-> "An increasing shadow... [[DullSurprise That's never good...]]" - ''FrankensteinsCat''

If you're in a cartoon, an [[AnvilOnHead anvil, safe, or piano]] can fall on you at any time -- often without warning. But when [[RuleOfFunny comedic effect]] demands, your imminent flattening can be several seconds away, portended by a BombWhistle and the slowly expanding ShadowOfImpendingDoom.

As this shadow - often [[LazyArtist circular]] - engulfs the soon-to-be-crushed (an especially large anvil or rock may darken the entire scene), it will be met or ignored with a number of stock responses (such as wondering why it got dark so early). a particularly oblivious flattenee clapping the dust off his hands in satisfaction of a job well done, while the merely stupid will watch in confusion as their partner or adversary flees the scene; if he does notice, there's a good chance the falling object is far to big to escape -- expect him to simply stand there, resigned to his fate, perhaps [[DeathByLookingUp looking to the sky]] in bug-eyed terror, perhaps producing a tiny umbrella or [[TalkingWithSigns sign reading "Eep!"]] On rare occasion they might run back and forth within the shadow, too panicked to think to actually leave it. Note that this implies both that the object is falling down perfectly straight and that there's light directly above it.

Of course, the character could try to escape, at which point the anvil will either follow him somehow(with or without the shadow updating) or land on a sloped surface and slide toward its target. But rest assured, those caught in the [[ShadowOfImpendingDoom Shadow]] ''will'' meet their (temporary) doom.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The ''RanmaOneHalf'' villain Herb orders his [[SuperStrength super-strong]] [[{{Mook}} minion]], Lime, to crush Ranma with a boulder. There's an amusingly cartoony BeatPanel of female-Ranma, pig-Ryoga, and duck-Mousse looking up in shock while a gigantic round shadow is cast over them.
* This trope is used for seriousness in ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'', in the animated adaptation of [[spoiler:the real Madara Uchiha's]] fight against the Allied Shinobi Forces' Fourth Divison, when the BigBad in question decides to clear the field by summoning an utterly gigantic meteorite into the sky and [[ColonyDrop drop it on the entire Division]]. The first hint that it's coming is a massive shadow that darkens the entire battlefield.
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/{{Avatar}}'', the Leonopteryx, a flying Apex Predator, is known to the Na'vi as ''Toruk'', which translates to "Last Shadow" in English.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Not a cartoon use per se, but several boss encounters in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' feature [[DeathFromAbove plummeting meteors]] or other forms of messy death that must be avoided by players; this is usually advertised by an obvious visual effect on the targeted area several seconds before anyone within it goes splat. Players who die repeatedly due to failing to move out from under the ShadowOfImpendingDoom tend to get laughed at by those with sharper reflexes. Some memorable examples include Kael'thas Sunstrider's Flamestrike, Kil'jaeden's Armageddon, Kel'thuzad's Shadow Fissure, the Twilight Fissure used by Sartharion's drake minibosses, Flame Leviathan's multiple {{Kill Sat}}s, Hodir's ice stalagmites, Freya's solar beams, Mimiron's rockets[[note]] boasting the highest raw damage in the whole game out of all abilities that don't just kill you no matter the HP[[/note]], General Vezax's shadow crushes, rocket launchers during the battleships encounter, viscous goo thrown by Putricide during Festergut's hardmode encounter, [[AvertedTrope sudden ]]''[[AvertedTrope lack]]'' of markers for same goo thrown by Putricide in his own battle and exploding cluster slime bombs during Rotface battle, back to visible markers for vortexes of the Blood Princes, ice geysers during Valithria encounter, Sindragosa's frost bombs and [[BigBad Lich King's]] Shadow Traps.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda's'' {{Wallmaster}}s show the shadow of their hand before they strike from above and take you back to the dungeon's start.
** Interestingly, you can normally roll out of the way if you're quick enough, or if you can find a ladder, the shadow ''disappears entirely''.
** When climbing Death Mountain, volcanic rocks fall around Link, with the occasional larger one employing this trope.
* One of the minigames in the first ''VideoGame/{{Rayman}}: VideoGame/RavingRabbids'' game involves walking a blindfold bunny around a small landscape full of cartoonish instruments of pain, and scoring points for every misfortune that befalls the miserable protagonist. The target score is 51,000 points, and the player might soon discover that this is a tall order indeed, for the scores awarded for blundering into a cactus, or for stepping on a rake or perhaps walking into a beartrap, are generally a matter only of a few tens. It's then that the player notices the ShadowOfImpendingDoom at the centre of the game area, which is gradually growing larger and larger. The payoff comes when a colossal 50,000 ton weight crashes down covering the entire arena, awarding 50,000 points on the spot...
* In the [=2D=] GBA ''VideoGame/DukeNukem'' game, one cutscene has an alien guard standing outside the secret base Duke is being held in when it blows it up. He finds himself in the shadow (Though due to poor graphics, it looks more like he turns black) before a chunk of the base falls on him.
** Later on, when Duke drives a jumping tank around, he can run down alien soldiers, or jump on them, cloaking them in shadow as they look up at Duke's falling tank.
* This is becoming a common mechanic for third-person perspective 3D games to warn you of impending danger. The ''Franchise/SlyCooper'' series, for example, warns you of everything from eagle attacks to giant sea monster tentacles by showing a (shaped!) shadow where they will strike. Of course, these shadows have no bearing whatsoever on where the approaching objects are, when you consider the sources of light which would be casting shadows.
* The Toy Kingdom boss from ''SonicAdvanceTrilogy'' had several attacks like this.
* In ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]]'', a shadow appeared when something huge was about to fall on Bowser. First it was his castle (which might I add, is the size of a mountain and made of solid stone), then it was a giant tower mecha's foot (whereupon Bowser tries to recall what happened last time the shadow appeared, but got squished before he figured it out), and then [[spoiler: a remodeled Peach's Castle]] (where Bowser had no time to react before it stomped him). Whenever Bowser gets squishinated into a pulp, he goes giant and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome kills whatever squishified him.]]
** Happens in VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiDreamTeam, where in the 'escape' from Dreamy Mount Pajamaja, you see a huge shadow appear with an ominous falling sound as Mario and Luigi run past the shop at the bottom. That shadow? The mountain/volcano, which is alive and has lept off the top of the mountain after the bros. Thankfully, it just about misses them.
* Any and most Flying enemies from ''[[VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2]]'' usually had a shadow when they were preparing to attack. Most notable may be the Bowser fights in SMG2 in which you're on a small planetoid, and as Bowser is preparing to punch the living daylights out of you, a bright orange shadow appears under his fist.
* This is actually the name of one of Peacock's attacks from ''VideoGame/{{Skullgirls}}''. Activate it, and a random object will start falling. The size of the object and shadow depend on how long you hold the button. In the Medium and Hard versions, you can actually move the shadow by walking around.
* ''{{Pikmin}} 2'', in the hardest dungeons, has boulders that fall from the ceiling, and any Pikmin that it lands on are crushed. Possible a subversion of the BombWhistle; not because of the factually inaccurate pitch change, but because there are actual explosives that can also come from the ceiling...without the shadow or whistle. The only advantage is that you can run away from them ''after'' they fall.
* [[VideoGame/TheBindingofIsaac Isaac's mom]] casts an impending shadow before she tries to stomp him with her foot.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' provided us with: "That's odd. The thief's almanac didn't say anything about there being a total eclipse of the "
** Not to mention the time when Black Mage had ''[[ColonyDrop the entire continent of Australia]]'' dropped on his head by Sarda.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'': John [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=003793 tosses]] his newly-acquired [[AC:boonbuck]] (worth a million boondollars) into his [[AC:ceramic porkhollow.]] The porkhollow is sadly aware of the growing shadow.
** [[spoiler: Used in a less comedic fashion with Jack Noir; if you can see his shadow, people are about to die]].
** The shadow of a Colonel Sassacre book is later seen looming above [[spoiler:Alpha Jaspers / Frigglish]].
* ''Webcomic/TouhouNekokayou'' Used in [[http://dizzy.pestermom.com/?p=thcomic128 this]] strip. Everyone except Komachi failed to notice.
-->'''[[FanNickname Namazu]]:''' I am big and ugly.
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' has one cast on [[spoiler:Prof. Tiktoffen]] right before he's crushed by a pillar.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Just about every cartoon made back when violence was the plot (WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes et al.)
** Probably Wile E. Coyote's specialty, especially the tiny umbrella and sign gags.
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'':
** In "Musclebob Buffpants", a referee at an anchor tossing contest keeps getting hit by anchors. At one time the shadow actually follows him around as he scrambles for cover.
** In "Spongeguard on Duty", [=SpongeBob=] claims to be as cool as lifeguard Larry, "and if I'm not, may I be struck by..." he is interrupted by [[CueTheFlyingPigs a roll of thunder]], so he switches to "... a flying ice-cream truck." A shadow then appears over him, accompanied by chiming.
*** Also, right before the truck was about to hit him, Spongebob played it safe and shouted "AND LIVE!" The truck conveniently stopped in mid-air right above him as he said this, then fell on him.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' contains a nice subversion/variation of this. One of the cutaways shows a man on the [[WorldWarII 6th of August 1945 in Hiroshima]]. He first gets a parking ticket and then a car speeds by, causing him to [[RoadsideWave get stained by mud]]. He then asks "How can this day get any worse?" We then see a shadow falling towards him together with the noise and the man proclaims: "Oh my God!" [[spoiler: The shadow turns out to be a baboon which lands on the man and attacks him. Great example of CrossingTheLineTwice]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': In the episode Warrior of Kyoshi, Aang is surfing on a giant koi fish, until something suddenly stops it and he is thrown off. Aang soon learns why this happened when the world darkens around him because [[AlwaysABiggerFish its predator's]] dorsal fin breaks the surface...
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