Airplane of Love
Ah, love. Sometimes — and in shojo series, very frequently — it's one-sided. When a character encounters that certain special someone who's totally out of their reach ("takane no hana"), a conveniently timed airplane flies by, and the unrequited lover spends several seconds staring at the airplane as it flies off into the distance, forever out of reach. In fantasy or historical series where there are no airplanes, a bird appears instead. Despite flying high in the upper troposphere, the Airplane of Love frequently draws a Dramatic Wind in its wake that affects people on the ground. Not to be confused with the Mile-High Club, for those of you who are of a different mind. See also Train-Station Goodbye. If the certain someone is on the plane, expect Air Voyance.
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Anime and Manga
- Tenshi Na Konamaiki
- Ranma 1/2
- Maison Ikkoku is another Takahashi example, in this case it represents Kyoko accepting the death of her husband and deciding to remarry.
- In episode 20 this seems to be combined with Disturbed Doves. Both Kozue and Kyoko are watching, so it isn't clear, but it had the symbolism and feel of Airplane Of Love.
- Hanbun No Tsuki Ga Noboru Sora features a scene where the protagonist and his tsundere crush share a moment watching the Airplane of Love fly by in the distance.
- Simoun subverts this: the Airplane of Love that Morinas sees when Neviril turns her down turns out to be an incoming enemy missile.
- In the manga of Love Hina, Keitaro and Naru have just begun to acknowledge their feelings for each other when Keitaro must leave for foreign study. He and Naru fall asleep while waiting for the plane, but Naru awakes alone in time to watch his plane depart.
- In Ichigo 100%, when Manaka thinks that Nishino is breaking up with him, the Airplane of Love suddenly appears above his head. It disappears as she clarifies. Then he thinks they're breaking up again, and it's another Airplane over his head. This happens three times in a row, indicating busy skies over the city!
- Genshiken also has a ridiculous amount of airplanes going over the university building when romance is just out of somebody's grasp. Obviously they're under a flightpath or something...
- Let's not forget that the whole POINT of Genshiken is to mess with not only all of these tropes, but the people that like to follow them.
- In 5 Centimeters per Second, a space probe is launched into deep space as one of the characters realizes that the object of their love is completely beyond their reach.
- A temporary character in Monochrome Factor mentions that she wants to "ride the airplane of love".
- In FLCL it represents Mamimi's longing for Tasku Sempai, who has gone off to America to play Baseball, especially when she finds out he has an American girlfriend
- A variation in Hayate the Combat Butler because they are both clearly within reach of each other and believing I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me of each other, and Attractiveness Isolation on Hinagiku's side, Hinagiku manages to confess that she likes Hayate, only for him to be unable to hear because the train is rushing by.
- Toradora! — Inverted. When Ryuuji gives his "Tiger and Dragon" speech there are twin contrails in the sky, symbolizing his connection to Taiga. At the end of the series, when Ryuuji stands outside alone, the sky is empty, but he recalls the contrails as he vows to return to Taiga's side some day.
- Shows up in the finale of GUN×SWORD, though it's a flying mech rather than an airplane: After Wendy lets Van go without confessing her love, she watches him fly off in Dan. Comes complete with violent wind and sparkles.
- Played with quite a bit in episode 12 of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou. Mashiro gets an airplane flyby and Dramatic Wind shot while puzzling over her feelings for Sorata. But it isn't the usual symbolism, because it happens right after Sorata attempted a Race for Your Love to the airport, only to discover that Mashiro wasn't actually leaving. In the same scene, Rita's plane flies into the distance while Ryuunosuke, to his own confusion, stays behind and thinks about his Tsundere-ish feelings for her.
- Chinese Box: Has this trope near the end of the film with Vivian and John, just when John's disease takes its toll on his body.
- In Battlestar Galactica, Apollo's relationship with Starbuck is metaphorically represented by this trope via Pigeon!Kara.
- There was a popular country song a few years back by Gary Allan called "I'm Just Sittin' Out Here Watchin' Airplanes". And those songs never end happily!
- The song "This Love" by Maroon 5.
- "Airplanes" (in the night sky) has shades of this.