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Recycled Animation

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Sometimes, for budget or schedule reasons, you have Stock Footage scenes reused multiple times. But you want to recycle scenes from completely different creations you already made, changing the setting or the characters.

What distinguishes this from Stock Footage is that only part of the artwork is reused, not the entire footage. For example, the same cels used for one scene could be shot against a different background, or the drawings could be recolored on a different set of cels, or redrawn so that you have a different character doing the same action. In CGI, a character model may be altered to create another, or the actions of one character may be programmed onto a second character. While this allegedly is a money-saving move, in some occasions editing pre-existing footage to fit a new scene is actually more expensive than making new footage from scratch.

Often a feature of Limited Animation. Compare with Wraparound Background (when background assets are just repeated over and over). Reused Character Design can coincide with this. A Transformation Sequence is very often either this or Stock Footage, depending on the series. New Work, Recycled Graphics is the Videogame equivalent.



  • Neon Genesis Evangelion frequently recycles its own Stock Footage, but also recycles its own animation. This can be seen as early as the 2nd episode, where the characters' movements in Misato's apartment (Misato reaches forward and grabs Shinji's head) are exactly the same movements seen in the fight later (the Angel reaches forward and grabs Unit 01's head). The most egregious examples are the second half of 14 (in which Shinji attempts to sync with Unit-00, only for Unit-00 to go berserk in an almost beat-for-beat recycling of the first berserk Unit-00 scene,) and the final two episodes (when Gainax pretty much ran out of money and had to scrape together two more episodes with 90% recycled material.)
  • Yuri!!! on Ice reuses some of its animation for the characters' figure skating programs, even recycling a crash scene, and a shot of Minako twirling is seen more than once.
  • Pretty common in Magical Girl anime that use the same transformation and attack sequences every episode, such as Sailor Moon and Pretty Cure.
  • Dragon Ball Super and its predecessors are responsible for this.
    • The Universal Survival saga is quite criticized for this, but for some it was tolerated as the artwork was more polished than earlier episodes. Most of the animations are from the characters of the bench offering commentary, but here are some examples of reused animation:
      • Episodes 97, 99, 103 and 107 use a frontal shot of Beerus screaming to the camera.
      • Episode 99, which focuses on Krillin, reuses animation from episode 84 that equally focuses on Krillin.
      • Episode 97 reuses animation of Goku dodging energy blasts from episode 85. The same animation is reused in episode 103, when Goku dodges Rozy energy attacks.
      • Episode 102 uses Stock Footage for Helles boasts, reusing the same animation six times. Likewise, Ribrianne and her friend's animation is reused twice, while Ribrianne's individual animation was used in episode 91. Ribrianne's fight with Vegeta likewise reuses animation from the anime opening.

Asian Animation

  • Nana Moon has a number of character animations and poses it uses throughout the series, just with different backgrounds each time to fit whatever location the characters are in. Keke and Princess Amy in particular have a few animations that tend to be reused, such as two where Princess Amy is simply standing still and talkingnote  and one where Keke points towards the screen.


  • Used extensively by Disney in the days of hand-drawn animation. Most of their most famous films have clearly recognisable scenes repeated by tracing new characters over the existing animation. This was mostly done for more complex scenes such as chases and dancing that involve multiple different characters moving independently, which were by far the most difficult to produce using traditional methods. Worth noting that according to animator Floyd Norman, this is one of the trademarks of Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman, and it wasn't really done out of a want to save on time or money, he just wanted to play it safe and stuck to an already-done animation that did the job, hence why most of the Disney examples below are from works he directed.
  • 101 Dalmatians:
    • The animation of Tibbs entering Hell Hall is lifted from Figaro opening the window in Pinocchio.
    • The animation of Tibbs running away from Jasper and Horace is lifted from Cinderella, when Lucifer is being chased away by Bruno.
  • The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: When Ichabod is travelling through the woods, there is a shot of hollow reeds blowing in the wind, creating an eerie whistling sound. These are taken from "The Old Mill".
  • Alice in Wonderland: The fish watching the Walrus lure away the oysters are from Pinocchio.
  • The Aristocats: The scene of O'Malley being cornered by Edgar is taken from a scene of Jasper cornering Tibbs and the puppies from 101 Dalmatians.
  • Beauty and the Beast:
    • Some of the deer seen in the distance at the beginning are taken straight from Bambi. This actually led to an urban legend that Gaston supposedly killed Bambi's mother, although both films take place in different locations.
    • The final dancing scene of Princess Aurora and Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty is recycled as basis for Belle and the Prince dancing at the end.
  • The Black Cauldron:
    • When Taran looks for Hen-Wen in the Forbidden Forest, the same animation is used as Wart going to retrieve Kay's arrow from The Sword in the Stone.
    • When Hen Wen reveals that the Horned King is searching for the Black Cauldron, the animation of the ghostly Horned King was borrowed from similar horse-riding spirits in Fantasia.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In the 1929 short The Haunted House, one scene of the performing skeletons is lifted from The Skeleton Dance, with an added twist in their top halves getting blown away while their legs continue to dance.
    • In the 1931 short The Castaway, the dancing seals were taken from Wild Waves, while the introduction of the gorilla was from Jungle Rhythm.
    • In the 1946 short Squatter's Rights, the animation of Mickey saying "Gosh, Pluto, I can't be mad at ya" is taken from The Pointer.
    • In the 1948 short Donald's Dream Voice the crowd of people who wants to buy brushes from Donald is recycled from the one seen in Donald's Dilemma, just replacing the autograph paper with bills.
    • In the 1954 short Donald's Diary, part of Donald's nervous breakdown near the end is lifted from Der Fuehrer's Face and Mickey and the Beanstalk.
    • The 1956 Bill Justice short Jack and Old Mac reused animation of the dancing bobbysoxers from the "All the Cats Join In" segment of Make Mine Music for the dancing hillbillies in the "Old MacDonald Had a Band".
    • Another Bill Justice short released later that year, A Cowboy Needs a Horse, reused the train from The Brave Engineer as well as the advancing Native Americans from the Goofy short Californy 'er Bust.
    • The four shorts made between 1941 and 1942 for the Canadian market to convince people into buying war savings were mostly made of recycled footage:
      • The Thrifty Pig recycles scenes from The Three Little Pigs, editing them to have Practical Pig building his house with war savings and dressing the Big Bad Wolf in Nazi attire.
      • 7 Wise Dwarfs recycles footage from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (the first part of the "Heigh Ho!" song) before cutting to new footage.
      • Donald's Decision recycles scenes from Self Control (Donald listening to the radio) and Donald's Better Self (the conflict between Donald's inner angel and devil).
      • The last one, All Together, recycles footage from Good Scouts (Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie marching) and The Band Concert (Mickey directing the orchestra).
  • Escape to Witch Mountain: Yes, it's a live-action film, but it has an Animated Credits Opening in which the animation of the chasing dogs is recycled from Bambi.
  • The Fox and the Hound:
    • Some background birds are taken from Bambi, most notably shots of ducks swimming and a family of pheasants running from the rain in the "Little April Shower" number.
    • A shot of a squirrel running through the trees is from The Sword in the Stone.
  • Goliath II:
  • The Great Mouse Detective: The coach that Toby, Basil and Dawson pass on their way to rescue the Queen is the dog catcher's wagon from Lady and the Tramp.
  • The Jungle Book:
    • The scene where the wolves lick Mowgli's face is copied straight from the one in The Sword in the Stone where dogs lick Wart's face.
    • The shot of the elephant brigade marching by is copied from a shot of octopi marching by like elephants from the short Merbabies.
    • The scene where the elephant brigade piles up is lifted from Goliath II.
    • The scene where Bagheera and Baloo rescue Mowgli from the monkeys is copied from the scene in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad where Mr. Toad's friends try to get his deed from Winky and his weasel henchmen.
    • The same animated shots of Mowgli are frequently reused throughout the film.
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh:
    • A lot of Tigger's animations in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day were later recycled in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.
    • In the epilogue, the animation of Christopher Robin walking and throwing a stone is recycled from Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
    • The blowing reeds in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day are from "The Old Mill".
    • The dancing Heffalumps are lifted from the "Pink Elephants" sequence in Dumbo.
  • The Little Mermaid: When Sebastian calls for winds in the intro to "Kiss the Girl", the reeds that blow in the wind are also taken from The Old Mill.
  • The Princess and the Frog: One reaction shot of Louie is taken from Madam Mim after she makes her face uglier in The Sword in the Stone.
  • The Rescuers: The animation of Penny running away in the swamp is recycled from Mowgli in The Jungle Book.
  • Robin Hood:
    • Little John and Sir Hiss have some animations recycled from The Jungle Book's Baloo and Kaa.
    • The dancing sequence recycles animations from the dancing sequences seen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Maid Marian dancing with the owl, the pig and the mother rabbit, Maid Marian clapping), The Aristocats (the band playing music, Maid Marian dancing with Robin) and The Jungle Book (Little John dancing with Lady Cluck).
    • Animation of the Sheriff of Nottingham is often used more than once throughout the film (most notably his leisurely walk cycle.) The Sheriff's main animator Milt Kahl was reportedly not amused by his animation being reused more than once.
  • Sleeping Beauty: When Maleficent's goons are running for cover from their master's rage, their animation is recycled from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (when the dwarfs hide from the "monster" in their cottage).
  • The Sword in the Stone: The scene where Hector accidentally hits Kay's head with his sword is recycled from a similar scene in 101 Dalmatians featuring Horace and Jasper.

Web Animation


Western Animation

  • Dora the Explorer:
    • The "Travel Song" had a total of three different animations for each of its three parts (when Dora and Boots say where they're going, the part where they sing "Come on, vamonos!", and when they laugh and spin in a circle), which get reused in various different episodes. The unique animations from the episode "Wizzle Wishes" were reused in "Little Star" with Little Star taking the Wizzle's place. Season 2 also reuses the animations from the episode "The Big Storm" in various episodes.
    • The animation of Dora standing behind the three-picture sequence from "Hic-Boom-Ohhh" was reused a total of sixteen times after its initial episode.
    • The original animation of Map dancing in Season 1 is used throughout almost the whole season, with only the exception of "Hic-Boom-Ohhh" where his unique dancing was reused for "Wizzle Wishes".
  • Filmation was particularly fond of this trope, since they mass-produced so many TV cartoons in The '70s and The '80s on substantially small budgets. It was not uncommon to see the same walk cycles and close-ups of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, or Prince Adam and Cringer changing into He-Man and Battlecat respectively. The Archie Show and The Brady Kids even had near-duplicate intros of the kids playing in bands.
  • Hanna-Barbera, whom also mass-produced TV cartoons on the cheap (though not as cheap as Filmation), also often recycled animation when necessary, especially shots of characters talking and their various walk and run cycles in their output from the late 60s to the early 80s. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was especially guilty of this.
    • When Huckleberry Hound lost Yogi Bear (who got his own show) and the Kellogg's sponsorship in 1961, the opening was retooled with Huck himself replacing the Kellogg's Corn Flakes rooster. Huck's animation was rotoscoped from the rooster's original animation. Similarly the closing credits were rotoscoped from the original, replacing the cereal mascots with Hokey Wolf, Ding-a-Ling, Yakky Doodle and Chopper.
  • The earlier Looney Tunes commonly reused animation for Bosko, especially his dancing. Sometimes these animations would substitute Bosko for a different character.
    • 1936's "Let It Be Me" reused a scene of a hen hiding something from her rooster husband from the 1932 short "I Wish I Had Wings." The scene was reused again in 1939's "Wise Quacks," this time with Daffy and his wife.
    • 1940's "Porky's Baseball Broadcast" reuses several scenes from 1936's "Boulevardier from the Bronx," another baseball-themed cartoon from the same director.
    • Many denizens of the books from 1937's "September in the Rain" were repurposed six years later in "Tin Pan Alley Cats".
    • During the mid-late 1940s, several black-and-white cartoons were redrafted to be done in color, most notably with "Porky in Wackyland" when it got released as "Dough for the Dodo" in 1949.
    • By the 1960s, most of the cartoons had to recycle animation from the previous cartoons to make up the reduced budget. Good luck finding any cartoon directed by Friz Freleng from 1962 or later that doesn't have animation recycled from a previous cartoon, as Freleng has long adapted the frequent use of recycling gags and animation during his final cartoons at Warner Bros. Most of the other directors that remained didn't fare much better with their cartoons, despite being less frequent.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "20,000 Patties Under the Sea" rather infamously reuses the beginning scene of the jellyfish flying from "Jellyfishing". It's glaringly obvious due to the differing animation style of the cel animation and more primitive jellyfish design than what is shown afterward. Another scene with Plankton's telescope shaking is also reused from "Krabs à La Mode", albeit recolored.
  • The The Loud House episode "Fed Up" recycles a bunch of shots from earlier episodes:
    • The stills of Luna rocking out are from "No Guts, No Glori".
    • Thee scene of everyone running downstairs is almost identical to the one in "The Sweet Spot", with the biggest difference being Lola using her princess car.
    • The scenes of the siblings fighting each other and then stopping to reassure dad that everything is fine recycle the battling shot from "Slice of Life" and the "One boy, 10 girls" shot from the theme song.
    • The scene of the sisters getting ready in the bathroom before going to bed is almost identical to the one from "Space Invader", with the main differences being that Luan is not in her night gown, Leni and Luna's positions are swapped (and Leni isn't brushing her hair) and Lana is not present.
  • Mainframe Entertainment recycled a few polygonal models between their productions:
    • An episode of War Planets briefly uses Rattrap's model as a generic rat in the background.
    • In the Scary Godmother movies, Harry the werewolf is blatantly Noble's character model recolored, made fatter and covered in a blue Hawaiian jacket.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic season 7 episode "All Bottled Up" reuses the distinctive rage face for Starlight Glimmer that she first used in the season 5 premier episode "The Cutie Map".
  • The Simpsons: Many early episodes resorted to this as a way of saving time and money. Some notable examples include:
    • The beginning of the third act of "Bart the Daredevil" where Otto drives the kids back from a field trip to the Springfield Gorge reuses footage from "Homer's Odyssey" of the school bus driving down a winding road and past a prison. The Season 1 gradient-style backgrounds are especially noticeable.
    • In "Lisa's Pony", the footage of Lisa calling Homer while he's at work to tell him she loves him is taken from "Bart's Dog Gets An F", which is notable since she was sick with Mumps in that episode.
    • In "Radio Bart", the footage of the police interviewing Homer and Marge is lifted from "Bart vs. Thanksgiving" (with new dialogue dubbed over).
    • The scene in "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" where Homer bemoans Herb's treatment of him to Marge in bed was taken from "Saturdays of Thunder" because they decided to explain the plot a bit more.
    • Parodied in "Another Simpsons Clip Show" when Bart and Lisa watch an Itchy and Scratchy cartoon that we as an audience have seen in a previous episode, causing Marge to ask them how many times they can watch that particular cartoon. They lampshade by answering that it's a new episode made from stock footage. This is also self-referential comedy because the entire episode (apart from the first scene) itself is made from stock footage from previous Simpsons episodes, only with occasional new dialogue spliced over them; the episode was thrown together at the last minute when Fox moved the start of the new season forward a few weeks, and the producers decided to take the concept of a Clip Show to its logical extreme by having as little new animation as possible.
    • Bart waking up from his soulless nightmare in "Bart Sells His Soul" is recycled from "Treehouse of Horror II", albeit with Lisa removed.
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", Bart running down a hill is a recycled shot from "Kamp Krusty", although flipped horizontally and with the other characters removed.
    • In "Brother from the Same Planet", the shot of Homer watching television in the rarely-seen rumpus room is taken from "Three Men and a Comic Book".
    • The tombstones in the Grave Humor bit in the opening of the first five "Treehouse of Horror" episodes were reused from the very first Treehouse of Horror. The animation quality is noticeably different in the later episodes (the writers eventually grew tired of thinking of new jokes for the bit and stopped using it after the fifth episode, hence why the final tombstone is "Amusing Tombstones").
  • Season 3 of Spider-Man: The Animated Series had little to no budget and often recycled animation from older episodes. Not counting the infamous "Spidey swinging through CGI skyscrapers" Stock Footage seen over and over during the show, of course.
  • The second half of the second season of VeggieTales on TV recycled footage from prior episodes and had the voice actors record new dialogue over it. This is probably the reason that these episodes did not air on television until the show hit syndication in 2015.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • The show frequently reused animation of establishing shots from older episodes, with a notable one being outside the P.S. 118 school building with the flag waving in the wind. It got especially noticeable when the show switched to digital ink-and-paint in the fourth season, due to the old footage using hand-painted cel animation.
    • Another noticeable use of recycled animation happens in the fourth season episode "Synchronized Swimming," opening with footage of Arnold and the other kids playing and swimming in the city pool taken from "6th Grade Girls." This results in another jarring change between the old hand-painted cel animation to the newer digitally-colored animation.
  • The Raccoons had the same recycled close-up shots of the main characters (including Mr. Knox, Lady Baden-Baden and Bentley) talking, even after switching from Atkinson Film-Arts to Hinton Animation Studios at the start of season 2.
  • The Peanuts specials of The '90s used this quite a bit....
  • Rankin/Bass's first traditionally-animated TV series, Tales of the Wizard of Oz, used this a lot, being a low-budget Limited Animation TV cartoon from The '60s. It was not uncommon to see Socrates Strawman walking the same cycle, or the same animation of the Wicked Witch of the West cackling, etc.
  • Molly of Denali: The jig dance scene in "Fiddlesticks" is slightly recycled from "A Splash Of Mink".


Video Example(s):


Dragon Ball GT

Apparently one of Omega Shenron's powers allows him to loop the same style of animation a few times.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / RecycledAnimation

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