Phoenix: But... I think there's a little more meaning behind it this time.
Bob makes a comment in the presence of Alice. Much later on, Alice makes the same comment in a different situation, often giving it an unexpected meaning in the new context.
There are four common situations where this is used:
- If Bob's original line was meant maliciously, Alice's Ironic Echo will be twice as cruel, as she throws the attack back in his face.
- If Bob was trying to convince Alice of a way of thinking, Alice will quote it to signify that she now agrees with the idea. This sometimes happens after Bob himself has abandoned the idea (or has shown he never believed in it in the first place).
- Bob's line was meant to be something positive or inspirational, but when Alice parrots it back the subtext makes it seem much darker and/or cynical than Bob meant it to be. The inverse is also common.
- A once-cheery line gets repeated after all the good and hope that it once represented has disappeared. For example, Bob might say that he and Alice will always be friends. After Bob's Start of Darkness has turned him against her, Alice may reminisce on the past, using Bob's initial words. This one is particularly common in musicals, where an entire song can be ironically repeated. (See Dark Reprise.)
However, this will also crop up with lines that were first made idly, innocently, and perhaps not even directed at Alice; in those cases the echo will simply be unexpected, and can be used for humor, shock value, or anything in between.
Compare Flashback to Catchphrase, Exact Words, Book-Ends, Excuse Boomerang, Alternate Catchphrase Inflection, and Dialogue Reversal. Subtrope of Meaningful Echo. Ironic Echo Cut is when the echo comes immediately and the second speaker has not heard the first. Can be a form of Hypocritical Humor or a Brick Joke. Doing this as a SONG is often a Dark Reprise. May often result from a Perspective Reversal. If the original use was innocent and amusing but the echo is bitter or shocking, this may result in a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
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- One 1980's Public Service Announcement for wearing seatbelts had a woman who talked about how she hated wearing seatbelts, saying that they would wrinkle her dress if it was tightened. Cut to a shot of the same woman, now paralyzed and in a wheelchair. Her care taker then says, "Oh, your dress is being wrinkled, let me tighten your belt."
- The question "How long, can you tread water?" from Bill Cosby's "Noah" trilogy. First said at the end of the second skit, "Noah: And the Neighbor", by an amused Noah to his next-door neighbor who wants a hint as to why Noah's building an ark. God asks Noah the same question in the third skit after the latter starts complaining about the task he's been given, but he keeps right on complaining, justifiably so. And in the first skit, Noah's initial reply to most of what God tells him is a sarcastic, "Right!" Then towards the end, he asks God how he's going to destroy the world:
God: I'm gonna make it rain for a thousand days and drown 'em right out.
Noah: Right! Listen to this, you'll save water: Let it rain for forty days and forty nights, and wait for the sewers to back up.
God: [as sarcastic as Noah's been] Right!
- Alan Moore uses this one a lot, but never more than in Watchmen. A good example: advertisements for Ozymandias' training system promise "bodies beyond your wildest imagining". When Ozymandias commits his attack on New York, the advertisements are liberally scattered around amidst the piles of corpses.
- The Long Halloween:
- The phrase "I believe in Harvey Dent" is repeated several times over the course of this Batman graphic novel. First, to display genuine trust in the man and his ability to clean up the city. Then, to assure his innocence in the case of the Holiday murders. Then, to emphasize the point that there's still good in the villainous Two-Face. And finally, by his wife Gilda as part of a dramatic plot twist on the very last page.
- From the same mini-series, after the murder of Johnny Viti by the Holiday Killer, Harvey Dent crassly says, "Two shots to the head. You ask me, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy." After his transformation into Two-Face, he kills Viti's uncle, Carmine Falcone and repeats the statement.
- When Molly Hayes of Runaways says to "put the thing in the thing" to find out what it does, it's just her childness. Not much later, the Runaways really need overdrive, and Victor tells Chase to "Put the thing in the thing." And yes, this was after the master of Buffy Speak started writing.
- In the "That Yellow Bastard" story in Sin City, there are two instances of this:
- When Hartigan punches out his partner Bob, he thinks "Hell of a way to end a partnership... Hell of a way to start my retirement." When Bob double-crosses him, he thinks "Hell of a way to start my retirement... Hell of a way to end a partnership."
- After being shot in his efforts to protect Nancy, Hartigan thinks "An old man dies, a young girl lives. Fair trade." Before blowing his brains out, he thinks "An old man dies, a young woman lives. Fair trade."
- Used by Doctor Strange in World War Hulk. Doc confronts Hulk and makes a little speech, then goes Super Mode and says "Strange Smash", a nod to Hulk's famous line "Hulk Smash".
- Final Crisis:
- Kind of an extended one for Human Flame. When he asked Libra to kill the Martian Manhunter, he didn't do anything except take a picture of the deed on his mobile phone. Later, when the heroes caught up with him and trapped him in a Cardboard Prison forged from his own stupidity, Green Lantern's final act before shutting the door is to create a mobile phone using his Green Lantern Ring specifically to take a picture.
- Similarly, while the first issue of Final Crisis has said character (a horrible degenerate) saying "This is what happens to anyone who ***s with the Human Flame" while Martian Manhunter (a straight-up hero) burns, it ends with Nix Uotan (the 'Judge of All Evil' and a straight-up hero) saying "No-one ***s with the Judge of All Evil" while Mandrakk (a horrible degenerate) burns.
- The Dark Phoenix Saga: Upon her transformation into Dark Phoenix at the end of X-Men #134, Jean Grey repeats the same words she stated when first becoming the Phoenix in #101:
Jean Grey: HEAR ME, X-MEN! NO LONGER AM I THE WOMAN YOU KNEW! I AM FIRE! AND LIFE INCARNATE! NOW AND FOREVER— I AM PHOENIX!
- In The Sandman Dream has a flashback of his last meeting with Destruction, during which he gave somebody Disproportionate Retribution. Destruction asked if that was absolutely necessary to which Dream responded by asking if he tells Destruction how to do his job. Later, Dream asks Delirium if the Disproportionate Retribution she gave a policeman was necessary and gets the same answer.
- In New Mutants, an opponent forces Action Girl Dani Moonstar to look at her before breaking her arm. Later on, said Action Girl ambushes her tormentor and echoes her words. "Look at me. Good girl." Cue Oh, Crap!.
- One Cthulhu Tales comic had this with two shots of the same people in the same positions. Image 1: they're arranged around a living room holding an intervention for the protagonist's drinking. Image 2: they're wearing cult robes and waiting for the demon that was being kept sealed in the protagonist by said drinking.
- A truly dark version appears in the narrative of a story from Tales of the Slayers. In a small village during the Dark Ages, a young, devoutly Christian girl discovers she is this generation's Slayer. Reluctant at first, she fulfills her duties as the Slayer, saying, "God is good, and God is kind." After the town's priest, jealous of her heroism, declares her a witch and rallies the town against her, leading to her being burned alive, her Watcher took his revenge by opening the city gates, allowing a horde of vampires to enter and massacre the entire town. His last words were, "For God is good and God is kind, but God's not welcome here!"
- In Infinite Crisis, Alexander Luthor dismisses Lex Luthor as an idiot, proclaiming himself as the smarter Luthor. In the end of the series, Alex is begging for mercy before getting his head ventilated by The Joker. Lex, watching it all, tells him one last thing: "Now who's stupid?"
- "Possession implies intent" is the phrase that heralds the downfall of Becca at the start of All-Ghouls School, and Elle at the end, although the circumstances (and even the meaning of the word 'possession') are radically different.
- X-23 gives Zander Rice an epic one in Innocence Lost. Throughout the miniseries, Rice constantly berates and abuses Laura as Revenge by Proxy against Wolverine for killing his father while escaping the Weapon X project. His go-to insult is treating Laura as if she isn't even human, calling her an animal right to her face. When her mother finally has enough and sets her loose against the Facility, rather than killing Rice cleanly she puts up her claws and beats the shit out of him. As she walks out of the room where Rice lies dying, she looks over her shoulder and tells him off with one word: "Animal." Laura wasn't just carrying out her final mission, she came for payback.
- Red Sonja and Dark Annisia were once slaves forced into Gladiator Games. Todo, the trainer, constantly sexually harassed them while saying stuff like, "Tell Todo you love him!" Years later, Sonja runs into Todo again and kills him while quipping, "Tell Sonja you love her!"
- In Kick-Ass, Johnny G refers to Hit-Girl as "just a girl in a Halloween costume." When Hit-Girl alludes to their horrible deaths in the very near future over the intercom, Johnny asks her to identify herself. Her reply: "Just a girl in a Halloween costume."
- What If? had an issue where Professor Xavier gained the powers of The Juggernaut, which warp his mind and turn him into a mutant-supremacist villain. He's eventually defeated by being hurled into space; as the image of Xavier vanishes into the distance, the narration repeats Juggernaut's Catchphrase: "Nothing can stop the Juggernaut. And nothing ever will."
- One villain in Revival encourages his prey to run on grounds that "it's more fun that way." Prey flips the script and echoes when she starts hunting him.
- Happens a lot in Mortadelo y Filemón. Many times one of either (X) will restrain the other (Y) when he tries to do something violent in retaliation against a person (Z) with a small quip. The next moment Z will piss X and Y will have to restrain him while repeating the same quip (often with a vengeful Cheshire Cat Grin).
- In "A Little Pain Never Hurt Anybody" in Uncanny Tales from the Grave #5note Simon Tulliver does all of his dental work without anesthesia as a money-saving measure because "A little pain never hurt anybody!" When he finds his nurse/wife talking to a romantic rival he confronts them before having a dizzy spell and fainting. When he wakes up he's strapped to an operating table and the rival, a promising brain surgeon, tells him that his fainting spells are due to a brain clot which it'll only take a few minutes to remove. Simon asks for ether, only to be told it's too expensive.
John Bainbridge: And beside, don't you know... A little pain never hurt anybody!
- In Supergirl Rebirth, Cat Grant and Selena's sarcasm war starts off with Cat saying "Already bored" and ends up with Selena saying mockingly "Already bored" before mind-reading her.
- In the fourth chapter of Gotham City Garage, Kara Gordon and Dick Grayson are running from a killer robot. Dick tells her "And whatever you do— Don't slow down!" to which Kara replies "Wasn't planning on it?!". Dick tries to use Kara as bait to escape, but the robot chases him down. Dick is being cornered when Kara reappears to save him shouting "Don't slow down!". Dick replies "Wasn't planning on it."
- An immediate example in Judge Dredd ("Necropolis"), when a Judge tries to protect Chief Silver from the evil Dark Judges when they beam into the Hall of Justice to usurp him.
Judge: Like hell!
Judge Fire: Like hell. [fires trident]
- Used in so many FoxTrot comics by Bill Amend, it isn't funny... and yet it is.
- The same thing is used a lot in Buckles by David Gilbert.
- In one strip of Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin remarks that whatever his mom is making, he won't eat it. In order to convince Calvin to eat it, she claims that it's "boiled monkey brains", when it was actually stuffed peppers. However, she forgot to let the dad in on the trick, which led to it backfiring by causing the dad to react with disgust when he heard Calvin remarking that they were "boiled monkey brains" and state that whatever the dish was, he wasn't going to eat it, to the mom's exasperation.
- In the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip The Widow's Curse, the female members of the Sycorax clan from "The Christmas Invasion" seek revenge on humanity for the deaths of their menfolk, having seen a recording of exactly what happened, including the Doctor killing the Sycorax leader (in self-defence) with the words "No second chances. I'm that sort of a man." When the Doctor pleads with them to give humanity another chance, their leader Haxen retorts "No second chances. We're that sort of a clan."
- In Prickly City, Carmen tells Winslow that trying to fly over and over is the definition of insane because he keeps expecting different results. Winslow calls the mental health center because she keeps telling him the same thing and expecting different results; he thinks she's gone cuckoo.
- One Pearls Before Swine strip has the embodiment of Pig's small, fragile ego get stepped upon by Rat's giant-sized ego, who replies "I think I stepped on a doody." In the following strip, Farina tells Rat she's dumping him for Ziggy, causing Rat's ego to shrink down to the size Pig's previously was, upon which the actual Pig steps on him, saying "I think I stepped on a doody."
- A Crown of Stars: When she was thirteen Asuka used to mock Misato and Kaji's relationship, calling them "two depressed grown-ups licking each other's wounds". In chapter 16 her nineteen self remembers her words and bitterly realizes that sentence describes her and Shinji now.
You're just two depressed grown-ups licking each other's wounds. Her own ancient mockery of Misatos erratic relationship with Kaji echoed harshly in her mind.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The Immortal Game:
- General Esteem says "titles are important" so much that it's practically his Catchphrase — considering the character, it's probably so he can constantly remind people that he's both a knight and a General. When they confront each other during the Battle of Canterlot, Twilight throws this line back in his face, pointing out that while he may be a General, she's a Master General.
- Another example with the same characters: when Esteem thinks that the villains have won, he gives Twilight a "The Reason You Suck" Speech deriding her efforts and telling her that all she'll be remembered for is her failure. Shortly after, while Twilight is giving him a Karmic Death, she gives him a similar speech, telling him that all he'll be remembered for is his treachery.
- After Celestia is Brought Down to Normal, she refuses to answer to Terra's mocking nickname "Sunshine". After she regains her power, her reaction to Terra's stunned stuttering of her name is to smugly state, "Call me Sunshine".
- When Terra is depowered and imprisoned by the Mane Six, she tells Fluttershy that she does cruel things because "It's what I do. It's who I am." Shortly after, Fluttershy performs an act of kindness for Terra and when asked why, she replies with the same line.
- In the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, a couple of Discord's lines from canon get put into a new context here:
- "A weighty choice is yours to make, the right selection or a big mistake", this time said by Discord to himself when having to choose between letting Nightmare Phobia kill Fluttershy and risking Fluttercruel's life to save her.
- "Make sense? Oh what fun is there in making sense?" Twice, first when Fluttercruel says it to scare Fluttershy out of her nightmare, the context making it a Tear Jerker, and second when Discord realizes he's a Bearer of the Elements of Loyalty and Laughter during the Final Battle.
- Back in the original Pony POV Series, Dark World Rarity/Rarigreed, well after her redemption, manages to turn her thousand-year Catchphrase of "MINE!" into a Pre-Mortem One-Liner, when she says it right before ripping out Fluttercruel's Element of Chaos, which kills her.
- A little earlier, during the fight with the Valeyard, he shoots down Derpy's attempt to reach the Doctor by saying "I'm the Valeyard, the Doctor's out, and he's not coming back". Later, when he's begging her not to beat him to death in an attempt to regenerate him back into the Doctor by saying she wouldn't hurt a friend, she points out that she's the Doctor's friend and "You're the Valeyard, the Doctor's out, but he'll be back soon".
- Getting Back on Your Hooves: When Trixie is setting up Checker Monarch for her Engineered Public Confession, she takes the time to recreate the one chess match she ever beat her at when they were fillies, just so she can throw Checker's catch phrase of "Checkmate" back in her face.
- The story Groomed To Perfection by Rainbow Bob has Discord implying that Celestia raised Twilight to be her mate in addition to her equal. Celestia states that she couldn't be any prouder of Twilight, or love her any more than she already does, which gets thrown back in her face shortly thereafter, with the implication that Discord himself had raised Celestia to be his own mate.
Discord: I couldnt be prouder of you, or love you anymore than I already do.
- "I believe you had some good words of wisdom for this kind of situation. How did they go again? Oh yes, I remember: You have a lot to think about."
- Loved and Lost, an extended retelling of the second season finale, has a lot of these after Prince Jewelius takes over Equestria's throne following Queen Chrysalis' defeat and turns the entire city of Canterlot and Twilight against her brother and friends as well as the princesses.
- After Jewelius has sentenced the dishonored heroes and they're taken away, he uses the line Chrysalis used when she thought she was victorious: "This day has been just perfect!" During the climax, Chrysalis uses that line again after Jewelius has been eaten by the Changelings and she prepares to subdue the heroes who are exhausted from fighting his minions. Also, when Jewelius tries to beg for Chrysalis' help and calls her his love, she reminds the stallion who backstabbed her that he called her a despicable animal in the 11th chapter before she unleashes her Changelings on him.
- When Shining Armor's being taken away from Canterlot, he mulls over Twilight and says something similar to what she said after he and the others left her heartbroken at the rehearsal.
Twilight: I could've gained a sister. But instead I just lost a brother.
Shining Armor: I could've gained a wife. But instead I just lost a sister.
- When Twilight mistakenly believes Cadance just became injured because her brother, former friends and Celestia secretly brought her to Canterlot, she gives them an angry outlash which she finishes by throwing in their faces the words they used while leaving her at the rehearsal. After she has left, Jewelius appears and exchanges with Shining Armor exactly the same words Twilight exchanged with Chrysalis before being imprisoned by the latter.
Shining Armor: Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and comfort my bride. And you can forget about being my best mare. In fact, if I were you, I wouldn't show up to the wedding at all.
Applejack: C'mon, y'all. Let's go check on the princess.
Twilight: I was-
Celestia: You have a lot to think about.
Shining Armor: Twily-
Twilight: And you can forget about me calling you my BBBFF anymore! In fact, I don't even have a brother. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go check on the princess.
Celestia: Twilight, I-
Twilight: You have a lot to think about.
[after Twilight has left, Jewelius appears to reproach the captured heroes]
Shining Armor: I'm sorry.
Jewelius: You will be! [laughs wickedly]
- When Jewelius announces to the imprisoned heroes that he and Twilight are engaged, he mentions the title of the "Love is in Bloom" song which they sung together in the second chapter.
- When Jewelius finally reveals to Twilight that he's as evil as her former loved ones said, he cruelly reminds the shocked mare of the reassurance she gave him in the second chapter while he was playing nice with her and expressed sadness over the fact that he isn't well-known; 'ponies would surely recognize him if he did something spectacular'. She obviously didn't mean that spectacular to be all the despicable things he has done until that point.
- The Immortal Game:
- In The Ghost Map, Sherlock Holmes and Colonel Moran face off in Camden House, where Holmes trapped Moran some time ago. Now it's the other way around - Holmes acknowledges the irony.
- From Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
Calvin: Don't worry, Dad! Being in jail builds character!
- From "The Flynns Move To Springfield", Lisa frames Allison for the actions she committed. When Allison reacts with shock, shouting "I trusted you!", her reply is "You can't trust anyone these days." Later, when Lisa is screaming at Isabella that she was the cause of all the misfortune that had happened in the story so far, Allison appears, revealing everything Lisa said has been recorded. Her reaction:
Lisa: I trusted you!
Allison: You can't trust anyone these days.
- In Alex, Marceline asks her opponent, Alex, of why is she doing all the plotting against her, her reply is her song, "I'm Just Your Problem".
- In Substitute Shinigami School: First Semester Tatsuki, Ishida, Sado and Orihime had their powers sealed by the Gotei 13 but go to Urahara to bypass the seals. Ichigo finds out and is not pleased. They tell him "It's not his business so he doesn't have to worry." Ichigo then goes and lists flaws (enough to get them killed) with the plan while they say he's being a hypocrite. This leaves them a little speechless. He leaves saying "...But you know what? It's not my business so I shouldn't worry."
- In Heta Oni Italy tells America to learn to smile more naturally. This is repeated back to him later in the game.
- Happens in the space of three minutes in Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, during Naruto and Suigetsu's baseball game. Suigetsu throws the ball at Naruto's head and Naruto narrowly ducks aside to avoid it; Suigetsu gives an insincere apology and says "my aim must've been bad." Moments later, Naruto hits Suigetsu's next pitch back at him and into his balls, then gives an insincere apology and says "my aim must've been bad."
- In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja, an old enemy of Kakashi's who Kakashi mutilated in battle during the last war but didn't get to finish off tells him "It's not smart to leave unfinished business" after capturing him and Naruto. 2 chapters featuring torture and an attempted framing and execution later, Kakashi throws those words back at him right before cutting his throat.
- In Opening Dangerous Gates, when Xiphias Gladius attempts to kill Lucy, he says he will give her a peaceful death, "Am I not kind?" A few minutes later, Harribel uses this line on him while kicking his ass and promising to give him a quick death.
- In The End of Ends, Beast Boy, after being revealed, throws Terra's line, "Things change... the person you want me to be is no more." back in her face.
- Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act IV: In chapter 25, after his Evil Plan has exposed Tsukune and co. as monsters to the humans and said humans are instantly wary and scared of them, Hokuto outright tells Moka that this proves that his nihilism is justified, stating that human/monster co-existence is a fool's dream and that "each side will kill the other without ever trying to reason with it." By the very next chapter, however, Tsukune and co. have successfully managed to win the humans' trust, and Moka is quick to throw Hokuto's own words back at him with a smirk on her face:
Moka: So, "each side will kill the other without ever trying to reason with it," huh?
- In the Captain America: The Winter Soldier fanfic Out of the Dead Land, the Wham Line "Who the hell is Bucky?" from the original film is repeated almost verbatim during the climax just before a familiar "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight ensues...except that the speaker and recipient of that line are in a complete reversal of their canon roles here.
"Who the hell is Steve?"
Bucky stared at him. No, he thought, flat denial. It couldn't be. Not Steve.
- Second Wind: In canon, Zoro sternly encourages Luffy after his fight with Usopp in the Water 7 arc, saying, "If you falter, who can we rely on?" At the end of Chapter 10, Luffy repeats the line, paraphrased, back to him, after they make another hard decision.
- Used twice in the supercrossover fanfic "The Terminators: Army of Legend". In Volume VII, the archangel Messorem says this to his son, Deitus, shortly before casting him down to Hell following Deitus' betrayal: "I am not your father, and you are not my son." Later, during the final fight against the immortal Deitus and Alex, who's the reincarnation of Messorem, Deitus' son is ordered by his father to kill Alex. When he refuses, Deitus echoes this line to his son, shortly before beating him as punishment. Later in that same fight, Messorem says it again to the newly mortal Deitus shortly before reaping his soul.
- Also used to great effect between Volume V and the sidestory Requiem. Before Zack Dawson's final fight against Alex, he prophecies the monster Alex will become if he doesn't go off the path he's currently on in life...come Requiem, Alex's son, also named Zack, is given the same speech by his father, having fulfilled Zack's prophecy, shortly before their final battle in which Alex is slain.
- As a call back to Anakin's declaration that from his point of view the Jedi are evil, in Vader's Diary, Darth Vader has a Heel Realization and states that from his point of view the Sith are evil.
- In The Story To End All Stories, the villain uses the phrase "No more", making the Doctor flinch.
- Several examples in The Second Try:
- "Do not ask questions you don't really want to hear the answer to." Gendo told this to his son. Several months later, Shinji remembers his words when Gendo asked him a question he definitely didn't want to hear the answer to.
- "Cry when you feel sad. Laugh when you're happy..." Asuka originally told this to Aki as a lesson about not hiding your feelings. After Shinji is absorbed by Unit 01, she tells herself this since she can't show her feelings. Due to the anachronic nature of the story, we actually hear the echo before the original line.
Asuka: Who am I to ask for a promise that I can't keep myself?
- Quicken: When several thugs captured her, Emma pleads: "Please please, don't! Not my face! I'll do anything, please just let me go!" Later on, when shes about to kill Yan, the gang member says those exact words.
- In The Black Cauldron fic Hope for the Heartless, Taran asks Dallben not to tell anyone what he and Eilonwy are about to tell him. Dallben is shocked to hear his apprentice saying to him something similar to what he told Taran when first using Hen-Wen's oracular powers.
- When Avalina is unsure how she should puncture an abscess in Mitternacht's frog, the Horned King tells her to trust her own judgement about what alternative would be best and not let doubt, second-guessing and the opinions of others hinder her decision-making. The Horned King himself first heard these words centuries ago from his former master Arawn who later becomes Avalina's sworn enemy. The advice helped the Horned King to become The Dreaded and powerful warlord he's known as, though he deems it prudent not to tell Avalina that.
- Old West: The Pre-Asskicking One-Liner given by Grace Glossy to Bad Bill's gang in the 18th chapter is similar to what Rattlesnake Jake says to Tomson and his mercenaries in the 2nd chapter.
Tomson: [to Sheriff Rango] You're outnumbered Sheriff, and you're outgunned. We ain't afraid of you no more.
Jake: It ain't him ya gotta worry about... [cue to the mercs losing their cockiness]
One of Bad Bill's cohorts: [becomes terrified upon spotting Jake] The Grim Reaper...
Grace: It's not him you should be afraid of... [beats the gang up all by herself for hurting her son]
- Erased Potential: Aizawa is quite fond of his 'logical ruses', justifying his usage of Exact Words and Blatant Lies as a way of motivating his students. Principal Nedzu decides to use similar tactics in a few Xanatos Gambits he's got running, and when Aizawa learns the truth, Nedzu cheerfully throws his favorite line back in his face.
- Treachery repeats the line "Treachery is the way of the Sith" throughout, a quote from the novelization of Revenge of the Sith after Count Dooku realizes Palpatine had always planned to betray him. The fic's final usage of the line refers instead to Dooku revealing Palpatine's true identity to the Jedi in a final act of spite.
- Practicing Medicine has a chilling throwback to Mercy's Ultimate line when Mercy finds out that Medic was harvesting her body parts and then healing her so he could experiment on her forever.
- Medic: "Don't be afraid Frau Ziegler. Heroes never die!"
- Heart of Fire: When Thorin Oakenshield refuses to listen to Kathryn's pleas not to enter the Lonely Mountain and challenge Smaug, she yells "May your greed be your doom!" after him. Thorin later says the same thing to Smaug when he triggers the trap his companions have set to kill the dragon.
- Total Drama Everything: Several times during the first season, Nom Nom says "I always win" after succeeding in a plan or as a taunt. After she beats him in the penultimate challenge of the season, takes the second spot in the finale and gives Nom Nom the boot, what does Lammy say?
"Sorry Nom Nom. I win."
- The New Adventures of Invader Zim: During the climax of Season 1, Norlock uses his former status as Zim's Evil Mentor as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner by stating "Here ends the lesson" before trying to kill him. Shortly after, when Zim is leaving Norlock to die as Project Domination is about to explode, he throws the line back in his face.
- In LadyBugOut, Chat Noir challenges Ladybug to 'prove' that she's not in love with him by kissing him. When she refuses, he attempts to force her into one... and after she shoves him away, acts as though she's just proven his point — in his mind, she doesn't want to kiss him because she's afraid she won't be able to hide her feelings for him if they do. Much later on, after Adrien has been stripped of the ring, Marinette finally manages to help him see the flaw in his reasoning by acting like she wants to force the 'kiss test' onto him. Adrien realizes that it's not much fun having someone pursue you over your objections.
- In the Miraculous Ladybug one-shot Who You Know, Alya drops the title while lecturing Marinette about refusing an incredible opportunity just because Lila was the one offering it. Much later, after Alya has realized too late that she gave up an incredible opportunity just because Marinette was trying to offer it to her, she watches her best friend say this about her:
Marinette: "She knows someone with a lot of big connections. It's all about who you know, right?"
- In the second entry of ChaoticNeutral's Salt Series, Alya tunes into a web seminar hosted by one of her journalistic idols. Said idol name-drops the Ladyblog... as an example of how not to conduct oneself, before proceeding to pick apart the flaws in her methods in increasingly painful detail. Alya's breaking point comes when her idol declares that "A good journalist always checks their sources" — something she'd previously told Marinette while blowing her off and proceeding to not do any fact-checking of her own.
- At the end of The Babysitting Fiasco, Alya laments posting Lila's 'bucket of lies' on her Ladyblog, blaming her for all the trouble she's gotten into. Nora quips about her failure to do her own research, hearkening back to her sister's past declarations about how "good journalists always check their sources". Alya does not appreciate the Call-Back.
Nora: "How very unfortunate that you lost the ability to, oh, fact-check things that went on your blog before posting them. And at the same time you lost your critical thinking skills, too!"
- Cabinet Man [COMPLETE Evil!Spottedleaf MAP]: The chorus is mainly used by Spottedleaf in a mocking tone. The MAP ends with Mapleshade "singing" the chorus back to Spottedleaf as she enacts revenge. This also echoes an earlier scene where Mapleshade repeated the chorus song at Spottedleaf.
- The Who song "The Kids Are Alright" from Quadrophenia — the two sentences in the bridge completely change the meaning of the (otherwise identical) first and second verses.
- There's a Barenaked Ladies song called "The Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel". The line "you're the last thing on my mind" goes from meaning "I'm not thinking about you" at the beginning of the song to meaning "I die thinking about you" when it's repeated at the end.
- In the Tim McGraw song "Don't Take The Girl", the line "Please, don't take the girl" that ends each verse changes meaning over the course of the song.
- "Major Tom (Coming Home.)" The part you know from that car commercial: "4, 3, 2, 1, Earth below us, drifting, falling, floating weightless, calling, coming home..." Well, it means one thing on the way up when everything's fine. It means something a little different on the way down when the thrusters aren't working.
- "According to You" by Orianthi. The first few stanzas begin with "according to you", before changing to "according to him" in the chorus. And nearing the end of the story, it changes to "according to me".
- In a very twisted way in Eminem's "Stan". On the Slim Shady LP's song "My Name Is" one of the most famous lines is "I just drank a fifth of Vodka you dare me to drive" so in Stan, Stan quotes this when he drives on a rainy night with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk on a tape to Eminem "Hey Slim I just drank a fifth of Vodka you dare me to drive"
- Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle". The chorus includes "When ya comin' home, Dad / I don't know when, but we'll get together then," but the son nevertheless desires to be like his father. At the end, while reflecting that his now-grown son is too busy to spend time with him, the narrator muses "he'd grown up just like me" - the last two repetitions replace "dad" with "son".
- Still healing by Uprise uses this. The first half of the song is lamenting the fact that the singer is "still healing" from some childhood trauma. The second half uses the same line - with the context changed to highlight that he is, in fact, healing, while the offender will always be miserable.
- The chorus of the Mark Wills song "Wish You Were Here" describes a postcard which has the word "Heaven" on the front. The postcard's message has a completely different tone when sung after the first verse (where the postcard's writer is boarding a plane) and after the second (where he dies when the plane crashes):
Wish you were here, wish you could see this place
Wish you were near, I wish I could touch your face
The weather's nice, it's paradise
It's summertime all year and there's some folks we know
They say, "Hello." I miss you so, wish you were here.
- Act 1 of Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown opens with "Know Your Enemy," in which the protagonist rails against the establishment and encourages others to do likewise; Act 2 ends with Gloria realizing that her life's been ruined:
You're a victim of your symptom
You are your own worst enemy
Know your enemy.
- The chorus of Material Issue's "Trouble" is built around the plea "I ain't lookin' for trouble" and the reply "Trouble's come lookin' for you". After the first verse, the exchange of words is between a shopkeeper and the young thug who robs and/or murders him. After the second, it's between the thug and the vigilante who hunts him down and murders him (and who's also the song's narrator). After the final verse, it's between the vigilante/narrator and the executioner.
- Ghosts and Spirits, a CD of songs based on C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, has a song ("Bleeding Charity") that's an ironic echo. First, a ghost protests, "Can't you see that I'm only human?" and can't be expected to be perfect (as he thinks is necessary to enter Heaven), and refuses to accept any "bleeding charity"; in the second verse, a spirit explains he is not perfect either - "Can't you see that I'm only human?" and begs him to accept the Bleeding Charity.
- At the beginning of "A Complete History of the Soviet Union, Arranged To The Melody From Tetris" by Pig With The Face Of A Boy, the "man who arranges the blocks" enviously muses that "The Tsar puts gold on his bread" when noting the unfairness of the old regime. At the end, having gone through revolution, Josef Stalin, World War II, the Space Race and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the same worker bitterly notes that while he has more than enough gold, he's reduced to standing in line for the chance to get a loaf of bread.
- Tool's song "Prison Sex" changes "I'm breathing so I guess I'm still alive" to "You're breathing so I guess you're still alive" when the song's subject, a rape victim himself, commits rape.
- Sublime's Date Rape is a story about a woman being bought a couple of drinks, before being offered a ride and raped in a car. She then proceeds to take him to court, he gets a 25 year sentence and raped by an inmate.
- In the song "Rocky" (most famously recorded by Dickey Lee), the subject's wife expresses uncertainty on her ability to do certain things (fall in love, have a child, then die). "Rocky, I've never ____ before, don't know if I can do it..." In the final verse, now that she's dead, he swears that he sometimes he can hear her saying "Rocky, you know you've been alone before / You know that you can do it..."
- Imagine Dragons' "Pantomime" makes four usages of the phrase, "It's just a matter of, 'Oh, don't touch me. Don't you, don't you touch me no more.'", the last of which replaces the second "don't you" with, "dare". The singer uses it twice during the first verse, when hesitating to take an ex-girlfriend back in, especially as her friends try to help him rebound. It appears two more times in the second verse, which details how the singer and the ex broke up (she left him for a rich and handsome man), and why she started pursuing him again (the rich and handsome man keeps brushing her aside in favor of making more money).
- The Blue Öyster Cult and Patti Smith's Revenge of Vera Gemini is built around the ironic echo; Patti Smith's lines, coming in slightly behind Eric Bloom's, are sardonic echos that subtly twist the meaning.
- In The Smashing Pumpkins' 1979, from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness the chorus changes to imply that the narrator realizes they aren't alone, not wanting to grow up.
And I don't even care, to shake these zipper blues.
And we don't even care, to shake these zipper blues.
- French singer Jacques Brel's song Les Bourgeois. The first two verses is about how he and his friends used to mock the establishment when they were young, singing a song about how they were chochons (pigs) and cons (idiots), the last verse is about how they now when they are old and wealthy themselves are trying to get the police to arrest some young people who has been singing the exact same song about them.
- Early in the Danish rap epic Østkyst Hustlers - Verdens Længste Rap the protagonists, Jazzy and Bossy, are talking about their schooldays together. Bossy grumbles about a time where he got beaten up by five angry guys and Jazzy didn't help him, but Jazzy points out that "...it was better it was only your balls that got busted." Much later, when Jazzy is getting monkey-stomped after insulting a local crime boss, Bossy wonders if he should help him, but decides that Jazzy would probably say that "..it was better it was only his balls that got busted."
- Billy Joel's song "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" tells the story of Brenda and Eddie, a popular teenage couple who the narrator went to high school with. At first, he mentions how everyone looked up to them, saying "Surely Brenda and Eddie would always know how to survive". He goes on to tell how they graduated, got married, ran out of money, started fighting, and eventually divorced, not having any plans in place for the rest of their lives. He ends this by saying "We always knew they would both find a way to get by", which is similar to the previous line, but seems much less believable now.
- Hero of War by Rise Against tells a story of a man, who joins the military in hopes of gaining glory, but also out of a sense of patriotism. The song repeats a phrase "It's a flag that I love" thrice. Two times it presumably refers to a flag of his country, but the third instance refers to a white flag, belonging to a woman he killed during his service.
And I brought home that flag
Now it gathers dust
But it's a flag that I love
The only flag I had trust
- The Megas use this several times.
- Mega Man's song about wanting to be a hero on the album Get Equipped is "I Want To Be The One", about his desire to fight for justice. Dr Light gets a similarly named song on the album History Repeating...except that it's called "I Want To Be The One...To Watch You Die".
- "I Want To Be The One" gets another reference in the song "History Repeating":
Now I can say when you want to be the One / What you start to realize is / Youre the only one
- Air Man's song, "The Annihilation of Monsteropolis", has the line "Up in the sky, ten miles high, a man stands above the city he will destroy". In "The Haystack Principle", Needle Man, who's fighting the same apocalyptic rage that Air Man has succumbed to, uses the line "Deep underground, ten miles down, a man stands below the city he will destroy...STOP!"
- In "I'm Not the Breakman", Proto Man uses the phrase "we walk the program" as part of his belief that he and Mega Man are both Just a Machine. In "I Refuse (To Believe)", Mega Man works the same phrase into his rebuttal and statement of personhood:
Brother, if we walk the program, then what system do you serve?
Is your song just lines of code, or something that you heard?
- "Make Your Choice" has this happen within the song. In the first chorus, Proto Man calls Mega Man "a machine who calls himself a man". In the second, Mega Man throws the same phrase right back at him, pointing out his brother's hypocrisy in also calling himself a man.
- From the epic Waltharius, retelling Germanic heroic legend: When Hagen suggests to king Gunther/Gunnar to accept Walther's gift of 100 golden rings (instead of taking all his treasure), Gunther mocks him: "You are truly a son of your father Aldrian. He would talk a lot so he wouldn't have to fight." After Walther has killed the other eleven knights of the king, Gunther tries to make Hagen fight again. But Hagen says: "I am truly a son of my father Aldrian. He would talk a lot so he wouldn't have to fight."
- From Wolf 359:
- "Pryce and Carter six fourteen: When in doubt, whip it out - 'it' being hydrochloric acid!" is first said by Hilbert after he dissolves the door to the comms room, ending the toothpaste hostage-situation. It is again said by Minchowski after she dissolves the door to the bridge and captures Hilbert after his FaceHeel Turn.
- From Pryce to Hera after installing clinical depression in her personality core, and later from Hera to Pryce after erasing her mind: "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm just going to—hm. Clip your wings a little."
- In the Old Harry's Game episode "The Beautiful Game", the Professor appoints Thomas as England captain for the Underworld Cup, in the belief that he'll rise to the challenge and prove himself, much to Satan's disbelief. The Professor says "I'd hate to be as cynical as you, you know. Always seeing the worst aspects of people." Then Satan appoints his Bumbling Sidekick Scumspawn as referee, and the Professor accuses him of deliberately trying to turn the tournament into a disaster. "I'd hate to be as cynical as you, Prof. Always seeing the worst in devils."
- Vampire: The Masquerade features an extremely well-deserved one in the prologue to the Followers of Set clanbook. At the start of this particular story, Maria Kenyon is a meth-addicted Sex Slave working for "Doc" Hayes, who provides her with her daily fix in exchange for an increasingly disgusting series of sex acts, and always begins each session with "Want your medicine, bitch?" However, by the end of the story, Maria has been Embraced into the Followers of Set, and as a graduation present, she's been given her own ghoul - none other than Doc Hayes himself; finding herself with full authority over her former boss, and knowing that Hayes is now just as hopelessly addicted to vampire blood as she was to meth, Maria has only one thing to say to her terrified slave: "Want your medicine?"
- In Silver Crisis, when Lucas and Lucario first introduce themselves, Lucas says Just Lucario? in response to Lucario basically saying that he just wants to be called the name of his species. Later in the story, we see that Lucario repeated this same line when he and his former Master first met each other, in response to Medicham also choosing to go by the name of his species. He then proceeds to state the importance of having a proper name, and how it makes the connections you have with others mean something. However, in the present day, hes completely reversed those beliefs he'd had at that point in time, hence why he also has forsaken the original name his trainer gave him.
Lucario: "Even if fickle, a name means more than just an identity. It gives meaning to the connections you have with the people who call you that name."
- Early on in Broken Saints, Kamimura encounters a silly young egg farmer named Masayuki, who tells him a story about his father, in which Masayuki's father pointed at a chicken's butt and told his son that two things come out of there: eggs and poop. The lesson Masayuki took from it, and passed on to Kamimura, was that both good and bad things come from the inside. This lesson turns out to be a central message in the series, and Kamimura's final words before his Heroic Sacrifice repeat this sentiment, now with a much more poignant resonance.
- In Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Doc gives the following reason for not wanting to be associated with Grif in Episode 23: "Sorry, man, but it's pretty obvious that you're really unpopular, and if I'm gonna make any progress around here at all I can't really be directly associated with you. I'm sure you understand." In Episode 25, when the Blues hand Doc off to the Reds as part of a deal, the Reds abandon Doc, and Doc looks to Grif for help and Grif throws Doc's earlier reasoning right back in his face, almost word for word.
- At the climax of Red vs. Blue Season 13, Felix tells Locus that he's gonna kill the Reds and Blues "not because of Hargrove, but for me" and yells at him to "for once in your life, forget about following your goddamn orders!" After Locus learns about how Felix has been intentionally using him and encouraging his PTSD for his own benefit and survival, he turns on Felix by telling him he's "not doing this for the reward or because someone told me too. I'm doing this for me," and thus lets him get his just desserts.
- Followed by one that might be even better, calling back to all his discussions with Wash:
- Team Service Announcement:
Hazel: This is your business, not mine.
- Pyrrha Nikos has "I'm sorry" as her catchphrase, normally because of how polite she is. It stops being cute in episode 8 of season 3 when, in a moment of emotional turmoil, she ends up sending Jaune (the boy she has a massive crush on) flying into a pillar with her magnetism powers. And then there's the season finale where it's the last thing she ever says to him as she sends him off to safety before she is killed in battle against Cinder (right after she confessed her feelings).
- Halfway through Volume 3, Yang Xiao Long is framed by the villains and publicly disgraced. No one outside of her close friends believes her side of the story- Even her uncle Qrow thinks she's being crazy. He then tells her to get over it, as "Sometimes bad things just happen." At the end of the volume, after Beacon is overrun by Grimm, several friends are dead, Yang's arm has been cut off by Adam Taurus of the White Fang, and her partner Blake has run off, she repeats her uncle's words to Ruby as a clear sign that she's hit the Heroic BSoD.
- In Volume 5's "Dread in the Air," Adam justified not telling Hazel about his plan to murder Sienna Khan and take over the White Fang on the grounds that White Fang matters are his business, not Hazel's. In "Downfall," Adam demands that Hazel help him fight off the Menagerie Faunus and Mistral police force, Hazel refuses, throwing Adam's words back in his face.
- Speaking of Adam, in one episode of Volume 6, we are treated to flashbacks of his rise in status in the White Fang, starting with him helping a bunch of Faunus break into Dust Processing, saying, "It's time we got what we deserved." Towards the end of the flashback sequence, we see Adam promoted to High Leader of the White Fang, preparing his attack on Haven, saying, "It's time I got what I deserved."
- John Lennon was raised by his Aunt Mimi, who used to say, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it." Many years later, he had the phrase engraved on a silver plaque and gave it to her as a present.
- For years, fans of opposing teams (especially the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils) could and would taunt the New York Rangers and their fans with chants of "19-40!", referring to the last time the Rangers had won the Stanley Cup. Soon after the Rangers finally broke the Curse of 1940 in 1994 (the 53 season drought still stands as a record in hockey), one Ranger player does a mocking "19-40!" chant at a television camera as the team celebrated on the ice.
- Similar chants of "19-18!" broke out when the Yankees wished to taunt the Red Sox. After the World Series victory in 2004, Sox fans began to chant back with "2000!", which lasted until the Yankees next World Series win in 2009.
- Ed Balls MP gained Internet notoriety for accidentally posting a Tweet containing only his own name. It became an Internet meme, with people posting his name in various places on the anniversary of the original Tweet. When Balls lost his seat to the Conservatives in the 2015 election, it was the Conservatives' press office who posted the ironic echo.
- Former power-broker in Minas Gerais, Brazil, Andrea Neves was cozy with newspaper owners there and would often make none-too-subtle threats to editors by asking, rhetorically, "Is the agenda good?", thus getting them to change the focus, hide it, fire journalists and so on. And then she was arrested for charges of corruption. Journalists that covered said arrest gleefully asked her, as she was walked into prison: "Is the agenda good, Andrea?" and "Did you like the agenda, Andrea?" in reference to her Catchphrase when dealing with/blocking news that displeased her.
- Theresa May said in 2015, a few months after her party cut spending on police services (leading to a loss of about 20,000 police jobs), that "Policing has proven, more than any other public service, that it is possible to do more with less". Cut to 2017, after her party doesn't end up winning a majority of seats in Parliament, where the Police Community Twitter account tells her, "Dear Theresa, it's not the number of MPs that counts it's how you use them. You have to do more with less that's all".
- When a lot of American coal miners found themselves jobless during the Barack Obama administration, many journalists on both the left and the right responded with articles saying they should learn to code. In early 2019, when a lot of these same journalists were laid off, the line "learn to code" was thrown back in their faces.
- George Westinghouse wrote a letter to Cornelius Vanderbilt, president of a major railroad company, detailing his new invention (the train automatic air-brake) and asking for investment. Vanderbilt returned his letter replying only with the words: "I have no time to waste on fools". Once another railroad adopted the brake to great success, Vanderbilt sent an offer to buy a good number of the new brakes from Westinghouse, only to get the reply: "I have no time to waste on fools".
- Donald Trump became notorious during his political campaign for leading crowds of his supporters in chants of "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!", usually referring to Hillary Clinton. While Trump was dealing with a number of extremely politically damaging scandals at once in October 2019, including the start of impeachment proceedings, he put in a public appearance at a World Series baseball game...and the crowd, which was not composed of his supporters, began chanting "LOCK HIM UP! LOCK HIM UP!"