The Everlasting Love of Undertale's Sans the Skeleton
Tumbler's Sexyman - is he just skin and bones?
Tumblr has deemed it official: Sans the Skeleton is their sexyman, winning out over Reigen from Mob Psycho 100, whatever that is. He also may have killed Queen Elizabeth II according to Tumblr, but that is doubtful even with his teleportation powers. What isn't doubtful is that he has joined the cast of Smash Bros.
The poll brought back memories of Florida Supercon in 2015 and 2016. Many kids dressed up as Sans that year from Undertale, while I went as Toriel in 2016. They latched onto this tiny skeleton with wisecracking puns and wisdom from multiple timelines in his eyes.
I don't get why the sexyness, in all honesty; Sans always seemed all bones and a bit of skin. In terms of personality, I've always felt like he needs a hug. But whatever floats people's boats, I guess?
Of course, who is Sans? And why did he grow in popularity?
Before we answer these questions, we have to say one thing.
Sans The Skeleton
For new Undertale players, Sans is a mysterious figure that stalks you after you help the human leave the Ruins. He's strong enough to break a thick branch on the ground and quiet enough to follow you without making a sound. We also find out later that he can teleport; it's never said, but he appears in random places and you can't find hidden paths or secrets.
I was legitimately scared of him the first time I saw him on Markiplier's original Let's Play. You see this mysterious shadow following you, and then he tricks you into shaking his hand, which has a whoopie cushion. It also reveals that Sans is a short, squat skeleton with a big grin and a blue spark in each eye. Turns out he's not as scary when you see the blue sweatshirt and bedroom slippers. Or is he?
Sans is a pungeon troll. He makes bad puns purely to mess with his little brother Papyrus. And it's implied he can see the audience, as he looks at us with an "eyy" expression and a drumroll. Sans can also play trombone if the occasion calls for it, like a dog stealing all of Papyrus's extra bones, and make a buck off you selling snow, hot cats or dogs as a healing item, or free views of a telescope.
Should you fear Sans, though? Only if you are doing the No Mercy/Genocide Route. He reveals himself as the last boss, and will make it hard for you after you murder his brother and all of his friends and acquaintances in the Underground. On the rest of them, he will judge your soul but do nothing.
Those playing the game on repeated loops or studying the lore notice some things about Sans: while he isn't aware of your resets, he does suspect that the human is not in control of their actions, even though you are. Thus, he talks to you when questioning your morality in the judgment hall, or when delivering exposition.
If you save and reload a certain save point in New Home, Sans will laugh after giving you a password and a key to his room. While his room is a setup for another prank, it does have a key for the skeleton brothers' garage. There you can find a broken time machine, a photo with Sans and people you don't know, and a note: "Don't forget."
Have we gotten answers about what this means? No, not in all the seven years since the game has been released. Some theories have gone viral, the most meme-able one being that he is secretly Ness from Earthbound. But all in all, where Sans is trying to go and what his nihilism means can be an exercise in thought for even the deepest theorist.
Deltarune features a cameo of Sans running a grocery in the town of monsters, and he'll remark if you say it's good to see him. He hasn't met Kris, the new player character, so he knows something is up. This Sans may not be the same Sans, but the mystery remains.
What Makes Sans Sexy?
This question did baffle me. For me, I don't see the appeal. Sans is someone I want to hug because he looks so tired. Not tired in that he likes napping, but that he sees too much.
It is possible, mind, that Tumblr voted Sans as their 2022 Sexyman as a joke. Tumblr's sense of humor can be reaching. We had a guy dressed in a Pikachu suit go viral for a few months.
I asked friends, though, and there were some interesting answers. Some do or did find Sans sexy. They had some pretty convincing reasons why.
Sans Looks Cool
It's hard to deny that Sans has a great character design. He's instantly recognizable in silhouette, black and white, and full color. The guy knows how to rock comfort wear in his sweatshirt while in the show, so huge respect for that.
What's more, when he decides to fight, Sans's motion and attacks are pretty beautiful to watch. I can't do No Mercy because the thought of killing video game characters knowing you could save them is a bit much. With that said, I have seen GIFs and videos of the fight.
The single glowing eye draws attention. Normally, Sans has black pupils. You mainly see that blue or yellow eye when Sans wants to get your attention. He drops his joking manner, and you have to listen. Some fairly important exposition comes from him, like a flower talking to Papyrus and planting ideas in his head.
Sans Has a Bad Boy Vibe
Sans is a good guy, but he is definitely mysterious and brooding. He doesn't want to fight or kill, but shows that he could with minimal effort. His boss battle is certainly unforgettable, and people that can complete it with no damage are quite legendary.
We also see that Sans has no respect for authority figures. While "helping" Papyrus with guard duties, his brother will berate him for shoddy craftsmanship and little effort in using puzzles to block the human. Undyne will stop to wake him up if he dozes while watching from a sentry station.
What's more, Sans says that he would have killed you, on the Pacifist Route or a Neutral Route where you spare Papyrus, if not for a promise he made to Toriel. Every time he seems lazy? It's honor. Yet when he finally takes off his metaphorical gloves, he gives a quiet apology to Toriel for breaking a promise, not knowing that you killed her a long time ago.
Sans Is Hiding a Lot of Pain
With the implication that Sans remembers resets, as this video details, he has seen the many times that you have either killed his friends or spared them. You can undo their happy ending in the blink of an eye, or corrupt it. He knows it.
Sans is powerful. Ultimately, however, his powers mean nothing compared to your choices. If you decide to go on a neutral or Genocide route, he has to watch and see if you spare his brother, or any random character. Neutral route means he waits for the reset.
The Genocide Route has Flowey reveal that he had done multiple resets to try and find his perfect ending, either saving or killing everyone. Sans stopped him from corrupting the world and ushering in the apocalypse. He does the same if you follow in Flowey's footsteps by trying to kill the monsters.
Sans Is a Walking Meme
Owing to his meta nature and sense of humor, Sans's meme potential exploded after Undertale came out in 2015. Many infamous lines entered the lexicon, like, "Kids like you should be rotting in hell," "You're gonna have a bad time" or "Get dunked on", as did his battle music being the super-catchy "Megalovania".
Even looking at Sans in his first few minutes, you know that he is going to be meta. The whoopie cushion shows us how seriously he takes his pranks, as noted in this video. Sans tells the human to hide behind a lamp exactly their shape from the side. He looks directly at the audience when making some puns, and when delivering some important exposition.
Megalovania as a theme is also a meta one. It comes from the Earthbound Halloween Hack, which Toby also worked on as creator and soundtrack artist. While a bonus track is labeled "Song That Might Play When You Fight Sans," and is pretty cool, Sans is not the villain here. You the player are because to fight him, you have killed everyone he knows.
Sans Needs a Hug
Personally, I don't see Sans as a Sexyman. I feel his pain, what he must be suffering behind his sad exterior. When I saw Sans in Deltarune, it thrilled me to see that he was in town and owning a store, on the surface. He didn't have to wait for millennia to show his little brother the sun. What's more, he's much cheerier in the later chapters, as shown by him and Toriel bantering.
Sans doesn't feel safe expressing his sadness. He only does in the Genocide Route, when he is begging you to give up and reset to save everyone, or in the Pacifist final battle, when Asriel has turned him into a Lost Soul. Seeing Papyrus die multiple times by Flowey's hand and then yours has broken him. The time machine implies that he and Papyrus are not from the Underground, but from another timeline.
With that said, congrats to him for beating Reigen. May Sans continue to be a skeleton that receives adoration.
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