Last Episode Theme Reprise
Since it's standard practice to make a Theme Song
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.
of Title Theme Drop
. Related to Theme Tune Cameo
, where the theme is shown to exist in-universe.
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Anime and Manga
- Cowboy Bebop plays "The Real Folk Blues" as Spike goes to face off against Vicious in the last episode.
- The Twelve Kingdoms, with "Getsumei-fuuei".
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, with "Sorairo Days" during the climax of the final battle.
- Dialed Up to Eleven in The Lights in the Sky are Stars, where a new, more epic recording of "Sorairo Days" (appropriately subtitled "Tengen Toppa Edition"note ) is used.
- 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.
- 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 fans prefer the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion's infamous "Congratulations!" scene in the last episode was accompanied by an instrumental version 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.
- Coyote Ragtime Show
- 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! 5Ds 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.
- The last episode of Cowboy Bebop features a variation of the closing theme, "The Real Folk Blues." The final two episodes are also called The Real Folk Blues, Parts I and II.
- 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 and Macross being a SHOW about a Love Triangle, this could be expected. Of course, that also meant the Love Triangle DIDN'T END.
- 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 videogame it was based on in the scene of Heroic Resolve when Okabe discovers how to save the world in the one-to-last 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.
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.
- In a variation, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica plays a version of the original series' theme during the eponymous ship's last scene on screen.
- Happens in the final episode of Kamen Rider Double, symbolizing Philip and Shotaro once again reuniting to become Double. Also happens in the penultimate episode (which is considered the final episode by some) where the ending song gets a Dark Reprise as Philip and Shotaro fight together for what they believe to be the last time.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Vinosec." The last battle against Ultimecia's One-Winged Angel form begins with a distorted voice repeating this same chorus.
- 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 Sonic Adventure games in spirit, and Sonic Colors, which isn't.
- All three Super Smash Bros. games does this, most notably is the end of the Subspace Emissary, with the translated lyrics.
- Persona 3 does this twice. The true Final Battle is set against an orchestral version (with percussion and electric guitar) of the Persona series-wide theme "Aria of the Soul" (aka "The Poem For Everyone's Souls.") Then the final Final Battle (a scripted event) provides a heroic reprise of "Burn My Dread," opening theme and Leitmotif of Persona 3.
- Persona 4 has "The Genesis", which eventually plays a reprise of the boss theme "I'll Face Myself" and finishes with an orchestral remix of the game's main theme "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
- Perfect Dark Zero pays homage to its 64-bit roots with a triumphant return of the Carrington Institute/Perfect Dark Theme in the final boss battle against dataDyne founder Zhang Li as heard (here). The theme can heard making a brief appearance at the beginning of the tune at 0:04 seconds, only to reappear in its full glory at 1:50.
- 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.
- Ostensibly due to plagiarism, the Theme to Metal Gear Solid (and Metal Gear Solid 2) was not present at the start of Metal Gear Solid 3. However, it comes back gloriously orchestrated for the Twist Ending, right at the most powerful part.
- In The Second Reality Project Reloaded, the music for the final level incorporates Distant Worlds into itself.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable
- 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.