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Winged Soul Flies Off at Death
Why do characters die? Why, because their souls leave their bodies! You can see it happening: an exact duplicate, except winged — and (usually) white and translucent, and (sometimes) with halo and harp — starts flying up from the collapsed body. (Appears to be a confusion between the soul and angels.)

If you grab the soul and stuff it back into the body, naturally the death will end. Otherwise, it's bound for Fluffy Cloud Heaven (or possibly Fire and Brimstone Hell).

Usually an animated or comic strip/book trope.

Death Trope — though many very unpermanent ones. Others are Died Happily Ever After. Only if the soul starts to descend does it say that they missed Heaven and will get the other place.

Compare Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence (soul ascends without the cartoony aspect... usually); Astral Projection (soul ascends from a still living body on command); and Giving Up the Ghost, the Japanese near death equivalent that is always Played for Laughs.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • At the end of each Fullmetal Alchemist manga volume, the characters who have died in that volume are pictured with halo and wings. Except for Shou Tucker.
  • In Yaiba, this happens to Sasaki Kojiro (in the past, is a long story involving time travel).

Comics
  • Suske en Wiske: Happens to the villain Savantas in "De Sprietatoom". He then returns to Earth to repent for his sins.

Film
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as Eddie causes the Toon Patrol weasels to die laughing (with the exception of Psycho, who loses his footing), their souls drift upward. One soul (Psycho) sets off the machinery as it rises. Psycho even says, "Bye-Bye!" as he sets off the machinery. The only weasel that this does not happen to is the chief, Smart Ass, who gets kicked in the nads and knocked into a vat of dip. This has some nasty implications.
  • Happens in Big Man Japan with each of the defeated monsters. Quite odd to see in a live-action film.
  • In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace sees or imagines a thin Piella as she looked long ago do this.
  • Topper omits the wings but otherwise plays this straight, as the ghosts of George and Marion rise from their bodies after they're killed in a car wreck.
  • Constantine has a variation in the Stinger after the end credits. Chas Kramer, who died earlier in the movie, appears in half-angel form atop his own tombstone and rockets into the sky.
  • In Ghost this happened to at least one character, albeit without the wings and harp. Several characters got dragged away by demonic shadows.
  • A couple episodes of The Three Stooges had this.
  • "Seven James Bonds at Casino Royale (1967). They came to save the world and win a gal at Casino Royale. Six of them went to a heavenly spot. The seventh one is going to a place where it's terribly hot."
  • In Monty Python's Life of Brian, at the end of the opening credits, his soul in winged angel form flies up from an opening flower bud (it's that kind of film) and rises up towards the sun, and is then promptly burned and cast back down.
  • Laurel and Hardy: Happens to Ollie near the end of The Flying Deuces when, after death, he literally flies off to Heaven as an angel.

Live-Action TV
  • In the last episode of the first series of The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer after Vic's life support machine has been switched off by Bob his spirit is seen rising from his body, dressed in a completely white suit but without wings or harp and coincidentally looking very similar to how he would look on the later remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) where he played Marty Hopkirk.

Music
  • Combined with Together in Death: Milky the Milk Carton (and his strawberry milk carton lover) at the end of the music video for "Coffee & TV" by blur.
  • Cool-T in the video for "The Magic Key".

Mythology

Video Games
  • Krelian inexplicably turns into an angel at the conclusion of Xenogears. Of course, this is his redemptive moment, and he doesn't die so much as cross over into the Wave Existence (the source of everything) and ascend to another plane.
  • In StarTropics, a winged angel version of Mike complete with halo flies up from his body whenever he dies.
  • In the Crash Bandicoot series, a lot of the many different possible deaths involve this (sometimes leaving behind a body, sometimes not). The "default" death animation in the early games (many different ways to die had their own) was Crash's body simply disappearing and his blue, winged soul flying off.
    • In Crash Bash, though, every playable character turn into a winged ball of light when they die in the minigames.
  • Battle Bugs had this in the death animation for Praying (get it, get it?) Mantis.
  • Kirby: Mass Attack: the player controls multiple Kirbys, and any who die transform into little winged angel ghost Kirbys and fly away. It's also played with; any surviving Kirbys can revive the one who just got killed by grabbing his soul and forcing it back down to the ground.
  • Koume and Kotake die this way after you defeat their combined form, Twinrova, in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Humorously, they argue with each other over their ages even as their souls are spirited away to the heavens. Since they were evil, why they are ascending is something of a mystery.
    • This is referenced in Majora's Mask, with the the heads of Igos du Ikana and his two lieutenants continue to bicker after defeat, showing they are still not at rest even after being killed twice.
    • In Skyward Sword, everything you kill, even bugs, explodes in a flash of light and smoke, leaving behind a purple ghostly afterimage. For monsters the image appears as a skull.
  • Fancy Pants Adventures, whenever Fancy Pants loses a life.
  • In Theme Hospital, when a patient dies, s/he either turns into an angel and flys off to heaven, or the Grim Reaper appears and creates a hole in the ground that swallows the person's soul.
  • Prehistorik has your character first turn into a skeleton, then fly away, winged, white-skinned and with a halo, into heaven.
  • Quite a few Taito games did this, including Kuri Kinton, Kiki Kaikai, Monkey Mole Panic, and Space Invaders '95: Attack of Lunar Loonies.
  • Also happens to both player characters in Namco's Valkyrie no Densetsu.
  • The defeat animation in Pirate101 for the cursed monquistadors combines this with Dragged Off to Hell. A fissure appears below them and a large red flaming hand reaches up and grabs them dragging their body into the gap but leaves their soul which has angel wings and a halo and flies off into a patch of clouds that appear.
  • The platform game based on Tom and Jerry has Jerry fly away as a harp-toting, halo-bearing angel if he dies.
  • In the Joe And Mac series, if either Joe or Mac lose all their energy, they transform into winged souls wearing a toga and fly off.
  • In Cosmos Cosmic Adventure for the PC, if Cosmo dies from anything other than falling off the screen, he too wears a toga, wings, halo and carries a harp, and flies off.
  • Should anybody lose all their health in Super Dodge Ball, this happens to them.
  • In the Sierra On-Line adventure game The Colonel's Bequest, main character Laura Bow dies this way by going into the chute at the start of the game, or by walking into the broken railing in the upstairs hall.
  • A common way for Alex Kidd to die.
  • As well as to the protagonists in the Monster Land/World games in the Wonder Boy series.
  • This happens to Pit in Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters whenever he dies.
  • In Konami's only laserdisc FMV arcade game (known to exist so far) Badlands, the game over scene has main character Buck's winged angel soul twirling his cowboy hat on his finger while waving goodbye to the player before accidentally losing his cowboy hat as the words "Game Over" appear and then flying off.
  • This is what happens when a Pikmin dies in Pikmin. Dead Pikmin are represented by their souls.
  • The death chibis in Long Live the Queen, although they're not exact duplicates of Elodie, just little soul-blobs with wings.
  • Done upon death in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.
  • In the 1941 stage in Time Gal, while on the wing of a falling plane, there's a Time Stop moment where you have to choose the correct option to progress further into the level. One of these options is "Pray to God" ("Hope for Luck" in the English version). Should you choose this option, the plane will crash into the side of a ship, and you Reika's spirit ascending into heaven.
  • This also happens to the player character in Congo Bongo.
  • A mainstay of the Konami Shoot 'em Up franchise Twinbee: whenever one of the eponymous ships loses its life, its soul will fly upward towards the top of the screen. Should you manage to retrieve it with your next ship before it flies off-screen though, you will retrieve all lost power-ups.
  • Happens in Clash At Demonhead when Bang dies. It's guaranteed to be seen at least once in a playthrough, because dying in one area is the only way to progress.
  • Enemies in the Sega Master System light gun game Gangster Town do this when shot. Shooting their winged souls before they fly offscreen clips their wings and awards even more points.
  • The "Cursed" creep in Bubble Tanks Tower Defence. When killed, it releases a "Ghost" creep that phases through your towers to the exit.
  • Whenever you stomp on a cockroach in your home in Animal Crossing, a small cockroach-shaped ghost flies up where you stomped it for a few seconds.
  • In Muramasa Rebirth, the second DLC character Gonbe dies this way(unlike the other DLC characters, and the main game protagonists), minus the wings and halo(just his legless spirit rising up to the heavens); this is to tie into a learnable ability of his where his deceased wife Otae grabs and forces his spirit back down, reviving him ONCE per battle.

Web Comics
  • In Sinfest, the TV after it committed seppuku.
  • An early Casey and Andy strip had Casey shoot Andy dead, resulting in an angelic winged Andy. He then smashed his gun, resulting in an angelic winged gun, grabbed that and shot Andy again.
  • Done for an April Fools' Day strip in the webcomic Darken; the characters who'd died in the just-concluded story arc are surprised to find themselves with wings and headed upwards. An angel lampshades that people tend to forget that "forgiveness" is a part of the "good" religions.
  • In Dork Tower Red Bull gives you wings — after a capsule dropped on him.

Web Original
  • The Google doodle for Schrondinger's 126th birthday showed a live cat walking out of one side, and a cat soul (with Wing Ding Eyes) floating out the other.

Western Animation
  • In a cartoon about fire safety featuring Donald Duck, Donald panicked several times, resulting in his death, and the soul being forcibly yanked back before the instructor gave him another chance.
    • In another Donald Duck cartoon "Soup's On", Donald's nephews trick him into thinking he's dead by dressing him up as an angel and hoisting him up on a mattress.
  • A few Tom and Jerry cartoons have done this with nine of them for Tom's nine lives.
  • In the WWII short Animated Film Booby Traps, Private Snafu is blown up, does this while playing 'Those Endearing Young Charms' on his harp, and is blown up again.
  • Infamously in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "One Beer", in which Buster, Plucky, and Hampton get drunk, drive off of a cliff, and die. The ending shows the whole thing to be a PSA filmed by Buster and co. Uh huh. The FCC knew they being trolled and yanked the episode after one airing.
  • The end of The Cat Came Back, not only with Mr. Johnson, but also the cat... and all his nine lives.
  • A standard ending for many Looney Tunes shorts.
    • Happens to the vulture in "A Corny Concerto" for instance.
    • The 1948 short "Back Alley Oproar" with Sylvester and Elmer Fudd. Sylvester insists on singing when Fudd wants to sleep, and Sylvester eventually ends up on a cloud, complete with halo and wings.
    • The 1954 Sylvester and Tweety Bird short "Satan's Waitin'". Nine versions of Sylvester go to visit a Satanic bulldog after Sylvester is killed in various ways.
  • At the end of the Futurama episode "Hell is Other Robots", Bender flies Leela and Fry out of Robot Hell using a robot's wings. On the way out, an energy ring shot at him is hooked on his antenna to complete the angel allusion.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "The Hypo-Chondri-Cat", the two mice Hubie and Bertie convince Claude Cat he's dead by dressing him as an angel and tying him to a balloon so he floats upward.
  • Happens to Batman in the "Emperor Joker!" episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • The Simpsons: Happens to Scratchy after being eaten by a crocodile in a well in the episode "Radio Bart". Midway through flight Itchy shoots him down again with a revolver.

Whodunnit to MeAfterlife Tropes    
Winged HumanoidAngelic Tropes    
Wind from Beneath My WingsFlying TropesWire Fu
The Wild HuntDeath TropesWring Every Last Drop out of Him
PrehistoriaImageSource/Video GamesJourney to the West

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