[[quoteright:330:[[VideoGame/FragileDreamsFarewellRuinsOfTheMoon http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Fragile_9043.jpg]]]]

->''Cold hearted orb that rules the night''
->''Removes the colours from our sight''
->''Red is grey and yellow, white''
->''But we decide which is right''
->''And which is an illusion''
--> -- '''Music/TheMoodyBlues'''

The Moon. Cold and distant, alone and lifeless... yet, it's the only celestial body whose light can pierce the pitch black night. So when a character is shown moon gazing, it means he or she shares many of these lunar traits: they are isolated and introspective, melancholy... yet oddly hopeful. All this just by having them look quietly at the moon, or using it as a big old backdrop.

He or she may have a TragicDream, have suffered a DarkAndTroubledPast, or have embarked on some new quest that promises to change their life. The trope is also frequently used in love songs.

Can overlap with WeirdMoon, often to emphasize the moon. In this case, the moment is used both to establish the world and the character.

Contrast WatchingTheSunset and CueTheSun.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' just before Shinji and Rei prepare to go snipe the angel, during which they muse about why they pilot the Evangelions, the binds they have with people, and Rei promises Shinji that he won't die because she'll protect him, ending the scene with "Sayonara" with a big full moon over her shoulder. The whole scene was very melancholy and introspective.
* One of the recurring songs in ''[[BECKMongolianChopSquad BECK]]'' is "Moon on the Water". The song is in of itself a melancholic love song but in episode 5 when both Koyuki and Maho [[SkinnyDipping skinny dip]] in the school pool they sing it song together under a summer full moon. You can't get more romantic than that.
* In ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'', the EmotionlessGirl Yin gets a lot of symbolic focus on the moon in her flashbacks to her tragic childhood, though the moon is [[AlienSky admittedly absent from the sky]] in the present. There are connections beyond her melancholy demeanor, since the moon is traditionally associated with mediums, and for [[BilingualBonus a bonus]], "Yin" is Chinese for "silver". [[spoiler:And late in the second season, the moon returns, bloodred, in circumstances related to an EldritchAbomination possessing Yin.]]
* Boma spends a lot of time on top of buildings standing in front of the moon in ''HeatGuyJ''. Well, he is (sort of) [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent a werewolf]], after all.
* Similarly, Gaara of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' spends a lot of time [[ContemplateOurNavels navel-gazing]] in front of the moon. This turns to FridgeHorror later on when we learn that he rarely sleeps for fear that the demon inside him will take over.
* In ''GundamWing'' Duo [[WarIsHell wonders how much longer he'll get to see the moon]].
** Creator/ScottMcNeil and MarkHildreth spoofed that scene, much to the delight of the {{Yaoi Fangirl}}s:
--> '''Duo''': "I wonder how much longer I'll get to see the moon like this?"
--> '''Heero''': "Do you want me to pull up my pants?"
--> '''Duo''': "Nah, it's cool."
* In ''Manga/CardcaptorSakura'', Sakura has [[DreamingOfThingsToCome a recurring dream]] about being on [[TokyoIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse the Tokyo tower or something similar]], gazing at a full moon. [[spoiler: Eventually, her dream comes true as she battles Yue.]]
* Guts from ''{{Berserk}}'' is often seen staring at the moon, especially after forming his new group of TrueCompanions, where he doesn't have to fight so much at night (since evil spirits are drawn to his brand at night) and he is allowed to be lost in his own thoughts, often of sad and bittersweet memories from his past.
* In a variation, ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal'''s CreativeClosingCredits have EndingTheme "Gekkou", (Moonbow) where a princess muses on the her romance with a prince, and her sudden sadness at the sight of a ''moonbow,'' making her regret that they must soon part, though she hopes to see him again. Since moonbows can only happen during a full or nearly full moon, an [[WeirdMoon oversized]], bright moon is reflected in the shallow waters where they walk, set to lyrics that speak of how dreams are delicate and fleeting.
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''FieldOfDreams''.
* In ''Film/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone'', after he arrives in Hogwarts and everyone is in bed, Harry's up looking out his window at the moon. It fits into the "melancholy yet hopeful" category as it marks the beginning of a new life for him, yet it's a somewhat sad scene because of the backstory with his parents.
* Sméagol fishing in the waterfall in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: The Two Towers'' has a curious use of the moon. Sméagol, who has found a measure of redemption helping Frodo and even banishing [[GollumMadeMeDoIt Gollum]], is "betrayed" by Frodo under Faramir's threat of killing Sméagol.
* Both the big baby and the clown in ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' do this. Which is pretty darn appropriate considering their shared backstory.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'', both Fievel and Tanya stare at the rising moon during their DistantDuet.
** Same with Odette and Derek in ''TheSwanPrincess''.
* The first ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'' movie has a scene in which Shrek and Donkey stare at the night sky, as Shrek talks about ogres of the past being among the constellations. It ends with them looking at the moon, accompained by this exchange:
-->'''Donkey:''' So, uh, are there any donkeys up there?
-->'''Shrek:''' Well, there's, um, Gabby, the Small and Annoying.
-->'''Donkey:''' Okay, okay, I see it now. The big shiny one, right there. That one there?
-->'''Shrek:''' That's the moon.
* ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'', during the "I'll Make a Man Out of You" song sequence.
-->Mysterious as the dark side of the moon
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNightmareBeforeChristmas'': "Jack's Lament" is built mostly around the backdrop of Spiral Hill against the moon.
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[[folder: Literature]]
* Very popular in Ancient Chinese Literature, especially poems and "lyrics" (which were originally set to songs that have long been lost). Many a poem is of the poet being unable to sleep, climbing to the top of a pavillion (optional), staring at the moon and musing about their sad fate (mostly being demoted and ReassignedToAntarctica) and/or their longing for home. These were incidentally the two most commonly expressed sentiments in poems throughout the dynasties.
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[[folder:Music]]
* The premise of the Rodgers and Hart song "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7giOrKYIwpQ Blue Moon]]," at least the first half.
* Shivaree's "Goodnight, Moon."
* Conway Twitty's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dpba4DB6-I I Don't Know A Thing About Love]]" features a "Man in the Moon" who's just as melancholy as the observer, insisting he doesn't really have any answers to anyone's questions.
* [[Music/BrunoMars Bruno Mars's]] "Talking to The Moon".
* In the same vein, Collin Raye's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9hyl-tVFJM Somebody Else's Moon]]" is a tearjerker about a man watching the moon and thinking of it as belonging to somebody else now just as his former sweetheart does.
* Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is in minor and is a soulful and introspective song he wrote for a lover.
* Music/TheMoodyBlues, "Late Lament" on their ''Days of Future Passed'' album, quoted above.
* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_AKDeBakCw That Moon Song]]" by Gregory Alan Isakov.
-->''"And that full-bellied moon,''
-->''she's a-shinin' on me.''
-->''Yeah, she pulls on this heart''
-->''like she pulls on the sea."''

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[[folder:Theater]]
* Music/GiacomoPuccini, the composer of famous operas ''Theatre/LaBoheme'', ''Theatre/{{Tosca}}'' and ''Theatre/{{Turandot}}'', loved this trope. Almost all of his operas have the moment of MelancholyMoon, usually in connection with the main soprano heroine. In ''Turandot'', the trope is played with in a most gruesome way: the moonrise is the signal for starting an execution. It is also averted, when Prince Calaf has his moment of moon-gazing: he is not melancholic but self-assured and hopeful.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''{{Tsukihime}}'', Shiki stares at the moon a lot when he is feeling down. As you could expect from a game whose title translates as "Moon Princess" from Japanese. And its subtitle "[[WordSaladTitle Blue Blue Glass Moon, Under The Crimson Air]]".
* ''{{Lunar}}'' has a funny variation on this. Throughout the series, there's a celestial body that unquestionably fills the same role as the moon. It's distant, cold, and lifeless, but nevertheless always shining through the night and a source of hope and wonder. It's present in every night scene, most memorably shining behind Luna during [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROt6hC7WWio Wind's Nocturne]], as well as playing a massive role in the plot of ''VideoGame/LunarEternalBlue'' and being the focus of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRm_PJQe3p8 the Eternal Blue Theme]]. So, what's the twist? It's not a moon at all. The characters are ''living'' on its moon, called Lunar or the Silver Star, while gazing up towards the frozen planet it orbits, the Blue Star.
* ''[[FragileDreams Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon]]'', the game in the trope picture at the top. It's used as a prominent symbol of isolation and loneliness. To really hammer the latter aspect, the girl pictured above and the male protagonist of the game may be the only two people left in the world.
* The Outer Wall in ''VideoGame/CaveStory''. The moon dominates the night sky, and the pensive "Moonsong" is the BGM.
* [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Asama Sakuya]] from GirlsLove VisualNovel ''AkaiIto'' gazes at the moon sometimes. [[spoiler: She's the [[LastOfHisKind last of her kind]], a tribe which had strong connection to the moon. She has been alone ''[[WhoWantsToLiveForever for the past 1700-years]]''.]] In one ending, she [[spoiler: dies, and Kei prosaically laments how Sakuya's soul is going to the moon.]]
* One of the various [=NPCs=] on Windfall Island in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' spends his nights gazing up at the moon. He also [[{{Wangst}} whines]] about how [[EmoTeen nobody understands him]]. One of the sidequests involves taking a picture of a "perfectly round, pale object" as a test to see if Link truly understands him.
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