Sans' in-game appearance
|Created by||Toby Fox|
Sans is a major fictional character in the role-playing video game Undertale by Toby Fox. Sans is initially introduced as a comic relief character but is eventually revealed to be one of the most knowledgeable characters in the game. He is depicted as a short, paunchy skeleton who wears a blue hoodie, black basketball shorts with a white lining, pink slippers and a white t-shirt. His name is based on the Comic Sans font, which is used for most of his in-game dialogue. The character was praised by critics for his dialogue and boss fight. His popularity with fans inspired several user-created mods and other types of projects. He likes to crack jokes and tell puns throughout Undertale, unless the player does the genocide route, where the player fights Sans in his boss fight.
A version of the character also appears as brief cameo in the related game Deltarune. Sans' likeness also appears as a customizable skin for the Mii Gunner character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Sans is listed in the credits as being created by Toby Fox with "special inspiration" from JN Wiedle, author of the web comic HELVETICA, a series about an eponymous skeleton named after the Helvetica typeface. His first concept drawing was made by Fox on a college notebook. The song that plays during his fight, Megalovania, was originally composed for an EarthBound ROM hack. Although it did exist beforehand, Megalovania became popular due to Undertale, spawning many internet remixes and memes. Megalovania has since appeared in games like Taiko no Tatsujin: Drum 'n' Fun! and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and was also used by a Spanish dating show, First Dates. He is one of the characters who does not use the default font in his dialogue, rather it is displayed in lowercase Comic Sans. He is often paired with his brother named Papyrus, also named after a font of the same name.
History and appearances
Prior to the events of Undertale, Sans had moved to the settlement in Snowdin from an unknown location with his brother Papyrus. The duo was soon hired as sentries for the Royal Guard.
Sans first appears in Snowdin, initially appearing as a silhouette approaching the player from behind before shaking the player's hand, setting off a whoopee cushion. He clarifies that he has no interest in capturing humans, unlike Papyrus, who he describes as a "human-hunting FANATIC." After helping the player hide from Papyrus, Sans follows his brother throughout most of the forest, commentating on his puzzles and even contributing a word search, much to Papyrus' dismay. As the story proceeds, Sans continues to be a regular source of comic relief, performing such antics as attempting to sell the player fried snow. Later in the game, Sans invites the player to go eat at a restaurant with him. As he talks, he explains how he befriended a woman (who is actually Toriel) behind the large door in Snowdin who shared an equal love for puns as he did. He explains how he made a promise not to kill any humans who come to the Underground and states if he didn't make that promise the player would have been dead where they stand. He also notes that a flower (evidently Flowey) had recently been speaking with Papyrus.
Sans makes one more appearance in the "Judgement Hall", where he reveals the true meaning of the "EXP" and "LOVE" values that the player has accumulated through the game: 'Execution Points' and 'Level of Violence', respectively. He judges the player for how high their EXP and LOVE values are before disappearing and letting the player proceed to fight the king, Asgore. After the player defeats Asgore (and Flowey, who attacks the player after Asgore's defeat) and leaves the Underground, Sans calls them to inform them of what occurred after their departure, having different dialogue depending on the player's actions in game.
If the player finishes the game without killing any monsters and befriending them, Sans appears after Asgore's defeat along with the other main characters, only to be captured by Flowey and have his soul absorbed along with most of the game's other monsters. However, he is restored after the reborn Asriel Dreemurr is defeated, being set free with everyone else and being able to leave the Underground.
However, Sans' behavior changes completely if the player opts to kill every monster they encounter. He threatens the player with a "bad time" if they proceed with their actions before the Papyrus boss fight. If the player ignores Sans' warning and continues slaughtering every monster they encounter, he eventually confronts the player in the Judgement Hall to prevent them from destroying the world, acting as the route's final boss. Sans puts up a fierce fight but is eventually slain by the player, allowing them to finish the route.
In chapter one of Deltarune, Sans is found standing outside his shop. He informs the player he has already met their mother, Toriel, and asks them if they would like to come over to his house and meet his brother.
In other media
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a Sans costume for the playable Mii Gunner character was released as downloadable content on September 4, 2019. Sans has also been the subject of many fan works and projects, being featured in numerous games, creations, and video game mods.
Sans' appearance in Undertale was well received by critics, with Dan Tack of Game Informer praising his boss fight. TheGamer ranked Sans as top 3 on the characters of Undertale stating that Sans' in-game dialogue was hilarious. Screen Rant ranked Sans one of the top 7 of the hardest boss fights in the video games. During the Undertale Q&A, Sans and Papyrus were the characters that received the most questions from fans. Sans was ranked as one of the best video game characters of the 2010s by Polygon staff and writer Colin Campbell, particularly his appearance and "When he makes a joke, the camera zooms in on him while he winks. It never gets old."
Sans has also been well received by fans of the game, being the subject of many fan works. Professional wrestler Kenny Omega has expressed his love of Undertale, dressing as Sans for the October 30, 2019 episode of All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite. His addition as a Mii fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate garnered positive feedback from fans, although The Commonwealth Times considered his addition to be a "potential problem" due to the decreasing nostalgia factor for each new character and ever-increasing size of the roster. 
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