This may seem like an extremely depressing lesson to start with. However, I picked it because this is really the foundation of anime. The first anime movie I ever saw was Vampire Hunter D and the first series I was crazy enough about to follow religiously was “Cowboy Bebop.” I think what initially appealed to me so much about anime was that you never really knew how it would end. It was now a very real possibility that the bad guy would win and the good guy would die or Earth would be blown up or any other variety of possibilities.
I’m sure there are people out there who will disagree with me and point out dozens of anime that end happily. I’m glad those shows are out there-it would be horrible to be depressed all the time. And at this point, I like a happily ever after now and then to keep me on my toes; unhappy endings have become so cliche that if my brother finishes a series before I do, I jokingly ask, “How does it end? Let me guess-everyone dies.”
I was agonizing over the best example of this when my brother said, “Ran.” And he is absolutely right. Now, I know you’re saying, “But Ran isn’t even anime.” No, it sure isn’t. But it is the singularly most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. Shakespeare + Kurosawa = absolute hopelessness and devastation.
So there you have it: there is no happily ever after and everyone dies.