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Everything's Better With Sparkles
aka: Sparkles
All That Glitters... glitters a lot.

"It's the Magical Girl with two transformations, a Greek goddess, and sparkles!
Oh, so very many sparkles."
— Trailer for Wedding Peach Abridged

Sparkles everywhere! Must be Magic!

For the longest time, humanity has an historical fascination with shinies. That might have to do with how some of the more precious materials tend to sparkle, but in the end, there is just something in how stuff shines or sparkles that leaves people staring on with, well, shiny eyes. That goes double when the effect is of a mysterious nature.

Because of this universal fascination, the trope's simple logic is that if you want to indicate visually how valuable, magical, or just special anything is, then put a lot of shiny sparkles, or anything that makes sparkles (like glitter or small crystals) around it.

Even when the sparkles are justified for the inherent qualities of the materials used, it's still a bit exaggerated in fiction.

Fairies are often prone to sparkling. And this is often associated with Fairy Tales and Princess Classic.

Many video games use sparkles as a form of Notice This.

Definitely on the shiny end of the Sliding Scale of Shiny Versus Gritty.

A Super Trope to Bishie Sparkle, Sparkling Stream of Tears.

Compare Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry, Gold Makes Everything Shiny.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Loads of it in a Magical Girl show.
  • Gundam 00's GN tech. Just watch the opening.
  • In The Wallflower and its anime adaptation Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (Perfect Girl Evolution), all the pretty people are represented with sparkles, which is referenced by Gorn-loving protagonist Sunako; the people that do this are known as "people of light" (Sunako is one of the "people of darkness", of course).
  • Alex Louis Armstrong and his Bishie Sparkle. Just not to his fellow officers, who get creeped out.
  • Princess Fala / Allura sometimes sparkles.
  • Just to give the infamous potato chip scene in Death Note that much more oomph, this trope was invoked.
  • Rakuto sparkles an awful lot in Wild Ones.
  • In one episode of Gankutsuou, Haydee attends an opera wearing what can only be described as the sparkliest dress ever.
  • Pokémon Contests feature these in spades, especially in Sinnoh. And we mean literally; there are plenty of spore-based attacks that resemble sparkles.
    • Starting from Diamond and Pearl, Pokémon now sparkle when released from their Poké Balls, which means that, as of 2006, every single episode invokes this trope!
  • Karakuridouji Ultimo. They had to have spilt glitter glue on the pages. Ultimo with all his Bishie Sparkle scenes. (Yamato gets in on it too.) the bonus comic Ultimo Ulate had entire pages with nothing but sparkles for backdrop. There was even a sparkly rainbow on one page. Oh did we mention the food yet?
    • By the way, this is a science fiction, mecha/robot, shonen series.
  • Soushi Miketsukami does that often when talking to or about Ririchiyo Shirakiin in Inu X Boku SS.
  • All over the place in Rose of Versailles and many 70s' shoujo manga, with Bishie Sparkle being one of the many types being used in the series.

    Comic Books 
  • Miracleman is a tall, superstrong superhero who routinely rips people apart. And he sparkles.

    Films 
  • Ramona and Beezus "Every princess needs a little sparkle"
  • Used in Leonard Part 6, showing that sparkles are better, but not funny.
  • Velvet Goldmine loves its glitter - which is appropriate as it's about a Bishōnen glam rock star.
  • Sparkle Motion!
  • Dreamgirls: Jimmy "Thunder" Early claims he invented flashy costumes, four cannons of confetti go off in the finale, and the credits look like they're set in a starfield.
  • The 1984 movie Legend (with a very young Tom Cruise) is FULL of sparkles. Each of the characters is covered in glitter (including the devil-esque character's hooves). As are many of the sets, especially after the planet flash-freezes. The treasure trove scene where Tom Cruise gets his golden sword and shield takes it especially far over the top.
  • Speaking of The Eighties and glitter, David Bowie in Labyrinth, anyone?
  • Snow White's fur-trimmed staking dress in Snow White and the Three Stooges is loaded with sequins.
  • In The Return of Hanuman, Swarglok (an equivalent of Fluffy Cloud Heaven) has lots of sparkles for the background. Maruti's Dream Sequence also has lots of sparkles.
  • Glinda's pink dress and hat in The Wizard of Oz have sequins sewn into them.
  • In The Wizard Of Speed And Time, the television special's producers argue over whether the use of sparkle F/X will exceed the program's budget. They eventually agree to use one sparkle. Meanwhile, Mike (The titular Wizard) animates a plethora of sparkles for his own scene for almost no cost.

    Literature 
  • Twilight's vampires sparkle in direct sunlight (you'd usually think vampires burn, but that's Common Knowledge from Hollywood films).
  • In the Discworld novels, the Glingleglingleglingle Fairy has the job of heralding major fairy magic by ringing a handbell and throwing some chopped tinsel in the air. Discworld magic usually happens without any fuss, but fairies know what's expected of them.
    • In one scene near the end of the Discworld novel Hogfather, when Susan (Death's grand-daughter) hurls the nursery room poker (made of rather cheap metal) through Death's ribcage at the assassin Mr. Teatime behind him, where it embeds itself in Teatime's chest and kills him, the flying poker "made a ripping noise as it shot through the air, and trailed sparks". Death later admits to Susan that he did add the sparkly stars and the noise, because he thought it would be appropriate (because there were two small children watching).
  • Odd hard sci-fi example: in The Diamond Age it's say that radio waves are too long to be practically used by Nanomachines and they instead communicate on visual light frequencies. yeah... nanobots talk with sparkles
  • Magnus Bane sure loves his body glitter.
  • The subsea pioneers in Dark Life eat bioluminescent fish—which eventually makes their skin shiny.
  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King practically rolls in this trope, especially in the Land of Dolls.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Strictly Come Dancing
  • "Wheel of Fortune!"
  • There was an Anti-Role Model type TV ad for heroin, with a sparkly logo, a song beginning "Everybody's doin' it, doin' it, doin' it," and black-and-white footage of a guy throwing up in a toilet.
  • The transporters and replicators in Star Trek do this.
  • On The Daily Show, magic is usually indicated with a bit of hand-waving and the word "Magic!" The reason they don't use sparkles becomes clear when they briefly experiment with them - either the desk gets covered in glitter which someone will have to clean up, or Special Effects Failure Ensues.
    • The old (1998-2005) set was pretty sparkly itself. I'm thinking particularly of that glittery splash of magenta on the backdrop behind Jon's head.
  • The Stargate Atlantis fanvid "Another Sunday".
  • In the Bruce Kalish seasons of Power Rangers the fire effects in the original Super Sentai footage were replaced with fire-type sparkle effects, when not cut altogether.
  • Dancing with the Stars, especially for the ladies.
  • The magic on Buffy the Vampire Slayer occasionally comes with extra sparkles. Especially when it comes from Willow.
  • The Doctor Who story The Stones of Blood features the Megara, entities of the law that manifest as two clusters of floating sparkles. With quite masculine voices.
  • Whenever a contestant wins the top prize on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, he or she is covered with falling confetti. And in the UK version, the confetti is metallic...or sparkly.

    Music 
  • "Glitter in the Air" by P!nk
  • "Give it Away" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers had glitter used.
  • The entire genre of "Glam" Rock. All about the glitter.
  • The sparkly synthesizer/electric piano used in many Award Bait songs.
  • Almost every Ke$ha song has at least one reference to glitter in it.
  • The Japanese music video "LOVE Dokkyun" by Club Prince is a comically notable abuser: random sparkles cheaply overlayed throughout a large portion of the video, intersecting with Bishie Sparkle. The sparkles eventually digress into pink spinning hearts.
  • While we're on the subject of Japanese music, Morning Musume's video for "One Two Three" looks like it was wrung through a Blingee filter several times.
  • Simple Minds did this a lot starting with their "Sons and Fascination" album, mainly do to the keyboard style of Mick Mac Neil. After he left, they decreased in their "sparklyness".

    New Media 
  • Fandom Wank denizens parodies this by using sparkly text to mocking out stupid or self-evident statements, calling it "The Sparklies of Truth" . The trend (and the nickname) began after reviewing a wank where the main person involved expressed her thoughts by using bold text with a sparkle background in a failed attempt to impose her point of view, which was as batshit insane as you'd expect from anyone who uses sparkle text for emphasis, boiling down to "fan fiction is evil but child abuse is just fine!"
  • The NORAD Santa Tracker shows Santa's current location as an icon of Santa surrounded by sparkles.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theater 
  • "The Firefly Boy" in Cirque Du Soleil's Kŕ is a guy who swings from a trapeze and is covered in sparkles.
    • 27.84% of every Cirque show is glitter.
  • In Mark Siano's Modern Luv, Mark and his chorus dancers don Sparkletards for several numbers, and in the 2012 run, Mark wore a green Sparkletard in the second act for St. Patrick's Day.

    Video Games 
  • The majority of Zelda's attacks in the Super Smash Bros. games involve sparkles. The fairies in the Zelda games sparkle too, so much that you can't actually see their bodies.
  • Shiny (or Alternate Colored) Pokémon sparkle upon leaving their Poké Balls (or being randomly encountered in the case of wild Pokémon). It used to be so that you could tell they were special even if you were playing on a monochrome Game Boy, but the effect became so characteristic of Shinies that it's appeared in all games since.
  • A lot of invincibility power-ups in video games do this, such as the 2D Sonic games (in which the invincibility power-up was actually indicated by a picture of sparkles).
  • Most of the dedicated bomb elements in The Powder Toy sparkle.
  • The Sims
    • The Sims 2 features sparkles as often as it can get away with: in age transitions, during WooHoo, in Pets, kittens and puppies are born in a puff of sparkles, food made with fresh ingredients in Seasons sparkles and refills a lot more hunger more quickly, and in Apartment Life, witches sparkle in colors appropriate to their Character Alignment.
    • The Sims 3 ditches the WooHoo sparkles, but adds sparkles for the mundane act of building walls. In the World Adventures expansion pack, a Lifetime Reward called "Eye Candy" gives pink sparkles to your sim (and a positive moodlet to any other Sim who speaks with the sparkly one).
  • In Persona 4, Teddie eventually grows a human form. It always sparkles; and he is very bishonen. His ham-handed attempts at "scoring chicks" prevents him from taking advantage of it fully; although it probably does prevent women from beating him up for trying.
  • In World of Warcraft most healing spells DO sparkle, making whoever is being healed better, well, medically better.
  • An update for the PlayStation 3 added a new home background theme, naming it "Original" and setting it as the default, while renaming the old one "Classic." The difference? "Original" has sparkles!
  • Used in Glider PRO for a Notice This effect... or whenever else the level designer feels like making something sparkle.
  • Same with the Resident Evil games. Any important item will sparkle like a little star. Lesser items in later games will have a white gleam running over them.
  • Appears in various places in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, due to Square Enix's love of razzle-dazzle, but perhaps most notably in the Ex Mode of each character, wherein they gain, along with various powerups, a colored aura and cloud/trail of sparkles. Sephiroth's are purple.
  • Sparkle Dust is the fifth gag of the Toon-up gag track (or the third strongest healer) in Toontown Online.
  • THE iDOLM@STER will have several outfits that glitter.
  • Happens quite a bit in Barbie Super Model. It is a game for little girls about fashion and clothes, so the fact that there is a ton of glitter on everything is no big surprise.
  • Robot Unicorn Attack
  • In Team Fortress 2, you can see players sparkle in Pyro Vision when in reality they are on fire.
    • There is also a Sparkle particle effect for community and self-made versions of weapons.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 


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alternative title(s): Sparkles
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