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Beam of Enlightenment

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Tristan demonstrates while hungry.

A commonly used device when the character gets a moment of clarity, shock, or insight: what looks like a laser or a lightning bolt on a black background will shoot behind their heads. Used to emphasize the urgency or impact of what the character has just realized.

The Idea Bulb is a similar convention in Western media. Alertness Blink also has a lot in common with this trope.

Not to be confused with the similar Thunder Shock, which expresses, well, shock.

Compare Natural Spotlight and Rays from Heaven.



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     Anime and Manga  
  • Various moments in Dragon Ball Z when someone senses another character's ki (energy).
    • Gohan had a Beam Of Enlightenment when he snapped and transformed into a Super Saiyan 2.
  • Another instance where it is used frequently is in Detective Conan, whenever the title character finally realizes who the criminal is. It's also used when a character finds a breakthrough, when the suspect/victim of the week hears something uncomfortable that is bound to turn up later.
  • Glass Mask repeatedly uses this when Maya, or Ayumi, struggle with their portrayal of a character and then suddenly get this beam, when they manage to figure out how to properly do it.
  • Ditto title hero of The Kindaichi Case Files.
  • Can be seen at various points in Ranma ½, usually used for comic effect.
  • Often occurs in Yu-Gi-Oh!, when Yugi manages to think up a strategy to beat his latest opponent.
  • Seen in the sixth episode of the TV version of Ah! My Goddess, when Belldandy sensed the entity possessing Megumi's apartment.
  • In Gundam shows, the Beam of Enlightenment signifies a Newtype's danger sense going off, and is generally referred to as the "Newtype flash" by fans.
  • Every time Kaiji discovers anything at all, there's a notorious close-up of his face with a lightning bolt in the background.
    • One of the songs on the soundtrack is even entitled "Beam of Light".
  • Sena, the running back nicknamed Eyeshield 21, often has these when noticing his enemy's weakness, or realizing how to make himself faster/stronger.
  • Also very frequent in Cromartie High School.
  • In Kotoura-san, these will show up the moment Haruka's Telepathy catches onto something dramatic and/or serious.

  • Jake Blues in The Blues Brothers experiences this in a black church, which sets the plot ball rolling.

     Video Game  

  • Used in El Goonish Shive when, thinking that she's going to die, Ellen temporarily goes nuts.


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