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Recap Episode

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Lucrezia Noin: Filler.
Zechs Marquise: I'm sorry, Noin. It sounded like you just said "filler."
Noin: I did.
Zechs: But this is a GUNDAM series, we don't get fillers. We get crappy recap episodes which nobody likes.
Noin: I know, where nothing ever happens until right at the end.

Note: If you're seeking TV Tropes Recaps, go here.

A type of Clip Show. An episode that sums up a season or storyline by showing clips of significant events - essentially, a Previously on… that lasts for a whole episode. Often used to help new viewers get acquainted with the storyline. This is important in Japan, where reruns of a series are a rarity. It can also be used to emphasize a Story Arc as setup to the next arc.

Recap episodes can also be used to fill out episode orders if the show's creators don't have quite enough material—a common occurrence if shows prove popular enough after their first few episodes that additional episodes are ordered beyond the series's original plan (as with Super Dimension Fortress Macross). Sometimes recap episodes are created by licensees when a show is localized from one market to another; material cut for being too risqué for local audiences (or, more rarely, too risqué for broadcast in its original market after production, as with the infamous Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Hot Springs Episode) has to be replaced by something, and all the footage from previous episodes is readily available to edit in. And sometimes the two cases are combined, as when Harmony Gold created a Recap Episode of out of thin air so Robotech would reach 85 episodes.

Longer-running anime shows will sometimes have a recap episode, usually about halfway through the series, often combined with or immediately followed by a Beach Episode in order to use Fanservice to keep the viewers coming back. However, in one- or two-hour showsnote , a Recap Episode is much less likely to happen, since there's less time available to spend to catch up the audience, and they're far less likely to forget something they saw just a few episodes ago anyways.

Telenovelas are likely to have one such episode at one point or another. Unlike other types of series, that have 20 episodes per season at most, a telenovela has new episodes every day for at least a year, and the episode list counts in the hundreds. And usually the main characters, their motivations and the events that drive the overall action are all introduced in the very first episodes, and then frequently referenced with "As You Know" expositions during the year. This can be somewhat annoying for people who got into the telenovela at a later date, so the recap episode is provided on their behalf. The ratings for those episodes are of course very low, as they merely rehash things everybody else already knows and no new events take place in them, so the networks usually save them for dates when rival networks have a very big event going on and it'll be a lost day for them anyway.

Sometimes, combined with a Framing Device that justifies the episode in-character.

In today's age of Digital Distribution, recap episodes are becoming somewhat less tolerated, since the internet ensures that, even if one cannot immediately access the older episodes as needed (whether legally or not), they can easily find online discussions to catch themselves up. This is doubly so since virtually all shows will eventually come out on DVD or Blu-ray, with all the episodes right there for the audience to recap themselves (if it's even needed, as they could also just watch the whole thing in one sitting). If a single-season show has a recap episode, it may be a sign that things are not going smoothly behind the scenes.

In general, common in older and/or longer-running Anime, back before digital video or widespread availability of the internet existed, although in the US reality shows also do it. Becoming more popular in the West, with shows such as Lost and Desperate Housewives employing it, but in general it's much more common to show a brief recap of all relevant storylines at the start of each episode. Webcomics will rarely use this, and usually only to recap their experiences at conventions.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Trigun had one, though the framing device included some plot-relevant new material and a notable example of Fan Dis Service.
  • Ranma ˝:
    • A Recap Episode happens toward the end of its first season, but it was more of a summation than a review as the series' renewal was uncertain at the time. The basic plotline was Ranma and Genma sparring shortly after Shampoo's first departure, with Ranma complaining about all the problems he has to put up with because of Genma's brilliant idea to go to Jusenkyo and then strand them here in Nerima.
    • A second one came in the third season, apparently intended as a cheap way to do a 'character spotlight episode'. "From Ryoga, With Love" was set in a little shack in the mountains where Ryoga Hibiki was thinking over his recent involvements with Ranma and Akane.
  • Mahoromatic:
    • The show has a Recap Episode in which the characters are all at a party, but the visuals are all from previous episodes (explained as being a video being played in some room at the party, apparently taken by a Magical Security Cam). Some of the dialogue is amusing (characters seeing events that they were not present for), though other parts simply use the original scenes' dialogue.
    • There are three episodes of the second season that can be called Recap Episodes due to their use of flashbacks to set the nostalgic/tragic mood of the presented events.
  • Excel♡Saga and Kodocha both have recap episodes framed as game shows, although the Excel♡Saga's also has several twists to the recap (like reshooting one in Gratuitous English).
  • Excel Saga has a second episode that recapped only the B-plot. The main characters recapped it while drinking at a bar.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico provides an interesting variation: The clip show starts as normal, then it suddenly cuts out to show the episode being watched by the cast of Gekiganger 3, Nadesico's Show Within a Show (take a second to figure that out, then come back when your head stops hurting). In addition to the usual plot recapping, the episode features all the characters of Gekiganger (good guys and bad alike) watching Nadesico on TV and commenting on the action of the previous episodes. And at the end they have a battle, with both sides using what they've learned from Nadesico.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms has recap episodes at the end of each arc, sometimes with a frame story that relates to but is not critical to the main action, sometimes not.
  • Played with in episode 14 of Neon Genesis Evangelion; the first half is a recap, but from the perspective of the show's mysterious villains, so you get a different viewpoint on the events thus far, as well as the names of all the angels.
  • Macross:
    • Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and its Robotech adaptation) has two episodes which are constructed largely from clips of earlier episodes. The first is a basic, narrated clip show, but the second is a brilliantly-edited dream sequence in which events are replayed with different dialogue that radically changes their interpretation and reveals subtexts. This was necessary because Macross proved popular enough early on that the series received an order for additional episodes. The production staff had to figure out how to fill the space, because they didn't have quite enough story material for enough additional episodes.
      • One of these clip episodes was expanded by the Robotech producers into the two-hour Compilation Movie Codename: Robotech for broadcast to build interest in advance of the show beginning its syndication run.
      • Robotech had a couple of other noteworthy clip shows as well. The episode between the Macross and Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross segments of Robotech was created from footage from both series because without it Robotech would have been one episode short of coming out evenly divisible by 5, a necessity for weekday syndication.
      • The Hot Springs Episode of Genesis Climber MOSPEADA had to have enough footage cut that Harmony Gold had to add a several-minute recap scene to the beginning of its Robotech version.
      • The Robotech version of the Mospeada OAV Love Live Alive was itself a Compilation Movie of the New Generation portion of the series.
    • Macross Frontier interestingly turns its recap episode into an important episode, by having the villains discuss the recent events and shed light on their evil schemes, as well as commenting on where they succeeded. Also, it looked pretty.
    • The Frontier/Macross 7 crossover FB7 was basically a recap movie for 7, but told through the viewpoint of Frontier's cast.
    • Macross Delta went above and beyond by giving us a recap episode covering the entire Macross franchise.
  • Gundam in general is very fond of flashback/recap stories. The films for the series Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory and Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team are done in this way (the latter being framed as an investigation of the main character who is suspected of treason for his past actions). Similar releases include two direct to video G Gundam 'movies' and the pair of ∀ Gundam films.
    • G Gundam also had one in-between the Guyana Highlands arc and the Gundam Fight Finals arc that recaps the major combatants and their motivations with clips from their respective episodes. It takes place during the opening ceremonies of the finals, where it makes sense to introduce the competitors and their deeds to the audience.
    • Gundam Wing had two recap episodes in a row, but Word of God admitted that this was because plans to air vignettes from the main cast's youth fell through; these stories were later compiled into the manga Episode Zero.
    • Gundam SEED has several recap episodes throughout the course of the series, including two clip shows in a row.
      • Like its predecessor, Gundam SEED Destiny has two or three recap episodes, each of which contains a few minutes of new footage and dialogue to tie together the recaps (e.g., Chairman Durandal's conversation with Rau Le Creuset). That particular recap is actually one of the better-regarded episode from the highly divisive final arc of SEED Destiny, both because getting the story from the Big Bad's perspective is a more interesting way to handle a recap and because many Gundam fans would be willing to listen to an episode of Shūichi Ikeda reading the phone book.
    • Gundam 00 did this as well, with one episode of its first season being partly dedicated to a recap of events up to that point. This is framed as one of the characters reporting on/discussing the team's actions up to that point with a group of unseen collaborators, with commentary on their opinions and a discussion on whether to accept the unexpected and newly-arrived Throne Gundams as being part of the overall plan. The episode does also include new content.
    • SD Gundam World Heroes took a break from telling its story in the middle to recap the events of its predecessor, SD Gundam World Sangoku Soketsuden. This went from the last quarter of Episode 12 all the way to the first half of Episode 16, with all of the other episodes being the 11-minute Sangoku Soketsuden episodes recut to fit the 22-minute format of Heroes, culminating into a Recap Story Arc that lasted for roughly 4 episodes.
  • Wolf's Rain probably deserves the booby-prize for including no fewer than FOUR recap episodes (#15 - 18) halfway through its original 26-episode run. To make up for this four new OVA episodes were made to conclude the story (#27 - 30). In the US DVD release the recap episodes occupy a single disc (Volume 4, "Recollections"), so buyers can skip from discs 3 to 5 without missing anything (apart from some new narration, a couple of new establishing shots and one scene that's re-edited to change its context by removing a character who was in the original version).
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena has three of them placed at the conclusion of the first three arcs, all of which play with the concept. The first uses a framing device around the recaps to tease the show's bigger mysteries, while the third weaves together a Wham Episode among the recapping. The second one is an outright parody, recapping only the comedy scenes as the actually serious events of the preceding arc had been erased from reality.
  • Serial Experiments Lain #11 (Infornography) is also some sort of a recap episode, in which images of previous episodes are edited together to rock music during the first 15 minutes.
  • AIR used its final (thirteenth) episode to recap everything previous. Most people, therefore, treat it as a 12-Episode Anime.
  • The episodes of Kujibiki♡Unbalance included in the Genshiken DVDs included this, with the twist that it is supposed to be episode 21 of a 26-episode TV series, only the first and 25th episodes of which are also included. This means that the episode is "recapping" events that were never made as actual episodes. This allowed the creators to combine several of the scenes from various episodes shown when the Genshiken cast watch the show into one episode.
  • Death Note has a half-episode-long recap at a particularly important turning point in the series. In fact, considering where it was, it was more of an episode-long Really Dead Montage for L.
  • Chobits, a 27 episode anime series, featured 3 recaps, one of which was the LAST episode of the series.
  • Code Geass was one of the first anime series to have the decency to number its recap episode differently from its "normal" episodes. In its case, the recap was numbered 17.5, with the actual story being continued in episode number 18. There was 8.5, too. Unlike many examples, however, the staff of Geass openly admitted that they were stalling for time, and the two "half-episodes" were left out of the DVD release of the series. Consequently, the American broadcast opted to not bother showing them at all.
  • The first two episodes of Shakugan no Shana II were essentially recaps of the first series, with a bit of plot to justify it.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • The Hot Springs Episode is also a recap episode. Lampshade Hanging occurs when it seems they're actually watching the clips being recapped, and Kamina can't remember who Viral is at all. Of course, this was done because the episode as animated was too risqué to show (in Japan or America), so they ended up doing a lengthy recap in order to eat up the time from the replaced scenes (the real version is available on DVD). The "Actual" Recap episode is #16.
    • The episode 16 recap is unusual in that it brings the series's episode total to 27. Weekly syndicated shows usually have episode counts that are multiples of 13, since that divides evenly into a 52-week year. It seems likely that the recap was added late in production, perhaps prompted by concern that viewers might be confused by the second arc if they couldn't remember important details about the first one.
  • Episode 12 of Samurai Champloo consists of Mugen and Jin stealing and reading Fuu's diary, which leads to a humorous retelling of the the previous eleven episodes from Fuu's point of view, with occasional criticisms from Jin and Mugen.
  • Digimon Data Squad had two, one based around the protagonists losing their memories, and one based around Yggdrasil explaining to Craniummon why they were going to annihilate the human race.
  • Digimon Ghost Game had one that was narrated by veteran actor Naoto Takenaka.
  • Pokémon: The Series didn't have its first full recap episode until right before Ash's eighth Gym battle in Hoenn, and there was another one in Sinnoh. Strangely, both episodes were skipped in the dub.
    • Just had another one, although it was more of an introduction to Pokémon, and did show some scenes from future episodes.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The original anime has an number of recap episodes, in which the most repeatedly repeated flashbacks are repeated once more. They're mostly disguised as a dialogue between two characters, but it's not Infodump since we (the audience) know everything already.
    • Its Oddly Named Sequel Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had a recap episode to open its third season.
    • Due to early production issues, the sixth installment, Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS, contains five recap episodes in its first 59 episodes.
  • Interestingly, the dub of Dragon Ball Z created a recap episode that was broadcast just before the androids saga.
  • The Dragon Ball GT dub got an episode that summarized the first arc, though this is mainly so they can start the series at a point where it was far less comical and more action-oriented.
  • Armored Trooper VOTOMS has three recap episodes: episode 20, episode 28, and episode 40. Each one only covers the events of the first arc, which spanned episodes 1-13.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS had a scene where the rookies were shown Nanoha's past so they may understand why she trains them in a slow and very thorough manner. Incidentally, it also served as a quick summary of the first two seasons for those who missed them.
  • Sailor Moon ended its second season on one of these for the entire series up to that point, also incorporating some extremely vague previews for the upcoming season. Frustratingly in North America the gap between this episode and the first episode of the third season was two years due to the license falling into limbo and eventually being taken up by a different company... it's even worse in the UK where this was the last episode to air all together.
  • Tekkaman Blade had four or five of these in a 49-episode TV series.
  • Fist of the North Star had roughly a dozen filler episodes during its 152-episode run (counting both series). Some of these fillers actually featured newly animated flashbacks among the clips (such as one where we see the Hokuto Brothers, including a young Jagi, during their training days). One of the most notorious examples occurs at the end of the third part of the first series, which ends with a five-part tribute arc dedicated to the fallen Nanto Seiken masters.
  • X/1999 had one about halfway through, presented as mainly flashbacks.
  • The final episode of CLANNAD: ~After Story~ was a Recap Episode with a small twist: the debate on whether the universe/reality where Nagisa and Ushio died really existed/happened was addressed. It really did happen.
  • Naruto has had one regular recap episode before entering the forest of death in the Chunin exam, which takes the form of Konohamaru giving Team 7 an interview. (The show had moved to a new prime timeslot in Japan, so this was to introduce the show to new readers, and was shown back-to-back with the next real episode. In the original screening, there was a hilarious additional No Fourth Wall framing device of Naruto being so excited about the time change that he started the show 23 minutes too early and the rest of the cast was stalling for the actual episode to arrive.) The American broadcast actually made it's own two part recap episode entirely from recycled footage, and both of them were set a while before where the broadcast was when they aired (being set in the Forest of Death and Preliminary round of the fighting while the broadcast was already to the month long break between the preliminaries and the public tournament). This causes several continuity errors, most noticeably that Sakura's hair is at full length even those this is apparently after her Important Haircut.
  • Speed Grapher had one, episode 16, in which the events of previous episodes were described in terms of the profit/loss to the club.
  • Halfway through Real Drive, Minamo tells her grandmother about the events so far in order to find out what to write for her school assignment. The episode ends with an insert song while depicting Minamo's first ocean dive, leading to loads of Stock Footage Scenery Porn
  • Fantastic Children drops one right in the middle, with no narrative justification; it's just a bunch of clips recapping the story, leading right up to the last scene of the previous episode. Somewhat justified in that it helps to make sense of the rather complex plot, which was probably welcomed by anyone who'd missed an episode.
  • Hikaru no Go gives us a weird one; coming near the end of the second season, it has Hikaru and Sai reminiscing and eventually coming to an important decision. The problem is, this scene wasn't in the manga, but the decision they made was…only they made it about ten episodes later, under different circumstances. So the next few episodes end up contradicting this one, with the characters seeming to have regressed.
  • Basquash! switches to the main character's reporter sister for the entire second half of episode 19 as she writes a reminiscence on the events of the series so far.
  • Episode 11 of Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ is this. Episode 19 has elements of it as well, but thankfully to a lesser extent.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood starts the third season off with Hohenheim reminiscing over all the events of the past two seasons, most of which he wasn't even present for, while some surreal events, such as people dancing around a bonfire only to explode, happen in the meantime. There's a logical explanation supplied, however. This episode was pure filler in the original run in Japan, where it aired a mere week after the previous episode; however, it was very helpful for the [adult swim] airing, as there was a several-month gap before it.
    • It should be noted that this episode provided a massive amount of Character Development for Hohenheim, whose prior character moments were not in the adaptation.
  • .hack//SIGN had a particularly weird example. Clips throughout the entire series thus far, with the only narration being various characters reading one long poem that is recited now and then in the show. This one poem reading lasts for twenty minutes.
  • The first segment of episode 12 of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt. Even though it provided some interesting backstories for the ghosts Panty and Stocking killed, Gainax produced an alternate segment for the DVD release.
  • Den-noh Coil recapped the plot through the lenses of Akira's glasses for episode 14.
  • Bleach tends to do this after its filler arcs. Given that they often run upwards of forty episodes, and cannot be strictly in-continuity with the canon arcs, the recap is often sorely needed ("Oh, right, we cut away in the middle of a climactic duel between The Hero and The Rival...")
  • Episode 10 of Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing has Gisey writing a letter to her family to recap everything that happened so far.
  • Episode 13 of The Remake of Hunter × Hunter, in the style of the above example.
  • Like the Code Geass example above, Attack on Titan had an "Episode 13.5." Though in this case, it probably was stalling for time, as the studio had blown through their budget and it really showed in the previous couple of episodes.
  • Subverted in Kill la Kill, where Senketsu sets up Episode 16 as a Recap Episode, then zips through fifteen episodes worth of story in one minute with The Cancan Song playing in the background. The rest of the episode plays out as usual.
    Senketsu: Those of you who cringed when we said "Recap episode", don't worry! Kill la Kill moves at a lightning pace, so our recaps are finished in the teaser section! The actual episode begins now...
  • The Jojos Bizarre Adventure anime has three in Season 4, Vento Aureo.
  • Chihayafuru has one in episode 16, after the first tournament arc and a small amount over the halfway point of the series. Interestingly, it intersperses the clips with short animations of bonus comics from the manga or original jokes, making it pretty worth watching even for those who don't need the recap.
  • Etotama does this in its seventh episode. Since the Eto-Musume in the show do not acknowledge the Fourth Wall, this fact is constantly lampshaded by Shar-tan, the episode's spotlight character.
  • Gintama:
    • Subverted in Episode 25 when the gang introduces the episode as a recap episode... only to cut to them sitting around a hot-pot at home. The gang lampshade this, wondering why the episode's showing them instead and not any recaps.
    • Afterward, the show gives actual recap episodes every few seasons, though due to being a parody series they are never all that straightforward. For example in Episode 75, there's a few music montages that recap certain aspects of the series, including one that was meant to be the usual opening credits except clips of Prince Hata were randomly inserted instead (much to the gang's chagrin); and when they're revisiting the scene where Kagura first meets Takasugi... Prince Hata randomly joins in and dubs Takasugi's voice, which Gintoki and Kagura find so hilarious that they make him dub a few more scenes before an outraged Shinpachi kicks him out.
  • Girls und Panzer was forced to include two recap episodes in a 12 episodes series, because of Troubled Production and Schedule Slip galore caused delays in finishing episodes 6 and 11 in time. The former came midway through the battle with Saunders at the start of the tournament, while the latter came just after the start of the finals, and was followed by a months-long hiatus before the last two episodes aired.
  • Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu had two in its 37 episode run, thanks to a poor budget. The first involves Saionji appearing on a TV program with Sasagawa to discuss Drive Head. The other is about Isurugi and Izawa filming a video to present to potential new members of the Mobile Rescue Police.
    • Taken to frustrating extremes in the 2018 follow-up web series. The first two episodes, as well as the fifth are recaps, and even much of the "new" scenes are just the seiyuu dubbing new lines over old footage. This is likely because the series was just a vehicle to promote the movie, but that still isn't much of an excuse, when they had a separate live-action show designed for promoting the movie.
  • Re:CREATORS Episode 13 was a recap episode, but is widely regarded as one of the most entertaining ways to do a recap. The entire episode is narrated by Meteora, who turns the whole thing into a parody, imagines herself as the heroine, subtly mocks the other girls in the show, features off-key singing by her accomplished singer/voice actress Inori Minase, and even provides commentary on the state of the anime industry in the process.
  • Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online has its recap as Episode 5.5. It's actually an in-universe recap where Pitohui and M review the footage of the Squad Jam tournament and provide constant commentary on it. The Insert Song from Episode 5 is even explained as Pito turning on appropriate background music. The final few minutes of the episode turn into total parody featuring fake outtakes and LLENN's voice actress making ridiculous sound effects for the gunshots. True to its nature as an in-universe recap, it only uses footage from Episodes 1, 4, and 5, as Episodes 2 and 3 are mostly focused on main character Karen's real-life background that Pito and M aren't privy to.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • The first hour and 20 minutes (80%) of Extra Edition has Kirito recounting the events of the first season to Kikuoka, while Suguha takes swimming lessons and hears about how Asuna and Kirito's other friends met him. The last 20 minutes are actual fully new content in which they go on a quest.
    • Season 2 had Episode 14.5 as a recap, covering the events of the Phantom Bullet arc.
    • Its third season, Alicization, also had 18.5 as a recap, but this time it was presented in-universe as Kirito explaining to Alice Synthesis Thirty her forgotten childhood and kidnapping from Rulid Village, and the efforts he and Eugeo had gone to to bring her back home.
  • Season 2 of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? has an "Episode 0" titled Past and Future, a recap of the first season. Justified as the first season was aired more than 4 years prior.
  • An extremely condensed version that's Played for Laughs happens in Failed Princesses. When Kurokawa's Childhood Friend Akazawa eats lunch with her, Fujishiro and Izumi, Akazawa asks Kurokawa why she's started hanging out with gyarus like Fujishiro. In response, Fujishiro mentally summarizes how she'd unwittingly comforted Fujishiro after the latter's boyfriend, and through a series of misunderstandings, became friends with her, but doesn't actually answer the question. A caption describes it as "'Useless Princesses' in 3 seconds."
  • Asteroid in Love had one after Episode 6, halfway through the 12-Episode Anime, and immediately after Monroe and Sakura step down from their positions as president and vice president of the Earth Sciences club.
  • In-Universe example in Shirobako. Jiggly Jiggly Heaven was forced to air three such episodes as a result of its Troubled Production, which, added to other issues with that anime, results in a severe blow to series director Kinoshita's reputation and confidence.
  • The English dub of the Mega Man Star Force anime only covers the first half of season 1; to compensate for this, the dub ends with Geo recapping that part of the story along with footage from earlier episodes.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! has one right before the climax of volume 2/episode 11, which sums up everything Catarina had ever done for her friends and how much she's changed their lives (sans Maria, who was kidnapped at the time) while they're trying to cope with the possibility of her dying while in a magic induced coma. Unusually for this trope, it takes place near the end of the season without being a substitute for a delayed episode and was lifted directly from the light novel.
  • Parodied in Mob Psycho 100 with the "REIGEN: The Miraculous Unknown Psychic" bonus OVA. Reigen writes a tell-all about his psychic adventures with Mob recapping the anime's first season. Accompanying his many embellishments are scenes of that season deceptively edited to suggest he defeated the various evil spirits with his own powers. So what does he do for all the awesome psychic battles he wasn't present for during the third quarter of the season? Photoshop his head onto Teru's body, of course!
  • The Promised Neverland has this at the end of the second season's 1st half. It doesn't help that a huge chunk of the manga series is cut just to get to the end of it.
  • The penultimate episode of Season 2's Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story. This was supposed to be a mid-season special at first, but production issues had separated the last 4 episodes into an independent season over half a year later.
  • Tokyo 24th Ward at Episode 9.5. After the flashback story in the previous episode, this serves as a recap on all the RGB's development so far.

    Comic Books 
  • Issue 26 of Countdown to Final Crisis. As Linkara put it, "We're halfway through the entire story, so let's just stop the plot and talk about everything that everyone who's been reading the book already knows!"
  • Issue 57 on Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) was dedicated entirely to going over every story in the comic deemed canon after its Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Issue #49 is essentially 22 pages of a newscaster rattling off Wonder Woman's previous adventures and impact on the world at large, setting up the Amazons' big visit to the United Nations in the next issue. It's even named "Look Back in Wonder: The Story Thus Far".
  • "The Ultimates saga" has Tony Stark hack into Nick Fury's files about the Ultimates. They provide a full recap of the events of The Ultimates one and two, before the release of Ultimates 3.
  • #138 of Uncanny X-Men has one, serving as an epilogue of sorts to "The Dark Phoenix Saga" during Phoenix's funeral, and featuring Cyclops reminiscing on the entire series thus far before deciding it's best to take some time off to do some soul-searching following her death. It also sets up Kitty Pryde joining the team.
  • "Issue Zero" (between #22 and #23) of Invincible consists of Mark telling his life story to his girlfriend Amber after revealing that he's Invincible, and covering the major events up until that point.

    Fan Works 
  • Neon Exodus Evangelion's Recap Episode, The Big Show, is also a Funny Moment, because it's narrated by the announcers of SportsCenter.
  • Chapter 2note  of Paper Mario X 2 can be classified as a Recap Episode. Once Mario receives the letter that kicks off the plot, he starts to remember his adventures that he had with his other friends. The rest of the chapter consists of scenes of the previous Paper Mario X.
  • Weiss Reacts has one of these about every twenty chapters, starting from chapter 60, to allow readers to catch up to what they missed.
  • Chapter 40 of All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird is a variant of this. The main cast is off to what they assume will be the final battle, and are aware that they might not all return, so they sit around their campfire reminiscing. It's a variant because roughly half of the stories they share are events from the game which were not directly covered in the story up to that point.
  • Escape from the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, Chapter 29 serves as a summation of many past events as Spliced testifies about herself in court.
  • This is done In-Universe in Natural Selection. Mako rapidly sums up the events of Chapters 10 to 14 for the sake of Nonon, who'd been out of commission for the duration of those chapters.

  • Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is sort of a recap movie: most of the first 40 minutes of the 90 minute film are clips of the first Silent Night, Deadly Night being narrated to a psychiatrist by the brother of the santa-suited serial killer from the first movie. It was initially conceived as a bowdlerized version of the original film with a little bit of new footage to replace more graphic scenes, but ended up becoming a "sequel". And once it does get to what happened to the narrator after the first film, more old footage gets a more playful reuse: At one point an out-of-context scene of a Santa Claus holding up a liquor store shows up in a film he and his date are watching - the subject matter of course hits a little too close to home for him.
  • The Thumbelina insert in Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny uses this near the end for whatever reason.
  • Puppet Master: The Legacy uses clips from the previous seven Puppet Master films to sum up the storyline.
  • The sequel to Winnie The|Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween is both a Whole Reference Flashback and a recap movie of "Boo To You, Too, Winnie the Pooh!"

  • For a while, each Harry Potter book would begin with a Recap Chapter, which would basically consist of Harry sitting around and thinking about the events of previous books for the benefit of anyone not starting the series with the first book. Eventually, J. K. Rowling just gave up and started assuming everyone had read the previous books.
  • Some sequels open with a prologue that provides a synopsis of what has happened in previous volumes: for example, Jane Yolen's White Jenna.
  • In Star Darlings, Libby's book has a recap of Sage's adventure a fourth of the way through. It's justified in-universe as a teaching example, pointing out what Sage did wrong as well as what she did right.
  • Each book in the Captain Underpants series would begin with a nervous George and Harold presenting a comic about how they turned their principal Mr. Krupp into the eponymous superhero. As the series drifted away from being episodic, this would be used to summarize important information that's relevant to the premise of the current book.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Usually during the last week of December – or sometimes, just December 31 or whenever the last late-December broadcast is – many news programs will have a special type of recap program – the year-end recap, presenting (and if appropriate, updating) the top news stories of the past year.
  • Alias had a particularly egregious one of these in its very first season, in which Sydney Bristow spends approximately ninety percent of the running time telling her interrogators either a) what they should have known already, or b) what they did not possess sufficient security clearance to know. Naturally, her reminisces are all illustrated with clips from earlier shows, which puts it in Clip Show territory as well.
  • Lost has had recap shows, as well as shows that "recap" events from the perspectives of another group of survivors on the island. These however only air before a normal episode (or before a season premiere) or in place of a repeat instead of being episodes themselves.
  • In reality shows, see Survivor, The Apprentice, and The Amazing Race (though only Seasons 6 and 7).
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine makes use of this in their series finale, going to each main character in turn and playing some of the more memorable moments from the previous seven years, accompanied by the instrumental version of an earlier musical number.
  • Destinos: An Introduction To Spanish includes many recap episodes. These serve not only to review the plot, but also to review the vocabulary terms presented in the reviewed episodes, and help viewers understand the conversations better.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street did a cleverly-framed recap set in a house across the street from a wanted criminal's. The house's owners (audience stand-ins) are asked if they mind the BPD officers using their living room for a while. While they're staking out and have nothing better to do, the cops talk, and the residents' questions (as 'new viewers' to the cops' stories) make it into a recap.
  • Power Rangers usually has one right before the Grand Finale; once or twice the writers tried to give them a point by having the characters use all the reflections and remembrances to put together some kind of mystery or figure something out, but they're just an excuse to make a cheap, minimum effort episode right before the season goes out with a bang. However, the 500th episode was one big Recap Episode for the entire franchise, framed as a ranger history lesson Tommy left for Conner, Kira and Ethan. While it omitted certain details (the events of the Mighty Morphin' Alien Rangers mini-season, Karone's non-Astronema history, the events of Forever Red), it was still a fun episode and firmly established that all of the PR seasons take place in the same continuity.
    • The Alien Rangers and Karone were not the only Rangers slighted in the 500th episode: While Tanya Sloan was briefly seen, she was never mentioned. Also, we never see Cole Evans in his civilian form in it, either.
    • The Operation Overdrive clip show was quite handy, as it was the most Plot Coupon-driven show of the franchise. That episode allowed the viewers to figure out who had what and which pieces still had to be recovered.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • The recap episode from season 2 managed the impressive feat of getting a massive cliffhanger out of its 10% original content. It was even the Season Finale.
    • This was repeated in another episode in season 7. The show managed to use its 20% of original content on a storyline involving Robert Picardo.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • The Kamen Rider Dragon Knight episode "The Many Faces of Xaviax" was one of these, framed around scenes where the show's three leads briefed potential ally Chris Ramírez on what was really going on.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One filled in a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic by airing a series of recap specials in place of the usual episode during its timeslot.
  • At least halfway through each of the first three seasons, Desperate Housewives hosted a recap show to catch the viewers up on all the storylines. Grey's Anatomy used to do this as well.
  • Farscape did a special recap episode, Farscape Undressed, prior to the third-season premiere.
  • The Adventures of Shirley Holmes had one, where Shirley received an orchid from an unknown person. A bee that was in the orchid stings her, and she collapses; in her subconscious, she starts looking back at previous adventures trying to figure out who sent the flower, and whether the bee was there intentionally to hurt her, or just there by accident.
  • Andromeda, Beastmaster and Mutant X each included an episode where the framing for flashbacks was a trial of a major character (in at least two cases, the framing was literal).
  • Legend of the Seeker:
    • In one episode, Richard wakes up on the day he first met Kahlan, but he remembers all the events that passed. As he tries to explain this to the people around him, they show clips of the past episodes. Also, in this reality, he isn't the Seeker.
    • In season 2, the Creator accuses Richard of serving the Keeper. In recounting his actions, they replay scenes from past episodes.
  • The Outer Limits (1995) had an episode, "The Voice of Reason", composed largely of clips taken from earlier one-shot stories, mushed together into one continuity.
  • Friends:
    • In the episode "The One with the Invitation" has Ross debating whether to invite Rachel to his upcoming wedding to Emily, and Ross and Rachel both reminisce about their past relationship and how it has evolved over the course of the series.
    • "The One with the Vows" takes place a month before Monica and Chandler's wedding as the two are writing their wedding vows. While writing, the two reflect on how they went from friends to lovers.
  • Documentary Mini-Series America Revolution ends with a two part recap episode centered around Washington reminiscing about the war, during his ride to accept nomination as the first president.
  • Parodied in the Community episode "Paradigms of Human Memory". Its framed just like one of these episodes- until the viewer realised we never saw any of this stuff happen.
  • One Big Family: The final episode of this 1986 syndicated sitcom, starring comedian Danny Thomas in his last major TV headlining role, was essentially an extended recap show. Framed around a family dinner, the early clips of the show set up the series' main premise: Jake Hattan, a widowed retiree from Seattle, learns that his son and daughter-in-law were killed in a car accident, and now his now-orphaned grandchildren were sent to live with him. The clips then progress through the 25-episode series, showing Jake's initial resistance to having to raise six kids in retirement, but realizing he has a responsibility and agreeing to do so; then finally some of the lighter material as the children recall lessons learned and the good times they've had in the past year.
  • Diff'rent Strokes did two such episodes, both early in the show's run (unlike most shows, which wait at least a few years to use this device):
    • The first was, appropriately enough, titled "The Retrospective." Aired as the ninth episode in the series during Christmas 1978, this hour-long show cobbled together clips from the first eight shows, with memories of their first two months together shown during Christmas dinner and again around the tree.
    • In March 1980, just 45 episodes into the series, came the episode "Valentine's Day Retrospective." This Clip Show/recap episode was framed around Arnold and Willis being locked in a storage closet in their apartment building until they are let out.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 aired a standalone 30-minute special titled "This is MST3K" between seasons 2 and 3, as the show's popularity was starting to take off. Penn Jillette, being Comedy Central's primary spokesman at the time, explained the show's premise for new viewers and performed the usual hosting duties. In addition to the customary clips from recent episodes, the special also included comments from fans and critics who enjoyed the show. Following a Channel Hop, the season 8 premiere devoted a far greater share of its host segments to recap and exposition, though the show's format would not allow for a traditional Recap Episode.
  • Van Helsing (2016): The Season 5 episode "The Doorway" reuses footage from several past episodes (interlaid with narration from Vanessa) regarding all the events that Vanessa feels are her greatest failures. Pretty justified in this case, as she's in a Psychological Torment Zone that's torturing her with visions of these failures.
  • Tracker: Remember When recapped the season with the storyline of Cole losing his memory after a big electrical jolt.
  • Don't Eat the Neighbours: The final episode with both Terrapin and Wolf sulking by themselves, fed up with how their friends have treated them throughout the series.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • All Japan Pro Wrestling traditionally has two main shows, a B Show, and one of these. What they are called depends on the time period. On Samurai TV Royal Road Club serves as the recap to Kings Road.
  • A year-end recap show has been an annual tradition for World Wrestling Entertainment, back into at least the 1970s (when it was the World-Wide Wrestling Federation). Through the 1990s, these year-end specials were basically nothing more than Vince McMahon hosting clips and telling brief stories about the top angles of the year, along with highlights from some of the year's best matches. When Monday Night Raw began airing, the show expanded to air more complete versions of the year's top matches. These recap shows usually also included "Happy New Year"-type messages from both face and heel wrestlers, along with comments about what they hoped to accomplish during the new year.
  • TNA's ReAction was this to Impact, although it sometimes contained information that could not or would be hard to discern even if you had seen every Impact.
    • Later, Impact Wrestling launched BTI (Before The Impact), hosted by former commentator Josh Matthews and interviewer Gia Miller with the same premise, but this comes accompanied with a pre-show match and the good part, the timeslot is positioned before the main show.
  • Ring of Honor has quite a few standalone recaps since the SBG purchase, such as Honor Vs Evil, detailing the activities of SCUM. Various shorts such as the ROH Updates hosted by Kevin Kelley, Inside ROH and Story Time With Adam Cole (who hijacked Inside ROH from Mandy Leon) can also be viewed on the website. Later on, ROH released Week by Week, hosted by Quinn McKay, which you can watch all its episodes before the Tony Khan buyout in YouTube.

  • The many countdown programs – headed by American Top 40 and American Country Countdown: Each year over the weekend closest to New Year's, most countdown programs do a recap program. It's called a "year end countdown," and essence these "recap" programs arrange in inverse order of relative popularity – from usually No. 100 to No. 1 – the top songs of the year. Stretch stories used for these programs often highlight general chart accomplishments and statistics, plus individual highlights of the performers.
  • In New Dynamic English, the "Review" episodes feature previous episodes, in which Max is supposed to guess who the guest is.


    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory's story mode is this for the Kingdom Hearts series' Dark Seeker Saga, framed around a search into Kairi's memories for clues that could help solve the cliffhanger ending of Kingdom Hearts III. Clip shows summarizing every previous game are presented to the player as they progress through the game's songs.


    Web Original 
  • Aitor Molina Vs. did it as the first six minutes of the third year anniversary special.
  • lonelygirl15 has had several of these.
  • Fine Structure has "The Story So Far", which also ties together most of the threads of the Hyperlink Story up to that point.
  • Defied in Bonus Stage:
    Phil: Remember that time we—
    Joel: NO! [Credits]
  • ''On Cinema: A recap was posted after the end of season 8 that provides a general overview of all 8 seasons and the major plot developments throughout them.
  • Ultra Fast Pony's season 3 finale, "The Longest Recap", is a Self-Parody rather than normal Clip Show. The bulk of it is devoted to extremely abbreviated versions of every prior episode, in order—but all the dialogue has been re-recorded, and most of the jokes are new, and several of the video clips didn't actually appear in the original episode, and some of the "recaps" directly contradict what happened in the original episode.
  • The Ben Heck Show has several episodes with the title Rewind and Recap, which revisits old failed projects to see what went wrong or if it can be improved.
  • The 13th BIONICLE (2015) webisode Fallen Heroes offers a quick rundown on the preceding story. Since episodes were only one and a half minutes in length, they were literally flashing back to what happened minutes ago in videos that were only a few clicks away.
  • The day before Ashens And The Polybius Heist was released, Stuart Ashen's bonus channel on YouTube posted a recap video summarizing the film it was following up on, Ashens and the Quest for the Game Child, in one minute. Afterwards, it asks, "Still too long?" and recaps the movie again in thirty seconds. Again, it asks, "Still too long?" and does a third recap in two seconds.
    Man wants something.
    Thinks he can't get it.
    Then he does.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series parodied Yu-Gi-Oh! doing a Recap Episode, in its own Recap Episode (Yes, a Recap Episode for an Abridged Series. Work with it.) The video description on YouTube read "Did I just abridge my own series?"
    Yami: Or we could flashback to previous episodes in an attempt to save the animators time and money.
    Kaiba: Wouldn't that just piss off all our viewers and send our ratings plummeting into the ground?
    Yami: Yup.
    Kaiba: Let's do it.
  • The Happy Tree Friends episode Blast From The Past features a reanimated version of the first episode, Spin Fun Knowin' Ya.

    Western Animation 
  • "The Ember Island Players", Avatar: The Last Airbender's final Breather Episode before the Grand Finale, rather than a Clip Show, is a recap episode where the characters watch a play depicting their exploits of the three previous seasons. Actually it's not as much recap as it is a parody - including the 'real' characters sinking through their seats in shame.
    • It's a very meta parody, as well. Like Aang being played by a girl, some confusion as to whether Jet died, and the heroes' visit to the Great Divide being summarized with "Let's not go there". In fact, much of the parody actually comes from complaints of the fandom.
      • Of course, the play also ends with a Downer Ending for the protagonists, where Azula and the Fire Lord win. Propaganda at its finest.
  • The Legend of Korra's equivalent to "The Ember Island Players", Book Four's "Remembrances", is a more traditional clip show (though the final third is a great deal Denser and Wackier). It has the characters reflect and comment on romance, friendship, past mistakes and the villains they've faced. Like its predecessor, it's largely a Breather Episode and contains a great deal of self-deprecating humor, much of which is a reflection of fandom opinions. This episode, however, was not according to the original plan - a highly unwelcome budget cut left production short an episode's worth of funds, and they were forced to either make do largely with existing footage or fire several members of their staff a few weeks early.
  • "Reflections" in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) recapped all of the turtles' encounters with the Shredder up until then.
  • Beavis And Butthead did a Grand Finale that's a recap of the entire series. Though at one point they opted instead for an Overly-Long Gag consisting just of Beavis sitting on the couch.
  • The short-lived Silver Surfer: The Animated Series, despite being awesome in most respects, inexplicably spoiled its second episode by devoting a huge chunk of it to recapping the events of the first episode in clips.
  • The even-shorter-lived Clerks cartoon parodied this in the very second episode made. What compounded this even further was that, due to Executive Meddling, this was actually the very first episode ever aired.
  • In the episode "The Elevator" of Totally Spies!, the Spies are trapped in an elevator while chasing a villain. As they wait for rescue, they recount their adventures as teenage undercover agents.
  • Transformers: Prime has an interesting example in the form of the episode "Grill", which takes the form of one of the Autobots' government liaison briefing his superior; while it is composed almost entirely of clips and summaries of characters and events, it nevertheless, conveys new information in the form of the official government position on and interpretation of the events up to that point.
    • Later, "Patch" pretty much summarizes the exploits of Starscream throughout the series. That episode also stands out, as it has the immediate effect of sending one of the lesser villains on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge due to learning the fate of his brother, which ultimately results in his death.
  • "Stormy Weather 2" in Miraculous Ladybug is largely made up of clips from previous seasons where the characters all reflect on how much they have and haven't changed since the pilot episode, which, notably was the original "Stormy Weather".
  • The Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps DVD movie Dreams Do Come True is essentially this. There is a plot, but there's a lot of material that is just flashbacks of past stories and songs.
  • Moral Orel: "Orel's Movie Premiere" is a variation: Orel screens some of his stop-motion films for several of the supporting characters (animated in the same style he's shown filming over the show's credits) which tell the events of the first 3 (intended) episodes. While trying to tell the events in "Charity" he gets cut off by local bully Joe, who starts narrating his own story over it (which also refers to events from earlier episodes). Not clear if it's intentional, but this episode airs before "Nature."
  • The Motorcity episode "Threat Level: Texas!" has Texas being interrogated by Tooley of KaneCo, who retells events from the episodes "Battle for Motorcity," "Power Trip" and "Going Dutch." Only he's an Unreliable Narrator, has a Self-Serving Memory or is messing with Tooley; the flashbacks are shown in a way that portray him as the hero instead of Mike Chilton, and the Burners (and others) are shown to be very out of character.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has an episode called "The Skeleton King Threat", in which the Monkey Team finally gains the ability to talk to humans and tells them about their adventures so far.
  • Both of the shows in the short-lived Marvel Action Heroes, Fantastic Four: The Animated Series and Iron Man: The Animated Series, had this as their respective third-to-last episodes, "Hopelessly Impossible" and "Empowered". The former had the Impossible Man fleeing from the Super-Skrull and team-up with the Human Torch and Lockjaw as part of its framing device and the latter had the MODOK and the Mandarin use the latter's rings to learn about what's happened since the season premiere.
  • At the end of Season 3 of Reboot, Mike the TV and the Mainframe Strolling Players host a musical rendition that recaps the events of Season 3 through a rewritten version of "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General".
  • In the Underdog episode "The Tickle Feather Machine", the first half of the first part of the story is spent recalling Simon Bar Sinister's past capers, all of which foiled by the titular caped canine: the Shrinking Water from "The Big Shrink", the Weather Machine from "Weathering the Storm", the Snow Gun from "Go Snow" and titular amnesia-inducing net in "The Forget-Me-Net". After the fact, it kicks off the plot for Simon to invent the titular diabolical machine that tickles people into submission so nobody can stop him from being elected dictator.


Video Example(s):


A Tale Of Two Tournies.

Yami and Kaiba flashback to everything that has happened in the series up until this point in order to pass time (and save the animators time and money).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / RecapEpisode

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