Absurd Altitude

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A character, rising to some challenge, ascends to such incredible heights that the sky goes black, stars shine brightly, satellites in orbit hover just overhead, and the planet itself can now be seen floating in space below him.

Countries may even be labeled on the planet surface, as on a globe.

Despite the fact they've clearly left the atmosphere, Explosive Decompression is rarely invoked on a character in this situation.

Examples of Absurd Altitude include:


Anime and Manga

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami after merging wih the angel Lilith in End of Evangelion.
  • In Akira, Tetsuo visits space for a couple of seconds to punch out a satellie laser weapon.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has Simon, Yoko and Kamina do this as they break through to the surface in the first episode. They may not leave the atmosphere but the curvature of the world is quite clearly visible.
    • However, since the curvature of the planet is also clearly visible from the top of a tree in a later episode, it could just be that the world is smaller than Earth.
  • In Pokémon, whenever Ash's Charizard uses Seismic Toss on his enemies, a globe will inexplicably appear as soon as Charizard starts to gain momentum so he can throw said enemy onto the ground.

Fan Works

  • Using a song which (temporarily) gives him the power of flight (and life support), metahuman Douglas Sangnoir does this in chapter four of Drunkard's Walk V.


  • From the second film onward, this was the standard ending shot for Superman movies.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Eddie Valiant falls off an incredibly high building in Toontown, so high only clouds are visible below and even an airplane flies underneath him.
    • And in one of the Roger Rabbit shorts that were released with the movies as promos, Roger and Baby Herman go on a rollercoaster that goes this high.
  • The Delivery Stork in Dumbo looks down from the clouds and sees the southern United States, with all the states clearly labeled and colored.
  • The Blues Brothers contains a "live-action" example, where a car, full of pursuers of the main characters, run off the end of a bridge and suddenly find themselves plummeting onto downtown Chicago from a height of thousands of feet.
  • In Over the Hedge, a propulsive propane tank sends Verne and R.J. over an airplane in flight.
    • And it's one of the funniest scenes in the movie, because it's a perfect parody of the most famous scene of Die Hard 2 and R.J. the raccoon is voiced by Bruce Willis. Second-best Parental Bonus in the movie.
  • Happens to Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy when Slartibartfast takes him on a tour of Earth Two in a sort of hyperspeed elevator.


Myth and Religion

  • The story of Daedaleus and Icarus from Classical Mythology. While attempting to escape King Minos' guards, Daedaleus and his son Icarus build fake wings as an attempt to fly off the island of Crete, but Icarus flies too high and as a result the sun (which is unusually very low in the sky) burns off his wings causing him to fall into the ocean and drown.

Newspaper Comics

  • One Sunday strip of Calvin and Hobbes shows views of Calvin ascending the ladder for the 'big' slide in the playground, climbing higher and higher and finally reaching orbit from Calvin's POV.
    • There was also the time they went to Mars. When they returned Calvin said he was pretty sure they lived in "a big purple country" and their house was "by the E in the word 'States' ".

Tabletop Games

  • The Worlds of Synnibarr roleplaying game features an engineered mountain range that is impossible to climb for the simple reason that it extends beyond the planet's atmosphere.

Video Games

  • Avalon Code allows you to use a technique that literally comboes an enemy into the sky, as the background shifts from the map you're on to the world map... then to the planet... then to the galaxy... and if you're really, really good (it's quite a feat even to get to this level, since the window gets smaller with each hit), you can make even the galaxy a small blue dot.
  • Ar tonelico 2: When your party is going up the space elevator to the satellite. The floors are made of glass!
  • Katamari Damacy games tend to do this towards the end, when the size of your katamari becomes comparable to the size of the Earth.
  • The Unreal Tournament map "Morpheus" is based on an absurdly tall triplet of skyscrapers, said to be 12 miles high. The version in the sequels takes this to even more ridiculous proportions.
  • In the Flash Game Dolphin Olympics you can jump over the moon or reach the Restaurant at the End of the Universe".
  • Whenever the Mushroom Planet is seen from outer space, there's always clouds above it, and clouds underneath.
  • Parodied in Stinkoman 20 X 6, where Stinkoman jumps this high to get over a wall that is only just out of his normal jumping reach, spending the rest of the stage first flying upwards, then falling down.

Web Comics

It is RIDICULOUS what kind of air this thing is getting.

Western Animation

  • Happened on a Roller Coaster in Rocko's Modern Life.
    • Also a parking garage in the Credit Card Plot episode and an office building in another.
  • And on a diving board in The Fairly OddParents.
    • Then there was the time Francis got shot into space by going off a skateboard ramp.
  • Shows up a few times in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy. In "A Pinch to Grow an Ed", the adjustable shoes Edd makes for Eddy extend into Earth orbit when they malfunction. In "They Call Him Mr. Ed", Ed manages to build a space elevator from random junk.
  • There is a bit of Lampshade Hanging in one episode of Family Guy when Brian and Stewie are flying over Europe in a balloon. Brian notes that he didn't know that borders and labels were actually visible from far up.
  • This happens once in Johnny Test, when Johnny's sisters made an amusement park ride that literally went all the way into space just to scare him out of having an amusement park all around the house.
  • Looney Tunes anyone? Especially in the early episodes where the sky was still blue and cloudy even though earth was getting smaller and smaller....
  • The first Droopy cartoon "Dumb Hounded" has the Wolf jumping off a skyscraper that's so tall the view down shows all of the northeastern U.S., with state lines delineated!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants uses the surface of the ocean for this, often times cutting to that little live-action island from the opening. When Patrick believes he won an award in "Big Pink Loser", he shows it off to the island. At the end of "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Spongebob blows a bubble that carries Squidward out of the water, and the island is seen when his bubble reaches the surface. In "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired", Spongebob goes flying straight up from a ramp on a driving course (while crawling, no less) and pops up out of the water briefly. Depending on whether basic physics feel like applying to the situation, a character going this high might fall back down as if through air, or float down gently.
  • In "Rollercoaster", first episode of Phineas and Ferb
  • Used seriously in Avatar: The Last Airbender in the episode "The Guru", when Aang is trying to induce the Avatar State. He is standing on a pathway in space, and looks down on his world before he comes crashing down when he realizes Katara's in danger.
  • Occurs in the House of Mouse animated shorts "Donald's Pool" and "Mickey's Rival Returns."
  • The ending of King Size Canary, which shows the Earth floating in the middle of an endless sky.