In Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys, the next-to-final scene is a recollection of the first, but from a different viewpoint.
His earlier series Monster ends when Tenma saves Johann from dying via gunshot to the head, an event that bears pretty obvious similarity to what started the whole thing. Urasawa really likes this trope.
Near the beginning of the first episode of FLCL, Mamimi offers Naota the rest of her canned juice, but he protests "You know I don't like the sour stuff," and eventually tosses it aside. At the end of the episode, after all the craziness with the giant robots coming out of his head, he gets another offer of sour juice, and this time takes a reluctant gulp.
This line is also accompanied both times with a short scene where Naota has put money in a vending machine and a girl (Mamimi before, Ninamori after) pushes a button for a drink he didn't want first.
Mazinger Z: Episode 47 starts and ends with the same scene: Ashura and Brocken clashing blades as insulting each other. The only difference is in the first scene Dr. Hell broke the fight, and in the last scene he is trying and ignoring them as he has dinner (groaning about being Surrounded by Idiots).
Revolutionary Girl Utena has various scenes around the Academy, including Utena's meditative reverie being interrupted when she is glomped by Wakaba. The last episode has those very same vignettes, replaced with Wakaba's meditative reverie being interrupted when she is glomped by another girl. The implication is that as far as the bulk of the student body is concerned, the previous year and everything that the main characters went through never happened. Only Anthy and her brother seem aware that anything took place.
If it were up to Akio, the series would be BookEnded with a complete recreation of the beginning, just without Utena, as he has demonstrated he can do at the end of the Black Rose Saga. The important detail is not what is the same, but what is different - though he can make them forget the duels, Akio can not wipe away the character development that Utena has brought about.
Persona 4: The Animation opens with Yu visiting the Velvet Room and then arriving in Inaba by train. The series finale has him leaving Inaba on a train and then visiting the Velvet Room one last time, bringing his journey full circle.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS begins with a young Subaru shouting for help while she's trapped in a burning airport, and Nanoha coming to save her in the nick of time, congratulating her for doing well to survive and assuring her that she'll bring her to a safe place. Subaru's "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue has two young children shouting for help while trapped in a sinking ship, and Subaru saving them in the nick of time while echoing the same words Nanoha told her many years ago.
The last chapter of the Fist of the North Star manga has Kenshiro wandering the desert, exploding thugs. It brings a tear to one's eye.
The final song played by Kaoru and Sentaro in Sakamichi No Apollon is "Moanin'", the first song they played together eight years earlier (in-story) in the the pilot episode. The final scene then has Kaoru and Sentaro laughing and playfully running down a hill, just as they do in the opening credits.
Tsuritama ends with Haru returning to school and announcing to his classmates that he is an alien, just like he did in the first episode. This time, however, the fact that he's an alien is already known by everyone on the island, and the other kids are all overjoyed to see him. Yuki lampshades the similarities between the scenes with a short "Here We Go Again" speech.
Both the first episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion and the ending of End of Evangelion have what are colloquially known as the "bookend Reis," which appear in the distance for about 5 seconds while Shinji is looking, then disappear without a trace. As with nearly everything else in NGE, no explanation is forthcoming.
Bookend Rei doesn't appear in the original TV ending if you're wondering, however.
The original TV ending was not the original planned ending, bear in mind. It was created because they ran out of cash.
Similarly, Rei's bandages and wraps in the first episode (when she's trundled out in a gurney in front of Shinji) and Asuka's set of bandages and wraps in the last moments of EoE are identical.
Rebuild has a reversed example of this. Remember one of the last things we see in End? Red water rising and sinking on the beach. The very first thing we see in Rebuild 1.0 is this exact same clip. Followed soon by a picture with an outline of an MP Eva... Fridge Brillianceand Reverse Book Ends much?
This is done somewhat in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, though not at the very beginning and end. In Matsuribayashi-hen, we see Takano Miyo walking through the woods in the rain, trying to escape from her Orphanage of Fear. In the last episode, she's again walking through the rain in the woods, this time running from her former subordinates who've turned against her. It also clearly shows her missing a shoe in both scenes, in case the audience didn't put it together.
Onikakushi-hen's sound novel and manga also do this so long as you don't count the police review of the crime. In this case, both end with the repetition of "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." The first time, it's a disembodied voice that Keiichi thinks he hears. At the end of the arc, it's Keiichi himself doing the repeating.
Betterman begins and ends with Keita and Hinoki on a deserted island. The beginning is Keita's dream. The ending is real.
In Betterman's happier counterpart and "king of all book ends" Gaogaigar. Mamoru and Galeon come to the Planet Earth seeking protection from the Zonders. After the last episode Mamoru and Galeon leave the Planet Earth to protect it's people from the Zonders.
The first and last chapters of the Death Note manga have echoing sorts of scenes on the streets.
In anime as well; it takes it a step further by having post-Kira Light passing his younger counterpart.
Ryuk is the first character we see in the first episode, and the last character we see in the last episode. The same music also plays both times (the "Kyrie" theme).
Some might consider it a Book End that when L dies, Light is shown standing over him, and in the anime ending, Light sees an apparition or ghost of L standing over him when Light dies.
Madlax effectively opens and ends with the titular Action Girl receiving a call from her liaison who informs her about a new mission. Only that in the first episode, she is alone at the time while in the last one, she is accompanied by a deserter army sniper who previously killed her best friend and possible love interest and who is also her possible love interest. It got a bit complicated along the way, indeed.
Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora opens and ends with the lead girl meeting a "prince" in a flower field who offers her to come with him.
Saikano begins and ends with Shuji describing Chise. The circumstances of the first description are light-hearted, while the circumstances of the second one constitute one of the most crushing examples of a Downer Ending in all of anime.
The last scene of the ARIA series depicts Akari embarrassing her new apprentice by happily staring at her, just like Alicia did to Akari at the beginning of the series.
Blue Drop starts with a man and a woman talking on a shuttle in orbit around Earth. In the last scene of the show it becomes clear that the woman is Michiko on her way to a peace talk with the Arume, 30 years after the events that are depicted in the series.
The Uta Kata TV-series begins and ends with Ichika narrating how much the autumn mornings remind her of summer, when she still had a chance to be with Manatsu.
The first episode of Wolf's Rain begins with Kiba the white wolf lying in the snow. Most of what follows is apparently a flashback. The scene is repeated in the final OVA episode, though it's not quite the end.
Also, season two's first episode has him announce himself as Zero, the man who destroys worlds and creates worlds. The last episode has something similar as his Famous Last Words.
The end of the final episode of Paranoia Agent repeats several shots from the opening of the first, showing people trying to avoid responsibilities and obsessing over insignificant things. The implication is that nobody's learned anything from the events of the finale, and it could easily happen again.
RahXephon's first scene after the title is of Ayato working on a painting before going off to school. The final scene of the show before the credits is of him finishing the painting at age twenty-nine before he shows it to Haruka.
And the after-credits final scene is a flashback to the original inspiration of the painting.
On the very first page of the manga, Ed is shown◊ in a train station with a suitcase and his red coat. On the very last page of the manga, he is shown◊ like this again, but is this time leaving instead of arriving as he gives a speech summarizing the message of the series.
The 2003 anime version does this as well, when Alphonse starts reciting the "Humankind cannot gain..." speech from the first episode; after the first two sentences, the speech is changed to reflect what they've learned from the events in the series.
The manga starts with a quote, and ends with a longer version of the same quote: A lesson without pain is meaningless...because gaining anything worthwhile requires sacrifice.note But if you can overcome that pain and achieve your goal, you can achieve a fullmetal heart, and that's irreplaceable.
The first and last episode of Michiko to hatchin begin in the same way with Hana cooking omelettes.
The series finale of The Big O repeats the first part of the driving scene and opening narration from the first episode. The difference is that Angel and Dorothy are standing nearby and the road is smoother. It is open to interpretation, but this might indicate that this iteration of Paradigm City's reality may go more smoothly than last time.
In the beginning of the first episode of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, a short black-and-white clip is shown where Nozomu is hanged, with all the students grabbing on to him and each other to form some sort of human pyramid and it turns out that the rope is attached to a giant Meru's cellphone. This clip is played again at the end of the very last episode of the second series.
Millennium Actress opens and closes with the same sequence showing Chiyoko taking off for the stars. Also, earthquakes seem to play a similar role in Chiyoko's life.
In the prologue of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, a character on the bridge of what appears to be Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren remarks "All the lights in the sky are our enemy now, huh?" In the epilogue, old Simon says, "All the lights in the sky are stars."note "...the stars where our Spiral friends await."
The phrase "who the hell do you think I am!?", although it gets said so often that it's also a Catch Phrase and Arc Words.
Cowboy Bebop does this subtly. The first episode, "Asteroid Blues" begins with just Spike and Jet as the crew of the Bebop, along with Chief Laughing Bull making one of his trademark cryptic predictions, as well as Spike commenting on how he died once before because of a woman. By the end of "Hard Luck Woman", Faye, Ed and Ein are gone, leaving Jet and Spike alone on the Bebop and completing one book end (though Faye briefly returns). The final episode, "The Real Folk Blues (part 2)" ends with Chief Laughing Bull making a cryptic prediction on Spike... who attacks his old syndicate and dies because of a woman.
Also happens in The Movie, with Spike calling a criminal out on their threats to hurt people.
Spike's dialogue at the beginning and end of the movie is identical.
The first chapter of Eyeshield 21 has a two-page color spread with Sena running, Hiruma pointing, Kurita ready to charge, Mamori holding a football and smiling, and a few other characters. The final chapter has a two-page color spread with those characters in basically the same positions (but still showing their growth over the series) and all the other important characters that have been added to the story.
In fact, the entire last chapter of Eyeshield echoes the first one in many different ways. Sena enters a new school (college this time) gets headhunted to join the football club, and even plays the sister team of the same team he played in his first high school game. The difference is that this time his team's lineup is different, and it's implied that his chief rival in college ball will be Hiruma, who led Sena and the Devilbats to the national championship.
The first episode of Sailor Moon begins with Usagi saying "I'm Usagi Tsukino, 14 years old, junior high student. I'm clumsy and a bit of a crybaby. That's it." She then becomes Sailor Moon in that episode. The last episode ends with her saying "I'm Usagi Tsukino, 16 years old, high school student. I'm clumsy and a bit of a crybaby, but I'm actually the agent for love and justice, Sailor Moon." Adding to that, the original Anime Theme Song, "Moonlight Densetsu", is heard.
Also, the closing episode of the first season repeats scenes from the first episode to show life going on after Usagi's wish resurrected her friends.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou begins and ends with the titular shopping trip to Yokohama by Alpha, and both conclude with a scene of Alpha being greeted upon her return from Yokohama.
Bokurano's manga ends with children from another Earth being introduced to Zearth's cockpit by Kokopelli and Dung Beetle, just the same as the protagonists were in the beginning. The first and last pages also have the same monologue.
D.N.Angel begins with a reporter speaking into a camera as police run towards a building, then cuts to Dark and Krad charging at each other. The last episode of the series shows this scene again, indicating that in reality that scene was a flash forward.
Somedays Dreamers begins and ends with Yume at Shibuya in Tokyo, one of the most crowded crossings in the world—with the marked difference that in the end she has gained courage to cross it by herself.
Darker Than Black begins with the police trying to catch Louis, a Contractor with gravity-cancellation powers. He gets away, only to run into Hei, who, despite Mao's protests, kills him. The first season ends with Hei sparing someone who really deserved to die thanks to Kirihara's protests, then shows the police chasing a Contractor with the same gravity-cancellation ability Louis had- but this time they catch the guy by entangling him with cables shot out of a fancy new upgrade to their handguns.
The second arc (and the first major storyline) of Dragon Ball is about Goku training for and competing in the Budokai. Several later arcs revolve around the Budokai. The anime is renamed Dragon Ball Z after Goku finally wins the Budokai and the story changes tone, and the manga ends right in the middle of a new Budokai.
The first two major characters introduced in the series were Goku and Bulma. Appropriately, the title page of the 42nd and final volume of the manga features just Goku and Bulma.
Macross Frontier introduces us to the main protagonist, Alto Saotome, while he's training in his EX-Gear and flying within Island One's domed city, with him wishing to fly in an endless sky. The series ends with him ejecting from his Valkyrie and flying in his EX-Gear, in the endless skies of their new planet.
In the first chapter of Ai Kora, Maeda clobbers the guy who burned down the boys' dorm and was trying to do the same to the girls' dorm when he takes Sakurako hostage. The same guy shows up in the very last chapter, trying to burn down the girls' dorm again. He takes Sakurako hostage again, this time at gunpoint, and Maeda (who had been missing for four months after accidentally taking an airplane to England) makes his triumphant return by kicking the guy in the head and rescuing Sakurako.
The first volume of My Lovely Ghost Kana starts and ends very similarly on the surface, but also shows how much things have changed in a few short months. In the beginning, Daikichi is buying food and beer at a convenience store and overhears the occult-obsessed owner talking to his assistant about how someone finally moved into an apartment building rumored to be haunted. Daikichi walks back to the apartment he just moved into and is welcomed energetically by Kana, the resident Cute Ghost Girl who excitedly goes through his grocery bags looking for beer, which she hasn't had in years. In the end of the first volume, Daikichi is buying food and beer at the same convenience store, and the occult-obsessed owner is talking to his assistant about the strange circumstances by which Daikichi miraculously survived being buried alive. Daikichi walks back to the apartment he's come to call home and is welcomed energetically by Kana, who hugs him affectionately, having developed from Pretty Freeloader to Magical Girlfriend.
Gunslinger Girl opens with Jose taking a walk with Henrietta, overlooking the city as the bell tower rings. The final shot actually reuses those frames, albeit without the dialogue.
The first season of the anime version of K-On! begins with the main character Yui waking up late for her first day of high school, slipping and falling before heading out the door, where we see her jogging along her route to the campus. The last episode of the first season ends with a repeat of this before the ending concert, grabbing her guitar and running back, starting to slip, but catching herself before falling.
The very first episode also had Mugi, Mio, and Ritsu attempt to recruit Yui into the club with an improvised song. The last chronological episode of the second season (three years later) had these four play a farewell song to Azusa. The reactions of Yui and Azusa to their exclusive performances were almost exactly the same: *solo applause*, remarks "You guys really aren't that good!", and wants to join in next time.
Mobile Suit Gundam 00's first season ended with a letter from Setsuna to Marina. The second (and final) season ended with a letter from Marina to Setsuna, narrated over the final battle.
Also, this seems to be the case for many characters' background stories. Lockon, for one, lost his family in a terror attack caused by the KPSA, and in the end, he turned out to become a terrorist himself (at least according to publicity). Setsuna started out being a member of a guerilla warfare squad, and later became a member of Celestial Being, who employs this kind of warfare to a great degree.
In the first season, Setsuna pilots Exia. In the last episode of season 2, 00 Raiser is compleely destroyed, and Setsuna changes to Exia. Also, in the first episode, we see 0 Gundam, later revealed to be piloted by Ribbons. in the finale, Ribbons changes over to the 0 Gundam, after his Reborns Gundam/Reborns Cannon is destroyed.
Also, by the end of season 1, Lockon takes a hit for the disabled Tieria Erde. In the end of Season 2, the other Lockon takes a hit for the disabled Tieria.
The final chapter of the manga has Haruhi being Mistaken for Gay yet again much to her dismay, much like in the first chapter.
The first chapter of the TouhouComic Book Adaptation, Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth opens with the narration "This is Eientei. The place where rabbits live." and ends with a strip with the title "The rabbits' night is long". When the manga reached its final chapter, those lines from the first chapter were used again to serve as the closing narration.
In the anime version of Welcome to the NHK, one of the first scenes shown is a nightmare of Satou's. At the end of it, he runs along a snowy cliff towards a physical manifestation of the "conspiracy" with a "bomb" in hand, and leaps off of the cliff towards it. In the final episode, Satou is once again at that snowy cliff, this time in reality. He once again runs towards a physical manifestation of the "conspiracy", or the NHK, with a "revolution bomb" in his hand. However this time, Misaki is running after him, trying to stop him from jumping over the cliff.
In Toradora!, one of the first scenes when Ryuuji meets Taiga is when she falls out of a locker. At the end, Taiga and Ryuuji meet again. Guess where.
GUN×SWORD begins with Van walking into a church looking for food. He finds a young girl in trouble and rescues her. She buys him lunch. The series ends with him walking into a house looking for food. He finds the girl a few years older and ready to cook him a meal just the way he likes it. In both episodes, he comes in looking for food and finds Wendy instead.
In Pokémon, the last episode of the first season can be taken as a book end in two ways. The episode features Ash encountering a Fearow that evolved from the Spearow which he hit with a rock in the first episode - both episodes feature the same Pokemon being defeated as their climax (albeit evolved). However, the fight featured in the last episode specifically takes place between Ash's newly evolved Pidgeot and the wild Fearow- a battle shown in the show's opening credits in every episode of the season, and, as the opening changed the following episode, that battle would not be shown in animation again.
An example played straight if you span out to include the entire original series: Ash seeing Ho-Oh before leaving for Hoenn, presumably the same Ho-Oh he saw in the very first episode.
The first and last episode of the Diamond and Pearl arc both begin with Dawn waking up in her bedroom.
The first episode of the Best Wishes! series begins with Ash arriving from the Kanto region in an airplane, while the last episode of said series ends with Ash leaving Kanto in an airplane.
Pokémon Zensho has the second chapter start with Satoshi waking up the day he starts his journey. The last chapter of the manga starts this way too, the exact same page until the last few panels.
In Fairy Tail, the first and last fights of the Laxus arc end the same way: with Gajeel Taking the Bullet to save someone from a fatal attack from Laxus.
Lucy's (the Supporting Protagonist of the series) first and last scenes of importance in the Tenrou Island both involve her taking a bath with Cana. Also, during both bath scenes, Cana is somewhat depressed because she cannot bring herself to tell Gildarts that she is his daughter; in the first scene, it's only hinted at, though, and in the second scene, Lucy knows what Cana feels, and they discuss it off-screen.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing has a twofer: the first and last episodes both fall on Relena's birthday, and both end with a letter relating to said birthday getting torn up without being read. In the first, it's Relena giving Heero an invitation to her party; in the last, it's inverted as Relena tears up an envelope Heero left with his present to her.
Lampshaded in Hanaukyō Maid Tai La Verite. In episode 1, when Taro first meets Mariel he sees her upside down (he just fell down and she walks up from behind him). In episode 12, the last episode of the series, it happens again. Taro points out that it's the same as when they first met.
So far, most of the major Bleach arcs end with Ichigo and Rukia parting ways.
Super Atragon: The opening battle and the final battle both pit the Ra against the Liberty; both battles ended with a head-to-head drill ramming action.
The end of Prince of Tennis has Ryoma asking some arrogant bullies if they could teach him tennis.
The anime series Nichijou begins and ends with a section about motivation, complete with a shot of cherry blossoms popping up spontaneously.
Sola begins with Yorito setting up his camera to take a picture of the sunrise and ends with Aona, Mana and Koyori doing the same thing.
Haibane Renmei begins with Reki discovering the cocoon that houses Rakka, and she rushes off to inform everyone else with the words, "This is big!" It ends one year later, with Rakka finding two new cocoons. She also rushes off to tell the others and also calls out, "This is big!"
This trope is used in Hayate the Combat Butler: Heaven is a Place on Earth. It opens with Nagi getting her hands sticky, causing Hayate to wet a handkerchief to wipe them off. It ends with Nagi getting her hands sticky, causing Hayate to wet a handkerchief to wipe them off.
Yu-Gi-Oh! has Yugi's winning card in the last duel of the series is the Golden Sarcophagus, which has been pointed out that the card resembles the box the Millennium Puzzle was in. The box that brought Yugi and Atem together would be the very thing that would bring them apart.
The scene in the first episode where Kaede gives Rin his lunch while forgetting her own is replicated in the last episode, where Rin is replaced by Primula.
The first and last episodes both show Kaede wrapped in a green towel after a bath.
The first episode of Tokyo Mew Mew has an aura of an Iriomote cat entering Ichigo Momomiya's body after she is injected with the cat's DNA by Ryou Shirogane. At the end of the last episode, we see the same aura of the Iriomote cat leaving her body when she (and the other Mew Mews) temporarily lose their animal-based superpowers.
Shinkon Gattai Godannar!!'s first season begins with glimpses of a giant robot fight and an interrupted wedding ceremony. Its second season ends with an interrupted wedding ceremony and glimpses of another giant robot fight.
The Hidan & Kakuzu arc in Naruto begins and ends with Shikamaru playing Shogi and discussing Konoha's Chess Motifs with his opponent.
The anime series of Hikaru no Go starts and ends with the same song. At the beginning, the lyrics apply to Sai and Hikaru, while in the end, the song is about Akira and Hikaru.
Chronologically in One Piece's tenth movie Strong World, the crew's adventure began with receiving a tone dial from Shiki. At the end of the film, there were some silly antics by Luffy, Usopp and Nami concerning the same tone dial.
The first Pirate King, Gold Roger, had his adventure begin in his hometown and had his execution in his hometown. The name of this town is Loguetown: the prologue and epilogue of the life of the Pirate King.
This particular bookend is one of the most notable screwups 4Kids made in its English adaptation (and that's saying something), changing the name to "Roguetown". Unfortunately, the English manga still hasn't corrected this mistake due to what must be some contract thing.
In One Piece Film: Z, the movie begins and ends with a fight scene between Z and the Marines to the song of Ocean's Guide.
The main story of Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure begins when Mitsuki accidentally triggers the dimensional transfer device and ends when she accidentally triggers the detonation that merges the two dimensions. The events before and after those actions are simply the prologue and epilogue.
The Kotoura-san anime both opens and ends with Haruka going to school. The opening was Deliberately Monochrome, people are avoiding her, and she has Dull Eyes of Unhappiness. The ending was colourful (if not overexposed), and with her friends saying hi to her. No guess about what the symbolism is.
In Hataraku Maou-sama!, the first food Maou and Ashiya encounter upon their arrival on Earth in episode 1 is katsudonnote a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet, egg, and condiments (hilariously mispronounced by them as "khatsu-dum"). At the end of the season in episode 13 when Maou and Ashiya eat out at a restaurant, they both ordered khatsu-dum.
Yes! Pretty Cure 5 begins with Nozomi running around a corner and crashing into Coco, who catches her. The second season ends with Nozomi running to deliver a letter to Coco via Syrup, only to run around the same corner and into Coco himself, who again catches her in his arms.
The introduction of the Survey Corps in Attack on Titan has them returning from a failed mission. Erwin noticed a young Eren happily watching them before Erwin turned away in shame. Five years later, on Eren's first mission that ended in failure, he noticed a brother and sister watching him with the same excited expression. He immediately looked away while fighting tears.
After the conclusion of Eren's fight with Annie/the Female Titan in episode 25, Mikasa requested Eren eat to keep up his strength, just as she did in episode 2. This time, he does so willingly.
The first episode began with the narration of "That day, humanity remembered the terror of being ruled by them ... the humiliation of being kept in a cage", referring to how humanity became complacent living within the walls and how the destruction of Zhiganshina and the subsequent fall of Wall Maria reminded them of their fear of Titans. The final episode repeated this phrase, only this time humanity remembered and humanity is pissed.