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Grasp the Sun

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"Follow the sun!
Catch the sun!"

A visual motif wherein a character who is about to attempt some superhuman feat reaches out towards the sun (or the moon, Earth, etc.) with their hand, as if to grasp it. The camera then switches to his point of view as the hand "grabs" the selected celestial body via Depth Deception. This symbolizes the human will to seize things that are just too big for them.

Additionally, it is the source of the expressions "reach for the stars", "shoot for the moon" and "touch the sky."

Not to be confused with cases where characters literally grasp the sun.

Compare Got the Whole World in My Hand, Milking the Giant Cow and "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending.


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  • There's a series of PSAs encouraging children to go out and play that has them using the sun as a ball. One is set to "Why Does The Sun Shine?" as recorded by They Might Be Giants.

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Supreme Power, Hyperion flies into orbit for the first time as a boy and looks down at Earth. Light from the sun gets in his eyes, and he puts his hand in front of him, over Earth. He pulls his hand back... and then puts it back in front of the world as if to clutch it.
  • Lucifer has an interesting use of this trope. After creating his own cosmos (not simply a dimension within the existing one, but a completely new one totally separate from his Father's Creation,) Lucifer appears to the people he's allowed to move in as a horizon-spanning titan, lays down his one rule (worship nothing, not even him,) and informs them that they'll know if they displease him because the sky will turn black. As he says this he moves his hand behind the sun and grasps it in his palm. It's not totally clear whether this was a vision he induced in the watchers, or if he physically altered himself and his universe to make it literally possible; given his power within his new universe, either might be true. However, even if he literally did it, the symbolism usually applied to the gesture still apples; he is openly challenging God with his own Creation, and despite knowing that his opponent is omnipotent and omniscient, and having been directly told by the Archangel Michael that God does not consider Lucifer to have moved outside His jurisdiction, Lucifer still continues to defy a power and reach for things that should be well beyond even him.

    Fan Works 
  • HERZ: During her nightmare in chapter 2 Asuka reminisces how she clutched at the Sun while threatening the Evas after getting her left eye impaled.
  • RE-TAKE: Asuka's "death", as it was in the movie. And in the final chapter she does this after Shinji has put an engagement ring around her finger.
  • Sinner Blue Darks Misfortune: Done by the eponymous protagonist.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subtle use of this trope in Apollo 13: Tom Hanks' character Jim Lovell makes a habit of obliterating the moon by holding his thumb in front of it and closing one eye so it seems to disappear. Later used in an Ironic Echo when he does the same trick with the Earth. And in fact, in real life, Lovell was the first astronaut to mention being able to cover the Earth with his thumb.

  • One character in American Gods mimics taking the moon, conjuring up a silver coin for the protagonist Shadow. When they meet again in a metaphysical place, she asks him for the coin back and literally puts it into the sky as its moon to light his way.
    • Mad Sweeney does the exact same thing, only with the sun into a golden coin, showing off for Shadow while drunk(er). By the time he realizes that the coin he plucked was not just any coin and tries to get it back, Shadow's already buried it with his recently deceased wife. This act leads, through separate means, to Sweeney's death and his wife's resurrection. Later on, Shadow learns to do this himself.
  • A famous bit of symbolism in The Great Gatsby involves the titular Anti-Hero reaching to grasp the light across the water (at Daisy's mansion).
  • Wings of Fire shows the births of two dragons (Darkstalker and Moonwatcher) who were empowered psychically by moonlight touching their eggs. In both cases, the dragonet's first act was to instinctively (try to) grasp one of the moons in their talons.

    Live-Action TV 


  • In Hindu Mythology, when the monkey demigod Hanuman was very little, he mistook the sun for a juicy mango. So he reached out to it...and almost caught it, causing immense panic in everyone else. For this reason, Hanuman was depowered with Laser-Guided Amnesia until he grew older.

    Video Games 
  • Lumine (not Sigma!) does this with the Earth during his motive rant at the end of Mega Man X8.
  • Dante sort of does this to The Savior in Devil May Cry 4, holding his hand up to the towering statue from far away so that his hand appears larger than it. He says "You don't look so big from where I'm standing." He then clenches his fist over the statue and dusts his hands off, as if miming crushing the statue in his hand.
  • Tsukasa does this during the normal ending of the visual novel Swan Song.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath does this with the moon. Before punching his way to the floating city of Shinto with the same hand.
  • Riku does it with the moon in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded in the scene titled "A Sad Memory", though in his case it's more like he's realising that what he wants is far out of his reach at the time.
  • Colin in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess does this after Link rescues him on the Bridge of Eldin. It's a more low-key example than most, but it shows that the kid is ready to get over his fear and learn to become a brave fighter, just like his father and Link already are.
  • The gesture is inverted visually and thematically in the ending C of NieR: Automata, where A2 reaches out towards the sun just before she plummets to her death. Unlike a typical example, the POV is reversed, so we see her from above, rather than through her eyes, and instead of attempting some superhuman feat, she has just successfully accomplished the goal of her entire existence (as well as fulfilled an important promise she made along the way), and is happy to be finally able to join her long-dead friends and comrades in the afterlife.
  • Elden Ring: When Melina immolates herself with the Flame of Giants to destroy the thorns barring the Tarnished from the Erdtree interior, she reaches up towards the sky with a grasping gesture — though not towards the sun (which plays little to no metaphysical role in this game), but rather towards the top of the Erdtree itself (which is pretty much the center of creation of the Lands Between). As the camera pans out over the scene, it frames her in a very particular way as to align her outstretched hand with the Erdtree crown.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation