->''The music box is broken, or is it? It starts to play, and a haunting tune fills the air...''
-->--'''Spike Spiegel''', ''Anime/CowboyBebop''

Specifically using music for nostalgic reminisces or flashback scenes, in the form of a music box. There's usually a fair amount of pining for lost innocence and/or love.

The opposite of OminousMusicBoxTune when the tune sounds much more sinister...


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/LostUniverse'' tends to feature a music box whenever the main character talks or thinks about his past.
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'' has two. The first episode, "Asteroid Blues", opens with a music box track titled ''Memory''. The two-part episode "Jupiter Jazz" features a music box as a plot point. The track used for the melody is ''Space Lion (organ version)''.
* ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'' has a nostalgic music box, Millerna has a flashback montage to it.
* ''Manga/ElfenLied'', with the show's opening song. Among other things, Nyu can become Lucy when hearing it.
* ''Manga/SailorMoon''; there's a music box locket in the first season of the anime. This was inspired by a similarly shaped watch from the manga.
* ''Anime/{{Noir}}'' has [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnJ1HAPi5Yo a watch with a music box inside of it]] as a major plot point. The box's song often plays over a flashback that has more and more revealed as the series goes on.
* Aaeru in ''Anime/{{Simoun}}'' has a [[RuleOfCool wind-powered]] music box given to her by her grandfather. The music it plays is actually a flashback on a cultural scale, though, as "The Door To A New World" is a song passed down from the earliest generations of Simoun sibyllae.
* Nadja Applefield from ''Anime/AshitaNoNadja'' has one of these among her {{Memento Mac Guffin}}s. [[spoiler:It was made as a gift for her MissingMom, then pawned away in Paris, and almost casually reached her.]] It later becomes ''very'' important, [[spoiler:when we find a certain music sheet inside of it...]]
* A recurring song during the Arabasta arc in ''Manga/OnePiece'' was a music box theme that played during Vivi's flashbacks.
* There's one of these in ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' that crops up so often that it's pretty much the musical equivalent of ArcWords.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECVb4SA4hhs "If I Were a Bird"]], which plays whenever Rolo's locket opens, as a symbol of his happy times with Lelouch. It also plays in full force [[spoiler: during his HeroicSacrifice.]]
* This is featured in ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia''. Russia's character song starts out with a slightly eerie music box melody.
* When alone, Suitengu of ''Anime/SpeedGrapher'' obsessively plays a music box with a melancholic tune and thinks about his past. This ultimately leads to a flashback indicating [[TragicKeepsake this is the only possession left from his happy childhood]], [[DakrAndTroubledPast which was destroyed]] by [[LoanShark loan sharks]]. Making things interesting, Saiga, the hero, independently whistles the same tune, foreshadowing the fact there's a connection between himself and Suitengu.
* In ''Anime/FullMoonOSagashite'', Mitsuki learns of a song her father's band once performed called "Eternal Snow"[[note]] the show's 3rd ending theme[[/note]]. When she learns more about her mom and dad, among other things she finds a music box that plays the song's melody. From this point, the music box is played in almost every episode.
* In ''Manga/MidoriDays'', Midori has a music box on her bedside table where her real body is laying. Its melody is heard once or twice coming from the box itself when her mother opens it, but the rest of the time the melody is used in Midori's flashbacks.
* Candy White Andree from ''Manga/CandyCandy'' gets one from her friend Alistair, nicknamed "the Box of Happiness". [[spoiler:It becomes a TragicKeepsake when Alistair dies in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.]]
* The ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate'' anime has a heartbreaking music box reprise of its main theme, Gate of Steiner, played in the later episodes as Okabe tries to restore the innocence of the lab's early days before everything went to hell. [[spoiler: More specifically, it echoes his memories of Mayuri.]]
* In ''Anime/LadyJewelpet'', Lillian finds a music box and its music makes her feel sad, but she doesn't understand why. It turns out to be because [[spoiler:Lillian was a doll, and both her and the music box belonged to Diana, who cherished them both.]]
* In ''Manga/TheRowsOfCherryTrees'', Yukiko's late father gave her one and [[DaddysGirl she]] often plays it to remember him.
* The movie adaptation of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' features a TitleThemeDrop of "Innocent Starter" when Nanoha resolves to become friends with Fate. It's rather appropriate if one is familiar with the song's lyrics.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'': The music box given to the young Anastasia as a gift. It ends up in the possession of Dimitri, while the accompanying locket functions as an OrphansPlotTrinket for the amnesiac Anya.
* ''Disney/TheLittleMermaidIII'': King Triton gives his wife a music box as a gift. She is then killed while trying to save it from being crushed. Later, Ariel finds the music box, and its haunting melody helps persuade her father to lift the ban on music by reminding him of his late queen.
* A music box version of the smooth jazz song featured in one scene appears in ''Anime/GhostInTheShell 2: Innocence''.
* A music box version of the main theme shows up in ''Anime/TheSkyCrawlers''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/ForAFewDollarsMore'' used two pocket watches, one belonging to Mortimer and the other carried by Indio, that played the same haunting melody, which was incorporated masterfully into the [[Music/EnnioMorricone Morricone]] score. As it turns out, Indio's watch once belonged to Mortimer's sister, whom Mortimer seeks to avenge.
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' has Davy Jones and Tia Dalma's music box lockets, which is the only thing shown to be able to drive the [[LoveMakesYouEvil love-hardened]] [[PsychoForHire vindictive sadist]] to tears.
* ''Film/BatmanAndRobin.'' Mister Freeze has turned an alarm clock, a glass jar, and an ice sculpture of his wife into an impromptu music box. He stares intently at it turn, but can only manage a single tear (that quickly freezes and sublimates given his [[IncrediblyLamePun icy]] demeanor).
* ''Film/ToKillAMockingbird'' has a music-box-like theme at the beginning. The composer said he wanted the music to sound very pure and innocent.
* ''Film/TheBlueLagoon'' - film version, has a music box that plays Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9, #2 in E flat major. Emmeline says "That's Chopin! I can play it on the piano." It's used by the kids growing up as a connection with/nostalgic reminder of their life before the island. Sometimes they dance to it. None of this is in the book.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Josette's music box in ''Series/DarkShadows''.
* On ''Series/{{Lost}}'', Rousseau has a broken music box that Sayid fixes for her. It reminds her of her husband and lost child after she's been alone on the island for sixteen years.

* The song "The Music Box Blues" by Music/TransSiberianOrchestra.
* Music/AyumiHamasaki's song "HANABI" opens with a music box, which continues to play as the song goes on. The song lyrics speak about a loved one who has died.
* Music/EmilieAutumn's "Gothic Lolita" opens with a music box that grows more and more distorted until the true song begins. The song's theme is lost innocence, so the music box sets a spooky tone that fits with the rest of the song.
* Music/BritneySpears has two songs using this sound affect: "Everytime" and "Baby Boy"
* Music/AbneyPark's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQd_LMTn2cs The Secret Life of Dr. Calgori]]" starts off this way, shortly to be joined by steam valves and clockwork-like rhythmic percussion. Appropriate for the story of a [[SteamPunk 1800's era]] MadScientist slowly losing his memory.
** "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnY9gy1OdFY Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll]]" is much the same, but with less nostalgia and more... allure.
* Music/SiouxsieAndTheBanshees' 'Mother' on their 1979 'Join Hands' album. The eerily decelerating music box plays 'Oh Mein Papa' whilst the dual lyric details a love/hate relationship with the narrator's mother.
* Surprised the opening of Voltaire's "The Man Upstairs isn't here, always get it, and the above mentioned "Gothic Lolita confused slightly.
* The Music/{{Rammstein}} song "Spieluhr" involves one.
* Japanese singer/cellist Kanon Wakeshima has one in the instrumentals "Sweet Dreams" and "Shakespeare No Wasuremono ~Epilogue~", as well as in the beginning of the single [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fa5cpodqRY "Lolitawork Libretto ~Storytelling by Solita~"]].
* A vocaloid song, "Music Box of Reminiscence" by MOTHY is this.

* The monkey music box in ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera''. It comes up in the prologue as the first item associated with Christine and what happened in the bowls of the opera. The tune it plays is "Masquerade", the opening number for the second act. (In that big dance with [[CostumePorn massive decorated costumes]], some dancers wear monkey costumes in reference to it.) It is used as a nostalgic music box during the finale, when it begins to play down in the Phantom's lair and he, despairing, remembers the words of the song: "Hide your face so the world will never find you."
* {{Theatre/Anastasia}}, like the movie it's adapted from, features the OrphansPlotTrinket music box given to the title character as a child; [[AdaptationExpansion the entire score was expanded or re-written to make the score more fitting for a fully fledged stage musical]] but not only did the music box's theme stay the same, it became a {{Leitmotif}} that reoccurred several times and in several songs throughout the show.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Yasunori Mitsuda loves this trope, as the nostalgic themes in his best-known games all have music-box versions of the main theme. In fact the music box themes almost all have the same track name: ''Kokkoro'' (Heart or Soul).
** ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'''s nostalgic theme is eventually expanded upon in at least one of the endings, in a song called "To Good Friends" - it starts off identically, but eventually segues into a fully-orchestrated arrangement of the same theme, and it is beautiful.
** ''VisualNovel/RadicalDreamers'' and ''VideoGame/ChronoCross''
** ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}''
*** Bonus points for actually [[SourceMusic appearing in the game]].
* ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'''s main theme is music box playing.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' - The Laguna flashbacks involving Ellone and her daughter.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' does a similar thing with Bartz's music box in his old home in Lix. Never mind that he's listening to it and recalling [[spoiler:the night his mother died]] while a squatter bard sits there impassively . . . it's still a pleasant tune.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' has a phonograph music box at the Inn in the Black Mage Village. If you have certain special items purchased at the auction house in Treno, it will play pieces from earlier Final Fantasy titles corresponding to the special items.
* ''VideoGame/PokemonMysteryDungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky'' has a nostalgic theme played on a music box that plays in scenes where you and your partner are feeling especially tender, as well as when you're about to go to bed for the night.
* ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' - The final rendition of the Eight Melodies, just before [[spoiler:entering Magicant]].
** In the prequel, you learn the first part of the game's version of the Eight Melodies from a music box that was in the possessed doll you just fought. Also, the ending tune starts and ends with a music box rendition of the Eight Melodies.
* ''VideoGame/FableII'' starts with you in your childhood, trying to buy a magical music box. The music box's theme sometimes appears in the game's score, particularly during flashbacks and dreams of your childhood. [[spoiler:It's also the weapon you use to defeat Lucian.]]
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld2YoshisIsland'' has an opening theme that sounds as though it is being played on a music box (it even slows down at one point, and has to be rewound). This theme reappears in ''Yoshi's Island DS,'' and is the best song on the soundtrack, despite being played in a different key.
* ''VideoGame/PaperMario'' features this in both ''The Thousand-Year Door'' and ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' with specifically designated "Memory" themes that used a music-box-like effect when a particularly sad event was happening.
* Speaking of Mario, the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGyZwr8pIas Lumas' theme]] from ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy''. Bonus points for being played ''[[spoiler:[[SoundtrackDissonance as the universe is crushed into a supermassive black hole.]]]]''
* On the "The End" screen of ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'', a music box rendition of the game's main theme plays.
** Same with ''VideoGame/SuperMarioRPG''.
** All four ''VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi'' games as well, although this was left out from the American releases of the first two.
* ''VideoGame/TailConcerto'' has a music box-like piece playing when you [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stX5r7XRCrI look at the photographs you collected.]]
* There's a music box in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' belonging to the old man, Nikolai, who is searching for his wife. If you turn on the music box while in Nikolai's house, the old man will wake up and ask for Anna, thinking that she has come home.
* The title screen of ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}} Episode III'' plays a nostalgic music box version of its AwardBaitSong, "Maybe Tomorrow."
* In ''VideoGame/TacticsOgre: Let Us Cling Together'', Lars carries his late wife's music box as a memento. The track played is titled ''Box of Sentiment''. The melody is later orchestrated in ''Emotion and Absence of Mind''.
* The final results screen after the credits of VideoGame/DevilMayCry has one of these playing, and it's very pretty.
* In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheDiabolicalBox'', one of these plays during TheReveal. In this case, the music isn't the symbolic part, it's [[spoiler:the Elysian Box itself, which finally fulfills its original purpose of carrying a message from Anton to Sophia and back. Of course, it's less on the nostalgia and more on the what could've been.]] The music box track, Iris, is used a few minutes later in orchestrated form for the end credits.
** In ''VideoGame/ProfessorLaytonAndTheMiracleMask'', another music box tune plays when [[spoiler: Henry remembers the time when he and Randall first became friends]].
* Game Over screen in ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' has a short sad music box music. Later (especially in Continuum Shift) promoted to flashback music. Also turns out to be theme song of an important unplayable [[spoiler: Saya]] character with even more symbolism. Also has a vocal version in one of the albums but not in the games.
* A music box version of the Shadowlord's theme plays in ''VideoGame/{{Nier}}'' when the Shadowlord is on his final bit of health. It's meant to represent how at this point [[DespairEventHorizon he just wants to die]].
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlk_ACj0ihk All is Shut Down #1]](bad ending) from ''VideoGame/RayCrisis''.
* One or two of the minigames present outside the main adventure of ''VideoGame/SuperMario64 DS'' (such as the LovesMeNot game) have a music box arrangment of the water level theme from [[SuperMarioBros the original game]] play in the background.
* A music box version of N's {{Leitmotif}} plays in ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' when you discover his bedroom/playroom in Plasma Castle. It doubles as an OminousMusicBoxTune.
** N's theme itself was allegedly based on the idea of a music box, reflecting his nature as an ManChild. It doubles as an OminousMusicBoxTune.
** The ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver HeartGold and SoulSilver]]'' [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZliwDCDtX4U version of Cinnabar Island's theme is one of these]], in stark contrast to the upbeat original. Considering the town has been almost completely destroyed in a volcanic eruption, it's nothing if not fitting.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has two music box-style themes on its soundtrack:
** The minor-key "Waterfall" theme plays through many of the areas of Waterfall, particularly those with the inscriptions and Echo Flowers recording the monsters' memories and unfulfilled wishes.
** Another such motif, "Memory," can be heard coming from a certain statue in Waterfall. You have to play the tune on a piano in order to access a secret item. The {{leitmotif}} it plays, which receives a more upbeat remix in the final area as "His Theme," belongs to [[spoiler: Asriel Dreemur, Toriel and Asgore's son, the former identity of Flowey, and the TrueFinalBoss of the Pacifist route.]]
* Used frequently in the ''VideoGame/{{Klonoa}}'' series. Fitting, considering the games' theme of dreams:
** ''Door to Phantomile'' and the VideoGameRemake:
*** The main menu music is a relaxing tune played on what sounds like a cross between a music box and bells.
*** "Grandpa's Chair", the {{Leitmotif}} of Klonoa's kindly grandfather, is a very calming, yet sad, music box song. It plays again, [[DarkReprise only this time, slower,]] when [[spoiler:Grandpa is dying after Joka's ambush.]]
*** A music box is also used for many short jingles, such as when Klonoa and Huepow first discover the magical Moon Pendant.
** ''Empire of Dreams'':
*** A slow, whimsical tune is played for the main menu music.
*** A much more tear-jerking music box is played during [[spoiler:Emperor Jillius' DisneyDeath.]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Sad and sentimental scenes with Ilya in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' (including [[spoiler:her flashback as she lies dying]] in UBW) uses a music-box version of "Die Lorelei", a German folk song, as background music. It's used to underline Ilya in her innocent and humanizing moments, which becomes a source of LyricalDissonance since the original song is about a siren who uses her beautiful song to drown sailors.
* ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'' has the melancholy ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N62StawMcC8 Worldend]]'' for the inevitable deaths. ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'', indeed.
* ''VisualNovel/SymphonicRain'' has several music box versions of the opening and ending theme playing during especially poignant moments.
* The ''Franchise/MuvLuv'' series of visual novels has ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnfMvYIHJt8 A World To Protect]]'', a rearrangement of the main theme. It first plays in ''Unlimited'' when [[spoiler:Takeru realizes that his memories of his home world and Sumika are fading due to him "going native"]], it then plays in ''Alternative'' when [[spoiler:Takeru, suffering from PTSD, breaks down and cries in Marimo's lap while the latter comforts him.]]

* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'' whenever [[MementoMacGuffin the locket]] or something related to the original Mystery Incorporated appears onscreen, referring to their InnocenceLost.
* Plays in ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'' when BigBad Master Cyclonis is restoring an old photo of herself as a child.