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All morning, before the tornado, it had rained. The day was dark and gloomy. The air was heavy. There was no wind. Then the drizzle increased. The heavens seemed to open, pouring down a flood. The day grew black…
—Article of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describing the morning of March 20, 1925.
Significant character deaths tend to take place outdoors on a partly cloudy day. The dying character will look up at the sun just as it starts to be obscured by a cloud, optionally reaching out for it with one hand, and will die as the sun Anviliciously disappears into the clouds. Hell, it might even start raining at that very moment.
A related variant schedules the death at a conveniently timed sunrise or sunset. Death at sunrise stresses the benefits of a Heroic Sacrifice; death at sunset is generally Because Destiny Says So, and will be sad even if they deserve it.
Anime & Manga
- Angel Sanctuary
- Fushigi Yuugi
- Mai-Otome, when Erstin dies.
- Vision of Escaflowne
- Simoun, more than once.
- G Gundam uses the rising sun variant to great dramatic effect near the end of the series During Master Asia's death, more exactly. In fact, Master Asia's last words refer to how beautiful sunrise is to him. .
- Upon the appearance of dark stormclouds due to the appearance of Bakura's evil side, the Spanish Gag Dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! featured the line: "Poor weather conditions?!"
- An interesting use of the idea is in Fullmetal Alchemist. At Hughes's funeral, Roy says the line, "It's raining." We are then shown a clear blue sky (indicating that he is, of course, crying).
- It was my interpretation that he said it was raining because he felt useless (rain prevents his flame alchemy from working) because he was unable to do anything about Hughes's death.
- Variant in Detonator Orgun, as the titular Detonator dies in the first few minutes of the show, it reaches out towards the sun... while in space.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It's been sunny the whole series, then it rains the entire episode after Kamina dies.
- Similarly, the first rain seen in the whole of Wolf's Rain falls during the final episode, finally justifying the title, just after Cheza has died and her body has dissolved into seeds, and Kiba is dying. The rain causes the seeds to germinate into lunar flowers, which somehow regenerate the world's ecology. Or something.
- Cowboy Bebop both averts this. Of the three major character deaths in the series, Julia dies during a downpour, and Spike and Vicious die under a cloudless blue sky. The weather conditions of the latter death is even emphasized by the final ending theme, "Blue."
- A variation of this occurs in AIR. The beautifully rendered sky with its bright sun and fluffy clouds already plays a big part in the series as a whole, but it really reaches its prime during Misuzu's final moments.
- Trigun Legato is killed at sunset as part of his Xanatos Gambit: no matter what Vash did at that point, kill Legato or let his own friends die, he would suffer immense emotional anguish.
- In the Hellsing manga during his final moments, Alucard comments on the beautiful sunrise and how his defeats in the past were always marked by the rising sun. He then smiles at Integra and bids her farewell as he disappears forever
- Yeah try again, more like for 30 years.
- In the Chrono Crusade anime, Chrono and Rosette die as the sun sets. Just in case you don't get the symbolism, they show Rosette's watch ticking away her final moments as well.
- Happens all the time in Castlevania. As you strike down Dracula, either the sun rises, or a window conveniently breaks to let in a beam of sunlight, thus vaporizing his remains.
- In fact, the convenient dramatic timing of sunrise happens all the time in vampire media (primarily movies); it could be a trope all its own.
- The "death at sunset" variant was the entire modus operandum of the assassin "Twilight" Suzuka--to the point that Gene merely had to delay her from killing Fred until the sun had already set for her to declare her attempt "a failure" and force her to wait another 24 hours.
- In Yoku Wakaru Gendai Mahou, Misa gets stabbed with three swords. Cue rain.
- The two siblings in the final parts of the third Bleach movie, Fade to Black.
- Variation in Planetes - when Gungulgash tells Tanabe he has cancer, the last shot of the episode is Earth passing in front of the sun.
- More than symbolic in Pluto: the robot Epsilon is solar powered, so the disappearance of the sun in the middle of a fight signals a shift in his opponent's favour.
- Gesicht himself is murdered in the rain.
- As Gohan faces down the Androids in the Alternate Future, it begins to storm.
Android 18: "This...thunderstorm will be the perfect backdrop for your demise."
- Spider-Man 3: Harry Osbourne dies during a sunrise at the end. Appropriate, as he had just made a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Kadaj's death in Advent Children.
- Deliberately inverted in Gosford Park. The weather is rainy and miserable up until the murder, and then brilliantly sunny afterwards.
- In Blade Runner, Roy's sunrise death breaks through the rain clouds and the Always Night of the rest of the film.
- One of the classic examples of the dying while looking at the sunset subtrope can be found in Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid. Sheriff Baker somewhat reluctantly accompanies Pat Garrett to raid a bandit's safehouse in an attempt to learn where Billy is holed up, and gets wounded multiple times in the ensuing gunfight. He walks away from the fight to sit beside a small stream and wordlessly look out at the sunset while Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door (which was written specifically for that scene) plays in the background. The entire scene has been called an elegy for the Western.
- Dracula the Undead lampshades this, where The clouds part and the sun comes out when Dracula is killed. Dracula can control weather, so of course his power over it would stop when he died.
- A rather large subversion: In the first novel of the Forgotten Realms novel trilogy The Last Mythal, Forsaken House, the prologue begins with an elf hero, acting commander only by rank succession, walking out to challenge the fiend commanding the opposing forces, a fight that leads to his death. The book points out that unlike the ballads told of this story, the fight was not at sunset, and rains did not follow the hero's death: instead, it was a miserable, hot, muggy cloudless day in late summer, at two in the afternoon.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Voldemort dies as the sun rises.
- Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn The Final Empire The Lord Ruler is defeated and killed as the sun rises.
- Shows up in The Areas of My Expertise. In the Common Long and Short Cons section, Hodgman assumes a lot of things that are quite beyond the con artist's control, like the sun going behind a cloud at a dramatic moment.
Live Action TV
- The end of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Averted when Buffy's mother died. Not only was the weather sunny and clear, but one scene featured sounds of children playing outside just to drive home the fact that the death of a loved one does not result in a sudden warping and darkening of nearby reality.
- Darla's death in Angel.
- Babylon 5, "Into the Fire": Londo is outside on Centauri Prime celebrating ridding the world of the Shadows' influence - and thereby saving it from the Vorlons' world-destroying rampage - when the obligatory giant shadow comes out of nowhere. Granted, it's a Vorlon planet-killer, not a cloud, but the effect is similar.
- The Psych episode "Cloudy... With a Chance of Murder". The cloud in question becomes a plot point - "Clouds don't kill people; people kill people!"
- Macbeth - "It will be rain tonight". Banquo's last words before he is set upon by his murderers. Whether it then actually rains varies from production to production.
- "Then let it come down!"
- Parodied in Peasant's Quest. When the player kills the Kerrek, the sun is obscured by clouds and it begins to rain, and the narrator comments "You're feeling pretty good, though, so the artless symbolism doesn't bug you."
- In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Farah dies in a level called "The Setting Sun."
- In the unlikely shot that Japan is beaten back to their island by China in Hearts of Iron the event signifying the peace-treaty and subsequent communist revolt in Japan is called "The Setting Sun". This is partly this trope, but also partly to pun on Japans native name "the Land of the Rising Sun". There are several events dealing with sunrise too.
- Zack's death in Final Fantasy VII fits this perfectly.
- The sun shines through clouds throughout the entire "The Sacrifice" campaign. (Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2) You walk towards the sun at several points in the campaign (obscuring your view) and even the poster has the sun shining directly behind Bill.
- In Okami, a looming solar eclipse (it happens at the speed of plot, but still) leads up to your confrontation with Yami. When you finally meet him, the sun goes completely dark and things get worse. By the way, you are playing as the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu.
- A variation happens in The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker; it's mostly sunny when the battle starts, but it soon darkens and starts raining heavily (literally as heavy as the entire ocean, to be precise). The battle ends with the death of Ganondorf (who doesn't get better this time around), the King of Hyrule, and Hyrule itself.
- Similar to the title quote, on December 7, 1941, most of the men that died that day were just getting up, looking forward to a relaxing Sunday in paradise.
- Of course, all those people WERE serving in the military at a time when most of the world was already at war, so...
- On October 2, 1968, a massacre happened in Mexico. In the middle of the shooting, it started to rain.