Beehive Barrier

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A specific and often striking type of Deflector Shield, often made out of Pure Energy, that takes the form of geometric shapes that connect to form the overall shape—often hexagons, as they tessellate conveniently well. It's not mathematically possible to create a sphere-like shape from regular hexagons alone, but one can come close by throwing in a few pentagons (twelve, for a complete sphere), and some objects in the real world (like fullerene molecules and soccer balls) have such structures. Named after the hexagonal wax cells of honeycombs.

In older games or computer animation, this may have been because an object composed of hexagons was much easier to convincingly render than a sphere; it now mainly owes its existence to Rule of Cool. A favorite of the Barrier Warrior. Another possible origin may be in the geometric-pattern visual hallucinations typical of drugs like mescaline. This design actually has a veneer of plausibility, since two-dimensional hexagons and pentagons can be used to enclose a three-dimensional volume without leaving cracks, and with excellent distribution of stress.

Despite the name, these shields almost never involve actual bees.

This item is available in the Trope Co catalog.

Examples of Beehive Barrier include:

Anime & Manga

  • Zeiram animation series overuses this kind of barrier for everything. Besides military use, it is excellent as umbrella, roof for your car, window for your house, or prison cell. Finaly it can even be used for weapon that can cut anything if activated to intersect with enemy's body and at same time imprison it. That worked much better than any super cannon.
  • Older Than the NES: The Photonic Research Institute in Mazinger Z uses a Beehive Barrier to protect the facility when under attack.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has them as AT fields: a series of octagons originally located in a fractal shape but the Rebuild series has them either in an irregular formation or lots of layers sandwiched together (take a look at Zeruel, for example). It is established knowledge that AT-fields are all but impenetrable and can only be brought down by either destroying the power source or using your own to partially cancel it out. Once it is weak enough, Evas can usually breach them (either literally tearing them apart like paper or, as Rebuild 2.0 show us, shatter it like glass).
  • One of the characters in Trinity Blood had a shield entirely too similar to Evangelion's AT fields to be anything but a deliberate homage.
  • Used by Xellos in one early episode of Slayers NEXT. In fact it looked uncannily like an AT field, too.
  • RahXephon uses these as part of its shielding.
  • In Zoids, buildings and certain Zoids were equipped with this.
  • In My-HiME, Yukino's element takes the form of several hexagonal mirrors, which are used for defense.
  • These show up whenever a barrier, literal or figurative, is called for in Keroro Gunsou. Knowing the series, it could well be an extended parody/homage of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • In Vandread, the Nirvana, Jura's Dread, Gascogne's service vehicle, and some others are surrounded by a Beehive Barrier—the only time we ever see a barrier that ISN'T of this form is when Jura's Vandread utilizes its planetary shield. The individual panels shrink and expand when under stress, too—adding a additional visual element.
  • In Busou Renkin, whenever Captain Bravo is hit, hexagons appear to block attacks, as well as repair his jacket.
    • Rather, isn't it that the jacket is made of the hexagons?
      • It should probably be noted that everyone in Busou Renkin has a Morph Weapon that takes the form of a single hexagon when not in use.
  • Lelouch's personal Knightmare frame, the Shinkiro, from Code Geass uses a nearly impenetrable defense territory made out of hexagons. Slightly averted in that, while they don't form a complete sphere around the mech, they can literally be burst-positioned anywhere at any time.
    • The Blaze Luminous somewhat counts, although it takes on the form of a cone instead.
  • Phantom of M? uses a Beehive Barrier in the form of a flat wall, rather than a dome or bubble.
  • Rarely used in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha but Vita's Deflector Shields did take this form during her first battle against a newly upgraded Nanoha in A's.
    • Also, Precia's energy shield was shown to consist of hexagonal bits when Arf, in response to Precia abusing Fate one too many times, flipped out and attacked her.
  • The hedron shields of Heroic Age were a multipurpose psionic tool created by the Golden Tribe. In addition to functioning as a shield, it can also create Frickin' Laser Beams, repair and even create spaceships out of nothing, and create a region of livable atmosphere and temperature.
  • In an episode of the Pokémon anime, Ash and the others enter a beehive. One of the walls, a barrier between the heroes and Vespiquen, was made out of Combee. A LITERAL beehive barrier.
  • In MAR, Phantom, one of the three main baddies, uses a beehive barrier to defend from ranged attacks, and once even fires it at his opponent afterwards,
  • The Devil Gundam can generate one in G Gundam, matching up with the hexagonal pattern of its DG Cells.
  • The Lightwave Barrier of in Gundam SEED, as used by the asteroid fortress Artemis.


  • The Star Wars novels often describe Coruscant's planetary shield as two layers of hexagonal spheres, with missing hexagons allowing ships to enter and exit. In this case the hexagons were invisible, turning the visual trope into a tactical element: only authorized ships could safely navigate the shields and enter or leave the atmosphere.
    • This was also the justification for all the warships in Episode 3 being so close together. Of course, like everything else in Star Wars the real reason for that scene was Rule of Cool.

Live Action TV

  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q and the Q-net are borderline examples, since they resemble square-ish... spheres?
  • In Viper, the CGI sequence of the Viper Defender's transformation to its armored form consists of hexagonal panels covering the car then morphing into a gray Dodge Viper. (In its syndicated form, the effect was simplified, using large rectangles instead of small hexagons.)
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Tholian Web", the Tholians are making a spherical geometric web thing to trap the Enterprise. It is hard to say if the Enterprise would have been protected in there, but presumably somebody considered themselves better off by having it in there. Frankly, I don't know why people don't put these things around threats more often.
    • Subverted in Enterprise, it's shown that the Barrier reflects anything thrown at it back at the person trapped inside the Web. So it's protecting the folks outside from their victim.

Video Games

  • Halo 3 (pictured) has the Bubbleshield. The shield will completely stop bullets, plasma bolts, grenades, rockets and explosions of all sorts. This Beehive Barrier doesn't offer complete protection, however—players and vehicles can pass straight through as if it didn't exist.
    • "Bubble of Death" strategy. Some guy's in a bubble shield? Walk in, drop a spike grenade, and run out. The spike grenade explodes and the effect is a cone of spikes all going in the same direction (shaped charge of spikes). The spikes strike the inside of the shield, and then bounce around inside the bubble, promptly perforating any dumbass still in there.
    • Reach includes a similar shield with the Drop Shield armor ability, which also incorporates shield-restoring properties.
    • In Reach, nearly every example of the Covenant's trademark colorful metal features a subtle geometric pattern.
  • Wipeout HD has this.
  • Disgaea uses these in the physical and magical barriers.
  • They're everywhere in the Kingdom Hearts games whenever you come across the border of a particular level.
    • There's also the Reflect and Dark Shield spells in KHII, which momentarily create a Beehive Barrier around the user. The former follows up with a burst of magic if an enemy attack actually connects with the barrier, making it one of the most dangerous spells in the game once it's been levelled up.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ , Aqua creates a barrier around someone else (Terra) in the secret movie. It's also her regular guard ability in Birth By Sleep, emphasising her Magic Knight / Squishy Wizard status.
  • In Mega Man X 7 and X8, if you shoot an enemy when it isn't vulnerable, bits of Beehive Barrier appear to let you know. Zero also projects one when using one of his weapons (a fan) in the latter.
  • Bass.EXE had a geodesic aura protecting him in the first Mega Man Battle Network game. (It was spherical in all his later appearances.)
  • The Inhibitor bloodline of Bloodline Champions has a Rune Shield ability which does this. It reduces damage taken, but the real best part of it is if it takes enough damage, it will end, exploding - which means it damages and stun enemies around the shielded target.
  • Near the end of Skies of Arcadia, a barrier like this is put up around Soltis, forcing the heroes to regroup and try to figure out how to get around the thing. Also, beehive barriers are what "Evasive Action" looks like in ship-to-ship combat.
  • Used in the semi-unreleased game SCARAB, where your Beehive Barrier has to be rotated or your opponent will simply shoot out one of the hexagons, then shoot you through the hole.
    • Additionally, when one of them has been hit and no longer stops incoming fire, it also turns opaque, allowing people to see how damaged the shield is, and preventing the victim from seeing where the fire is coming from.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time had a green Beehive Barrier appear while blocking attacks.
  • Certain enemies in Rogue Galaxy are protected by barriers (until broken by a special gun) which are momentarily visible as Beehive Barriers when struck.
  • A Beehive Barrier indicates bosses with "absolute defense" in Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.
  • In the .hack games, Data Bug monsters are covered with green hexagons.
  • Square-Enix's The World Ends With You features Beehive Barriers (simply called "walls") as ways to keep your characters confined to a particular area. Walls are created by the general bad-guy force known as Reapers, and have different ways of being lifted (usually by advancing the story). They're also a perfect example of Some Kind of Force Field.
  • As one can tell from Zone of the Enders and Metal Gear Solid 2, Hideo Kojima sees the world in sheets of electrified hexagons. "That is what technology looks like, damn it."
  • In Too Human, named/boss-styled Goblins have a glowing red Beehive Barrier that needs to be knocked down before Baldur can start eating away at their actual HP.
  • Pretty common in Final Fantasy games as well.
    • In Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, one will appear if you get physically attacked with the Protect spell active.
    • The White Mage merit spell Shellra V in Final Fantasy XI forms very much like a Beehive Barrier when cast.
      • Eald'narche has a wall of Exoplates surrounding him when you fight him at the end of the Rise of the Zilart expansion, as well.
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2, some classes, among them Paladins, have the ability to set up a Guard-buff. This is represented by a hexagonal mark that flashes under the casting of the spell.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII there is a Running Gag where each time Galenth Dysley appears in human form, Snow Villers runs up and attacks only to be violently thwarted by one of these each time.
    • In Final Fantasy II, Firion's "Shield Bash" ability shows up as an energy beehive shield when he uses it in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Sephiroth's "Scintilla" produces one too.
  • In the console Pokémon games, starting from XD: Gale of Darkness, the moves which raise defense take this form.
    • In a more literal sense, Vespiquen's Defend Order.
  • In Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World, the Barrier spell and the shield protecting the Garuda monster are Beehive Barriers.
  • Several rings in zOMG! summon Beehive Barriers. Improbability Sphere summons one around an ally as a general, while Turtle Summons one around yourself as a "OH SHI-!" shield.
  • Some of the wards in The Last Remnant appear with a beehive pattern in front of the target.
  • Several protective spells in Neverwinter Nights 2 look like this.
  • In Mass Effect, one of the abilities creates a single hexagon barrier in a likely homage to this trope. Implied is that their ship passive defenses exemplify this trope.
    • In Mass Effect 2, all the barriers are beehive: Geth, Collector, Tech Armour, Krogan fortification, you name it. Not biotic barriers, though, they're contiguous without any prevalent shapes or tessellations.
  • In Rez, the third boss (the Venus (Tera) security system) is protected by one of these, and you have to shoot out each individual cell when it flips over to fire its lasers at you.
  • Not surprisingly, Wild ARMs 4 and Wild ARMs 5 feature this, given the HEX battle system.
  • In the Wii version of Trauma Center, the bomb from the bomb defusal mission is surrounded by a solid field of hexagonal plates that rotate about the place in 3D.
  • Appears when guarding in Baten Kaitos.
  • The Leviathans in Metroid Prime: Corruption protect themselves with glowing blue barriers composed of interlocking hexagons.
    • As does Samus herself with the Hazard Suit upgrade.
  • The A-gear of Ace Online gets one of these, perfect for negating all missile damage for a bit.
  • Champions Online's tutorial missions begin with a section of Millennium City enclosed by a Beehive barrier by the Qularr aliens. However, the hexagons aren't exactly perfect, and sort of float through the barrier as you watch.
    • Also a partial, shield-shaped Beehive barrier is an optional block power in the Power Armour powerset.
  • In World of Warcraft, this is called Shell Shield, a powerful ability that reduces all damage taken by 50%. This is mitigated by the fact that the only ones who can actually use it are turtles.
  • In Red Alert 3, you have the Nanoswarm, which fades away towards the top, but is still present. It functions as a sort of domed room with no exit, with stuff going in but not coming out until it dissipates. Great for waiting out a Soviet nuke Vacuum Implosion device.
  • Another literal example comes from Sacrifice, where the shield-spell you get if you work for charnel consists of a swarm of insects. It doesn't protect much, but it steals health from enemies in melee range.
  • FEAR 2 has this for Enemy elite Power Armour, curiously they players version is missing this particular feature.
  • The Protoss immortals from StarCraft II have special hardened shields that take this form to distinguish them from the normal plasma shields.
    • The early development version of Starcraft II had a Protoss air unit called the Tempest which had a special energy shield made of tessellating hexagons. It was stronger than normal shields, but only worked against attacks from ground units.
  • Cover Shield ability for Engineers in Star Trek Online. Not a full sphere, but very hexagonal. Some of the defense grids around planets in missions are of this type as well.
  • Justified in Homeworld:Cataclysm, as the protective shells are created by surrounding the core ship with several dozen minute Sentry drones that serve as the apices of the prospective force-field polyhedron.
  • The Class 9 and 10 shields in Freelancer have this effect when the ships using them are attacked.
  • In Crysis hexagons are used in several parts of the Nanosuit design. Especially in Armor mode.
  • Super Robot Wars Alpha Gaiden has the AEGIS System, a series of shield satellites set up around the Earth to protect it from the gravity wave unleashed by the death of the Big Bad from the previous game. In this case, the shield is powered by the world's Super Robots from a power station set up on the Moon (intended to be the precursor to Gundam X's Satellite System).
  • Mother 3 has this in the form of PK Shield and PK Counter.
  • League of Legends uses this for some sheilds, such as Morgana's magic-blocking Black Shield or Poppy's unbreachable Diplomatic Immunity.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Legion of Super-Heroes has Brainiac 5's force field.
  • Futurama: The Earth is shielded by one made of plates of some ridiculously named artificial diamond in The Beast with a Billion Backs.
    • Diamondilium! Which beat out Farnsworth's Diamondium after a game of deathball.
    • Stop shilling your cheap Diamondilium, Wernstrom. And it's in good authority that all the less ridiculous names were already copyrighted by the early 21st century.
  • Code Lyoko: Aelita uses her power to create a Beehive Barrier (as a curved wall instead of a sphere, though) for the Skidbladnir in "Replika".

Real Life

  • May be considered a case of art imitating life, since geodesic domes (buckyballs like Spaceship Earth at Disney's Epcot Center, for example) and other hexagon/pentagon based spheres like soccer balls are much stronger the more individual pieces they have.
  • Nothing in video games is truly round, unless some game is using real-time-tessellated shapes such as NURBS, Bezier patches, or Catmull-Clark patches. So it's likely this trope became a stylish way of pretending a barrier was spherical back when tessellation was intractable, but looked cool enough that it stuck.
    • Spline surfaces are tessellated based on curvature, so the effect ends up approximating the mathematical curvature to within an error margin. More powerful computers have reduced the tractable error margin to typically half a pixel, which is invisible on a screen. Ray-tracing can make a perfectly smooth surface, but it's mainly used for 'surface treatment', so to speak, to render mirror effects and the like, or extremely complex lighting situations that require very high fidelity. Otherwise, the Phong model has been elaborated enough to provide results that fulfill most needs at a much lower computational cost.
  • The Eden Project, the world's largest greenhouse, is comprised of several domes built from hexagonal segments.
  • Chobham armour, currently the tank armour used by the US and British, uses ceramic times embedded in a hardened plates for extra strength. One of the tile shapes used is hexagons, presumably to minimize weak points.
  • NASA heat shielding (or at least that of the Apollo missions) is made of honeycombed metal, each filled with a special plastic to absorb the heat of reentry.