So the Final Battle
is finally over. The Big Bad
, a powerful personification from hell and/or an homicidal robot from the future, has been struck a lethal blow and is now done for. How does Hollywood celebrate this climactic moment? Easy, by having the defeated foe then die in a spectacular fashion, with lots of special effects and unusual things happening to him, such as explosions
, flashes, gradual disintegration, things melting, etc.
Note that this is not just dying in a flashy way, this is when the flashiness comes from the death itself, so for instance a character dying by having a bomb inside him is not this trope, as the explosion comes from the bomb and not from the character's death.
Quite common in video games, especially for bosses
—a good death scene is part of the reward for bringing down such an imposing enemy, and frequently Stuff Blowing Up
makes for a good death scene.
See also Critical Existence Failure
for when death is always a sudden thing, Ludicrous Gibs
for gory existence failures. In Video Games
, it can become a justification
for Everything Fades
. A supertrope of Disappears into Light
As this is a death trope, spoilers will go unmarked.
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- The Anti-Spiral King in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann probably takes the cake, dying in seven sequential multicolored galaxy-spanning explosions.
- In Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie), the main villain dies in this manner, where it shows her already blob-like face melting and swirling (she's merged with a "black hole" at this point so she looks like a glowing ball with a face on it) and then the whole thing explodes.
- All the Monsters of the Week Sailor Moon destroys, a unique death scene for each type. Also the way Malachite disintegrates when he is stabbed. Neflite too, although he is no longer a villain at this point.
- Then Germatoid disintegrates in a flash of light when Sailor Uranus stabs him in the eye.
- The Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion virtually all do this, often with technicolor crosses of light.
- Lampshaded in Mirai Nikki by Yuno's reaction to the death of The 3rd.
- The three main villains of Soul Eater. While Medusa's disintegration into dark particles and Arachne crumbling into dust (or possibly dead spiders) was kinda elaborate, the Big Bad, Asura, takes the cake with rays of light and an explosion of blue light. After Maka defeats him by punching him in the face.
- While most destroyed Digimon disintegrate or explode into particles, Devimon and Myotismon have somewhat unique death scenes. Devimon slowly disintegrates into red/purple particles from the feet up, and Myotismon, the third time, is destroyed in a flash of light and rainbow shockwave.
- In Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, when Kirby destroys NME, he disintegrates into blue particles in a similar style to Devimon.
- In the Dragon Ball Z movies, Janemba is notable for disintegrating into sparkly particles once Gogeta defeats him.
- At the climax of War of the Green Lanterns, all the colors of the rainbow shoot from Krona as Hal kills him.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The Wizard of Oz: "I'M MELTING!! I'M MELTING!! OH WHAT A WORLD!! WHAT A WORLD!!"
- And then there's the Nome King, who crumbles into a pile of rocks upon eating an egg, which is poisonous to him.
- Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit gets a similar death scene to the Wicked Witch of the West as well.
- The explosive death/destruction of Agent Smith in The Matrix and all of the Agent Smiths (Agents Smith?) in The Matrix Revolutions.
- Highlander. The Quickening that occurs whenever an Immortal dies causes various sparks, electricity and destruction to surrouding vicinity.
- The Lord of the Rings (movie version). Although it's right in the prologue rather than the end of the movie, death for Sauron basically means becoming the exploding man.
- And his actual death at the end of Return of the King, a shockwave explosion that collapses the foundations of Mordor.
- And of course there's the more understated, but no less satisfying, implosion of The Witch-King near the end of Return of the King.
- The T-1000's death in Terminator 2: Judgment Day is a notable example of a Shape Shifter Swan Song, but it becomes even more spectacular when the T-1000 starts to do things like split into two heads, form into a mouth, and invert that mouth as it tries to save itself.
- It's not enough for sunlight to just kill Gremlins. It has to melt them alive.
- The Emperor's death in Return of the Jedi was like this.
- War of the Colossal Beast is a literal example. The entire film was shot in black and white EXCEPT for the title character's climactic death.
- Voldemort's death in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows second movie. His disintegration was original to the film because he just drops dead in the book.
- Vampires in Blade disintegrate when they are killed. And in the sequel, Reapers get an even more spectacular disintegration with blue light.
- Xayide in The Neverending Story 2: The Next Chapter.
- Galactus in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, explodes in a cosmic shockwave of blue energy.
- This also happens with Pendragon in Jack the Giant Killer.
- In Your Highness, Leezar is stabbed and disintegrates into flaming particles.
- Queen Narissa in Enchanted, starts on fire when she hits an obstacle in the middle of her Disney Villain Death, and on impact with the ground explodes into blue sparkles.
- Jonah King in Drive Angry when he gets hit with the Godkiller is erased from existence in a technicolor flash.
Live Action Television
- When Power Rangers villains die, they go out with a bang. Sometimes it's such that you'd think the monster's destruction would do more to the city than the monster would have if left alone. Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers in particular went the distance, with all sorts of flashy and colorful effects as the monster staggered around, leading up to the final kaboom (which could consist of two or three explosions.) They haven't looked like that in a while, even for main villains.
- The Beast in Angel season 4 dies this way, with sunlight exploding out of him after Angelus punctures his rocky hide.
- Halfrek's fiery death in the Buffy episode "Selfless" is like this, too.
- Many regeneration scenes in Doctor Who are like this, with the obvious difference that the character in question is in a sense dying but simultaneously getting better. They're also unusual in that it's the death of the hero, not the villain. No two regenerations have been shown to be quite alike; mostly it's been a case of how the special effects team wanted to show off at the time.
- David Tennant into Matt Smith looked pretty much like Christopher Eccleston into David Tennant... but Tennant-into-Smith caused explosions throughout the TARDIS interior and caused it to crash. Just why this is is the subject of much Fan Wank, though there's a very real possibility that it's just the TARDIS being the TARDIS and the timing being wholly coincidental. The real answer is, of course, "the production team wanted to make some tweaks to the ship."
- Kamen Rider generally uses explosions for its monster deaths, like Power Rangers, above. Some, however, decide to get fancy, such as the "burst into blue flames, then collapse into dust while a Greek letter hovers over your body" effects from Kamen Rider Faiz.
- When demons die in Supernatural they explode with red flashing lights. Angels take this to the next level where not only does white light explode from their body, but covers the entire room of wherever they're at.
- Valtor/Baltor in Winx Club. When Bloom extinguishes his flame from within, rays of light shine from him and he explodes in a flash of light.
- Tirek in the first My Little Pony movie. When exposed to the Rainbow of Light, he explodes in a flash of light.
- All Final Bosses from Final Fantasy I through X slowly disintegrate, as well as Final Fantasy Tactics. Sometimes with flashing.
- In Final Fantasy X this is integrated into the plot: Monsters are formed by unsent souls, when they're killed these firefly-like souls emanate from their remains. Even then, you get some pretty cool death animations. A notable one that comes to mind is the jellyfish Sinspawn on the trip from Besaid to Kilika. It shudders, gets compressed into an oily black sphere, then explodes into a cloud of fireflies.
- The most over-the-top and spectacular example in the series yet has to be Ultimecia's final defeat. First she shudders, then her body releases explosions, then she fires a large laser into the sky from her (lack of a) face and then countless beams of light erupt out of her body until almost the entire screen has gone white. THEN she explodes. And it's still not over, since Ultimecia's distorting body then gets a slightly disturbing close up in negative colors and proceeds to disintegrate in a shower of bright light. AND SHE SURVIVES IT.
- Challenging that is the likewise over-the-top and long death animation of Yu Yevon. Imagine the Ultimecia example above, but with sheer out-and-out disintigration coming from such a small target. It needs to be seen to be believed.
- Final Fantasy XII has a flying cybernetic Clock Punk engine of destruction as its final boss, created when the Big Bad's apotheosis causes him to spontaneously accumulate debris and machinery from his own battle fortress. In short, not only does he get a Technicolor Death, he also gets a Technicolor Transformation Sequence.
- Though the Final Boss doesn't do this, all the bosses (and standard enemies) in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess explode upon dying into little Twilight fragments.
- All bosses except the fourth one in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass turn into gold, disintigrated partially, explode into a column of sand, and then the sand freezes in midair.
- And of course, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, with standard enemies dissapearing into puffs of smoke.
- Most of the bosses in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time get more unique death scenes. Gohma and Phantom Ganon disintegrate into blue flames, Barinade explodes into pieces and blood, Volvagia starts on fire, turns to a skeleton, and his skull is destroyed in blue flames, Morpha explodes into pieces, and Bongo Bongo turns to static (plain black in the GameCube and 3DS versions) and melts. The most spectacular instance of the N64 games is Majora, the Big Bad of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, where rays of light shine from him and he disintegrates.
- The first Wild ARMs has each generic enemy dying by flashing colors and collapsing vertically into a little pool on the ground. Bosses get the more enhanced effect of flashing colors while beams of light shoot around and a big flash.
- Most of the bosses in the remake flash shake, and disintigrate, piece-by-piece.
- Defeated bosses in the Mega Man Zero series are usually engulfed in a spherical blast that emits beams of light after being defeated. Justified due to them being robots; since Zero's trademark weapon is a sword, it may have compromised their power systems. The radiating beams of light part? Not so much. Also, the attack that depletes their health meter causes much more damage than any other attack (blowing a chunk out of them if it's a charged beam shot, Diagonal Cut if it's with the sword), but that's probably another trope.
- Mega Man and the bosses he fights turn into 8 lights and explode in 8 directions when killed.
- Mega Man X bosses recoil in pain and explode for about 10 seconds as the background fades to white and they disappear into the background.
- Slain bosses in The World Ends with You fulfill this in two different ways, first turning black on a background of white noise, then radiating beams of light, and finally vanishing in a white burst.
- In the old ZX Spectrum game Chaos, when a wizard is killed his sprite explodes across the board in all eight directions and all eight colours. And it is awesome.
- Bosses in the Mario & Luigi RPGs tend to explode into glowing stars and lights when they die. In Partners in Time, they flash rainbow colors before doing so.
- It is also notable that three of the main villains, Elder Princess Shroob, Fawful, and Antasma, explode into purple particles once defeated. Dark Bowser takes an even more spectacular level with a shockwave of light.
- And then there's the Shadow Queen in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, exploding in a shockwave of darkness.
- The bosses in the old Sega Genesis game Decap Attack would flash on and off brightly like a strobe light for several seconds as small explosions engulf them before disappearing.
- Ansem really, Xehanort's Heartless from Kingdom Hearts died in a very awesome, spectacular explosion- subverted in that he's, strangely, fine in the next cutscene. ("fine" in the sense that he's still alive) Then, he dies again, in a shower of light beams... although it is unclear if all of those beams came from Kingdom Hearts, or if some of them were actually caused by his death, as this trope demands.
- Marluxia from Chain of Memories had an epic disintegration into Cherry Blossoms and swirly darkness amidst a background that resembles a darkened sky
- Each of the Cobras (the team of renegade commandos) in Metal Gear Solid 3 explode after being killed. This is played for laughs in some of the Secret Theater scenes.
- Monsters in Ōkami tend to dissolve into flowers. Boss monsters can be more spectacular; for instance, the Spider Queen turns into a giant lotus flower in the cutscene following her death. Devil Gates also cause the landscape to bloom when they're destroyed.
- The way SHODAN "died" in System Shock 2.
- The way bosses died in Darius Gaiden and G-Darius- streaks of light pour out of them, then BOOM. Subverted by earlier games in the series, the bosses would just turn grey and drop off the bottom of the screen.
- In most of the games developed by Treasure (Dynamite Headdy, Gunstar Heroes, Mischief Makers, what have you), the bosses and even minibosses tend to explode in incredibly over-the-top ways, whether or not they're robots or have any mechanical components which could logically detonate. Most of these explosions are done with only one explosion sprite that's used like a particle effect, especially in their earlier games.
- In Minecraft, normaly while mobs simply fall over and vanish in a puff of smoke when killed, the Ender Dragon starts to explode and disintergrate pixel by pixel while shooting out beams of light.
- GLaDOS' death in Portal causes her chamber to explode/implode, blasting everything in there (including Chell) outside.
- Bosses in the original Yoshis Island would go out with multiple brightly colored, sparkly explosions.
- The Final Boss of EarthBound dissipates into static upon death and simulates the TV turning off.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising has Medusa disintegrating into nothing from head to toe after freezing in place, and Hades also disintegrating as the beam from the Final Strike pummels him.
- Completely and utterly averted, almost to the point of unintentional hilarity, when you defeat the final boss of Star Stealing Prince. When you deal the final blow, you're suddenly booted out of the fight screen and treated to a scene of the final boss anticlimactically flopping over. The whole process literally lasts about 3-4 seconds. Then again, you don't actually kill the final boss; you just knock him out long enough to make your getaway.
- In Bomberman 64, when Artemis is defeated, she is destroyed in an explosion of blue light. When you defeat the final boss, Sirius, he gets the most spectacular death scene in the game: Sparks with electricity, flashes rainbow colors, with orange and blue rays of light, then shatters to pieces.
- In Bomberman Hero, all the defeated bosses except the smaller Natia and Evil Bomber (who simply fade away) explode, after rays of light shine from them.
- Andross, both times he is destroyed in Star Fox, explodes in a nuclear explosion
- Tabuu gets a similar explosion to Aparoid Queen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Ares in God of War, after he is stabbed explodes in a nuclear explosion
- Emperor Ing, Ridley, and Dark Samus in the Metroid Prime series
- In Sonic Riders, Babylon Gaurdian disintegrates into sparks when Sonic defeats him. And in Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, Master Core: ABIS explodes in a spectacular explosion when Sonic defeats him.
- A Team Fortress 2 achievement item called the Bombinomicon has a purely cosmetic effect of making any death suffered by its wearer into a gratuitous explosion, even if they were killed by more mundane, non-explosive means. This means it is possible to clumsily fall from a height and die from the Falling Damage and see your corpse flopped on the ground, only to have it detonate a second later.
- Most Battlemech destructions from the various MechWarrior and Mech Commander games are this; doesn't matter if you drowned them in a swarm of missiles or simply plinked them with machine guns—'Mechs will explode in dramatic fashion when destroyed, occasionally flinging their component parts a good two hundred meters away. Averted in Mechwarrior Online, where most 'Mechs simply collapse on the spot when they are destroyed.
- Battle Clash has a series of strangely muffled explosions engulf every remaining limb and piece of an enemy ST upon defeat. On the other hand, its sequel Metal Combat rewards every K.O. with an utterly satisfying series of explosions (and a much more appropriate sound effect) that causes pieces of the enemy ST to drop off from damage, leaving the remaining torso/core to bounce and stumble along the ground if it was moving when defeated. Then there's usually a final, larger explosion as well! ...Except sometimes you only see a portion of it, because the game uses a First Person view and the enemy ST's torso just exploded from stumbling as you were still moving along.
- Pretty much every enemy ST explodes this way, even in stages with midair/underwater combat. The Final boss ramps up the pretty, pretty explosions by including several of them in succession with bright flashes.