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Now you see him...now you don't!
The screen turns to solid black starting at the edges and pushing inwards, forcing the view of the scene into an ever-dwindling circle in the manner of a camera iris closing. The circle is centered either on the physical middle of the screen, or on some object or person of importance in order to draw attention to it. When the center of the "iris" is on a person, it sometimes pauses to allow them to get off a One-Liner
or other comment. Some shows use the Iris Out
instead of Fade to Black
for a character's POV when they pass out/faint/are knocked unconscious
The iris need not be circular. If the episode ends on a romantic high note, it often takes the form of a heart.
A common variation is for the iris to almost close, then pop back open a little either to continue the cartoon or for one last gag before the iris finally closes altogether. A common fourth-wall breaking
variation on this variation is for a character to physically grab the closing iris, sometimes pushing it to prevent the scene from ending
, other times stretching it open to rant or to step through into the blacked-out screen.
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Anime and Manga
- An episode of Trigun features this, with the main character, Vash in the center complaining about the little screentime in the episode.
- Every episode of Kirby of the Stars ends with a star-shaped Iris Out that pauses around Kirby, usually just to let him smile at the viewer and exclaim "Poyo!"
- Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea ends right after Ponyo and Sosuke kiss.
- Most episodes of K-On! end with a Fade to Black or just a straight cut to black or credits, but a few episodes end this way.
- In Season 1, Episode 5, the iris closes on Mio, who's just collapsed from learning that she has to fill in for Yui, who's ruined her voice for a few days from too much practice. Another iris opens on Yui, who tells us they have 3 days until the school festival...
- In Episode 6, a heart-shaped iris closes on Mio, who's traumatized from having accidentally given the audience a Panty Shot.
- In Episode 12, a heart-shaped iris closes on Yui, who's just declared her love of light music.
- In Season 2, Episode 5, there's an iris for each of the five members, and a flower appears on each iris as they close.
- In Episode 17, an iris shrunks around Yui's face. Unusually, the area that is usually black is red with yellow polka dots in a regular pattern.
- Suite Pretty Cure ♪ episode 2 uses this when Kanade shakes Hummy's paw for the first time.
- The Artist, a 2011 film but deliberately old-fashioned, uses this as well as several other tropes from the late-silent period of cinema.
- The Star Wars films use the Iris Out along with wipes for transitions instead of the standard dissolve. This is done as an Homage to the old film serials that influenced George Lucas.
- This is done a lot in German silent films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Often, they would even start the iris out (or in) but stop partway through, so that only one part of the screen is visible and the rest is darkened. To some extent, this was a way of directing the audience's attention to a specific area of the screen that was superseded by the more mobile camera and faster editing style that became widespread by the later 1920s.
- Feast III ends on an improvised variation, with the surviving character of the film using his hands to imitate an iris out.
- The Cityof Lost Children ends with a kid burping and the iris effect finished on the mouth.
- Who Framed Rogerrabbit breaks the 4th wall when one of the three little pigs interacts with the iris in the closing scene.
- The Sting ends with the two main characters walking off and the iris zooming in on them.
- The logo of the independent Hollywood studio, Avco-Embassy Pictures Corporation (1968-1982), began with an iris-out zooming out.
- Experimental Soviet film Man with a Movie Camera plays with this, ending with a shot of the camera lens as the iris closes.
Live Action TV
- An Iris Out is the usual Idiosyncratic Wipe used in Pushing Daisies, where its old-fashioned feel complements the show's retro charm.
- Used in The BBC's adaptation of Tipping the Velvet.
- Used at the end of every episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, to match the time period of the show.
- Ugly Betty does this on occasion, with the iris focusing on Betty after she gets into certain situations.
- In the UK, when the television signal used to cut off for the night, an iris out would close up into the centre of the screen, leaving just a little white dot which would then slowly fade.
- Also used to transition between scenes in many video games; for example, Super Mario 64 and Paper Mario 64 did this using outlines of characters' heads rather than the traditional circle.
- When you entered a level in the original NES Super Mario Bros. 3, the transition was a box that always went into the center of the screen. The remakes used a circle that was always centered on Mario.
- Super Mario World did this with a circle at the end of every stage, except those finished using a keyhole. Keyhole exits did an inversion of this trope using the keyhole itself as the iris.
- In Super Mario RPG, this happens each time you spend a night at an inn, stopping to let Mario strike his trademark pose before finishing.
- Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy, and both New Super Mario Bros. games do this with the outline of Bowser's face whenever Mario loses a life. The New Super Mario Bros games also have generic circle irises for pipe and door entries and Idiosyncratic Wipes for secret pipes hidden offscreen. And, in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, if you enter a door in a hidden area, there's an additional iris-out for the passage.
- If you lose your last life in Galaxy, then instead of Bowser's face, the iris out will be shaped like the words "Game Over" instead.
- All Kingdom Hearts games released after Kingdom Hearts II used iris-outs between areas in a world. The outline is always some sort of symbol related to the world currently in - a keyhole in Twilight Town, a Mickey Mouse head in Disney Castle, a lightning bolt medal in the Olympus Coliseum, a rose in Beast Castle...
- Used for all level transitions in Donkey Kong 64, with the iris in the shape of the initials "DK".
- Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie used these as screen transitions. If you got a Game Over or decided to quit playing, the iris would take the shape of a profile of Grunty's head.
- Both Dragons Lair games and Space Ace did this after each "miss" sequence. Space Ace even does an "Iris In" with Borf taunting the player (except when the player got a game over, although the Borf taunting bits were still done before game overs in the blu-ray version). There are even heart-shaped irises that close out in Level 4 of Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp.
- A heart-shaped version can be found in both endings of Super Meat Boy.
- There's a mushroom-shaped iris out whenever Marisa collects a mushroom in New Super Marisa Land.
- Super Mario Bros. Z uses iris-outs that are somewhat merged with Idiosyncratic Wipes:
- In Episode 7, after the Dancing Banana inexplicably causes an explosion in the Pipe Maze that sends Wario and Waluigi back out to the surface, they land on Jeff and Hal from Bowser's Kingdom, and a banana graphic does this trope to Super Mario World 1's "iris-out" sound effect.
- Then, in Episode 8, Wario throws Waluigi at the Sky Pop Mark II in an attempt to steal Mario and the gang's Chaos Emeralds. Waluigi stops just short and does a Wile E. Coyote-esque fall. After he lands, we cut to a stunned-nearly-speechless Wario, and the same thing happens as in the Episode 7 scene, but with a "W" emblem.
- In the original Jib Jab video "This Land", George W. Bush grabs the iris at the end to mention Cheney.
- Happy Tree Friends does this at the end of almost every episode, with a few exceptions here and there.
- Tom and Jerry (pictured above). All of their episodes end with an iris out.
- At the end of one Ed, Edd n Eddy episode, Edd says while Breaking the Fourth Wall, "An iris in [on Eddy] would be appropriate." After that happens and the screen is completely black, he says, "Thank you!"
- A Walter Lantz short from the Woody Woodpecker family ended with the shrinking iris decapitating the character. But it was Played for Laughs.
- Batman: The Animated Series had a heart-shaped Iris out in "Harlequinade". The only example of one in the entire DCAU.
- During an episode of Darkwing Duck in which the characters got involved in a movie production, everyone started to argue about how to end the movie - The Diva wanted it to end on her face, another suggests a ride into the sunset - and Launchpad started to describe the Iris out as the perfect way to end it. Guess how they ended the episode?
- An episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold ended with Batman standing behind Plastic Man and Woozy Winks as they laughed at the way the case ended. The iris stopped and re-opened. Plas and Woozy stopped laughing, paused, and resumed. Batman simply walked out of the shot.
- El Tigre enjoys this trope a lot
- In "A Fistful of Nickels". the cartoon ends with White Pantera and Puma Loco arguing over whether Manny will grow up to be a hero or a villain. The iris closes on Pantera shouting "Hero!" but it opens back up again on Puma Loco shouting "Villain!" before it closes for good.
- In "Oso Solo Mio". the iris-out begins with a heart shape as El Oso begins walking away with his love, birds singing around them. The iris opens back up as the she-bear he loves runs away from him and we realize the cartoon still has a couple of minutes left.
- The best-known examples of Iris Out can be seen in various Warner Bros. cartoons. which were already subverting the trope in the 1930s. One famous example is in many of Bob Clampett's cartoons, in which he created a vocal "Beeo-woop!" sound effect to accompany the iris out at the end.
- The Frederator and Billionfold toons from Nickelodeon have some trademark ones.
- Danny Phantom uses the Iris Out with some variations. In one of the early cartoons, the final shot was Danny, Sam, and Tucker laughing, and there were three Iris Out shots used, one for each character.
- The Fairly Oddparents has also used the Iris Out with one for Timmy, Cosmo, and Wanda laughing as the circle closed.
- A really Idiosyncratic Wipes example in Fanboy and Chum Chum — instead of a closing iris, it was blackness in the shape of human teeth snapping shut with the image growing smaller between the jaws of black.
- Jimmy Neutron's Iris Outs are almost always in the shape of the logo he uses to identify everything he invents.
- Used frequently on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Used in the pilot episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, "The Chicken From Outer Space", when Courage remarks, "This shouldn't happen to a dog!", and has since been a well-known gag on the series.
- The Animaniacs Please Please Please Get a Life Foundation segment ends with an iris-out on a Fanboy's nose, but he reopens it, saying that It's Been Done before closing again.
- Used at the end of the Season 2 Premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as a Shout-Out to A New Hope.
- Recess would use this as an ending on a few occasions, when it wasn't a Fade Out.
- Most 101 Dalmatians: The Series episodes would end this way, usually with the standard circle. "Love 'em and Flea 'em" used a heart, as did "Swine Song" and "My Fair Moochie", while some used a star, like "Shake, Rattle, and Woof" and "Lucky All-Star". On a few occasions, the iris out was parodied by characters trying to keep the iris out open while trying to say something and other stuff.
- At the end of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Hog Wild", Billy gets caught in the iris, horrifically contorting his face until he slips through the iris so it can close.
- Done in the very first episode of Superjail after the Warden's plan works out and he gets to eat the remains of a prison riot. He comments that his "plan tastes great! I mean, it could use a little salt, but otherwise it tastes great!" As the iris closes in, it stops for a moment just long enough for the Warden to wink at the audience. Done again in the season 3 episode "Sticky Discharge". The Warden's plan to keep Paul in Superjail works, prompting the Warden to say "Isn't it great?" Cue iris out, stopping yet again for the Warden to wink at the audience.
- In the Warner Brothers classic Duck Amuck, Daffy Duck pushes the closing iris aside, since in his mind, the cartoon hasn't started yet.
- The Beast Wars episode "A Better Mousetrap" starts to iris out at the end as the Maximals sadly contemplate Rattrap's Heroic Sacrifice...then the iris reverses as Rattrap comes out of the ship, perfectly fine, and the episode continues for another minute.
- The Amazing World of Gumball does this in as a gag in "The Castle" as Gumball and Darwin celebrate that they don't have to go to school, despite being only a minute into the episode and the show normally ending with a Smash to Black.
- The The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "The Bird! The Bird!" uses a strange variation. After the final line of the episode is delivered, the iris appears already partially zoomed-in, and both the iris and image it frames shrink into nothingness shortly afterwards.
- A Mighty Mouse cartoon with Pearl Pureheart and Oil Can Harry apparently ends on a cliffhanger and an iris out. The narrator calls out "WAIT!", causing the iris out to suddenly stop on a frozen image of Mighty Mouse in flight. The narrator pleads, "Gosh, we can't wait till next week. Please show us what happens now. Won't you?" The iris opens back up and the cartoon resumes to conclusion.