Last Episode Theme Reprise

Since it's standard practice to make a Theme Song as awesome as possible, said theme likes to find its way into a privileged position in the final battle. At The Climax of the series, when things are at their most epic, the theme gets played over the show itself. Typically we'll get to hear the verses not played in the opening, and sometimes the whole song is strung together for once.

The opening or closing theme can be used. Often this serves as an ultimate Theme Music Power-Up. Often it serves in this capacity for the show itself. The creators seem to be claiming their own Crowning Moment of Awesome with this music.

This is also common in Video Games, the most common being a reprisal or orchestral version of the main theme over the final dungeon or ending sequences.

Sub-Trope of Title Theme Drop. Related to Theme Tune Cameo, where the theme is shown to exist in-universe. Compare Theme Music Withholding, when the theme song of the franchise as a whole is saved for an epic moment.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  
  • Cowboy Bebop plays "See You Space Cowboy", an alternate-lyric cut of "The Real Folk Blues", as Spike goes to face off against Vicious in the last episode.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms plays "Getsumei-fuuei" at the end of Episode 39, which finishes the last major story arc. However, that episode is a Series Fauxnale, as there are still six more episodes to go.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, with "Sorairo Days" during the climax of the final battle.
    • An inverted case happens earlier. The song "Happily Ever After" is used as Simon's Theme Music Powerup in episodes 11 and 15, then becomes the closing theme tune in episode 16.
  • Kill la Kill plays its second opening, "Ambiguous" during the final battle with Ragyo at Honnouji Academy.
    • Even more notably, just as Ryuko blasts off into space to face Ragyo for the final time in the last episode, the chorus of the first opening, "Sirius", plays.
  • The King's Avatar In season 1, it happens in the final flashback on the beginnings of the rivalry between Ye Xiu and Han Wenqing.
  • Technically it's only the fourth-last episode, but it still counts when the extended mix of Yuusha Oh Tanjou kicks in for the final battle against the Primevals over Jupiter in GaoGaiGar.
  • Lucky Star, "Motteke! Sailor Fuku", a Dancing Theme, is used as the BGM to the cheerleader routine in the final episode.
  • Magic User's Club
  • Although the theme song 'Rondo Revolution' didn't play during the last episode of Revolutionary Girl Utena, the song 'Rose and Release', sung to a similar tune, was. This trope was played straight with the movie, which could be considered a finale to the series in many ways.
  • The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
  • Happens in both season 1 and 2 of Shakugan no Shana
    • And used best in the very final battle of the final season.
  • The first opening song for Full Moon o Sagashite is used for exactly six episodes than abruptly dropped for the rest of the fifty-episode series. This comes off as jarring, considering Mitsuki's musical repertoire literally consists of about three songs and she knows how to sing this one. It's brought back for ridiculous heartwarming effect for the last several minutes of the final episode.
  • In Japanese, "Moonlight Densetsu" plays in the first-season finale of Sailor Moon. (However butchered the rest of that episode was, most North American fans prefer the Creator/DiC dub song, "Carry On").
    • Sailor Moon does it again in the finale of the last season, using the "Sailor Stars" opening theme during the final battle against Galaxia. Then as the special end credits of the finale roll the original end theme plays once more.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing reprises its first opening song, "Just Communication", when after Libra's been safely broken up, to show that Heero and Wing Zero have survived.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam features a slower version of its opening tune at the end of its final episode.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 reprises the first opening song "Daybreak's Bell" at the end of both the first and second season's last episode.
  • Space Battleship Yamato, a.k.a. Star Blazers, did this a bunch with its opening theme being reprised as a slow violin-heavy instrumental towards the end of each season and in the movies.
  • The end of the last episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion', including the infamous "Congratulations!" scene, is accompanied by two different instrumental versions of its opening, "Cruel Angel's Thesis".
  • The final episode of Dragonball GT.
  • Slayers Evolution-R does this with the second season's theme song "Give a Reason" during the final battle of the fifth season.
  • Last Exile
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood uses the second opening "Hologram" over the final episode's picture montage.
    • An earlier episode also had a longer version of the ending theme, with the credits sequence intercut with part of the show (was it flashbacks?)
  • F-Zero Falcon Densetsu used the opening theme during the final climactic scene. The song used for this was "The Meaning of Truth" by Hiro-X.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard used this during the endgame phase between Aichi and Ren. The song used for that was "Believe in My Existance". The second opening to the series by JAM Project.
  • The Bomberman Jetters anime used this in the last episode during the picnic scene after the series climax. The song used was "Boku Wa Gakeppuchi". The first opening to the series by Hideo Suwa.
  • ARIA uses the opening theme from its first season in the last episode of... the third season.
  • The second season finale of Minami-ke used the opening theme from the first season in the climactic Group Hug scene.
  • Inverted in two senses in Ga-Rei -Zero-, where "Paradise Lost" is put as the ending theme in the third episode, before being used as the official opening theme from episode 4 on.
  • The final episode of Daily Lives of High School Boys has the series' theme song played one last time over the ending credits.
  • The Sakamichi No Apollon finale has two instances. First, Sentaro and Richie play "Moanin", the song they played together in the first episode, and then "Sakamichi no Melody", the series' opening theme, plays over the end credits.
  • The final episode of the first season of A Certain Scientific Railgun does with both the first and second opening themes.
  • The World God Only Knows uses the theme as background music for the last TWO episodes.
    • Not quite as repetitive as one might expect, as this is an 8-minute song which is varied to say the least.
  • SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors: As Liu Bei becomes Celestial War God Dragon Liu Bei in the penultimate episode, the first ending theme, 'Mirisha Densetsu ~The Brave Legend~' plays for great effect.
  • Busou Renkin's finale featured a reprise by the opening theme and the first ending theme.
  • Eureka Seven has the theme playing for the last-minute rescue on the last episode.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has the second verse of the current opening, "Road to Tomorrow ~Going my Way!!~" playing during Yusei's last turn of the final episode.
  • The English dub of Pokémon ended the first and thirteenth seasons this way. In both cases, the extended version of that season's theme was used.
  • Inverted in Umi Monogatari, as the theme plays at the beginning of the last episode in a more somber tone as Marin and Kanon are near death.
  • Nurarihyon no Mago season 2 played the first opening theme of the season during the final attack of the last battle.
  • Macross Frontier has its original theme song "Triangler" reprise over the epilogue, which also serves as the ending credits, only this time sung by the two lead females. Being a song about a Love Triangle in a SHOW about a Love Triangle, this could be expected. Of course, the original show never actually resolved said Love Triangle.
  • Witchblade switched its opening theme song for the last half of the series. The original opening theme song XTC comes back for the final episode, along with a new ending theme song by the same band.
  • Steins;Gate uses the opening theme for the video game it was based on in the scene of Heroic Resolve when Okabe discovers how to save the world in the penultimate episode.
  • In the last scene of the first season of Bakuman。, the full version of the opening theme plays. Earlier in the episode, as the serialization meeting begins, the full version of the second ending plays.
  • In the last scenes of Mai-HiME, "Shining Days" plays. The extended ending has a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of sorts, with the full version playing over clips of the cast members. Both this show and Mai-Otome also pull a variation of this trope by giving the finale the same title as the opening theme.
  • In the Japanese versions of Digimon:
    • Digimon Adventure has Butterfly replay in the final moments of the last episode as the Chosen Children leave the Digital World on the trolley, waving goodbye to their partners.
    • In the penultimate episode of Digimon Tamers, Biggest Dreamer plays as the Tamers make a last stand against the D-Reaper.
  • The anime of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure used "Sono Chi no Sadame", the show's first intro (which had been phased out after the end of the "Phantom Blood" arc) during "Battle Tendency"'s final moments in the battle against Cars, as Joseph defeats him.
    • "Diamond is Unbreakable" features an even bigger one, as the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue is underscored by a remix of "Great Days" (the series' final opening theme) performed by the singers for all of the JoJo theme songs up to that point.
  • The Last: Naruto the Movie includes a reprise version of the main theme heard in Part I of the anime. The original theme is used during the final battle.
    • Boruto: Naruto the Movie has a reprise of "Reverse Situation" for the climatic battle as well as a reprise of "Heaven-Shaking Event" for the final attack.
  • In the English dubbed version of the last episode of Yu Gi Oh Zexal, the original theme song (episodes 1-73) plays during the last scene.
  • Star Driver uses the first ending theme for the final battle between Takuto/Tauburn and Samekh. It seems a little weird at first, since it's a girl band pop song playing over a huge fight between two Humongous Mecha in space while Earth is slowly in the process of dying, but still works.
  • Captain Earth has the first opening theme, "Believer's High" by Flumpool, playing when Daichi commences the final battle.
  • Get Backers uses its opening theme "Stardust" as the ending to the 49th (final) episode. However, the North American DVD version, like Twelve Kingdoms above, added the standard closing sequence afterwards to accommodate translated credits.
  • Tokyo Ghoul Uses its first opening 'Unravel' during the final episode of season 1, as well as a softer version in the final episode of season 2.
  • Little Witch Academia has its first opening theme, "Shiny Ray", play when Akko rescues Diana from her fall in the final episode.
  • Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine plays the finale of the penultimate episode to the instrumental version of the opening; ostensibly, to let us appreciate the opening in the next and final episode in a new light.

     Live-Action TV 
  • After nixing the very beloved theme tune "Overkill" in 2009, The Bill brought the theme tune back to close their last ever episode.
  • Happens in the final two episodes of Kamen Rider Double, the first one being a Dark Reprise of the ending song as Philip and Shotaro fight together for what they believe to be the last time. The final epilogue episode uses the main theme to symbolize Philip and Shotaro once again reuniting to become Double.
    • Kamen Rider OOO has a slightly different approach, playing a slowed-down emotional version of the theme as Eiji, Hina, and Ankh spend one last night together before the final battle.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim's final episode is similar to Double's, being an epilogue and using the theme to symbolize a broken relationship being restored. In this case, Mitsuzane is guilt-ridden over his actions over the course of the series, but when Kouta returns to help deal with a threat, Micchy gets closure by fighting alongside his friend one last time.
  • A Super Sentai tradition. The theme plays in full to serenade the show out, while the ending footage is intercut with montages showing each Ranger's glory moments.
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger has its theme song as background music for the final scene, in which the Gokaigers leave Earth and all the veteran Sentai teams get their powers back.
  • In the final scene of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's final episode, a careful listener can hear a slower version of the main title song in the background music. Considering the events of that episode overturn all the premises of the entire series, it's eerily appropriate.
    • This trope also makes a more standard appearance, regular theme tune and all in "Prophecy Girl" when Buffy gets her second wind and goes after the Master in the season 1 finale. Not the last episode of the series, but good enough.
  • The original series finale for Scrubs (the last episode of season 8) ends on a banjo instrumental of the theme song. A behind-the-scenes reel of the cast and crew saying goodbye to one another over the credits is accompanied by an a capella cover of the theme song by the in-universe cover band The Worthless Peons.
  • Used in the finale of the first season of Dexter, played while Dexter gives a narration and everyone cheers in his imagination.
  • Stargate SG-1: Used at the end of the 8th season finale, which was believed to be the series finale before it was renewed. After SG-1 defeats Ra when they travel back in time, the Egyptian slaves wave their stolen weapons around and a glorious rendition of the Stargate theme plays in almost its entirety, signalling that the series had come full circle and returned to where the movie ended.
  • The main theme from Rome plays over the last scene of the finale, as Pullo and Cesarion melt into the city's bustling crowds.
  • The final episode of ER played the original theme song over the beginning and the end. It really stands out as the theme song had not been used in several years.
  • The final episode of Fraggle Rock ended with the Fraggles, the Doozers, the Gorgs, the Trash Heap, and Doc and Sprocket all singing the theme.
  • The Wire's theme song changed every season—originally a cover of Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole" by the Blind Boys of Alabama, Waits' original version was used as the theme in season two, and three more covers were used for the following seasons. The series finale ended with a montage of what the most important characters were doing as the events of the series came to a close, the montage set to the Blind Boys of Alabama version of the theme song.
  • The Wire inspired the closing montage of Community's Series Fauxnale (last episode of season 3) and the use of the show's theme song over it.
  • Father Ted's finale closed with the intro music playing over a montage of the characters' various exploits throughout the show. It was especially touching as the actor playing the title character, Dermot Morgan, had died shortly after shooting had completed, so the whole thing worked as a send-off to him.
  • The final scene in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise did this with not just its own closing theme (aka "Archer's Theme") but also bits of the themes from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • The very final minutes of the third series of Bron|Broen, as Saga and Henrik set out on their unofficial investigation of the murder of Henrik's wife, use the theme music as incidental music leading into the end credits. Notably, this includes portions of the song, "Hollow Talk" by Choir of Young Believers, that were cut from the opening and closing credits edit.

     Video Games  

  • Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II's respective theme songs, "Hikari"/"Simple and Clean" and "Passion"/"Sanctuary", play upon the completion of each game.
    • Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance plays with this, though - an instrumental Hikari is the opening, and "Passion"/"Sanctuary" is the credits song.
    • And the final results screen of each game plays a reprise of "Dearly Beloved", the opening menu screen theme.
  • Wild ARMs 4 has an extended version of its opening theme as last boss music.
    • Wild ARMs 5 also uses the extended version of its opening theme as the music for the last boss. Wild ARMs 2 was the first one in the Wild ARMs series to use an opening as the theme for the final battle. In its case, it used a non-vocal rock version of the first opening.
  • Final Fantasy IV plays "The Red Wings", the song from the opening cutscenes, during the first half of its final dungeon. The last battle theme also includes a dark variation on the World Map theme, and the Where Are They Now epilogue expands on the Underworld theme.
    • Final Fantasy VI includes the opening theme in Dancing Mad, the final battle's theme.
    • Final Fantasy VIII opens with the chorus of "Fithos Lusec Wecos Vinosec." The last battle against Ultimecia's One-Winged Angel form begins with a distorted voice repeating this same chorus.
    • Final Fantasy XV's final battle theme is a actionized remix of the game's main theme combined with the theme of the Big Bad, Ardyn.
  • At the end of Chrono Trigger, the game's main theme appears prominent during "World Revolution", the music for Lavos' second of three forms.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays a chilling remix of its opening theme during the battle against Dark Beast Ganon. The theme even increases in tempo and intensity the closer you get to the end of the fight.
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams has this trope play as a remix of the series theme, Dreams Dreams known as "Cruising Together" for the second act of the final stage, Bell Bridge, after Will saves Helen from a deadly fall. The vocals of this song are the original vocals for the Sega Saturn game's adult†  version.
  • Done in both the Sonic Adventure games, as well as Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), which are Adventure games in spirit. And Sonic Colors, which isn't.
  • All three Super Smash Bros. games do this, most notably the end of the Subspace Emissary in Brawl, with the translated lyrics.
  • Persona 3 does this twice. The true Final Battle is set against "Battle Hymn of the Soul" / "Battle For Everyone's Souls," a Rock-Orchestra version of the Persona series-wide theme "Aria of the Soul" / "The Poem For Everyone's Souls." Then the final Final Battle (a scripted event) provides a heart-pounding Rap remix of "Burn My Dread," the opening theme of the game.
    • Persona 4 has "The Genesis" for its final boss, which eventually plays a reprise of the boss theme "I'll Face Myself" and finishes with an orchestral remix of the game's leitmotif, "Reach Out To The Truth".
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance does this in the most epic way. After you win, you hear an orchestral version of the Fire Emblem theme, which had previously only been heard in pixelated-Game-Boy-form.
  • Star Fox: Assault does this during its final boss fight with the theme heard when you turn on the game. It comes in triumphantly 43 seconds into the song. Bonus points if you can manage to break off the Aparoid Queen's dragon head and have Fox shout, "Here I come you evil space hag!"
  • Mega Man Star Force 3 also does this in the final story boss, Crimson Dragon. Not only this, but it's also an example of a Theme Tune Cameo, because Sonia has written the song about Geo. Aww.
  • Metroid: Zero Mission. Once you get back your suit in Chozodia, the Brinstar Depths theme (first area) plays instead of the tense stealth music.
  • Fate/stay night: An instrumental of the opening theme "This Illusion" plays in the epic final showdown between Tohsaka Rin and Dark Sakura while the former is wielding the Second Sorcery and the latter the Third Sorcery, both considered to be incredibly powerful magic for a setting known for story-breaking powers
  • Double Dragon Neon does this twice. The main theme of the game, and series as a whole, plays over the final boss battle. A lyrical version of the theme, titled "Dared to Dream", plays over the credits as the Big Bad's Villain Song.
  • In The Second Reality Project Reloaded, the music for the final level incorporates Distant Worlds into itself.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable
  • "Hopes and Dreams," the battle theme for the True Final Boss of Undertale, is a remix of the game's opening theme, Once Upon a Time.
  • "Krook's March", the theme from the castle levels towards the end of Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, includes a quote of the series' main theme at 1:30.
  • During the highest climatic point of a Dangan Ronpa game, the game's main theme plays as hope triumphs over despair.
  • In Call of Juarez: The Cartel, the final shootout against your 2 teammates is set to a dramatic One-Woman Wail version of the Call of Juarez title theme.
  • Megadimension Neptunia VII is divided into three story arcs, and the final battle of each arc has one of the main themes playing as the BGM.
    • The battle against Dark Purple Arfoire plays More Soul! Continue, the theme for the Zero Dimension Z arc.
    • The battle against Affimojas plays Delusion 4tune, the theme for the Hyper Dimension G arc.
    • The battle against Kurome does not play Delusion Catharsis, the opening for the Heart Dimension H arc, which is closer to an Award-Bait Song, and instead plays The Vision Of Telativity, which is the theme for the entire game as a whole.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  
  • Done in Megas XLR, where during the final battle, with dozens of robots on both sides, they all fight to an extended instrumental version of "Chicks Dig Giant Robots". It is pure, concentrated awesome.
  • Transformers Cybertron does this. As the Autobots taking part in the revived Space Bridge Project lift off in the four ancient starships, with Optimus Prime in command, the show's theme music - the first remix of the original theme to use the "Autobots wage their battles to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons" line since the old cartoon- kicks in. The theme has to be looped because it's only thirty seconds, but it is so awesome. It wraps up with Optimus saying "Courage, teamwork, and hope for the future. Our adventure will continue as long as we remember the words of Primus: 'Til all are one." And then all the Autobots shout aloud "Transform!" The theme then plays one last time, straight-up during the Final Credits montage, which ends with a picture of Coby and Lori's wedding where Optimus is standing behind the newlyweds.
    • The original anime version did it too, with a version of one of its theme songs playing. The american version had to loop the song to fill the same amount of time.
  • In the first, and, as far as the creators knew at the time, last Futurama movie, a slightly remixed version of the theme is played during the climactic battle – and the Earth fleet is coordinated with it.
  • The Grand Finale of Justice League Unlimited has the opening notes of the show's theme song played over the final scene.
  • The final episode of King of the Hill has an orchestral rendition of the show's theme played over the closing scene, which has most of the main cast together one last time for a cookout.
  • The final episode of Fish Hooks features the cast singing the theme song.
  • Though not a Grand Finale, the Season 1 finale of Wander over Yonder features the theme song played instrumentally during the final scene, creating the mood that Wander and Sylvia are off to new adventures.
  • The series finale of Gravity Falls has the whole cast fight off against the Big Bad's minions by turning the Mystery Shack into a giant, Pacific-Rim-esque robot. Of course, a rock version of the shows already incredible main theme starts playing.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LastEpisodeThemeReprise