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Disappears into Light

"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. The major difference is that Everything Fades is used by videogames so the console no longer has to track them, while this happens to characters in the 'real world.'

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 Deadly Fireworks Display. Not to be confused with Suicide By Sunlight, where vampires end their unlives by walking into the dawn.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    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.
  • 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 to Gemini, Shura and Camus, as Hades claimed their bodies
  • The Ridiculously Human Programs of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha seem to die in this way, as shown with The Wolkenritter's Disney Death and the first Reinforce's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Similarly, 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.
    • The general deletion effect, though, was a much-less-romantic bursting-into-particles effect.
  • 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 Gash 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 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.
      • TBH, almost everyone in TTGL dies in a variation of this. Either because of the "pencil sketch being blown apart and fading to white" death animation, or, well, because they're likely to be inside an exploding Humongous Mecha at the moment of their death.
  • (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.

    Comic Books 
  • The corpse of Reality Warping mutant Absolom Mercator disappeared from its casket and apparently turned into butterflies.

    Film 
  • At the end of 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.
    • Arthur Spiderwick makes a similar departure in The Spiderwick Chronicles, 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.
  • Daemons in The Golden Compass 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.
  • Kadaj did this at the end of Advent Children. Loz and Yazoo were also beginning to do this before they were defeated.
  • Happens at the end of Cube.

    Live Action TV 
  • Astrid in the Doctor Who special "Voyage of the Damned''.
    • And Idris in The Doctor's Wife
    • And it's also pretty much 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.
  • 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 lightóbut 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.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • 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. Of course, being blasted into specks of light is apparently only a momentary setback for her.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Nobodies disintegrate into a cloud of black smoke.
    • In an extra cutscene in Kingdom Hearts 2, Axel appears to Roxas one last time after he dies, and they both disappear into the light.
      • "True" Heartless disappear in a puff of smoke too; "Emblemed" Heartless die with a sudden appearance of a heart floating up and disappearing. This is important in the second game.
    • Also Sora, whose body disintegrates into light in the first game and simularly Xion who combines both the light and darkness effect with um... ice
    • In Birth By Sleep, Master Eraqus's body fades away when he died.
    • Master Xehanort too, after he possesses Terra.
    • The Dream Eaters in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] vanish in such a fashion. It's made slow and dramatic in the case of ally Dream Eaters, perhaps to emphasize that they're gone for good.
  • 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 Pokťmon 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.
  • Death in battle in Fire Emblem tends to result in this though your units will generally get in a death quote first.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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 4, Promethean power weapons (such as the Scattershot, Binary Rifle, and Incineration Cannon) 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.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in Today I Die, where the Disappear signifies a return to life.

    Western Animation 


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