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Watching the Sunset

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They don't hate watching this.

"Did you notice the sunset for the first time in ages?"
Alan Jackson, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning"

A couple just watching a sunset. It's often for their own pleasure, based on the romantic connotations, or for a symbolic purpose. They may even be waiting for something that's supposed to happen after the sun sets.

A character who watches the sunset alone can have various connotations, the most common ones being nostalgia, reflectiveness, and/or melancholy. Often symbolizes the end of a period — often a rather happy one — in somebody's life.

When people in anime are Sitting on the Roof, chances are roughly 50/50 they're enjoying the sunset together. If they're on the shore, it overlaps with Ocean Awe.

A Super-Trope to Against the Setting Sun. Usually precedes a Lip-Lock Sun-Block.

Compare Cue the Sun, Heaven Above, Light Is Good, Riding into the Sunset, That Cloud Looks Like..., Meditating Under a Waterfall, Stargazing Scene.

Contrast Melancholy Moon.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In a Bleach filler episode, Toushirou likes to hang out in a place that has the best view of the sunset because it reminds him of his childhood days spent with Momo, where they eat watermelons while watching the sky.
  • Used at least twice in Case Closed. Once with young Shinichi and Ran as a reward for solving a code, with Shinichi accepting Ran's wish to be able to speak casually with him, giving the situation a romantic context. However, it turns out that the code was not intended for them at all, but for Shinichi's father. The code was sent from the first Kaitou Kid, Toichi Kuroba, asking if Kudo had realised his identity yet. He had. As this was a short while before Toichi Kuroba's death, the other meaning also kind of fits.
  • The anime version of Chrono Crusade has Chrono and Rosette watching the sunset as both are dying.
  • Future War 198X: Wataru and Laura are on the balcony on New Year's Eve, watching the sunset and talking all about their future plans right before finding out that war has broken out in Europe due to A Nuclear Error.
  • Macross Frontier has a sunset-watching scene with Sheryl in Alto's arms in flight. They watch the sun set. And also fly. Yes, that basically sums it up. Done for romantic connotations as one of the many Ship Tease moments in the series.
  • In Now and Then, Here and There, Shu and Lala Ru watch the sunset as on three occasions, the first time when they first met, the second time when they escaped Hamdo's fortress and the third time Lala Ru disappears from existence.
    • Also, Lala Ru said that she likes watching the sunset.
  • Oh, Suddenly Egyptian God sees Khnum and his students gazing upon the setting sun, feeling satisfied that they've finished refining and perfecting their pottery craftsmanships. Subverted when Khnum subjects them to even more pottery classes.
  • Ouran High School Host Club's Tamaki has an Imagine Spot of him and Haruhi walking along the beach together and watching the sunset.
  • In Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, Ash's Rockruff evolves into Dusk Lycanroc after seeing the "green flash" moment of sunset, the point where the horizon turns green as the Sun disappears beneath the horizon.
  • Used for bittersweet nostalgia in Gunslinger Girl
    • Jean Croce, normally presented as a cold and heartless man, is moved to sadness at the ocean when he visits Venice, presumably because it reminds him of the vacations that he spent with his parents, who were murdered in a terrorist bombing.
    • The final scene involving Claes, the last of the first generation cyborgs who is living out her final days on an Agency research vessel, involves her looking at the sunset over the ocean with Jean. Her memory blocks are starting to fail along with her cyborg body, so she mentions remembering a man (Captain Raballo, her former handler and surrogate father, erased from her memory by the Agency) walking away from her into the sunset.

    Asian Animation 
  • Simple Samosa: At the end of "Hakka", the eponymous character watches the setting sun with her new sweetheart.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): At the end of The Sandman: Season of Mists, Lucifer's watching the sunset when an old man comes down. The old man talks about sunsets, saying that despite the pain in his life, the beauty of the sunsets still makes him respect God. After the old man walks away, Lucifer admits he had a point.
  • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: After hearing that her old friend is dying Diana takes Cathy to a beautiful ocean side cliff to watch the sunset. There Cathy tearfully accepts her impending death.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The titular characters were watching a beautiful sunset, but only because the dad took them camping, and Calvin complained about the shows he was missing.
  • Garfield: Happens in a few strips. The usually cynical Garfield actually gets sentimental watching them. One time he thought he was watching the sunrise, not realizing that he had overslept. Creator Jim Davis has said he spent many evenings watching the sunset with his family as he grew up.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Franz Xaver von Schönwerth's "The Turnip Princess": After spending several days and nights searching the wastelands, the prince is sitting on the ridge of a hill beneath a blackthorn, watching the sun setting before lying down and falling asleep. On waking the next morning, he finds the object he was looking for.

    Fan Works 
  • Asuka & Shinji's Infinite Playlist: As Shinji and Asuka watch the world's final sunset, Shinji reassures Asuka that as long as they are together, everything will be all right.
    "What is this place?" Asuka asked breathlessly. The fog danced around her ankles as she cautiously walked through a twilighted sky, faint glimmers of stars fading in as the sunlight dissipated.
    The cool, calm air continued to settle below them, kicked up by their gentle steps as they explored the setting. The music continued to build, continuing its powerful pull on them. The predictable curiosity began to arise in her, as Shinji knew what questions were to come.
    "Is that where we just came from?" she asked, looking at the ground below them, shrinking away. They were being whisked somewhere far away from here.
    "Yes," Shinji replied without looking down. "This is the sunset of that world: it's fading away, back to the nothingness it came from."
  • In Cellar Secrets, chapter 4, a depressed and guilt-ridden Rei mentioned doing this in her diary, said entry being written before she committed suicide. From what Satsuki and Nui found her, watching the sunset was comforting, even if she didn't know why.

    Films — Animated 
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: The final scene has Arlo and Bertie on the beach at the restored Seaside by the Seashore looking out to the sunset.
  • Hiro and Baymax from Big Hero 6 sit on top of a zeppelin and watch the sunset after just having experienced The Joy of First Flight.
  • In The Little Mermaid, when Ariel sees the sun is near setting, and her contract to be human will have failed, she decides to take some action.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Adrift (2018): At the start of their voyage, Richard and Tami are watching a brilliant red sunset. At least, Tami says it's red; Richard launches into a Purple Prose listing of all the various shades of red it could be. Mirrored later while they're drifting, since they don't have much to do anyway.
  • The last scene in Avengers: Infinity War is Thanos sitting at a farm, watching the sun, after he successfully killed half the universe.
  • The climax of Black Panther (2018) sees Killmonger regarding the sunset over Wakanda as he breathes his last with T'Challa at his side. He'd always wanted to see one, having heard they were the most beautiful in the world.
  • Early in Dune (2021), Paul watches the sun setting on Caladan shortly before departing to Arakkis with the rest of House Atreides. He knows it's likely the last time in a long while he'll see the sun setting on his home planet; it also symbolises how the sun is setting on his former life.
  • Juan of the Dead: The two protagonists are lying on deckchairs in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse.
    "It's a nice view, no?"
    "Yes. It's a shame that building blocks out the sunset."
    [Building collapses, exposing the setting sun. The two men put on sunglasses]
  • Mary Poppins has Bert showing Jane and Michael a gorgeous sunset while taking them up on the London rooftops.
    "And who gets to see it but the birds, the stars, and the chimney sweeps."
  • A recurring motif in The Proposition, mostly associated with the film's deeply-human villain, Arthur Burns. After being shot by his heroic brother Charlie at the end of the movie, he stumbles outside to die as he watches the sunset, and Charlie goes out to join him.
  • In Raising Arizona, Hi and Ed regularly watch the sun set on lawn chairs outside of their trailer home in the Arizona desert. This comes to represent the "salad days" of their relationship before the arrival of baby Nathan Jr. The film poster and DVD box of the film portray this scene, with the addition of the baby on his own chair.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection features an inversion where Geordi La Forge watches a sunrise after his natural eyes have regenerated and become fully-functional.
    Geordi: (to Captain Picard) You know I've never seen a least, not the way you seen them.
  • Star Wars loves shots like this:
    • The first such scene in A New Hope is the most famous in the series. Luke Skywalker, early in the film, watches the twin setting suns of Tatooine, as his longing to leave and do great things conflicts with his duty to his uncle. The scene's power is cemented musically, as "The Force Theme" plays in the background, and the Binary Suns give the scene a memorable touch, reminding you that it's not Earth you're looking at. It was such an effective scene that future Star Wars films would occasionally make homage to it.
    • The final shot of The Empire Strikes Back mirrors the previous film's shot: Luke, Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2 all gather by a viewport on the Medical Frigate to watch the Millennium Falcon fly off in the direction of a protostar on a mission to rescue Han. This time, the music is a new arrangement of "The Force Theme" called "The Rebel Fleet".
    • In The Phantom Menace there's two separate instances of characters watching the sun set over Coruscant.
      • After a tense meeting with the Jedi Council, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi step out on to a open air platform to watch the sun setting over the bustling city.
      • Queen Amidala also watches the Coruscant sun setting from the luxury tower where she and her retinue are staying when Jar-Jar approaches, asking what she intends to do since the Senate doesn't appear all that interested in helping the Naboo.
    • At the end of Attack of the Clones, Yoda, Palpatine, and the rest watch the Clone Army's ships lift off against an ominous sunset. This particular instance shows how it goes all downhill from there for them. Its last shot is also reminiscent of Empire's variation, as Anakin and Padme tie the knot at sunset while the droids look on in the distance.
    • Revenge of the Sith, chronologically the last before A New Hope, ends with a scene echoing the sunset scene from the latter film — Owen and Beru hold baby Luke and stare at the sunset from the same location, as Darkness falls over the Galaxy and the Empire slowly takes its stranglehold.
    • At the end of The Last Jedi, Luke watches the twin sunset of Ahch-To as he becomes one with the Force, again set to "The Force Theme", symbolizing how his journey ends just as it began.
    • And at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey watches the setting suns of Tatooine, just like her master did decades before, and the Skywalker saga ends the same way it began.
    • Rogue One: Invoked. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor sit down at the shore of Scarif, having just transmitted the Death Star plans to the Rebel fleet, and watch the setting sun as the glow on the horizon covers everything in front of them. Except it's not the sun, but the explosion caused by the Death Star's superlaser, meaning that they know their deaths are unavoidable.

  • In Catching Fire, Peeta wakes Katniss up from dozing off to see the sunset from the roof of the Training Center the day before their pre-Quarter Quell interviews. (Sunset orange is also Peeta's favorite color.)
    Katniss: ...I can count on my fingers the number of sunsets I have left...
  • The Fall of Gondolin: The survivors of Gondolin have managed to flee into the hills, but before climbing up the mountain pass, they turn around to watch how their city burns in the fading light of dusk. The crowd see the last standing tower burning and collapsing before the sun sinks completely, stressing the fact that the hidden city has ceased to exist.
  • Harry Potter: The cover for the American version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has Harry trying to catch a snitch while the sun sets in the background. The cover for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has Harry trying to catch the Elder Wand while the sun rises in the background. Both covers represent an ending becoming a beginning.
  • In The Outsiders, Cherry comes to believe Ponyboy is more than just a greaser because he enjoys watching sunsets.
  • In The Year Of The Jackpot by Robert A. Heinlein, the two protagonists start watching the sunset just before the sun goes nova.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Angel, the eponymous hero has a ring that made the wearer invincible. He destroys it, but not before wearing it for a full day, finally crushing it after the sun sets.
  • The Babylon 5 episode "Sleeping in Light" shows Sheridan making a point of watching the sunset after he's confirmed his time to die has come. Delenn continues the tradition started by Sheridan after he disappears when his time comes.
  • Baywatch: Mitch takes the dying Tracy to the beach so that she can do this one last time.
  • In Family Ties, soon after baby Andrew was born, his parents wanted to take him outside to watch his first sunset. By the time they got everything together...
    Steven: The sun has already set.
  • Game of Thrones: On her wedding night Daenerys watches the sun setting alone, as a distraction from her fear and despair over being forced to marry a much older warlord from a Blood Knight culture. Previously, she'd spent her whole life moving from place to place with her brother and now her whole world is being turned upside-down.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar watches the sun setting, reflecting over his own condition as a corrupted Elf. He bathes in the rays of the sun talking to an orc about how pleasant it is to feel them, then he becomes melancholic to the thought that one day he won't feel them either anymore.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Subverted at the end of "Let He Who is Without Sin...". Worf suggests that he and Jadzia romantically watch the sun set at the end of the day, but she proposes they go Skinny Dipping instead.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: In "Collective", Captain Janeway invokes this trope while trying to get some children who have been assimilated into the Borg Hive Mind to remember their individuality.
    Cptn. Janeway: I recognize your species. You're Brunali, and you're Norcadian. Do you remember your world?
    Mezoti: A theta class planetoid. Population two and sixty million. Binary suns.
    Cptn. Janeway: And what did it look like when those suns set each night? Can you remember that?

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy X had such a scene. Made awkward by the fact that Yuna can't say Tidus's name.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Sora and Kairi watch the sunset together a few hours before The Heartless attack their island. Axel and Roxas do the same thing in Kingdom Hearts II: FM+ They, along with Xion, also do it a lot in 358/2 Days. The fact that Twilight Town is in perpetual sunset definitely helps.
  • In Super Mario Sunshine, in the end sequence, Mario and Peach watch the setting sun from Sirena Beach. (In the game, every time you go to Sirena Beach, the sun is setting.)
  • The characteristic shot of Super Smash Bros. Brawl is of the entire playable roster looking at the shining "X" shape lingering in the sky where the Ancient Minister's people and homeland used to be. Due to the orange lighting, this shot gives off the appearance of this trope.

    Visual Novels 
  • In CLANNAD, after Nagisa and Tomoya get married, there's a scene of them meeting on a hilltop path, the sun setting behind them. Because of the angle at which we see them, and the way Nagisa's holding her bag, it looks for a moment as if Nagisa's pregnant. Borders on Against the Setting Sun, except no words are actually spoken.
  • Miyako in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!, from her favorite spot on the roof of the secret base.

    Web Animation 
  • Robosan And Wanchan: The titular duo sit down together at the end of the short to watch the sunset.

  • The final strip of Rip And Teri is the titular pair, having managed to shake off the various threats that were stalking them throughout the story and escape to an anonymous life, sitting on a beach watching a beautiful sunset together. It, along with the fact that Teri is now pregnant, symbolises the end of their adventures and the start of their new life together.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Abel's Story, Abel tells Hennya about his last letter from Cindy, where she mentioned that she spent a lot of her time alone watching the sea on a cliff, a flashback showing her doing just that with the sun setting

    Web Original 
  • After Scott The Woz learns in Mario Kart 8 | Newton's Worst Nightmare that the final new racer addition to the game is Pink Gold Peach, the video cuts to a clip of Scott watching the sun setting over the sea, wondering what's the point of it all.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • A Cutaway Gag in Family Guy shows Peter and Lois watching a beautiful sunset with the setup line being, "When have we ever had problems communicating?"
    Lois: Oh Peter, I love you.
    Peter: (looks at watch) About a quarter past 5.
  • Final Space: In the season 2 episode "The Lost Spy", a flashback shows that John Goodspeed once took Sheryl on a date to a place where they could watch 3 different suns simultaneously rise and set.
  • Whenever anyone is expecting the Gargoyles.
  • In the Jelly Jamm episode "White Trainers", watching the sunset is one several romantic activities Goomo is seen doing with his new shoes.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: At the end of "Find Her, Keep Her", Pooh and Piglet watch he sunset together as they talk about Kessie, who had just left to fly south for the winter. The camera then pans over to show Rabbit watching the sky, already awaiting her return.
    Piglet: It's the most peculiar thing. For the longest time, I thought Rabbit didn't like her.
    Pooh: You know, Piglet, sometimes people care too much. I think it's called love.
    Piglet: Oh. Do you think we should tell Rabbit?
    Pooh: Don't worry. I believe he already knows.
  • Baljeet and his friend Mishti, at the end of the Phineas and Ferb episode "That Sinking Feeling."
    • Defied by Isabella in the "Summer Belongs to You" special: Phineas has wagered his entire worldview on getting the group around the world by the end of the day, but as the sun is almost set they've crashed on a deserted island with no apparent way off. Just as Isabella (who has a crush on him) is forlornly wishing that he would give up and just watch the sunset with her, Phineas loses all hope and falls to the ground next to her, weakly saying that they can "at least watch this beautiful sunset together." Hearing the despair in his voice makes Isabella jump up and give a rousing Do Not Go Gentle speech that winds up saving the whole enterprise.
  • At the start of the South Park episode "The Return of Chef", Stan and Kyle are seen sitting on a log at Stark's Pond, watching the sun set.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Dying For Pie", Squidward thought SpongeBob was going to explode at sunset, so he spent the day doing everything SpongeBob wanted to do and then watched the sunset while he waited for the explosion. The first explosion turned out to be just SpongeBob blowing bomb bubbles.
    • In "A Day Without Tears", Squidward uses a beautiful sunset to try and coax SpongeBob into shedding Tears of Joy, which will make him lose the bet he made to not cry until midnight. Naturally, the sunset ends before any tears get out, and he snaps right out.
  • The Crystal Gems from Steven Universe take a moment out of building the drill to sit down and admire the sunset, much to their ally's consternation, who thinks they should keep going, not take breaks.
  • The Thomas & Friends episode "All at Sea" ends on Percy, Duck, and Thomas watching the sunset.
  • Grimlock of Transformers: Robots in Disguise claims that the Acid Wastes on Cybertron have the best sunsets. This doesn't seem to be common knowledge and is later used to Bluff the Impostor when the Decepticon of the week disguises himself as Grimlock.

    Real Life 
  • In Key West, Florida, sunset-watching is a daily event for tourists and locals alike.
  • In his final journal entry, missionary John Allen Chau described the beautiful sunset he was watching and wondered if it would be the last he'd ever see. And indeed, it was—he was killed upon making his third visit to a remote island to bring Christianity to the hostile natives.


Video Example(s):


Super Mario RPG epilogue

With the Smithy gang gone, everyone can go back to their lives in peace, with some accomplishments.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue

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