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Pre-Explosion Glow

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Here comes the boom.

Since Power Glows, everything emits light before it blows up, often in brilliant beams that work their way out of cracks in the surface of the doomed object. Often the object bulges like a balloon being squeezed before finally blowing to pieces.

In one distinctive variant it meets the Pillar of Light in a "lighthouse meltdown" effect. Series of beams or lines of light spring out from the object, either from obvious locations, such as the eyes/mouth/other orifices for a creature, or they can simply shine randomly through the surface before it all gives up, often appear one at a time in rapid succession. The actual explosion may take the form of a giant burst of light. This is one way to depict exploding planets, usually by having lines of light crawl across the surface before the Earth-Shattering Kaboom.


May also cause a Pillar of Light. May result from a Chain Reaction Destruction. A Sub-Trope of Power Glows. Compare, contrast Disappears into Light.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Virtually anything touched by or in general proximity of Kei or Yuri in Dirty Pair.
  • When Mr. Fujisawa is dogpiled by Bugrom in the first episode of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, the pile emits a Pre-Explosion Glow before he bursts out of it.
  • Mazinger Z: When the titular Humongous Mecha hits an enemy with its Eye Beams, the Robeast uses to glow before exploding (although sometimes it disintegrates).
  • Destroyed Strains in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry.
  • It's been said no Slayers series or movie can truly begin before Lina's nearly disintegrated a building of some kind with her trademark Fireball spell (actually, every series begins with her blowing something up with her trademark nuke-level Dragon Slave spell). And that's not including the countless times it'll happen after that.
    • Heh, well, Slayers Revolution (4th season) is kicked off with someone ELSE blowing something up with the Dragon Slave, which seriously pisses Lina off and causes her to complain about it for an episode and a half.
  • Dragonball Z has a number of these with almost all of the main characters.
  • Whenever a Gundam self-destructs in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing (and it happens more than you'd expect), it lights up like a Christmas tree first.
  • Voltorb and Electrode in the Pokémon anime have an almost evolution-like glow before using Self Destruct or Explosion.
    • Also seen in Attack of the Prehistoric Pokémon when Pikachu sets off a large amount of dynamite.
    • This, however, has nothing on when it wrecked the Viridian City Pokémon center in the second episode.
    • This actually occurs almost ANY time Team Rocket's Meowth balloon explodes, or if it's one of their other huge robots (like the ArboTank) or whenever any building blows up.
  • Justified in Starship Operators when the Amaterasu explodes, as the ship's armor converts heat to light.
  • The destruction of closed space in Haruhi Suzumiya, as demonstrated to Kyon by Itsuki.
  • The Saint's Cradle's crystalline engine in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS goes out in this manner. First came the cracks, then the brilliant beams of light, then the big boom.
  • In an episode of Yakitate!! Japan, Mokoyama tests one of his bread creations by forcing it down a subordinate's throat. Beams of light shoot out of his eyes and ears before the scene cuts to the exterior of the bakery as he shouts "DELICIOUS!"
  • Bleach
    • Anime episode 215. A trio of hollows is pursuing a young female Plus. One of them starts expanding, rays of light burst out of it and it explodes in a cloud of dust.
    • Anime episode 267. When Chad and Renji defeat the giant sand-based hollow, it emits beams of light before dying.
  • Darker Than Black has Maki's hand prints glowing a split second between the activation of his power and explosion. Which gives very fast people just enough of warning to take cover.
  • Demon City Shinjuku. In the 1988 OVA, this happens to the Big Bad Levih Rah after Kyouya Izayoi cuts him in half with a Nempo energy strike and before he explodes.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Shortly after Circe diagnoses that the White Magician's new magic is going to kill him the White Magician starts glowing from his throat and innards and manages to shout NOO! before going up in an explosive but very localized bit of pyrotechnics and leaving only a scorch mark and pile of ashes behind.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Ctuchik of David Eddings' The Belgariad series bites the dust this way when he tries and fails to will an object out of existence.
  • In Bill Baldwin's Mercenaries, an enemy space fort goes up in this manner.
  • In The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde, this happens with radioactive cucumbers. The author says he was inspired by the description of a scientist attempting to extract sunlight from cucumbers in Gulliver's Travels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The destruction of Earth Force One.
  • Spike in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series finale before he blows up Sunnydale with his soul.
  • Doctor Who: Nearly all of the Doctor's regenerations involve him glowing, but a few in particular qualify for this:
    • "The End of Time": When the Tenth Doctor starts regenerating, possibly as a result of the radiation and holding it in for days, it destroys the console room.
    • "The Time of the Doctor": The Eleventh Doctor, upon getting a new regeneration cycle, ends up outright exploding with enough force to blow the top off the clock tower he was standing on, send a shockwave for kilometres in all directions, and completely obliterate a Dalek mothership.
    • "Twice Upon a Time": The Twelfth Doctor's regeneration looks like lightning that damages the console room. The damage doesn't seem too bad until Thirteen presses a button, upon which the entire console room explodes, and she ends up getting thrown out of the TARDIS.
  • In The Flash episode "Plastique", things touched by the eponymous metahuman glow before turning into explosives. This include Plastique herself when she is killed and her power goes awry. Flash has to relocate her at sea (by running on the water) and to get away fast, because the ensuing ka-boom is huge.
  • Ted Sprague, the radioactive man from Heroes as well as Peter (illustrated atop the page) and Sylar after they both gain Ted's power.
  • Happens with some monsters in Power Rangers on occasion.
  • Smallville: When Bizarro explodes.

    Video Games 
  • With the sheer amount of Stuff Blowing Up in the Disgaea series, it's only natural that some of the explosions include this. Examples include Kurtis' Solidus Arm in Disgaea 3, and the God Scraper axe skill in Disgaea 4.
  • A number of targets destroyed by the heroines of Sakura Wars.
  • Destroyed capital ships in the original Colony Wars game exhibited this, with pure white light spilling out of giant cracks in the hull right before the explosion blanks out the entire screen with white. Later games in the series toned this down a bit.
  • At least one boss in Star Fox 64 goes bye-bye this way. The creature on Solar gets an especially spectacular version, culminating in a Pillar of Light replacing its head before it explodes.
  • Most bosses in Mega Man X4 onwards, as well every boss in the Mega Man Zero and ZX series. ZX ups the bar by having the screen go dark except for the exploding robots.
  • The Armos in the 3D The Legend of Zelda titles. After being exploded/receiving an arrow in the back or being fed with bombs/hit enough in the back, they start hopping around madly and eventually explode, glowing in-between.
  • Bowser's Galaxy Reactor goes out this way at the end of Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Chzo Mythos, in 6 days a sacrifice when the bomb is going off in the underground complex, you first see rays of light breaking through the ground before the explosion erupts.
  • Dark Samus in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.
    • And again in Corruption. That, and her planet too.
    • Also from Echoes: the sphere Amorbis was guarding explodes in this fashion when the boss dies.
    • Also happens after each of Corruption's major boss battles. Cue Unflinching Walk.
    • Also also happens with Samus' Bombs and Power Bombs in the Prime series.
  • Hitting certain enemy ships in R-Type Delta with a Charged Attack causes their midsection to glow for a moment before they are torn in half by the explosion.
  • In the Adventure Mode of Super Smash Bros. Melee, Planet Zebes does this.
    • Happens a lot with exploding planets in video games. Zebes, Phaaze, Bacterion... I guess video games really like having an extra glow before the Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
  • Speaking of Gradius, Gradius V's stage bosses create a bright orange glow as most of them are peppered with smaller explosions until they blow up like the Butsutekkai from Treasure's previous Shoot-Em-Up, Ikaruga. Also like Ikaruga, the boss explosions not only slow down the game for dramatic effect, the bosses' outlines are visible until the animation ends. Still looks pretty awesome nonetheless.
  • Final Fantasy VII. Sephiroth undergoes a variation: After the unlosable final battle against him in Cloud's mind, Sephiroth emits a glow and then dissipates into the Life Stream.
  • The bosses in Darius Gaiden and G-Darius explode in this fashion.
  • The Volatile Dweevils in Pikmin 2.
  • The move animations for Selfdestruct and Explosion (especially Explosion) in Pokémon games begin suggesting this since the 4th generation.

    Web Comics 
  • In this Dragon Tails strip, they parody the trope (like everything else really).
  • Played straight in this Sequential Art strip where Art's computer can't handle a video game.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Pokémon Center blows up

A fairly typical use of this trope in the anime.

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Example of:

Main / PreExplosionGlow

Media sources:

Main / PreExplosionGlow