"He'll be fading away into little sparks any second now...because surely, without his head, he is vanquished!"Alas! Bob has been fatally wounded. As he lies dying, motes of light begin to rise off his body, slowly at first, but increasing in speed. Just before he fully disappears, he makes one last optimistic comment, and his body bursts into a thousand tiny pinpricks of light. This saves his friends the inconvenience of burying him. Sometimes happens to holy characters, or is used to show that they Ascended To A Higher Plane of Existence, or ghosts when they Go Into the Light. It's also popular for sentient computer programs to go this way after being 'deleted.' Such deaths tend to be followed up with celestial faces looking down, having Died Happily Ever After. Of course, motes aren't the only way it works. Swarms of insects, flower petals/leaves, and the like (often glowing) are also commonly used. Related to Everything Fades and Fading Away. The major difference is that Everything Fades is used by video games so that the console no longer has to spend memory tracking an increasing number of fallen enemies, while this is understood as happening in the "real world" that the characters explicitly experience, and that Fading Away is both less showy and is explicitly the cause of death, rather than something happening as a side-effect of a character dying for some other reason. For a less dramatic way of disposing of the dead, see No Body Left Behind. For the version of this trope that implies a much worse fate, see Technicolor Death. Not to be confused with Suicide by Sunlight, where vampires end their unlives by walking into the dawn.
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Anime and Manga
- The Trope Namer is GaoGaiGar, where the Super Robot uses the Goldion Hammer to reduce the Monster of the Week into wisps of light with a cry of "HIKARI NI NARE!!!". The trope's name is just one of many possible translations.
- In kind of an odd subversion of the trope, however, the use of the Goldion Hammer is almost always non-lethal: the "Hammer Hell and Heaven" maneuver that starts the attack rips the core containing the human host of the monster (or the cockpit containing the pilot of the enemy mecha, as the first episode of FINAL showed) out of its body so that they can be returned to normal safely (or arrested or rather, shot in the face with a bazooka). It should be noted that the hammer strike itself (the part that does the disappearing) is most certainly lethal. If Guy doesn't care to remove you from the Robeast first, that's your ass.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Ryoko Asakura fades away like this when she is deleted by Yuki Nagato.
- Mai Hime and Mai-Otome. The Festival shall occur, the maidens shall battle, and the rivers shall run green with sparklies. The exception is Erstin, who dies normally.
- Bleach. Happens to the Bounts when they die, Plus spirits when they're purified and sent to Soul Society, and Nozomi and Kagerosa in episode 341 of the Gotei 13 Invading Army anime season.
- Happened in Saint Seiya Hades Chapter OVA to Gemini Saga, Capricorn Shura and Aquarius Camus, as Hades claimed their bodies.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- The Ridiculously Human Programs seem to die in this way, as shown with The Wolkenritter's Disney Death and the first Reinforce's Heroic Sacrifice.
- Also happened to Alicia Testarossa in Fate's Book-of-Darkness-created Lotus-Eater Machine, fading away in Fate's arms while telling her she loved her and wished she could've been her sister in reality.
- The trope image is from the Fighting Game Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, where this happens to a briefly resurrected Linith.
- This happens to Sakuya Kumashiro in Tenchi in Tokyo.
- Digimon Adventure did this when Angemon and Devimon died. It's also used in Digimon Tamers, with the addition that Mons can absorb the motes to increase their power.
- Sailor Moon does this when people die in the later seasons (particularly heart breaking examples exist in Sailor Moon Stars). In the first season when people die they leave corpses behind — except Nephrite, whose death is probably the most heartwrenching moment of the first season.
- In Last Exile, Maestro Delphine's ring will cause you to explode into light when you take it from her finger.
- On Afro Samurai, After being fatally wounded by Kuma/Jinno, Ninja-Ninja does this. The only reason he does and no one else who dies does is because he's imaginary.
- In Hell Girl when Ai dies her body dissolves into sakura petals.
- Happens to the dying grunty in the VR World of .hack//SIGN.
- In Zatch Bell!, the demons whose books get burned get returned to the demon world in this manner. Moments of optimism vary depending on the manner in which they're sent off, and their personalities in general.
- In Transformers Cybertron, Galvatron meets his end this way. Vector Prime's death was similar, but the manner in which it happened makes it a bit more believable. Vector Prime gave up his life energy reversing time. Galvatron, on the other hand, was impaled by Optimus Prime with Vector Prime's sword, which should have just left him plain ol' dead. It's inverted in Transformers Armada when Optimus Prime is resurrected.
- Happens to Emperor Charles and Empress Marianne late in Code Geass. May be justified since the characters in question had been cheating death, and rather than outright dying, they were forcibly absorbed by the afterlife. Not to mention the whole thing actually takes place in a mystical realm.
- Everyone except Shou, Chronos, Judai and Johan in the third season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. The dub apparently changed this to 'going to the stars' or something. It began getting really obvious that there'd be a reset button as soon as the entire cast was gone essentially.
- In The Vision of Escaflowne, Zaibach mecha usually melt and evaporate into blue flame after they've been destroyed. It's implied to be because of the liquid metal they use for their weaponry.
- An interesting variety occurs in Kurau Phantom Memory: after she gets hit by the Rynax, Kurau dissolves into a swirling tornado of light—which shortly after reassembles into Kurau, now merged with the Rynax.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, those people who are erased from existence by the Code Of The Lifemaker do this as they fade into nothingness.
- Shadow from the Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Plus manga.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
- Nia fades away like this just after completing the marriage ceremony.
- Lordgenome when he dies again in the final battle. Being the channel between a Big Bang happening and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's spiral engine is lethal.
- (Manga Only) This happened to Eureka in Eureka Seven upon the Scab Coral's demise. Its a rather unfair ending for Renton...
- Naruto: It's discovered that the otherwise unstoppable ninjas resurrected by the Impure World jutsu are released and will permanently dissolve if their spirits are calmed. For example, Sai's brother is able to stop after finally seeing the book Sai made for him and Sasori is able to leave after A) Kankuro points out that the puppet master has become Madara and Kabuto's puppet and B) he sees that Kankuro has learned his killer puppet techniques, ensuring that his art will last forever, just like he always wanted. Sasori even gives Kankuro his mother and father puppets before dissolving (aww).
- Elemental Gelade: This is Viro's tragic fate just moments after her High-Heel–Face Turn and subsequent mortal injury.
- How Lucia dies in Rave Master, which actually makes he death ambiguous enough that he may have been sent to the original world instead.
- Happens to Alice in Pandora Hearts, when Oz sends her away so she won't suffer anymore for his sake.
- In Popcorn Avatar the Asura disintegrate into burning embers when they are defeated. This is the assumed fate of the Deva as well if their avatars are defeated.
- HeartCatch Pretty Cure!:
- Cologne goes out this way after pulling a Taking the Bullet to save Yuri/Cure Moonlight from Professor Sabaaku's attack, dying and disappearing in her arms.
- In Episode 40, Sasorina goes out in the same manner, fading away in Kumojacky's arms after thanking him and Cobraja for being there for her. Eight episodes later, Dark Precure also dies in this manner in the arms of Professor Sabaaku (a.k.a. Yuri/Moonlight's father, brainwashed by the Big Bad), after being fatally wounded in her final clash with Cure Moonlight. Professor Tsukikage apologizes to the both of them and tells Dark to stand down, and calls her his second daughter. She calls him "father" and relaxes, releasing her anger as she fades away in his arms. Note that both of these cases also fall under Go Out with a Smile.
- Madoka in the finale of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, to complete her transformation into an Abstract Apotheosis.
- In Princess Tutu it is said that this will happen to the eponymous character if she confesses her love for Mytho. Princess Kraehe once took advantage of this by holding him hostage to force her to do so, but Tutu instead expresses her emotions through dance. Eventually subverted in the finale. Tutu does dissolve into light, but Duck is still alive - she just can't transform into a human anymore.
- In Sword Art Online, players shatter into multicolored sparkles when they die. The same happens when items are destroyed, which a few clever players use to fake their deaths when combined with a teleport crystal.
- Mekakucity Actors: Azami in Episode 10, after delivering a Despair Speech about how foolish she was to believe she could lead a normal life despite being an immortal being. She disappears into the Heat Haze World right in front of her daughter, and by the time her husband reaches her, there is only a fading cloud of sparkling lights left.
- Anime version of Your Lie in April did it very beautifully and as in a tearjerking as possible. The fate of Kaori after finishing her long-awaited duet with Kousei in final episode. It's unclear whether the Kaori that played alongside Kousei was indeed her spirit before going to afterlife or just purely Kousei's imagery, but it makes him realize that her surgery has failed and she's dead for sure.
- Every Servant dies this way in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], due to being spiritual beings that can temporarily assume physical forms.
- This is how Koro-sensei dies in Assassination Classroom. His entire body turns into motes of light after Nagisa stabs him through his heart.
- It happened to Ginka in the final chapter of Kin no Kanojo, Gin no Kanojo manga due to her over-using her divine powers to summon the weather storm. In Disney Death fashion, She was revived 3 years later & reunited with her lover Yasuda by the goddess through her fragment.
Film — Animated
- At the end of The Corpse Bride, Emily is able to move on from being betrayed, and to let Victor be with Victoria instead of trying to take him from her. She fades into blue butterflies, which fly away.
- Kadaj did this at the end of Advent Children. Loz and Yazoo were also beginning to do this before they were defeated.
- In Kung Fu Panda, Master Oogway, knowing his time is up, gives on last instruction to his protege Master Shifu — to train the Dragon Warrior. Then he disappears in a shower of cherry petals.
Film — Live-Action
- The Spiderwick Chronicles: Arthur Spiderwick makes a similar departure in the film version, although it's dandelion-seed fluff that he's swept away as, and he's being carried off to a fairy realm rather than dying.
- The Golden Compass: Daemons in the movie disappear in a shower of sparks when the human they belong to is killed.
- At the end of Dragonheart, this happens to Draco's body.
- All programs in TRON will light up or disappear into Tron Lines on the ground when they derez.
- The Dark Crystal: The eldest of the Mystics at the beginning of the movie passes on in this manner.
- Goosebumps has Hannah with her family in the real world as they fade away from it to enter the spirit world/afterlife.
Live Action TV
- Astrid in the Doctor Who special Voyage of the Damned, Idris in The Doctor's Wife, and it's also with Time Lord regeneration looks like.
- Stargate SG-1: Daniel Jackson. Also, the entire population of Abydos.
- Has happened to a few Power Rangers characters whose deaths needed to be censor friendly but more sensitively done than the usual Made of Explodium deaths that non-human characters tend to get. And in its source material Super Sentai. In a specific example, Basco ta Jolokia in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger.
- In Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, being 'vented' looks like this. It's taken from the effect seen in Kamen Rider Ryuki when someone or something dissolves in the mirror world. This effect is also used in Kamen Rider Double a few times (despite no mirror world thing. Fleeting Demographic Rule applies to special effects.)
- In most any Toku show, any non-human character who doesn't explode goes out this way instead.
- Not really light, but the MythBusters obliterating that car with the rocket sled has a definite Hikari Ni Nare vibe to it. As Jamie so eloquently puts it during the sum-up of that scene,
So our goal was to fuse metal and pancake the car. Did we achieve that? ... What car?
- Eureka has Stark, after plugging in an atomic clock to break a timeloop.
- In Babylon 5, this is the final fate of John Sheridan in "Sleeping in Light". Sheridan has run out of borrowed time and, after saying his goodbyes, returns to a historic site so he can die in peace... but instead, he's met by Lorien and given the opportunity to go beyond the rim with the rest of the First Ones.
- In season 8 of Supernatural, after Bobby's soul is freed from Hell by Sam, he ascends to Heaven in a sparkling whorl of light—but only after the demon Crowley holds him back with dark clouds and the angel Naomi drives off Crowley and liberates Bobby's soul to finally ascend to Heaven.
- In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, monsters die this way; instead of turning to dust like the source material or exploding like most toku monsters, they violently disperse into wisps of light.
- Demon Beasts in Madan Senki Ryukendo die like this if they don't explode instead.
- In Final Fantasy X and X-2, dead humans that receive the Sending ritual do this, as do defeated monsters and defeated Aeons. The lights themselves even have a name — pyreflies.
- Interestingly, Cactuars also do this, even though they're not fiends in the traditional sense, and chocobos which aren't fiends at all! However, you're not really supposed to kill the latter.
- Oddly, the same effect is used in Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings.
- In Wild ARMs 3, Leehalt dies in this manner when Jet Enduro purges him.
- In Wild ARMs 4, having been reduced to a ghost held together by a nanomachine cluster, Hauser dies in this manner after Jude convinces him to let go and finally rest in peace.
- Dark Samus dies like this at least twice during Metroid Prime 2: Echoes. Of course, being blasted into specks of light is apparently only a momentary setback for her.
- The Kingdom Hearts series features this extensively, with characters fading away into motes of light, wisps of darkness. It's established that the characters who fade like this are not truly "dead", but instead have lost their heart in some form, and so their being dissipates, and it's possible to "recover" from this state if the right conditions are met.
- Credo in Devil May Cry 4
- MOTHER 3: This is what happens to each of the Magypsies (though we don't see what happens to the very last one).
- This is what happens when you kill security programs in Tron 2.0, albeit very quickly. When you kill viruses, they either explode or explode violently. Hint: don't stand near dying viruses.
- This happens to your character, after time's been fixed in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time/Darkness.
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, this happens to Hydreigon when Kyurem destroys him by freezing and smashing him, but he manages to save the hero by guiding their friends to them as a light before disappearing (Temporarily, at least).
- Sydney and Hardin in Vagrant Story. On the other hand, anyone else unlucky enough to die within Lea Monde's walls tends to Dissapear Into Darkness, their souls consumed and enslaved by the eldritch power of the city.
- Creatures 3 and Docking Station have the bodies of dead norns disappearing this way, but only after they've been dead awhile. After all, you might want to determine cause of death first.
- Replicas, including Ion in Tales of the Abyss. Nearly happens to Luke at one point, too, except for Asch's intervention. Justified in that they're entirely made from Seventh Fonons, rather than a normal human's mixture of fonons and matter (or something like that - the game makes an effort at describing the world's physics, but it's a little fuzzy in places), and so when they die those fonons dissipate.
- This happens to a lot of characters across all the .hack games. Usually this means that the player behind the character is now comatose. The few cases of dissolving that do not result in comas include Aura and Mia in the original games, and Haseo (twice!) in the GU games.
- Maxim and Selan at the end of Lufia 2: Return of the Sinestrals.
- When the Servants from Fate/stay night are destroyed, they dissipate into a cloud of sparks. Only in extreme cases do they ever leave any physical residue behind. Their soul, now detached from any attachment to the world, are then caught by the Holy Grail and used for power, much like a waterwheel uses a river for motive force, as they burrow back to the Throne of Heroes that it originated from.
- Fire Emblem
- Death (or temporary incapacitation, if using the Casual mode from later games) in battle tends to be represented in this in the gameplay, though the dying/injured units will generally get in a quote first.
- In-story, Princess Azura dies like this at the end of Fire Emblem Fates's Birthright path. It's implied that the same happens to her in Conquest, but it takes place off-screen.
- This is what is set to happen to all of humanity in Rewrite if salvation takes place as in Shizuru's route.
- At the end of the bonus game in Mystery Case Files: 13th Skull, Captain Crown's crew reanimates their skeletons to attack their ghostly captain (it's OK, he murdered all of them), everything goes bright, and then the Master Detective regains consciousness in the swamp.
- The bonus game in Fate's Carnival wraps up with Madame Fate and her cat Isis, free at last, dissipating into a moonbeam.
- This happens to every boss (apart from Tenor, Soprano, Ferret and Qem) in Iron Twilight.
- The sparks in Level 18 and the Vizier's magic spells do this to the Prince in the SNES version of Prince of Persia. If killed by other means, his body fades away without the light effects.
- Ernst in Ys VI, and Tia in Ys VII.
- If you use the Ion Cannon at the end of the GDI campaign of Command & Conquer, the ending cutscenes shows Kane standing before the ion beam with his hands outstretched, as though embracing it, as the light envelops him.
- Played with in that a) the light is what kills him rather than a consequence of his death and b) he didn't stay dead.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The old woman also known as Impa dies in this way at the end. Her role was fulfilled after the defeat of Demise, both in the past and in the present, and had lived for thousands of years already, justifying the trope.
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has this happen with all the Sheikah Shrine Monks after they have given you their Spirit Orbs.
- How all the Demi-gods that rely on mantra in Asura's Wrath die. Including Asura himself.
Asura: My Wrath, is finally.........gone. Durga, I'll be home, soon.
- Inverted in Diablo III when Tyrael decides to make himself mortal. His head (previously a void hidden under a hood) materialises from bright motes as he does so.
- This happens to Lambda in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift after she performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Ragna from one last attack from Terumi. Bonus points for going out with a smile in the process.
- The Enderdragon's death animation in Minecraft. It's repeatedly skewered by beams of light and eventually it completely dissolves into nothingness.
- In Halo, Promethean power weapons (such as the Scattershot, Binary Rifle, and Incineration Cannon, all introduced in Halo 4) cause the targets that they kill to disintegrate into hardlight particles.
- Shepard in Mass Effect 3's Control ending.
- In Disney Princess Enchanted Journey, this happens after the final battle with Zara.
- This happens to Aquila in Dragon Quest IX after he takes a a fatal attack from King Godwyn for the player.
- In Persona 3, this happens to Akinari at the conclusion of the Sun Arcana Social Link.
- Happens to Morgana in Persona 5. He gets better, though.
- In Sands of Destruction, Kyrie does when he dies. You later encounter him again as a glowing ball of light, which is apparently what the Destruct looks like when not in a human body. It's still very obviously Kyrie, though, refusing to obey the Crimson Sun's orders to go back and destroy the world and then flashing with excitement when Morte speaks to him.
- At the end of Ori and the Blind Forest, this happens to Kuro during her Heroic Sacrifice.
- Subverted in Today I Die, where the Disappear signifies a return to life.
- In TMNT, this happens to one of the supporting characters in the end.
- Partially Played for Laughs when Michelangelo accidentally inhales some of the floating particles and starts coughing.
- Happens in Kung Fu Panda with a But Now I Must Go moment, though said character disappeared into flower petals instead.
- When Brushogun dies in Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo this happens. Although this one can be justified in that magic was the only thing keeping him alive in the first place.
- When reality breaks in the Justice League episode built around a comic book dream, the heroes are all absorbed by light, presumably to death. They smile and salute in their final moments.
- In the fourth season of Winx Club Nabu's body did not disappear after he sacrificed himself, (although it did glow and float a few inches off the ground for some reason) but Aisha later uses her magic to turn his body into flowers.
- Bunny in The Powerpuff Girls.
- Sadlygrove in Wakfu.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic's third season finale, this happens to Twilight when she temporarily Ascends to a Higher Plane of Existence upon casting the spell. Afterwards, she Reappears From Light as an Alicorn.
- In Code Lyoko whenever a main character dies in the virtual world they fade into bits of computer data before reappearing in the real world.