Big Damn Reunion

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This is it, the moment the whole story has been leading up to. Character X is finally reuniting with character Y again after weeks, months, perhaps even years apart. They've been looking, alternatively waiting, for each other for so long, they've never given up hope, and finally the day is here. Cue the Tears of Joy from the readers or audience as these two or more characters have a tearful embrace that's been long overdue.

Will often be the result of I Will Find You or I Will Wait for You. Alternatively, the Big Damn Reunion doesn't have to be the main plot of the story or even happen to the main characters, side plots of minor characters reuniting after a long while also counts, so long as there's an emphasis on the moment. If there's two characters seeing each other after a long while, and this is either not treated like a big deal, or the two characters are not happy to see each other, (say with the hero and an old enemy of his), then the trope doesn't count. Big Damn Reunion means the characters have joyous tears at finding each other, and is often, but not exclusively, the conclusion of the story, or the character's plight. Expect it to often result in The Glomp. If the reunion is a romantic one, it may also culminate in The Big Damn Kiss.

Note that it is not required for the characters involved to be actively searching for each other. One or both of them may have given up, thought the other was dead/gone, or even not tried to find the other character at all due to circumstances, and one day simply happens to find each other by chance.

Downplayed versions of the trope will happen when the two characters who meet are obviously happy to see each other, but are not able to show it due to circumstances. As long as there's emphasis on the characters being happy over reuniting, even if it's subtle, the trope still counts.

Compare Class Reunion. If it's a reunion happening at the end of a character's life (or beyond), see Together in Death.

Warning: As this is a trope about two or more characters finding each other that often concludes a character's plight, or the story in whole, there will be spoilers.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • InuYasha: At the end of the manga, Kagome and Inu-Yasha reunite after a timeskip of three years in which Kagome was stuck in her own time, before she was finally able to come back.
  • Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin: Happens often between man and dog both in this series and its sequel, Ginga Densetsu Weed. The happiest one probably happens to one of the side characters in the sequel, Sasuke the shiba, who gets a subplot of happily reuniting with his owners after two years apart. The other reunions in the show, particularly between the main character Gin and his human Daisuke, are more tragic as the first time they reunite after months apart, Daisuke is not allowed near Gin by the other dogs, and when they do reunite properly both later in the series and in the sequel, it's only for a short while. Though it doesn't stop said moments from being filled with joy from both dog and former owner.
  • Berserk: After having gone on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after the events of the Eclipse, Guts learns, after two years, that his former comrade and lover Casca (who became insane after the aforementioned event) has disappeared from the one place she was safe and is in peril somewhere. Guts subsequently has to go to hell and back to reunite with her again, and ultimately succeeds.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Towards the end of the manga, the Host Club and everyone's Tamaki's helped throughout the series helps him get to the airport in time so he can see his mother for the first time in three years.
  • Vampire Knight: Downplayed in the reunion between Zero and Yuuki after one year apart. The panels have a huge emphasis on the two seeing each other again across the room, but due to their falling out and different social statuses at the time, they're unable to show any emotion towards the other and act like nothing despite how hard it is for them.
  • Your Name: Mitsuha and Taki meet by chance at the end and ask each other if they've met before, with both of them shedding happy tears when they finally found whom they'd unconsciously been searching for for many years.
  • In episode 15 of Pokémon Generations, the plot follows the events of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 wherein N Harmonia battles against his Archnemesis Dad. Just when it appears that he's going to lose, an attack appears out of nowhere and saves him - it's Hilbert, the Player Character of the previous game who went missing between the two games...because he was searching for N. Looks like he finally found him.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's The MOVIE 2nd A's begins with Nanoha and Fate being reunited after six months, and it's absolutely overflowing with romantic undertones.

    Comic Books 
  • Fables: Snow and Bigby happily reunite after the latter disappeared for four years, and they're finally able to marry and raise their children together.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
    • A Letter from Home: Averted first and then later played straight in the Don Rosa Disney comic where Scrooge meets his sister Matilda again after nearly 25 years. Because of how they fell out all those years before, it's not a happy reunion, as Matilda still wants nothing to do with Scrooge for having disowned his family thanks to his greed and mean temper. Later in the story, Scrooge reveals his true nature when he tries to take the bullet for Matilda by jumping between her and the villain as the latter fires a gun. The gun backfires, however, and Scrooge and Matilda later have the chance to talk things out between them and finally have a happy reunion.
    • In Don Rosa's Disney comic A Little Something Special, the story ends with Scrooge getting a surprise visit from his old flame Goldie, resulting in a heartwarming and hilarious scene.
  • Sin City: In the fourth book, That Yellow Bastard, John Hartigan tries to track down the girl he saved many years ago from the twisted pedophilic serial killer whose Senator father framed him for his son's crimes and put Hartigan away for many years. It turns out that she's grown up to become the gorgeous stripper Nancy Callahan when he realizes that the bad guys have been using him as bait to find her. He tries to walk out when she notices him, freezes in the middle of her performance, then runs straight into his arms with a Big Damn Kiss.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: A version that happens towards the beginning of the film as Po reunites with his father whom he hasn't seen since he was a cub. Towards the end of the film, Po still finds himself in the spirit realm after having defeated Kai, and reunites with Oogway who passed away in the first film.
  • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron: The two horses Spirit and Rain reunite towards the end in an overjoyed manner as they both thought the other was dead or gone. Spirit then has another reunion at the end with his herd and with his mother after having not seen them for months.
  • The Lion King: Simba and Nala coincidentally meet again as adults and have a joyous reunion, particularly from Nala's point of view as she had thought Simba was dead.
  • Finding Nemo: The whole film revolves on Marlin trying to find his son, which he finally does in the end. The sequel, Finding Dory, has Dory trying to find her long lost parents, with another big reunion at the end.
  • Parodied in Madagascar. After being washed ashore, Alex and Marty are happily running towards each other in slow motion and to swelling music... until Alex's face turns menacing and Marty realizes he better U-turn and leg it.
  • Anastasia: While the real story was more tragic, the animated adaptation of the missing Grand Duchess Anastasia has the title character happily reunite with her grandmother, Dowager Empress Marie, towards the end of the film.
  • Brother Bear: The end of the film has a small moment where Koda reunites and cuddles with the spirit of his mother. The three brothers, Kenai, Denahi and Sitka, also share a big hug upon reuniting while Kenai is a bear and Sitka is a spirit.
  • Tangled: Rapunzel was kidnapped as a baby by Mother Gothel who raised the child in the belief that she was Rapunzel's mother, in order to stay young thanks to the magic of Rapunzel's hair. Every year for 18 years, Rapunzel's real parents, the king and queen, releases lanterns on her birthday to mark the date of her disappearance and hope that she one day will see the lights and come home. After Rapunzel realizes Gothel isn't her real mother, and the latter is defeated, Eugene brings Rapunzel back to the kingdom to finally reunite her with her parents in a very heartwarming scene.
  • Moana: Moana leaves her parents when she sails away from her island. She sails a huge distance and has a lot of adventures, but at the end finally meets her parents (and Animal Companion Pua) again, and gives them a big tight hug. Her father, who at the beginning of the movie was very strict and almost harsh to her, now has a much warmer attitude and expresses his love and appreciation of her.
  • An American Tail: Fievel the mouse is separated from his family while traveling to America as he falls overboard the ship they're on, and the rest of the film is him trying to find them again while surviving the dangers that New York City poses to a little mouse. The reunion between him and his family in the end is often considered one of the most famous heartwarming scenes of 80's childhood films.
  • In Thumbelina, the title character and Prince Cornelius meet and fall in love, but are separated throughout the rest of the film thanks to various characters kidnapping Thumbelina and Cornelius being thwarted in rescuing her. Towards the end, Jaquimo the bird manages to bring Thumbelina to the Valley of Fairies and asks her to sing. As she does, snow and ice around her begins to thaw, and as she stops mid-song and is about to give up, Cornelius arrives and finishes her song, and the two embrace in a Big Damn Kiss.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey: Many 80s and 90s-born people will attest to one of the greatest Tear Jerker memories of their childhood being the reunion between the trusty dog Shadow and his boy Peter. The sequel also ends in a similar reunion emphasising on the dog Chance and his boy Jamie, and adds another reunion by the end with Chance and his Love Interest Delaila.
  • In The Truman Show, there's a big dramatic reunion between Truman and his long-lost father (who was presumed to have died earlier in the series). This was a deliberate "in-universe" effect, based on the show's premise. The director hoped this would improve the show's ratings.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring get separated from each other at the end of the first movie. At the end of the third movie, they are reunited and the Hobbits especially are ecstatic to see each other again, and go hugging each other and even jumping up and down on a bed.
  • The Shawshank Redemption when Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding gets out of prison he eventually goes to see the escaped banker and hero of the movie in Mexico where the movie ends.
  • In Little Big Man which deals with the life of Jack the lead character is reunited with his captive wife Ogla who has now remarried and doesn't recognise him, with Louise Pendrake who tries to seduce him on two occasions, Old Lodge Skins who raised him twice, and with Younger Bear a contemporary brave on three occasions.
  • Forrest Gump: After Forrest's returned from Vietnam and accidentally finds himself at a hippie rally by the Washington monument, a familiar voice calls out to him as his best friend Jenny runs across the Reflecting Pool to show herself to him, and the two share a big hug in front of thousands of applauding on-lookers.

    Literature 
  • Black Beauty: The original 1877 novel averts this trope as the horse Beauty's reunion with his former caretaker Joe in the end is not treated like a big deal. In the 1994 film version, however, the two have a much stronger bond and their reunion after what is roughly ten years apart is a huge Tear Jerker.
  • A Dog's Purpose: Bailey is a dog that lives through many lives, but his favourite life is his second one where he's the dog of a boy named Ethan. Towards the end of the book, Bailey, now a dog named Buddy, is happy beyond words when he manages to find a reunite with an elderly Ethan.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns: After entering an Arranged Marriage with Rasheed, Laila is told by a stranger that her best friend and lover Tarik is dead. About ten years later, he shows up at her doorstep, and she cries heavily while hugging him, realizing she had been fed a lie.
  • War Horse: After having been separated through a majority of World War I, the horse Joey and former owner Albert manages to reunite at the end.
  • Aragorn and Eomer, two Supporting Leaders in The Lord of the Rings, go their separate ways in Rohan (when Aragorn sets off on the Paths of the Dead) and reunite in the middle of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, going Back-to-Back Badasses on Sauron's forces.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones, In season six, Jon Snow and his half sister Sansa Starks reunite, marking the first time since the first season that any of the (related by blood) Stark siblings get to meet up with each other after everyone left Winterfell.
  • Double Subverted in the first episode of Doctor in Charge. Duncan Waring returns to St. Swithin's Hospital to work there, looking forward to meeting his friends again, but they had decided to prank him by pretending not to recognize him. The only person who looks genuinely pleased to see him is the usually fearsome Professor Loftus... which earns him a rather unexpected enormous hug from the relieved Duncan. Afterwards, Duncan's friends quit the charade and shoulder claps, hugs, jokes and laughs ensue.
  • Pretty Little Liars' fourth season Halloween Episode "Grave New World" finally has Alison come out of hiding long enough to meet with her friends for the first time since her disappearance two years prior. At the end of the season, she meets with them again and is convinced to finally come out of hiding.
  • The penultimate episode of season two of Stranger Things ends with Eleven and Mike coming face-to-face for the first time in a year. It's an emotionally fraught moment for Mike in particular considering he wasn't truly sure if Eleven was even alive, but once Mike finally processes that Eleven is back, he breaks out the biggest smile of his life. The beginning of the next episode has them embrace in Tears of Joy.
  • Black Sails reunites John Silver and Madi after the latter believed the former dead after a battle at sea. Without a single word the two express how much they've come to mean to each other.

    Theater 

    Video Games 
  • The Last of Us: While their separation is not particularly long, Joel and Ellie have this type of reunion at the end of winter, after Ellie's looked after a wounded and unconscious Joel for weeks, only to having to temporarily leave him to escape from a cannibalistic group and their paedophilic leader, with Joel waking up and fighting the same group to reach her, they finally have a tearful hug upon reuniting after Ellie's brutally killed the Arc Villain, made even more poignant with Joel calling her "baby girl", having grown to see her as his surrogate daughter.
  • A downplayed version in Red Dead Redemption. After having fought your way through the game to have John Marston reunite with his family, said reunion is not very dramatic as his wife's first reaction is to scold him for taking as long as he did, before they discuss what they'll do now and if life really can get better for them. When getting over their initial reaction, however, they finally share a hug, before John's son arrives and gives him a hug as well.

    Web Comics 
  • The Furry Webcomic Alone, Together centers on Imperial cadet Danni and Federal sergeant Jerom surviving for more than a year on a remote sandbar island. After being rescued, more drama unfolds before Jerom is returned to his homeland. Twenty years later, Jerom has an honorary doctorate, and oversees a moisture farm on that same remote island. He gets a surprise visit from Danni, now a commodore of the Imperial Navy. They hug.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Zuko abandoned his uncle Iroh near the end of the second season as the latter gets captured as a political prisoner. Then, in later episodes of the third season, Iroh managed to escape and now goes with his secret group Order of the White Lotus, and Zuko (who now has turned face) along with Aang's group meets the Order on the way. After encouragement from Katara, Zuko braves himself to meet his uncle again. At first he admits that he's guilty and he doesn't expect his uncle to forgive him, but then Iroh suddenly hugs him and tearfully says that he misses his nephew and he's glad that he finally finds his way. Zuko then returns the embrace and goes in tears too.

    Real Life 


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