In a number of recent anime series I've noticed that the penultimate
episode is the one where everything goes bang.
In these series the last episode tends to be a "where are they now" epilogue or other wrapping up loose ends style of episode.
In the last month or so Xam'd: Lost Memories
(2008), Solty Rei
(2005), and now Moribito
(2007) have all done this. I also distinctly remember Planetes
(2003) working the same way.
I'm guessing that this is more coincidental in my viewing choices than an actual trend in anime storytelling, but it did amuse me when I noticed it.