- For the song named after this character, see sans..
Sans (/ˈsænz/ SANZ) is the brother of Papyrus and a major character in Undertale. He first appears in the forest after the protagonist exits the Ruins. He serves as a supporting character in a Neutral and True Pacifist Route and as the final boss and heroic antagonist in a Genocide Route.
Sans is a short skeleton with a dimpled smile and large orbits. He wears an unzipped blue hoodie, a white t-shirt/sweater, black shorts with white stripes, and a pair of sneakers/slippers. He has white pupils that disappear when he is serious or angry. When Sans uses magical psychokinesis, his left eye flashes light blue and yellow, the colors for patience and justice, and his right pupil disappears.
Sans is laid back, often sleeping on the job and taking breaks. His laziness is a combination of fatalism and apathy. He wonders if his indolence stems from his knowledge that any progress he makes will be erased when the timeline resets. Conversely, he suggests that this knowledge could be "a poor excuse for being lazy."
Though Sans is usually agreeable, he becomes eerily serious at particular moments. He is also observant; Sans reads the protagonist's expressions and can often tell when they have already done certain tasks. He enjoys making bad, skeleton-related puns, although the fact that he performs at MTT Resort hints that he may be a talented comedian. He enjoys science fiction and loves to drink ketchup. He also hates making promises.
Sans can quickly travel or teleport using what he calls "shortcuts."
In combat, he uses "Gaster Blasters," devices that resemble a skull, to shoot a kind of laser beam. Sans excels in combat and fights with unique abilities that include: Karmic Retribution, changing the effect of gravity on the SOUL, and attacking the protagonist in the selection menus. His magic reacts to EXP; Karmic Retribution would presumably be weaker if the protagonist had little EXP.
Because of his "research," he has knowledge of timelines and the SAVE function. However, he does not retain his memories when the protagonist loads a SAVE, and he cannot use the SAVE function. His awareness of time travel makes him scrupulous, and he recognizes when the protagonist is behaving unusually. Sans reads the protagonist's expression and determines if they have experienced events before and are repeating them. He also knows how much EXP the protagonist has and comments on it when judging them.
Sans also plays the trombone, though he is only seen playing it once. Papyrus finds his "incidental music" annoying, implying that he has played many times before.
Like other characters, Sans is aware of when the game's code suffers bugs and calls the protagonist a "dirty hacker" if they achieve an impossible ending of a Neutral Route.
Sans introduces himself to the protagonist in Snowdin Forest after he initially appears as a silhouette. He explains that he has no interest in capturing humans, but that his brother, Papyrus, does. Then, Sans hides the protagonist behind a lamp whose shape is identical to the protagonist's. Papyrus rushes onscreen, and the brothers discuss Sans's laziness and the importance of puzzle upkeep. Sans appears multiple times throughout Snowdin Forest, observing and commentating on the puzzles but not engaging in any japery, except for the word search.
Before Papyrus's battle, Sans is absent in Snowdin Town. He appears briefly to play trombone during the date/hangout with Papyrus but does not appear again until the Last Corridor if the protagonist kills Papyrus.
After entering Waterfall, Sans is found manning a sentry station and asks the protagonist if they want to take a break with him. If the protagonist agrees, he takes them to Grillby's via "shortcut." The patrons warmly greet Sans, and he proceeds to treat the protagonist to a burger or fries. After some dialogue, a spotlight falls on him and the protagonist; time appears to stop as Sans tells the protagonist that a flower has been talking to Papyrus. Sans believes that someone is tricking Papyrus with an Echo Flower when the flower in question is Flowey. Sans can be seen again in Waterfall and pranks the protagonist with a red-eye telescope.
Later, Sans sells Hot Dogs in Hotland for 30G. If the protagonist attempts to buy a hot dog when their inventory is full, he stacks a maximum of 30 hot dogs on their head for free. These "head dogs" vanish when the protagonist enters the next room.
Further on, Sans waits outside of MTT Resort and asks the protagonist if they want to grab a bite to eat. He escorts the protagonist inside via "shortcut" and talks about a woman he has befriended that shares his affinity for puns. He tells the protagonist that this woman made him promise to protect any human that left the Ruins and that, if she had not said anything, the protagonist would be "dead where [they] stand." He dismisses this as a joke immediately and says that he has done a great job protecting the protagonist. If the protagonist has not died before, Sans takes credit for their success. If the protagonist has died, Sans questions the validity of his statement. Before leaving, he tells the protagonist to take care of themself because someone really cares about them.
The protagonist encounters Sans for the last time in the Last Corridor. He explains that EXP and LOVE are acronyms - "EXecution Points" and "Level Of ViolencE" and judges the protagonist for their current EXP.
If the protagonist gained no EXP, Sans skips his judgment, instead praising the protagonist for embracing compassion and actively choosing to be merciful to the monsters throughout their journey. He reinforces the idea that the protagonist's actions shall decide the fate of the world in one of two ways: the protagonist lets Asgore take their SOUL and allow the monsters to break the Barrier or they take Asgore's SOUL to escape the Barrier themselves. Sans concludes that the protagonist now has enough determination and believes that they can do the right thing before leaving.
- If the protagonist has heard his speech before, Sans notices their bored expression and offers a secret codeword that he uses to prove that they are a time traveler. After the protagonist loads their SAVE a few times, Sans's suspicions are affirmed and he gives them a key to his room. Inside Sans's room is a key to his workshop.
If the protagonist gained EXP, Sans allows them a moment to think about their actions. He then emphasizes the importance of integrity and, if Papyrus is alive, concludes that whatever happens next is up to the protagonist. If the protagonist killed Papyrus, Sans expresses his suspicion that they have some special power. He then asks if the protagonist thinks it is their responsibility to do the right thing. Regardless of their answer, Sans reminds the protagonist of his late brother and leaves.
If the protagonist returns to the Last Corridor after loading a SAVE, Sans judges the protagonist on their earned LV. Subsequent attempts to talk to Sans after judgment prompts him to tell the protagonist to "consider our session over."
|Sans's LV Judgments|
After the protagonist defeats Photoshop Flowey, Sans calls and informs them of the events that transpired after their departure. The content of this phone call varies depending on the protagonist's actions; a list of the endings that Sans describes is on the Neutral Route page.
True Pacifist Route
Sans is absent from the Last Corridor in a True Pacifist Route. There is also no SAVE point upon entering the corridor. He appears during the pre-Asriel cutscene and meets Toriel face-to-face for the first time. Flowey binds Sans and the protagonist's other friends. However, the protagonist's friends protect them from Flowey's attacks before Flowey absorbs their SOULs.
During the battle against Asriel, Sans appears as one of the Lost Souls.
After defeating Asriel, Sans stands alongside the other main characters. If the protagonist talks to him, he says a certain remark depending on what, if anything, the protagonist said to Toriel in calls at the beginning of the game. Sans also uses Toriel's phone to text for her a few times because Toriel's thumbs are too big for the phone buttons. When the protagonist is ready to leave, Sans exits the Underground and heads to the Surface along with the other monsters.
Papyrus runs off to introduce himself to the humans and Sans says someone has got to keep him away from trouble and runs off in the opposite direction, presumably to use a "shortcut."
In the credits, Sans rides a tricycle on a highway, while his brother races alongside him in a car. Papyrus seems irritated when his brother overtakes him.
Sans stalks and introduces himself to the protagonist as usual but requests that they continue pretending to be a human. He does not comment on the protagonist turning around before he asks them to. Sans goes along with Papyrus's japery and does not appear as an NPC as he does on other routes. After the protagonist crosses the bridge before Snowdin Town, Sans warns them not to fight his brother or else they will "have a bad time." He then disappears and is absent until the Last Corridor.
If the protagonist aborts a Genocide Route by sparing Papyrus, Sans reappears at the Waterfall sentry station and tells the protagonist he respects them for doing that. He continues to appear as if on a Neutral Route but does not take the protagonist to Grillby's since there is no one left in Snowdin. Alternatively, Sans follows the protagonist if they kill Papyrus.
The protagonist encounters Sans in the Last Corridor for his battle.
- For further information, see Sans/In Battle.
After defeating Sans, the protagonist's EXP is set to 99999, granting them LV 20. Sans notices if the protagonist has killed him before and is re-fighting him.
Sans does not count as a kill in the Stats menu, and the game does not record whether or not he is killed.
- For an in-battle description, see Sans/In Battle.
Sans's attitude towards the protagonist depends on their actions, though he usually enjoys pranking them and occasionally hanging out with them unless they kill Papyrus. Near the end of a Neutral Route, he judges them on their EXP. At the end of the True Pacifist Route, Sans considers them a good friend.
Sans initially considers the protagonist to be an "anomaly"; his intentions of befriending them were in hopes that they would stop resetting the timeline. However, he also says that the protagonist did not die after their initial encounter because of his promise to Toriel. This may imply he would have killed the protagonist or that he protected them from life-threatening harm after their first encounter.
Sans cares for and admires his brother. He reads him bedtime stories and gives him presents under the identity of Santa. Nonetheless, Sans likes to mess with Papyrus, sending him bad puns on the UnderNet. He also leaves a dirty sock in their living room for Papyrus to fuss over.
Sans worries about others hurting Papyrus or taking advantage of him. In some Neutral Endings, Sans is afraid to tell Papyrus about other characters' deaths, so he lies about them going on a vacation.
Toriel and Sans share a love of bad jokes and are friends even though they never see each other face-to-face until the epilogue, the Family Ending, or the Exiled Queen Ending. Before the protagonist's arrival, Sans and Toriel shared jokes through the door to the Ruins.
In the Exiled Queen Ending, Sans becomes Toriel's roommate if Papyrus has been killed. In this route, Sans also states that he "can't bear to tell her what [the protagonist] did." If Papyrus is alive, the brothers visit Toriel often, play board games together, and sometimes convince Toriel to leave the Ruins.
While not being one to make promises, Sans complies with Toriel's request to watch over and protect any human that exits the Ruins. At the end of a Genocide Route, he indirectly apologizes to her, as he is forced to break his promise to stop the protagonist.
It is also noteworthy that if Papyrus and Undyne are called just before entering the Laboratory, Sans appears in the call and state that there may be dogs inside the lab. This hints that he knows about the true lab since Endogeny, an amalgamate containing several dogs can be found there.
W. D. Gaster
A few things hint at a connection between Sans and W. D. Gaster. Evidence includes the blueprints and veiled machine found in his workshop, the sprites used for his skull-like laser guns (labeled gasterblaster in the game files), and his unexplained scientific research on the "anomaly" and timelines. Sans and Papyrus are named after a font, as well as W.D Gaster, so it is believed they are related.
- Sans's name alludes to the typefaces in which he speaks in: Comic Sans and Sans Serif. This is a reference to Helvetica, a webcomic about a skeleton named after a font.
- In Japanese phonetics, Sans's name is homophonous with the name of the Sanzu River, a boundary between death and the afterlife in Buddhist lore which, like Sans, judges all who cross it for their deeds. The Sanzu River is also a recurring locale in the Touhou series, from which Toby drew inspiration for Undertale's bullet hell battles.
- His name is also a pun because he enjoys many types of jokes and serves as comedic relief during his initial encounter.
- "Sans" is a preposition that means without.
- If the player attempts to name the fallen human "Sans," the game responds "nope." and prevents the name from being used.
- He makes an appearance alongside Papyrus at the end of the Undertale Demo if the protagonist gained no EXP.
- Sans and Undyne are the only main characters known to play an instrument: trombone and piano, respectively.
- Sans appears to be left-handed. Evidence includes:
- Greeting the protagonist with a handshake using his left hand.
- Holding and drinking a ketchup bottle with his left hand while dining at Grillby's.
- Steering a tricycle using his left hand in the True Pacifist Credits.
- Manipulating gravity with his left hand in his battle.
- When the "fun" value is between 45 and 50, Sans calls the protagonist in Snowdin Forest to ask if their fridge is running.
- Despite claiming to be a skeleton, Sans's hand does not resemble a skeleton's. Similar to his brother, Sans may be wearing gloves even though skeletons do not get cold.
- There is a glitch in which Sans walks up off the screen at Grillby's when he takes the protagonist there. His dialogue still appears normally.
- Sans's Lost Soul dialogue is displayed in the usual font (instead of Comic Sans) and sways back and forth.
- An unused overworld sprite of Sans shows him with his pupils and is entitled "spr_sans_dangerous_0" in the game's files.
- Sans speaks in all lower case, not even capitalizing names  or sentence starters, with a few exceptions. This may be a representation of how lazy he is.
- In a deleted tweet, Toby Fox said that Papyrus would use the term "aniki," a Japanese honorable term used for older brothers or superiors. There are a multitude of interpretations for this as it doesn't give a clear answer.
- There is an unused sprite showing Sans holding an ice cream in the game files.
- Sans's line "on days like these, kids like you... Should be burning in hell." could possibly be a reference to a line said by Captain Strong in EarthBound, which goes "At times like this, kids like you should be playing Nintendo games.".
- ↑ His Steam card shows him wearing sneakers and official merchandise shows him wearing slippers.
- ↑ "you can't understand how this feels. knowing that one day, without any warning... it's all going to be reset. look. i gave up trying to go back a long time ago. and getting to the surface doesn't really appeal anymore, either. 'cause even if we do... we'll just end up right back here, without any memory of it, right? to be blunt... it makes it kind of hard to give it my all. ... or is that just a poor excuse for being lazy...? hell if i know." – Sans
- ↑ "(It's a performance schedule.) (Comedians, dancers, Sans...)" – flavor text in the restaurant at MTT Resort.
- ↑ "A LAB??? MY BROTHER WOULD LOVE THAT! HE LOVES SCIENCE FICTION!! ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S REAL." – Papyrus
- ↑ "i asked her what was up. then she told me something strange. 'if a human ever comes through this door... ...could you please, please promise something? watch over them, and protect them, will you not? now, i hate making promises. and this woman, i don't even know her name. but... someone who sincerely likes bad jokes... has an integrity you can't say 'no' to." – Sans
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "WAIT, ALPHYS, I DIDN'T KNOW YOU KNEW SANS." – Papyrus, True Pacifist Ending.
- ↑ "HUH? MY BROTHER? OF COURSE HE HAS A TELESCOPE. SANS LOVES OUTER SPACE SCI-FI STUFF." – Papyrus
- ↑ "our reports showed a massive anomaly in the timespace continuum." – Sans
- ↑ The names of the sprites used for his attack animations begin with spr_gasterblaster_.
- ↑ "that look on your face while i was talking... you've already heard my spiel, haven't you? i suspected something like this. you're always acting like you know what's going to happen." – Sans
- ↑ "i'll be honest. i have no idea what happened for you to get here. this is actually some sort of error-handling message. so, if you're getting this ending... tell whoever made the game, okay? chances are, though... you're just a dirty hacker, aren't you? yeah, get outta here." – Sans's message to the protagonist if an impossible Neutral Route ending is achieved.
- ↑ "i'm actually supposed to be on watch for humans right now. but... y'know... i don't really care about capturing anybody. now my brother, papyrus... he's a human-hunting FANATIC." – Sans
- ↑ "IT'S BEEN EIGHT DAYS AND YOU STILL HAVEN'T... RECALIBRATED. YOUR. PUZZLES! ... YOU GET LAZIER AND LAZIER EVERY DAY!!!" – Papyrus
- ↑ "have you ever heard of a talking flower? ... so you know all about it. the echo flower. ... what about it? well, papyrus told me something interesting the other day. sometimes, when no one else is around, a flower appears and whispers things to him. flattery... advice... encouragement... ...predictions. weird, huh?" – Sans
- ↑ "FLOWERS...? DO ANY OF THEM TALK!? SAY HI FOR ME!!! FLOWERS ARE OUR BEST FRIENDS!!" – Papyrus, if the protagonist calls by the yellow flowers in the Garbage Dump.
- ↑ "i'll be 'frank' with you. as much as i like putting hot dogs on your head... thirty is just an excessive number. twenty-nine, now that's fine, but thirty... does it look like my arms can reach that high?" – Sans
- ↑ "so i keep 'em coming, and she keeps laughing. she's the best audience i've ever had. ... we kept telling each other jokes for hours. eventually, i had to leave. ... but she told me to come by again, and so i did. then i did again. and again. it's a thing now. telling bad jokes through the door. it rules." – Sans
- ↑ "haven't i done a great job protecting you? i mean, look at yourself. you haven't died a single time. hey, what's that look supposed to mean? am i wrong...?" – Sans
- ↑ "What's EXP? It's an acronym. It stands for 'execution points.' A way of quantifying the pain you have inflicted on others. When you kill someone, your EXP increases. When you have enough EXP, your LOVE increases. LOVE, too, is an acronym. It stands for 'Level of Violence.' A way of measuring someone's capacity to hurt. The more you kill, the easier it becomes to distance yourself. The more you distance yourself, the less you will hurt. The more easily you can bring yourself to hurt others." – Sans
- ↑ "You will be judged for every action. You will be judged for every EXP you earned." – Sans
- ↑ "your actions here... will determine the fate of the entire world. if you refuse to fight... asgore will take your soul and destroy humanity. but if you kill asgore and go home... monsters will remain trapped underground. what will you do?" – Sans
- ↑ "but you didn't get this far by giving up, did you? that's right. you have something called 'determination.' so as long as you hold on... so long as you do what's in your heart... i believe you can do the right thing." – Sans
- ↑ "so... i have a request for you. i kind of have a secret codeword that only i know. so if someone tells it to me... they'll have to be a time traveler. crazy, right?" – Sans
- ↑ "so, i guess you're qualified. here's the key to my room. it's time... you learned the truth." – Sans
- ↑ "truthfully, it doesn't really matter what you said. all that's important is that you were honest with yourself." – Sans
- ↑ "you act like you know what's gonna happen. like you've already experienced it all before. this is an odd thing to say, but... if you have some sort of special power... isn't it your responsibility to do the right thing?" – Sans
- ↑ Toriel:"Sans, did I tell you about the time Frisk flirted with me...? And then asked to call me 'mother?'"
Sans:"oh boy." – Sans and Toriel in the epilogue.
- ↑ "well, i'll be straight- forward with you. my brother'd really like to see a human... so, y'know, it'd really help me out... if you kept pretending to be one." – Sans
- ↑ "hey, i really respect what you did back there." – Sans
- ↑ "A hooded figure watches the commotion from afar." – Flavor text from Shyren fight.
- ↑ "that expression that you're wearing... well, i won't grace it with a description." – Sans
- ↑ "sounds strange, but before all this i was secretly hoping we could be friends. i always thought the anomaly was doing this cause they were unhappy. and when they got what they wanted, they would stop all this. and maybe all they needed was... i dunno. some good food, some bad laughs, some nice friends." – Sans
- ↑ "A JEALOUS TROLL HAS BESIEGED MY ONLINE PERSONA, ALWAYS SENDING ME BAD PUNS IN A GOOFY FONT." – Papyrus
- ↑ "IT'S STRANGE. ASGORE, ALPHYS, METTATON, AND UNDYNE WENT AWAY. SANS SAYS THEY WENT ON VACATION. I HOPE THEY'RE HAVING FUN!!!" – Papyrus
- ↑ "welp. sorry, old lady. this is why i never make promises." – Sans
- ↑ "WAIT... THAT BAG OF DOG FOOD LOOKS FAMILIAR. I REMEMBER SEEING IT... IN SANS'S ROOM?" – Papyrus, on the bag of dog food in Alphys's lab.
- ↑ https://youtu.be/JHMdlpYYaOU
- ↑ "now my brother, papyrus..." – Sans
- ↑ "he's a human-hunting FANATIC." – Sans
- ↑ "papyrus would definitely use "aniki." i think. what's your take." – Toby Fox. September 10, 2015. Twitter
|Main Characters||Flowey • Toriel • Sans • Papyrus • Undyne • Alphys • Mettaton • Asgore Dreemurr • Frisk • Chara|
|Ruins Enemies||Dummy • Froggit • Whimsun • Moldsmal • Loox • Vegetoid • Migosp • Napstablook|
|Snowdin Enemies|| Snowdrake • Chilldrake • Ice Cap • Gyftrot • Doggo|
Dogamy and Dogaressa • Lesser Dog • Greater Dog • Jerry • Glyde
|Waterfall Enemies||Aaron • Moldbygg • Woshua • Temmie • Mad Dummy • Shyren|
|Hotland Enemies||Vulkin • Tsunderplane • Pyrope • Muffet • Royal Guards • So Sorry|
|CORE Enemies||Final Froggit • Whimsalot • Astigmatism • Madjick • Knight Knight|
|Amalgamates||Memoryhead • Endogeny • Reaper Bird • Lemon Bread • Snowdrake's Mother|
|Hard Mode-only enemies||Parsnik • Moldessa • Migospel|
|Vendors||Nice Cream Guy • Snowdin Shopkeeper • Gerson • Tem Shop • Bratty and Catty • Burgerpants|
|Other Characters|| NPCs • Monster Kid • Annoying Dog • River Person • Eight Humans • Asriel Dreemurr|
W. D. Gaster • Lost Souls