Ending Theme

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The Ending Theme (usually written as "ED") is, predictably, similar to the Opening Theme ("OP"). The major difference is they aren't really intended to show off or reveal anything about the show. Most have a slower or mellower song (often Japanese Pop Music) set to them. The images are sometimes more static in order not to obscure the longer list of animation credits needed.

Conversely, the Ending Theme can be more humorous and upbeat; depending on the age or tone of a series, you're more likely to see Super-Deformed characters or dancing in it than the opening.

Anime series are more likely to have separate opening and closing theme songs. Western series usually use an instrumental version of the opening theme for the Ending Theme.

Anime endings are also more likely to change more frequently than anime openings.

Solemn Ending Theme is a subtrope

Examples of Ending Theme include:

Anime and Manga

  • The upbeat, super deformed, dancing version is used in the anime version of Kodomo no Jikan.
  • Sister Princess closes each episode with a reflective song called "Tsubasa" ("Wings") which muses on the directions life takes one.
  • Dragon Half closes with a nonsense patter song about an omelette, sung to Beethoven's 7th symphony.
  • One season of Ranma ½ ended its episodes with the "Ranma Lambada", which retold the series premise in humorous musical form; the full-length version included vocal cameos from all major characters. Another season ended episodes with a song called "Red Shoe Sunday", in which Shampoo and Kasumi each musically long for the man of their dreams.
  • The Ending Theme in Love Hina is noticeably lower-key than the upbeat opening theme (except for the last episode of season one, which ends with the upbeat "Hajimari wa koko kara", a perfect bridge to season two. Of course, the story arc trajectory promised by that song came to a crashing halt with the cancellation of season two...). Love Hina Again continues this, but the theme shifts from focusing on Naru to a Gothic themed Kanako and back again, reflecting the two and their struggle over Keitaro.
  • The second Ending Theme of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is if anything MORE Hot-Blooded than the Opening Theme.
  • The Ending Theme of Spice and Wolf, in contrast to its beautiful, soaringly dramatic Opening Theme, is an utterly silly tune filled with Gratuitous English lyrics that clearly aren't supposed to make any sense whatsoever.
  • The Ending Theme of Excel Saga features the dog Menchi singing about being eaten, with a woman translating the yaps into Japanese. The final episode's closing reverses the roles, with Menchi translating Japanese into Dog.
  • One of the more... interesting examples comes from the original anime of Hellsing. The closing theme was a Real Song Theme Tune, called "Shine", which was an '80s power ballad about belief in one's self. The interesting part? It was a song by American '80s hair metal band Mr. Big. Proof that This is Spinal Tap wasn't exaggerating too much about making it big in Japan.
  • Exception: Lucky Star doesn't even have an ending theme, instead using a static image of a door while snippets of the characters karaokeing other songs (from anime and pop culture) can be heard from within. Halfway through the series, it's replaced with Minoru Shiraishi in live action dancing about and doing his own karaoke.
  • Of course, there's The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya with its famous "Hare Hare Yukai". The dance has been copied worldwide and later animated in full, and a variation of the song was featured in every character album.
  • Negima!?, the Alternate Continuity version of Mahou Sensei Negima, has had two so far, because it keeps changing around its OP and ED at a speed far exceeding other series.
  • Paradise Kiss is a rarity, in that its ED is a popular British song, "Do You Wanna" by Franz Ferdinand. Not only that, but the ED was retained when the series was licensed for distribution in America. Anime with American or British theme songs often have to replace them for distribution outside Japan, due to difficulties in negotiating the rights.
  • Blue Drop reverses the formula by making the ending tune a catchy, melodic J-Pop tune, whereas the opening is slow and orchestral.
  • Midori no Hibi's closing credits were different from the opening contrast to the mellow romantic end song.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew closes with a cute song about eating dessert (although presumably not the desserts that turned into the main characters at the beginning of the song). There are also dancing cats.
  • Stellvia of the Universe has two very different ones, and this isn't a matter of the theme being changed once during the season - the series switches back and forth between them repeatedly. Some episodes use "Kirei na Yozora" for their ED, while others have "The End of The World" (despite titles, the lyrics for both are entirely in Japanese).
    • There's also a third ED, "Dear My Best Friend", which is used only on the final episode.
  • The first ending theme of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a chirpy ditty with lyrics containing loads of Ship Tease that plays while a kiddie drawing of Nanoha dances in place. Later seasons use more melancholic songs accompanied by Nanoha looking pensively at the distance, and in the case of the second season ED, with lyrics containing loads of Ship Tease.
  • For a while, Bleach featured, as its ending theme, the bright pop-y, peppy song 'Happy People'.. which often starkly contrasted with the darker events of the actual episode.
    • "If you harm Hinamori... I'll kill you myself..." "HAPPY PEOPLE!"
    • Also of note is the third ending theme, which featured a completely different animation sequence each time it ran (for a total of thirteen!) Each sequence spotlighted the captain and lieutenant of one of the thirteen Court Guardian Squads. Yet more Soundtrack Dissonance resulted: the episode with Aizen's death had Aizen and Hinamori in the spotlight.
  • The ending theme of the OVA Project A-ko 3: Cinderella Rhapsody, "Get a Chance!" by BaBe, is entirely in English, supposedly. See here.
    • There's two versions: the Japanese version isn't on the soundtrack but they have the music video for it after the credits run (and it is HILARIOUSLY farm themed). Be Be is the Japanese band, and they are credited with Caryan for the English version.
  • Darkstalkers has as the closing credits theme for every incarnation a song called "Trouble Man".
  • Maison Ikkoku seemed to adopt endings that fit one of the main characters with the opening fitting the other main lead. Ashita Hareru Ka as the 1st ending theme was particularly moving to me, even before I read the translation.
  • Averted completely on One Piece which since season seven has had NO ending sequence at all. At the end of each episode, we simply get a TO BE CONTINUED card, then it's right on to the next-episode preview and then the show is over. To compensate, they extended the opening sequence, which is now nearly THREE MINUTES long, and include all the credits there.
  • The first season closing theme of Keroro Gunso was "Afro Gunso," roughly translates to "The Sergeant has an Afro." It's some kind of disco funk anthem by the eccentric Japanese performer Dance Man. The closing montage features the titular sergeant donning a huge afro wig and Saturday Night Fever duds, while disco dancing IN SPACE.
  • Pani Poni Dash! had six ending themes (in a single-series show!), all of them sung by characters on the show. One of them is a slow ditty by Rebecca, the Child Prodigy teacher, while the rest are... well, pretty much what you'd expect from a Widget Series.
  • Ouran High School Host Club ended on a special form of one of these entitled "Mata Ashita." Most of the characters sang, and the two that didn't had speaking lines during it. This song is effectively this trope, Anime Theme Song, and a Cover Song for all of the characters.
  • Cowboy Bebop, from the band that brought us the Crowning Music of Awesome Tank!, also managed to give us the amazing The Real Folk Blues. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, while the intro was purely a big band ensemble, the ending is a slower, mellower blues.
    • Unfortunately Adult Swim cuts out the ending theme in their recent airings.
  • Azumanga Daioh has Raspberry Heaven. In contrast with the peppy, nonsensical, feel-good Soramimi Cake, the ending theme is majestic, heartwarming, somewhat sad song. Still makes no sense, though.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has way, way, way too many to count here. Some notable examples include the Hellboy homage Omamori, the Beatles like Marionette, the complete Art Shift Koji Romanesque and, of course, the surreal ending theme Zessei Bijin.
  • Black Lagoon ends, in most cases, on a despair-tinged string piece that ends with a sudden outbreak of percussion. The majority of the piece stands in stark contrast to the aggressive opening and darkens the end of even the more upbeat episodes. They replace it once in the second season with the even sadder song "The World of Midnight", which also appears in-series to highlight the saddest scenes. The only time the ending isn't depressing is the heart-pumping end of the second season.
  • The Meaning of Truth that plays during the final episode of the F-Zero Anime before, during, and after Captain Falcon sacrifices himself to defeat Black Shadow.
  • The different versions of the very popular Jazz Standard Fly me to the Moon used for great Soundtrack Dissonance in Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia has in absence of an opening song, an extremely catchy ending theme that almost all characters have sung
  • Brigadoon Marin and Melan has a ridiculously catchy and cute ending theme that tries to dampen the bitter sorrow that some of the cliffhanger episode endings invoke upon the viewer.
  • Sailor Moon has one for each season. Most of them are mellower tunes, but the one for the silliest "comedy relief" season is an upbeat dance song ("Rashiku Ikimasho").
  • An early example of this is "Shiroi Tennis Court" from Aim for The Ace. It's a soft and sad love song compared to its brassy opening "Serve, Smash, Volley, Ace wo Nerae" theme.
  • Sora no Otoshimono goes over the top with different ending songs for each episode. Equally unusually, there's no Stock Footage in any of the endings, each one featuring original animation.
  • Interestingly, Record of Lodoss War OVA has two different versions of the ending theme - the original, and an English-language version for the dub. It's very well-done at that.
  • Sonic X had three different ending songs. Run&Gun's "MI-RA-I" and Aya Hiroshige's "Hikaru Michi" are noticeably a lot slower and in case of the latter, sadder, but the third one "T.O.P" by KP was more Hip Hop-esque.
  • The first ending theme for Black Butler was the oddly cheerful pop rock song "I'm Alive" . Understandably, this got a little jarring with endings like Grell murdering Madame Red. It was changed to an unnerving yet fitting tune called Lachrymosa.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica's ending is a little special: the theme in question, Kalafina's awesome "Magia," isn't revealed until episode 3 when the tone of the series got significantly darker. The song itself is also used for Crowning Moment of Awesome parts in the anime.
  • Speed Racer had a jazzier and and slower instrumental version of the intro that played over the credits.
  • The anime of The Idolmaster actually subverts this somewhat by changing the ending theme every episode, with each theme being different songs from the games.
  • In the early episodes of the 1968 Kaibutsu kun series the closing credits was a slightly different rendition of the opening theme song. Half-way through the run the first closing sequence was replaced by "Kaibutsu Ondo", which, oddly enough, didn't actually have any credits (they were moved to the opening); the purpose was to get the kids to sing and dance to the song.
  • Hakushon Daimao has an interesting case. Like most anime it had its opening and closing themes, but halfway through the run they switched places (what was originally the opening song became the closing song, and vice versa).
  • The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi had different endings. The first one was Nagato's singing in one episode, so when the credits showed, instead of the acual ending theme, Nagato's singing can be heard until she finishes singing. Another difference was that, at the end of a later episode, although the acual ending theme played, Achakura can be heard munching on the cake some more at the start of the credits roll.

Live Action TV

  • Frasier star Kelsey Grammer sings about "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs" at the end of every episode of that series.
  • The ending theme to the Degrassi High/Degrassi Junior High series were upbeat and catchy, which didn't jive too well when an episode would end with a morally ambiguous (and in many cases, depressing) final scene.
  • The end theme for The Wire, entitled "The Fall", is a fitting and downright unsettling track that plays during the credits.
  • Red Dwarf always had a guitar-rock song with full vocals as its ending theme. The first two series used an over-the-top orchestral instrumental as the opening theme—later series dropped it in favor of an instrumental of the ending theme.
    • The show occasionally replaced this with an episode-specific variation: two examples being an Elvis impersonator singing the theme, and a Hammond Organ version.
  • Several of Gerry Anderson's shows have separate opening and closing themes.
    • Fireball XL 5 opens with an instrumental theme and closes with the song "Fireball".
    • Stingray has an all-action opening theme and ends with the romantic ballad "Aqua Marina".
    • Thunderbirds was all set to have a separate, lounge-esque theme with vocals for its closing credits, but it was scrapped weeks before the premiere. (However, "Flying High" - the song in question - is heard very briefly in the episode "Ricochet," and is also included on one of the soundtrack albums.)
    • Captain Scarlet (original version) begins with a tense, atmospheric theme and opening narration, and closes with an upbeat theme tune (both instrumental and vocal versions were used over the course of the series).
    • Joe90 has a fast synthesizer-based instrumental opening theme. A slower orchestral version is used for the close.
    • UFO has a fast-paced opening theme, while the closing theme is an almost-ambient piece of atmospheric electronica.
  • Gilligan's Island theme out, all together folks: So this is the tale of our castaways/They're here for a long, long time...
  • The sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati has a closing theme where a rock band plays a catchy tune and sings gibberish; this was intended to be just a test and warm-up for the real lyrics, but the producer liked it so much he used it as-is.
  • The Incredible Hulk had "The Lonely Man," a wistful soft piano piece that when combined with the iconic imagery at the end of each episode of Banner hitchhiking to the next town, burdened by the Hulk curse, creates the defining imagery of the superhero.
  • British police show The Sweeney used a slower and mellower version of its opening theme on the end credits, accompanying images of Carter and Regan packing up their stuff and going home for the night.
  • Variation: With all but two Heisei era Kamen Rider shows lacking ending credits, what are listed as ending songs in the opening are in fact Theme Music Power Ups. Nevertheless, the two Heisei series that do have ending credits (Kuuga and Hibiki) have slow, uplifting themes on them.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise played a particular arrangement of "Archer's Theme" over the end credits of each episode, with the exception of the pilot (which had an instrumental arrangement of the opening theme "Faith of the Heart".) Funnily enough, "Archer's Theme" was originally intended to be the opening theme, until Executive Meddling ensued.
  • 3-2-1 Contact used the same credits theme from 1983 until its cancellation, even after they rearranged the Opening Theme. The first season had two ending theme variations, one was an instrumental version of the opening theme, the other was an extended version of the trailer/promo theme.
  • Three words: DO IT, ROCKAPELLA!
  • Just about any series with music by W.G. Snuffy Walden has different opening and closing themes.
  • Only Fools and Horses used different opening and closing themes, both by series creator/writer John Sullivan.
  • Felicity, Lost, Alias, Fringe... you name it, if it's produced or devised by J.J. Abrams (and not called What About Brian) it'll have a theme at the end different from the opening. And often (but not always) the opening theme will be by Mr. Bad Robot himself as well.

Western Animation

  • Captain Planet. Kept throughout all six seasons.
  • Wonder Pets plays an instrumental version of the main character's Leitmotif.
  • Parodied on The Simpsons with "Itchy and Scratchy"; the opening theme's cheerful tune and "They fight and bite . . ." lyrics are transformed into a mellow "they fought and bit . . .".
  • KaBlam! had two normal ones, and three other ones used once or twice. The first one (season one only) was an instrumental version of "Skaternity" by The Toasters, and the second one (season two onwards) was "Everything you Said Has been a Lie" (instrumental) by the same band. "All Purpose Kablam!" and "Not Just for People Anymore!" had the opening theme as an ending, "Tastes Like Paper!" had the eyecatch music, and "Sasquatch-Ercise!" had more of a dancy song instead.
  • The Raccoons ended with an '80s new-wave song performed by Steve Lunt for the first season, and Lisa Lougheed for the rest of the series. You can RUN with US! We've got EVERYTHING you NEED! RUN with US! WE are FREE!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Cierre Bob Eponja.
  • Used for Count Duckula.
  • Invader Zim was one of the few western animated shows to have an end theme that wasn't just an instrumental of the opening theme.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has an ending theme that is significantly much more awesome than the OP.
  • The Powerpuff Girls ended with their self-titled ending theme.
  • Doug had a different end theme every episode, usually the main theme of music played in the episode. Season one had the main music theme from the second part of the episode play until Porkchop put his walkman on, switching to the main music theme from the first part of the episode (or vice versa on a few occasions) until the closing logos showed up.
  • Rugrats had a sped up and remixed version of their theme song for the ending.
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show had a very catchy ending theme (not a reprise of the opening)
  • The ending theme for Linus the Lionhearted (1964) was...sad.
  • Adventure Time played "Island Song" by Ashley Eriksson during the closing credits. Too bad Cartoon Network cuts them out in favor of commercials.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic normally ends on an instrumental version of the catchy opening theme, but they've changed it up a couple of times.
  • The Angry Beavers had an organ theme that was markedly different from the brassy opening theme.

Video Games

  • The video game Portal is one of the few to feature a full vocal theme song, a parody of love songs, in which the game's AI GLaDOS talks about the events within the game before descending into the downright chilling "while you're dying I'll be still alive".
    • In a rare case of Western cross-game contamination, the song is available to download (for free) on Rock Band.
    • The ending theme to the flash game Super Energy Apocalypse: Recycled, which was inspired by Portal, is a wistful song that deals with a zombie attack.
  • Drawn to Life is composed of mainly instrumental music. The end theme is a full length song WITH VOCALS about the 2 main Raposa, Mari and Jowee, trying to deal with their separation after Jowee decides to join a band of pirates so that he can see the world. It turns out later that he never boarded the ship because he wanted to stay with Mari. It's very suprising, but even cuter. D'aww.
  • "Lullaby for You" from The World Ends With You which shows a calm happy setting compared to the frenzied opening theme "Twister."
  • Persona 3 featured an ending song in the credits with the lyrics being based on the POV of Aigis.
  • The ending of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is an unique variation: the theme is the same as the opening, except this time, the lyrics to the Ominous Latin Chanting are shown, allowing the player to catch the meaning of it.
  • The video game Ōkami featured a song called Reset as its ending theme.
  • Backyard Skateboarding has an ending theme called "Skate Rock," performed by the Knights of Rockville.
  • The final part of the trilogy, Mother 3, had their ending theme as a combination of the most important songs of the first (The Eight Melodies), second (Smiles and Tears), and last (Mother 3 Love Theme) parts of the game.
  • Kingdom Hearts does this at the last scene just before the credits.
  • Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing has "So Much More..." which even got its own EP from the singer of the song.
  • Most video games that feature music over the credits need a lot of it, since it's traditional to put all the developers there. One prime example is the ending track for Knights of the Old Republic, which begins with the traditional John Williams credits theme from the movies. But since that isn't long enough, it moves on to all the major in-game pieces of music, one after the other.
  • The ending theme of Alan Wake actually sums up the ending of the game pretty well, if a bit symbolically: "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
  • Red Dead Redemption has the slow, somber "Deadman's Gun" by Ashtar Command. It's alarmingly appropriate.