10 Times Series Lulled Us Into a False Sense of Security so They Could Shatter Us
It's just a literature club, relax.
**Spoilers for everything on this list!**
There comes a time in everyone’s life when someone gets to THAT episode of Fullmetal Alchemist.
You know the one.
Yeah, we’re gonna talk about how certain media properties bank on making you feel like everything’s fine before they, well, completely obliterate your spirit with major plot twists and devastating character deaths. Oh, I don’t just mean the death of a character you love (we’d be here all day if that were the case). I mean, “Hey, we prominently featured this character in the opening, knowing DAMN WELL they’re only here for 2 or 3 episodes.”
Spoilers for the following:
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica
- Fullmetal Alchemist
- Doki Doki Literature Club
- Jujutsu Kaisen (anime)
- The Promised Neverland
- Final Fantasy 7
- Stars Align
- School Days (anime and visual novel)
Let’s do it!
Puella Magi Madoka Magica
The magical girl animal mascot is a staple of the genre, the mascot serving as a cute companion who pulls the girls into a world where transformation sequences and dynamic attacks win the day. By all appearances, Kyubey is the typical UwU magical girl mascot, granting the girls their magical abilities after they agree to a contract.
Assuming they can, because the magical girl with the gun murders him on sight.
Initially, the characters (and unsuspecting viewer) are very much like WTF HOMURA, only to find out later in the series that Kyubey is a malicious little shit who is purposely getting girls to become magical girls so they can, eventually, turn into the very thing they’re trying to defeat: Witches. I say malicious, but Kyubey’s much worse than that, since Kyubey doesn’t understand, or process, human emotions. Basically, Kyubey’s very nonchalant about leading these girls to their inevitable deaths.
Taking their souls out of their bodies and putting them into gems.
It’s just a means to an end, since Kyubey’s race (called Incubators) is collecting the emotional energy of the girls in an attempt to prevent the destruction of the universe. It just so happens that doing it in such a twisted way is the most efficient way to collect those feelings.
“Didn’t Homura murder Kyubey, though?” Naw, Kyubey regenerates a new body, which eats the old, dead one.
The magical girl genre is so happy and fun!
I think this particular series is proof of how sinister we all are. You’d think that everyone knows this twist, but the truth is, there are plenty of newcomers to anime who see a cute girl and her pup without realizing what awaits them. That’s because those of us who DO know what’s up with this series don’t say a damn thing when someone tweets, “Awwwww, they’re so cute.”
It’s like we all have a silent pact to have the newcomers find out the hard way what it means when that chimera switches from saying that soft, broken Edward to Oniichan.
That’s pretty much the case with everything on this list. Someone asks, “What’s the big deal with (insert series),” and we automatically respond with, “Oof.”
Doki Doki Literature Club
Content Warning: Suicide
Dan Salvato successfully trolled us all back in 2017. What we thought we were getting was a cute visual novel about a literature club where we wrote poetry and, eventually, romanced one of the four girls.
What we got was a horrific mindf*ck of a game that played with our emotions from start to finish.
My big red flag was when I saw MrCreepyPasta talking about the game because, um, why is a horror channel talking about these adorable schoolgirls? Even if the trailer warns you that the game isn’t suitable for children or those who are easily disturbed, it still doesn’t prepare you for the sudden dark turn where your childhood friend kills herself (this happens no matter what you choose to do in regards to your relationship with her). That in itself is traumatic enough, but then the game gets very “break the fourth wall” where it addresses you, the player, directly.
Did I mention the game is free? You can experience all of this trauma for zero dollars and zero cents.
This is the epitome of the following conversation.
Anime only fans at the beginning of the series: Oh wow I love Junpei!
What the Jujutsu Kaisen anime did was straight-up cruel. This whole happy-go-lucky opening scene of Itadori and Junpei having a picnic with friends is the trolliest, most heartless, brilliant work I’ve seen in an anime opening in a while. The opening makes it look like Junpei’s gonna be a mainstay for the series, but manga readers knew that wasn’t the case. What’s worse is that the opening changes throughout the passing episodes, adding more characters to that quaint little picnic, but always making sure to focus on the joy shared between Itadori and Junpei.
Junpei dies pretty early in the story, part of exactly ONE arc, so Itadori and Junpei having this wholesome moment with the rest of the cast is a fantasy that’ll never happen.
As if that weren’t enough? Fans noticed that you could now see Itadori crying on the train in the opening after the episode where Junpei died.
Thanks, I hate it.
The Promised Neverland
What a perfectly innocent story about some children in an orphanage living as a giant, happy family under the care of a loving mother.
I sure do hope it doesn’t lead to “adoption,” meaning “going to be used for food for demons.”
Naw. That’s too wild to be true.
Much like Jujutsu Kaisen, unless if you read the manga, you had no idea what kind of story this was. The trailers did hint at it being a darker series, but it never revealed the whole truth about how messed up the situation was.
I sat and watched these cute little buggers say farewell to one of their own, only for them to realize that, well, there’s a world full of demons out there and their main entree is really smart human children.
Oh, and that kindhearted woman raising those kids? Is totally in on it, raising the children like cattle to feed to those demons.
Final Fantasy 7
By now we all know that Sephiroth kills Aerith, but it was a huge shock to gamers back in 1997. What’s sadistically ingenious about her death (besides the fact that she’s a likable party member) is that you can actually level her up throughout the game as if she’s gonna be around for the entirety of the adventure. Hell, you can get her final Limit Break and Ultimate Weapon, and as the healer of the party, you have great incentive to try and get to that extremely OP move where she completely heals everyone’s health, magic, and makes the party invincible for a short period of time.
Why wouldn’t you wanna get Great Gospel? It’s not like Aerith’s gonna DIE or anything, right?
For me personally, it was the first time in an RPG where a member of my party died as part of the main plot.
Content Warning: Child abuse
The soft animation.
The adorable tennis boys.
Who in the hell predicted that the series would be about a bunch of kids who, essentially, use the soft tennis club as an escape from their terrible home lives?
While the cliffhanger ending takes a truly disastrous turn where Toma’s mother tells him, rather pleasantly, that she hates him, and Maki decides to kill his dad, this “WTF IS HAPPENING” style of storytelling started way back in the first episode. Toma finally gets Maki to join the soft tennis club and the scene is perfectly wholesome … until Maki gets home. In the last minute or two of the episode, after the credits, Maki gets a visit from his abusive father, who proceeds to beat him and steal the money that Maki was trying to hide.
And the episode ends there.
Maki’s father continues to show up at absolutely the wrong time. It’s like he knows exactly when his son is in a good mood just so he can ruin it. And that’s just ONE of the awful parents in this anime. The whole team is FULL of shitty parents.
Um … ah … YAY tennis …?
So the last five minutes of School Days has to be one of the most intensely out of left field “that escalated quickly” moments in anime.
Let me just say that Makoto and his infidelity is a whole-ass mess, but never did I ever suspect that it would end with, “Cheater is brutally murdered by one of the girls, leading to the other girl killing that girl to see if she was actually pregnant with his baby.”
See, Makoto was interested in Kotonoha, and Sekai said she’d help him win her heart. Makoto and Kotonoha started dating, but Sekai also ended up catching feelings for Makoto. Makoto messes around with both of them, Sekai getting pregnant (more on this later), but Makoto ultimately deciding to stay with Kotonoha and telling Sekai to get an abortion.
Sekai kills Makoto.
Kotonoha uses Makoto’s phone to get Sekai to meet her on the roof.
Kotonoha tells Sekai to ask Makoto how he feels, nodding to a bag, that bag containing Makoto’s decapitated head – cut off by Kotonoha and, um, kept as a … keepsake, I guess?!
Kotonoha slices Sekai’s stomach open to see whether or not she’s pregnant, concluding that she was lying because there’s no fetus inside of her.
This is just the ending to the anime, by the way, which is based on a visual novel with multiple grizzly endings.
Um … don’t cheat, kids!
We know how the story goes.
Protagonist on a quest to save a princess.
Princess trying her best to … run away from protagonist …
Using the game’s time mechanics (which allows you to rewind time an unlimited number of times) is a shockingly brilliant way to reveal the truth. It turns out that the princess hadn’t been trying to escape the knight, the princess was trying to escape the protagonist (Tim) the whole time. You’re the monster she’s been running from.
What a quaint little RPG game with lovable, creative characters, and a … maniacal flower? Ah, if only that were the least of this game’s WTF JUST HAPPENED HOW AM I GONNA RECOVER FROM THIS twists. Undertale is known for its multiple ways of playing, most notably, the Pacifist Route where you don’t kill anyone, and the Genocide Route, where you murder everyone in your path.
Every single character you have come to know and love? You can just, you know, kill them.
One by one.
Now you might think you can start over after your killing spree, and you can, but the game will always remember what you did, meaning there are slight (but VERY significant) changes—even if you do a Pacifist Route after you finish the Genocide Route.
Once you do the Genocide Route there’s no fixing what you did.
And that’s it! What anime/video games/movie/media property has the biggest “That is NOT what I was expecting” moment for you? What’s something that you thought was a perfectly fine watch that ended up leaving you speechless because of the turn it took?
(Image: Team Salvato/Aniplex of America/Square Enix)
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