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Giving Up the Ghost

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Motoko: This is.. This calm serenity is as if she were a Buddha! There's a Buddha behind her?!
Shinobu: Um... I think her soul is slipping away.
Keitaro: WA-H! She's dying from the cold! Mutsumi-san, get a hold of yourself!

This is a comedy trope often found in anime and manga. Sometimes, a character may feel like they could die at any moment due to some form of sudden external stimulation or just plain exhaustion. It could be getting knocked out with a sudden blow to the head, being scared half to death, a sudden shock to the system, being pushed to the point of physical exhaustion, or some other form of Amusing Injury. This results in the character's very soul momentarily escaping from their body, most often from their mouth.

It doesn't matter how it happens, but it's a comedic way of showing that the character just nearly died or felt like they are about to. They nearly gave up the ghost. This is always just temporary and the character is likely to be back to normal in the next scene.

Contrast the Western Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, which usually indicates death (and the soul has to be forced back if not).



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     Anime And Manga 
  • This happens quite frequently in Love Hina, especially with Mutsumi Otohime. Early on she was prone to "dying" (she faints) at the drop of a hat, so much so that it gets lampshaded quite often. At one point, Motoko noticed such a serene calm coming from Mutsumi during a New Years ritual that she thought she was achieving Buddhist transcendence... until everyone realized that Mutsumi was about to die from the cold, so they had to grab her soul and wake her up again.
  • One episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had Edward get smacked upside his head so hard by Winry's wrench that his soul started to escape from it. A surprised Alphonse grabs onto it and says: "I've got your soul, brother!"
    • Young Edward does this after getting his butt kicked during a teaching lesson with Izumi, back when both brothers initially began their alchemy training.
    • This happens to Ed a LOT, usually as a result of getting the business end of Winry's wrench after breaking his automail. One memorable example involves Winry calmly working on Ed's automail while he holds onto his soul with two fingers.
  • Kenichi from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple ends up giving up the ghost a few times, most often during Training (Apachai and Akisame being probably the worst offenders). At one point, he was scared so bad that his ghost's ghost gave up the ghost.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid shows this happening to "Chimp" Sarutobi on a few occasions.
    • The first time is when Nagasume takes him to the nurses office after he had been knocked out in the classroom. Nagasume was surprised to see that the school nurse was Sun's mother, Ran, and promptly tosses Saru to the floor. Saru was about to regain consciousness when Ran instinctively kicks him in the face and makes him give up the ghost.
    • Another instance is during Gym class when a submarine emerges from under the floor, right directly under Saru. He gets knocked around so hard that everyone nearly forgot about him laying in a corner with his soul raising up from his mouth.
    • Even Sun isn't exempt of this trope. When she realizes that Akeno is conducting a Mermaid exam on her to determine if she's allowed to stay where she lives, Sun starts to tense up at the thought that anything she does next may compromise her situation. Her soul takes the form of a little angel that revolves on top of her head. Akeno lampshades this by saying that it looked like her soul was about to fly away.
  • When Negi is training with Rakan in Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Rakan tells him to use his strongest attack on him so he can estimate how tough he is. When Negi does and it hurts more than he expected, Rakan hits him back so hard that this ends up happening.
  • Buso Renkin: Kazuki's soul will often attempt to leave his body when Tokiko hits him during the more lighthearted moments of the series, such as after his disastrous attempt to emulate the seductive 'Bravo Kiss' during the Beach Episode.
  • This occurs in one of the Niwanaishos in Maria Watches Over Us's anime adaptation. Yumi and Youko are trying to get a scene right that involves drinking a nauseous mix of strawberry juice and milk. They mess the scene up two times. During the last take Yumi passes out and gives up her ghost.
  • This occurs in episode 2 of Fairy Tail during the guild brawl. Lucy is speaking with Mirajane about the commotion, asking if this is normal for the guild. As Mira is replying that they guild is always like this, Her brother Elfman is thrown into her, knocking her unconscious and giving up her ghost.
    • This also happens in episode 8. Kage gives up his ghost when he is informed that he looks like the Blue Pegasus guild master, Bob, when he was younger. Master Makarov does this in the the episode when Natsu, Gray and Erza defeat the demon from the lullaby, but destroy the Guild Master meeting hall in the process.
    • In the anime version after Elfman just curbstomps Sol, he gives up the ghost and the enraged Elfman grabs it, shoves it back in, and beats the shit out of him some more!
    Sol: No~n, at least let me lose consciousness!...
  • Haruhi-chan:
    • Happens to the Computer Club members in the 5th episode after the dodgeball game.
    • In Episode 10, both Yuki and Mini-Ryoko give up the ghost after being knocked out. Before that, Yuki gave it up when the scene cuts to the bedroom, whereas Mini-Ryoko gives it up after a failed Wall Jump.
    • In the Christmas Episode, when Haruhi hits Kyon, after a short time, Kyon's ghost emerges from his body. Oddly enough, it remains until later on.
  • In No Game No Life, after three days and 500 nonstop rounds (158 wins, 158 losses, 184 ties) of games between Sora and Shiro in order to determine who will be the sole ruler of Elchea, they pushed themselves to the brink of exhaustion and passed out after doing this. Even bystander Stephanie Dola started having delusions after being tired of waiting for them for so long, and eventually gave up hers at the same time too.
  • This had happened to Imadori in School Rumble after he took a basketball to the face from Harima (he was distracted at the time by the ghost of an old teacher).
  • This happens to Kon all the time in Bleach. Usually after Ichigo or Rukia beat him up for being annoying.
  • A few times in Lucky Star:
    • Konata gives hers up after gaming for 3 days straight.
    • In the very next scene, Miss Kuroi gives it up as she rushes to the classroom and tells her students to switch out of summer break mode and go back to focusing on school. The class is shocked that she's saying that when she's not even prepared herself.
    • Hiyori Tamura does this after pulling off an all-nighter to meet her manga submission deadline.
  • Happens to Ikko all the time in Ah My Buddha. It's to be expected since the series is about ghosts and ecchi.
  • Sunako Nakahara in The Wallflower has this happen to her in the manga, when her aunt tries to get her to sleep with Kyohei.
  • To Love Ru:
    • Oshizu is a Cute Ghost Girl but inhabits an artificial body. However, any great shock causes her to leave the body in this way.
    • It's played with on at least one occasion when a teacher (an old man) witnesses her "die"... and promptly gives up his own ghost. Oshizu saves him by grabbing his soul and shoving it back into his body.
  • Happens in episode 21 of Ouran Highschool Host Club to nearly everyone that gets scared in some way by a Halloween prank.
  • This happens to Kurumi in the 2nd episode of Pani Poni Dash! when Becky called her a boring girl who has no noticeable characteristics. Her soul can be seen just floating out of her mouth. When Becky calls her "Boring Girl" again, her ghost screams out in further shock. It just escapes further and further outward across the rest of the episode until it finally flies away when Ichijo adds the final nail to the coffin. It happens a few other times across the series too.
  • The page image is from Oreimo's 14th episode opening, which has some unusual cartoon violence for this otherwise fairly realistic show.
  • One of the more comedic scenes in The Sacred Blacksmith involves Charlotte and her bodyguards. First by Charlotte from the shock that a princess like herself has to perform the tasks of a common servant as well as look the part. Her friends decide to gang up on Fio for subjecting her to such a state, and then this happens to all three of them after Fio effortlessly knocks them out and leaves them piled up on the floor.
  • Near the end of episode 5 of B Gata H Kei, Kosuda's blue-colored soul is gently hanging out of his mouth as he reflects upon how he ended up seeing underneath Yamada's skirt while she wasn't wearing any panties at school earlier that day.
  • Nichijou involves some characters sometimes giving up the ghost. One particular instance involves a Helvetica Standard skit where a mouse is killed by extremely powerful projectile toast, prompting one last "chuu~" out of it. This being a Widget Series, It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.
  • In episode 15 of Oh! Edo Rocket, Shunpei is so worried about his constant worrying that he can't get any sleep. When Onui wakes up the next morning, she sees that his body is a shriveled up husk and his spirit is drifting out of a pouch hanging from his waist. She panics and quickly revives him.
  • One Piece:
    • In the anime version, when Nami sees a lion with a freaky face in the Thriller Bark arc, she gives up the ghost out of fear.
    • In the manga, when Luffy leaves Zou by jumping off the island with his group, Brook gives up the ghost. In the anime version of that same scene, Brook's ghost also gives up a few ghosts!
  • Chihaya's relentless verbal attacks against Hasebe in episode 13 of Servant × Service, together with that of Miyoshi and Ichimiya to a lesser extent, caused his soul to exit from his body multiple times!
  • Early Monster Musume would have this happen to someone almost every chapter. Either it's an unfortunate victim of Miia's cooking or it's Kimihito being injured by someone in his Unwanted Harem getting overly enthusiastic again. There's a little bit of Fridge Horror when it's revealed that he actually dies and comes back to life every time he gets hurt this badly.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, Russia once grabbed Latvia to help him stop shaking, but Latvia was so terrified that his soul flew out of his mouth.
  • In Nyaruko: Crawling with Love! Mahiro's mother Yoriko says that Mahiro and Nyarko should start their relationship slow and be friends first; Nyarko, mistakenly thinking she's been friend zoned, has this reaction.
  • One of Hibiki's classmates does this in Re-Kan!.
  • In Seraph of the End Omake 1 for season two, when Mika asks Krul to tell him why she wants the Seraph of the End, she whispers into his ear. However, she's literally just saying "whisper, whisper", making Mika asks her to repeat herself. About the third time he asks her to repeat, she whispers, "About Yuuichiro, actually—" Followed by a long censored beep. Whatever it was she said, it caused Mika to have a fully red face and then promptly pass out while his soul happily ascends to heaven. Krul is amused.
  • In one chapter of Squid Girl, Squid Girl wants to be taller, and tries different ways to grow taller, but they do not work. The last attempt ends up with Squid Girl's leg muscle being popped, and Squid Girl states how she is growing taller... until it's revealed that Squid Girl's ghost is now drifting off. Squid Girl is quickly awakened, luckily.
  • Lampshaded in Princess Jellyfish, when Tsukimi discovered that Kuranosuke was from a rich politician's family.
    Mayaya: Tsukimi, what's the matter? Why is there protoplasm coming out of your mouth!?
  • Happens in episode 13 of His and Her Circumstances from Kazuma's mom hitting him for not warning her that Tsubasa was coming over.
  • In Black Clover, Charmy gives Yuno a dessert cake to help restore his magic and keep his strength up. When he mentions that it's delicious, Charmy falls over and lets her soul drift from her mouth with a look of pure bliss on both her and its face.
  • In chapter 13 of Goodnight Punpun, a lady mentions to Punpun and the kids that there was a guy that committed suicide via fire, even saying they might run into his "toasty ghosty." At that, Punpun collapses and gives his ghost up.
  • Asteroid in Love:
    • In the fifth chapter, Mira does this when Ao mentions discovering an asteroid is increasingly difficult.
    • A more dramatic version occurs in the thirty-fourth chapter, when both Mira and Ao are having a Heroic BSoD when it turns out one of them is accepted to the Shining Star Challenge while the other doesn't make it. Mira goes Blank White Eyes and have this at the same time.
  • The Unpopular Mangaka and the Helpful Onryo-san: Onryo-san orders some fragrances and healing music online to help out Senai, but it turns out they all have an exorcism effect, and he has to grab onto her paper-thin soul before it floats away. When he sees the Shockingly Expensive Bill, his soul is the one that floats away.
  • A fairly common gag in We Never Learn is that someone rather distressed at what someone else has said will undergo this. One particularly notable instance was, when Rizu and Fumino inadvertently reveal more Not What It Looks Like incidents to Kirisu-sensei that the latter hadn't heard about before, Yuiga not only does this, but his ghost simultaneously coughs up blood.
  • Isekai Quartet; Ainz gives up the ghost after he gets fried by a Turn Undead spell from Aqua.

     Video Games  
  • Chip does this in Sonic Unleashed after claiming that lack of food access would be so horrible, he would die.
  • This happens in Sega Genesis' Ghostbusters (1990) game. In the "Castle" level, you (the player) find two of your fellow 'Busters under the spell of a Possessor. When fully exorcised, the Green Ghost that you have to trap escapes from the Ghostbuster's mouth.
  • Whenever one of the party members is KO'd in the Epic Battle Fantasy series. Strangely averted with Anna though.
  • In Splatoon, splatted Inklings have their squid-form "ghost" float upward and head back to their spawn point. One ability, "Haunt", even causes said ghost to haunt the guilty party and revealing them on the map to your teammates for a short time. The same goes for Octolings, who leave octopus-shaped ones, of course.
  • Pikmin: All creatures release a transparent spirit on death. Enemies release spirits shaped like bubbles with eye sockets, whereas with the titular critters release a small ghost shaped and colored like the deceased individual.

     Web Animation 
  • hololive: In "Gawr Gura - Shark'd", Gura gets hungry smelling the food from Haachama's grilled fish stand and tries to pay with a handful of sand and shells. Her shark-shaped soul flies out of her mouth when Haachama smacks her with a harisen.

  • Cursed Princess Club: When Gwendolyn has a very poorly-worded conversation with Frederick that makes him think that she plans to vengefully haunt him forever, he is subsequently depicted with a ghostly wisp floating from his mouth in terror.
  • Karin-dou 4koma:
    • Elza, after she slips a disc trying to pick up a heavy box without using strength magic.
    • Mifi, after Elza says she's going on a date. Seren urges Mifi to put her soul back in before she dies. Mifi's speech bubbles come from the soul until Mifi sucks it back in.
    • Elza-as-Mifi, after Seren burns her ultra deliciously.
    • Sachi, out of simple exhaustion from climbing all the stairs to the shrine.
    • Tamaryu, during a forced study session.
    • Catherine, after getting hit at the end of the No Laughing Game.
  • The manga-influenced Ménage à 3 borrows the motif in strip #202, where Yuki almost kills Gary, strip #915 (August 2, 2014, NSFW), when Kiley is almost suffocated, and the April 18, 2017 strip (NSFW), in which Gary almost expires from an excess of sex with DiDi.
  • By Rachel and Dory when they first meet Derek in Moon Crest 24.
  • In Soft and Shattered, this happens to Nalaya after her attractive RA Yuzu helps her bake.

    Western Animation 
  • Juro Que Vi: The poacher's helper soul leaves his body after he passes out out of fear of the Curupira, a creature of the woods who punish those who disrespect the laws of fair hunting. After seeing an arrow left by forest spirit, even the soul gets scared and returns to his body.


Video Example(s):


Double KO

A basketball throw so bad, it deserves an instant replay.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / RepeatCut

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