10 Josei Anime That Don’t Have A Happy Ending


Josei anime can be categorized as series and movies that are marketed to adult female audiences above the age of eighteen. Anime made for the josei demographic are usually more mature, emotionally complex, and heartfelt. In these anime, a happy ending is never guaranteed.



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Josei anime can also feature loss and horror and can be anything but heartfelt. These anime tend to be emotional rollercoasters, leaving the audience feeling empathetic and rooting for the protagonists. These are more complex characters with deeper issues, and there’s a chance their stories might not end happily at all, even if the episodes leading up to the finale might seem optimistic.

10 Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) Faces The Complexities of Parenthood

In Usagi Drop, Daikichi Kawachi is a 30-year-old man who decides to go home to his family once he finds out about his grandfather’s sudden passing. Little does he know that he will find a quirky young girl at home named Rin, who is his grandfather’s illegitimate daughter. Rin is immediately ostracized from the family as an embarrassment and Daikichi chooses to become her new father, despite his lack of experience with children.

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Usagi Drop pulls at the audience’s heartstrings, making fans wonder how they would react to immediately stepping in as a parent. The 11-episode anime is heartfelt with a reflective, serious ending, unlike the manga which has a very disturbing and controversial finale.

9 Nana Makes Fans Wonder What Could Have Been

Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu (nicknamed Hachi) in nana both cross paths when they move to Tokyo at 20 years old. Nana O. is pursuing a professional music career with her band and Nana K. follows her friends and moves in with her boyfriend. These two young women coincidentally move into the same apartment and become the best of friends despite their entirely different dreams and ambitions.

However, as Nana O. and Nana K. go down their different paths, fame and heavy real-life drama gets in the way. Throughout nanathe lives of both women separate and intertwine as time flies by, and while the finale is wholesome to some fans, it is devastating to others.

8 Petshop Of Horrors Is A Flash From The Past

In Petshop of Horrors, Count D is a mysterious pet shop owner in Chinatown, Los Angeles, who sells rare and hard-to-find animals. These pets are only given away to people who are too desperate to see how dangerous they can be, each sale including a contract. Leon Orcot, a homicide detective, is called in to investigate many odd and unexplainable deaths. He finds the only similarity between the victims is that they were all customers of Count D’s pet shop.

Petshop of Horrors doesn’t have any happy undertones, but it does include a creepy atmosphere, tons of mystery, and suspense that will keep the viewer on the edge of their seat until the end. Petshop of Horrors also features a retro art style given that it aired in 1999.

7 Nodame Cantabile Is A Classical Love Story

Nodame Cantabile focuses on two students at a music academy, Chiaki Shininichi and Noda Megumi. Chiaki is both extremely driven and a perfectionist who dreams of becoming a conductor. Noda Megumi, also known as Nodame, appears unkempt and his opposite, but she is an amazing pianist. Little do they know that they are neighbors and will quickly fall in love with each other’s talent and ambition.

However, fans have stated that the ending of Nodame Cantabile was rushed or unsatisfying. Other fans will say that they understand where the two are coming from emotionally and defend the characters. Nodame Cantabile has an ending that leaves viewers with two very different interpretations.

6 Paradise Kiss Is A Story Of Newfound Rebellion

Paradise Kiss features a high school student named Yukari, who has done nothing but follow the rules her whole life. When she begins to question her path, she is with an eccentric, quirky group of fashion design students. They decide that they want her to model for their new showcase, and with some reluctance, Yukari agrees and becomes part of their group.

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Along the same lines as Nodame Cantabilethe ending to Paradise Kiss is unsatisfying and not what fans wanted for the two beloved protagonists. Yukari and the one she loves part ways and don’t acknowledge each other, leaving the fanbase distraught.

5 Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day Makes Viewers Bawl

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day follows Jinta Yadomi, who rekindles his friendship with his five friends after he comes in close contact with a ghost. 10 years ago, the group lost their friend Meiko “Menma” Honma in an accident, and they all drifted apart. That is, until Menma visits Jinta as a ghost and asks him for a favor.

Audiences are not surprised that Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day has a horribly sad ending. This is a story of friendship, trust, and acceptance as fans follow the lives of these characters and accept the inevitable alongside them.

4 Your Lie In April Is One Of The Saddest Anime Ever

In Your Lie in April, a young musical prodigy named Kousei Arima grieves the loss of his mother so much that he cannot hear the sound of piano keys anymore. He steers clear of music altogether until an eccentric violinist, Kaori Miyazono, trusts him to accompany her on stage, playing the piano.

Your Lie in April is an extremely tender and sweet love story between two musicians who deal with horrendous trauma in their past and present. The finale is deeply sad and bittersweet as the episodes gradually prepare the audience for the end.


3 I Want To Eat Your Pancreas Is An Alternative Way To Say “I Love You”

In I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, Mahiro Takasugi is a high school student who finds the diary of a girl named Sakura who is dealing with a terminal pancreatic illness. As he gives her back her journal, Mahiro’s initial reaction to finding out her illness is to not care, and it intrigues Sakura to the point of wanting to know him. Mahiro and Sakura have a slow-burn friendship before it turns into romance.

As the audience reaches the ending of I Want To Eat Your Pancreas, Mahiro says to Sakura that he would like to eat her pancreas, which is his way of saying that he adores her. This ending is predictable, but sad and sweet nonetheless.


2 The Wind Rises Has Hope & Devastation

The Wind Rises follows the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an aircraft engineer who invented the famous “Zero” fighter plane. His model would be used by the Japanese navy during World War II. Jiro’s wife, Naoko, is also featured in this story as they go through the economic hardships of the 1920s together.

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Unfortunately, the two protagonists in The Wind Rises have a tragic fate as the setting of this movie is pre-war in japan. Jiro starts off as a young boy and the audience watches him grow, as well as his perspective about what is used for war and what can be left as a dream.


1 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Challenges Morale

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is about a 17-year-old girl named Makoto who finds out that she has the ability to “time-leap.” This means that she can only go back in time without changing anything too drastically. That is, until she meets a time-traveler named Chiaki from the future who teaches her how to time-leap and how to take advantage of it the right way.

This unlikely friendship blossoms in The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and leaves fans feeling disappointed, yet hopeful. The ending is upsetting, but fans hope that the future has a happier outcome.

NEXT: 10 Josei Anime That Challenged Their Audience

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