Harold: Oh, NO!
Here we go again!
A story or show that employs an infinite-loop motif, ending in the very way it was put into motion. The circumstances need not be exact.
The idea is that the events that led to the story are going to lead to a very similar story. If the story ends up back in the same place but the situation has changed that's Where It All Began
. If the story starts and ends with similar scenes for dramatic irony/tension then that's Book Ends
Compare And the Adventure Continues
, and Eternal Recurrence
, which does this to the entire 'verse
. See also Yo Yo Plot Point
, for individual plot-points or concepts, rather than whole episodes, arcs, seasons, or series.
If the next iteration of the story happens to the next generation
we have Generation Xerox
Not to be confused with the Ray Charles song; or a "Groundhog Day" Loop
, where time itself
is repeating as a plot device within the story. Compare with Status Quo Is God
and The End... Or Is It?
. Opposite of We Are Not Going Through That Again
, where the hero refuses to set off on another adventure.
As this is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers.
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Anime and Manga
- Gunslinger Girl. In the last episode of the (first season) anime, Henrietta and Jose are standing in the same places that they did in the first episode, but without the dialogue.
- Magikano ends this way by turning back time to the beginning of the first episode.
- The first half of the last episode of the fourth season of Galaxy Angel uses reincarnation to rewind back to the second half of the first episode of the third season. Not confused yet? This show isn't even supposed to have continuity!
- Madlax effectively opens and ends with the titular Action Girl receiving a call from her liaison who informs her about a new mission. Which is a plot point.
- Mazinger Z ends up right like it began: a mysterious army of Robeasts attacks the Photon Atomic Power Research Institute, and they are defeated by the sudden appearance of a Super Robot named Mazinger the enemy knew nothing about. Cue the sequel Great Mazinger starting the next week in the same time slot.
- After the climax of Tekkaman Blade II's second arc, the series ends with another Radam invasion, just like it began, only with a lot more Tekkamen on the side of the Earth.
- The Bittersweet Ending of Hell Teacher Nube concludes like this, with Nube going on another strange adventure with his brand-new class of fifth-graders (all of whom share some similarities to Doumori Elementary's 5-3 homeroom students.)
- Implied at the end of Paranoia Agent.
- At the end of Wolf's Rain some of the characters that died in the last episodes of the series appear alive (Possibly reincarnated)in a modern city. In the last scene, Kiba begins running, implying that the search for the Paradise started again.
- At the end of Elemental Gelade, Coud tries to pull off a very similar heist like at the start of the anime, but this time with his new partner Ren.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica's Spin-Off Puella Magi Oriko Magica ended this way.
- .hack//SIGN's ending cuts to the scene with which the anime series began.
- In an outtake of the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood dub, this exchange occurs in a scene from the final episode.
Al: So, I've been thinking about something lately.
Ed: Me too. I think we should try to bring Mom back.
- Majokko Meg-chan ended with both Meg and Non failing the Magical Girl Queenliness Test and having to start over note . Meg is happy, because she had grown to love her family, while Non is less impressed.
- Beelzebub: In chapter 188, the main cast has its first day back to Ishiyama High. Some things never change.
- Thanks to the school being reconstructed (twice), the Balance of Power has been shifted, meaning that Oga has to conquer the school all over again. Thus, the aptly named "Return to Ishiyama" arc is basically a redone version of the first arc of the series, except with more demons, more danger, and the stakes hiked up where it risks a civil war in the demon world.
- V for Vendetta, V rescues/kidnaps someone and brings them to the Shadow Gallery.
- The original run of The Sandman ended with the rise of a new Dream, but also with Dream looking out upon and recreating his kingdom, which was a common theme in the beginning of the series.
- Superman: Red Son. In the end, American President Luthor outwits and defeats Superman's global communist takeover and ushers in a new era of peace, prosperity, and technological mastery for mankind. For a billion years, Luthor's line of descendants help make humanity the most advanced species in the known Universe. Eventually, as the Earth ages and the Sun dims to an angry red, Luthor's great-grandson to the power fifty, Jor-L, discovers that the Earth is in imminent danger of being destroyed. His warnings ignored, he launches his only son Kal-L in a tiny rocket back in time to prevent the cold complacency of his society.
- Grant Morrison's JLA run ends with all the new members added during the run written out of the team, leaving the core seven back in place. Then a distress call comes in about a supervillain threat, and the League heads off to deal with him.
- An in-universe example from the Scrooge McDuck story Only A Poor Old Man by Carl Barks. Scrooge enlists his nephews to move his money to a secret location when the Beagle Boys start preparing to launch a heist. (This was eaaaarly ScroogeMcDuck, who kept his money in the city and not on a private hill.) After the money is moved, Scrooge is comforted by the thought of his fortune safe...until he learns that the Beagle Boys know about the hiding place. Scrooge once again enlists his nephews for the fight, and Huey, Dewey and Louie sing, "Once more around on the merry-go-round..." as they head off into battle.
- Another Donald Duck comics story, "The Head of Rama Putra", had Uncle Scrooge receiving only the body of an idol of the (fictional) Indian deity Rama Putra, and sending Donald and his nephews off on a crazy jungle adventure to retrieve his eponymous head. When Don and company get home with the head, they find out not only did the head of Rama Putra arrive as a separate package, but they head they did find belongs to an idol of Ra-men Nu-dol, god of yeast extracts, and now Uncle Scrooge wants them to go back and find the body of the idol.
- Most stories with Donald's Neighbor Jones usually end this way; Once the Escalating War ends, Donald or Jones would say or do something that causes it to start up again. In one story, an attempt of Donald's to borrow Jones' lawnmower results in both of their houses being destroyed by automated cutters. Once he's moved into a new house, Donald notices that his new lawn needs cutting and goes to borrow the mower from his new neighbor...who happens to be Jones!
- Bone starts and ends with the three Bone cousins journeying through the desert, with Phoney and Smiley getting into almost the exact same argument both times.
- "Get Lost," a story with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Cartoon Network Block Party #52), has a dazed Billy found by a policeman who goes through white heat to find Billy's home. When he does return Billy home, Grim and Mandy appeared to have had a bet on how long it would take Billy to return. After debating the time, Grim uses his scythe to zap Billy back to where the story started.
- At the end of the Vampirella story "... And be a Bride of Chaos" a looter comes across a coffin and is tempted to lie in it... which was how Dracula Body Surfed his way between hosts.
Films — Live-Action
- The Robinsons using the hyperdrive again in Lost in Space (prompting the comment, "Here we go again").
- The Doctor Who Made-for-TV Movie opens with the Seventh Doctor in the TARDIS, where he settles down to read The Time Machine and listen to a gramophone record. The record starts skipping, so he abandons this. At the end of the movie, the Eighth Doctor settles in the same chair with the same book and music. When the record starts to skip he says "Not again!"
- At the beginning of the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Cap'n Jack Sparrow has only a small boat to his name after his crew stole his ship and set off by themselves to get the treasure he'd found a guide to. The end of the third film finds him in the same situation again. Only this time, he was smart enough to keep the treasure map with him.
- Or more specifically, he cuts out the critical center section of the map, leaving the rest, rolled up to hide the missing section, on his ship so that the mutinous crew doesn't know until he's long gone that it's been stolen.
- It goes a bit further; Gibbs is back in Tortuga, while Barbossa and his surviving crew are back in possession of the Black Pearl after leaving Jack behind again.
- At the beginning of the 1996 Mission: Impossible film, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight) receives his "This Page Will Self-Destruct" mission orders from a flight attendant on an airplane, who enquires whether he would like to watch an Eastern European film: a reference to the location of his next mission. The film ends with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) on a plane, being asked if he would like to watch a film: "Would you consider the cinema of the Caribbean? Aruba, perhaps?"
- The classic horror anthology Dead of Night begins with the protagonist arriving at a house and telling the guests that he has seen that house, and those guests, in a prophetic dream. It ends with him waking up, then driving out to a familiar house...
- Big Trouble in Little China begins (apart from a brief pre-credits scene) and ends with sequences of Jack Burton driving the Pork Chop Express through pouring rain while delivering one of his grandstanding bullshit speeches over the CB. Of course, in the latter scene, we also move into Cliff Hanger territory. Just a shame that there wasn't a sequel...
- This is basically the plot of Jumanji. It stars with some kids getting rid of the game. Then the lead boy finds the game, they have to finish, then they try to get rid of it. And it ends with another pair of kids finding it and wanting to play. A cycle is reborn.
- Infernal Affairs III ends with a flashback scene that ends at precisely the same moment that the first film began.
- All About Eve. Margot, a successful but aging stage actress gains an obsessive fan in Eve. Eve seems nice at first, but is revealed to have gotten close to Margot to destroy her career and take her place. Then Eve becomes famous and is introduced to a very similar fan at the end.
- The Happening has it happen again in France.
- Similarly, 28 Weeks Later ends with Infected rushing into Paris.
- The Crazies used this trope while simultaneously treading into Shoot The Shaggy Dog Story territory. The movie starts with US Government setting up a quarantine around a small town due to a virus epidemic. The main character couple survived through the whole thing, escaped the town, and the movie ends with the two of them walking to a nearby city. Cue the US Government setting up the same quarantine around that city.
- Subverted in Dude, Where's My Car?. The movie starts with two guys waking up not remembering what happened yesterday and found out that their car is missing. The end of the movie (after Laser-Guided Amnesia) seems to follow the same route with the two not remembering what happened yesterday and realizing that their car is missing, before another car got out of the parking spot, revealing their own car.
- The Incredible Shrinking Woman ends with Lily Tomlin, restored to normal size, hearing the sound of fabric tearing. She looks down to see her (growing) foot break out of her shoe, smiles, and rolls her eyes as if to say it.
- Smokey and the Bandit: Throughout the film, Bandit had been racing to win an $80,000 bet to get a load of beer from Texas to Georgia in 28 hours. Having won the bet in the end, said clients then get a hankering for genuine Boston clam chowder...in 18 hours. "Double or nothing?" they offer. His answer? "You're on." And Bandit hits the road again.
- "Manos" The Hands of Fate: The movie starts with Mike and Margaret and their daughter Debbie arriving at a dilapidated motel, where they encounter an odd man who greets them saying "I aM TORgo. I Take CARe oF THe pLaCE whILE the MASTer is awAY.". In the end, another couple arrives, but are greeted by Mike who says "I am Michael. I take care of the place while the master is away.".
- In Home Alone 2: Lost In New York Kevin says, "Here we go, another Christmas in the trenches." just before kicking off another booby-trap war against the bandits.
- The title character mentions this by name at the tail (sorry) end of Francis The Talking Mule, after Sterling brings his boss to see him to convince him that Francis is real. This comes after he spent the entire plot of the movie in a flashback trying to convince the Army that Francis was real.
- The Caller ends with The Girl, having almost won her freedom from the forces keeping her from her family, receiving The Caller again at her house in the middle of nowhere as she did at the beginning of the movie - although he says she might actually succeed this time...
- C-3PO says this word for word in Return of the Jedi as the heroes go off on their mission to destroy the second Death Star.
- By the end of Ghost Ship, sole survivor Epps eventually succeeds in sinking the Graza, all the souls are released and Ferriman is destroyed, and she's rescued from the ocean by a passing ship. Then in the last scene she sees an unharmed Ferriman walk by, taking the gold onto another ship and starting the cycle anew.
- Avi's arc in Snatch ends with the same sequence that began it when he flies back to London (after implicitly swearing never to go back) to retrieve the diamond.
- Although it led into the next film, the ending of Back to the Future was intended as an example of this trope as no sequel was planned. The film's main problem (that Marty accidentally erased himself from history) resulted because he used the time machine; just when everything is perfect, Doc arrives and whisks them off in it again.
- Cabin By The Lake ends with the reveal that Stanley has survived. Disguised, he presents his idea for another script to a new agent about a killer who buries people alive.
- In A Country Coyote Goes Hollywood, after his big adventure through the Hollywood hills, the titular coyote was captured by animal control and taken back to the desert outside the city limits. Soon after, he ends up hitching a ride on a truck that took him to Hollywood in the first place. The narrator closes with, "Whether he planned it or not, he's going to town again."
- Stephen King's The Dark Tower series uses this as well. The final book ends with Roland making it to the top of the tower, and finding himself in the desert following the man in black - and it isn't the first time he's been sent back to the beginning. There's an ambiguous clue that he might change things this time around, though.
- Another King instance in Needful Things, which starts with a narrator talking to the reader about the new store coming into town and telling us a bit about the town, and ends likewise in a different town.
- Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents ends with Maurice finding another stupid-looking kid to help earn his fortune.
- The first Artemis Fowl book starts with the titular character researching a hunch he has about fairies. At the end of the sixth book, he's gone through a Stable Time Loop back to before the first book with past!Artemis getting mind-wiped to preserve the timeline. The last scene is him waking up post mind-wipe, back in the past, and half remembering "Fairies. Something about fairies."
- The last book ends with one of the characters reciting the first lines from the first book.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, arguably Laura Numeroff's most famous work, begins with the mouse being given a cookie, and asking for various other favors until the end, where he wants a cookie again. Numeroff herself described it as a "circular story."
- Several of Numeroff's other books follow the same pattern, either with the same mouse (If You Take a Mouse to the Movies) or with other animals (If You Give a Pig a Pancake).
- Robert Cormier's I Am The Cheese
- E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros
- Word of God says that this is the basic premise of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, although the series only depicts one Age rather than a full turn of the Wheel.
- The epilogue of The Aldous Lexicon ends by describing events like those which began the books, with Naia's child in place of Alaric/Naia, and a collage made by Naia replacing the sculpture by Alaric's mother. Which raises the question of whether Naia's mother had known about the other worlds, among other things.
- Every book in the Captain Underpants series always ends with George and Harold being dragged into another adventure. Yeah, that's how it goes. The Genre Savvy kids even comment on this in one book, when one says that he's surprised that they made it to the end of the book without going "Oh no!" and "Here we go again!". Of course, they don't really.
- Ted Dekker's Circle series. The first three books came and it was quite a gripping story that seemed to lead to a happy ending. But then along came Green where Thomas is sent back in time to have another chance to set things right, to the beginning of book 1, with the condition that his memories of what is to happen are erased. Effectively crating a loop, for without the knowledge of what is to happen, he is bound to make the same choices.
- In-universe example: The Dragaera novels are set in an empire governed in accordance with the Cycle, a system by which each of the 17 Houses rules in turn. The compiled editions of the Vlad Taltos books open with an in-universe poem to illustrate this, that gives every House a line in order, both starting and ending with the House of the Phoenix.
- An odd Timey-Wimey Ball variation in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel "Borrowed Time"; the opening scene is set during the sub-prime mortgage bubble, and has two mysterious figures in dark suits offer a beleaguered banker a wristwatch that lets him "borrow" time. The epilogue is set during the 16th century tulipmania bubble, and has two mysterious figures in dark doublets and hose offer a beleaguered tulip trader a pocket watch that lets her "borrow" time. Less "Here We Go Again" and more "There We Went Before".
- In the epilogue of Replay, the "Groundhog Day" Loop is happening to someone new, but his replay date is when Jeff's end date was.
- The Walter de la Mare poem "Sam's Three Wishes, or Life's Little Whirligig" ends with Sam in the exact same situation he was at the beginning, and contains some great Fridge Brilliance if you're willing to start the poem all over again.
- The first three Vernon Bright books end like this.
- In the first book Bright de-magnetizes himself only to discover he's become electrically charged.
- The second ends with their "Faster Than Light Machine" creating infinite Bright's
- The third has two. Bright's father has to go and stop a meteor crashing into the planet and destroying all life on Earth and at the same time the gravity machine has inverted and is creating a miniature black hole.
- The fourth book is different because John realizes that the "Frankenstein's Hamster" could just be hibernating ...
- Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore's Vernon Bright books for children always ended with the main characters solving the problem they'd been facing - by creating a very similar, different one.
- Seinfeld did this for the entire series, ending its last episode with the main characters in jail, having exactly the same conversation that opened the first episode.
- While the final episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 does have Mike and the 'bots escaping the Satellite of Love and returning to Earth, the episode ends with Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo sharing an apartment, riffing on the cable broadcast of The Crawling Eye (the same movie that was featured in the very first episode).
- In the Twilight Zone episode "Mr. Dingle the Strong", comical Martians give the milquetoast title character Super Strength. Hilarity Ensues until the Martians take Dingle's strength back—but they then recommend him to comical Venusians who need a human test subject to give super intelligence...
- In episode 6, Season 2 of The Big Bang Theory the episode begins and ends with Sheldon having a fan girl graduate student asking him if he wants dinner. He should have learnt after the first time.
- The Prisoner ended with... the opening credits.
- Cheers began the series with Sam Malone coming out of the back room, turning on the lights and opening the bar. The series ended with Sam locking the bar, turning off the lights, and strolling back into the back room.
- Yes Dear started out with Jimmy and Christine, with their kids (Dominic and Logan), at Greg and Kim's house asking for shelter. The series ended with the same four people at said residence asking Greg and Kim whether the guesthouse they had stayed in before moving out was still available.
- Battlestar Galactica, possibly. The series was all about a Robot War (actually multiple Robot Wars in the distant past) so it's Arc Words ("All of this has happened before and all of it will happen again") sound a bit... chilling upon the series finale ending with the camera panning onto a present-day TV headline titled ADVANCES IN ROBOTICS. Head!Six and Head!Baltar even lampshade this.
Six: Commercialism, decadence, technology run amok... remind you of anything?
Baltar: Take your pick: Kobol... Earth... the real Earth before this one... Caprica before the Fall...
- Arrested Development almost repeats itself as well. Just like in the pilot, the family is having a party on a boat to celebrate Michael becoming the new CEO, and the SEC arrives. (Buster even acknowledges that "They still have boats?") However, this time, they arrive to arrest Lucile. Inverting this trope at the last minute, Michael leaves with his son (and apparently his father) instead of staying to keep his family and the business intact.
- On an episode of Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa develops a crush on the local TV weatherman. At the end, she gets rid of her crush after realizing that the weatherman was just a big airhead, and develops a new crush on the sports guy.
- Kenan & Kel often ended their episodes this way with the two addressing the audience after their latest misadventure. Kenan would come up with another zany scheme and tell Kel to meet him somewhere and bring something before dashing off. Kel would complain for a bit before yelling out "Awwwww, here it goes!".
- Eureka opens with the protagonist sheriff and his daughter driving into town and seeing themselves driving out of town. In the last scene of the last episode, as they drive out of town, they see themselves driving in.
- In the Series Finale of Gossip Girl, former outsider Dan Humphrey, alias Gossip Girl, has passed on the mantle to another guy on the outside looking in on the rich kids.
- On Johnny Carson's 17th anniversary telecast of The Tonight Show, a clip of Dom DeLuise's trick with raw eggs was shown. The trick, while successful, led to Johnny going a little wacky and tossing eggs at everyone and cracking eggs on Dom's head, in Dom's pants, and finally his own pants. It had presumably settled down as Johnny introduced the next guest, Burt Reynolds. Johnny, in voiceover, said "Here we go again," as Burt had brought out a can of whipped cream, starting up another slapstick episode, this time with him and Burt.
- The Masters Of Horror episode "Jenifer" ends with Jenifer attaching herself to yet another ignorant man whom she plans to use to cover up for her continuing murders after he kills the hero to save the "helpless" woman.
- The first season of Red vs. Blue did this; the first and last episodes began with the camera rising up to view Simmons and Grif having the same conversation. Grif has a different response each time, though.
One of the series' Multiple Endings the series' canonical ending does this as well, albeit with the red and blue team switching roles.
- Used word for word in an alternate ending to one of the Gehenna scenarios in Vampire: The Masquerade. This ending, titled "Here We Go Again," involves the Tzimisce Antediluvian being defeated just as it was in the original ending; however, the player characters do not transform back into humans. Not only do they remain vampires, but they appear to have become more powerful than ever before, and their clan weakness no longer affects them: now that the old Antediluvians are all dead or beyond all human concerns, the players have taken their place to start the entire history of vampires all over again.
- The Skin Of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, ends with Sabina coming out onstage, acting out her first scene of the show. She then stops and tells the audience that the play hasn't been finished yet, and they can go home whenever the like, with the implication that the play-within-a-play is on an infinite loop. This is itself meant to symbolize how human history keeps repeating itself, and that most things don't change in the long run.
- On the Town: Chip, Ozzie and Gabey's twenty-four hours are up, and they return to the ship... but three new sailors get off the ship on their shore leave, singing "New York, New York." (The ending of the film version is the same.)
- Woody Allen's play God ends with the two leads repeating their opening lines, which are complaining about the play not having an ending.
- Candide has the comic ballad "What's the Use?" The Old Lady, who operates a rigged roulette wheel, is exploited by her employer, who pays protection to a police chief, who is being blackmailed by a crook, who has a terrible roulette habit.
- JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls begins with the titular inspector visiting the upper-class Birling family to interrogate them about the death of a young working-class woman, gradually revealing that each of them was partly responsible for her eventual suicide. At the end, it is revealed that the inspector who visited them was not a real policeman. The double-twist comes when Mr Birling receives a phone call telling him that the girl's suicide really is being investigated, and an inspector will be sent round to ask some questions.
- Chicago: Moments after the jury finds Roxie Hart not guilty, three pistol shots are heard, and the crowd rushes out to investigate. It seems that another woman has shot her boyfriend and his wife.
- The main plot All's Well That Ends Well starts with Helena curing the King of France, being offered the hand of any nobleman she likes in reward, and having Bertram, who she chooses, reject her. At the end of the play, she's managed to win him back with the help of Diana; when she tells the story to the King, he says Diana can have the hand of any nobleman she likes as a reward for helping Helena...
- The Man Who Came to Dinner ends with Sheridan Whiteside, having fully recovered from his injury, walking out the front door of the Stanley home and slipping and falling on the steps once again.
- Tenderloin ends with Reverend Brock moving on to Detroit to try to shut down the Red Light District there. It reacts the same way the one in New York did, with a reprise of their Protest Song.
- Twice Charmed ends with the wicked fairy godfather helping an evil queen being chased by seven dwarfs up a mountain.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time did a time-reset to the beginning. However, this was followed by a final fight scene in which the Big Bad is defeated, meaning that the events of the game never actually take place, and only the Prince remembers them.
- Prince of Persia (2008) features this: Before the game, The Mourning King offers up his soul to resurrect Elika. At the end, Elika sacrifices her life to re-imprison Ahriman. Ahriman then whispers the offer to resurrect the Prince's love if he frees the dark god. The Prince accepts.
- The Infocom text game Trinity begins and ends with your character spending the last few minutes before the start of World War III performing identical tasks in the Kensington Gardens. Complete with a foreshadowing/ironic slogan and "you feel you should do X" epilogue.
- Many video games from the 80s "ended" in this way. Perhaps most memorable was The Legend of Kage, which described the happy times of your character and the princess he just saved, and then with a foreboding "However....." begins the kidnapping process all over again.
- The 2004 version of The Bard's Tale has "good" ending do this. Incidentally, the other two are much more awesome. The good ending is siding with Fionnaoch and killing Caleigh, with The Bard ending up having to con people for a living once again.
- The original Spyro the Dragon begins with Gnasty Gnorc, infuriated by the dragons' badmouthing of him, petrifying nearly every dragon in the land into a crystal statue. At the end of the game, after Spyro defeats Gnasty, frees all the dragons and re-collects all the treasure in the kingdom, Spyro makes a snide comment about Gnasty "not being a worthy opponent", which sets the original plot in motion again, prompting Spyro to speak the name of this trope.
- In the platformer Gods (the PC version, at least; other versions differ), at the completion of the game you are given the reward of immortality. Then the game suggests you should use your new power to do something challenging, and warps you back to level one.
- Shadow Hearts: Covenant had a version of this in the good ending. With his friends scattered throughout time and his lover dead (the bad ending of the first game was the canonical one) Yuri chooses to die rather than allow the curse he's under to rob him of the memories of his friends and loved ones. When next we see him, he's at the beginning of the first Shadow Hearts game, clearly planning to change the past and get the good ending.
- In Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mario says it in a cutscene after you complete every world where Donkey Kong accidentally loses all his Mini Mario Toys and proceeds to kidnap the Toads who produce them instead. Then you have to complete a new set of levels, albeit set in the same worlds as your first run. After you complete these levels, a similar cutscene appears, where Donkey Kong had the Mini Mario Toys in his bag all along and takes these away with him. Mario then says "Here we go again ... again!" and goes to the final boss battle.
- Subverted in killer7. The end of the first mission has Harman Smith asking Kun Lan "You're awake from your dream?" to which Kun Lan responds "Harman, the size of the world has changed." In the end of the final mission, Harman asks Kun Lan, "You're awake from your nightmare?" The response is "Harman, the world doesn't change, all it does is turn."
- Also, their confrontation at the beginning of the game takes place in Seattle; their confrontation at the end takes place in an unspecified Chinese city. You can probably fill in the blanks.
- Happens in the Best Ending in Metal Max Returns.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door ends with Princess Peach and Toadsworth arriving at Mario's house, telling him that they found a new treasure map and need him to help them find the treasure. The big difference is that the second treasure presumably isn't secretly an Eldritch Abomination trying to trick someone into releasing it.
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy has an extreme example : in the last cutscene, the heroes are in a beautiful land, and all warp back to their respective worlds... except the Warrior of Light, who just walks away with his crystal in hand to a town that's obviously Corneria, the City of Dreams. aka. the very first town of the entire series, effectively starting the plot of the very first game.
- In the Sega Genesis platformer Saint Sword after you hack your way through multiple levels, defeat various bosses and climb to the top of Gorgan's sinister castle you'd think you would emerge victorious after felling the evildoer. This is not the case, he promptly mocks you saying that you are too weak and cannot defeat him then sends you back to the first level, stripping you of all your items and transformation icons whilst generously letting you keep your score. Although there is a slight variation in the second playthrough, such as nighttime versions of the levels and enemies that now have ranged attacks, this is probably a fair example of Nintendo Hard, he can be beaten the second time though. The evil bastard.
- Super Mario Galaxy features a galaxy unlockable only after collecting all 120 stars and again as Luigi. The Grand Finale Galaxy is actually just the game's intro level (Awesome Music and Scenery Porn included), where most of the characters in the game congratulate you on being awesome.
- Comix Zone invokes the trope without lampshading it: if you beat the final boss, but don't do it quickly enough to save the girl, the protagonist will attempt to recreate the circumstances that led to the beginning of the game, so that he can bring her back.
- Chrono Trigger's true ending is this way, as well as most variations of it. After finishing their main quest, the main character's mother hops into the last Time Gate just before it closes, forcing the party to hop into their time machine for one more adventure.
- The Path, after the girl in white visits the grandmother, returns to the empty character select room. Each of the girls in red enters, takes up her original position, and they become selectable again.
- You just can't keep Carmen Sandiego in jail.
- Cho Ren Sha 68k: That explosion you see at the beginning of the game? Complete Stage 0 (the last stage of a given loop in this game) of the first loop and as the result screen shows up, you'll notice that the boss doesn't explode right away like other bosses. After the result screen disappears, then it explodes, you see the very explosion you saw at the beginning of the game, and you start Stage 1 of the second loop.
- The bad ending of Suikoden Tierkreis is somewhere between this and Shoot the Shaggy Dog. The One King you fight wasn't the original—he chose to sacrifice the lives of his allies to kill the previous One King, and wound up replacing him. Sacrifice your own allies, and guess what happens?
- In Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay, this is lampshaded by the MerLeader when McGillicutty repeatedly attempts to drown him/her as "torture":
Guybrush, sink his ship! McGillicutty:
I'll deal with you later, Stinkwood
! I think old fin-face here wants another dip in the drink! HA ha ha ha harr! Chieftain Beluga:
Here we go again. [s/he is lowered into the water]
- Carn Evil ends with a sick, twisted version of this. After surviving the evil circus, you end up back at the grave where it all began. A moment later, the token used to start the whole business pops out of the bottom of the tombstone like a prize coin. A hand picks it up...and then (even as the girl screams in the background) puts it back in the tombstone. Without saying them, the ending scene depicts the three most dreaded words one can hear at the end of a scary ride: "Wanna go again?"
- Journey gets somewhat meta on one of these, the mountain that you've journeyed to reach merely re-incarnates you at the first stage of the game, giving a justified reason for doing multiple playthroughs.
- Conkers Bad Fur Day ultimately ends with a drunken Conker stumbling off into a dark and stormy night, just as in the beginning.
- The end of Futurama is the same scene as the beginning; at some point during the game, the three main characters go back in time.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures ends with the characters escaping from Game Land, only for the Nerd to find out that the game was specifically made to do so. He remarks that you'd have to be a "total nerd" to play it again... three guesses as to what happens immediately afterwards.
- A side mission in Borderlands 2 involves breaking up a cult inspired by original Vault Hunter Lilith. Unfortunately, the human sacrifices rescued in the process begin to worship the Player Character.
- City Face's first story lampshaded this. On the bottom right of the last panel, where there would normally be a "The End" symbol, there is instead a box saying "goto #1".
- Penny Arcade gives a single strip-wide example about a cyclical argument.
- XKCD, being XKCD, puts a non-orient-able spin on the concept here.