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Instead of the usual Fade to Black, the screen fades to white.

Common usages include:

  • To signify death or ascension to higher planes of existence.
  • When a very powerful attack or explosion causes the whole screen to turn white. In a variant the camera focuses on a character's face, then the entire screen fades to white. Also occurs on a digital screen where another party is witnessing the attack or explosion.
  • A teleportation special effect.
  • The bookend of an Imagine Spot.
Examples of Fade to White include:

Anime and Manga

  • Occurs quite often in Mecha anime where a witnesses viewing a digital screen witness a mecha perform a powerful attack or explode. The digital screen becomes a blinding white.
  • Code Geass with Nunnally during the Freya explosion in Tokyo. Assumed dead for a couple of episodes, she returns when it is discovered that although she was close enough to ground zero for a Fade to White, she was well outside the actual blast radius by that time.
  • The end of Lucky Star.
  • Happened at the conclusion of a number of episodes of Digimon Adventure, though it was just to say "the episode's over, cue the credits."
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (and the manga to some extent, just not as well shown), it's used to show Maria Ross getting blown up by Roy Mustang's flames. Until you learn that it wasn't actually her...
  • The omake to Naruto episode 166 fades to red at the end Hinata is bleeding out after being stabbed by Pain. The omake is a flashback to her time at the Academy, showing how she developed admiration for and ultimately fell in love with Naruto, regretting her missed opportunities. This is a rare case where fading to red is used though the character survives.
  • Used in the finale of Gun X Sword. An injured Van sees his life flashing before his eyes. At the end of the flashback, as he remembers Wendy's offer to marry him, her face fades to white . . . and then he sees someone else.
  • In episode 25 of Brigadoon Marin and Melan, the episode ends with a fade to white as a result of a powerful attack. It also suggests that everyone may have just died. It makes a dramatic setup for the finale.

Comic Books

  • This happened to Cassandra Cain (Batgirl) when she fought with Shiva - she was clinically dead, I think, but Shiva brought her back to life.
  • Watchmen.
  • It happens when the nuclear bomb is dropped in When the Wind Blows.


  • Used at the end of Christopher Reeve's movie Somewhere in Time.
  • When George of the Jungle is shot in his movie, Ursula's scream of "George!" fades to white, which then pulls out past the airplane window to reveal them flying home.
  • Coraline.
  • The much-reviled Star Trek V the Final Frontier began with a fade from a white screen. At the end of that scene there was a fade to white, which cut to the credits.
  • Pretty sure the Resident Evil movies do this a couple of times with the scenes in the lab and hospital. Not 100% however.
  • Used in Lord of the Rings when Frodo first sees Arwen and later Elrond, when he's dying from the Morgul blade. One of the ending fake-outs in the Return of the King movie faded to white instead of black, just for variety's sake. As did the actual ending.
  • Used in the Hillary Duff movie Raise Your Voice when her brother dies.
  • Cube.
  • Used shortly after The Reveal in The Sixth Sense, most likely because of the nature of said reveal.
  • Used in the climax of Desperado after Mariachi kills Bucho and the final shootout begins.
  • The ending of The Ninth Gate.
  • A director trademark of Darren Aronofsky, who has made good use of it in Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and Black Swan.
  • At the end of Eraserhead, The Lady In The Radiator embraces Henry in a blinding white light.
  • The Chinese movie Temptation of a Monk ends this way, while the protagonist walks up a mountain, suggesting transcendence and detachment from the material world.
  • The film Total Recall, said by the director to signify the lights on Rekall's memory chair.
  • Used extensively in the daylight scene transitions of the Antarctica-set The Thing.
  • In the film Leon, when the titular character is shot in the back just as he was about to achieve the freedom he was seeking.
  • Let Me In's ending has a fade to white followed by the credits on a white screen.
  • The movie Blindness uses this, as people are going blind and only seeing white.
  • Beneath The Planet of the Apes ends with a slow fade to white because the producers apparently couldn't afford a cool visual effect for the Alpha-Omega Bomb.

Live Action TV

  • Six Feet Under was fond of this trope, usually indicating the death of a character in the teaser scene.
  • Arrested Development faded to white whereas regular shows faded to black.
  • The PBS TV show Paper Angels, based on the play, had white-outs between every scene, except one fade to red after a character's suicide.
  • Anything on Lost involving "flashes," such as Desmond turning the key in season 2, or the time skips in season 5.
    • Also the H-bomb explosion in the season 5 finale.
  • Used to disconcerting effect at the end of the West Wing episode "Commencement" -- every episode of the show had always ended with a Fade to Black with a "created by" credit in white text, and this episode simply inverted the colors, which somehow seemed like a message that the current cliffhanger (Zoey's kidnapping) was a bigger or at least very different crisis from anything the show had covered so far. The next episode, the season finale, also opened with the title in black-on-white instead of the usual white-on-black; by the end of that episode, the characters' situation had stabilized somewhat and it was back to fading to black at the end.
  • Supernatural ended season 4 this way, the white light from Lucifer rising from his prison growing more and more intense until it took over the whole screen.
  • Used in Torchwood to portray the the nuclear meltdown that killed Owen (again, for good - probably...)
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dawn finding Tara's body in "Villains".

Video Games

  • Call of Duty 4 does this when Sgt. Jackson dies, and again when Soap passes out.
    • Until the announcement of the characters in Modern Warfare 2, this ended up with some fan theories proposing that Soap died on the bridge.
  • In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, you white out as opposed to black out. They changed it back to "black out" in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl. Nobody seems to know why either change was made, and nobody really cares.
  • Used rather heavily in the Disgaea series due to the sheer number of gigantic, screen filling explosions present in attacks.
  • In Fallout 3, at the end of the game, if you choose the "good ending."
  • In Final Fantasy XII, this is the end of the teleportation animation.
  • The Darkness does this at the end, when Jenny tells Jackie to wake up after he's been completely taken over by the Darkness.
  • The Legend of Zelda Majoras Mask has a Fade To White at the end of the game, signifying the breaking of the three day time loop the game took place in.
  • Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil does this at the end.
  • Phantasy Star III and IV use this effect for a Fight Woosh.
  • Half-Life 2 Episode 1 ends this way when the citadel finally explodes just moments after you have boarded the train out of City 17.
  • Emulating Half-Life 2 Episode 1, Portal ends with a fade to white upon defeating G La DOS and accelerating up to the real world before credits roll.
  • Happens frequently in Eternal Darkness. After any "insanity effect Cutscene" where the character hallucinates something bizarre and twisted, the screen goes white and fades back to normal. Characters usually then state "this...can' happening!"
  • Occurs in "Trauma Center: Under the Knife" during the bomb level. Any mistakes cause a zoom-out followed by a fade to white and the usual Operation Failed message.
  • One of the endings in A Tale of Two Kingdoms has the screen slowly fade to white, and when it finishes you stay in the fairy realm forever.
  • At the end of Bit.Trip FLUX, in the epilogue level, the screen slowly fades to white.
  • After defeating Master Hand or Crazy Hand, the screen fades to white, and then it fades to black.
  • In Sim City 4, if you choose to completely delete a city, the screen fades to white, and red loading text comes up.
  • Not death, per se, nor the entire screen, but defeating any of the Star Wolf members in Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars shows their communications screen to be this, presumably from their fighters burning up after you shoot them down.

Web Original

Web Comics

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, when the Doctor opens the door of Dracula's castle, there's a blast of light and the panel goes completely white. The Doctor thinks he died, turns out it's just a teleporter.
  • This strip of Irregular Webcomic. IWC universe is more or less torn asunder.
  • Used in El Goonish Shive here (with a fade from white in the next strip), right after Raven shoots the giant boar to save Grace. Might indicate that Grace fainted, or just suffered an emotional overload.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - in the episode "Jet" when the tidal wave destroys the village the picture fades out to white. It then fades back in to a subverted Empathy Doll Shot. The episodes also ended with a fade out to white.
  • The last episode of Teen Titans fades to white with Beast Boy running out into what must have been a very bright day, then snaps to black.
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