Ending Music Starts Early
The episode isn't quite over, but the ending music is already spinning up.
A kind of gradual end-of-episode transition in which the beginning of the ending music plays on top of the final scene, often as background music to the last few lines of dialog. It then segues into the full ending with credits and the music continues without a break. In extreme cases, the final scene may replace the ending animation entirely, with the full ending theme played over it. May also occur in film and radio. Works well for simultaneously saving time in an episode, making the transition to the ending seamless, and borrowing the feelings and atmosphere conveyed by the ending theme to supplement your final scene. Works best with end themes that have some kind of instrumental build-up, so that it can be low-key and in-the-background while the show is still running, then go full-force during the proper ending. Closely related to Pre Lap, where the sound transitions from one scene to the next before the visuals do; Title Theme Drop, which is about theme music appearing in the work itself; and Last Episode Theme Reprise, for when the full opening or closing theme appears as background music during the most climactic moment of the show. Contrast Cold Opening, for when the opening is late, and The Stinger, for when a very brief scene happens after the credits. Rolling Updates.
- Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi (Sunday Without God): The ending theme "Owaranai Melody wo Utaidashimashita" comes early in many episodes of the anime adaptation (in particular eps 1 through 6). In episode 3, they entirely replace the ending animation with the final emotional scene of the episode and play the ending theme and credits over it.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. In several episodes (e.g. ep 19) of the 2012 anime adaptation, the opening acoustic guitar segment of the ending theme (Yes's "Roundabout") plays before they dive into the full ending animation and bring in the electric guitars.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED's first ending song, "Anna ni Issho Datta no ni", started playing during the closing shots in the first few episodes, segueing into the credits proper only after a few seconds.
- Black Lagoon likes to do this with the "Don't Look Behind" theme.
- Parodied in Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku, when Sakura and the other would try to air the ending twice in the first episode much to Natsuki's ire.
- Episode 4 of Season 1 of A Certain Scientific Railgun. This ending song "Dear My Friend" normally starts immediately with vocals but to do this trope they added an instrumental part to the beginning.
- In Ano Natsu de Matteru, only three episodes out of 12 avert this. Series finale forgoes ending animation, and not the music, completely.
- Saki: One hand of fingers are enough to count the times the full-fledged 25-episode-long first season anime doesn't feature an early starting ending theme.
- Sketchbook Full Color S: Save for the special outro finale in 13th episode, the ending starts early in every episode.
- Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary): Many episodes including at least the first four overlay the instrumental introduction of the ending theme "Daisy" with the final scene.
- Kill la Kill:
- Zig-Zagged in penultimate episode of Kill la Kill, normally not playing this trope. Cliffhanger established, our heroes are done polishing their swords, final cup of tea, ending music chimes in. You expect the animation catch up with it soon, moment of peace before the finish spurt? Na-a-ah, we'll stop that music to go into some more action after it and only then will the credits with ending animation roll... With altered music arrangement. And that's probably the second verse of the vocals being tampered with. And you might have spotted that the person pictured peeking from the corner in the said animation was different... Ah, to hell with it, we'll just break away from all this ending animation and music (again in case of music) — we'd rather switch to even more action in case you're forgetting the seriousness of the situation. And have some fourth wall breaking, animation studio staff related lament in the following episode preview, too.
- But played completely straight in the final episode of Kill la Kill: the first ED starts playing as the post-climax unfolds, and we get treated to an ending sequence of Where Are They Now.
- Fairy Tail does this nearly every episode.
- The Asterisk War, known for its orchestral English-language end theme "Waiting for the Rain", normally doesn't invoke this trope, but in Episode 11 (Power and Its Price), it starts up the violins a full 40 seconds before the credits roll and the vocals kick in. It accompanies a final moment with four major characters, each of them alone at night.
- The Christmas Episode of I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying does this, although the credits are still the same length since they played the song's extended intro.
- In The Silence of the Lambs the end title music starts before the movie ends, playing over a scene of Hannibal Lecter following Dr. Chilton with the intent of having him for dinner.
- More poignant episodes of Eastenders replaced the iconic drum beats with a sentimental piano riff that played almost a minute through the closing scenes (in some cases the piano riff continues into a full softer variation of the usual title theme).
- Bron|Broen does this at the end of the final episode of the third season, as Saga and Henrik get ready to start their unofficial investigation of Henrik's wife's death. It uses parts of the Real Song Theme Tune, "Hollow Talk" by Choir of Young Believers, that don't usually appear in the show.
- One As Time Goes By started playing the closing themenote before the credits, while Jean and Lionel read the letter that had been lost 38 years ago, having found it in a museum exhibit.
- Early episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine had an extra riff of the title theme build up to the end credits, usually as the narration was just closing things up.
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