10 Shojo Anime That Don’t Have A Happy Ending

Shojo anime often favors heartwarming and happy endings over tragedy and heartbreak. Shojo protagonists who endure emotional pain and adversity have a likely chance of eventually achieving peace. However, the darkest shojo series ends with permanent loss and unfulfillment for the protagonists and their friends.

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Some shojo series ruin a protagonist’s fate with sudden plot twists, while other series predict an unhappy ending from the start. Truly tragic shojo endings cause protagonists to lose out of necessity or hopelessness what matters most to them. Characters who survive such difficult trials do so at a significant cost to their well-being.

10 Rose of Versailles repeats a tragic historical story

Rose of Versailles follows the historical events of the French Revolution and the tragic fate of its aristocratic characters. Marie Antoinette’s luxurious lifestyle and Oscar’s sympathy for the poorer classes of France cannot protect them from political unrest. Both Marie and Oscar eventually lose their lives at the hands of French Social Revolutionaries.

Rose of Versailles historical accuracies prevent Marie Antoinette and the military from surviving their ordeal. Increasing political tensions gradually affect the lives of the protagonists. Each character’s attempt to maintain their lifestyle turns out to be in vain.

9 Hotarubi No Mori E has a fateful romance

Hotarubi no Mori E portrays a romance between the girl Hotaru and the ghost Gin, whose kind disappears upon physical contact with humans. Hotaru and Gin’s success in maintaining their friendship and love despite the distance between them ends disastrously during a festival. Hotaru watches helplessly as Gin disappears after accidentally touching a boy in a crowd.

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Though Hotaru learns to reconcile with her grief, she never regains Gin’s companionship in the living world. The couple’s heartfelt moments end bittersweet and temporary in the face of a loss that cannot be avoided.

8 Madoka Magica demands a high price for peace

Madoka Kaname’s successful wish to prevent magical girls from becoming witches seems like a happy ending, but comes at a high personal cost. Madoka’s ascension to divinity requires her to leave her family behind and erase her memory from the world. She witnesses the tragic fate of most of her friends before her ultimate wish comes true.

Madoka Magica’s characters undergo significant tragedy and hopelessness before reaching true peace or satisfaction. Madoka’s problems with her friend Homura continue to affect her, even in her new existence as a goddess.

7 Vampire Knight portrays a bittersweet fate

Vampire Knight’s Yuki and Zero share many years together, but inevitably come to an end for tragic reasons. Zero’s eventual death as a result of not being a full-blooded vampire leaves Yuki heartbroken and dissatisfied with her life alone. Yuki’s decision to give Kaname a human life requires her to sacrifice her own life in return.

Yuki dies willingly to reunite with Zero, but leaves characters like Kaname devastated in the process. Yuki’s relationship with Zero and her satisfaction with her life as a full-blooded vampire only last as long as Zero’s more limited lifespan.

6 No. 6 leads friends along separate paths

number 6 brings Nezumi and Shion together as friends and potential lovers, but ultimately puts them on separate paths. Nezumi’s desire to visit the resting place of his people forces him to leave Shion, despite their ongoing relationship. Both Nezumi and Shion lose the company of the person closest to them to an uncertain future.

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Number 6 gives Nezumi the revenge he desires, but returns him to solitude to make peace with his past. The separation of Nezumi and Shion takes an emotional toll that both characters struggle with.

5 Magic Knight Rayearth forces heroines to kill

Magic Knight Rayearth unexpectedly forces the Magic Knights to kill the princess they are supposed to protect. The death of Princess Emeraude allows Cephiro to appoint a new pillar, but the Magic Knights are terrified when they kill someone they admire. The Magic Knights continue to lament the fate of Princess Emeraude as they return to their world after her defeat.

Princess Emeraude becomes a victim of circumstances that hide her true reason for summoning the Magic Knights to the very end. The Magic Knights’ victory comes with tragedy and hesitation for all involved in Cephiro’s survival.

4 Deep Love: Pao No Monogatari Dealing With Loss

deep loves spin-off Pao No Monogatari results in tragedy for both the dog Pao and his owner Ayu. Pao’s hard-fought connection and camaraderie with Ayu ends with Ayu’s death from a gradual illness. Pao’s loyalty to Ayu drives him to stay next to his former owner until his own death shortly afterwards.

Pao and Ayu lose years of potential time to continue finding happiness in each other and other individuals in their lives. Harsh conditions make short work of their lives and lead to significant suffering that barely gets a chance to resolve itself.

3 Cowboy Bebop shows the consequences of revenge

Cowboy Bebop Spike Spiegel gives his revenge against Vicious but never gives him a happy life with Julia. Spike successfully moves on from his past only after experiencing Julia’s death and his own suspended animation in the final showdown. He chooses to pursue a destructive grudge rather than settle for a life with his newfound companions.

Spike’s bittersweet fate leaves the rest of his bounty crew battling loneliness and survival. Cowboy Bebop introduces a cycle of violence that takes a significant toll on both sides of the conflict.

2 Romeo X Juliet follows the same tragic love story

Romeo x Juliet provides an alternative take on Shakespeare’s famous and tragic love story of the same name. Both Romeo and Juliet meet their end through self-sacrifice and their futile efforts to protect each other from their families. Romeo and Juliet’s romantic relationship proves impossible due to the rapidly escalating circumstances that make them natural enemies.

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Juliet’s identity as Capulet requires her to give her life to maintain the life-giving tree Escalus. Neither Romeo nor Juliet get the chance to live a happy life together.

1 Banana fish reveals tragic consequences of violence

Banana Fish separates the main protagonists Ash Lynx and Eiji after Ash decides to distance himself to protect those closest to them. Ash’s successful attempt to expose crime boss Golzine’s operation turns out to be a temporary peace after he dies from a surprise knife attack. Eiji’s final letter to Ash before the couple’s separation offers Ash’s some solace in the aftermath of the attack.

Banana Fish Ash never spares the consequences of his involvement in gang violence and political corruption. Ash willingly searches for answers, knowing that finding them could end up costing him his life.

NEXT: 10 Times Love Saved the Day in Shojo Anime

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