8 Best Animated Moments in Netflix’s Heartstopper

  • Heartstopper

    Release Date:

    Olivia Colman, Kit Connor, Rhea Norwood, Yasmin Finney, Cormac Hyde-Corrin, Stephen Fry, Tobie Donovan, William Gao, Sebastian Croft, Kizzy Edgell, Chetna Pandya, Joe Locke, Jenny Walser, Corinna Brown, Fisayo Akinade

    Romance, Drama


    Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. When gentle Charlie and rugby-loving Nick meet at secondary school, they quickly discover that their unlikely friendship is blossoming into an unexpected romance. Charlie, Nick and their circle of friends must navigate the ever-relatable journey of self discovery and acceptance, supporting each other as they learn to find their most authentic selves.

    Story By:
    Alice Oseman

    Alice Oseman

    Streaming Service(s):

    euros lyn

    Alice Oseman


  • Heartstopper’s clever use of animation, including animated bits from the original graphic novels, creates a unique and loyal adaptation.
  • The show effectively uses visual cues, such as anxiety doodles and the appearance of snow, to enhance emotional moments and storytelling.
  • The use of animation, like butterflies and leaves, represents character growth, transformation, and realizations about one’s identity, adding depth and meaning to the overall narrative.



Heartstopper is a hit show known for all the unique choices used to make the show special, including the animated bits used throughout. From the amazing Heartstopper show soundtrack to the extreme care for representation, the Netflix series never disappoints. While the show follows Nick and Charlie as their relationship develops over the course of their school year and over the summer, that’s not the entire story. With multiple engaging characters and charming storylines, Heartstopper is made even better by its clever use of music and animation.

One of the most important parts of the show is how it incorporates animated bits. This is particularly special for Heartstopper because those visuals come out of the graphic novels. Alice Oseman—the author of the series—directly participates in the show’s creation and creates moving animations in the style of her art, so the series can stay as loyal to the source material. Having the ability to cultivate the same heartwarming feeling from the novels is not easy, and it makes Heartstopper one of the best adaptations of a graphic novel.

Related: Heartstopper Season 2 Cast & Character Guide

8 The Anxiety Doodles

They appear for Charlie & other characters

Charlie and ben library

In such a positive show, the anxiety doodles are not used often. They have been a couple of times, especially for Charlie. For him, they encroach on his vision when he’s imagining people saying horrible things to him. They also appeared when he was reliving the bullying he experienced. Nick, however, experienced for the first time in season 2. It’s seen when he was taking his math exam and when he was imagining people’s reaction to him coming out as bisexual. Since it’s used so sparingly, when it is used, it’s way more impactful and shows that the characters are in real emotional distress.

7 The Snow

It appears for Nick and Charlie

In season 1, episode 2, “Crush”, Nick and Charlie start hanging out as friends outside of school. This is one of the first big developments in their relationship. One thing that happens is that they go to play in the snow. They make snow angels and play with Nick’s dog. One thing becomes clear as the camera zooms out on them—the snow isn’t all real. Oseman drew circular snowflakes to fall on them, creating an even more magical moment. Whether it represents the two of them falling for each other or just creating a special moment, the snow is one of the most simple and beautiful touches in the show.

6 Darcy’s Haunted House

It appears in Darcy’s house

Darcy's Mom screams at Darcy in Heartstopper season 2.

In season 2, Darcy’s story reflects tragic real-world experiences, so it’s important to get right. It’s not made explicitly clear that she has lived in an unhealthy environment until the end of the season, but the show hinted at it throughout. Darcy’s dislike of taking Tara home to her family is discussed, and it’s shown through a dark cloud. In season 2, episode 7, “Sorry”, Darcy finds a bustling, purple cloud hovering at the bottom of her door, representing the danger inside that’s seeping out. This is a great way to build Darcy’s character, while creating tension for the big character reveal.

5 Charlie’s First Imagined Confession

It appears around Nick

In season 1, episode 1, “Meet”, Charlie and Nick first cross paths. When Nick approaches Charlie to ask him to join the Rugby team, Charlie imagines that he is performing a love confession. Nick is surrounded by drawings, including a pulsing pink glow, warm-toned leaves floating through the background, and even the Truham School logo is changed to have hearts surrounding the school’s “T” insignia. This is one of the few uses of animation that affects the entire screen, but it doesn’t sacrifice the attention to detail that Oseman always puts into the show. It’s a great start to the series.

Related: Heartstopper Season 2 Ending Explained – Prom Night Twists & That “I Love You” Cliffhanger Meaning

4 The Butterflies Around Tao and Elle

They appear when Tao and Elle are together

tao and elle with butterflies around them in heartstopper

One couple that almost has their own animated bits is Tao and Elle. In important circumstances, such as when they feel their relationship is on the verge of change, little butterflies will fly around them. This happened in season 1, episode 8, “Boyfriends” when they’re sitting in the art room together, and in season 2, episode 5, “Heat” when they’re sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower. The butterflies represent the growth and reconnection between the two, and they’re often seen wearing butterflies around each other as well. It’s a cute nod to their characters and a true reflection of their transforming relationship.

3 The Rainbow River

It first appeared in Hearstopper season 2

Heartstopper's raibow stairs and

Heartstopper season 2 introduced many interesting visual bits that season 1 didn’t have. One of these was in season 2, episode 7, “Sorry”. The friend group—including Nick and Charlie—were at an art gallery for Elle. Throughout the episode, Ben tries to apologize to Charlie for all of his actions. Charlie rejects the apology and walks away, and once Ben is alone in the scene, a rainbow river comes out of the school doors and laps at Ben’s feet like an ocean without ever reaching him. This is to represent the fact that Ben wants to be free and out but can’t be because of the pressures he puts on himself.

2 Electric Touches

It appears when Nick and Charlie are together

Nick and Charlie about to hold hands in Hearstopper

In season 1, Nick and Charlie aren’t together yet. There are a couple of episodes of build-up where the two characters have to cultivate a friendship and Nick has to discover his own sexuality like Charlie already has. During this time, the two start to grow emotionally and physically closer. Whenever they would touch, little animated sparks would appear as a physical representation of their growing tension. It’s a really sweet and small nod to the character’s acknowledgment of each other, and how they both want to be more than friends, even if they don’t want to admit it yet.

1 The Leaves

They are a signature visual aspect of Hearstopper

Nick and Charlie surrounded by leafs

Perhaps the most famous use of animation from Heartstopper is the leaves. They were huge in the graphic novels, and they’ve become one of the prominent aspects of the show. The design of the leaves is so specific that they’re recognized even outside the use of the show. In the Netflix series, they are used whenever someone starts to have a deeper realization about who they are, but the leaves can mean many things in Hearstopper. Often, whenever they’re in the show, the leaves swirl around people who start to make realizations about their sexuality, which is perfectly in line with the message of the story.


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