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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.

Whenever you have people in anime Sitting on the Roof, this is bound to turn up from time to time. 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 
  • The anime version of Chrono Crusade has Chrono and Rosette watching the sunset as both are dying.
  • 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.
  • 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 Detective Conan. Once with young Shinichi and Ran as a reward for solving a code, with Shinichi accepting Rans 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 Shinichis 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 Kurobas death, the other meaning also kind of fits.
  • Ouran High School Host Club's Tamaki has an Imagine Spot of him and Haruhi walking along the beach together and watching the sunset.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Pokémon Sun and 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.
  • 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.

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

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Films — Animated 
  • The final scene of Arlo the Alligator Boy is 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 
  • Luke Skywalker watches the twin setting suns of Tatooine in A New Hope while the Force Leitmotif plays in the score, establishing Luke's longing to leave and do great things but being tied down by a sense of duty to his uncle.
    • And deliberately mirrored as the very last scene of Revenge of the Sith with the younger version of said uncle and his wife holding baby Luke and staring at those same setting suns as Darkness falls over the whole galaxy...
    • At the end of The Last Jedi, Luke spends his final moments watching the twin suns of Ahch-To setting before he becomes one with the Force. To top it up, the Force theme is played, symbolizing the end of Luke's journey just like how it began 40 years ago.
    • Also appears in Attack of the Clones, as Yoda, Palpatine and the rest watch the Clone Army's ships lift off against an ominous sunset — basically a visual shorthand for "It's all downhill from here".
    • Invoked in Rogue One. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor sit down at the shore of Scarif after transmitting the Death Star plan to the Rebel fleet, watching the setting sun as the glow on the horizon covers everything in front of them. It's actually the explosion caused by the Death Star Superlaser, and they know their deaths are unavoidable.
    • The Empire Strikes Back presents us another variation: 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 the way to rescue Han Solo, again with the Force Theme (this time in an arrangement called "The Rebel Fleet") swelling.
    • One final time in The Rise of Skywalker as Rey watches the setting suns of Tatooine just like her master before her did decades ago, the Skywalker saga ending how it once began.
  • Kind of the entire point of Rohmer's Le rayon vert (the "green flash", which is semi-seriously considered to confer a heightened spiritual state to the one who manages to spot it in the sunset).
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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 climax of Black Panther (2018) sees Killmonger regarding the sunset over Wakanda as he breathes his last with T'Challa at his side.
  • The last scene in Avengers: Infinity War is Thanos sitting at a farm, watching the sun, after he successfully killed half the universe.

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy spoofed this (big surprise).
    Arthur Dent: Night's falling. Look robot, the stars are coming out.
    Marvin: I know. Wretched isn't it?
    Arthur Dent: But that sunset, I've never seen anything like it in my wildest dreams! The two suns... It was like mountains of fire boiling into space..!
    Marvin: I've seen it, it's rubbish.
  • In The Outsiders, Cherry comes to believe Ponyboy is more than just a greaser because he enjoys watching sunsets.
  • 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 cover for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (American version) 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 Year of the Jackpot by Robert Heinlein, the two protagonists start watching the sunset just before the sun goes nova.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Angel, the eponymous hero had a ring that made the wearer invincible. He destroyed it, but not before wearing it for a full day, finally crushing it after the sun set.
  • In Babylon 5, the 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.
  • On 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...
    Stephen: "The sun has already set."
  • Baywatch. Mitch takes the dying Tracy to the beach so that she can do this one last time.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Subverted at the end of one episode. 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.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes were watching a beautiful sunset, but only because the dad took them camping, and Calvin complained about the shows he was missing.
  • Happens in a few Garfield 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.

    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.


    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whenever anyone is expecting the Gargoyles.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the Tank Engine episode "All at Sea" ends on Percy, Duck, and Thomas watching the sunset.
  • In the Jelly Jamm episode "White Trainers", watching the sunset is one several romantic activities Goomo is seen doing with his new shoes.

    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):


SpongeBob SquarePants

Squidward uses a beautiful sunset to entice SpongeBob into crying and losing the bet; however, he snaps right out once the sunset ends.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / WatchingTheSunset

Media sources:

Main / WatchingTheSunset