After a potentially unusual first episode, the second starts with the character waking up out of bed, muttering something about a strange dream or nightmare. The character then realizes the first episode actually happened yesterday or gets reminded it did. Any characters they met frequently appear in their home (or at school as a New Transfer Student) bright and cheerful as if nothing special happened and they've been buddies for ages. (For works heavy on Fanservice, "in their home" equals "she is sleeping in his bed, naked".)
Since this is technically not the end of a two-part episode arc, someone will provide a monologue of the first episode's important bits for the especially absent-minded audience. It's also useful for the character, since they might not have even had time to digest the situation before the last episode ended. This can be so effective the viewer can skip the first episode entirely if they want to see how a 'real' episode is handled.
- After initially encountering Mone in a dream during the first episode of Yumeria, Tomokazu Mikuri wakes up to find her laying in his bed next to him.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- Happens in episode two in a hospital bed instead of his own, and it's more of a Second Episode Hangover from the events of episode 1.
- Played with in the final episode: Shinji briefly imagines an alternate reality where it's still the Second Episode Morning, and the entire series has been a bad dream he was having. Most of the audience only wishes the final episode in turn was a bad dream. And eventually that sequence in the final episode went on to become its own AU series, providing us with a slightly happier version of Eva. Due to the nature of the ending, it's not even necessarily imagination, it might for all intents and purposes be real, considering the state of things at that point.
- Hideki wakes up in the second episode of Chobits to find Chii asleep in bed with him. The Scream ensues.
- Hazumu discovers in the second episode of Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl that A) yes, she's still a girl, and B) aliens have moved in to her house.
- Usagi has a Second Episode Morning in Sailor Moon and is shocked to find that Luna can, in fact, talk to her, and that the previous episode's battle wasn't a dream.
- Similarly, the main character of Cardcaptor Sakura has trouble waking up in the second episode, after a 'weird dream' about flying and a talking stuffed toy called 'Kero-chan'... until said sidekick flies over to say good morning, both startling her and jogging her memory of the previous evening's events.
- In Mamotte Shugogetten, after a destruction-filled first night with Shaorin, the hero wakes up thinking it was all a dream, only to have Shaorin cheerfully greet him. (Never mind the obvious problem of him wondering how he woke up to hot coffee being right next to him.) This actually all happened in the first episode, but it was the same idea.
- Mai-Otome Zwei, being an OAV series, has a second scene morning, that otherwise exactly duplicates the trope.
- In the second episode of Kurau Phantom Memory Kurau wakes up to find her Rynax-pair sleeping next to her, making her realize happily that she is not alone anymore.
- Bleach features this as well. After Ichigo becomes a Shinigami, and defeats Fishbone D he wakes up apparently thinking it's a dream, until he notices his house has a huge hole in it, and Rukia shows up at his school as a New Transfer Student.
- In the second chapter of Yotsuba&!, the title character wakes up in a strange house and panics, before remembering they just spent yesterday moving.
- The first episode of Rockman.EXE Axess, the second season, has Netto performing Cross Fusion, defeating the Dragon to the Dragon Beastman, and then passing out from the exertion. The episode ends with Rockman frantically calling for him after he's out on the ground. He wakes up in the second episode, spaces out for a bit, then goes into a panic when he remembers the events of the previous day and can't find his partner. (In the English "dub" [MegaMan NT Warrior], Lan wakes up immediately and banters with Mega Man at the end of the first episode.)
- A particularly strange examplenote of this trope occurred with the American broadcast of Vision of Escaflowne, in which the Fox network executives made good on that whole "the viewer can skip the first episode entirely" thing by actually skipping most of the first episode, which details how Hitomi got from Earth to Gaia. Instead, the show starts off with her "new life" already underway. The subsequent episodes were chopped up in a similar way, combining halves of episodes together and moving things around, until they just dropped it altogether.
- Kamina Ayato from RahXephon gets one of these. After a...hectic day where several inexplicable events happen to him he wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what occurred. He gets his memory back later in the episode.
- The second chapter of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann — Guren Gakuenhen.
- Omamori Himari: First day, Himari shows up at the way to school. At school, Yuuto is attacked, Himari comes out of nowhere and defends him. At night, she sneaks into his house (and bed). Then, the second chapter starts with both getting woken up by Rinko...
- Space Pirate Mito plays with this by having Mito, caught climbing out of her Mom suit by her son, Aoi, at the very end of the first episode, climbing back in at the beginning of the second and assuring her son that what he saw was just a dream. The two of them laugh it off until she realizes that her non-human crewmates are still hanging around. With no other choice, she shows him her true self (an alien that looks like a 3rd grader), causing Aoi to faint. The very next scene shows Aoi waking up screaming and deciding that he must have dreamt the previous scene. Until his house is destroyed by a giant version of his mom that suddenly takes to the air. Aoi flees, then is hit by a car, and then wakes up screaming again, this time for real. He hears his mom's voice from the other room, but when he sees her in her true form again, he leaps back into bed, hoping that this, too, is All Just a Dream.
- To Love-Ru has Rito waking to find his naked alien fiance in his bed.
- Seikon No Qwaser has this.
- The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya episode 1 starts with Kyon waking up, going to school, introducing himself to his new classmates and meeting Haruhi, the girl who would make him do that god-awful movie shown in Episode 00.
- In the last part of the Melancholy arc, he wakes up and assumes that last night's events in the closed space were a dream, only to find Haruhi wearing the ponytail that he mentioned to her earlier.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica does this in episode 02. Madoka awakens to discover the creature known as Kyubey she found yesterday is very real.
- Jewelpet Twinkle. Episode 2 opens with Akari having a nightmare of the events in the first episode and she wakes up thinking that all that happened was a dream. She sulks until she spots Ruby on her table and realizes it was real after all, which makes her perk up.
- Back to the Future:
- All three movies have a sequence where Marty awakens and tells his mother he dreamed he traveled back in time, only to be told "you're safe here in good old 1955/the 27th floor/the McFly farm".
- As well, Back to the Future Part II ends on a cliffhanger, with Marty announcing to Doc that he came back from the future, just after Doc sends him back to the future in a sequence first shown in the first movie. This causes Doc to faint, and after waking up at home in the beginning of Part III, he dismisses the encounter as a hallucination... until he bumps into Marty, who's right there with him in the room and who continues to claim that he came back from the future.
- Also, at the end of the trilogy, Jennifer believes that her time in the future was a dream — until she finds the fax paper in her pocket.
- After meeting Hagrid for the first time, Harry Potter thinks, right before he wakes up the next morning, that the whole experience will have turned out to be a dream. Of course, once he opens his eyes he discovers that it wasn't.
- In The Hobbit, Bilbo wakes the day after the unexpected party to find the dwarves gone. He believes they were real, especially because they didn't bother to clean up after their breakfast, but assumes they've gone off on their adventure without him until Gandalf shows up to check on him.
- The second episode of Frasier starts this way, with the main character waking up to find Martin and Daphne in his apartment. He is not pleased.
- In the second episode of Spaced, Tim wakes up to find the flat clean and pristine, and his ex-girlfriend Sarah is there to assure him that she would never, ever break up with him. Then his alien costume comes to life and drags him under the door, screaming.
- Not done for a character, but the town of Storybrooke in Once Upon a Time wakes up in the morning of the second episode.
- The first episode of WarpZone Project shows how thing work in a world where the fact that Comic Books Are Real is hidden via Weirdness Censor. Two average humans see a super-hero and super-villain fighting right in front of them, but they go about their business as if nothing has happend the second they vanish. Their conversation, however, turns to discussing the comic depicting the two supers and remebering it to include a fight much like the one they just witnessed. The second episode has the protagonist waking up after dreaming of the real fight, then getting a visit from the super-villain.
- Through dub editing, Winx Club originally opened with Bloom waking up in the morning, before eventually finding Stella (who's fighting an ogre and various creatures). In the 4Kids "dub", Bloom finds Stella and her fight first, and then the 2nd segment of the show opens with Bloom waking up in the morning, and finding that she didn't just dream all that up.note
- In Kim Possible, after the title character and Ron Stoppable finally get together after three seasons, the first episode of the fourth season begins with the last of the third: the last dance, the kiss. That is, until Kim begins to melt. Cue Ron waking up screaming and calling his new girlfriend for the assurance that indeed, they were dating. And again, at the end of the episode:
Kim: How many times do I have to tell you? We kissed, we're dating.
Ron: So you leaving me for Rufus was...?
Ron: Me being Middleton's new running back? Dream?
Kim: No, that's actually happened.
Ron: Oh, I'm on a team, that's cool. OK, how about you water-skiing over a shark? (Kim hangs up) Hello? Hello? Kim?