A commonly used device when the character gets a moment of clarity, shock, or insight: what looks like a laser or a lightning bolt on a black background will shoot behind their heads. Used to emphasize the urgency or impact of what the character has just realized.
The Idea Bulb
is a similar convention in Western media. Alertness Blink
also has a lot in common with this trope.
Not to be confused with the similar Thunder Shock
, which expresses, well, shock.
Anime and Manga
- Various moments in Dragon Ball Z when someone senses another character's ki (energy).
- Gohan also had a Beam Of Enlightenment when he snapped and transformed into a Super Saiyan 2.
- Another instance where it is used frequently is in Detective Conan, whenever the title character finally realizes who the criminal is. It's also used when a character finds a breakthrough, when the suspect/victim of the week hears something uncomfortable that is bound to turn up later.
- Ditto title hero of The Kindaichi Case Files.
- Can be seen at various points in Ranma ½, usually used for comic effect.
- Often occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Yugi manages to think up a strategy to beat his latest opponent.
- Seen in the sixth episode of the TV version of Ah! My Goddess, when Belldandy sensed the entity possessing Megumi's apartment.
- In Gundam shows, the Beam of Enlightenment signifies a Newtype's danger sense going off, and is generally referred to as the "Newtype flash" by fans.
- Every time Kaiji discovers anything at all, there's a notorious close-up of his face with a lightning bolt in the background.
- One of the songs on the soundtrack is even entitled "Beam of Light".
- Sena, the running back nicknamed Eyeshield 21, often has these when noticing his enemy's weakness, or realizing how to make himself faster/stronger.
- Also very frequent in Cromartie High School.
- In Kotoura-san, these will show up the moment Haruka's Telepathy catches onto something dramatic and/or serious.
- Jake Blues in The Blues Brothers experiences this in a black church, which sets the plot ball rolling.
- Shows up whenever the Dimensional Scream activates in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky, and the anime specials based on them.
- Used in El Goonish Shive when, thinking that she's going to die, Ellen temporarily goes nuts.