In just about every cartoon, anime, or video game invented, Hit Sparks are a very common, but rarely acknowledged visual effect employed to let the audience know, as well as emphasize, when something clearly made contact with something or someone. They are purely stylistic and accompany any sort of physical contact, often having snappy, bright and colorful designs like a fireworks explosion to let you know that, yes, Alice obviously, and very clearly, punched Bob in the face, before tripping on a banana peel and super visibly faceplanting on the floor, juuuust in case you missed it. Hit Sparks come in the following flavors:
- If a blunt impact occurs like in the Alice and Bob scenario above, a visual effect resembling a bright "blast" or explosion with a zig-zag or pointy wave outline spreading outwards will appear, not unlike a Kung-Fu Sonic Boom. Some works may simply portray it as a crown of vertical lines pointing towards the epicenter of the impact (like the kind of lines surrounding a doodle of a sun), cartoony works often add several colorful stars flying out of it, and comic books or strips will include a Written Sound Effect along with it. Others place a much bigger "blast" shooting out of the opposite side of the impact on the target (for example, Bob's sad, punchable face) to represent the force of said impact traveling through it. Blunt sparks are the most common variant, and can also be used when something unsticks from something else, like a plunger off a wall.
- If sharper, pointier things such as swords or claws are involved, especially if Swords Set To Stun is in effect, the spark will likely resemble a stylized visualization of a slash (or likely around five slashes, if it's from claws) across the target, kind of like if you press a pencil hard into paper and quickly slide it across something in a to-do list you just completed, only it's brighter and prettier. This is far more common in, but not limited to, video games or anime, particularly anime-based or Animesque games or works, than in most media.
- Sometimes, piercing someone with a sharp weapon will yield its own kind of hit spark, moving inwards at the same direction as the tip of the weapon.
- Speaking of video games, those featuring different damage types will likely have its own unique hit spark for each, including the blunt and sharp types (or simply just have one for nearly everything regardless). Hit sparks indicating elemental damage may have its own unique, appropriate elemental aesthetic. Blocked damage is nearly always indicated by a softer ripple-like effect, often colored in some shade of blue and sometimes resembling a Beehive Barrier, while a spark indicating a Critical Hit or heavy damage tends to look much more chaotic, bigger, and intense compared to those indicating normal damage. Sparks may also be accompanied by damage numbers. Of course, if they're feeling lazy or have to worry about technological limits such as memory, then just the good ol' fashioned blunt "blast" will be used.
- Another common way to present Hit Sparks is to include them in a Hit Flash at the moment of impact, which may serve to cover up actual violence while implying it at the same time, or lasts only a split second just to add a little bit more "oomph!".
Compare and contrast Flash of Pain, in which something or someone flashes when taking damage, and Sword Sparks, which commonly occurs during sword fights. May be combined with Hit Stop. See Kung-Fu Sonic Boom for a destructive, more realistic kind of Hit Spark.
As this is an Omnipresent Trope, please refrain from adding examples unless the trope is employed in an unusual way.