Any object, if launched withsufficient force, will sail clean over the horizon and vanish into the distant sky. A moment after it disappears, a four-pointed "twinkle" will appear in the spot where it was last seen, sometimes rotating briefly, along with a high-pitched "ringing" noise. If the object is potentially explosive, it will blow up after the twinkle. It's also sometimes used to show that something is coming down from the sky. This particular use may be true, as in the Second World War, Japanese AA gunners on ships were trained to watch for the gleam of an approaching dive bomber's canopy. Because after that, the only indication that something was coming was the whistlingof bombs falling.
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Whenever "Team Rocket is Blasting Off Again!" in Pokémon. This happens when they're blasting off from almost anything: Pokémon attacks, human intervention, high water pressure when springing a leak in a water pipe, doing honest work for an honest day's pay, etc. In the Advance seasons, they've sometimes blasted off multiple times in one episode. Team Rocket's pretty much the Trope Codifier, which may explain why the trope has been greatly reduced in the current series, where they have yet to be blasted off, preferring a more traditional villain escape instead.
Even a Pikachu Short even had Meloetta doing this when it flies up into the sky.
In one episode, they are launched in a block of ice. Near the end of the episode, they are seen, still in the ice block, floating in the water. They then say the phrase they say in a somber voice, with Meowth saying "With no sparkle..." a bit after.
When Haruka hurls the "airplane" far from Windbloom in episode four of Mai-Otome. According to a bonus feature on the first DVD, the thing ended up in orbit.
Any time someone gets booted into low earth orbit in Ranma 1/2. Inverted in an episode where Kuno delivers a message tied to an arrow, which appears out of a twinkle.
Excel♥Sagahangs a lampshade on this trope in episode 18, where Iwata gets punched and says "Look for the twinkle!" just before he disappears into said twinkle.
Played with in Martian Successor Nadesico. In an episode titled The Lukewarm Cold Equation Akito's robot was thrown into the distance during a fight, creating the twinkle. This had happened a couple of times in previous episodes, but this time the rest of the episode focused on where he went, with Yurika and Megumi actually going out to search for him.
Hanagata often gets sent flying into a twinkle by Otaru's marionettes in Saber Marionette J To X.
A car twinkles out in an episode of USAVICH. A later episode has a police officer twinkle out after being hit by a barrel.
When Zatch Bell! was riding on a cart tied to the bumper of the bus, both him and another character are launched into the distance thanks to the instability of the cart and the rope breaking.
Double-time in Nichijou, after Mai-chan releases a fish in episode 6 and in episode 7 when Nano throws a baseball past the professor.
Frequently comes up in the Pretty Sammy series. Both Rumiya and many of the Love-Love Monsters go out this way.
During a baseball game in the anime Ninin Ga Shinobuden, one of Shinobu's home run hits does this. It ends up reaching another galaxy!
Happens to giant robots frequently in Transformers Cybertron. Unsurprisingly, the Team Rocket-ish Ransack and Crumplezone experience it a time or two, complete with post-booting dialogue on one occasion:
Crumplezone: "Why us, Ransack?"
Ransack: "It's the wheel of fate, my friend."
Both: "It ran right over us!"
However, it can also happen to fellow comedic villain Thundercracker, and the serious villain Scourge. Sideways does it voluntarily, his zigzagged departures often ending in this.
In some animated episodes of Getter Robo, the titular robot's Getter 3 form has a special "Dai-Setsu-Zan-Oroshi" move that involves wrapping enemies in its extending arms and hurling them sumo-style into the air in a whirlwind. The enemy is thrown to the air so far, he disappears in a twinkle. This was even used in Getter 3's appearances in some Super Robot Wars games.
Episode 37. After Tatsufusa Enjoji, the assistant adjutant and 3rd seat of the Eighth Division confronts Chad and does a lot of boasting, Chad knocks him into the sky with a single punch.
Episode 127 when the Vizard Hiyori Sarugaki jumps into the sky while carrying Orihime Inoue.
Twice in Episode 205 during the kemari game. Once when the referee Ururu Tsumugiya throws the ball up into the sky, and once when Jinta Hanakari knocks Kon (in Ichigo's body) into the sky.
Episode #213, after Tessai throws Kon (in Ichigo's body) through a hole in the ceiling of Kisuke Urahara's undergrou
Thorfinn and Thorkell's last fight in Vinland Saga almost comes to an abrupt end when Thorkell kicks Thorfinn into the distance. The boy slams into a tree, breaks his arm, most of his ribs, and then gets back up.
Thorkell also pulls of a reversed one, when Askeladds men notice a Twinkle in the Sky that turns out to be a spear thrown by Thorkell from several miles away and completely impales a man through his chainmail and through his heart. Yes, that man is a pure monster.
Happens twice while Setsuna is piloting Gundam Exia. The first during the very first episode. The second during the final episode. Although it is somewhat justified considering that the Gundams in question actually emit sparkles.
Patrick is often being blown away, and it's not for nothing that he got the Fan Nickname "Team Patrick", in reference to Team Rocket. Kind of played with though, in that unlike Team Rocket, it's actually surprising that he survives when this happens.
Episode 2, when Taro is kicked into the sky by Ryuuka.
Episode 7, when Ryuuka uses a grenade underground.
Happens at least once in Dragon Ball Z; Trunks blasts Vegteta into the distance so that he can have time to kill Cell before he absorbs Android 18. We get a lovely twinkle out of it. The situation and the music provide a nice contrast to the lighthearted celebration inspired when it happens in Pokemon.
Episode 24, Elfman punches Totomaru, who was frozen by Gray. Added with Elfman's Speech during the punch and a 'wow' sound effect when a twinkle appeared
Elfman: "If you're a man..." (punches Totomaru to the sky)
Elfman: "...fly to the heavens and become a star!"
Totomaru: "What is that supposed to mean?" (followed with a twinkle and a "wow" sound effects)
Episode 51: Happy becomes a twinkle as well when he makes a comment about Gray being shirtless and stalking girls. Before he could get to finish his sentence of Gray is a giant pervert, he got punched into the sky by Gray.
This is also the fate of Bluenote Stinger after being defeated by an angry Gildarts Clive.
Natsu get this when Erza stepped on the trap that was intended for Gray in the 2nd OVA.
In Episode 126, this happens to the Jiggle Butt Gang once Natsu gets over his motion sickness. They launch themselves again, accidentally, and, despite missing the twinkle this time, it is accompanied by the trio shouting "WE'RE FLYING OFF AGAAAAIIIINNN!".
In Episode 154, Happy gets this again after he mocks and epicly trolls Erza.
Played straight in A Certain Magical Index's season season, when an awakened Accelerator destroys Kihara Amata. It wasn't just a twinkle in the sky, though, but a fire trail as the man burned to ash from atmospheric friction.
Sekirei, in the third episode of the anime's second season, to members of the disciplinary squad, launched by Kazehana.
Yume does it to them at the end of Episode 12 in Season 1 as well.
Kinnikuman Nisei has this happen to Mantaro sometimes, usually courtesy of Roxanne.
This happens to Buggy the Clown early on in One Piece as well, where Luffy defeats him for the first time by sending him flying after Nami interrupts and messes up his pulling of himself back together.
In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira's second episode, this happens to Takano as well after Magical Girls Oyashiro Rika & Trap Satoko destroy her current Ritual Tool Devil, Nail Ripper, with their 07th Explosion attack (whose name is a Shout-Out to 07th Expansion, which the franchise belongs to). As Takano goes flying into the horizon, just before becoming a twinkle herself, she screams, "Sorry, Brother!" all the while.
At the start of the Demon Tournament of YuYu Hakusho, all the demons on Yusuke's group decide to gang up on their mutual boogey-man. Yusuke welcomes the attention and then proceeds to just punch all 48 opponents clean out of sight. Yusuke then comically lampshades the trope (and reveals his actions were intentional) by calling out the judges because none of his opponents fainted, died, or surrendered (which were the only loss conditions the rules had stated). They declare him the winner of that round anyway.
Happened in Shaolin Soccer when Sing demonstrates his kicking ability by kicking a beer can towards the sky later to be seen again on impact.
Slayer's Instant Kill in Guilty Gear XX involves punching an opponent into the sky and then reciting a haiku. When he completes the poem, there's a twinkle in the sky right before "Destroyed" is announced.
BlazBlue: Makoto's Astral Finish ends in a uppercut that turns the opponent into a twinkle in the sky, and then leaves a huge impression on the moon... and smashes it apart.
If someone is hit upwards out of the arena in Super Smash Bros. or its sequels Melee and Brawl, this is the result... unless they fly forwards and bounce off the screen (only from Melee onward). It's actually pretty satisfying, especially since they scream the whole time; after a long and bitter fight, hearing a morose, "Pika piiiiikaaaaa..." makes the whole thing seem worthwhile.
Especially gratifying in that particular instance if you are a fan of Team Rocket... which accounts for, oh, 99% of the fanbase.
... unless you happen to get KOed by a stage hazard while your opponent is gently floating off toward the horizon. Remember: it doesn't count as a KO until you leave the screen.
There's been quite a bit of controversy around this trope in Smash Bros. tournaments, because which animation you get when you're knocked into the sky (the twinkle or falling against the screen) is completely random... but a "blasting off" animation takes three times longer to actually KO someone. This could potentially result in someone winning a match even though they were defeated first. Because of this, there are some hacks of the game which remove the twinkle altogether.
In God Hand, Gene's more powerful God Roulette attacks (Dragon Kick, 100 Fist and Homerun God to name a few) end with the enemy being launch in the milky way (where they already are), like the awesome credit song puts it. However, unlike other examples said enemies will actually end up back in front of you as if the attack was played backwards, even if it's just to let out a death cry.
Also, Evil Boisterous Bruiser Elvis does this before his second fight against Gene. He punches two of his henchmen into the skies for disrespecting the body of one of their victims.
This happens to the Rock Titan after being blasted off by Hercules in the opening cutscene for Olympus Coliseum in Kingdom Hearts II.
In Breath of Fire IV, Ryu eventually learns to summon up to eight other dragons, whose attacks are short FMV's. The Sand Dragon's attack sends enemies flying off into the sky like this. Much like the God Hand example above, they will be back afterwards to take damage normally.
Subverted in Dominic Deegan. A minor villain is thrown into the sky by an angry animal and Stunt expects nothing but Amusing Injuries. Then it turns out he was thrown directly up and he comes crushing down, landing on his neck and dying instantly.
In The Impossible Man, when Yuki use her most powerful attack, the villains are sent into the sky until "stars flashed in the distance."
In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Marik kicks Crump out of Tea's mind. We then see Crump's spirit fly into the distance. As he becomes a Twinkle In The Sky, he actually screams, "AAAAAAaaaaaaah! Twinkle!"