"If you don't know what to do next, slowly pan the camera and shoot the sky..."A camera trick used at the end of an episode or movie, wherein the view pans up to the sky upon conclusion of a story arc. The characters usually look up along with the viewer, too, or are implied to. The sky is a powerful symbol in itself. Here are just a few uses:
— Kyon, Haruhi Suzumiya, "The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina: Episode 00"
- Clear blue sky (white clouds optional) promises happiness and freedom, just the things you expect from a Happy Ending.
- Stormy, ominous sky, on the other hand, indicates that trouble is brewing.
- Sunrise sky stands for renovation and a new beginning.
- Sunset marks a conclusion and definite ending or death.
- Night sky with visible stars has a similar meaning to clear daytime sky with an additional touch of eternity.
- Shooting stars promise the fulfillment of wishes.
- Birds and airplanes stand for unreachable things but also, freedom.
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Anime & Manga
- This was one of many tropes mocked by Haruhi Suzumiya episode 00, with Kyon sarcastically commenting on the frequent panning up towards the sky.
- Cowboy Bebop does this for its finale. Right before the pan up, protagonist Spike collapses from gunshot wounds. It's ambiguously either a Bittersweet Ending or a straight up Downer Ending.
- Both Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS use the clear blue sky version, with the added touch of the show's title appearing in the sky like it does in the intro.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann does this to cap off the Distant Finale, showing Gurren Lagann spiralling of into the night, piercing the heavens still.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ends this way while Ed speaks his final monologue. It's then followed by a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue Photo Montage for ending credits.
- Invoked in Yu-Gi-Oh! right after the final duel concludes and the characters are left in the desert, with the camera rising to the sky. However, this isn't the actual final scene, but the 4Kids Entertainment dub pulls another whammy and cuts out the last moments of the last episode. Gee, thanks.
- Bleach uses the clear blue sky version at the end of the Arrancar arc.
- The anime Death Note ends with panning up to a night sky and crescent moon.
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time ends this way, though there is another quick scene on the baseball pitch after that.
- Scott Pilgrim vs. The World gives us the sky with a "Continue?" and countdown, evoking arcade games. At zero, the credits begin.
- Nashville ends with a pan to a blue sky.
- Most of the Harry Potter films end this way.
- City of Ember ends with the sun rising into a bright blue sky, which is especially meaningful because the characters have spent their entire lives living in an underground city, never knowing there was anything different or that there was such a thing as the sun or sky.
- The Nativity Story ends with the sun and clouds on a bright day.
- Easy A begins and ends this way, with the Screen Gems logo.
- You've Got M@il pans up to a bright, clear sky at the end.
- A bittersweet ending to The Barbarian Invasions, as the protagonist dies: the camera pans up to the silhouette of tall trees against a bright sky.
- How Into the Woods ends.
- At the end of The Professional the camera zooms up from Mathilda onto the skyline of New York.
- Ballad of a Soldier, which establishes in the opening scene that the young soldier protagonist will be killed in combat at some point after the movie's time frame, pans up to the sky at the end as the voiceover muses that he could have done many things with his life if he'd lived, but in the end will be remembered as a Russian soldier.
- In the end of Arthur C. Clarke's The Nine Billion Names of God, the protagonists look up at the sky and see the stars going out one by one.
Live Action TV
- This shot was used at the end of every episode of the original Twilight Zone.
- This is used in the final episode of The Fades, which functions as a Sequel Hook by showing that the sky has turned blood-red.
- This was used going into a commercial in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City On The Edge Of Forever." Inexplicably, the stars in the sky change to a different pattern 2 seconds before the commercial break.
- A starry night sky is used at end of the first season of True Detective to illustrate Rust's belief that although the dark may be greater, the light is winning.
- Several endings of Tsukihime contain this (Akiha True, Hisui True, and Hisui Good, possibly others), as well as the Epilogue.
- The nighttime and shooting star* version of this is part of Mega Man Zero 4's ending.
- Wild ARMs 1 ends in this manner, complete with all three protagonists looking up to the sky.
- The nighttime version of this is the final shot of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)'s ending.
- The Golden Ending of The Reconstruction ends with the camera panning up into the night sky.
- The ending of Super Mario Galaxy 2 (first time only) ends with a shot of a blue comet streaking across the night sky. Further completions of the final Bowser level results in a green comet in the ending.
- A few of the endings of The Legend of Zelda end like this. Specifically, Link's Awakening (with the Wind Fish flying away), The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword.
- Both Kirby Super Star and Kirby's Return to Dream Land end with a long pan across the blue sky (and eventually into space).
- The true ending of Date Warp
- The Cut Scene animation created for the PS version of Chrono Trigger does this twice in the perfect ending—once after Chrono and Marle's wedding when she throws the bouquet, and again after Lucca finds baby Kid (Schala's clone from Chrono Cross).
- Chrono Cross itself also has this in its perfect ending—after you free Schala from the Time Devourer and the two worlds are reunited and restored, but before the end credits roll, Serge ends up back on Opassa Beach with Leena right when he passed out at the start of the game, and as he's asking about things he wasn't supposed to remember from his adventures, you get the pan.
- Shantae: Risky's Revenge ends with a long pan up to the blue sky after the mayor reinstates her as the Guardian of Scuttle Town and her friends promise to help her get accustomed to her new life as a human.
- Tears to Tiara 2 ends with a sunrise to mark the return of the Golden Age
- The final episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender did this after a shot of Aang and Katara's Big Damn Kiss.
- The final episode of the sequel series The Legend of Korra has a pan up to the sky directly over the new Spirit Portal after the final scene of Korra and Asami becoming a couple.
- G.I. Joe: The Movie ends with a pan up to the night sky as the last of Cobra-La's mutation spores burn up in the atmosphere.
- Toy Story 3 ends with a pan up to the blue sky, calling back to Toy Story's opening with a shot of the sky, with clouds that look like those on the wallpaper in Andy's room.
- The Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats episode "Life Saver" ends this way.
- Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch ends this way with a starry night sky, while a star twinkles to prove Lilo's mother would be proud of her.
- Recess: School's Out ends this way with a clear blue sky.
- The Princess and the Frog ends with a shot of the Evening Star and Ray the firefly, now a star himself in the night sky.
- King of the Hill's intended Grand Finale "To Sirloin With Love".