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Giving Up the Ghost

Motoko: This is.. This calm serenity is as if she were a Buddha! There's a Buddha behind her?!
Keitaro: WA-H! She's dying from the cold! Mutsumi-san, get a hold of yourself!
Love Hina

This is a comedy trope found in anime and manga. Sometimes, a character may feel like they could die at any moment due to some form of sudden external stimulation or just plain exhaustion. It could be getting knocked out with a sudden blow to the head, being scared half to death, a sudden shock to the system, being pushed to the point of physical exhaustion, or some other form of Amusing Injury. This results in the character's very soul momentarily escaping from their body, most often from their mouth.

It doesn't matter how it happens, but it's a comedic way of showing that the character just nearly died or felt like they are about to. They nearly gave up the ghost. This is always just temporary and the character is likely to be back to normal in the next scene.

Contrast the Western Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, which usually indicates death (and the soul has to be forced back if not).


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • This happens quite frequently in Love Hina, especially with Mutsumi Otohime. Early on she was prone to "dying" (she faints) at the drop of a hat, so much so that it gets Lampshaded quite often. At one point, Motoko noticed such a serene calm coming from Mutsumi during a New Years ritual that she thought she was achieving Buddhist transcendence... until everyone realized that Mutsumi was about to die from the cold, so they had to grab her soul and wake her up again.
  • One episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had Edward get smacked upside his head so hard by Winry's wrench that his soul started to escape from it. A surprised Alphonse grabs onto it and says: "I've got your soul, brother!"
    • Young Edward does this after getting his butt kicked during a teaching lesson with Izumi, back when both brothers finally began their alchemy training.
    • This happens to Ed a LOT, usually as a result of getting the business end of Winry's wrench after breaking his automail. One memorable example involves Winry calmly working on Ed's automail while he holds onto his soul with two fingers.
  • Kenichi from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple ends up giving up the ghost a few times. At one point, he was scared so bad that his ghost's ghost gave up the ghost.
  • My Bride Is a Mermaid shows this happening to "Chimp" Sarutobi on a few occasions.
    • The first time is when Nagasume takes him to the nurses office after he had been knocked out in the classroom. Nagasume was surprised to see that the school nurse was Sun's mother, Ran, and promptly tosses Saru to the floor. Saru was about to regain consciousness when Ran instinctively kicks him in the face and makes him give up the ghost.
    • Another instance is during Gym class when a submarine emerges from under the floor, right directly under Saru. He gets knocked around so hard that everyone nearly forgot about him laying in a corner with his soul raising up from his mouth.
    • Even Sun isn't exempt of this trope. When she realizes that Akeno is conducting a Mermaid exam on her to determine if she's allowed to stay where she lives, Sun starts to tense up at the thought that anything she does next may compromise her situation. Her soul takes the form of a little angel that revolves on top of her head. Akeno lampshades this by saying that it looked like her soul was about to fly away.
  • When Negi is training with Rakan in Mahou Sensei Negima!, Rakan tells him to use his strongest attack on him so he can estimate how tough he is. When Negi does and it hurts more than he expected, Rakan hits him back so hard that this ends up happening.
  • This happens with Kazuki in Busou Renkin when Tokiko hits him, and especially after his disastrous attempt to emulate the 'Bravo Kiss'.
  • This occurs in one of the Niwanaishos in Maria-sama Ga Miteru. Yumi and Youko are trying to get a scene right that involves drinking a nauseous mix of strawberry juice and milk. They mess the scene up two times. During the last take Yumi passes out and gives up her ghost.
  • This occurs in episode 2 of Fairy Tail during the guild brawl. Lucy is speaking with Mirajane about the commotion, asking if this is normal for the guild. As Mira is replying that they guild is always like this, Her brother Elfman is thrown into her, knocking her unconscious and giving up her ghost.
    • This also happens in episode 8. Kage gives up his ghost when he is informed that he looks like the Blue Pegasus guild master, Bob, when he was younger. Master Makarov does this in the the episode when Natsu, Gray and Erza defeat the demon from the lullaby, but destroy the Guild Master meeting hall in the process.
    • In the anime version after Elfman just curbstomps Sol, he gives up the ghost and the enraged Elfman grabs it and shoves it back. Prompting him to say this.
    Sol: No~n, at least let me lose consciousness.
  • Happens to the Computer Club members in Haruhi-chan in the 5th episode after the dodgeball game.
    • In Episode 10, both Yuki and Mini-Ryoko give up the ghost after being knocked out. Before that, Yuki gave it up when the scene cuts to the bedroom, whereas Mini-Ryoko gives it up after a failed Wall Jump.
    • In the Christmas Episode, when Haruhi hits Kyon, after a short time, Kyon's ghost emerges from his body. Oddly enough, it remains until later on.
  • This had happened to Imadori in School Rumble after he took a basketball to the face from Harima (he was distracted at the time by the ghost of an old teacher).
  • This happens to Kon all the time in Bleach. Usually after Ichigo or Rukia beat him up for being annoying.
  • A few times in Lucky Star:
    • Konata gives hers up after gaming for 3 days straight.
    • In the very next scene, Miss Kuroi gives it up as she rushes to the classroom and tells her students to switch out of summer break mode and go back to focusing on school. The class is shocked that she's saying that when she's not even prepared herself.
    • Hiyori Tamura does this after pulling off an all-nighter to meet her manga submission deadline.
  • Happens to Ikko all the time in Amaenaide yo!! Ah! My Buddha. It's to be expected since the series is about ghosts and ecchi.
  • Sunako Nakahara in The Wallflower has this happen to her in the manga, when her aunt tries to get her to sleep with Kyohei.
  • To Love-Ru
    • Oshizu is a Cute Ghost Girl but inhabits an artificial body. However, any great shock causes her to leave the body in this way.
    • It's played with on at least one occasion when a teacher (an old man) witnesses her "die"... and promptly gives up his own ghost. Oshizu saves him by grabbing his soul and shoving it back into his body.
  • Happens in episode 21 of Ouran Highschool Host Club to nearly everyone that gets scared in some way by a Halloween prank.
  • This happens to Kurumi in the 2nd episode of Pani Poni Dash! when Becky called her a boring girl who has no noticeable characteristics. Her soul can be seen just floating out of her mouth. When Becky calls her "Boring Girl" again, her ghost screams out in further shock. It just escapes further and further outward across the rest of the episode until it finally flies away when Ichijo adds the final nail to the coffin. It happens a few other times across the series too.
  • The page image is from Ore Imo's 14th episode opening, which has some unusual cartoon violence for this otherwise fairly realistic show.
  • One of the more comedic scenes in The Sacred Blacksmith involves Charlotte and her bodyguards. First by Charlotte from the shock that a princess like herself has to perform the tasks of a common servant as well as look the part. Her friends decide to gang up on Fio for subjecting her to such a state, and then this happens to all three of them after Fio effortlessly knocks them out and leaves them piled up on the floor.
  • Near the end of episode 5 of B Gata H Kei, Kosuda's blue-colored soul is gently hanging out of his mouth as he reflects upon how he ended up seeing underneath Yamada's skirt while she wasn't wearing any panties at school earlier that day.
  • Nichijou involved some characters sometimes giving up the ghost.
  • In episode 15 of Oh Edo Rocket, Shunpei is so worried about his constant worrying that he can't get any sleep. When Onui wakes up the next morning, she sees that his body is a shriveled up husk and his spirit is drifting out of a pouch hanging from his waist. She panics and quickly revives him.
  • Happens at one point in the anime version of One Piece, when Nami sees a lion with a freaky face in the Thriller Bark arc.
  • Chihaya's relentless verbal attacks against Hasebe in episode 13 of Servant Service, together with that of Miyoshi and Ichimiya to a lesser extent, caused his soul to exit from his body multiple times!
  • Almost every chapter of Daily Life with Monster Girl will have this happen to someone.

Video Games

  • Chip does this in Sonic Unleashed after claiming that lack of food access would be so horrible, he would die.
  • This happens in Sega Genesis' Ghostbusters game. In the "Castle" level, you (the player) find two of your fellow 'Busters under the spell of a Possessor. When fully exorcised, the Green Ghost that you have to trap escapes from the Ghostbuster's mouth.
  • Whenever one of the party members is KO'd in the Epic Battle Fantasy series. Strangely averted with Anna though.
  • One of the death animations for enemies in Ninja Baseball Bat Man. Comes with a short tune of Fur Elise for some weird reason.

Web Comics
  • By Rachel and Dory when they first meet Derek in Moon Crest 24.
  • Karin-dou 4koma:
    • Elza, after she slips a disc trying to pick up a heavy box without using strength magic.
    • Mifi, after Elza says she's going on a date. Seren urges Mifi to put her soul back in before she dies. Mifi's speech bubbles come from the soul until Mifi sucks it back in.
    • Elza-as-Mifi, after Seren burns her ultra deliciously.
    • Sachi, out of simple exhaustion from climbing all the stairs to the shrine.
    • Tamaryu, during a forced study session.
    • Catherine, after getting hit at the end of the No Laughing Game.


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