Follow TV Tropes


History Repeats

Go To

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun."

Often a show will have a situation that is a repetition of something that happened previously within the show's history. Almost always used as either a Running Gag or a tragic Vicious Cycle.

There are some films where they deal with the world repeating over and over, e.g. Groundhog Day, the similar film 12:01, and the Eternal Recurrence phenomenon. But this trope happens when history repeats itself without a "Groundhog Day" Loop.

A common example will be for a show about kids to have the children experience something, and then have the adults in the show respond by reminiscing about when the exact same thing happened to them at that age. Sometimes there is a flashback. If the adults are the main characters and the same thing occurs, this becomes Generation Xerox.

Or it can happen in an adult show where the characters have had flashbacks to show some of the older characters' backstories, and then you have an episode that focuses on the younger characters who experienced the same thing.

Can also be used just with a character repeating the exact same experience as another character did previously (sometimes in an earlier episode). The new victim might have boasted about how much better he would have handled it, expect An Aesop on how we should be less critical of "The Man in The Arena". Or he might just handle it perfectly, making the first victim hate him even more.

When it applies only to a Stock Phrase it's probably an Ironic Echo. See also Here We Go Again! and Plot Parallel. Contrast May It Never Happen Again.

Should not be confused with His Story Repeats Itself, which is when a character's arc repeats itself in a similar manner to this trope.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • This Super Bowl Special ad for BMW begins with a vintage clip from Today about Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric getting confused about the Internet (this being 1994). Fast forward to the present day, and Bryant and Katie are experiencing literally the exact same thing, except with BMW's i3 wind-powered car. The tagline: "Big ideas take a little getting used to."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Discussed by Eren and Armin when Eren sees children who remind him of himself, Armin, and Mikasa, and notes that the kids will probably see what they saw when the Colossal Titan broke the wall. It's then averted, as Armin says that this time there are soldiers on the wall who are ready to fight and that those soldiers are them, and they succeed in stopping the Titan and saving the people inside the wall.
    • The Season 2 finale has Hannes getting eaten by the very same titan that ate Eren's mother years before, in the same manner, while again Eren and Mikasa are Forced to Watch. Eren can only laugh in despair at the cruel irony.
    • The manga's ending basically confirms history is doomed to repeat itself as the tree where Mikasa buried Eren's head has grown enough to resemble the tree Ymir Fritz stumbled into when she obtained the power of the Titans. The last couple pages show Paradis first thriving until it starts to resemble modern times, but then blown to bits as the result of a devastating war. Then a child discovers the tree, implying the power of the Titans will return.
  • Castle in the Sky's opening credits show this wordlessly: it begins with a shot of the wind powering a simple fan-based forge, through an industrial revolution and humans taking to the skies in ever-more-complex machines and culminating in the creation of floating continents. Then, after a great war, humans leave the fallen cities and we see the same shot of the wind powering the fan, this time in a water pump. (The rest of the movie shows that humans have once again created Those Magnificent Flying Machines and is about preventing them from making the same mistakes as last time.)
  • In the past, Chrono of Chrono Crusade (the manga version) was in love with a woman called Mary Magdalene, who was possessed by Pandaemonium, the demon's Hive Queen. This kicked off the events which led to her death. When Rosette is placed in a frighteningly similar situation, Aion feels the need to point out that history is repeating itself.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch lost his mother to an assassin, which shattered his cozy, comfortable worldview and inspired him to change the world with Well Intentioned Extremism in order to give his beloved sister a better life. His father the Emperor, who is the biggest obstacle on his quest, went through pretty much the exact same thing in his lifetime and is himself trying to change the world — along with his wife, who's Not Quite Dead. You can imagine Lelouch's shock when he learns all this...
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, different regions of Amestris seems to keep experiencing the same series of events throughout the country's history; a controversial leader gains influence in a region and stokes tensions, which quickly explode due to military incompetence and result in large-casualty military conflicts. This keeps happening because Father and his followers keep arranging for it to happen. It's their way of acquiring sacrifices for the production of Philosopher Stones. Their Evil Plan is to make another bit of history (the destruction of Xerxes in a massive-scale human sacrifice) repeat by using Amestris as a giant transmutation circle.
  • The Gundam series, according to ∀ Gundam, is all one timeline with this going on. Mankind keeps making space colonies, having a civil war with them, getting a bit too violent and inventing gundams that are too powerful, and destroying said colonies, forgetting about it, then sending out new colonies, only to have a civil war with them. Then gundams get too powerful... and each time, they progress a little further, with the destruction and casting back of mankind going further each time. By the time of ∀ Gundam, they're at an early-1900s level of technology. And history repeats again anyway, using Lost Technology.
    • This is also specifically the point of the ideological debate in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing's movie, Endless Waltz. The villainess argues that war is an inevitable part of human nature (the titular "endless waltz" of war, peace, and revolution), while the female lead says that lasting peace can happen if people are willing to put forth the effort to end the Vicious Cycle. Needless to say, at least in the ∀ Gundam version of events, she doesn't succeed in spreading that idea.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn applies this to the Universal Century in general. Despite all the lofty aspirations made by humanity, from uniting Earth under the Federation to the space colonies and even the Newtype ideal, the same mistakes they've supposedly overcome keep getting repeated...albeit on a much larger scale as shown by the One Year War and subsequent conflicts. Audrey wonders at one point whether an answer to that age-old question even exists.
    • Gundam: Reconguista in G meanwhile, taking place in the same timeline as the Universal Century albeit long after the calendar itself was abolished, has the Capital and SU-Cordists and their Spacenoid masters attempting to keep the UC's events from happening again. While this has in the process led to mankind becoming reminiscent of the pre-Earth Federation days, it'll all be for naught given that the anime also takes place in the same continuity as ∀ Gundam.
  • In Ikki Tousen, the fighters (who are reincarnations of the various generals of Romance of the Three Kingdoms) are destined to fight and die in the same battles, in similar ways.
  • A recurring motif in Legend of the Galactic Heroes is how despite thousands of years of supposed progress, the past keeps returning. Indeed, one of the taglines is "In every time, in every place, the deeds of men remain the same."
  • Love Hina has parallel scenes at the beginning of the series and the beginning of the epilogue.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, High Priest Zagato fell in love with Emeraude, the Pillar of Cephiro. Zagato's younger (and identical) brother Lantis would also fall in love with the girl who would become the Pillar, Hikaru. The irony is not lost on either.
  • Maison Ikkoku has an example where Kyoko romantically pursued her teacher, and when Godai gets a teaching job at her old school not only is he also romantically pursued by a student, but the several of the methods used are very similar. (Tagging the teacher with a heart on the back when he's not looking).
  • How about situations where something happens on a Show Within a Show and then something like it happens in the main show? Like in Martian Successor Nadesico, when Joe makes a Heroic Sacrifice in Gekiganger 3 and in the same episode Jun attempts to make a Heroic Sacrifice but survives- then Gai Daigouji gets killed suddenly and pointlessly at the end of the episode.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • In Katarina's previous life, she first met her best friend Atsuko after falling out of a tree and the two would end up bonding over their shared love of otaku culture. Her first interaction with Atsuko's reincarnation Sophia happened after she jumped down from a tree and the two would bond over their shared love of romance novels.
    • Before meeting Katarina's previous life, Atsuko was ostracized for her social awkwardness and sought solace by self-inserting into relationships in manga and light novels. Before meeting Katarina, Atsuko's reincarnation Sophia was ostracized for her albinism and sought solace by self-inserting into relationships in romance novels.
  • Naruto has this due to the Cycle of Revenge, primarily between the Uchiha and Senju/Uzumaki clans.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi is shaping up to be this, with Negi and his Generation Xerox crew facing more or less the same scenario and villains that the last generation did.
  • Queen Millennia: Just like Maetel and Emeraldas, the twins try to take down La-Metal's tyranny, with Yayoi using a young Earthling to sabotage it from the inside while Selene forms a ruthless band of rogues and opposes it openly. They share similarities in the designs as well.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The Moon and Earth Kingdoms were originally destroyed by Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion's forbidden love. When they are resurrected (as Usagi and Mamoru respectively), they fall in love again and history is doomed to repeat unless they take actions about it. This is taken further in the live-action adaptation.
    • Quite fittingly, in the manga Queen Beryl, responsible for summoning the Eldritch Abomination that destroyed the Silver Millennium, dies Gutted Like a Fish by Sailor Venus both in the Silver Millennium and the modern-day.
  • In A Simple Survey, one film takes place 20 Minutes into the Future when natural resources are all but exhausted. Critical shortages have been prevented with the use of time lodes, a limited form of time travel used to prevent people in the past squandering natural resources so they can be harvested in the future instead. However, making a change in the past locks any further changes to that point in time and misuse of lodes has locked out most of the prime time lode opportunities. In addition, overuse of the time lodes has resulted in the fabric of time becoming increasingly resistant to change, to the point that altering the past will soon be impossible. Just as humnaity squandered the planet's natural resources in the past, the future managed to squander the one resource it had left.
  • In a couple of filler episodes of Yu-Gi-Oh!, a girl named Rebecca shows up and claims that Sugoroku Muto stole his copy of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon and demands it back. Aside from doubting this claim, the Blue-Eyes White Dragon was ripped up by Kaiba in the first episode, and they don't want to reveal that to her, so she challenges Sugoroku to a duel for it, with Yugi playing in his grandfather's stead since he just got out of the hospital. As the duel goes on, Sugoroku recognizes the deck that Rebecca is using, which leads to the reveal that her own grandfather is Arthur Hawkins, Sugoroku's old archeology friend and the original owner of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. It turns out that the two of them ended up trapped in a tomb due to a cave-in and to pass the time, they played Duel Monsters against each other for the last of the water. The duel going on in the present proceeds exactly according to the duel their grandfathers played in the past, even ending the same way: the Muto ends up forfeiting the duel despite having drawn the exact card needed to win. Sugoroku did it because Arthur needed the water more than him. Yugi does it to teach Rebecca two lessons: first, to treat her cards with more respect (her deck revolved around sacrificing monsters to power up her ace monster, but while Arthur respected each monsters' sacrifice, Rebecca only saw them as cannon fodder), and second, that there's more to life than winning.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: In the very first episode, Jaden win against Crowler for his Duel Academy entrance exam by boosting Elemental Hero Flame Wingman with the field spell Skyscraper, giving it enough attack to defeat Ancient Gear Golem and win thanks to Flame Wingman's burn effect. Much later, in Season 4, Crowler is struck with sentimentality for the upcoming graduating class and tries to get them held back by refusing to teach the classes they need to graduate, leading to Jaden to rematch him in order to get him to teach. After a heated back-and-forth battle, Jaden ends up closing out the duel by using the same combo he won their first duel with, which helps Crowler comes to terms with his students graduating.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Before the story of the series began, Jack dueled and defeated Dragan. However, it turns out that Dragan was bribed to lose on purpose in order to receive financial support for his hospitalized father, which is how Jack's career was built. Jack, however, wasn't aware of this, and Dragan confronted him in the present that he would have won if he used the card that would have secured his victory, but he refrained from using it for the money. When they have finally their rematch in the WRGP, the two of them draw the exact same starting they had during their first duel. Realizing it, they recreate the same scenario that led to Dragan's defeat, except this time, Dragan uses the card he hold back, to see if he really would have defeated Jack, thus summoning his Nordic God Card, Thor, with said card. Jack barely wins this time, and luckily for him, Jack already obtained Scar-Red Nova Dragon to match Dragan's Thor, something Jack didn't have in their first duel.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL: A more realistic scenario is Yuma's signature "Double Up Chance" combo with his Kibou'ou Hopenote  (or another form of Hope), where he negates his first attack of Hope to double Hope's ATK and then attack again. Yuma wins more than half a dozen times with this combo, even against the same opponents (Gauche, Shark/Nasch). Notably, when Yuma uses this combo in his final duel against Shark/Nasch, Yuma stops his second attack, which actually secures his victory in this duel because Nasch was prepared of Yuma's combo, but it backfires on Nasch in the end. Normally, a Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonist doesn't win with the same combo more than once.
  • Yuri is My Job!: When Hime and Mitsuki are in elementary school, Hime agreed to play alongside Mitsuki in a piano recital, which resulted in students spreading rumors that the very unpopular Mitsuki bullied Hime into doing it. In response, Hime quits the recital to spare Mitsuki, causing Mitsuki to believe that Hime betrayed her, and resulting in their friendship falling apart. Years later, Hime ends up working at the same salon as Mitsuki (whom she doesn't recognize), in which both girls roleplay as students at an all-girls school, with Hime becoming Mitsuki's "Schwester." When Mitsuki reveals herself to Hime, the resulting tensions between them result in people claiming that Mitsuki forced Hime to be her Schwester. This time, Hime makes an emotional outburst saying that she is Mitsuki's Schwester because she wants to be.

    Comic Books 
  • Post-Avengers vs. X-Men Marvel tried to replicate the old Professor X/Magneto dynamic with Wolverine and Cyclops, with "Professor Wolverine" running a school for mutants, and Scott as a Well-Intentioned Extremist supervillain. Fans did not respond to the new status quo do in large part to fans largely agreeing with Scott or just finding him to be far less villainous than Marvel were saying he is, and eventually, the pair were killed off and resurrected to wipe the slate clean.
    • Mutants are dying en-masse due to a cataclysmic event that puts them at risk of extinction. The first time it was the Legacy Virus, which wiped through mutant populations with deadly efficiency until a cure was developed. The second time, it was Decimation after House of M, depowering most mutants and leaving the 300 remaining targets for the now emboldened Fantastic Racism motivated hate groups. The third time was after All-New, All-Different Marvel which saw the Terrigen Mist of the Inhumans cause an "M-Pox" among mutants, painfully gassing them to death and sterilising those who survived while slowly rendering the earth inhospitable to mutants. Then it happened again after Disassembled during Age of X, as a vaccine is developed that will prevent mutant births and, with the X-Men seemingly dead after being trapped in a Pocket Dimension, the few remaining are trying to protect mutants from being rounded up and killed en-masse. The similarities of all these events are strangely not brought up, even though X-Men Disassembled directly follows on from plot points introduced at the end of the Decimation period.
  • In Batman: Curse of the White Knight, it is revealed that The Joker was inspired by Lafayette "Laffy" Arkham (who the Joker actually bears a resemblance to), who has a long-standing conflict and was killed by Bruce's ancestor Edmond Wayne who wielded a whip made from bat-leather.
  • When first introduced into the Batman books, Jason Todd's pre-crisis backstory was the same as Dick Grayson's: an acrobat who parents are killed by a criminal (in this case, Killer Croc).
  • Geo-Force tries this gambit against Deathstroke in Final Crisis: Last Will and Testament by luring him to the location where Deathstroke's son had his throat slit. Deathstroke claims that Brion isn't the first one to try this, but Brion is the first to slit his own throat for full effect.
  • The Flash:
    • In The Trial of the Flash, Reverse-Flash invokes this by planning to kill Fiona in the same way he killed Iris.
    • Wally West got his powers from a repeat of the Flash's Freak Lab Accident. Wally's uncle Barry arranged the chemicals that empowered him in the shelf as a demonstration for Wally, but there also happens to be a lightning storm outside, so... Later, when the Speed Force concept is introduced, it is all but outright said Barry had unconsciously called upon that bolt of lightning due to having wanted a companion in his super speed.
  • In 2099: Manifest Destiny, we find out Captain America's fate: he once again ended up in a block of ice at the end of the Heroic Age as he'd done at the end of World War II and is revived in the 2099 time period. Amusingly, during the "One Nation Under Doom" event, a clone of Steve Rogers created to be a puppet had this as a cover story. Hell, it happens a third time in Manifest Destiny as the conflict in that story sees Steve go into suspended animation yet again and revive to see an old Miguel in the year 3099!
    • Mark Waid's 2010s Captain America run also featured this, with Steve being frozen by a Right-Wing Militia Fanatic group in order to keep him out of the way so they could nuke the planet and rule over what remains. Steve is thawed out and leads the resistance against them, but despite their defeat, he's unable to do anything to fix their damage, despite trying to rebuild society. So, time travel is used to send Steve back in time so he can pull off a Heroic Sacrifice to stop them from freezing him in the first place and defeat them before they can rise.
  • The Sandman (1989): When Morpheus first met Hob Gadling in 1389, the other people in the tavern were grumbling about the poll tax, seeing signs of the apocalypse, discussing whether Black Death was judgement from God, and making dirty jokes about the clergy. When they meet again in 1989, discussion topics include the poll tax, signs of the apocalypse, AIDS as divine punishment, and dirty jokes about clergy.
  • Marvel Knights: Spider-Man has this with the Green Goblin bringing Mary Jane to the same bridge where Gwen Stacy died.
  • Superman: Truth in the New 52 has Clark Kent's Secret Identity revealed to the world, which received widespread attention across comic book news media. A few years later (during which Superman was killed and replaced with his much preferred previous timeline incarnation, who then got merged with the history of his New 52 self, thus regaining his Secret Identity), Brian Michael Bendis took over Superman (Brian Michael Bendis) and had a story where Clark...has his Secret Identity exposed. Willingly this time, though. This received similar widespread attention across comic book news media who hyped it up as "for the first time ever" despite it being less than five years since Truth. Both storylines are largely disliked by the fandom, for what it's worth.
  • At the end of the Gold Key Scooby-Doo story "The Star Spangled Spectre" (issue #27), Fred is at an archivist office in New Lichfield, Massachusetts trying to find some information about his ancestors. The clerk tells that Fred is related to the town hero Jacob Richfield.
    Shaggy: Wow! Wow!
    Daphne: Amazing!
    Velma: Amazing!
    Fred: I don't believe it! I don't believe it!
    Scooby: [to us] History repeats itself! History repeats itself!
  • This trope is illustrated beautifully by Vampirella, or more specifically, by her costume. The famous sling bikini was created by artist Trina Robbins, a vocal feminist, as an example of open female sexuality without shame, and was criticised as being overly sexualized. Then in 2017, when the comic entered its fourth relaunch, writer Black Northcott, a vocal feminist, brought back the sling bikini (the earlier, and less successful, 2016 volume has the character in a more conservative outfit) as an example of open female sexuality without shame...and was criticized as being overly sexualized. Vampy can't win, it seems.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Cars 3, Lightning McQueen ends up experiencing the same problems that had happened with his late crew chief and mentor, Doc Hudson. He is outmatched by a rookie and suffers a horrible crash that puts the future of his career in doubt, and he worries that he might have to retire as Doc did. Unlike Doc, however, he doesn't but still becomes a mentor to rookie Cruz Ramirez, who just started her racing career, and like what happened with Strip "The King" Weathers, a former legend from his rookie season, she helps him finish the race.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F': Upon being revived, Frieza decides to train himself so he can exact his revenge on Goku, making a beeline for Earth after achieving his new Golden Super Mode. However, just like on Namek, he ends up running out of stamina before Goku since, just like before, he didn't master his new form and learn how to regulate his energy output. Goku shows him mercy and, just like before, Frieza throws it back in his face (this time more successfully, with the help of an underling). When Vegeta steps in to fight Frieza, Frieza destroys the Earth, just like before on Namek, but thanks to Whis's ability to reverse time, Goku kills him before he can destroy the Earth and sends Frieza right back to hell.
  • The Incredibles:
    • The first film begins with Mr. Incredible's heroics inadvertently causing property damage and injuring civilians as the bad guy responsible gets away. The sequel starts off with Frozone and the Incredibles trying to stop the Underminer's heist and inadvertently causing severe property damage in the process, complete with the bad guy responsible getting away.
    • The sequel has both Frozone and Elastigirl having to deal with a Runaway Train like Mr. Incredible did in the first movie. It's a painful blow to Mr. Incredible's ego, since they were are able to safely stop the train without major damage or causing harm to the passengers, whereas Mr. Incredible's efforts resulted in injuries and lawsuits that led to the Super Relocation Act beign enacted.
  • In Turning Red, Jin tells Mei that her mother Ming and Grandma Wu had a fight when Ming went through her red panda phase. The climax has Mei fight her mom during her phase, the same way Ming fought her mom. Both fights dealt with the daughters wanting to live their lives, and both mothers were hurt as a result. Although the horror of what she did drove Ming to fall in line, Mei breaks the cycle by seeing her mother is neither infallible nor out to ruin her life, just another "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl struggling with impossible expectations.
  • Your Name: When Sayaka says that a meteorite splitting off from comet Tiamat and striking Itomori is just a what-if, Tessie points out that Lake Itomori is not only also a meteor crater, but was formed 1,200 years ago — the orbital period of comet Tiamat...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Back to the Future, anyone? Just one example — the skateboard chase in 1955 in Part I, the Hover Board chase in 2015 in Part II, and the horseback chase in 1885 in Part III. All involving Marty McFly being chased by a Tannen.
    • Notably, though, they all work out entirely differently. The first time, Marty easily beats them because he's the only one with a skateboard. The second time, they've all got hoverboards, in fact, they've got better hoverboards, and he narrowly escapes them. The third time, they're all on horseback, and he's on foot, and they catch him easily.
    • Lampshaded by old Biff in 2015: "There's something very familiar about all this."
    • Also it seems that a Tannen is fated to crash into horse manure at Marty's hand. In 1955, Marty tricks Biff into crashing his car into the back of a manure truck, causing him to get buried in horse manure. In 1885, Marty knocks out Buford Tannen in a fistfight, causing him to collapse into a cart of horse manure.
  • This happens a lot over the Star Wars saga.
    • Revenge of the Sith features the rise of the Galactic Empire and the near-total genocide of the Jedi with Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader's assistance. In the thirty years between their defeat and The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker's efforts to rebuild the Jedi Order are undone by Kylo Ren's massacre, who allies himself with the fledgling First Order. Even worse, Kylo Ren is Anakin's grandson.
    • The Empire blew up the planet of Alderaan with the Death Star in A New Hope. Years later, the First Order uses a similar superweapon to destroy the entire Hosnian system.
    • On a meta-level, Harrison Ford, who played Han Solo (a roguish pilot) had by far the most successful career out of the three main cast members, starring in films such as Indiana Jones and Air Force One. Years later, Oscar Isaac, who played Poe (another roguish pilot) in the sequel trilogy was cast in TWO major roles within months of the release of The Rise of Skywalker: Moon Knight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Solid Snake in an adaptation of Metal Gear Solid.
  • This is actually one particularly bleak interpretation of the events seen in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). The theory here is that the alien spaceship that brought the Thing was deliberately crashed in Antarctica in order to keep it from getting out. Fast forward 100,000 years later and a group of Norwegians finds it, examine it, and then it gets out and kills all but two who end up dying in the process of trying to keep it from getting further. Then the remainder of an American expedition destroyed by the Thing destroys their camp in an effort to keep the Thing from being found by a rescue team — whether they succeed is left for the viewer to decide, but an alternate ending shown in some TV broadcasts implied that it escaped.
  • A lot of American war movies and military educational movies of 1940-'50s follow this pattern: in the beginning the POV, a young soldier or officer, is on the receiving end of some situation or phrase, in the end, having gained the experience to back it, he is the source of the same situation to the next generation of military people.
    • Flat Top: in the beginning, the Carrier Group Commander of the USS Princeton asks his recently-arrived executive officer to tell the pilot who landed despite being ordered to do a go-around that he is grounded. In the last scene said executive officer, now CAG of a new USS Princeton named after the old one, asks his own deputy to tell the same thing to a pilot, for the same reason.
  • Here's one on a multi-franchise level: A famous film series has a new trilogy greenlit. The first one is generally well received, a different director helms the second—to much more divisive results—and the director of the first movie returns to handle the third. Now, are we talking about the Star Wars sequel trilogy or the Jurassic Park sequel trilogy?
  • Speaking of Jurassic Park:
    • The original film and Jurassic World both have the dinosaur park built and then end in chaos when dinosaurs escape. Both also have the T. Rex taking out another dinosaur antagonist.
    • In Jurassic World Dominion, Dodgson was killed in the same way Nedry was 30 years earlier, by the exact same species of dinosaur no less.
    • Ellie has to reboot a power grid with someone talking her through it in both films.

  • In Beautiful Losers, F. says that the British did to the French what the French did to the Indians back in the 1600s, creating a cycle of oppression and cultural dissociation.
  • Isaac Asimov's "Breeds There a Man...?": One of the symptoms that Dr Ralston identifies as due to malign alien influence is the way that historic empires would be destroyed by war/disease during the height of their power. He is convinced that the aliens observed that a group showed too much vitality and ability, and therefore caused a war to destroy the possibility of their further development. He is convinced the Cold War is their plan to end the current "high-culture" experiment.
    Ralston: I asked why was there not a post-Periclean Athens of higher accomplishments still, and he told me that Athens was ruined by a plague and by a long war with Sparta. I asked about other cultural spurts and each time it was a war that ended it, or, in some cases, even accompanied it.
  • In A Brother's Price this is used as a source for drama. There was a civil war between two branches of the royal family not so long ago, and the royal family is genre-savvy enough not to risk a repetition by splitting the family again. This means that all the princesses have to marry one husband. However, there is the additional problem that their now-deceased ex-husband was evil, and they married him against the warnings of Princess Trini. They do not want that one to repeat itself either, but Trini, who was hurt most, is understandably reluctant to marry anyone.
  • In A Canticle for Leibowitz, the readers know the world had had a great nuclear war sometime in the past (our present) followed by a worldwide backlash against science known as the Simplification. After 1,800 years, humanity is once again locked in a Cold War between two superpowers that eventually goes nuclear. The book ends with what's left of humanity moving on to a new planet, probably to keep the cycle of stupidity going.
  • In Debt of Honor, quite a few parts of the military side of the plan mirror similar events from back in World War II, all the way up to starting the violence by using the same code phrase that started the attack on Pearl Harbor. This does not go unnoticed.
  • The Decline of the West: German philosopher Oswald Spengler claimed in his Non-Fiction book in every major culture, a culture emerges among the barbarian peoples, and fuses them together into nations. The great myths, art styles, and religions develop. In the beginning, strong kings rule, but their power soon is weakened by their noble vassals. A great movement reforms the religion. Meanwhile, in the cities a somewhat privileged middle class has risen, replacing the feudal economy slowly but steadily by capitalism. By cooperating with them, the crown can weaken the nobility and the church, forming an absolutist state. Science and capitalism develop further, and an enlightened philosophy spreads, weakening the hold of religion. Then, the middle class will decide to get rid of the old system, usually in the form of a revolution-which starts civilization. This marks the fall of the culture-wars will get worse and worse (The Napoleonic Wars -> The American Civil War -> World War I -> World War II), art will become more and more offensive, and capitalism runs rampant (not without provoking counter movements). In the end, one state will conquer/control all other states, and one man will rise to the top of this state-voila, The Empire.
  • In The Girl Who Drank the Moon Xan is separated from her parents at an early age, adopted by a magic-user, and then loses her adoptive parent in her teenage years. The book documents the same events happending for Xan's granddaughter Luna.
  • Rudyard Kipling, in "The Gods Of The Copybook Headings" (link), pointed out how political ploys of the time are less than fresh by mockingly attributing them to prehistoric times-"When the Cambrian measures were forming..."
  • Cherished by The Malloreon. Due to a mistake in the fabric of the universe, events recur with minor changes throughout history. By the end of the series, the heroes are actively noticing the recursion and using it to their advantage. The ultimate goal of the series is to fix this, so that time can finally move ahead.
  • In The Murder on the Links, the crime that Poirot and Hastings encounter is very similar to the Beroldy Scandal which took place 20 years before.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The current generation of Starks seem to repeat the same fate that befell the last generation of Starks. Eddard is the patriarch trying to maneuver the game of thrones, and gets executed upon false charges, like his father, Rickard. Robb is a young prodigy challenging the authority of the king, but gets killed before he can achieve much, like his uncle Brandon. Jon is the second son with no dreams of being in power but ends up inheriting it, like his father, Eddard. Sansa is a Princess Classic forced to play the pawn in political marriages, like her mother, Catelyn. Arya is a Tomboy Princess and runaway who forms a relationship with a Baratheon, like her aunt Lyanna. Bran is an outsider who ends up going north of the Wall, like his uncle Benjen.
    • Once Daenerys Targaryen resolves to conquer the Seven Kingdoms using her newly-hatched dragons, people are quick to point out that her destiny is repeating that of her distant ancestor, Aegon I, who conquered the Seven Kingdoms using three dragons. The dragons even echo the past ones; Drogon is black-colored like Balerion, Rhaegal is green and bronze like Vhagar, and Viserion is gold/cream like Meraxes.
    • There are parallels of Cersei Lannister and Alicent Hightower. They are both the highborn daughter from the richest House in their region, whose father become Hand of the King. They marry the king and want to secure the succession of their eldest son to the Iron Throne, which end up causing a catastrophic civil war. Alicent outlived all of her children; Cersei was prophesied to receive the same fate (she's already outlived Joffrey). Alicent ultimately lost the war and died a broken woman; Cersei is arrested by the Faith Militant and publicly humiliated, though her downfall is not yet set.
  • Tomorrow Town: The story is set in a camp of futurists who are deeply contemptuous of the past and those who they see as trapped within it, but find themselves repeating certain historical patterns about how society develops and people interact within them without even realizing it. Furthermore, their efforts to predict the future are inept at best and doomed to failure. Just as the past will repeat itself, the future can't be forced no matter how hard you try.
  • Trail of Lightning takes place in the wake of the Big Water, global floods likely triggered by climate change. According to Ma'ii this has happened at least four times previously.
  • Tree of Aeons: Throughout the millennia of recorded history, every ten years a demon king will appear, and the gods summon a batch of heroes to fight it. Sometimes the heroes win, but infight and kill each other afterward; sometimes the demon king wins, and a new batch of heroes is summoned; sometimes there's a mutual kill. On a few occasions, the heroes even survive long enough to kill a second demon king. But sooner or later, they die, and the cycle happens again. As a sapient tree, Matt has a long-term perspective on this, having seen many generations of heroes and demons come and go, and he wants to stop the destruction and havoc that it causes.
  • In The Wave (1981), a High School history teacher is trying to show his class just how easily the Nazis came to power, only to be met with disbelief by students who think that "it can't happen here." So he shows them otherwise by starting a fascist movement in the class.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In season 13 of The Amazing Race Toni & Dallas got their passports stolen in Moscow when their cab driver drove off with their bags. They were given a Mercy Kill. The same thing happened to James & Abba in season 21 but they were allowed to run another leg because they weren't leaving Russia. The show hasn't been back since (season 21 was filmed in 2012) presumably for this reason.
  • Both Tom Bergeron and Alfonso Ribeiro had previously cut their teeth on revivals of Merrill Heatter's game shows (The Hollywood Squares and Gambit, respectively) before being picked as hosts of America's Funniest Home Videos.
  • In Babylon 5, the various incarnations of the Shadow/Vorlon War, up until the point where Sheridan punches History in the face and throws it out of the galaxy.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003): "All of this has happened before. And all of it will happen again." The series ends on an uncertain note as to whether or not humanity is destined to fight yet another Robot War.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • A rather dark example comes from "Consequences," where Faith had accidentally killed a human, tries to dispose of the body, then becomes a rapist (damn near enough in Xander's case, then using Buffy's body to seduce Riley.) In "Dead Things" Buffy has essentially raped Spike, then she thinks she killed a human and Spike tries to dispose of the evidence (although she was genuinely planning to turn herself in before she learned the identity of her 'victim' and realised what had really happened). The way she's acting bothers her so much she looks into whether she Came Back Wrong, then she finds out she didn't.
    • Buffy's season-long funk after being resurrected in Season 6 comes as no surprise after the effects of her revival in the Season 1 finale, after which she spent the summer, as well as the Season 2 premiere, emotionally distant and much meaner than she usually is.
    • In season 5's "Tough Love", Tara is driven insane by Glorificus, which sends Willow on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge preceded by a pit stop at Magic Box, which doesn't end well for her. Exactly a season later, Tara is accidentally killed by Warren Mears, which sends Willow on another Roaring Rampage of Revenge preceded by a pit stop at Magic Box. However, this time she is successful and goes on to take the spot as the season's Big Bad.
  • In a rare cross-series example, the third season of the 2018 reboot of Charmed ends with the eldest sister Macy dying. 20 years prior, the eldest sister from the original series died at the conclusion of its third season.
  • Control Z: The first two seasons ended with a confrontation after the identities of the hacker and the avenger were exposed/revealed and with a victim who got in the middle of the fight. After that, we get an aerial shot of those endings before the screen cuts to black and the credits start rolling.
    • Season 1. After Raúl succeeds in leaking all of the students' secrets at the NONA party, Gerry confronts him at gunpoint upon finding out he's the hacker, blaming him for what happened to Luis, who was unable to make it out alive, and demands an explanation over his actions, with Sofía and Javier unsuccessfully trying to calm him down. Raúl reveals to Gerry that Luis had feelings for him. Furious, Gerry tries to shoot him as revenge, but Javier is accidentally shot trying to intervene. The noise attracts the students' attention as they witness Javier's accident and Sofía yells at them to call an ambulance. By the beginning of the second season, Javier is later revealed to have survived the gunshot and Luis' death has been confirmed.
    • Season 2. After Sofía manages to talk Alex out of continuing her revenge plans to seek justice for Luis, Javier picks up a gun that Raúl had brought earlier and Alex snatched from him to threaten Gerry. Javier aims it at Raúl, demanding that he give him his money to save Natalia, who got kidnapped by the drug dealers who intend to kill her if their owed debt isn't payed by tonight. Raúl goes insane and defiantly refuses him the money because it was stolen from him. Coincidentally, María and Claudia (who found out about Natalia's kidnapping beforehand) arrive at the school to steal back the money from Luis' locker but are caught by Susana. The situation is further worsened when the trio, alongside Sofía, Javier and Raúl fight over the money bag, while Gerry and Alex watch in horror. This ends with Susana accidentally falling hundreds of feet off the roof to her death. Pablo, who was waiting outside for María and Claudia, witnesses this. Wailing in sadness, he looks up the roof to see Sofía, Raúl and María staring emotionlessly. After María nods her head, Pablo snatches the money and drives off to rescue Natalia, leaving Susana to bleed out in the sidewalk.
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
    • "The Clean Room" devotes a lot of time to Clair Patterson's struggle to have Congress act on the dangers of leaded gasoline, while the oil companies try to cut his funding and discredit him with their scientist-for-hire Robert Kehoe. The subtext to the modern day is very clear.
    • A heartening example in "The Electric Boy". Young Michael Faraday got the attention of Humphry Davy by sending a book of notes he'd made on Davy's scientific demonstrations to the Royal Institute. Decades later, Faraday remembers standing in Davy's office, which now belongs to him, as he's about to open a dissertation by his own young fan: James Clerk Maxwell, who's developed mathematical evidence for Faraday's ideas.
  • The Criminal Minds episode "Birthright" ends with the villain being killed by his pregnant wife, just like his father (also a serial killer) was.
  • Daredevil (2015): In Seasons 1 and 3, Wilson Fisk is taken down because Nelson & Murdock flip a corrupt cop that Fisk ordered to do dirty acts that said cop drew a line at doing. In Season 1, it's Carl Hoffman, a corrupt NYPD detective who Fisk threatened into killing his own partner and best friend Christian Blake. In Season 3, the honor goes to Ray Nadeem, an FBI agent who has been manipulated by Fisk into releasing him from prison and later harassing Nelson & Murdock after Fisk "accuses" Matt of being an accomplice of his, and then gets strong-armed into being Dex's getaway driver as he tries to go public with what he knows. In both cases, Fisk makes efforts to kill the cop in question. His efforts to get rid of Hoffman fail as Matt shows up right as other corrupt cops are about to finish off Hoffman. Fisk makes a similar attempt to get rid of Nadeem in Season 3 by having men ambush him while Matt is escorting him to the courthouse to testify before a grand jury, but Matt and Nadeem fight off the assassins, prompting Fisk to pull a backup plan and intimidate the grand jury. Then Vanessa makes the decision for Nadeem to be killed, which is carried out by Dex but not before Ray makes a confession video that is admissible as evidence against Fisk due to a loophole.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In-universe, humanity can't seem to resist the lure of slave labor, no matter how much it corrupts and backfires.
    • The Daleks likewise are trapped in an eternal cycle of evolving to improve their situation and then turning on themselves for failing to remain pure.
    • Meta-example with the Time War and destruction of Gallifrey: Elements of this story had been bouncing around since the early 1980s, usually with the intention of curing the series of a lot of its Continuity Lockout. However, none of the attempts to actually depict it ever got off the ground. The 4D War intended by Alan Moore in the Doctor Who Magazine strips never made it fully to print, as he left early. "Gallifrey" was a proposed Sixth Doctor story to be written by Pip and Jane Baker rumoured to destroy the titular planet and shake up the status quo, but it was part of a cancelled season. "Doctor Who: The Last of the Time Lords" was the title for one draft of what eventually became the TV Movie. The Eighth Doctor Adventures range of BBC Books came closest with a story arc about "The War", a time-active conflict in the future, which was eventually prevented from happening by Gallifrey's premature destruction. In fact, from 1981's 4-D War to 2013's "The Day of the Doctor", no Time War was ever actually depicted, and given the setting of the aforementioned anniversary special, that arguably still remains the case.
    • Series 8 was essentially a variation on this: an elderly Doctor in his fifties, his two first companions being teachers from Coal Hill School (kinda), and a new regeneration cycle were all elements from the very beginning.
    • Another meta-example is the various incarnations of the Doctor in Classic and New Who. The most popular Doctor in their respective eras (Four and Ten) get replaced by the youngest actor to play the role at the time (Five and Eleven) and their replacement is a Doctor designed to hark back to the earlier, darker side of the Doctor; played by an actor who appeared on the show before being cast in the role (Six and Twelve). They are then succeeded by a Doctor who uses a British accent that the Doctor has never used before (Seven, Scottish; and Thirteen, Yorkshire).
    • "Spyfall" resets the Doctor's situation back to the way things were at the beginning of the new series with The Reveal that Gallifrey has been destroyed (apparently by the Master), leaving the Doctor and the Master as the last of their kind again.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Jon Snow points out that multiple times in the past Wildlings have raised an army under a chosen King Beyond The Wall, in an attempt to make their way south past the wall. They always crumbled when face with a proper army though, due to their lack of organized cooperation and military discipline. Jon's insistence that they will meet the same fate despite their passion and numbers is flippantly dismissed. Completing the cycle, Stannis utterly crushes the Wildling Army with a surprise cavalry attack.
    • Ned promising to take care of the dying Robert's children. He did the same for his sister Lyanna.
    • Subverted in how Littlefinger tries to play Sansa and Arya against each other just as he manipulated their mother Catelyn and her own sister Lysa. Littlefinger fails to understand Sansa and Arya's dynamic is much different than their mother and aunt and pays for it with his life.
    • Aerys Targaryen's first Hand of the King was Tywin Lannister. Before departing for Westeros, Aerys' daughter chooses Tywin's son as her Hand, in what constitutes his second stint at the post. Coincidentally, both Tyrion and Dany are the youngest children of their families and were bullied by Smug Snake older siblings who were spiteful that they lost their mothers due to their births.
    • Stannis Baratheon:
      • A king who gets advice from both a woman with Black-and-White Insanity who uses sex as a weapon and his rational best friend, while more often than not ignoring the latter. Yup, Stannis is Robert's brother alright. In addition, Stannis shares with Robert the hardships of controlling the North, even with a Stark by his side, as he points out to Jon Snow, whom he tries to legitimize to help win the North over, but Jon refuses out of a sense of duty.
      • Though he would likely bristle at the comparison, his burning of dissenters is remarkably similar to Aerys Targaryen at the end.
    • There are several parallels to the events of the Dance of Dragons and the War of the Five Kings that's highlighted House of the Dragon:
      • The death of a monarch causing a historical succession war? Viserys and Robert to a T.
      • Legitimacy of the parentage of said king's heirs? The children of Rhaenyra and the children of Cersei, the Queen Regent. Both times, their bastard status is true and both times it is the reason war is sparked, but only Rhaenyra's become known to the public.
      • Greedy politics taking reign of the realm and causing even more chaos and strife? Look no further than both generations of the Small Council, Otto Hightower and Roose Bolton or Cersei Lannister.
      • A sneaky and unsuspecting lord looking to further his place in the world by any means necessary? We have Larys Strong and Littlefinger (Petyr Baelish).
      • A foreigner with a network of spies that works for the greater good of people? Mysaria and Varys.
      • Both Joffrey and Aegon II are fine examples of a Royal Brat who inherits the throne while being completely undeserving of it.
      • The Lord Commander of the Kingsguard (an Older and Wiser man) removing his cloak (and himself) after a sketchy regime change - Harrold Westerling or Barristan Selmy?
  • Grey's Anatomy
    • Seen with the season 6 episode "Give Peace a Chance" and the season 11 episode "The Distance". The focus of both episodes is a Shepherd operating on a challenging, previously thought to be an inoperable tumor. In the former, it's Derek; in the latter, it's his sister Amelia.
      • Referenced in-canon when Richard Webber mentions it to Amelia during "The Distance".
  • Homeland begins with CIA ops officer Carrie Mathison investigating a recently-freed captive whom she suspects has been compromised by his captors. The final season has another recently-freed captive coming under the same suspicion — only this time, it's Carrie herself.
  • Lost starting in the Season 5 finale. It's implied that people have been coming to the island only to be wiped out over and over again as part of Jacob and the Man in Black's grand morality test. Taken to an extreme in "Across the Sea" where it's revealed that Jacob isn't even the original protector of the island and that there had probably been many previous protectors before he was born.
  • Power Rangers RPMbegan with a Child Prodigy (Doctor K) creating a sentient computer virus that destroyed almost 80% of the human population. Come Power Rangers: Beast Morphers episode "The Source Code", when another scientist (Nate Silva) tampered with Ranger technology with Morph-X and animal DNA. The real kicker? Said scientist used snake DNA plus Morph-X on a Cell Shift Morpher, the end result creating Evox. Want another kicker? The aforementioned episode reveals that Evox is in fact, Venjix! And that Cell Shift Morpher that Nate experimented on, he had no idea that Venjix was dormant at the timenote , and his actions caused him to be reborn as Evox.
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Living Witness", Voyager's presence accidentally triggered a long-gestating war between the two species native to a planet. Centuries later the race which lost the war has grown increasingly resentful of the victors. When a copy of the Doctor tells his side of the story which clearly contradicts the history written by the victors, it nearly triggers another war between the two species.
  • In the pilot of Supernatural, Sam and Dean's mother Mary is murdered by a demon, who pins her to the ceiling of Sam's nursery and lights the house on fire. Four-year-old Dean carries his baby brother to safety. Twenty-two years later, Sam attends Stanford and has a beautiful girlfriend named Jessica who even somewhat resembles his mother. A demon kills Jessica by pinning her to the ceiling and lighting the room on fire, and Dean must rescue his distraught adult brother from the fire.
  • In Third Watch, Ty's father is murdered years before the series starts. His partner Sully finds out the truth behind the murder (that the murderer was paid by a corrupt cop, CT Finney) but says nothing in order to protect Ty's family's police pension. Fast forward to 2004, where CT Finney is exposed and commits suicide. Ty ends up helping Finney's son to make it look like an accident-so that Mrs. Finney can still get her police pension.
  • Veronica Mars: The fourth season of the show has Matty (Izabela Vidovic), a teenage girl whose father is killed in the first episode (when a bomb explodes at the motel he owns), and who channels her grief into anger, snark, and a desire to investigate to find out what she thinks the sheriff's department can't, just like Veronica did with Lily's murder in season one. She even asks a boy who has a crush on her for a favor the same way Veronica would ask favors of Wallace, even titlting her head the same way Veronica did (Wallace, who hears Matty ask the friend, is amused).
  • In the series finale of The Wire, several characters end up in situations that harken back to the beginning of the show (in tandem with call backs). The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue insinuates that Baltimore is a cyclical place and that characters will always end up in certain roles.
    • Leander Sydnor goes to Judge Phelan and asks his help investigating a major case, like Jimmy McNulty did, in a conversation with the exact same character, five seasons prior).
    • Bodie's fate is quite reminiscent of Wallace's. He also becomes disillusioned by The Game's casual violence and decides to talk to the cops, only to be killed before he can cooperate.
    • Namond takes elements from two figures. First, he comes from a family noted for their connection with the drug trade and it's assumed that he will take up that mantle as well despite having no heart for the game. Sounds like D'Angelo, but he gets a rare happy ending because Wee-Bey realizes the drug trade isn't right for him and allows Namond to be adopted by Colvin instead. On the other hand, he uses the exact same line as Clay Davis "I'll take any motherfucker's money if he's giving it away!" and shows an interest in politics and debate after being adopted by Colvin.
    • Randy loses his mother figure early in life, his talents go mostly overlooked and unappreciated, is repeatedly screwed over by the system, and winds up adopting a thug attitude. Sounds like Bodie, although we don't see if he ends up the same way.
    • In Homicide, Kima Greggs becomes the new McNulty
    • On a more positive note, the formerly irresponsible Ellis Carver is implied to be on his way to becoming the new Cedric Daniels.
    • Michael Lee becomes the new Omar Little. In fact, the last thing we see him do is shooting someone in the knee during a robbery, just like we saw Omar do during Omar's first robbery in Season 1.
    • Dukie Weems becomes the new Bubbles.
    • Kenard shows the textbook signs of being a sociopath. Has dreams of becoming a great street legend like Omar. Sounds like Marlo Stanfield, who himself, is a sociopath that had dreams of becoming a street legend and saw his chance to act on it after the Barksdale crew was brought down. Kenard saw his chance by killing Omar Little, knowing the Stanfield crew was looking for him. It's suggested Crutchfield arrests him for Omar's murder, but it's not known if he'll get charged as an adult and convicted. Given that he's very young, there's a chance he might just get sent to a behavior correctional center, which in a way is a Karma Houdini example, just like Marlo.
    • Valchek becomes the new Burrell/Frazier after being promoted to Commissioner.

  • History Never Repeats by Split Enz sounds like it will be an aversion. It's actually the singer trying to convince himself of the aversion.
  • The recurring theme on The Megas two-part album History Repeating ...yeah.
  • In "Me and the Cockroach" by Hobo Johnson, humanity evolves, discovers it's going to die, invents religion and government, and conflict accelerates until humanity destroys itself in a nuclear war. The cockroaches survive, become intelligent, and the whole cycle repeats itself.
  • Alabama's "Pony Express" has three eras of mail carriers visiting a bar after dealing with outlaws on his trip – the Pony Express rider had to outrun bandits, the engineer's train was robbed by Jesse James, and the pilot's plane was hijacked to Cuba. The first two times, the bartender says that a new era (rail and planes) is coming where delivery will be easier; the last time, the bartender says they had it figured out back in the Pony Express days.

  • The Last Podcast on the Left: Towards the end of the episode on Howard Unruh, who perpetrated one of the earliest known mass shootings in 1949 New Jersey, the hosts mention that one of the attack's survivors went on to have a grandchild that also survived a mass shooting, this one the Parkland, Florida school shooting of February 2018.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Those well versed in wrestling history note that the problems that plague TNA today are what killed WCW. Nonsensical storylines, younger, homegrown talent being pushed down the card for older, more recognizable names, a money mark for a boss — those problems were always there, but the fan base didn't take any note of them because the talent was having great matches and doing great segments. The shortcomings weren't as strongly pronounced. Then, due to a Love Triangle of all things, Jeff Jarrett lost control of the company to Dixie Carter who, evidently having not read The Death of WCW, brought in two of the guys on the cover: Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. Practically overnight, TNA went from "a growing promotion with some similarities to WCW", to "WCW-lite". The Death of WCW discussed this throughout its tenth-anniversary edition, including an epilogue which lists the utterly boneheaded decisions the company has made since the original publication.
  • Scarily, the more Vince McMahon continues to be at the helm of the WWE, the more its ongoing problems are starting to mirror the problems that killed its chief rival. An over-reliance on past stars, a heel faction at the top that many feel has long exhausted its welcome, neglecting everything else in favor of the main event, either involving the world title or past stars (or both) and what seems to be an outright refusal to make a new star. The one new star he's trying to make isn't allowed to play to his strengths and get over that way, with Vince doing everything in his power to mold him into HIS star, to an almost stubborn degree. It's begun to alienate fans, with the WWE having lost a million viewers over the span of one year. The parallels are becoming obvious to everyone, especially to those who read the aforementioned book (which might as well be nearly every hardcore fan in the last decade), that fans are either demanding his retirement or wishing he'd keel over and die already before the damage gets any worse.

  • National Hockey League:
    • Twice after losing The Stanley Cup to opponents in the Finals (New York Rangers in 1994, Boston Bruins in 2011), Vancouver Canucks fans have tended to riot downtown.
    • In the 1942 Stanley Cup Finals, the Toronto Maple Leafs famously came back from being down 3-0 in the series to the Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup, the first team in professional sports to accomplish the feat. Three years later in 1945, the Maple Leafs and Red Wings once again met in the Cup Finals, this time the Leafs being the ones to jump out to a 3-0 series lead before the Red Wings came back to win the next three games to once again set up a winner-take-all Game 7. This time, however, the Leafs would stop the Red Wings' rally, winning the game and the Cup once again.
    • The NHL had awarded Atlanta an expansion franchise twice, in 1972 with the Flames and in 1999 with the Thrashers. Both teams would subsequently relocate to Canada, with the Flames moving to Calgary in 1980, keeping the Flames name, and the Thrashers to Winnipeg in 2011, becoming a revival of the Jets.
    • The Montreal Canadiens replaced Michel Therrien with Claude Julien as their head coach twice: the first time in 2003 and the second time in 2017.
    • After being bought out by the Anaheim Ducks, Corey Perry spent three consecutive years joining a different team and making it to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose: his Dallas Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2020, his Canadiens lost to the Lightning in 2021, and he decided to join the Lightning in 2022 only for them to lose to the Colorado Avalanche.
  • In The World Cup, Brazil, Italy, and Germany all won their fourth titles 24 years after the third, defeating the tournament host in the playoffs, against a team that primarily wears blue (though given Italy also wears blue, France played them in white) in a game that didn't end in regulation (only Germany scored in extra time and escaped the penalties).note  And all their third titles happened against a fellow two-time champion who eliminated the hosts.note  Once Argentina became the fourth three-time champion in 2022, it was also against a team with two titles (France).
  • After Michael Jordan's first retirement from professional basketball in 1994, the New York Knicks won the NBA Eastern Conference Championship, only to lose in the Finals to a team from Texas (the Houston Rockets). Following Jordan's second retirement in 1999, the Knicks once again won the Eastern Conference Championship only to lose in the Finals to a team from Texas (the San Antonio Spurs).
  • National Football League
    • On November 18, 1985, Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann broke both bones in his right leg while being sacked; the injury would end his NFL career. 33 years later to the day (November 18, 2018), Redskins quarterback Alex Smith was sacked and broke both bones in his right leg, an injury which nearly ended his NFL career. The similarities didn't end there, either: both quarterbacks were without their usual Pro Bowl left tackle at the time, both games ended with a final score of 23-21note , and both sacks involved a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (although this one is iffy because the defender in the earlier incident, Giants legend Lawrence Taylor, didn't have his third DPOY yet when the accident occurred).
    • On January 3, 1993, in the 1992-93 NFL playoffs, the Buffalo Bills played against the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wildcard Game, overcoming a 35-3 third quarter deficit to win 41-38 in overtime. Almost 27 years to the day, January 4, 2020, in the 2019-20 playoffs, the Bills played against the Houston Texans (in 1997, the Oilers relocated to Tennessee and became the Tennessee Titans) in the AFC Wildcard Game, but this time, it was the Bills that blew a big lead, going from leading 16-0 in the third quarter to losing 22-19 in OT. Then, double subverted the next week in the AFC Divisional Game between the Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs on January 12, 2020, as the Texans blew a big lead themselves, going from leading 24-0 in the second quarter to losing 51-31.
    • In the 2007 NFL playoffs, the New York Giants finished with a 10-6 record, beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card, the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional, and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship in a game decided by an overtime field goal by Lawrence Tynes, before facing the AFC number one seeded New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. In that Super Bowl, down 14-10 with a little over a minute left in the 4th quarter, Giants QB Eli Manning threw a miracle catch to wide receiver David Tyree (who famously used his helmet to help secure the catch). A few plays later, the Giants would find the end zone, and a failed Hail Mary pass attempt by Patriots QB Tom Brady would secure a Giants victory, with Eli Manning taking home the MVP honors. Four years later in 2011, the Giants, this time going 9-7, beat another NFC South team, the Atlanta Falcons, in the Wild Card, beat another number one seeded team, the Packers, in the Divisional, and beat another number two seeded team, the San Francisco 49ers, in the NFC Championship in a game decided by an overtime field goal, also by Lawrence Tynes, and then played the Patriots again in the Super Bowl. In that Super Bowl, down 17-15 with around three minutes left on the clock, Eli Manning would throw a miracle catch to wide receiver Mario Manningham. A lengthy drive later, the Giants would find the end zone. Another failed Hail Mary pass attempt by Tom Brady would secure another Giants victory, with Eli Manning taking home the MVP honors once again.
    • In the 2004-05 NFL playoffs, the Philadelphia Eagles entered with a 13-3 record and the #1 NFC seed, defeating the #6 seeded wildcard Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional round and the #2 seeded Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship Game before making it to Super Bowl XXXIX and being defeated by the New England Patriots. Thirteen years later, in the 2017-18 NFL playoffs, the Eagles once again entered with a 13-3 record and the #1 NFC seed. This time, they defeated the #6 seeded wildcard Falcons in the NFC divisional round and the #2 seeded Vikings in the NFC Championship Game and made it to Super Bowl LII, facing the Patriots once again. However, this time, the Eagles won against the Patriots, avenging their Super Bowl XXXIX loss and winning their first-ever Super Bowl.
    • In Super Bowl XXXVI in the 2001-02 NFL season between the New England Patriots and St. Louis Rams, Rams wide receiver Ricky Proehl would catch the game-tying touchdown pass by Rams QB Kurt Warner with less than two minutes remaining, which left enough time on the clock for Patriots QB Tom Brady to lead a drive that brought the Patriots into field goal range before stopping the clock so that kicker Adam Vinatieri could take the field to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Patriots their first-ever Super Bowl win. Two years later, in Super Bowl XXXVIII, between the Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, Ricky Proehl, who now played for the Panthers, caught the game-tying touchdown pass by Panthers QB Jake Delhomme with less than two minutes remaining, which left enough time on the clock for Patriots QB Tom Brady to lead a drive that brought the Patriots into field goal range before stopping the clock so that kicker Adam Vinatieri could take the field to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Patriots their second Super Bowl win.
      • Ironically enough, Proehl and Vinatieri would both win the Super Bowl three years later, both as members of the Indianapolis Colts.
    • At Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa Bay, the Native American-themed defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins made it back to the Super Bowl against the pirate-themed Los Angeles Raiders, whom they narrowly defeated in the regular season 37-35, only to get blown out in the Super Bowl by the Raiders 38-9. Thirty-seven years later in Super Bowl LV, also in Tampa Bay, the Native American-themed defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs make it back to the Super Bowl against the pirate-themed Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom they narrowly defeated in the regular season 27-24, only to get blown out in the Super Bowl by the Bucs 31-9.
  • On January 12, 1969, an upstart underdog team playing in New York's Shea Stadium (the Jets) upset a highly favored team from Baltimore (the Colts) to win Super Bowl III. In October of that year, an upstart underdog team playing in Shea Stadium (the Mets) upset a highly favored team from Baltimore (the Orioles) to win the World Series.
  • On December 2, 2006, the 2nd ranked 10-1 USC Trojans played their unranked nearby rival, the UCLA Bruins in the final game of the regular season. If USC were to win, they would play Ohio State in the national championship game. In a shocking upset, UCLA beat USC by a final score of 13-9, allowing the SEC champion, Florida to play in the national championship. In that game, Florida beat Ohio State convincingly. Just one day before the one year anniversary of UCLA’s upset of USC on December 1st, 2007, the 2nd ranked 10-1 West Virginia Mountaineers played their unranked nearby rival, the Pittsburgh Panthers in the final game of the regular season. If West Virginia were to win, they would play Ohio State in the national championship game. In a shocking upset, Pitt beat West Virginia. What was the final score? 13-9. This would allow the SEC champion, LSU to play in the national championship. In that game, LSU beat Ohio State convincingly.
  • In the 1997 MLB season, the Florida Marlins, a young expansion franchise that was only playing their fifth season in their history would go on a hot streak in the postseason, upsetting the "Team of the 90s'" Atlanta Braves team in the NLCS. In Game 7 of the World Series, a Latino player for the Marlins (Edgar Renteria) would hit a base hit with the bases loaded into shallow center to give the Marlins their first World Series. Four years later, the Arizona Diamondbacks, an even younger team, playing only their fourth season, would go on a hot streak in the postseason, defeating the Braves in the NLCS. In Game 7 of the World Series, a part-Latino player for the Diamondbacks (Luis Gonzalez), would hit a base it with the bases loaded into shallow center to give the Diamondbacks their first World Series.
  • The erstwhile soccer powerhouse 1. FC Nürnberg won the German championship 9 times. The ninth (and to date final) time occured in 1968. Instrumental in their championship run was head coach Max Merkel, a figure still known for eminently quotable lines and much beloved by fans. After the championship season, Nürnberg engaged in some questionable roster moves (among others trading Franz Brungs, a top scorer who had been instrumental to the 1968 championship team, against his express wishes) ostensibly to "build a team ready to take on European competition". The team struggled throughout the next season, fired their once much-beloved coach who had led them to the championship and were ultimately relegated in dramatic fashion - as statistically one of the best relegated teams in Bundesliga history. Fast forward to 2007 and Nürnberg wins the DFB Pokal (equivalent to the FA cup) again with a head coach widely beloved and admired for his unorthodox style and his propensity to utter quotable remarks. Again Nürnberg engages in questionable roster moves (such as trading the starting goalkeeper who had made many important saves throughout the 2007 season) and part of the reason is again to "build a team ready to take on European competition". Ultimately the team folds and the head coach is sacked, leading to perhaps the best (on paper) Nürnberg team to be relegated in decades. To add insult to injury, since the founding of the Bundesliga, no other team has ever been relegated as reigning cup champion or reigning champion and the FCN has not won any other trophy between 1969 and 2007 or (as of 2021) since 2007.
  • Invoked by the new European League of Football which deliberately uses the traditions of the old NFL Europe including team names and uniforms in cities that had a NFL Europe franchise and now have an ELF team (as of the 2021 those being Cologne, Barcelona, Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt). The last ever game of NFL Europe was World Bowl XV with Frankfurt Galaxy losing to the Hamburg Sea Devils. The first game of the new league was... the Hamburg Sea Devils beating Frankfurt Galaxy (albeit at a different venue). At the end of the season Frankfurt would get their revenge and win the first ever ELF title - against Hamburg. In addition to the game came the announcement of an expansion franchise - Rhein Fire, the second most long-lived team of NFL Europe (after Frankfurt).
  • NASCAR barely averted it in 2011 thanks to a Chase format they implemented after the original 2003 occurrence that nearly repeated: In 2003, despite only winning the third race in, Matt Kenseth of Roush Racing won the then-Winston Cup Series title using consistency all year and bad outings from the dangerous competitors (including Ryan Newman, who won eight races but crashed out a few times). Eight years later Carl Edwards, driving a different car for the same team (now known as Roush Fenway), wins only the third race in and, without the Chase format, would've won the title using consistency all year and bad outings from the dangerous competitors. Because of the Chase, however, a barely-qualifying Tony Stewart caught fire and won half of the ten races in the Chase to steal the title from Carl on a tiebreaker. And the last Cup Series champion before Jimmie Johnson fired off five straight? Tony Stewart, who in 2005 was still a Joe Gibbs Racing driver. On top of that, Stewart's teammate in 2011? Ryan Newman.
  • In 2018, Toro Rosso's lineup consisted of Pierre Gasly and an Eastern Hemisphere driver not from Europe using a British former driver's 20's-range number in the form of New Zealand's Brendon Hartley using the number 28 of Will Stevens. Three years later the team, now Alpha Tauri, brought on Japan's Yuki Tsunoda (using Jenson Button's number 22) as Gasly's teammate.
  • Brazilian race drivers in FIA championships and potential tiebreaker scenarios in their favor only for the title rival to get the one point they needed to avert said potential tiebreaker scenario happened twice. First, in Formula One's 2008 finale, Felipe Massa of Ferrari won and needed title rival Lewis Hamilton to finish sixth or lower to win. Sixth, where Lewis was when Felipe crossed the finish line, was the position that would invoke the tiebreaker, Felipe ahead five wins to two. Lewis had fallen to sixth courtesy of a mistake that let Sebastian Vettel past. Then they passed a struggling-in-the-rain-on-dry-tyres Timo Glock in the final corner, putting Lewis ahead of Felipe by one point. Almost eight years later Lucas Di Grassi entered the finale of Formula E's second season tied with Sebastian Buemi. Despite losing a win in Mexico because of an underweight car via tyre wear miscalculations, Di Grassi has the advantage in the tiebreaker. The two collide at turn 3 on lap 1, sending them to the back of the field and out of the points-paying positions. Then Buemi sets the fastest lap, earning the point he needed to beat Di Grassi without the tiebreaker.
    • Eddie Irvine's bid at the 1999 Formula 1 title doesn't count in the equation under this trope because first, his rival Mika Hakkinen is actually Finnish, and second, the one point that would've helped Eddie had teammate Michael Schumacher let him by in Japan was claimed by Minardi's Marc Gene two rounds before the Japan finale.
      • Speaking of Eddie, he was part of the first of three recent cases where one team wins the Constructors' Championship but the Drivers' Champion drove for another team, and one of the two teams involved fielded a regular lineup of a Finn and a Briton. In 1999 Eddie's Ferrari team won the Constructors' title but the Drivers' title went to Finland's Mika Hakkinen of McLaren, with David Coulthard of Britain as Mika's teammate. Nine years later, in the above Brazilian driver vs potential tiebreaker scenario, Lewis Hamilton claimed his first of seven Drivers' titles, teaming with Finland's Heikki Kovalainen at McLaren, but Ferrari won the Constructors' title with Massa and defending Drivers' Champion Kimi Raikkonen. Thirteen years after that, in the reason this count of history repeating has the Finland-Great Britain equation between Drivers' and Constructors' Championships only applying to the team that had one of both nationalities, Lewis (now with Mercedes) loses his bid for an eighth to Red Bull's Max Verstappen but him and Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas help Mercedes win their eighth straight Constructors' title. Max, Dutch, was teamed with Sergio Perez of Mexico; the two McLaren-vs-Ferrari cases had Constructors' Champions Ferrari fielding a driver of the same nationality as the teammate of McLaren's Drivers' Champion.
      • Another connection with Lewis winning his first title, he was the first of two British drivers to win the World Drivers' Championship by finishing fifth at Brazil in a Mercedes-powered car numbered 22. The following season, in Brawn GP's one season in Formula 1, Jenson Button (who would take on number 22 full-time when Formula 1 opted for a MotoGP-inspired "career number" system, with Lewis doubling it for his own number 44) would win it with one race to spare.

  • Beast Wars: Uprising:
    • The story begins with a Cybertronian becoming dissatisfied with the status quo, forming a rebellion that breaks out into full-blown war, three centuries after the end of the last one. Several characters make note that it's another war, with the supercomputer The Oracle quoting the Battlestar Galactica example.
    • In the backstory, the inhabitants of the planet Rebirth fled Cybertron to get away from the war. Over time, a trio calling themselves the Optimus took control, and became utterly fascistic, stamping down on any dissent, leading to the rise of a violent rebellion identified as the Malignus. Then, during the 21st century the Decepticons showed up, and the planet got involved in the war again. The end result was the entire population of Master were forced off their world by humans and made to live on Cybertron, under the thumb of a different autocratic, oppressive regime.

    Video Games 
  • Meta-example: In the late 1990s, Nintendo's consoles were seeing diminishing success. Part of this was because of the company's reputation as being "family friendly" (not helped by them having very strict content guidelines prior to the establishment of gaming rating boards) hurting it during a period where gaming audiences, especially in the West, wanted their games to be Darker and Edgier, Hotter and Sexier, and Bloodier and Gorier. In the late 2010s, Sony made a policy to tone down sexual themes in third-party games (which mostly affected Japanese titles), leading to Nintendo becoming the go-to console company for more uncensored sexual and violent content for the affected developers as Nintendo had completely stopped policing such material.
    • Speaking of Nintendo; Nintendo was the biggest market share. Their follow up console was more of the same as the previous and didn't do as well. Then they introduced a new gimmick and became the biggest market share again. Now is this SNES > Game Cube > Wii, or Wii > Wii U, Switch?
  • The bad ending of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow sees this happen. In the past, after the death of his beloved wife, Dracula ended up declaring war on humanity and becoming the villain we know today. In the present, after the (supposed) death of his girlfriend, Soma is driven to claim his inheritance as Dracula's reincarnation and continue his war on humanity.
  • The FMV game Dracula Unleashed is this to the famous novel Dracula which it purports to be a sequel towards. In the book, Dracula claimed Lucy Westenra as his first victim and was on his way to claiming Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker's fiancée. In the game, Dracula claims Juliet Adams as his first victim and is on his way to claiming Annisette Bowen, Alexander Morris's fiancée. Once Alexander meets Professor Van Helsing and they begin to take the situation seriously, the characters even note how closely events are resembling their previous encounter with the Count.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that the end of Dragon Age II was not the first time that the Templar Order illegally performed the Right of Annulment on a Circle of Magi. Centuries before the series started, the Knight-Commander of the Antiva Circle of Magi used a fake demon infestation and the Right of Annulment to prevent anyone from finding out that his Knight-Captain was a Serial Killer who had murdered over a hundred mages out of pure bigotry. While the Seekers of Truth eventually hunted down and killed the Knight-Captain, they participated in the cover-up and there is no mention of them punishing the Knight-Commander for his actions. Background chatter in II also reveals that Knight-Commander Meredith had petitioned the Divine directly, bypassing the local Grand Cleric, for permission to carry out the Right; she threw off all pretenses of going through the legal channels after Anders destroyed the local Chantry. While it is not known if Anders knew about the historical similarities, it is implicitely the reason that he went to such extreme measures to prevent the Chantry and the Seekers from performing another cover-up.
  • Dwarf Fortress being its darkly humorous self, its Video Game Cruelty Potential is very, very high and usually combined with exploits. So here's probably the best fan theory on the origin of the Hidden Fun Stuff. The gist of the argument goes like this: if you start with a bunch of emotionally numb dwarves, burrow them underground, invoke Body Horror, and cover the whole complex in lava... wouldn't the logical end result count as Physical Hell?
  • At the end of Fatal Fury, Geese Howard dies when he is defeated by Terry Bogard and falls from the top of his tower...or so it seems. In truth, Geese had a magic scroll, one of three that was said to grant immortality, that allowed him to survive the fall. He arranges another tournament later in Real Bout: Fatal Fury after finding and destroying the scrolls so that their power could never be used against him. Once more, Terry and Geese square off at the top of Geese's tower, and once again, Terry defeats Geese. This time, however, Terry tries to save Geese from falling, only for Geese to defiantly refuse and allow himself to fall.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a variation with Eorzea's cycling Astral and Umbral eras: civilization enters into Golden Age during the Astral eras, then enters decline into a dark age during the Umbral eras. While the timing and length of the eras can vary widely from over thousands of years to less than a decade, the cycles remain constant.
  • Fire Emblem Fates has a case. Corrin's step-father Sumeragi first met and fell in Love at First Sight with his/her mother Mikoto by a lake. Corrin him/herself meets his/her best friend Azura by a lake, and if male and romancing her, is also suggested to have fallen in Love at First Sight with her.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • In Part I, you fight the Battle of the Eagle and Lion, an annual mock battle between the houses which takes place on Gronder Field and celebrates the war that led to the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus winning its independence from the Adrestian Empire. After a five-year Time Skip, the house leaders, now the rulers of their respective nations, meet once more on Gronder Field. This time, however, they are not holding a mock battle — they are in the midst of an all-out war.
      Claude: As big class reunions go...this one's gotta be the worst in history.
      Edelgard: Years ago, we fought here as classmates...but not today.
    • In Fódlan's ancient history, two major battles took place on the Tailtean Plains: the final battle of the War of Heroes, where Seiros slew Nemesis, the wielder of the Sword of the Creator, and brought peace to Fódlan, and the final battle of the War of the Eagle and Lion, where the King of Lions Loog defeated the Adrestian emperor of the time to earn independence for the nascent Holy Kingdom of Faerghus. On the Crimson Flower route, Dimitri and Rhea intercept the invading Adrestian army at the Tailtean Plains both hoping to pull a repeat performance against the current emperor Edelgard and the current wielder of the Sword of the Creator, Byleth. Particularly resonant for Rhea because she is Seiros. Sadly for them, it doesn't work out; Dimitri is cut down, while Rhea is driven back to Fhirdiad and slain in the final siege after she refuses to surrender.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's and Five Nights at Freddy's 2. Night guard fends off killer robots, something happens to shut down the pizzeria, then management tries to revive the pizzeria, starting the cycle again. However, FNAF 2 came first.
    • The third game deconstructs this, as by now everyone knows the horrible atrocities that happened at the pizzerias. But from a certain point of view, this trope is still in play, as they reopen it as a horror attraction, with another killer animatronic in it. There's also one more thing that also keeps happening: The Murderer, or Purple Guy as he is depicted in cutscenes, always comes back to the pizzeria if only to kill more kids. And, true to form, he's come to Fazbear's ''Springtrap", the aforementioned animatronic.
    • The fifth and sixth games invoke this to a degree: in Sister Location Circus Baby is revealed to be a product of the Murderer's actions, and the animatronics themselves were going to use the place as a murder house, while in Pizzeria Simulator, Cassette Man deliberately set the pizza place up to lure the killer animatronics in, including the aforementioned Springtrap, then starts his own "accident" to kill them all and free their souls (or in Springtrap's case, give him a taste of Hell).
  • Ghost of Tsushima:
    • In Ishikawa's quest line, he notes similarities between Jin and his former student Tomoe as both are ruthless in dealing with their enemies and he is initially concerned that Jin will end up like her. Fortunately, Jin has much better reasons to fight than Tomoe, who turned on her own people, and he only directs his ruthlessness towards the invading Monguls.
    • Ishikawa also notes this is not the first time a former student of his used his techniques for evil. He previously taught the heir of another clan who would use his skills to assassinate his lord. He failed but not before killing many of his own people.
  • Massively in Gunstar Super Heroes, which is a sequel that covers the events of the original game happening again in the distant future.
  • This is the likely outcome in the Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg. The First Weltkrieg ended with the signing of the Peace With Honor in 1921 when the German Empire managed to defeat all the Entente members in mainland Europe but was unable to successfully invade the British Isles. The Second Weltkrieg could end in a similar way, at least on the Western Front, if the German Empire defeats the Commune of France but again fails to land in Britain. In this case, the Union of Britain and the German Empire will sign the Second Peace With Honor. The in-game message to this will directly refer to this trope: "Is history doomed to repeat itself?".
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The series at large has this at its core, connecting all the games. Ganon is an eternal threat, but every time he rises to endanger Hyrule, there is — and will always be — a Link and a Zelda to oppose him. Only the circumstances change.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Lorule started to gradually crumble away after they destroyed their Triforce. Ravio kicks Hilda into a Heel Realization after telling her that taking Hyrule's Triforce away from them would simply cause them to go through the same decay that is now affecting Lorule.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both Mipha and her father were both well aware of the story of the Zora princess who fell in love with a Hylian swordsman (Ruto from Ocarina of Time), citing it as a reason they believed Mipha's love for Link made sense. It ended up being more appropriate to the current situation than they would have liked, as Ruto Did Not Get The Guy either.
  • Mega Man X5 has the space colony Eurasia on a crash course to Earth as part of Sigma’s latest scheme, even working alongside Zero’s creator Dr. Wily, who also created the Maverick Virus to calm Zero down into a more obedient servant, but instead made various Reploids into Mavericks and even merged with Sigma’s programming to become the dreaded Sigma Virus. After Sigma’s latest final form body designed by the Doctor himselfnote  is defeated by X and Zero, he tries one last time to attack them, but Zero sacrifices himself to stop Eurasia from completely devastating the world. In 22XX, Area Zero, the first real fertile region since the carnage of the Elf Wars, is threatened by Ragnarok, a plan involving a space station that can destroy an entire region, which Dr. Weil plans to use to force humanity to stay in Neo Arcadia, though his latest right hand man, Craft, turns it on him and destroys Neo Arcadia instead, though Weil himself survives to drop the whole station into Area Zero, thinking he can survive the crash with his regenerative armor, which allowed him to survive said attack on Neo Arcadia, forcing Zero, who’s in a new body, to sacrifice himself again to defeat Weil and save Area Zero. One of the bosses in the game, Pegasolta Eclair, even lampshades this during the Boss Rush aboard Ragnarok itself.
    Pegasolta Eclair: The satellites falling from the sky are like the Maverick Wars all over again... It really is Ragnarok, the end of the world! You stand on the threshold of your annihilation!
  • Myth: The Fallen Lords is set in a dark fantasy world locked in an endless cycle. A hero rises and starts a golden age. After a thousand years, and a transient divinity called The Leveler arises, usually using the Hero as his mortal body, and destroys civilization, ushering in a dark age...until a new Hero rises up to defeat him. The events of the game look to have broken the cycle at last, perhaps destroying The Leveler for good.
  • Resident Evil Village: The ending turns out to be this for the BSAA as they are starting to deploy tyrants garbed in BSAA gear, slowly becoming a rebirth of the deeply-reviled Umbrella Corporation...
  • The Ninja Warriors Again: The game's ending explicitly says that because history repeats, the new government you were fighting for will eventually become as bad as the one you overthrew.
  • Much of the circumstances surrounding the release and reception of 2011's Ōkamiden would end up paralleling that of 1999's Chrono Cross. Both games were long-awaited sequels to beloved games that were released late into their respective systems' lifespans and commercially underperformed; both sequels were also released on record-breakingly popular systems themselves, with Chrono Cross coming out on the highest-selling home console of its time and Ōkamiden coming out on the highest-selling handheld system of all time (which is also currently the second-best-selling game system overall). Both Ōkamiden and Chrono Cross were critically acclaimed and are considered good games in their own right, but whether or not they were good sequels remains a controversial topic among fans, both due to their predecessors being tough acts to follow and because their attempts to connect themselves to said predecessors were perceived by many as overreaching to the point of invalidating much of the accomplishments made in the first games.
  • John Marston pulls a Heroic Sacrifice at the end of Red Dead Redemption so his wife and son can live a normal life all for his wife to die not too soon after and for his son to throw it away to avenge him. Its Prequel Red Dead Redemption II ends with its protagonist Arthur Morgan also sacrificing himself for the Marstons to live a normal life. This time it's John who throws it away by avenging Arthur by killing The Mole in the gang. His doing this puts the proto-FBI on his tail which causes the events of the first game.
    • In the final mission before the Epilogue of both games, Edgar Ross leads an army of government men to kill members of the Van der Linde gang at their respective home/hideout. In the first game, it's the U.S. Army attacking Beecher's Hope to kill John with Uncle being an added collateral casualty. In the second game, it's the Pinkerton Detective Agency attacking Beaver Hollow to kill any gang members that haven't already fled or haven't been executed already.
  • In both Sakura Wars (1996) and Sakura Wars (2019), a demonic menace that threatens to destroy Tokyo leads to the imperial government giving the authorization for one of the Imperial Combat Revue members to lay down their life to perform a ritual that will stop the demons. Both times, the leader of the Revues tells the government where they can shove their authorization and fight to defeat the demons without sacrificing anyone. For bonus points, the would-be sacrificed members are both named Sakura.
  • Somehow, SEGA has this happen to it repeatedly as far as public reception and sales numbers go. At least three points in its history, SEGA found itself in a position of dominance. Then, as time goes by, the people at SEGA grow complacent and their quality slips, but it still gets good sales due to brand recognition. People realizing the company's products are becoming shoddy and broken eventually catch up to the company, ruining its reputation, and SEGA is forced to go through major corporate restructuring, only to return back to dominance sometime later. The two cycles most familiar to gamers are the period between the 16-bit era and the Dreamcast, where SEGA had to become a 3rd-party developer; and the period between it becoming 3rd-party and the present. There was also a cycle long before this, between 1971 and 1978, when SEGA suffered this via its pinball division: Because the quality was on par with American and European machines at the time and cost less to buy and to play because they were made domestically, SEGA was the force in Japanese pinball. As time went on though, the machines broke down and no one knew how to repair them with SEGA providing no real support. By 1976, SEGA's pinball sales plummeted and it had to leave the market two years later with thousands of broken, unplayable pinball machines in its wake.
  • In the Sly Cooper games, at least two generations of Cooper Gang members had one of them turn rouge and back-stabbed them. For Sly's father, that would be Dr. M, who wanted to steal the contents of the Cooper Vault as revenge, and is implied to have sold out his former friend to Clockwerk and the Fiendish Five. For Sly himself, that would be Penelope, who went insane from greed and power and plotted to murder Sly out of envy.
  • In Star Trek Online, the Klingons make the exact same mistake in the lead-up to the Federation-Klingon War that they made in the lead-up to the Dominion War. They unilaterally invade the Gorn, insisting that the Gorn have been infiltrated by shapeshifters (unlike with the Cardassians, the Gorn actually have been), and then when the Federation doesn't believe them, instead of trying to back up their claims they withdraw from the Khitomer Accords. And just like with the Dominion, this resulted in a Federation-Klingon War that only weakened the quadrant for the inevitable bigger fish. Once again, the Klingons' Honor Before Reason tendencies play right into the hands of a Manipulative Bastard adversary.
    • In-game, this exact scenario repeats itself again on a small scale in the mission "Diplomatic Orders". A Klingon cruiser commander gets information that a Federation diplomat is really an Undine. Does he submit his findings to the Federation? No! He leads a deep-strike into Federation territory to kill the ambassador himself, and instead of coming out firing, he sacrifices the element of surprise to high-handedly demand that the Federation PC hand over the ambassador. The Fed PC reacts surprisingly well to this: instead of just blasting the idiot out of space on sight (remember, the Feds and Klinks have now been at war for four years), he asks to see the Klingon's evidence, and the Klingon instead takes umbrage and attacks, and because he's up against a Plot Armored Player Character he dies completely pointlessly and Starfleet makes the kill against the Undine.
  • The Tales of Phantasia and Tales of Symphonia timeline has this going on. Periodically, mankind invents magitechnology, culminating in a Mana Cannon, the use of which kills large numbers of people and depletes so much mana as to threaten the life of the Mana Tree. Things progress too far, the Mana Cannon causes too much destruction, and civilization is cast back into the Dark Ages for a while. Then somebody starts exploring ruins and finding out about this thing called "magitechnology"...
  • The Talos Principle: At the entrance of World B, you can find a terminal with a document telling about the Library of Alexandria and the Oxyrhynchus Papyri: many important documents were lost forever when the former was destroyed, while many trivial documents were recovered intact in the latter. The document points out the importance of ensuring our important documents are preserved. Immediately after that, the first terminal you find has a transcription of a song's extremely silly lyrics, and is even completely readable, as opposed to most others documents in the archive, which are either lost to corruption or with missing fragments.
  • In Thunder Force V's bad ending, the Guardian begs Cenes to self-destruct her ship, the Vambrace, which is a Sealed Evil in a Can like its predecessor, the Vasteel, warning her that the Vambrace has the potential to cause the same degree of global catastrophe as Vasteel did and that "the tragedy of Vasteel" will repeat. It is implied that this trope happens, as the Vambrace is too crippled to self-destruct.
  • The Tomb Raider series features a few examples. For instance, in the Russia chapters during Chronicles, Lara learns about an artifact called the Spear of Destiny, which is supposed to give its bearer and its armies untold power. A group of Nazis who claimed the spear were subjected to the spear's extremely unstable power and the artifact created an explosion that sunk the group's U-boat. Flash forward to the present where Lara finds the spear, is forced to hand it over to Russian mob boss Sergei, and the history repeats from there as the artifact's powers go haywire. Luckily, Lara manages to escape before the submarine explodes and sinks to the ocean bed.
    • Used as a plot point in Legend. Lara notes that many myths and legends share similarities to the legend of King Arthur and his knights. There's a sword in a stone, a heroic leader figure, a mystical advisor and so on. Lara hypothesizes that these myths were actually real, and that that they are all connected in some manner, possibly through the same people (or things) that made the Excalibur swords.
  • Seen in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft with Grom and Garrosh Hellscream. Grom was the first orc to drink Mannoroth's blood, cursing nearly his entire race with an endless bloodlust and enslaving them to the Burning Legion, all for the sake of more strength. Faced with defeat at the hands of Cenarius, Grom drank from a fountain that he believed would grant him strength, only to learn it was in fact filled with Mannoroth's blood, completely enslaving him and his clan to the demon. Years later Garrosh tried to use the Sha and then the heart of Y'shaarj to empower himself and his True Horde.
    • In Battle for Azeroth the Horrific Vision of Orgrimmar shows a future where Thrall is driven mad by N'Zoth and convinced that the only way to save Azeroth is by drinking the Old God's blood. Those who obey his order are twisted by the Void into slaves of N'Zoth while those who refuse are executed.
  • Yakuza series; in the first game, Kiryu takes the heat for a murder he didn't commit, coming out of prison ten years later to find most of his friends and colleagues from the past have moved on or are now openly hostile to him. In the seventh game, Kasuga Ichiban takes the heat for a murder he didn't commit, coming out of prison eighteen years later to find most of his friends and colleagues from the past have moved on or are now openly hostile to him. Bonus points, both of the real culprits were men the two heroes considered Blood Brothers, though Ichiban didn't learn that Masato was the killer until well after the fact while Kiryu knew from the start Nishiki killed Dojima.
  • Yandere Simulator appears to have this going on: Yandere-chan's mother is said to also be a yandere. Tapes from a former journalist found scattered across the school reveal that a yandere had committed murder at Akademi High while stalking her senpai in the '80s, but managed to escape justice. The basement tape reveals that after the murder trial, the yandere (who shares the same family name as Yandere-chan) kidnapped her senpai and tied him to a chair in her basement, claiming that it was the same chair her mother used for her father...
  • Hitting any of the loss conditions in Yggdra Union state that history repeats itself by Yggdra's army falling to the hands of Bronquia, her territory of which she's been trying to re-conquer after her father fell to them. On a greater scale, as happened through Yggdra Unison, Nessiah succeeds in building an army to take on Asgard, which results in another (implied) failure to defy the gods.

    Visual Novels 
  • Happens all the time in the Ace Attorney franchise, usually with events resembling an incident from several years before the setting of the game.
    • The first game has this happen twice:
      • Case 3 has a rather ironic example: While working on a movie, action star Jack Hammer kills note  the lover of his director, Dee Vasquez, by impaling him on a nearby fence. Five years later, Hammer is found dead - Vasquez had been blackmailing him over the incident for half a decade, and so Hammer plotted to murder Vasquez, dressing up as his co-star, Will Powers, to frame him. Unfortunately for Hammer, Vasquez fought back and ended up impaling Hammer on the very same fence.
      • One of the most prominent factors present in case 4 is the DL-6 Incident; the murder of Miles Edgeworth's father, defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth in an earthquake-stricken elevator - a murder that Miles witnessed. The prime suspect is the other man in the elevator, bailiff Yanni Yogi, who is testified by Miles to have been fighting Gregory before the attorney's death. However, he is acquitted by his lawyer, Robert Hammond, by reason of insanity. This ruins Yogi's life - he is made a laughingstock, fired from his job, and his fiance, Polly, commits suicide. He exiles himself at a boat shop, with only his parrot to keep him company. 15 years later, Hammond is murdered, and Edgeworth is arrested and prosecuted by his mentor, legendary prosecutor Manfred von Karma, who has not lost a case for 40 years. Phoenix defends his rival, and discovers that Yogi was the true culprit, having discovered the boat shop near the crime scene, and deducing his identity by the name of his parrot: Polly.
      • However, it doesn't end there: For fifteen years, Edgeworth had believed that he was the one who killed his father, and so he confesses it to the court moments after his acquittal for Hammond's murder. Another trial is held, during which it is revealed that von Karma was the one who murdered Edgeworth's father - before his death, Gregory Edgeworth had been the defense attorney for a trial prosecuted by von Karma. Though he lost the case, he managed to blemish von Karma's perfect record by exposing his corrupt ways. After the trial and ensuing earthquake, von Karma found the elevator in which Edgeworth senior had passed out, and was shot in the shoulder by Miles, who had fired Yogi's gun in defense of his father. Understandably pissed off from being shot in the shoulder, he terminated Edgeworth and took a several-month-long holiday because he refused to have the bullet taken out.note  Ironically, this led to his downfall, as Phoenix reasons that the bullet that hit von Karma is still in his shoulder, and uses a metal detector he acquired earlier to confirm his theory. Thus, after 15 years, the DL-6 Incident finally concluded.

    Web Original 
  • On Day 5 on the third season of the Life SMP, Jimmy becomes the first to be Killed Off for Real on the server. Since his character was the first to permanently die during the prior two seasons as well, this is naturally lampshaded by everyone, including his content creator counterpart in the episode it happened. Six minutes into the fourth season, Grian makes a bet that the character in question will be the first to (permanently) die in this season as well. And sure enough, this eventually comes to pass on Day 7.
  • Achievement Hunter has one traitor accidentally expose their teammate three separate times in 2019 alone. All three cases involved Ryan.
    • The first time it happened, in "Secrets of Bikini Bottom", Ryan (innocent) confuses Trevor standing next to him for Lindsay (who had killed Alfredo). Trevor was Lindsay's teammate, while Ryan's confusing Trevor for Lindsay can be explained away as the fact they hadn't gotten custom skins working yet.
    • The second incident, in "We Form a Band", Ryan (a traitor this time) kills Trevor again. They've gotten custom skins working this time, allowing the remaining innocents to assume Trevor was actually saying "Geralt" (Matt's skin) via accidentally starting to say Jeremy's name before catching himself and only managing to get out the first half of Ryan's. Matt was Ryan's teammate, and an Assassin.
    • The third case, in "Big Chungus, Bigger Trouble", Ryan's involvement is simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when his Traitor teammate Jack killed Gavin; Fiona, who didn't see Jack's part in the incident, correctly accuses Ryan of being the Vampire (a Traitor who can replenish their health by eating a dead body) by complete accident. Trevor had nothing to do with this incident.

  • Played for Laughs in a Comically Missing the Point way in 8-Bit Theater:
    Red Mage: History can't repeat itself, because that would be a time travel paradox.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil fan comic Echo Creek: A Tale of Two Butterflies, the friendship between main characters Meteora and Mariposa is very similar to the one Star and Marco had years before them, with Meteora as the thrill-seeking princess and Mariposa as the more cautious human.
  • Used so often in Homestuck that the concept is almost weaponized by the various textual and visual callbacks. Many of these instances, such as stairs, are subject to memery both in-story and out.
  • Polandball: This comic is about the decline and fall of empires. All of them end up in the same way - they beat the enemy, becoming an unchallenged superpower but also becoming fat and decadent, then get defeated in a battle.
  • Schlock Mercenary: various groups, including the Oafaan Freehold, have figured out that Galactic Civilization rises and falls on an almost regular schedule; but even ordinary characters (such as Landon) have wondered "where is everyone?" Book 19 is starting to answer that question.
  • One of the core concepts of Sire. The Binding is a mystical force that forces characters descended from characters from classic literature into following their Sire/Dam's fate, complete with consequences set up for those who try to run away from their story. The conflict of the comic is not about avoiding the fates handed to their forebears, but learning from their mistakes and being prepared for when history swoops back around again.

    Western Animation 
  • Cartoon Network's Toonami block. When it first premiered, it had limited animation for its CGI hosts, limited budgets to acquire new shows, and suffered tremendously in the ratings departments. It also started to see this pattern again, but due to the parent network's decision to fill the block with constant reruns and only new episodes of Naruto's infamous pre-Shippuden filler arcs. When it came back, Toonami had the same amount of viewership it did in the beginning, very few new ad bumpers, only two new shows, and most of its block consisting of old [adult swim] anime on a constant repeat.
  • Adventure Time:
    • The end of "Lemonhope" implies that the Land of Ooo will eventually destroy itself just like humanity did.
    • "Evergreen" shows that the time before the mass extinction of the dinosaurs was not unlike "modern"-day Ooo.
    • This is actually touched upon during Marceline's confrontation with the Vampire King in "Checkmate".
      Vampire King: I know I was ruthless in the past. But tell me, what's the one thing you've noticed about the world since you beat me all those hundreds of years ago?
      Marceline: Everything repeats over and over again. No one learns anything, 'cause no one lives long enough to see the pattern, I guess.
    • The Distant Finale of the final episode shows that one-thousand years after the events of the show, long after Ooo as we known it has disappeared, another adventurous duo will appear to take up the mantle of Finn and Jake, because the fun will never end.
  • Batman Beyond: "Inqueling" is similar to "Ascension" because each episode features a villain being double-crossed by their own offspring; said offspring justifying this by how the villain treated them; and Batman telling the offspring not to be sure the villain is really dead. "Ascension" features Paxton Powers betraying his father Derek to become the new CEO of Wayne-Powers and "Inqueling" features Deanna killing her mother Inque to steal her money. Inque survives but it's not known what happens to Deanna as a consequence of this.
  • A rather serious version of this is revealed in the Big City Greens episode "Family Legacy"; every generation, the Greens' farmhouse faces some sort of disaster or faulty that results in it about to be sold, demolished, etc. To stop this, the kids have to convince their adult guardians to not give up on the place. They then place a key artifact into a suitcase buried in the backyard for their future members to find and gain hope to keep the farm's legacy alive. This becomes a major plot point in "Chipocalypse Now", where all of Elkins Street is being demolished by Chip Whistler and the Greens have to fight for what's right once more before they lose their legacy forever.
  • Cartoon Planet's original '90s incarnation was cancelled after 22 episodes. A modern version of Cartoon Planet was brought back early in the year of what would be Cartoon Network's 20th anniversary, only to once again be removed from the schedule after 22 episodes. However, it came back a month afterward, just in time for the actual month of the anniversary, and ran for another two years with a total of 124 episodes.
  • As pointed out on the Fridge page of Dexter's Laboratory: Ego Trip, the four Dexters are an excellent case of "those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it" in one person. None of the older Dexters will ever remember that Dee Dee was actually the one to save the world because their egos will not let them remember that, and will insist that they were the ones to save the world, thus dooming themselves into repeating the actions they did in the movie. The 'main' Dexter is excused because this is his first time experiencing it, and technically the oldest one can be excused on the grounds of senility.
  • In 2004, Cartoon Network premiered Megas XLR, an animated show about a Freudian Trio commanding a Humongous Mecha to protect the city they lived in from alien invaders. While it received positive reception, it was ultimately canceled after a little over 20 episodes and barely made a profit, with Cartoon Network then writing it off (meaning that they're no longer able to legally air it in any format outside of Video). Roughly five years later, the channel started airing Sym-Bionic Titan, another show where a Freudian Trio uses a giant robot to protect the city they live in from alien invaders...and while it also received acclaim, after it aired a little over twenty episodes, CN proceeded to screw it over in the exact same way they screwed over Megas.
  • This trope is a central theme of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, with the Arc Words of the first season being "This has all happened before." It's revealed that the current Mystery Incorporated are just the latest in a long line of mystery-solvers with an animal mascot, and every single one of their predecessors was driven mad by the Artifact of Doom that they're hunting.
  • In the South Park episode "Something You Can Do With Your Finger," Stan gets a nasty reaction from his father Randy when he and his friends decide to start a boy band, and Randy opposes it vehemently throughout the whole episode. It turns out Randy was afraid that this trope would happen—he has previously been in a boy band, and while they enjoyed success at first, his life, and those of his bandmates', spiraled into total despair when the fad for them had passed. Luckily, Stan and the others bailed out before anything bad could happen.
  • The episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series that explained The Kingpin's Start of Darkness showed how young Willie took the heat for his father's crimes, and, after amassing enough resources to become a powerful crime boss, killed his father out of vengeance. At the end of the episode, Wilson's own son takes the fall for his father's crimes, leaving him to wonder if history will repeat.
  • The Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 1 finale "No Small Parts" has the Cerritos crew deal with the same problems prior Starfleet crews have dealt with in the past — the Landru computer had once again taken control over Beta III, and the Pakleds have stolen even more dangerous technology than before. As Mariner pointed out, none of this would have happened if Starfleet didn't just move on from their observations without occasionally checking back in on the cultures they helped.
  • Wakfu: When Adamai is horrified by Qilby's plan to drain the World of Twelve of its wakfu to power up the Zinit for another trip to the cosmos, Qilby is not surprised. He claims that Adamai and Yugo have not changed since their previous incarnations. As much as he wishes things would be different this time, his long immortal existence has taught him that history repeats endlessly.

    Real Life 
  • Hitler just never learned from Napoleon's mistakes when he tried to conquer Russia. The Nazis ended up meeting the same outcome of this attempted invasion as did Napoleon's army.
    • Before Napoleon, there was Charles XII of Sweden. Starting a land war in Russia is only a good idea if you can keep the supplies flowing, and every time the Russians defeated the invaders by doing the same thing: Salting the fields, torching the harvest, and retreating until the invading army outran their supply lines, which was invariably hastened by the coming of winter.
    • Contrary to popular belief, invasions of Russia haven't always been unsuccessful; the Mongols conquered the first Russian state, and the Poles briefly ruled the country, taking advantage of a leadership vacuum, during the Time of Troubles. Similarly, Japan decisively beat Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and Germany was able to impose humiliating terms in World War I.
    • The 1941 German invasion was also more of a mixed bag compared to Napoleon's one; the Soviets knew they could not simply retreat from their western provinces because of the industries that had been developed in those territories during the intervening years, and fought the Nazis continuously in an attempt to slow them down. The winter ironically helped the Germans because panzers are more maneuverable over frozen lands than muddy ones. The resulting stalemate by the end of the year meant the war would inevitably drag on for several more before the Russians could fully repel the invaders.
    • Contrary to popular belief, the worst thing for logistics in Russia actually isn't winter (when most roads are frozen solid and passable for tracked vehicles or all-terrain trucks) but "Rasputitsya" or "mud season" during Spring and Autumn when all roads turn to, well, mud making them virtually impassable.
    • Hitler also hoped for history to repeat itself when Berlin was besieged by the Red Army. In 1762, Frederick the Great was saved from total defeat when the Russian Empress Elizabeth suddenly died and the invading coalition collapsed, giving him the edge for victory. On April 12, 1945, President Roosevelt died and Hitler raised the hope that the invading Allies would soon collapse. Unfortunately for him, the Allied advance did not stop for one moment, and on April 30, he killed himself in his bunker.
  • In 1871, after a crushing defeat at Sedan and a siege of Paris, France lost a war to Prussia in a short and one sided conflict that surprised outside observers who expected a long and protracted conflict. In 1940, the same situation would play out, right down to Sedan becoming a battleground, during World War II when Nazi Germany overran France in a surprise victory.
  • The Holocaust serves as a staunch reminder that if we don't learn from tragedies like this one, history will be doomed to repeat itself. Unfortunately, nobody seems to have seen fit to tell that to the DPRK (though it's probably because North Korea is backed by China, and any attempt to rectify the situation could start World War III).
  • Roughly forty years prior to The Holocaust, Imperial Germany waged a genocide against the Herero and Namaqua people that carried some disturbing similarities to the Nazi era killings. Both genocides were framed as an explicitly racial struggle, featured the usage of concentration camps, and inflicted deadly medical experiments on the victims. There exists debate as to what degree the killings of the Herero and Namaqua influenced Nazi treatment of those it deemed racially inferior.
  • In 1904, Japan started a war with Russia by launching a surprise attack on Russia's naval facilities in Port Arthur, without issuing a declaration of war. Almost forty years later, Japan would attack the naval base at Pearl Harbor without issuing a declaration of war first. Notably, however, the second part of the story, in which Japan fought a world power to a standstill, would not repeat.
  • The Russo-Japanese War would also mirror the outcome of World War One for Russia: in both cases Russia would go to war with a rising regional power on their home continents (Asia for Japan and Europe for Germany). The wars waged would feature harsh trench warfare and shocking military defeats for Russia, crippling its ability to continue. In both cases Russia would suffer violent revolutions (the second time around deposing the government successfully) and would be handed humiliating peace treaties. Both wars also started in a year that ended in the number four.
  • A trifecta related to Afghanistan:
    • In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, propping up its own officially installed government against a host of Islamic guerillas. After years of fighting unsuccessfully in the countryside, the Soviets conducted a withdrawal that was attacked by the mujahadeen. The Soviet aligned Afghan government crumbled without the support of its main backer and most of Afghanistan would become ruled by the Islamic fundamentalist group known as the Taliban. In 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan, propping up its own government against a host of Islamic guerillas. After years of fighting unsuccessfully in the countryside, America conducted a withdrawal that was attacked by ISIS. The American aligned Afghan government crumbled without the support of its main backer and most of Afghanistan would become ruled by the Taliban.
    • Following the French defeat in Vietnam, America would later intervene in the war torn nation. American involvement started out relatively small, but grew over time, becoming bogged down fighting a guerilla war, pockmarked by scandals, and faced increasing opposition to continued engagement back on the home front. America would largely withdraw from the conflict after fighting for nearly twenty years, leading to the South Vietnamese government to be routed by North Vietnam and the hasty evacuation of Saigon. Following the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, America would later intervene in the war torn nation. Second verse same as the first ensued, ending roughly the same way when the Taliban routed the Afgan government and Kabul was messily evacuated.
    • The First Anglo-Afghan War would begin and end largely the same way as the American led war over a century and a half later; the standing government of Afghanistan would be deposed by the Western superpower of the era and the Western occupiers would face an insurgency that led to anti-war backlash and criticism at home. In both cases the occupying country would make a disorganized retreat from Kabul and the original government of Afghanistan would be restored to power.
  • The Vietnam War would also have its own echoes in history:
    • The most obvious and parallel to the US led war would be the war immediately prior to it led by the French in an effort to maintain its colonial empire. Like the later war by the US, the French were steadily worn down through guerilla warfare, poor morale, and inconsistent strategy made worse by unclear goals on their part, all of which would lead to a humiliating loss in both cases. The war was consumed by scandals sand controversies, and led to political turmoil at home due to a sizeable anti war movement. Specific incidents like the My Trach Massacre and the leak of the Revers Report would also be mirrored by events like the My Lai Massacre and the leaking of the Pentagon Papers.
    • The French would fall victim to the same pattern almost immediately after their war in Vietnam had concluded when they fought in Algeria against guerillas fighting for independence. Nearly the exact same controversies and problems that plagued their efforts in Vietnam would be repeated and as a result the outcome was nearly identical: a total defeat and hasty withdrawal.
  • In 1971, Milton Obote, having been President of Uganda for five years, would be deposed in a coup led by military officer Idi Amin. Amin was overthrown ten years later, paving the way for Obote to reclaim power. Obote would be overthrown again, and similar to the first time it would occur after five years in office and would be led by a military officer.
  • George W Bush would follow in his father George HW Bush's footsteps by building an international coalition and amassing a massive invasion force to attack Saddam ruled Iraq in the third year of his first term. This is where the similarities end however, as the Gulf War turned out the exact opposite way as the Iraq War would.
  • The Columbine and STEM school shooting carried parallels in that both attacks featured a pair of gunmen instead of lone attackers, in both cases the perpetrators would claim (however dubiously) revenge for bullying was a factor, the attacks took place barely over 20 years apart, and the locations of the shootings are less then ten miles apart from each other.
  • The Watts Riots occurred in Los Angeles after an African-American motorist out on parole for robbery was pulled over for speeding and was subsequently the victim of Police Brutality. 27 years later, the exact same scene would play out, causing the Rodney King riots.
  • Some historical and philosophical schools follow this line of thought, in contrast to those stating the case for some form of progress.
    • Giambattista Vico argued that human history moves through cycles flowing from a Theocratic Age (where religion is an active presence in society and politics) to an Aristocratic Age (where kingdoms are an active presence in society and politics) to a Democratic Age, before returning back to Chaos. He noted that the main reason history repeats is because people refuse to consider how different the past is from the present, unironically accepting Roman civilization as an inspiration while ignoring all its flaws and defects.
    • The other school of thought that came in the 20th Century is the "longue durée" and the overlapping but separate discipline of structuralism which argues that history is not actually made by "great men" and great events but underlying structures and environmental factors. History seems to repeat when we focus on individual cycles of Kings and Wars because the structures in which they operate only allow a few set of scenarios to play out. Real non-repeating history happens when that structure is changed and altered forcefully.
    • The school of traditionalism states the same as they adopt the cyclical view of Hinduism. Sometimes, this is seen as a form of war of forces behind the scenes and all possible Ages are basically one side of this war gaining the upper hand.
  • In a strange way, all six of Henry VIII's wives fall into this category:
    • Divorced: Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, the two wives that Henry divorced, were the only two wives who had titles of their own anyway, and both eventually died of cancer. Also, they lived to the oldest ages out of the six; Catherine was 50, and Anne was 41 when they died. Making the similarity even more bizarre, both spent the final years of their lives with Henry classifying them as sisters of a sort; Catherine had been married to Henry's brother Arthur before Arthur's death, so Henry classified her as his widowed sister-in-law, and Anne was treated as an honorary sister due to the agreement she had made with Henry when the marriage was dissolved (though the latter lived out her days in better conditions due to her acceptance of the separation).
    • Beheaded: Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were cousins who both lost their lives on adultery and treason charges.
    • Died/Survived: Jane Seymour and Catherine Parr, respectively. Jane was Queen for over a year before she died from puerperal fever, and Catherine only survived Henry for over a year before she too died from the same fever. It's even stranger when you realise that their children did not live to adulthood; Edward VI died in his teens, and it is generally agreed that Mary Seymour did not live past the age of two.
  • In 1972, Benjamin Bradlee was the editor-in-chief of The Washington Post, and oversaw the investigative reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein into the Watergate burglary, triggering the biggest scandal in American history. Thirty years later, his son, Ben Bradlee Jr., was an editor at The Boston Globe and oversaw the investigation into another major American scandal: that of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Both stories got Oscar-winning film adaptations, too: Watergate got All the President's Men, and the Catholic sex abuse scandal got Spotlight.
  • The page quote is from Marx' work "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon", which invokes this trope in the description of the coup d'etát of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (later Emperor Napoléon III) against the weak and unpopular French Second Republic.
    • To clarify: The French had a revolution, overthrew their monarchy, and declared a republic. They then allowed Napoleon to take over, and he declared himself Emperor. Napoleon ruled France for well over a decade, before the Prussians invaded and forced him to abdicate. All of these things happened twice, with the abdications in 1814 and 1870.
  • When the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, was shooting in Tunisia, the crew experienced severe rainstorms in a sub-Saharan region where it rarely rains. More than 20 years later, when they returned to Tunisia to film The Phantom Menace, they faced severe rainstorms once again.
  • When John Lennon saw for the first time a picture of Yasuda Zenjirō, who was Yoko Ono's great-grandfather, he supposedly said "that's me in a former life", to which she responded "don't say that. He was assassinated". Come 1980, and what would the tragic fate of John Lennon be?
  • Many a generation, when it grows old, complains about the next generation, how easier they have it and claim things were better in the good old days. This is known as Juvenoia. This is followed with the Running Gag of that generation complaining how they started to sound like their parents.
  • The French Revolution of 1832 (the one that Les Misérables revolves around). Many of the revolutionaries were looking back at recent French history, and the sequence of events involved: To begin with, an all-powerful King. An attempt is made to limit his power but this gets radicalised to the extent that they commit regicide and proclaim a republic. The republic is unable to settle on a stable system of government until a leading military figure stages a coup and seizes power. After initial success, this regime also collapses and the monarchy is restored. The new king rules with success but is succeeded by a brother who badly mishandles his inheritance, which was the situation in 1832. The solution, the revolutionaries decided, was to overthrow the new king and replace him with another from a cadet branch of the royal family. Why? Well, at least in part, because this was what the English had done in 1688, at the end of exactly the same sequence of events.
  • In 2001, the Pepsi 400, Daytona's summer night race, was the first race in the NBC half of the NASCAR season, in the first year of a five year broadcast deal that split coverage between Fox and NBC [[note]]under this deal, Fox covered the first half of the NASCAR season, and NBC covered the second half. When it came to the Daytona races, Fox hosted the Daytona 500 in odd-numbered years and NBC in even-numbered years, and the inverse for the Pepsi 400. The race was won by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with his DEI teammate Michael Waltrip finishing second in what was considered an emotional victory for their team as it was the first race at Daytona since Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500 that February.note  14 years later, the 2015 season saw an almost repeat of this situation: the Coke Zero 400 was the first race on the NBC portion of the season in a new broadcast contract that divided coverage between Fox and NBCnote . Once again, NBC coverage of the season started with the Daytona night race, and once again, it was won by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson finishing second note .
  • The Chechnya Wars trace their foundations back to the 18th Century when the region was conquered by Tsarist Russia and it turned into an Old West-like lawless hellhole rife with bandits and the local resistance was a theocracy ran by an iman named Shamil just before the Russians conquered it. Fast-forward to the fall of the Soviet Union, Chechnya was one of the first republics to declare independence, but it wasn't recognized by Russian Federation. War breaks out, terrorists swarm the land under the leadership of an Islamist militant named Shamil Basayev aiming to create an independent Caucasian Emirate. Chechnya would eventually come back into the Russian fold after Shamil's death.
  • A particularly tragic example: on February 11, 2012, Whitney Houston died when a mix of heart disease and cocaine use made her pass out in a full bathtub and drown. Almost exactly three years later, on January 31, 2015, her daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown was found unconscious and underwater in her own bathtub, also apparently from drug use; while she didn't die then, she suffered brain damage that left her comatose until she was taken off life support six months later.
  • Zig-zagged example. During the period between the primaries and the Democratic National Convention in 1988, Massachusetts Governor and Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis attempted in invoke this with his choice of Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate to challenge the Republican nominee, incumbent Vice-President George H. W. Bush while trying to make a connection (as was referenced in both Dukakis' and Bentsen's speeches) with the 1960 campaign when Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy chose a running mate from Texas (Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson) who - like Bentsen - was also up for re-election to the Senate to go up against the incumbent Republican Vice-President (in that case, Richard Nixon); eventually becoming victorious over Nixon. 1988 matched 1960 in terms of the Republican nominee's office, the states of the Democratic ticket and even the Texas Senator being re-elected except for the outcome of the Presidential election, which saw Bush blow out Dukakis by 8 points in the popular vote to go with a 426-111note  Electoral College landslide.
  • Another tragic example: on March 5, 1982, former Saturday Night Live cast member John Belushi died at the age of 33 of a drug overdose of cocaine and heroin, and his death impacted production of certain movies, like Ghostbusters. 15 years later, on December 18, 1997, another former SNL cast member, Chris Farley, also died at the age of 33 from a drug overdose, this time of cocaine and morphine. Farley's death also impacted production of certain movies, like Shrek.
  • In 2009, Warner Bros. reissued The Dark Knight in theaters so the DC Comics adaptation could get the final millions that would make the total gross break a billion dollars. In 2019, Disney reissued Avengers: Endgame in theaters so the Marvel Comics adaptation could get the final millions that would make the total gross break the $2,788 billion made by Avatar.
  • Heavy Executive Meddling from a movie studio (including bringing in a new director to reshoot large parts of it) resulting in a drastically altered film featuring Superman being released in theaters, and a director's cut from the original director being released outside theaters later on. That happened with Superman II (which got its approximate Richard Donner cut released on home video over three decades later) and Justice League (with Zack Snyder's director's cut going to HBO Max three years and a half after the theatrical release).
  • Van Halen's last album before David Lee Roth left, 1984, peaked at #2 in the United States, held off by the Michael Jackson's Thriller and its record 37 weeks at number one. Nearly 30 years later, the band did another album with Roth, A Different Kind of Truth, and again it was only #2 behind a record run, namely the 24 weeks of Adele's 21 (the best ever for a female artist).
  • United States president Donald Trump would experience many of the same scandals as fellow Republican president George H. W. Bush nearly 30 years earlier. The most notable ones for both presidents involved controversial Supreme Court appointments and reactions to Police Brutality protests. Both would end up losing re-election with Trump becoming the first one-term president since Bush himself.
    • In 1991, Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court as a replacement for outgoing justice Thurgood Marshall. Thomas would be a controversial pick from the start due to his conservative political views and would become even more controversial after being accused of sexual misconduct by a coworker. However, the accusations would end up falling flat outside of liberal circles due to a perceived lack of sufficient evidence and Thomas became a Supreme Court justice anyway after a narrow 52-48 vote. Despite this, the fiasco surrounding Thomas would put a big dent in President Bush's reputation, with critics viewing him as apathetic at best towards women's rights and the GOP suffering a major defeat in the next election, with Bush himself losing his bid for re-election. In 2018, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court as a replacement for outgoing justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh would be a controversial pick from the start due to his conservative political views and would become even more controversial after being accused of sexual misconduct by a high school classmate. However, Kavanaugh would end up becoming a Supreme Court justice anyway after a narrow 50-48 votenote . Despite this, the fiasco surrounding Kavanaugh would put a big dent in President Trump's reputation, with critics viewing him as apathetic at best towards women's rights and the GOP suffering a major defeat in the next election, losing the House of Representatives and inadvertently aiding in his 2019 impeachment, though this was subverted somewhat in the Senate, with the Republicans getting a net gain of 2 seats due to the fact that Democrats were defending a large number of seats in red states that year. Trump himself would lose his bid for re-election. Furthering the similarity, Thomas' accuser openly compared her situation to that of Kavanaugh's accuser in a 2018 op-ed.
    • During the last year of Bush's first term, civil unrest broke out when the LAPD assaulted an unarmed African-American man, Rodney King. While Bush condemned the police beating of King, he spent more time criticizing rioters and calling for law and order instead of trying to understand the underlying socioeconomic causes of the unrest, making him seem insensitive towards the racial injustice experienced by African-Americans. During the last year of Trump's first term, civil unrest broke out when the Minneapolis Police killed an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd. While Trump condemned the police killing of George Floyd, he spent more time criticizing protestors and calling for law and order instead of trying to understand the underlying socioeconomic causes of the unrest, making him seem insensitive towards the racial injustice experienced by African-Americans. Furthering the similarity, Bill Barr served as Attorney General for both presidents and was criticized for using the same hardline approach in both protests. Though somewhat subverted in that while two of the LAPD officers that assaulted Rodney King were acquitted, all Minneapolis officers involved in George Floyd's death were convicted and sentenced.
  • The summer of 1967 saw civil unrest and race riots across the US in response to systemic discrimination against African Americans. 53 years later, the same thing happened again during the summer of 2020.
  • Both the Yellow Turban Rebellion of 184-205 and the Taiping Rebellion of 1850-64 were incredibly bloody Chinese civil wars started by disgruntled young intellectuals who became religious cult leaders after failing their civil service exams and lead to the fall of corrupt and decadent imperial dynasties (in the case of the Taiping Rebellion for the very last time). The current Chinese government's viciously aggressive, often outright genocidal attitude toward religious minorities and political dissidents is at least partly due to being Genre Savvy about this.
  • Barack Obama draws many parallels to his fellow Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy in both image and presidency.
    • A young, hip Democrat was elected into office following the unpopularity of a president named George Bush. Despite winning re-election, he was continuously obstructed by a gradual Republican takeover of Congress. One member of his Oval Office tries to succeed him by running for president, but is narrowly defeated by an inexperienced Republican opponent despite winning the popular vote (see Bill Clinton). For added irony, the Obama cabinet member who attempted to succeed him was none other than Bill's wife, Hillary.
    • A young upstart senator became the first president from his generation and the first from a large ethnic group, who is notable for his lofty rhetoric, boundless optimism and ability to inspire. He also selects a long-serving senator from the older generation as his running mate who would later become president himself albeit thankfully without involving an assassination (see John F Kennedy).
  • In 1984, the incumbent Republican U.S. president faced off against the previous Democratic president's vice president. In 2020, the incumbent Republican president faced off against the previous Democratic president's vice president. The outcomes were wildly different. Walter Mondale lost by a landslide to Reagan in 1984, winning only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Joe Biden won the 2020 election, one of the few presidential candidates to defeat an incumbent and won the largest number of popular votes in the history of the country.
  • The 2020 U.S. presidential election had some other parallels:
    • In 1932, Herbert Hoover, the incumbent Republican president, was defeated for reelection amid an economic downturn. In 1992, George H. W. Bush, the incumbent Republican president, was defeated for reelection amid an economic downturn. In 2020, Donald Trump, the incumbent Republican president, was defeated for reelection amid an economic downturn.
    • In 1980, Jimmy Carter, the unpopular incumbent president, was defeated for reelection due to simultaneous mounting crises. In 2020, Donald Trump, the unpopular incumbent president, was defeated for reelection due to simultaneous mounting crises.
    • In 1968, Richard Nixon, a previous president's vice president, was elected president. In 1988, George H. W. Bush, a previous president's vice president, was elected president. In 2020, Joe Biden, a previous president's vice president, was elected president.
    • In 1960, an Irish Catholic hailing from the northeastern part of the country was elected president in the first year of the decade. In 2020, an Irish Catholic hailing from the northeastern part of the country was elected president in the first year of the decade.
  • During the 1960s, a US president from Texas became involved in an unpopular war that devolved into a quagmire and ended up overshadowing his presidency. In the 2000s, another US president from Texas became involved in another unpopular war that devolved into a quagmire and ended up overshadowing his presidency.
  • In 2008, Republican U.S. congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico's 2nd congressional district retired to run for an open U.S. Senate seat, and the blue wave that followed swept Democrat Harry Teague into the seat. 2010 proved to be a much more favorable year for Republicans across the country, and Teague lost his seat to a returning Pearce. In 2018, Pearce retired once again to run for the open Governor's seat, and the blue wave that followed swept Democrat Xochitl Torres Small into the seat. 2020 proved to be a much more favorable year for Republicans across the country, and Small lost her seat to Republican Yvette Herrell.
  • 2008 and 2018 both saw Democratic congressmen unexpectedly winning congressional seats based in heavily Republican Staten Island (Michael McMahon and Max Rose, respectively). 2010 and 2020 both saw them getting kicked out after one term.
  • Stop if you've heard this one before. A U.S. senator sits in a closely divided swing state and is challenged by the popular governor of the opposite party. While the senator has the incumbency advantage and the historical lean of the seat in their favor, the governor's party was at that point the more dominant of the two in statewide politics. The race comes down to the wire, and, by a very narrow margin, the governor wins. Are we talking about New Hampshire in 2016 or Florida in 2018?
  • The COVID-19 Pandemic bears a scarily striking similarity with The Spanish Flu. Not only did both spread around the world at an alarming rate, the government and the public's response to the pandemics were apathetic at best (pretended it didn't exist, continued going on with their daily routines, etc) and grossly negligent at worst (large gatherings, protested the use of masks, etc). Conspiracy theories on how the pandemics began and who was responsible for them were also common in both pandemics. There was also pressure from people to reopen businesses and cities in spite of the pandemics, which caused a second wave of outbreaks to occur and one that had hit much harder than the first wave. Both events also saw the rise of snake oil products being peddled as the cure to the disease.
  • September 9, 1965 saw the city of New Orleans receive catastrophic damage from Hurricane Betsy. Nearly 40 years later; August 29, 2005 saw the city receive catastrophic damage from Hurricane Katrina. Exactly 16 years later; August 29, 2021 saw the city receive catastrophic damage from Hurricane Ida. This will almost certainly continue to repeat because much of the city is below sea level and the city is located on the Gulf of Mexico, a warm shallow ocean body prone to generate and/or energize strong tropical storms.
  • World War 2 had this happen during the same war. At the start of the Battle of France, British and French commanders were sure that the Germans would have to strike into France through the Maginot Line, a line of French defenses specifically intended to stop a German invasion cold. The only place on the French border they didn't guard was the Ardenne Forest, which they believed was impassible to tanks. The Germans would proceed to strike through the Ardennes, outflank the Allies, and conquer France in a matter of weeks. Years later, the Germans would do the same again in the winter of 1944, attacking the Allies through the Ardennes which had been believed to be impassable to tanks, sparking the Battle of the Bulge. Thankfully this time, the Allies were able to get their act together and Germany's shortages of resources and manpower ground the offensive to halt.
  • Both the Genpei War of the late 1100s and The Wars Of The Roses of the late 1400s were major civil wars between rival noble houses in island kingdoms whose factions used red and white banners.
  • Queen Victoria and her descendant Queen Elizabeth II lives shares a lot of similarities. They were the heirs of their childless uncles and were crowned queen of United Kingdom at a very young age (18 and 25). They loved only one man, an handsome cousin, and a foreigner prince. That's why the queens's parents were not very fond of them and had rather Victoria and Elizabeth marrying an English aristocrat, but they held on and married respectively Albert and Philip. Both felt useless after the wedding so their wives granted them more responsibilities and the title of prince consort. The two queens were dogs persons, and good friends of French leaders (Louis-Philippe, then Napoleon III; and Valery Giscard-D'Estaing, then Francois Mitterrand). They had the reputation of being (mostly) kind ladies, trying to put at ease their interlocutors. Victoria once drank her fingerbowl after an Indian prince, at her table, made the mistake of thinking it was a drink. When Yuri Gagarin told Elizabeth he had no idea which of the enormous cutlery array to use for what, she answered that she tended to have the same problem herself. They were both widowed and devastated of this, enough to either wear black for the rest of her life (Victoria) or die only a year after (Elizabeth). They died old (81 and 96) and had the longest reign ever observed at the time in Great Britain (63 and 70 years). Their eldest sons acceded to the throne, being among the oldest English kings of the time (59 and 73).
  • Speaking of the two aforementioned kings: Alice Keppel was the mistress of king Edward VII. 70 years later her great granddaughter, Camilla Parker Bowles, became the mistress of Edward great great grandson, Charles III. She even introduced herself to Charles by reminding him of their ancestors's common history. The difference lies in the fact that Edward stayed married to his wife Alexandra, while Charles, due to customs evolution, divorced his first wife, then remarried Camilla.
  • Scholars William Strauss and Neil Howe argue that there is a repeating generational cycle with historical events associated with recurring generational personas (archetypes). Each generational persona unleashes a new era (called a turning) lasting around 20–25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate (mood) exists. They are part of a larger cyclical "saeculum" (a long human life, which usually spans between 80 and 100 years, although some saecula have lasted longer). The theory states that a crisis recurs in American history after every saeculum, which is followed by a recovery (high). During this recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Ultimately, succeeding generational archetypes attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, which eventually creates a tumultuous political environment that ripens conditions for another crisis.
  • After Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, he cried foul and said it was stolen. This eventually culminated into his supporters storming the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021 in an attempt to stop the certification of the election. A year later, the presidential election in Brazil became similarly contested, with incumbent Jair Bolsonaro using similar language against his opponent Lula, who would ultimately win. On January 8th, 2023, Bolsonaro's supporters stormed the National Congress and Presidential Palace. Fortunately, while the rioters did cause a lot of damage, the Congress wasn't actually in session.

Alternative Title(s): History Repeats Itself