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Ren: Hey, Jasper. Where's Phil?

Jasper: I told you, they put him to sleep.

Ren: So wake him up.

Jasper: You don't wake up from the *big* sleep.

Ren: The big sleep... THE BIG SLEEP? THE BIG SLEEP! THE BIG SLEEP! (series of Wild Takes, then curls up whimpering)

Stimpy: What's the big sleep, Ren?

The Ren and Stimpy Show, "Big House Blues"

The polar opposite of Dies Wide Open. A character gently closes their eyes as they die. They may also slump a little. May result in Peaceful in Death.

Named for the novel and movie, The Big Sleep.

Subtrope of He's Dead, Jim.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Big Sleep include:


  • Most important characters in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin and its sequel close their eyes before they die.
  • In the Death Note anime, this happens to both the Great Detective antagonist L, and the Anti-Hero Light in similar ways as they die from the Artifact of Doom, the titular Death Note. Light didn't go so peacefully in the manga.
  • Makoto in Kanon sleepily shuts her eyes just before she dies and disappears into air.
    • Nagisa's death in Clannad After Story qualifies, as well as her daughter Ushio's a few episodes after that. Tomoya, however, just drops dead in the snow.
    • Misuzu's death in the finale of AIR.
    • Key Visual Arts seems to love Tear Jerkers and this a lot, don't they?
  • In the end of Fate Stay Night adaptation, as Saber lies dying back in her own time, she tells her knight that she has been dreaming. The knight tells her that if she closes her eyes, she'll be able to see that dream again. Then, in a massive Tear Jerker scene, Saber slowly closes her eyes, uttering "This sleep is going to be a bit... longer..." Then, just to make sure the audience weeps like crazy, after she passes away, the knight gently asks: "Do you behold, King Arthur, the continuation of you dream?"
    • Nasu just likes this trope. Tsukihime's best example is Kohaku, after stabbing herself in the chest. Arcuied actually goes into perpetual sleep in her True ending.
  • Angelina of Gunslinger Girl. In the anime, she wakes up in season 2, making her dramatic death scene in season 1 a bit hollow. In the manga, she's not so lucky.
  • Saya in Blood+, although it's more like a big sleep than it is death.
  • Subverted in Outlaw Star. Did you really think Aisha was going to get killed?
  • Lelouch in the Code Geass R2 finale. While he's uttering his last words to Nunnally, a backwards Really Dead Montage plays in the background until it reaches their childhood at which point he finally expires with a slump. Cue Nunnally breaking down in tears as she just realized moments before that Lelouch was running a Thanatos Gambit for world peace, hence why everyone else is cheering at his killer.
  • Goku during his first death in Dragonball Z. After holding his brother Raditz in place so they can both take the hit of Piccolo's attack, he tells Krillin, Bulma, and Roshi to gather the Dragonballs to wish him back to life soon before slowly closing his eyes. The anime even gives the three a few minutes to mourn him before Kami-sama whisks his body and soul away to the after life.

Comic Books

  • In a way averted in Lenore when after experiencing an explosion the demon bountyhunter Pooty Applewater goes on to the "Long Sleep" only to return after an hour, since "that's a long time for a demon".


  • Subverted in the film Titan A.E.: Gune, who combines The Professor and Comic Relief in one character, apparently slept the Big Sleep after being wounded, even saying "Must have nap..." as he went. Much later, he returns during the final battle in a Big Damn Heroes moment, loudly proclaiming "I've finished my nap!" as he pilots the Cool Starship to the rescue.
  • Likewise for Yoda just before his death. He even extends the "big sleep" metaphor out further by actually settling down in his bed as if he's preparing for a long nap, calling it "forever sleep."
  • In The Princess and the Frog, after Louis finds Ray having been stepped on by Doctor Facilier, the alligator brings Ray to Tiana and Naveen, who tell Ray that they're going to remain frogs and get married. After Ray says that both he and Evangeline (The evening star that he's fallen in love with because he thinks it's a firefly) would like that a lot, he closes his eyes for the last time in the company of his new friends and the love of his life.
  • In Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, Spock closes his eyes before dying after bidding farewell to Kirk one last time.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1: Dobby's death.

  Luna: We should close his eyes, don't you think? *closes Dobby's eyes* There. Now he could be sleeping.

  • In the Animated Adaptation of Garfield His 9 Lives, at the end of one episode, "Diana's Piano", after hearing her last piano concerto from married mother Sara, Diana jumps down onto the piano keyboard, yawns, and drifts off into a deep sleep from which she never wakes up. So heartbreaking.


  • Oddly, the trope namers (Raymond Chandler's novel The Big Sleep and the movies based on it) don't include this trope. The character said to be "sleeping The Big Sleep" not only doesn't die on stage, but is dead before the story begins.

Live Action TV

  • The king of the Subverted Trope, Joss Whedon, does this in the pilot episode of Firefly. Kaylee, having been shot by a jumpy Alliance lawman who was after Simon, closes her eyes and goes limp; Mal goes to Simon and informs him she's dead. He rushes to the med-bay, where he finds out that not only is she alive, she's awake and talking. Turned out she was taking a nap and the rest of the crew decided to play a rather cruel joke on the man who was partially responsible for her injury.
    • Played straight in episode 2 of the 2nd season of Angel. He finds the woman who betrayed him long ago. After she is forgiven, she proclaims that she will go outside after she has her rest. She never wakes up.
      • Though the phrase she uses--"go out"--is ambiguous and could just as easily mean "die, cease to exist".
  • Jack Shephard in Lost goes out like this in the last scene, mirroring the opening scene of the series.

Video Games

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