This is your standard Limited Animation method of drawing an explosion: as a spikey ball. Usually several such, concentric and multi-colored. Expect some smoke too. This effect can also be used to accentuate any heavy or significant impact, such as a blow to the head. See also Hit Flash. In Real Life, of course, it's possible to achieve an explosion which simulates this effect. Only, usually, not as colorful as in the cartoons. If you don't know what a Koosh Ball is, basically it's a ball of rubber spaghetti used as a safer alternative to rubber balls when soft impacts are desired and bouncing is not. "Koosh" represents the sound effect the thing makes when it hits a surface.
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Live Action TV
- Doctor Who: The war between the Daleks and the Mechanoids in "The Chase" is full of these.
- The Kirby series almost always draws explosions like this.
- Shows up in Mech Commander, surprisingly enough.
- Super Smash Bros. does this.
- The cel-shaded The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker draws its explosions something like this, although the aftereffect of stylized curly smoke is more prominent.
- Used as an impact effect in the Donkey Kong Country series whenever any character gets hit.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 has this for its explosions, with BOMB written in the center of it.
- The game Super Mario Bros. 2 is based on, Doki Doki Panic, has this too, but with BOM written in the center.
- Kickle Cubicle did this too when the bomb enemy "Sparky" explodes.
- Many early fighting games including Street Fighter used these kinds of flashes for the impacts of attacks. Even though newer ones may have effects that don't even look like sparks, the term "hitspark" gradually became a nickname for them.
- All of the explosions caused by Roy and Simon during their cartoon battles in The Cartoon Man saga look like this.
- Made famous by Looney Tunes, especially Road Runner shorts.
- Used all over the place on Rocky and Bullwinkle, usually whenever someone is getting blown up by a Cartoon Bomb (which is quite often.)
- The original Transformers cartoon has a couple of notable ones, specifically the episodes "Fire On The Mountain", and Heavy Metal War".
- Fireworks displays may be viewed as an attempt to invoke this look.
- As noted, real explosions can sometimes look like this: an unusually spot-on example is this photo◊ showing a bomb detonating on the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise during World War II. Unfortunately, the photographer who captured the image did not survive to see it become part of the history books on the war.