely Too Much On Cliffhangers