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[[quoteright:196:[[UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/buddha_350x444_-1_6925.jpg]]]]

->''"The halo is a purely optical illusion, produced by moisture in the air, in the manner of a rainbow; but the aureola is conferred as a sign of superior sanctity, in the same way as a bishop's mitre, or the Pope's tiara. In the painting of the Nativity, by Szedgkin, a pious artist of Pesth, not only do the Virgin and the Child wear the nimbus, but an ass nibbling hay from the sacred manger is similarly decorated and, to his lasting honor be it said, appears to bear his unaccustomed dignity with a truly saintly grace."''
-->-- '''Creator/AmbroseBierce''', ''Literature/TheDevilsDictionary''

In fiction, halos are basically synonymous with holiness and extreme good. It means you're either {{God}} (or [[CrystalDragonJesus a non-denominational]] [[LowestCosmicDenominator equivalent]]), an [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angel]], a saint, the MessianicArchetype or a soul of the dearly departed in FluffyCloudHeaven (the real {{Heaven}} isn't quite so tacky). This is of course because of the religious connotations with [[ChristianityIsCatholic Catholic Christian]] religious iconography, despite the fact that halos are also a part of Muslim, Buddhist and other religious art. Traditionally, the presence of a halo on someone in art means they are inhabited with the Holy Spirit because of their great virtue.

Note that "halo", used to denote the visible sign of sanctity, dates back no earlier than the mid-17th century -- and indeed nearly all the terms used to denote this phenomenon are modern. The middle ages referred to this merely as the ''corona gloriae'' ("crown of glory") or more simply "the glory".

Therefore, anyone with a halo is usually [[TheChosenOne chosen to]], either by a deity or the cosmos in general. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that anyone with a halo hovering overhead is also likely very, ''very'' powerful -- PowerGlows, after all. Either as a pre-requisite to appearing or a side effect of being chosen by on-high, the character will be capable of miracles... and kicking butt! Expect it to be associated with ElementalPowers of [[LightIsGood Light and/or Holy]], and [[HolyBurnsEvil cause fear and pain]] to [[GlamourFailure the evil in their presence.]] Exceptions of course are when LightIsNotGood, and the decidedly evil character (maybe a [[FallenAngel fallen]] or OneWingedAngel?) decides to ape the good guys as a way to mock them.

Holiness aside, some characters can wear an "artificial" halo without ever being remotely religious or even spiritual. Energy powered {{Super Hero}}es (and {{Super Villain}}s) may create BattleAura's around their head (or entire body) related to their power, like GreenLantern or [[TheAuthority Apollo]]. Interestingly, robotic characters may be built with mechanical halo's that can shoot ReverseShrapnel, or double as DeflectorShields. Further, evil characters may create "negative" halo's of darkness around themselves, paired with FaceFramedInShadow along with GlowingEyesOfDoom and a red ThroatLight.

Often paired with PowerGivesYouWings, AntiGravityClothing (when the halo is a floating circlet).

A SubTrope of PowerGlows and SisterTrope to HolyBacklight and BattleAura. See also BackgroundHalo, when this is an InvokedTrope. Contrast HornedHumanoid. Not to be confused with the video game ''{{Halo}}.''

''[[TropeCo/HolyHalo This item]] is available in the TropeCo/TropeCo catalog.''

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!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Dead characters in ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' tend to wear halos when in the afterlife, or if they, like Goku of the Majin Buu saga, return to Earth without being resurrected by the Dragon Balls. Turned to "orbs" for some reason in an English dub.
* The halos in ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'' appear to be ''artificial'', created by a blacksmith, and need to be held on by a device until they "stick" and hover over the Haibane's head.
** Only in Rakka's case. According to the flashbacks, on most Haibane it normally sticks right away. Incidentally, it's created by putting substance called "light leaves" in a ring-shaped frying pan, and heating it over an oven until it melts and takes uniform shape. No special training is required, but only the Renmei know where the raw material comes from.
*** And Rakka.
* At one point in ''Anime/{{FLCL}}'', Haruko briefly affixes a fake halo made of wire to her head. They later reappear on Canti.
* In the Director's Cut and Platinum version (as well as in the manga) of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' when possessed by Armisael (which starts off as what looks like a giant halo, making this a double pointer), Unit 00 is shown growing a fleshy tumorous mass along its back which incorporates the shapes of almost all the previous Angels they have battled. Then, for a moment the Eva raises in the air and turns into an all white, naked, Rei, that appeared to resemble Lilith, with a halo over her head just prior to exploding.
** In the ''RebuildOfEvangelion'', some of the Angels form a halo-like ring around themselves when they use their AT-field for specific actions, such as floating.
** Rebuilds 1.11 and 2.22 give ''all'' the Angels a halo at some point or another. Sometimes it's only visible for a second, on at least one occasion it actually served a practical purpose beyond simply looking cool, but it always looked quite creepy. Rebuild 3.0 continues the trend: whenever something has a halo, it can fly under its own power and houses immense power. Examples include [[spoiler:Unit 01 sprouting a halo during its [[CurbstompBattle "fight"]] against Zeruel and expanding it into a vortex that the third film reveals to have been ''[[ApocalypseWow Third Impact]]'', the Wunder briefly manifesting a concentric pair of halos ''beneath the ship'' when it first takes off, the Mark.06 flickering a faint halo just before Rei decapitates it, the SEELE-controlled Mark.09 having a single halo for flight and finally Unit 13 growing a '''double halo''' when it enters the same state Unit 01 was in, then the same Eva manifesting a '''third''' halo that expands into the same vortex Unit 01 had, except much bigger.]] Whew!
** Based on previous appearances, the "halo" is the manifestation of the Angel's ultimate power: An energy-condensation field, spinning all matter in its wake into pure energy. If the halo belongs to an Eva and the Eva's pilot [[UnstoppableRage loses emotional]] [[HeroicBSOD self-control]], the halo [[DeadlyUpgrade turns into the]] [[RuleOfSymbolism Door of]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guf Guf]] that can wipe out all other life within its range or, if given enough time to expand, ''[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the entire world]]''.
* The angels in ''LightNovel/BludgeoningAngelDokurochan'' have halos that are only atoms wide and thus, very sharp. Like, "slice off all your fingers upon grabbing," sharp. Additionally, removing the halo causes... [[ToiletHumour stomach issues]].
* Parodied in ''UruseiYatsura''. When [[TricksterMentor trickster monk]] Cherry dispenses a nugget of pop wisdom, everyone is awed and looks in reverence at the shining halo around him, thinking him a saint despite his past. Then Ataru points out in outrage that it's just the light reflecting off Cherry's bald skull.
* El from ''Manga/ShugoChara'' (because she resembles an angel).
* From ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'', [[spoiler: Tenri manifests one whenever Diana takes control.]]
* From ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'', [[spoiler: Most of the angel-type characters(like Hyoka, Gabriel and Aiwass) and espers that have reached Angel-level (like Accelerator and Kakine).]]
* Even ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' is not immune: the Zanscare Empire in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitVictoryGundam Victory Gundam]]'' uses a halo motif on several of its superweapons near the end, particularly the Zanneck mobile suit and the Angel Halo satellite weapon. Of course, it's a subversion of the general symbolism, as Zanscare are [[LightIsNotGood not particularly nice people.]]
* [[TheGrimReaper Meroko]] gets a halo at the end of ''Anime/FullMoonOSagashite'' when she [[spoiler:becomes an angel.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* Apollo, TheCape of TheAuthority, has one of these. Justified by his solar powers: the halo gets dimmer when he's weaker, and glows brightest when he's just had a good bask in the sun. Or, to put it another way: that's not a halo; that's ''lens flare''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In silent film ''Film/{{Civilization}}'', Count Ferdinand develops an actual halo while talking to the king and his advisors. Why? Because Ferdinand has literally been ''possessed by Jesus'', who has come back to earth to preach that war is evil and wrong.
* Lampshaded in ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy'', as the late Mr. Hudsucker points out his halo (aptly spinning in the style of a hula hoop) and calls it a "fad" with the boys upstairs.
* Parodied in Creator/MelBrooks' ''Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI''. Leonardo da Vinci shows up at the Last Supper to paint his portrait of Jesus and the disciples; the halo behind Jesus's head is revealed to actually be a large platter that a waiter happened to be holding up at the moment da Vinci asked everyone to hold their pose.
* Inverted and played for laughs in ''Film/{{Bedazzled 2000}}'' when Elizabeth Hurley's Devil tries on different outfits. She ends up looking like an angel, complete with wings and halo but is quick to point out that it's "just a Halloween costume."
* In some ''Hanuman'' and its {{Spinoff}} ''TheReturnOfHanuman'' artworks Maruti/Hanuman is depicted with this.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/SixthColumn'', the ScamReligion set up by the protagonists to fool the [[JapanTakesOverTheWorld PanAsian occupiers]] includes a full set of priestly garb, complete with staff. The staff is a very sophisticated piece of AppliedPhlebotinum which includes among its minor powers the ability to project a holographic halo over the priest's head.
* In the Dresden Files book ''Literature/{{Changes}}'' [[spoiler:when Karrin Murphy draws a holy sword to fight powerful, ancient vampires, Harry releases his spirit friend Bob to protect Murphy from the mental assaults by said vampires. Bob whirls around Murphy's head with a golden radiance, giving her the appearance of a halo.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DoctorWho,'' angel robots were the waiters on the {{Titanic}} [-IN SPACE!-]. When the bad guy reprogrammed them for CrushKillDestroy, they plucked off their halos (to use as [[ImprobableWeaponUser instruments of death]]) which left behind the mounts - which now looked [[FallenAngel like horns]].
* A halo of monarch butterflies is the symbol of kingship in ''{{Kings}}''. [[MagnificentBastard Silas Benjamin]] has a RunningGag of a heavily-embellished story of when he was crowned with the butterflies, but what kick-starts the plot is when a [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything heroic kid named David who rescued the Crown Prince from the enemy is crowned by the butterflies]].
* In the ''Series/TwilightZone'''s ''A Passage For Trumpet'', when John Anderson pauses in the dark hallway to identify himself to Jack Klugman as "Gabe" (short for Gabriel, of course), the sole light in the hallway is directly over his head, forming a perfect halo. Clever effect!
* The angels of ''TouchedByAnAngel'', when revealing themselves to humans, simply maintained the same basic appearance they'd had throughout the episode but were bathed in a golden glow.
* The Angels in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' are confirmed to have them in season 8 when a [[HalfHumanHybrid Nephilim]] says she can see them, but like their wings they are invisible when they're in their human hosts on Earth.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* The TropeCodifier seems to be the Christian art canon, where any holy person or being tended to be drawn with a halo.Christian paintings from late Antiquity on often have halos around Jesus/Virgin Mary/Holy Figure of Choice's head. An early distinction was to show living people [[http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/images/symbols/halos/square-prassede-rome-apse-pope-paschal-200.jpg with square haloes]], and the sanctified dead with round ones. More than a few paintings of {{God}} give Him a triangular, rather than circular, halo, to represent the Holy Trinity. Christ is distinguished by a halo encircling a cross. The almond shaped mandorla sometimes surrounds the entire body of God or the Virgin Mary. The early Renaissance made a distinction between the full round halo given to saints, and rays of light given to ''beati''. In the High Renaissance, the fascination with perspective encouraged artists to create the hoop-shaped haloes that assumed a distressing materiality in later artists, and led to the "halo on a stick" version beloved by the comic artist.
** An alternative approach is Moses, who typically lacks a halo but is depicted with two flames sprouting, hornlike, from his forehead. This is because St. Jerome in the Latin Vulgate Bible used the uncommon word ''cornutus'' (="shining") in translating ''Exodus'' [-XXXIV-]. xxix. (Most likely the Latin word, as well as the Hebrew word קָרַן it translated, referred to the spiky appearance of rays of light), but later readers read it as literally derived from ''cornu'', and translated it "horned." ([[http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/culture/artarch/danish/tomoses/15-041.jpg This Danish depiction]] from ''ca.'' 1325) shows Moses with halo ''and'' horns.)
** The popularity of Halos in Western religious art was, at least in part, to function as ''SpeechBubbles'', putting the prayers of angels or famous Papal quotations as written text on the Halo itself.
* In Muslim art canon, Muhammad's head is replaced by flames, if he is depicted at all.
* Buddha is often shown with a fiery halo in Buddhist art.
* OlderThanTheyThink: Most people think halos as we know them originated in Christian art but late Egyptian religious paintings had gilded round halos, which represented the celestial bodies associated with those gods (''e.g.'', Horus-Moon).
** There were "halos" in the Tanakh/Old Testament Bible but they were neither golden rings nor shiny backdrops. They were rainbows deep inside clouds of fire as described by Ezekiel.
* Greek sun god Helios was always depicted with a halo. Aspects of Helios were later merged with Apollo, who was also sometimes depicted with a halo when in his solar form.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* British comic ''Augusta'' plays with this in one strip.
-->'''Augusta''' ''(Our cute young heroine, to a man she meets who's wearing a halo)'': Is it hard to get one of those?
-->'''Man''': Bloody hard.
-->''(The halo vanishes. In the next panel they are seen looking for it under the sofa.)''
* In the 1980s ''ComicStrip/ThePerishers'' introduced Dirty [=McSquirty=], a character who never bathes and is always surrounded by a halo of flies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* With its Gothic art style, it's no surprise halos pop up in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''.
** [[GodEmperor The Emperor]] is always depicted with one, even in works set prior to his deification.
** Other powerful psykers and Living Saints end up with coronas of light as well -- possibly justified as a visual display of psychic energy.
** Mention also must be made of [[SuperSoldier Space Marine]] [[DeflectorShields personal force-field generators]] called Iron Halos, half-circles of gold or silver typically mounted on a commander's backpack to frame his head.
** Even thoroughly evil Chaos Marine characters and daemons sometimes have halos, to show their piety, honour and devotion to their infernal masters. Usually these are shaped to echo the eight-pointed star of chaos, which is the universal symbol of the Chaos Powers.
* The ''TabletopGame/DungeonAndDragons'' 3.5 ''Book of Exalted Deeds'' offers the exalted feats "Nimbus of Light" and "Holy Radiance". Nimbus of Light provides illumination and help interact with good creatures. Holy Radiance is a more powerful form, the light hurting TheUndead. Those taking a Vow of Poverty are considered very likely to pick both sooner or later, as they're getting free exalted feats, and not that many are worthwhile.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the more recent ''AnimalCrossing'' games, you can buy a halo from the Able Sisters to wear on your head.
* In ''Gauntlet 64,'' they are a powerup that lets you steal life energy from the Death enemies. If you beat the game, you will wear it at all times.
* While not strictly a halo, the Fire Tablet artifact in ''{{Okami}}'' creates a circle the the sun's corona around Amaterasu when equipped... and gives her a nice damage reduction to fire and immunity to LethalLavaLand.
* [[spoiler: Anubis]] gets one at the end of [[VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner]], as part of its transformation into [[spoiler: Aumaan Anubis]], complete with hovering hexagons resembling wings and a "holy light" (which is actually Metatron). Furthermore, its idle stance has Anubis spread its arms. [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic Notice the symbolism here?]]
* Ubiquitous among the villains of ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry''.
** Though, most of them are actually horns in a halo shape.
* ''Starships'' frequently have halos ''in VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'', specifically the ''Dämmerung'', ''Durandal'', and ''Prodigium''. Several types of Gnosis enemies also have halos, albiet broken ones.
* ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}'' also plays with halos, giving them to ethereal enemies appropriately named Seraphs.
* Many {{JRPG}}s will include halos as part of either the "dead" status (''VideoGame/WorldOfMana'') or the "revive" spell (''Franchise/FinalFantasy'').
* Oddly subverted by ''GaiaOnline''. The Angelic Halo plays the trope straight, but there's also an ''evil'' halo, and several that are simply there to look pretty.
* Played straight [[spoiler:(or, as it turns out, not so straight)]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia''.
** The angelic light spirit Rem in other ''Tales'' games often has one. If the Raise Dead spell summons an actual angel, that one too. (The one in ''VideoGame/TalesOfEternia'' was [[VideoGame/TalesOfPhantasia Mint]] with a halo.)
* Maxing out the positive end of the KarmaMeter in the ''VideoGame/{{Fable}}'' series will get you one of these, among [[BeautyEqualsGoodness other changes]]. The halo isn't always visible, though; it's particularly hard to see in the day.
* In ''WorldOfWarcraft'' several of the high level priest and paladin armors create halos. There's also an item that grants essentially a halo made of fire, for mages or warlocks.
* In several ''Final Fantasy'' games like ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', a halo appears over an ally when they have the Auto-Life spell on them. Considering it allows them to come back ''from the dead''...
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'', all three Gardens have halos which hover above them and turn into anti-gravity engines when activated. Only Balamb and Galbadia Gardens actually get to activate theirs, as Trabia Garden is obliterated before its staff figured out how to activate it.
* Given to the enemies in ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'', which makes sense, as they're angels. The stronger the angel, the more elaborate the halo becomes.
* [[BaseBreaker Infamously]], the Cheater's Lament in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' (though that one is of the "obviously fake halo" subtype, with the wire holding up said halo being blatantly visible from all angles).
* Halos are a purchasable costume item during the Valentines Event in ''CityOfHeroes''. There is a regular shiny golden "good" halo and then the "naughty" halo which looks like it is made of semi-molten iron and [[IncendiaryExponent always on fire]].
* Angelia Avallone from ''VideoGame/ArcanaHeart''
* Shedinja from ''Videogame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire''.
* Most of the gods in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' have them, except for the title character himself (oddly enough).
** Actually, it seems Asura does have one. Check out this [[http://www.ptfgn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/AsurasWrath_Gamestop_Artbook_PAPresentsComic_Cover1.jpg pic]] and [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr8cMQj50N0 2:57]]
** [[spoiler: [[TrueFinalBoss Chakravartin]] has a halo made up of thousands of arms]].
* ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel'': the interior of the cockpit of each emblem frame has what appears to be a halo above the pilot's heads. The emblem frames are dependent on their pilot's emotional states in what's even called the Halo System. Although technological the imagery is certainly envoked.
* ''VideoGame/{{Messiah}}'': A sparkling halo hovers above the head of Bob the angel; it is also used as a visual indicator of who is he possessing right now. [[spoiler:People possessed by Satan's imps have a red, horned halo displayed above their head.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Reliquary}}'' uses an interesting example of this in Alcolla's angel form: hovering spikes and letters.
* Subverted very ''very'' much with Angelo, one of the [[BigBad biggest antagonists]] in ''OurLittleAdventure.''
* ''Webcomic/EvilDiva'': All the angels.
* ''Webcomic/BrawlInTheFamily'' shows Dedede mimicking the effect by [[http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/2008/10/24/95-phendrana/ tilting his head back to expose the yellow rim of his hat]].
* In ''SlightlyDamned'', angelic halos are a form of BattleAura resembling rings of white flame. They only manifest on angels who have earned [[UpgradeArtifact the second of the three pendants]].
* In ''{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4352 they are awarded at graduation.]]
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4140 Part of Ezekiel and Ariel's normal attire, too.]]
* The gods of ''Webcomic/{{Holystone}}'' have these in varying designs and colors.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''Webster'' cartoon series, the titular character was an angel who would become fully human merely by taking off his halo and squeezing it into his pocket, and then back into an angel by putting it over his head. The halo itself was a solid object, for all intents and purposes acting like a metal ring. The main villain's primary goal was to steal it for some reason.
* Seen on the Cutie Mark Crusaders in the "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E17StareMaster Stare Master]]" episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', each time Fluttershy referred to them as "these sweet little angels."
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS3E11KeepCalmAndFlutterOn Keep Calm and Flutter On]]," Discord gives himself one after being called out on flooding Sweet Apple Acres. "Who, me?"
* In the ''KingOfTheHill'' episode "Wings of the Dope," Luanne's ex-boyfriend Buckley (killed in a propane explosion) visits her as an angel. He does not wear a halo until the final scene, in which he pulls one from his back pocket and puts it over his head as he walks away.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', the ferocious and mischievous Earl the bulldog gets adopted by the Bigheads. In one scene he produces a halo over his head when Bev asks him to "play nice" with Ed, then [[DevilInPlainSight as soon as her back is turned]] he takes a bite out of the halo, causing it to turn into a pair of devil horns.
[[/folder]]

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