Winged Soul Flies Off at Death

What happens when characters die in a cartoony setting? Why, their souls leave their bodies! You can see it happening: an exact duplicate, except winged and usually white and translucent, sometimes with halo and harp or a trumpet (being those attributes typically given to angels), starts flying up from the collapsed body. If the dead character's soul flies upwards, then they Died Happily Ever After. If the soul flies downward, then they missed Heaven and will go the other place instead. In the last case, the soul might resemble a demon instead of an angel, being translucent red and sporting horns.

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

Usually an animated or comic strip/book trope.

A Death Trope, although often an unpermanent one.

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.


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    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, who was evidently so evil that he ended up in Hell instead.
  • In Yaiba, this happens to Sasaki Kojiro (in the past, is a long story involving time travel).

    Comic Books 
  • Suske en Wiske: Happens to the villain Savantas in "De Sprietatoom". He then returns to Earth to repent for his sins.
  • Happens to Lobo of all people after he is killed in an ambush by two other bounty hunters. True to form, it doesnt last long.

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace sees or imagines a thin Piella as she looked long ago do this.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens in Big Man Japan with each of the defeated monsters. Quite odd to see in a live-action film.
  • 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. 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.
  • In Faust the souls of Faust and Gretchen ascend to Heaven after they are burned at the stake.


    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.

  • 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".

    Myths & Religion 

    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; it has a variation where Crash is playing the didgeridoo on his way up.
    • 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.
  • In 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 Kai Kai, Monkey Mole Panic, and Space Invaders '95: Attack of Lunar Loonies.
  • Also happens to both player characters in Namco's The Legend of Valkyrie.
  • 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 & Mac series, if either Joe or Mac lose all their energy, they transform into winged souls wearing a toga and fly off.
  • In Cosmo's 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 Laura Bow: The Colonel's Bequest, Laura 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 Badlands, the game over scene has main character Buck's winged angel soul appearing on screen and then twirls his cowboy hat on his finger while waving goodbye to the player before accidentally losing his cowboy hat and then finishing his wave 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 Twinbee series: 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.
  • In Thy Dungeonman II, you can talk to a healer in the hope that she can cure you of your plague. Unfortunately, she just asks a lot of questions. When you've answered the seventh one, the plague sets in. You pass out and die, and a little Thy Dungeonman angel floats towards the ceiling.
  • In Zombies Ate My Neighbors, this happens whenever one of the neighbors is killed.
  • Strangely happens to a cookie of all things in the SNES version of Yoshi's Cookie. In one of a many Running Gag you see between Mario and the runaway cookie every time you clear a stage, the cookie rolls off a cliff and dies. Mario sees the cookie ascend into the afterlife, causing him to have an aside glance and wonder what the heck just happened.
  • In Sid And Als Incredible Toons, if Al gets shot or pushed into something sharp, he keels over and pushes up flowers from his body while his kitty soul flies away with halo and harp.
  • In the Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, and PC versions of Donald Duck: Goin' Qu@ckers, the first boss, Bernadette the Bird, dies this way.
  • In the flash-game Hang A Roo, the titular kangaroo floats off with halo and wings whenever he gets hanged.
  • In the first two Patapon games, after Ban the Tatepon and Don the Yumipon have finished helping out, they split in half and turn into butterflies.
    • This is an interesting one, since the Japanese believe that a human's soul/spirit takes the form of a butterfly
  • Both allied units and enemies in Paladog give out one when they die. Handy to note, since units can get knocked down/stunned with a similar animation to dying, so seeing this occur means that the unit is indeed dead.

    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 
  • Donald Duck:
    • In a cartoon about fire safety featuring Donald (Donald's Fire Survival Plan), he panicked several times, resulting in his death, and the soul being forcibly yanked back three times 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 were 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.
    • In "Dough-Ray-Me-Ow", Heathcliff, a big dumb cat, is heir to a fortune, and his parrot pal Louie is next in line. Louie eventually kills Heathcliff, and as his nine life angels ascend, Louie gloats that the money is his, as Heathcliff can't take it with him. The angels all bolt back and Heathcliff sits up, saying "Da-a-h, if I can't take it with me, I ain't goin'!"
    • In "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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Happens to Grampa in the intro for the "Love-Matic Grampa" segment of The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase. Animated in a simplistic style, it shows that Grampa was crushed to death by a falling shelf, and his winged soul flew off "but was lost along the way" (the intro shows him getting sucked into a jet engine and losing his wings), and falls into Moe's love-tester machine, which he ends up possessing.
  • Anna & Bella: Bella's soul starts spiraling up to heaven after the car accident. Anna grabs it and starts yanking it back down into Bella.
  • Bunny: The bunny sprouts wings as it flies off into the bright light.