Basically this is when a character's face is shown in the sky. This could be used in different ways. When a missed character is remembered, other characters might see their face in the sky.
This could also be used when a character is missing or absent and their friends worry about whether they are safe or not. A character might see a cloud formation and think it's a particular person and hallucinating that they see them in the sky. This can sometimes be a Floating Advice Reminder if the character that is in the sky gives some advice to the characters on the ground. The faces in the sky could also be from a mental projection from the characters on the ground.
This is not to be confused with The Face of the Sun or The Man in the Moon, when the sun or moon are anthropomorphized respectively. Anthropomorphized clouds don't count either.
Related to Died Happily Ever After, which is used when the clouds are used to represent dead characters and reassure their loved ones that despite being murdered by the villain, they are doing perfectly fine in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Died Happily Ever After is more a related and overlapping trope than a subtrope, as it's not always the character's face on the sky that indicates a happy afterlife.
See also Floating Head Syndrome, Flying Face and Stars Are Souls. If the face happens to be a constellation, it may be an example of Stellification.
- Kimba the White Lion: Kimba sees the stars in the night sky form the image of his dead mother, who speaks encouragement to him. Since Kimba was swimming many miles through the Atlantic Ocean, this might have been delirium. The deceased Kimba/Leo himself appears in the clouds on the last page of the original manga, above his son Rune (who apparently doesn't notice).
- Dragon Ball Z: During episode 193, after Gohan has defeated Cell and Future Trunks is departing their timeline; Goku's spirit taps Gohan on the shoulder, who turns around, looks up and sees a huge transparent image of his father in the sky smiling at him as he smiles back, no one else around Gohan appears to notice this happening.
- At the end of the third Pokémon movie, Entei's face appears in the clouds in the sky.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Sometime after arriving in El Hazard and finally accepting they're no longer on Earth, Makoto has one of his unrequited crush, Nanami, while wondering where she was and if she was safe. He promptly dismisses it, believing she was probably still safe at school. Wrong.
- Naruto Shippuden: After Madara activates the Infinite Tsukuyomi, a gigantic transparent image of Kaguya Ōtsutsuki slowly forms showing her looking down on Earth with a very ominous Slasher Smile.
- In Ranma ˝, Ryoga will often imagine Akane this way while lost and trying to find his way to Tokyo to see her, or while suffering bouts of depression due to his inability to confess his feelings for her.
- At the end of the first season of Sailor Moon, Usagi sees her friends' faces in the sky after they're killed.
- Conversed Mocked in Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga. Koji and Kentaro were discussing the elements of a successful Shōnen Genre manga. This trope was apparently one of them, and it must always happen at the ending with the main character's face after the final confrontation according to them.
- One Piece: Multiple:
- While Luffy's crewmates are training for the journey into the New World, Franky spends his time researching Dr. Vegapunk's inventions... only to destroy the guy's labs and cause a ton of chaos because he absentmindedly presses a Big Red Button with a skull and crossbones symbol without realizing it's the self-destruction trigger he's been told about. In two separate scenes, Franky's face appears in the sky raising a thumbs-up to the turmoil he's caused.
- The Straw Hats ride on a living dragon scribble called Ryunosuke to climb to the top of a giant elephant. The dragon dissolves once it finishes its job, and most of the people involved are devastated. Cue the doodle's face appearing over the sunset.
- In Persona 4: The Animation, the image of "King Moron" appears when Yosuke remembers him arranging a school trip before being murdered.
- Happens near the beginning of Touhou Project side story manga Silent Sinner in Blue, where Reimu and Marisa recalls the people they've met in their adventures. There's quite a lot of faces being shown.
- This happens in Serial Experiments Lain Episode 06. Lain's face appears in the sky and freaks everyone out.
- Kamichu! is about a schoolgirl who is a kami, for some reason. One episode involves her causing a tornado which has her face in it.
- In Shin Tekken Chinmi, after falling off the ship while snooping around, Chinmi is in a dire situation where he's floating in the sea in the dead of night not knowing where to go. After an exhausting fight with a shark, he starts hallucinating the faces of his older sister Meirin and his sidekick monkey Goku in the starry sky. Suddenly, he notices something weird near the horizon in that direction: there are no stars there. That's when he realizes he's very close to land, and the dark area that's occluding the stars are mountains. As he quickly swims to shore, he thanks Meirin and Goku for showing him the way.
- Comically used several times in Ayakashi Triangle:
- After Matsuri stops wearing his fundoshi, he acts as if a friend had died, complete with the pair of underwear appearing in the sky as Matsuri sheds a Single Tear.
- Shirogane spends one chapter Fading Away, and when Matsuri and Suzu can't find him, they begin to mourn him as his image appears in the sky—and then Shirogane shows up alive and well, Dope Slapping Matsuri for assuming he died already.
- Haya is introduced trying to get Matsuri to be her brother Soga's girlfriend. She ends up wanting Matsuri to also be her "big sister", imagining his face down to the shoulders (which is for some reason naked) against the sky behind her.
- In The Powerpuff Girls story "Power Picnic," a family of one-eyed giant chickens arrives in Townsville for a picnic. They are unaware there are people underfoot (or underclaw in this case), so with help from Mojo Jojo, the girls use a magnified projection of themselves on a cloud to tell the chicken family of their presence.
- The comic adaptation of Shadows Of The Empire that takes place just after A New Hope features Luke remembering Obi-Wan with his face in the sky.
- Parodied in the Lobo story "Babykiller": After Lobo fights and kills his half-Czarnian daughter, her image appears in the sky, vowing that there'll be a next time and it'll be HIS image in the sky. (There wasn't).
- The part in Scott Pilgrim 6 where Kim's face shows up magically from a distance in the final scene. It's signifying that she's in there in spirit, and it's sort of related.
- Black Moon Chronicles: After the army of the Black Moon sacks several cities, Haazheel Thorn's face appears in the sky to declare that the Black Moon is finally rising.
- Thanos did this twice; first when he acquired the Cosmic Cube and then later usurped Eternity's position. His face and body formed out of the night sky, outlined with stars.
- In the last chapter of the Warrior Cats Troll Fic StarKitsProphcy, StarGleam (who somehow died when using Frickin' Laser Beams to kill the bad guys)'s face appears in the sun and winks at her Clanmates.
- Treasure Planet ends with a shot of a nebula in the form of Long John Silver's face.
- In The Lion King (1994), Simba sees his deceased father's face in the night sky, telling him, "Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king."
- Littlefoot sees his mother's silhouette in the clouds when he's wandering around alone in the original The Land Before Time.
- In Megamind, the titular Megamind does this with his own face made of drones, as he enters the final battle.
- In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, God's face appears in the sky to send King Arthur and his knights on a quest.
- In the climatic battle of Doctor Strange (2016), when the last Sanctum in Hong Kong gets destroyed, we then get to see the true final villain of the picture, Dormammu, who appears as a massive, ethereal giant face in the stratosphere (which Strange have to confront multiple times).
- A scene in the first Superman movie where Superman flies through the air surrounded by sky faces.
- At the end of Van Helsing, Anna's face appears in the sky, along with her brother's and hints of other people (presumably their ancestors, those "nine generations of the Valerious" the cardinal mentioned early in the film). This is a visual cue that the Valerious family souls have all been saved from Purgatory.
- Trader Horn: "Trader" Horn, the white guy who makes a fortune trading with the natives in the heart of Darkest Africa, is pretty darn racist (from a latter-day perspective), but he clearly cares deeply about Rencharo, the head of his team of African porters. Towards the end of the movie when the two are being Chased by Angry Natives, Rencharo is killed by a spear. When it's time to go back upriver on another trading mission, Horn looks up and sees Rencharo's face in the sky.
- In Alan Garner's fantasy novel The Moon of Gomrath, the fallen hero Albanac is last seen in the sky. The stars rearrange themselves to show him outlined as a very clear constellation, riding off in the company of the Valkyrie-like Sisters of the Moon.
- In Warrior Cats, when Firestar's going on his Quest, he sees his deceased mentor/leader Bluestar's face in the clouds, and she looks worried. This is right before Sandstorm goes missing in the flood.
- In The Hunger Games a killed tribute is "honored" by having their face projected against the sky. Given the setting, this is likely deliberately invoking the trope.
- Beasts of Gor: When the Kur Supervillain Lair explodes Tarl sees an image of Zarendargar in the sky. Done via technology in imitation of the Northern Lights.
- The Ballad of Black Tom: Months after his ordeal at Red Hook, Malone walks past a tall building, looks up, and sees Black Tom's eyes staring down at him from the clouds. Malone falls to his knees and screams hysterically, to the alarm of passersby. A few of them follow his sightline and see the face, too.
- In an episode of Black Sheep Squadron the young mechanic gets killed during an air raid. At the end of the episode we see a still shot of him in the sky.
- The music video for "Big Enough" by Kirin J. Callinan is famous as the "screaming cowboy in the sky" meme.
- The Ultra Series music video, New Century Ultraman Legend ends with the Sky Demon showing its face in the sky, bringing with it enough darkness to cover the Earth.
- The cover for The Killers's seventh studio album Imploding the Mirage uses an art piece by Thomas Blackshear showing two clouds shaped like a man and a woman dancing in the sky over a desert landscape.
- Calvin and Hobbes: One episode has Calvin look at a cloud that forms into his head, and he sees to his shock that it's sticking its tongue out at him!
- BlazBlue: The Kaka see Bang's face in the sky in one of his endings.
- Child of Light: The first chapter has the Queen of the Night's face floating in the storm clouds.
- Contra III: The Alien Wars: The opening demo shows Red Falcon's face looming over a destroyed city.
- Donald in Maui Mallard: In the ending, Hernae speaks as if Maui has died in battle (he just got his head stuck on the ground) and promises to get him a constellation in the sky. His grinning face is seen among the stars after she spirits him away.
- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening: Beat the DX version or the Switch remake without dying once, and after the The End screen, Marin's face will appear in the sky, then fade away to reveal a seagull; possibly implying that her wish to become one came true.
- Mega Man 3: In the ending, Proto Man's face can be seen in the sky.
- Pikmin 2: During the cutscene that plays when the player clears the company's debt, the camera pans towards a star gleaming in the bright sky that transforms into the President's face.
- Power Pro-kun Pocket series:
- Power Pro-kun Pocket 1: One canon bad ending shows the protagonist lamenting the death of his friend Kameda, and seeing his face over the starry sky.
- Power Pro-kun Pocket 6: Factory Baseball Edition: The bad ending for returning to the future shows the protagonist's face fading over the sky along with a shooting star as his co-workers silently stargaze.
- Pawapoke Dash: One game over shows the protagonist looking up at the sky in tears after his poltergeist baseball father passes away due to the failure of his mission. In the ending for Hell Dungeon, the protagonist is yanked from the underworld right before he can reunite with his deceased parents. He looks sadly at images of them in the sky, but then realizes they're standing right behind him.
- The Revenge of Shinobi: Should the player take too long to kill the final boss, Naoko gets crushed by a Descending Ceiling and the hero is left to grieve while imagining her face in the sky. In a prototype for the game, a cut alternate bad ending exists where Joe is the one who dies, though the context is unknown. Naoko is then seen holding his sword and imagining his face in the sky.
- Sonic The Hedgehog:
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2: At the end of the Sega Master System version, Sonic will look up to the sky and imagine Tails if he failed to find save him, implying that at the very least Sonic never sees Tails again. If the player does rescue Tails, both of their faces appear in the sky.
- Sonic the Hedgehog CD: In the bad ending, Sonic pitches a rock at Dr. Eggman and blows him up sky-high, resulting in a smoke cloud shaped like Eggman's face. In the good ending, the Little Planet creates a formation of sparkles shaped like Sonic's face as if greeting him before fading away.
- Sonic Adventure 2: Shadow's entire body is imposed over the earth. Technically an example.
- Sonic Mania: The good ending has the Little Planet doing that same thing again, with the added bonus of Tails and Knuckles not knowing Sonic had been warped away by the Phantom Ruby.
- Super Smash Bros. Melee: The opening shows Zelda's head in the sky above Sheik's.
- Twisted Metal 2: In Spectre's ending, he wishes for the whole world to see his face. Unfortunately for him, he leaves out the "how", which prompts Calypso to grant his wish by stretching his face across the entire sky.
- The Wonderful 101: Played for laughs: this will happen with Wonder-Green after being knocked to the sky should the player fail a quick time event. A picture of him giving the thumbs up fades in to view from where he was knocked.
- Angel Moxie: Happens to two characters at the end of the story.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. At the end of the "DARE to Resist Ninja Drugs and Violence" arc, Doc explains to the readers that Frans Rayner's plan (to become the US President by killing the President) would have failed even without Doc's intervention.
Dr. McNinja: You see, we were safe from Frans all along... Thanks to the real hero of this story... Ben Franklin. Thanks, Ben... wherever you are.
[The face of Ben Franklin appears in the clouds. Doc's eyes grow wide with shock.]
Ben Franklin's sky face: I didn't come up with those parts of the Constitution.
- Homestuck: After freaking out over how Con Air is actually a terrible movie, John storms off outside and sees Davesprite's face in the sky. He promptly accuses him of using his sprite powers to do this.
- The video for Kikkoman Fight! features a cat remembering Kikkoman's help by envisioning his presence in the sky.
- The music video New Century Ultraman Legend ends with various Ultras battling a Sky Demon, which is a giant face in the sky.
- At the very end of episode 28 (The Doctor Is Sin) of The Venture Bros. featured Dr. Killenger's face in the sky at the end reciting Shakespeare's "all the world's a stage" monologue, followed by General Manhower laughing and telling us we can read all about it in the Bible. It's entirely unprovoked and unexplained.
- The Simpsons: The finale of the episode about Bleeding Gums Murphy, Lisa's short-lived mentor figure, features his visage in the clouds over Lisa's head. Along with Mufasa, Darth Vader and James Earl Jones.
- In Steven Universe episode "Room For Ruby", after Navy betrays Steven to steal back her ship, Navy appears in the sky at the end of the episode, and the Iris Out focuses on her.
- Drawn Together episode "The Lemon-AIDS Walk" ends with Captain Hero looking up at the sky and seeing his dead friend Popeye.
Hero: Who the hell is that asshole?
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Grannies Gone Wild", Applejack's head appears as a Floating Advice Reminder to remind Rainbow Dash of her responsibilities. At the very end, as Rainbow's traveling home after a job well done, AJ's face appears one last time in front of the Sun, this time to smile and wink at Rainbow.