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Canceled Anime That Ended With A Cliffhanger

Sometimes you find an anime, start watching, and feel like you've struck gold. As you blaze through episodes, you can't wait to see how it all pans out for your favorite characters. Will the two love interests end up in a relationship? Will your favorite character survive? What new twists will the next season introduce? But sometimes, the show is cut short before any of your questions can be answered, making your fun new viewing experience into a confusing tragedy.

Due to poor ratings, budget issues, or even unfavorable reception among viewers, some anime are canceled abruptly. This can result in endings that feel slapped together, that leave way too many questions unanswered, or that just seem to run out of steam. No matter the reason, the end product still hurts all the same. Here's a list of anime that left viewers frustrated when they were canceled before their stories were concluded.

Berserk ends things on a hellish cliffhanger

Perhaps one of the most infamous and most aggravating anime cliffhangers occurs in the 1997 cult classic Berserk. The series follows Guts, a mercenary who begrudgingly joins Griffith, the overly ambitious leader of a mercenary group called the Band of the Hawk. Eventually, the group climbs their way through the mercenary ranks and into the royal court. However, unknown to the group is that Griffith will do anything for absolute power, regardless of how it affects those closest to him.

So in the anime, it all begins with the Black Swordsman arc and ends at the Golden Age arc. The manga, however, keeps going on, which is little solace for fans of the series. After all, the anime leaves off with Griffin essentially trapping everyone inside a hellish world, where his "friends" are tortured and killed by demons at his behest. And that's when the anime ends, right in the middle of all this turmoil, presumably with the chaos ensuing for all eternity until Griffith gets bored of the torture.

Berserk is a series that begs for a second season, but it never received a true continuation of the story, at least in the form of further seasons. Considering the manga's massive scope, loyal fans will likely never see a true anime revival that continues Berserk's story anytime soon. So for now, unfortunately, we'll have to rely on just the manga.

Fruits Basket is an anime that really needs a second season

First released in 2003, the shojo anime Fruits Basket follows Tohru Honda, an orphan who lives in a tent following the unexpected death of her mother. One day on her way to school, she meets the Sohma family and, through a series of wacky events, learns that each member of the family is cursed by an animal of the Chinese zodiac. She quickly befriends three of Sohmas, so now entrusted with their secret, Tohru moves in and quickly becomes an honorary member of the family herself.

Fruits Basket, while sweet and comical at times, does an excellent job of foreshadowing the darker and more ominous sides of the Sohma family. Scattered throughout the series are emotional glimpses of how the curse has severely impacted each of the relatives, and how the family head, Akito, uses the curse to threaten and isolate the Sohmas, keeping everyone subordinate and complacent.

By the end of the 26-episode run, we have no real answers regarding the Sohma curse, a love triangle is left unexplored, and manga characters are left unintroduced. Everything returns to the status quo, presumably to be answered in the next season. Except, that would never happen, because Fruits Basket wasn't picked up for a season two. So unless you read the manga to completion, you're out of luck. Luckily, Fruits Basket received an anime reboot in 2019 that promises to tell the entire story, so fans will finally have some much-needed closure.

Bleach ruined everything with a whole lot of filler

Bleach follows 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki as he takes on the unexpected role of a substitute Soul Reaper after Rukia, a real Soul Reaper, is injured. Rukia was tasked with protecting people from malevolent spirits and shepherding souls to the afterlife, so he confers that responsibility onto Ichigo. It's a pretty awesome plot, but as the anime went on, it began to outpace the manga it was based on. As a result, several seasons with entirely original content were inserted into the show between arcs guided by the source material.

As a result of all this extra content, watching the final season of Bleach is like watching a runner trip and fall just as the finish line of a race comes into view. After faithful viewers had stuck with the series over the course of eight years, there was only one arc left before the series came to the same close as the manga. This arc would've seen the climactic war between the Soul Reapers and their enemies, the Quincy. However, the series had declined in popularity, largely due to the massive amount of filler, causing the studio to cancel the series. So essentially, fans stuck around for 366 episodes, slogging through filler episodes and some rough plotlines just to see Bleach unceremoniously axed.

Bunny Drop's ending totally changes the story

Most entries on this list would benefit from a more concrete ending or a continuation of the story. Bunny Drop, however, is the exception to that rule because things would've gotten kinda' creepy if it had kept going. 

The seemingly innocent series follows Daikichi, who discovers that his deceased grandfather left behind an illegitimate daughter. Now left without a guardian, nine-year-old Rin is entrusted to Daikichi. Not having any experience raising children, Daikichi must navigate his new life as a parental figure, relying only on the help of Yukari, a single mother raising Rin's new friend. However, the anime abruptly ends without addressing the budding romance that seems to be forming between Daikichi and Yukari. Even the emergent father and daughter relationship is left open-ended, leaving the anime feeling like the beginning of a story, rather than a complete narrative. 

And honestly, that's probably a good thing.

See, the anime only shows Rin's life as a child, and by the end of it, fans were probably thinking that Daikichi would marry Yukari. But in the latter part of the manga it's based on, there's a ten-year time jump where Daikichi, in an uncomfortable turn of events, marries Rin instead. It's unclear why exactly the anime ended without completing the manga's full story, but it's possible that the romantic relationship between Rin and Daikichi was viewed as controversial. Additionally, Kanta Kamei, the anime's director, mentioned he has mixed feelings about the manga's ending, further adding credence to this theory. However, this is just speculation, and it's unclear why exactly why the show was discontinued. 

Btooom! probably won't continue after its cliffhanger

While survival games are a popular genre in Japan, that doesn't always translate over to anime. For example, in Btooom!, Ryota Sakamoto awakens to find himself on a tropical island. Somehow, he's become trapped inside a real-life version of a combat game, and now, along with other players who are also stuck on the island, he must fight to stay alive and find a way to escape from the deadly game. However, Btooom! didn't exactly perform well in Japan, selling only 338 copies of the anime on DVD and Blu-ray.

With only 12 episodes in total, the Btooom! anime was a relatively short-lived series. However, by the time the final episode rolled around, fans of the series were hoping for a second season. After all, not only did the anime fail to answer important questions regarding the fate of the players, but the finale also alludes to future events that take place in the manga. More importantly, the final episode ends with a literal "continue?" screen, implying that there were probably plans for a season two at some point, but for one reason or another, fans never got it.

As it stands, the cliffhanger is a massive slap in the face for anyone hoping for a continuation of the series. And the "continue?" screen adds insult to injury for anyone who was looking forward to an additional season, seeing as it's highly unlikely we will be getting a new one in the near future, especially since the mobile game flopped in Japan.

Deadman Wonderland was canceled after straying from the manga

After being unjustly convicted of murdering his entire middle school class, Ganta Igarashi is sent to a privately operated prison where the prisoners are treated as grotesque tourist attractions. The convicts are expected to compete in cruel and violent survival games for the amusement of visiting tourists, with seemingly no escape in sight. While the premise seems interesting in concept, the Deadman Wonderland anime strayed a bit too far from the original manga by omitting characters and rushing storylines, which garnered the series a poor reception among many viewers. It was likely for this reason that the series was cast aside after only 12 episodes.

While it's unfortunate that the Deadman Wonderland anime was canceled so early, continuing onward with a second season would've been a bit difficult due to the rushed storytelling of the anime adaption. However, Deadman Wonderland is more a victim of incomplete storytelling than anything else. The most significant difference between the show and its source material is that the manga reveals the backstory of the enigmatic Shiro, whereas the anime keeps her character a complete mystery. Additionally, by the end of the series, we have no answers regarding the characters' fates, the inciting incident that landed Ganta in the homicidal prison, or a clear resolution to anything at all. The anime ends where the manga starts to pick up speed, leaving a tangled web of unanswered questions in its wake.

Claymore ends on a cliffhanger because it ran out of source material

Claymore follows a corps of blonde female warriors known as, you guessed it, Claymores, and they use their skills and supernatural powers to fight against evil shapeshifting monsters called Youma. Both the Claymores and the Youma use the same demonic energy, otherwise known as Yoki, to fuel their extraordinary fighting powers, but the Claymores risk turning into Youma themselves if they indulge in using this power too much. Interestingly, the show is set in a universe that's based on medieval Europe, and the world is divided into 47 districts, with one Claymore assigned to each district and with more powerful Claymores assigned to the lower-numbered, higher-risk districts.

Though the manga ran for 13 years, the anime started and ended before the comics had come to its conclusion, a la Game of Thrones and its infamous final season. So eventually, the series ran out of source material, and with no basis for its finale, the anime concluded at the end of a major plot arc. But because the manga eventually fleshed out and finished the storyline, the anime's ending naturally feels incomplete. By the end of the show, the surviving Claymores don't have any real resolution. The Organization — the group that commands the Claymores — gets entangled in several unresolved plot threads, and even Priscilla, the main villain who's built up throughout the series, is left unaccounted for after her quick defeat. So in the end, there really isn't a sense of finality for the show. Hopefully, Claymore will receive a reboot one day that will tie up all of those lose ends, but for now, the cult classic ends on a bittersweet note.

Highschool of the Dead ended due to a real-life tragedy

Highschool of the Dead is a zombie survival anime that focuses on a group of high school students who struggle against not only the numerous undead but also the rapidly decaying morality among those who've survived the initial outbreak. While the series garnered a fair amount of popularity, it ended with only 12 episodes and no second season in sight. The final episode adds zero new information about the world and no answers as to how the survivors will fare in the future, so how could the anime possibly end with just one season? Well, in the case of High School of the Dead, both the manga and the anime were left unfinished after the series creator, Daisuke Sato passed away in 2017.

Despite some fans pushing for more High School of the Dead, it's highly unlikely this will come to fruition. In an interview with Comic Natalie (via Anime News Network), Shoji Sato, the manga artist for High School of the Dead said, "Although it pains my heart, too, that the series went on hiatus, just thinking about Daisuke Sato makes me think that I cannot carelessly get involved in [Highschool of the Dead]." If the creators who initially worked on the manga have no interest in reviving the series, there's almost no hope for a continuation of the anime in the near future.

Rurouni Kenshin got itself canceled

Rurouni Kenshin is based on a long-running manga of the same name that saw 28 volumes released over five years. The anime ran for a total of three seasons, with 95 episodes by the series' end. As for the plot, Himura Kenshin is the anime's protagonist, a man trying to put his past as an assassin behind him as he defends the weak in Meiji-era Japan.

The manga started its run in 1994 and ended in 1999, while its anime adaptation began in 1996 and only lasted until 1998. The series was ultimately cut short during its third series due to the drop in popularity, likely because the entire final season is just filler episodes. Because the series was canceled mid-season, the story came to a screeching halt, meaning there was no time to craft an actual ending for the series. The show was simply there one minute and gone the next.

While the story in the anime was left unfinished, there have been additional animated movies following Himura Kenshin. More recently, there was a trio of live-action film adaptations of the Rurouni Kenshin story. While the films were praised for their choreography during fight scenes, even they couldn't seem to pull together for a strong ending.

Baccano! has a lot of story left to tell

Baccano! follows a collection of characters in a fictionalized Prohibition-era America through a series of increasingly interconnected stories. The show starts with a group of alchemists who summon a demon in pursuit of procuring immortality. The evil spirit grants their wish in the form of an elixir ... along with a way for the newly made immortals to kill each other.

The series of light novels, which are still being published to this day, tracks its characters from the 18th century all the way to the 21st century. As a result, the show's cast of characters includes magicians, gangsters, and thieves, many of whom are vying for immortality, power, and love. However, despite the manga's extended timeline, the anime has only 16 episodes and ends when the show's setting reaches 1931. 

By the time the final episode comes to a close, almost all of the storylines are left unresolved. But the series seems perfectly poised for at least another season to help resolve the character arcs that are left hanging at the end of the season. Baccano! has a cast full of fun and exciting characters, and 16 episodes simply aren't enough time to tell their respective stories.

My Little Monster is an anime with too many unanswered questions

The slice-of-life romance series My Little Monster follows Shizuku Mizutani, an overachieving student who doesn't want much to do with her other classmates. But after befriending Haru Yoshida, a boy known for being a bit violent and full of energy, an unlikely yet turbulent relationship develops between the two. The short series only has 13 episodes and unfortunately ends leaving many questions regarding the status of Shizuku and Haru's relationship, as well as the context surrounding their family situations and past experiences.

My Little Monster's ending is a bit frustrating in that it mostly leaves things up to the viewers for interpretation. Unfortunately, for fans of the anime who want the full story, they will have to turn to the manga for more concrete answers, seeing as My Little Monster wasn't picked up for a second season. While it's not entirely clear why the show wasn't given more than 13 episodes, that's all that fans of this little anime will have unless the series gets a renewal or reboot in the future. 

Slam Dunk has a deeply disappointing cliffhanger

Slam Dunk, a popular basketball anime that began airing in 1993, follows Sakuragi Hanamichi, a high school delinquent who's introduced to his school's basketball team by the girl he's trying to impress. After realizing he has a natural talent for basketball, he joins the Shohoku team and falls in love with the sport. With his newfound passion and an ambitious team, Sakugari's goal is to lead the Shohoku basketball players to becoming Japan's national champions.

While the anime has a total of 101 episodes, the series fails to end on a high note. In fact, it ends just before a pivotal match where the Shohoku team is supposed to compete against their rivals, the Sannoh. This competition is a pretty big deal, and without it, the anime effectively ends without any major resolution. While we don't know why Slam Dunk was canceled, we do know that for fans who'd been following the show since the beginning, the conclusion is undoubtedly a disappointment. In the anime's current state, we'll never know if the Shohoku wins the national championship or not.