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The Face of the Sun

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The concept of Glowy Star taken to its next logical step.
"A partial solar eclipse is when the Earth moves across the part of the sun blocked by its sunglasses."
Randall Munroe, What If? #115: Into the Sun

A common depiction of the sun in more lighthearted fare, such as children's and animated media, is that of a large yellow disc with rays perpetually coming out and a human face, often wearing sunglasses, which leads to the question of why the sun would need protection from its own rays. (Well, what other glasses would the sun wear than SUNglasses?) Plus, if your head emitted as much light as the sun does, you would probably need something to protect yourself from the harmful rays of... yourself.

The sun is typically depicted as having a smiling face, but if the sun in question is a Sinister Sentient Sun, potentially creating a Heat Wave, it will look mean. In all scenarios, the sun provides viewers with potential Nightmare Fuel.

This is Older Than They Think: Many classical and medieval works of art depict the sun, "Sol", in this manner, though obviously not in a cartoony fashion. This was codified in medieval heraldry, where the sun was a "sun radiant" if it had rays but no face. A sun with both rays and a face was "the sun in his splendor" (the modern flags of Argentina and Uruguay present a distinctive South American form of this, the Sun of May, which takes some influence from depictions of the Incan sun god Inti; a similar sun appears in some Peruvian and Bolivian symbols). This is common illustration in folklore; see for example, here.

Compare The Man in the Moon. See also Light Is Not Good because, as said before, some of these examples are either evil or creepy. Also see Weird Sun.


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  • Kellogg's Raisin Bran features a sun with a face on the boxes of many of its varieties—apparently it is named Sunny. In an old television commercial, the jingle ended, "The rai-sunniest brand under the sun!" To which the sun replied, "That's me!"
  • Coca-Cola has been using a stylized Sol chugging a Coke in its summer promotions for a few years now. And this old commercial.
  • The now-defunct Sunblest Bread in the UK used a smiling sun logo, possibly with sunglasses.
  • An ad for Sprite in The '90s used this, with a smiling sun-face on a bottle of ”Sun Fizz” coming to life and the mother and children running in terror from it.
  • The D'onofrio ice creams. Yes, it's a sun that eats ice-cream.
  • Vitalite sunflower spread in the UK had a sun, in sunglasses, singing about the spread to the tune of The Israelites, with a sunflower backing group. One ad also had a cameo from the face of the moon, who took over when the sun Rage Quit over his inability to make "polyunsaturates" rhyme with anything.
  • A Scottish public information film about the dangers of sunburn featured a jolly-looking animated sun suddenly turning into a demon. True Nightmare Fuel.
  • The Spanish snacks company Tosfrit, complete with Goggles Do Nothing.
  • A Kids' WB! promo for Pinky and the Brain features Brain having inexplicably become the sun.
    Pinky: Brain, what are you doing up there?
    Brain: If I can't take over the world, I shall shine over it. Everyone will have to look up to me, the Brain.
    Pinky: Hmm, are you sure you're not up there to visually illustrate that, on weekends, we're on first thing as well as our regular time?
    Brain: Pinky, if I had arms, and wasn't a glowing ball of hydrogen, I would hurt you.
  • The infamous "The Dawn Is Your Enemy" bumper by [adult swim] uses this for horror.

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Soul Eater, the sun has a face with a spike-like nose, a Slasher Smile, and is always laughing. Unless it's falling asleep and snoring at sunset. The moon isn't any better.
    • In the manga he's been shown as furious, presumably, it was hot. In the evenings, he's been seen as extremely tired.
  • The first season closing credits of Tenchi Muyo! have the chibi Ryo-Oh-Ki guarding her precious growing carrot against the elements, including a snarling, ferociously hot sun.
  • Doctor Slump has this. The sun even rises from the ocean horizon with a snorkel.
  • Prometheus from One Piece, a Homie created by Big Mom. When serious, he becomes a raging fireball and, in conjunction with Zeus, can control the weather at Big Mom's command.
  • Digimon Universe: App Monsters has Ouranosmon, a Cumulonemesis with a metallic sun for a head, as the final form of Musimon. The manga has Weathermon, a Ridiculously Cute Critter with paws and a sun-shaped head that flies around on a cloud.

    Asian Animation 
  • In PangPond, the sun is often depicted as having a face and is sometimes shown waking up the citizens of Mahasanook Village.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, the sun is sometimes depicted with a face, glasses, and hair.

    Comic Books 
  • Grimjack occasionally ventured to a dimension where the inhabitants were cute sentient animals. The sun of that dimension also was sentient, complete with a face.
  • Lunar Girl and Scarlet Sparrow: At one point, when Lunar Girl is stating that danger could strike at any moment, she gestures with both hands to a very peaceful park full of people enjoying themselves, accompanied by a smiling sun wearing sunglasses in the sky over the park.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Mutts, Mooch sticks his head out the door to be faced with an enormous face of the sun, smiling. He observes it's summer (Sunday after the solstice.)

    Eastern European Animation 
  • Hungarian Folk Tales: The Sun has a face in some episodes. In the episode where the fox goes from house to house to get poultry and pigs to eat, the sun's expression changes from happy in the first day, to neutral in the second day, to angry in the third day. In the last one, it starts giggling when the fox is attacked by two dogs, having been tricked that he received two fat pigs in his bag.

    Films — Animation 
  • The sun from Rock-A-Doodle for some reason changes from a realistic sun when seen from outer space, to an anthropomorphic sun when seen from Chanticleer's farm. And the sun (whose rising and setting is constantly controlled by Chanticleer) will occasionally go against his rules and rise on its own.
  • Alicein Wonderland: At the beginning of the "Walrus and the Carpenter" segment, Tweedle-Dee briefly appears as the sun, with Tweedle-Dum is the moon.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: The sun has the face of a jack-o-lantern.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas: During the medieval/Renaissance woodcut Art Shift depicted in "Stories", the lines "I know a tiny place/Just a dot, too small to measure" are accompanied by Earth seen depicted in space with the rest of the solar system, and the sun appears this way, just as described above in heraldry ("the sun in his splendor"). It also appears this way a bit earlier in the song.

    Films — Live Action 

  • In A Pumpkin Shell: Over 20 Pumpkin Projects For Kids: Pictures of the sun give it a smiley face.
  • Referred to, at least, in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, in the poem "The Man In the Moon Stayed Up Too Late."
    "The round Moon rolled behind the hill
    As the Sun raised up her head.
    She hardly believed her fiery eyes ;
    For though it was day, to her surprise
    They all went back to bed!"
    • The reason for the Moon being male and the Sun being female in Middle-earth folklore is that the ships of the sun and moon are pulled by a Maia (divine spirit) each, respectively female and male. Which follows Norse Mythology, BTW.
      • Better yet, the Maia in charge of the Sun is a female, non-evil Balrog.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One of Ranger Gord's Marty Stu animation sequences from The Red Green Show featured a sun who shot death rays at people. Gord ended up wrestling it into submission.
  • Conan O'Brien once had a sketch about weather reports using graphics of angry suns to represent high temperatures. There were two from stations that took it too far: one was a Hitler sun, the other was a sun flipping the bird with both hands.
  • This is the logo for the newsmagazine CBS Sunday Morning; variations also appear at the end of stories on the program.
  • On Bear in the Big Blue House, the sun was Bear's good friend, Ray, who greeted him in the morning and sometimes sang the "Good Morning" song with him. He was voiced by Geoffrey Holder, using the deep voice that made him well known for 7UP commercials in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • The Good Night Show: A sun with a face appeared in the show's opening sequences.
  • Miwasan in the NHK educational television series Nihongo de Asobo.
  • Teletubbies has a baby-faced sun. The actual reason for the sun being that way is that it represents the toddlers and babies who are watching the program. A new baby takes over the role in the reboot.

  • The cover of Primal Scream's Screamadelica is a blue-and-yellow "psychedelic sunburst" with childish eyes painted by Paul Cannell.
  • The cover of The Moody Blues album, In Search Of The Lost Chord.
  • Canadian prog rock band Klaatu featured an image of a smiling sun on the covers of four out of their five albums.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to one Chinese myth, looking at the sun hurts your eyes because the god of the sun is rather ugly and thus attempts to poke your eyes out should you stare at his face.
  • In Classical Mythology, Helios, the sun god, is depicted occasionally as this.
  • Many Eastern Orthodox Christian icons depicting God creating the sun and moon show them with faces, as can be seen here and here.
  • England's medieval Plantagenet dynasty of kings used "the sun in splendour" as a heraldic device. This may have been in direct line of descent from...
  • In Roman times, the god Mithras, a serious contender to Christ, was identified with a version of this design called "sol invictus", the invincible sun.
  • Modern depictions of the Mesoamerican sun gods Inti and Tonatiuh tend to be this. It's unclear if they have true precedent in the original cultures or if it is Spanish heraldry muddling things.


  • In a sketch in Season 3 Episode 3 of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, an art professor is perplexed that a serious painting, The Flight of the Israelites, portrays the sun as wearing sunglasses and giving a thumbs up. The artist refuses to see the problem until the professor points it out — if the sun is the main light source in the scene, what purpose do the sunglasses serve? They agree that it would work better if the sun was smoking a spliff.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Tarot decks, the Sun Major Arcana is usually represented this way. Depending on the deck and your tastes, it may however be more or less Nightmare Fuel-ish.

  • Avenue Q opens with a video of a Sesame Street-like sun shining and smiling ("The sun is shining, it's a lovely day") until clouds marked with various companies appear ("But you've got lots of bills to pay!")

    Theme Parks 

    Trading Cards 
  • The obscure trading card series Killer Cards depicted a smiling sun wearing a chef's hat on the card "Sunburn".

  • Tamagotchi features Sunnytchi, a living Tamagotchi sun who orbits Tamagotchi Planet. Sunnytchi is a specific species of Tamagotchi called a Gaiatchi.
  • Promotional art and advertisements of the Family Day sets of Zoobles featured a sun with a smiling face.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Mr. Bright, recurring baddie of the Kirby series, is an example of the not-so-happy version of this trope, who's partnered with Mr. Shine.
  • The Pokémon Solrock invokes this trope, though it's a sun-shaped meteor rather than an actual ball of plasma. It first appears in Ruby (and later Emerald) Versions; its counterpart in Sapphire is Lunatone.
  • In Miitopia, The Darkest Lord takes the form of a golden sun with its face on its center. There is also the Dark Sun, a bonus boss that looks like the Darkest Lord coloured in dark grey, albeit with a single Mii eye and a Mii mouth.
  • Some of the Wacky World levels in Lode Runner 2 had a sun which would usually look sort of confused, and occasionally would laugh strangely for no apparent reason.
  • A sun in LocoRoco is one happy fellow who's always smiling when not sleeping.
  • The Sun of a Gun from Chrono Cross.
  • The sun in Ribbit has bulging eyes, a slightly downturned mouth, and clenched teeth, and appears to be in significant pain. This is never explained.
  • In the ending of Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters, Pit's wings fall/rip off in front of an overly happy looking sun, presumably leaving Pit to plummet to his death. No wonder it's called Kid Icarus.
  • In the tarot-themed world of The Fool's Errand, the sun not only gives The Fool advice, it hands him a map.
  • Shay's "mother" from Broken Age depicts herself as this on her system's many computer screens.
  • In Tearaway, the sun has a hole in it leading to the world outside the game, and shows the player's face (a live feed from the Vita's front camera).
  • In Microsoft Minesweeper and its clones sun with a face appears on restart button and change expression when you click, lose or win.
  • Many of the desert levels of Word Rescue have a sun with a perpetually-smiling face as a background setpiece. A few also give the sun a looping winking animation.
  • In Episode 4 of Farnham Fables, the sun in the Desssert (that's how it's spelled) has a face, including sunglasses, of course. Theresa can also talk to it, and it'll comment on items you show it, sometimes with bad puns. Thanks to dream logic, it's safe to stare at it (but still rude, though thankfully the sun doesn't mind).
  • The Puyo Puyo series has the Puyo Sun, sporting a huge pair of eyes. As seen in Puyo Puyo Sun, Madou Monogatari Saturn, 20th Anniversary, and Chronicle.
  • While visiting Mercury in The Magic School Bus Explores the Solar System, a face will occasionally appear and disappear on the sun if the player avoids clicking on anything for a little while. The face is in a much less cartoony art style than most things you can actually click on in the game.

    Web Animation 
  • In Appisote 18 of Da Amazin OT Advenchr, the sun has a rather... queer face.
  • In Madness Combat, the sun not only gets a face but descends to fight Hank, who kills it.
  • A commonly accepted way to get the obligatory Colin Mochrie reference into Animutations is to put his face in the sun, a reference to the one and only Hyakugojyuuichi!! - which in it itself was probably a reference to the Teletubbies sun.
  • Whenever the sun appears in Zero Punctuation, it has a big grin on its face. Sometimes it's a regular happy smile, other times (like in the LittleBigPlanet review, when he was blaming his difficulty thinking of analogies on the heat) it's more easily interpreted as a Cheshire Cat Grin.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Dorf Quest has Sunbeard, a shining sun with a manly dwarven beard. In addition, at night time, there is Moonears, a moon with pointy elven ears. Sunbeard has been known to swap places in the sky at times, to make things more dramatic.
  • Vaguely Recalling JoJo: In contrast to its original appearance, the Sun Stand has a menacing look on its face.
  • Not Always Learning: According to this professor, it is the official policy of the geophysics department that this is required in scientific diagrams featuring the sun.

    Western Animation 
  • The 1980's Strawberry Shortcake specials had a sun that not only had a face, but narrated the specials and occasionally interacted with the characters.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum had this accompanied by a pink glade of flowers and a rainbow during a montage in "Total Recall". Done again in "Present Not Accounted For" when Lupe presents Chum Chum the sun which bares his own face.
  • On Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, the sun was Mr. Sun, a cute little thing that sometimes emitted "sun fuzzies" that could tickle or form props.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, like other Animate Inanimate Objects, the sun is a minor character who spends most of its time in the sky smiling all the time (unless something of notice comes near him). He can also travel around the world at high speeds and sleeps when night comes. He also gets mooned by the equally animated moon, who has arms, legs, and visible buttocks.
  • House of Mouse: The short "Donald's Goofy World" has Donald dreaming that everyone and everything is turning into Goofy - which, as it turns out, includes the sun.
    Sun Goofy: Smile, Donald! It's a beautiful day!
  • Occasionally appeared in the background on The Ren & Stimpy Show.
  • Rick and Morty: The episode "The Wedding Squanchers" has a scene set on a planet lit by a sun with a face... and No Indoor Voice, as it apparently screams as loud as it can for 42 straight hours every day.
  • Lazoo features "Sunny" as a recurring character. In Cock-a-doodle Sneeze they even wake her up prematurely so as to begin the day earlier. She's lying on the ground.
  • A Cartoon Network thing suggesting candidates for "Cartoon President" included Brak in his capacity as a freewheeling Cloud Cuckoolander with a black-and-white band, Brak appearing on various objects as a Splash of Color to say a few words, and a period-appropriate perky chorus. At "We'll take Brak to Washington!", the sun rises from behind the capitol building with Brak's face clarifying, "D.C.! Not the state!"
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Hide 'N' Hunt", the sun is depicted with a happy face.
  • Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings (2002): The sun in the Land of Chalk Drawings had a face, and can talk.
  • Some of Teacher's Pet episodes have the smiley sun.
  • Teen Titans (2003): In "Mother Mae Eye" after Mae Eye alters the tower and island, a grinning sun with a face on it and teeth takes presence over the island.
  • City Island (2022): Just like everything else, the sun has a face.
  • The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse: "The Wonderful Spring of Micky Mouse" has a sun that looks and acts exactly like Dopey.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Smiling Sun, Happy Sun, Stylized Sun


Screaming sun

The Smith family goes to a planet where a sun screams every day for 42 hours.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheFaceOfTheSun

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