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LemiusK

Do You Prefer Happy Endings Or Bittersweet/More Realistic Endings?

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9 hours ago, LemiusK said:

This thread is a variation of sorts from Rain Spectre's topic about ending structure.

A trend I noticed about "True Ends" is that many of them can have predictable sappy ends where everything turns out alright, or at least much happier than "Normal Ends" and, of course, "Bad Ends." As with all things in life, there are exceptions, of course, like Heaven's Feel in Fate/Stay Night, but most of them are so "wrapped up" and tied with a tidy little ribbon bow, where every protagonist makes it out alive and move on with their life. Obviously, real life doesn't work like that and sometimes, such a formula can feel trite and unrealistic.

Sometimes, even the "Bad Ends" can be much better written than the "True End" because of this. This might surprise you, but many people actually like tragic endings. If that's not enough to shock you... many people actually like feeling sad, which is why they read sad stories that make them cry. There's a catharsis that comes from crying or even seeing fictional characters go through tragedies that reflect our own. Sometimes, the "Bad End" is just that powerful or impactful enough that the "True End" feels predictable, generic, or just plain lame.

Personally, I don't mind "True Ends" that are written well, but sometimes, I do find myself preferring the more emotional and depressing "Bad Ends," especially when I'm a sucker for tragic stories myself. I don't really like it when everything gets "wrapped up" neatly at the "True End." That just cheapens the value of "Bad Ends" since they are just going to turn out alright in the end anyway, no point crying over some pointless "Bad End."

In particular, Cartagra made me feel something like that.

  Hide contents

In spite of a few deaths, Shugo and Kazuna went on with their lives blissfully like a happy couple. Doesn't matter that Shugo's job as a detective would endanger Kazuna's life and possibly affect her acting career; they just have to be together like some generic couple from the many, many romance stories out there.

That's why I preferred the "Normal End," especially where Kazuna's life decisions are concerned.

Anyway, enough about me. What about you? How do you feel about "True Ends" being predictable and schmaltzy mainstream material? Do you like any particular "Normal Ends" more than "True Ends"?

Spoiler

I liked the normal end as well but for a different reason. I wanted to see an actual ending with Yura. I like em' crazy I guess xD

 

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I mentioned it in past threads, I actually have a bit of a problem with depressing endings, as I'm a person with a pretty fragile mood and especially if it hits me without warning, this kind of thing can make me miserable for literal days. But, I think every kind of ending has its place and can be used well. Happy endings that don't respect readers intelligence and the story they're attached to are just as awful as the bad ones that include tragedy for the sake of edginess or empty shock value. I genuinely loathe the latter btw... 

Sappy romantic endings are a safe bet on the part of the developers, but I will still take those over a poor attempt at being "ambitious" and concluding the story on some completely off note. Making an interesting ending in general is hard and I will appretiate any that gives me proper closure - straight up horror titles are the sole exception I accept, because I expect them to try to disturb me and throw me off my game. But once more, I'm mentally prepared for them screwing with my mind when I approach them. 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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2 hours ago, Dreamysyu said:

I don't really care if the ending is happy, bittersweet, downer or whatever, as long as it thematically fits the story of the main game and doesn't feel out of place. The biggest problem is to keep the right balance. A happy ending in an overall depressing story might feel completely out of place and utterly unrealistic in one case, and as a nice reward for the protagonist for all the hardships they had to go through in the other case.

And I also noticed that in a lot of cases the fact whether the ending is happy or not comes down to your personal interpretation. I was actually really surprised that people consider the ending to Princess Tutu anime happy, and there are a lot of examples among VNs I've read too (which I probably shouldn't name due to spoilers).

Wow you're doing It again? You know stealing is still a crime, right?

Anyway to add something to the thread instead of repeating a gag and going away. I think the nasu-games pretty much describe what I look for in endings, the bittersweet True and Normal ends feel impactaful (with the exception of the more positive true ends like Ciel's and a certain maid (spoilers) in Tsukihime and HF's True End) like the Fate route's true ED is probably one of my favorite parts of the route, It feels genuine and It isn't trying to be bitter for the sake of bitterness, and the Good Ends feel like a nice reward, like a light in the end of the tunel giving you a more positive perspective of what happened. I'm biased toward Bad Ends so wwww, those tend to be my favourite to some extent.

Edited by SeniorBlitz

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I like endings that fit the nature of the story and don't feel cheap or rushed. There have been times in the past when I've lamented happy endings but, as a contrast, the times when I did get a sad ending I sometimes wished for a happy ending instead. What I really want in an ending is it to feel justified. Happy or sad. Hell, I'll even stomach a deus ex machina ending, as long as there is some establishment of the possibility of that happening. I preferred the somewhat happy ending of Swan Song to the depressing one and I preferred Phorni's ending in Symphonic Rain over Al Fine(though I did like both of them)

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I think I'm the weird alien here (which im not surprised) inside everyone that likes bad endings;

I mean...good endings are nice, as well as emotional ones etc. but, bad endings are more interesting in my opinion. I'm not a sentimental person but, I do feel a connection with something or someone if they click with me. So I guess in this case it depends on the game and the character's personality and traits. You know those 4th wall breaker games like Doki Doki Club and Kimi to Kanojo to Kanojo no Koi? Now, those are the ones that I'm talking about. 

or crazy interesting stuff like Minikui Mojika no Ko, and The House in Fata Morgana series.

I guess it's probably because I like the twisted, but, nevertheless I like viewing differently so bad endings are fascinating.

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Mm, with my experience not only with vn, but also manga, anime and books, I'd say I prefer bittersweet endings as long as they fit the narrative, a sad story without a compensation with a bittersweet or happy ending is like the author is playing with you and is not nice. A good ending should go along with a satisfactory plot conclusion and satisfactory to the characters without broking the style and narrative of what the story was aiming for. A sad or unsatisfactory ending would just destroy part of the story spirit. A ending that basically says 'fuck u' as the true ending is like the author is just mocking you. As a bad ending, the big fuck u is great, as the true ending of a story which you got emotionally involved for so much time... well, not so much.

I said bittersweet mostly because I like bittersweet stories and feel those fulfill better their purpose of closing a story.

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Sad and/or bittersweet. By far. Didn't realize this until I finished the first two endings for 

Spoiler

Subahibi. I get that it all changes once you read Tsui no Sora II, but I still found both endings so disappointing and unrealistic.

 

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The entire point of Persona 3's story is how one finds meaning in one's life, given the inevitability of death.  That's why all the FES and P3P stuff about saving folks is non-canon.  That's why they might engage in shenanigans to allow the P3 protag to show up in (say) Persona Q, but they'll always arrange it to be temporary shenanigans.

Setting him free can never happen on-screen.  The closest they will come is setting Elizabeth on a path to gain her own Fool arcana, so she can become a client of the Velvet Room.  We know what she wants from such an arrangement.  She wants him back.  They can say 'Perhaps, someday, but the road will be long and arduous' and maybe even imply she'll succeed eventually.  But he will never just show up again saying 'Hi everybody!'

Letting him cheat death would cheapen the point of the story.

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I like the sad/bittersweet endings ,because I like Nakiges that give me the feels. I also like Utsuges and visual novels with a good ending even if it is a little sad. It depends on the story and what genre I feel like reading atm. Right now I'm reading a Nakige. 

Edited by yelsha57

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I don't like the idea that happy endings are necessarily unrealistic. Like, yeah, bad stuff happens IRL...but so does good stuff.

If the writers pull a deus ex machina or something equally trite, then I can understand it--those are definitely unsatisfying, and since they often break the laws of that work's universe, those types of endings often contain weird/horrific implications for everyone else in the setting.

But in general, I find well-done happy endings to be the most satisfying. Not everything has to be absolutely perfect, but there has to at least be hope for the future.

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1 hour ago, lunaterra said:

I don't like the idea that happy endings are necessarily unrealistic. Like, yeah, bad stuff happens IRL...but so does good stuff.

If the writers pull a deus ex machina or something equally trite, then I can understand it--those are definitely unsatisfying, and since they often break the laws of that work's universe, those types of endings often contain weird/horrific implications for everyone else in the setting.

But in general, I find well-done happy endings to be the most satisfying. Not everything has to be absolutely perfect, but there has to at least be hope for the future.

I don't think many actually want realistic endings in their cute games. Realistic means a good mix of actual good endings, ntr, non virgins, true manipulating female who don't actually care about the protagonist, but use him as convenience, while he acts like a doormat (well, this is nothing new in vn's actually), real breakups because of arguments or lifestyle choices, long distance relationships going sour (like most do), the heroines you don't choose select other males and perhaps marry while you're doing another route, and i'm sure the list can almost be infinitely long.

Well, i'm certainly happy that most vn's aren't realistic in that way, although the actual romance bit in most vn's are very flat. They're too focused on it and they're all following the same basic formula which i'm sure is a factor which bores people. I mean even a thing such as the girl confessing first is a true rarity in newer vn's.

Instead of having simply more realistic vn's, i think we need vn's that break out of the regular loop with the heroines with the same look, same personality, same formula and variety of endings being used, and even same damn boring protagonist. We're overflooding of sameish vn's and it's not stopping. I'd understand if people are getting fatigued on that, i know i am. 

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1 hour ago, Stormwolf said:

Instead of having simply more realistic vn's, i think we need vn's that break out of the regular loop with the heroines with the same look, same personality, same formula and variety of endings being used, and even same damn boring protagonist. We're overflooding of sameish vn's and it's not stopping. I'd understand if people are getting fatigued on that, i know i am. 

True, but I think when people talk about realistic endings, they mean less this kind of statistical similarity to real world and more basic plausibility of the scenario within the game's own setting and rules. I recently had this experience with Heart of the Woods, as I think the bittersweet "bad" endings were more in line with what the game established up to that point than the positive "true ending" was. The game should, above all, respect its own story and characters - make them meaningful and consistent, rather than sacrificing everything for the sake of player's wish fulfilment. You don't need to include every shitty aspect of humanity and our everyday lives for characters to act like actual people would and the scenarios to be relatable. You just need to care about what you're writing about.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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1 hour ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

True, but I think when people talk about realistic endings, they mean less this kind of statistical similarity to real world and more basic plausibility of the scenario within the game's own setting and rules. I recently had this experience with Heart of the Woods, as I think the bittersweet "bad" endings were more in line with what the game established up to that point than the positive "true ending" was. The game should, above all, respect its own story and characters - make them meaningful and consistent, rather than sacrificing everything for the sake of player's wish fulfilment. You don't need to include every shitty aspect of humanity and our everyday lives for characters to act like actual people would and the scenarios to be relatable. You just need to care about what you're writing about.

That's very subjective. One can say that a super depressive vn needs a sad ending as it would fit the theme, but it would also fit the theme if somehow after all that depressive crap, things finally started looking up. If you ask me, there is no ending to fit a theme, it's more about how well the ending is written. An ending which ignores it's own story logic to get a happy end when things are so bleak that it's impossible to get a happy ending, then it's a badly written ending. A happy story with a sudden shit true ending is at the same time a badly written one. 

Edited by Stormwolf

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Of course an ending can be fitting or unfitting for a theme. When a story is about the protagonist learning how to grapple with the loss of a loved one, bringing back the loved one at the end makes his whole arc pointless.

The most important thing for an ending imo is that it fits the arcs of the plot and the characters. If every character learns an important lesson and becomes a better person, I'm totally fine with them getting a happy ending, as long as the character development feels earned and the VN doesn't force you to suspend your disbelief much more than it did before that point. 

Edited by alpacaman

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3 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

Of course an ending can be fitting or unfitting for a theme. When a story is about the protagonist learning how to grapple with the loss of a loved one, bringing back the loved one at the end makes his whole arc pointless.

The most important thing for an ending imo is that it fits the arcs of the plot and the characters. If every character learns an important lesson and becomes a better person, I'm totally fine with them getting a happy ending, as long as the character development feels earned and the VN doesn't force you to suspend your disbelief much more than it did before that point. 

Yes, that's true. But then we shouldn't have to sit and read the protagonist wallowing in depression until the very end. But rather, looking forward, perhaps finding a new lover and creating a family? A sad beginning becomes a good end.

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True, but are endings without any hope that common outside of stories where them being mean spirited is the point? Even in something like Narcissu the main characters get at least a little bit of positivity out of the things they go through.

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28 minutes ago, alpacaman said:

True, but are endings without any hope that common outside of stories where them being mean spirited is the point? Even in something like Narcissu the main characters get at least a little bit of positivity out of the things they go through.

Spoiler

Havent read it. Eden is a good example of true hopelessness. There is nothing good about its ending. I think that meteor even went past the earth if im not mistaking things. That's the kind of ending that im not interested in. Kara no shoujo is another. The true ending in that one is the worst of them all.

 

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18 hours ago, Nandemonai said:

The entire point of Persona 3's story is how one finds meaning in one's life, given the inevitability of death.  [...] Letting him cheat death would cheapen the point of the story.

See Persona 2. The first part (Innocent Sin) is a group of friends (Tatsuya, Maya, Sarah and Eikichi) trying to solve the mysteries regarding rumors that once spread become reality. Thing is, they bit way more than they could ever hope to chew and...

Spoiler

...were manipulated by your favorite Lovecraftian Outer god Nyarlathothep to end the world. How? By letting people create humors that would bring the Last Battallion and Hitler back to life and by a rumor according to Mayan legends they lift the entire city in the air. That lures the team to beat the badies and.... In the end Maya gets killed. According to Mayan legends the world would end when a woman named Maya is killed inside that temple. Voi la! Everyone in the rest of the world dies, save for those now in the floating city.

They are, then, given a choice to reset the world so that none of this would happen. The price is that they would never meet, never feel anything for each other again. They boldly accept and the world is reset anew.

This is lacking a lot of context, but the way the game leads you to that moment is so nicely done that you stop caring about the absurdities. Specially since Maya needs to earn her "best female character of all time" title someday.

The second part (Eternal Punishment) is literally what the name says.

Spoiler

Tatsuya refuses to pay the price and this splits reality into two different worlds. One that is the world of Innocent Sin (still retaining all that transpired) and this new world, where he is the only one that remembers.

His actions, however, kind of set in motion the same events that led to the destruction of his original world. There is NO HAPPY ENDING at all in Persona 2. Just the struggle.

The game is amazing, but only if you play both and in order. And if you like bittersweet endings.

Edited by AstralSword
Wording

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i'm willing to put up with happy ends since they're so prevalent, but i tend to prefer the "bad" ends. in all honesty, i think sad/bittersweet endings are my kind of escapism. i can't really understand or relate to happy ends, and reading them generally makes me feel bad and more isolated. sadder endings are more cathartic for me, and the fact that someone wrote it with the intention of showing darker emotions usually makes me feel less alone.

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Personally I think any ending type can be good as long as it was done right. There should not be only one ending type that can satisfy us, especially since most visual novels or games or books can only have so much variations of the same theme story.

For example, 2 visual novels with the same theme can have different endings and both can be satisfying as long as it was done correctly.

I agree that true ending doesn't mean it is the best ending. For me, I prefer Suikoden 2 best ending in which Riou get Rune of Beginning and lead Dunan rather than Riou and Jowy going on journey together. 

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