Elemental Powers

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Air! Water! Earth! Fire! ...and who needs Captain Planet?

Aang: I'm the Avatar, master of all four elements!

Dmitri Mendeleev: Really? I'm Mendeleev, master of all 118+. *swoosh* That was polonium-bending. You probably didn't feel anything, but the symptoms of radiation poisoning will set in shortly.
Xkcd #965: Elements[1]

In the past, it was thought that all of matter could be classified into easily viewable "elements" that one can observe with the naked eye. Thus, all of the world was made up of natural forces such as "earth, air, fire, water" et al. The discovery of the atom mostly disproved that, but the idea was so deeply rooted in mankind's mind, that it's still used in nearly every supernatural fictional setting (note that the classical elements actually correspond to a different scientific concept: the phases of matter, provided you count plasma as a fourth phase & not just as a subset of gas. Alternately, fire corresponds to energy, particularly the heat energy that moves matter from one state to another).

The most common use is to give characters some superpower over an aspect of nature—like a character who can conjure or control fire or water, given the right conditions. This usually goes hand in hand with Personality Powers—you're not likely to find a calm and collected guy who can shoot fire, for instance. These "elements" are probably the source of the association of colors with personality traits. A character with elemental power in animation will often have the fitting eye color. It also makes for easy Super-Hero Speciation.

May involve the capability to summon Elementals, the living embodiment of the elements themselves.

Just what the "classical elements" are varies from culture to culture. In Greek (and by extension most European), Hindu, and Buddhist mythology, it's usually Fire, Air, Water, and Earth—with Aether (which can be "souls", "heart", "spirits", or Pure Energy) occasionally mixed in. In classical Chinese mythology, it's typically Fire, Water, Earth, Wood (which includes control over plants as well as the wind), and Metal. The classical Japanese elements are Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void. In some alchemical texts, there are salt, sulphur, mercury, and quintessence, with salt representing the physical, sulphur representing the spirit of life, mercury representing volatility or fluidity and the "passive principle", quintessence was supposed to be the constituent matter of the heavenly bodies, and also sometimes was included with the more common 4 elements. (Indeed, quintessence quite literally means "the fifth element".)

Usually, there will be an effort to make all powers equally important—the elemental powers used in such settings usually employ some form of Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, in order to avoid that any one power is clearly more powerful than the others. If some are more important/intrinsically more potent, then the Inverse Law of Complexity to Power may come into play or What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? may result.

Depending on your mileage, you might also have any natural force counted as an element—Darkness (evil black Death energy), Light (glowing holy life energy), regular Light (as in lasers and holograms), Ice, Electricity, Magnetism, Time, Space, Moon, Sun, Stars, Pizza, Gravity, Void (which is usually like a cross between Space, Dark, and Aether), Acid, Sky (Wind with storm and weather added), and Sound as alternative elements.

A lot of cultural baggage has become attached to the elements over the ages, making some of them "bad" and assigning personality traits to them and their practitioners much like a Four-Temperament Ensemble. Fiction exploring elemental powers tends to use these as tropes and character traits:

Some shows that absolutely need a Five-Man Band will come up with a fifth element in addition to the classical western ones, and find a way to make it a team attack that uses All Your Colors Combined. Anime usually employs Light or Lightning, but Western Animation prefers to make something up like Energy or Spirit or possibly heart.

Video Games and RPG's will often add more to the list. Common additions include:

Any setting with magic in it will inevitably have elemental spells.

Finally, it's worth noting that possessing specific elemental powers can make a character vulnerable against a specific element. Fire-elemental beings, for example, don't take too well to Water-elemental attacks. Similarly, Elemental Powers (especially the core four/five) are very competitive if not stronger than abstract elements because of the Inverse Law of Complexity to Power.

Those with these powers may also have the ability of Elemental Absorption. Fire, Ice, Lightning and Elemental Shapeshifter are subtropes.

See also Four-Element Ensemble, Element Number Five, Infinity+1 Element.

Elemental Baggage is when a character requires some (usually not much) element laying around in order to work with.

Examples of Elemental Powers include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Pokémon are creatures that have plausible elemental powers like Fire and Water as well as some oddball, out-of-place elements like Bug and Dragon. See the Video Games folder for more info.
  • The heroes and villains of Digimon Frontier use Spirits that represent ten elements, specifically Fire (Takuya), Water (Ranamon), Earth (Grumblemon), Wind (Izumi/Zoe), Wood (Arbormon), Lightning (Junpei/J.T), Ice (Tomoki/Tommy), Metal (Mercurimon), Light (Kouji) and Darkness (Kouichi).
    • In Digimon Adventure, all of the main eight kids are associated with an element: Taichi/Tai (Fire), Yamato/Matt (Ice), Sora (Air), Koushirou/Izzy (Electricity), Jyou/Joe (Water), Mimi (Earth), Hikari/Kari and Takeru/T.K (Light).
    • And then by Digimon Adventure 02 we have Davis/Daisuke (fire/thunder/light(Magnamon)), Yolei/Miyako (air/nature), Cody/Iori (earth/water), Kari (light, sometimes heart based), T.K. (light, sometimes sun based), and the Digimon Kaizer/Emperor (dark) before Ken had a Heel Face Turn and, in the drama CD at least, gained love as well.
  • Certain mages, knights, and unison devices in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha specialize in spells of a specific element, such as Lightning, Fire, or Ice. Also, in full defiance of the main text of this article, the "calm and collected guy who can shoot fire" that "you're not likely to find" describes the Blazing General Signum perfectly... well, except for the "guy" part.
  • In Air Gear, all the top riders are called Kings (or Queen depending on gender obviously) and these guys' skills are all based on the air element, but for certain (shonen manga) purposes these are different elements: Wind King (Wind), Flame King (Fire/Time), Thunder King (Lightning/Ice), Thorn Queen (Plant), Pledge King (Sound), Gem King (Earth), Water King (Water).
  • The world the characters of Naruto live in is made up of five nations named after the elements (using Lightning as the fifth element) and the ninja living in the hidden villages inside those nations use jutsus based on their homeland's elements (Fire-style, Water-style, Earth-style, etc.) as well as related sub-elements. The main characters are from the Village Hidden in the Leaves of the Fire Country, so most of their special skills and abilities are fire and plant themed (in Japanese mythology, leaves and fire are related).
    • Bloodline powers, or Kekkai Genkai, combine two elements to create a new one which cannot be accessed by other characters - the First Hokage can combine Earth and Water to create Wood, Haku can combine Air and Water to create Ice, the Mizukage can combine both Fire and Earth to make Lava and Fire and Water to make "Boil" (A corrosive/acidic mist), while Darui can combine Water and Lightning to create "Storm" (the one technique he used it for made a lot of bright beams which are probably made of electricity), the Tsuchikage can combine Earth, wind & Fire (Oddly enough) to create "Dust", which can atomize things (and possibly be how he can fly), Pakura, a Edo Tensei zombie, can combine Fire and maybe Wind to create "Scorch", which boils the water out of your body & Gari, another zombie, combines Lightning and either Fire or Earth to create "Explosion", which one punch can blow up someone to dust. The Third and Fourth Kazekages combined two elements, probably Lightning and Wind, to use Magnetism. Sasuke has a special "Blaze" nature which he uses "shape transformation" to manipulate Amaterasu, which comes from his Mangekyo Sharingan, like the regular Fire release (What difference this makes is not yet known, though it may be some sort of Infinity+1 Element).
    • A filler character could create Crystal with who-knows-what, and a movie villain has, other than a then-movie only Storm (It's unknown if this was just a coincidence, but his was more dealing with Thunder clouds), Steel, Dark (Instead of the regular darkness manipulation is Energy Absorption) & "Swift", (Which is more Super Speed then an element).
    • Kakashi, Tobirama, Madara and, Minato can use Time-space manipulation to a degree.
    • Konan has paper manipalution abilities.
    • Haku used Ice.
    • The Nara Clan is composed of Shadow wielders.
    • Yamato And Zetsu also have the ability to use Wood Style.
    • The Inuzuka Clan has a jutsu which allows them to become more beast like and each member is partnered with a dog.
    • Dosu, Kin, And Zaku displayed the use of several sound based attacks.
    • Deva Pein can control gravity.
  • Kaze no Stigma has fire, wind, earth, and water. Fire is good at raw power and purification, wind is good at reconnaissance and concealment, and earth can detect people touching the ground and cause earthquakes. Water mages don't appear in the anime.
  • Saint Seiya has much of the Cloths powers based on an element. Particularly stated of the Steel Saints of the anime.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Minto/Mew Mint is a birdgirl that can fly, uses a bow and arrow and can withstand strong winds; Retasu/Mew Lettuce is a fishgirl that can turn into a mermaid, uses bubble attacks and can control nearby water sources; and Bu-ling/Mew Pudding is a monkeygirl that creates trenches when she attacks, can manifest boulders out of nowhere, and once caused vines to grow up around Tokyo Dome. The only reason Zakuro has flames in her Transformation Sequence when she becomes Mew Zakuro appears to be to match the other three. This would, of course, put Ichigo/Mew Ichigo under "heart", which fits pretty strongly, actually.
  • Prétear has Wind, Sound, Light, Fire/Heat, Ice/Cold, Water and Plants.
  • Magic in Zero no Tsukaima is divided into the 5 classic Japanese elements: earth, water, fire, air and void.
  • In One Piece the Logia Devil Fruits let their users turn into whatever element they're given as well as create huge amounts of them out of nothing and manipulate it. However, this includes more then the basic elements as a result of the Logia's official definition being the loose concept of "Forces of Nature" which means bizarre "elements" such as Smoke, Swamp, and Gas get a pass. Oddly, Fire is the only classical element that has appeared yet.;[2] seen so far were:
    • Smoke
    • Fire
    • Sand
    • Electricity
    • Ice
    • Darkness (Pretty much like a black hole)
    • Light
    • Magma
    • Swamp[3]
    • Gas
  • The Djinn of Uta Kata represent twelve different "elements" - one for each episode. They are, in order: Sun, Moon, Earth, Water, Fire, Sky, Wind, Flower, Lightning, Darkness, Sea and Mirror.
  • Read or Die features elemental powers of Paper. It is a personality power, the users love to read. As in, will crush a supervillain organization just to get a book from them. It is also possible to have other elemental powers in the verse, for example Fire by liking to burn things.
  • In the Bakugan first season, each of the main characters has a favored element.
    • Pyrus (fire) - Favored element of Dan, tends to be displayed in fireballs destroying opponents.
    • Aquos (water) - Favored element of Maruucho, has many elements of changing the rules and defense.
    • Ventis (wind) - Favored element of Shun, shown in blowing opponents attacks back at them.
    • Subterra (earth) - Favored element of Julie, Mira, and Jake.
    • Haos (light) - Favored element of Runo, Baron, and Fabia.
    • Darkus (dark) - Favored element of the Big Bad, Maskerade and thus also his alternate personality Alice. Also the favored element of Ace and Ren.
  • Flame of Recca - All of the Madogu have domain over a particular Element. This includes the classical 5 Eastern Elements, but also things like Sound, Hair, Paper, Gravity...
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Mercury = Ice/Water
    • Venus = Love/Metal/Light
    • Moon = Light (Sometimes mixed with love/heart, or just Power of Friendship)
    • Mars = Fire (Though the planet Mars is suppose to be cold) Mars as Fire may have to do with the fact that in Japanese, Mars is "Kasei" (Literally Fire Star or Fire Planet)
    • Jupiter = Electricity/Wood
    • Saturn = Destruction (a Person of Mass Destruction for that mater)
    • Uranus = Sky/Space (except World Shaking is very much like an Earth attack for some reason)
    • Neptune = Sea/Water
    • Pluto = Time/Underworld
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 had a Five-Man Band representing Heart, Fire, Light, Earth, and Water. The second season introduced a Sixth Ranger who seems to represent the previously-missing Air.
    • On the other hand, in Heartcatch Pretty Cure we have the two heroines representing, respectively, Earth and Water, with two Sixth Rangers with the powers of the sun and the moon.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!! has the standard attributes Earth, Wind, Fire and Water, plus Light, Dark, and Divine. The elemental concept is played straight with cards like "Oxygeddon" (Wind) and "Hydrogeddon" (Water).
    • If one has two "Hydrogeddons" and one "Oxygeddon" one can react them to create the "Water Dragon" (H 2 O), see?) Interestingly, Oxygeddon's effect is to explode when destroyed by a Fire attack, dealing damage to both players, which reflects that oxygen fuels fire.
  • In Saint Beast Goh is Fire, Rey is Ice (/Water), Shin is Wind and Gai is Earth, most of which run against expectation. Judas and Luca appear to have powers involving light and darkness respectively, a theme which comes out in their personalities too.
  • Fairy Tail has:
    • Fire
    • Ice
    • Air
    • Water
    • Time
    • Light
    • Metal
    • Thunder
    • Dark
    • The Dragon Slayer have the special ability to eat there respective element and regain energy
  • Slayers got Shamanism magic divided into classical four elements plus Spirit. White Magic and Black Magic are separate—e.g. Gaav Flare is very different from Flare spells from Shamanistic fire magic.
  • "Bleach" has many characters with elemental abilities, such as Toshiro and Rukia, ice, Yamamoto & Hinamori, fire, Matsumoto, ash/dust, and Kira, gravity (sort of). One unusual example is Ukitake, whose release phrase for his zanpakuto would indicate his elements are both water and electricity. It's probably meant to be storm-related, although once shown his shikai either doesn't use said elements literally or has other unrelated abilities.
  • Deconstructed in Seikon no Qwaser. They have Elemental Powers. That, as in iron, lead, oxygen, and other elements from the periodic table.
  • Yaiba has the Legendary Orbs, with many of them connected to an element and Color Coded for Your Convenience. They are:
  • Western-style magic in Mahou Sensei Negima tends to be elemental in nature. Thus far we've seen: Light, Wind, Lightning, Fire, Earth, Water, Ice, Darkness, and even Plant, though that last one hasn't come up very often. Some of them seem to be grouped together as well: Wind and Lightning, Water and Ice, etc. Mages tend to have a particular affinity for one or two elements, and find it difficult (though not impossible) to cast spells of a different one. Some spells also combine elements: Jovis Tempestas Fulguriens is Lightning/Wind, while Incendium Gehennae is Darkness/Fire.
  • Ronin Warriors originally known as Yoroiden Samurai Troopers have the 5 core Troopers' armors based on some elemental powers. Ryo is fire, Shin/Cye is water, Shu/Kento is earth, Seiji/Sage is Lightning/Thunder and Touma/Rowen is Light/Air.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth has Hikaru as fire, Umi as water, and Fuu as wind.
  • In the Hanshin Republic arc of Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, Syaoran has a fire kudan, Kurogane a water kudan, and Fai an air kudan. Later, Kurogane gains a sword named Souhi (blue ice), while Syaoran gains a sword named Hien (scarlet flame).
    • Original!Syaoran instead uses lightning, given his signature magic attack "Thunder Emperor".
  • Cardcaptor Sakura has cards for Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Ice (in the form of the Freeze card), Wood, Light, and Dark.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The elemental heroes and villains of The DCU include:
    • Earth: Terra (Teen Titans)
    • Fire: Fire (Checkmate)
    • Air: Red Tornado (Justice League)
    • Water: Aqualad (Teen Titans)
    • The DCU is also really fond of making up elements. Swamp Thing is a plant elemental? Okay, fine. Brother Power the Geek is a doll elemental? Now you're pushing it.
      • Firestorm is an atomic structure elemental, and Animal Man is an animal life elemental.
      • Firestorm's the fire elemental. Turns out Fire represents /all/ forms of energy, including the nuclear forces. It's implied that DC's air, earth, and water elementals have similar potential.
    • It was hinted at, but never confirmed, that Captain Atom might be the quintessential, or fifth elemental.
  • The elemental heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe include:
    • Earth: Avalanche (X-Men)
    • Fire: Human Torch (Fantastic Four), Pyro (X-Men)
    • Air: Wind Dancer (X-Men)
    • Water: Hydroman (Spider-Man)
    • Marvel-wise, the Fantastic Four are pretty much a representation of the four classical elements—Earth (The Thing), Fire (Human Torch), Water (Mr. Fantastic), and Air (The Invisible Woman)
    • Marvel also have a super-villain team named Force of Nature, with Terraformer (Earth), Aqueduct (Water), Skybreaker (Air), and Sunstreak (Fire).
  • This trope was the whole premise of Comico Comics' Elementals, a dark superhero comic about the team of Morningstar, Vortex, Fathom and Monolith.
  • Fantastic Four - More subtle than the rest, with Susan being Air (invisibility and forcefields) and Reed Water (flows, stretches, and very resourceful). Ben and Johnny are Earth and Fire, more obviously.
    • Several alternate continuities, such as the Ultimate and Movieverse versions, have Victor von Doom in the same accident as the rest of the Four, where he acquires somewhat uncontrollable power over Metal/Lightning.
    • This editor's favorite was the What If where Doctor Doom's Face Heel Turn gave him The Thing's Earth body, while Ben Grimm turned into the Hulk. Fire, Water, Air and Gamma Rays, yeah!
  • Shows up in the Dutch Douwe Dabbert comics. There are four artifacts hidden away at the four cardinal directions, in mysterious temples, each embodying a classical Greek element. Their exact powers and uses are unclear: in the Middle East, there is a chest containing an apparently infinte amount of sand (Earth). In the Carribean (West) there is a balloon containing a mighty storm (Wind). In the arctic, there is a... dodo egg frozen in Ice. (Yeah, I don't know either.) Douwe finally figures it out when he gets at last to the artifact hidden in Africa: a diamond that is kept in a dark underground temple. He correctly surmises that when the sun shines on it, it will set everything on Fire. (Too bad that the villains don't get it...)
  • Superman can be considered the embodiment of all four elements wrapped into one. For earth, there's his Super Strength and Nigh Invulnerability. For water, there's his arctic breath. For air, there's his Flight and Super Breath. For fire, there's his heat vision.


Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • Pokémon Master is based around this trope. Big Bad Giovanni unlocks something should not have been opened, humans start developing Pokemon powers and traits... and the result is NOT pretty.
  • In Pretty Cure Perfume Preppy, the Five-Man Band is comprised of Heart (Cure Rosa), Sound (Cure Vanilla), Lightning (Cure Jasmine), Air (Cure Tangerine), and Earth (Cure Cardamomo), though this changes a little with the power-up attacks. On the other hand, Dark Magical Girl Leather Ashes uses the elements of Darkness and Blood.
    • Similarly, in Futari wa Pretty Cure Flash Fire, Cures Ember and Glaicer wield the powers of fire and ice, respectively, and in Pretty Cure Full Color, the main heroines wield the elements of Air (Cure Autumn), Ice (Cure Winter), Fire/Heat (Cure Summer), and Earth (Cure Spring).
    • In Shining Pretty Cure, the main heroines wield the four basic elements, and the upcoming Cure Diamond will wield light/energy. Basically, a bunch of Pretty Cure fanseries have this theme.
  • In the Total Drama Island fanfiction Keepers of the Elements, Bridgette controls Water/Ice, Izzy controls Fire, Heather controls Earth/Plants/Metal, Lindsay controls Air and Gwen controls Energy.
  • What little is seen of the Warriors in Drunkard's Walk indicates that at least some of them possess elemental powers. For example, Wetter Hexe is explicitly an incarnated weather deity with powers to match, Shadowwalker is darkness and sound, and Silverbolt is Lightning.


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Fifth Element - duh. In this case the classic four are joined by the fifth "perfect" element, which is actually a humanoid girl. In this case Milla Jovovich, and what could be more perfect, after all?
    • Well, sort of. Leeloo is just the carrier. The titular fifth element is luv. Awww!
    • By my understanding, the fifth element was LIFE. Perfect being and all, y'know?
  • On the spanish movie Dragon Hill the classical western elements are pretty much said to be the only way a person can get into the titular Lost World ( and the only way out is via a supercomputer). The sequel El Cubo Mágico goes furhter by making the Magic Cube reacting to any of the four elements (which makes one wonder why doesn't it react all the time as it is constantly in contact with the air) by creating an Eldritch Abomination. The bad guy also uses what appears to be light blasts, while the dragon Ethelbert uses ones of a blue colouration.
  • The Ghost Rider movie actually invokes this. Ghost Rider is Fire, just like in the comics, and he's pitted against three demons based on wind, water and earth. And who are they working for? Blackheart.
  • Thor can naturally summon lightning and wind through the power of Mjolnir. Fire seems to be the specialty of The Destroyer and the Jotsuns, who live in an icy climate, uses ice powers.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Harry Potter has fewer Elemental Spells than most other settings. The only two featured are conjuring of fire and water (also light if you count several charms like Lumos and the Patronum).
    • Each Hogwarts house is associated with an element.
      • Fire: Gryffindor
      • Water: Slytherin
      • Air: Ravenclaw
      • Earth: Hufflepuff
  • Harry Dresden generally conjures wind when he wants to move something or pull his punches and fire when he really wants something destroyed quickly. He also rarely calls on earth magic (in such aspects as magnetism and moving gravity for a moment) but considers that element "difficult, powerful, and dangerous" to deal with.
    • Harry's friend and fellow Warden Carlos Ramirez balances Harry in that he possesses an elemental power that Harry doesn't have ( water) and a power that may or may not be an element in the Dresdenverse-- entropy. When the two wizards are working together, they seriously kick ass.
      • Entropy is water magic, essentially enhancing water's natural dissolving properties by an order of magnitude.
    • There's also the rare use of Earth magic. When we see Harry use it, it's mostly in the form of magnetism to disarm enemies.
    • Morgan used Earth magic in combat, although it was rarely seen directly in the novels. It's mentioned once or twice that Harry knows he wouldn't stand a chance against Morgan in straight-up combat, although this is probably mostly just due to Morgan's skill and experience rather than their elements.
    • Interestingly the faeries refer to human technology as a form of "ferromancy" - whether this is simply them not really understanding human technology or something more remains to be seen.
  • Dan Brown's Angels and Demons featured an assassin who not only killed four cardinals using the elements as a theme, but would burn the name of that element into their flesh before he killed them.
    • One cardinal he buried while stuffing dirt into his mouth (Earth)
    • Another he poked holes into his lungs (Air)
    • Another he trapped inside a burning building (Fire)
    • The final one he drowned in a fountain (Water)
  • One sphere of magic in Skulduggery Pleasant is based around the elements, with each element doing specific things.
  • Used by Pug/Milamber to destroy a gladiator stadium in an impressive display of magical awesomeness, in Raymond E. Feist's Magician: Master. Note to any conquerors: If you take slaves from a nation you are at war with, then subsequently help one of them unlock his ultimate magical power and then integrate into your society, don't take him to the gladiator arena where you make his countrymen fight to the death. It won't end well.
  • The Wheel of Time: The Five Powers are Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit. Male channelers are more skilled with Earth and Fire, and women with Water and Air.
  • The Fighting Fantasy gamebooks feature the Seven Serpents, seven giant winged snakes with specific powers over different elements-Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Sun, Moon and Time. They are the main antagonists in the third book of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! series, and the player must defeat them so news of their mission won't get back to the series' Big Bad. Fortunately, the Serpents' elemental powers also give them each specific weaknesses, which skilled adventurers can exploit.
  • Stone and Wood related powers are the best established in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant due to being the ones favored by the good guys, but other possible "elements" appear to include Fire, Ice, Acid, Lightning, Water, Wind/Sound, Gold, Blood, and Time. There exists also non-elemental magic of pure force, as well as Wild Magic based on White Gold.
  • Tamora Pierce used this with a twist in her original Circle of Magic series: Briar was a plant mage (earth), Daja was a smith-mage (fire), but rather than distributing the final two elements amongst the other members of the circle, she gave Tris, a weather-mage, both air and water, and Sandry was a thread mage, which is definitely not a traditional element.
    • Moreover, once Sandry spins their magics together, they all have elements of each other's power, and so expand their fields of influence significantly.
  • The Discworld, being a nearly-unreal world, uses the Classical Elements, but adds a fifth, and no, it's not Heart. According to the History Monks, the world is made of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, and the fifth element, Surprise, allows everything to keep happening.
    • In The Light Fantastic, it is stated that the druids believe the world consists of four elements: magic, uncertainty, charm and bloody-mindedness.
  • Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series features a fantasy world inhabited by "furies", which are elemental spirits that inhabit most everything. Most people in this world can "craft" at least one fury; talented furycrafters can control two or more or differing elements. Anyone can exert a minimal level of control over most elements, especially if items have been pre-crafted for a specific effect. For instance, a Furylamp is a lamp with a captive fire fury to produce light. Anyone can turn them on or off, even if they have no actual skill at firecrafting. Similarly, anyone can draw on the earth furies in the major roads to let them run at high speed with minimal fatigue - infantry can march up to 50 miles a day with a causeway, whereas without one, a day's march is only 6–8 miles. Furycrafting has two aspects. Internal (drawing on an element to improve your abilities) and external (manifesting an actual elemental, or physical effect).
    • Earth is specifically about dirt and stone, but not metal. Mentally, Earth is associated with love, lust and contentment. Internal earthcrafting gives great strength and endurance. A talented earthcrafter can literally lift tons of weight. Externally, you can move and reshape dirt and stone. This can be used to create walls (or holes in them), carve ditches, or draw salt up from the earth. Manifested earth furies tend to be large strong quadrupeds, like giant dogs, bulls or just golems.
    • Metal is unusual in that it doesn't normally manifest externally. Metalcrafters are good at manipulating metal, and tend to work as smiths. A metalcrafter can draw on the "stillness" of metal to control their emotions (becoming dispassionate and flat), as well as to ignore pain, even from crippling wounds. The control of metal makes them master fencers. Not only can they harden the metal of their own swords (letting them cut through stone or even un-fury-hardened steel), but they can both more precisely control their blades, but can sense the nearby presence of metal, letting them know exactly where their opponent's swing is headed so they can block.
    • Water is the element of healing and empathy. Watercrafters have a constant level of empathy going on, and with more direct application, can detect lies from almost anyone. They can physically manipulate water to flow uphill or over a riverbank. When an injured person or animal is immersed in water, they can examine the injury from an internal perspective, and heal any number of wounds.
    • Fire doesn't have many internal manifestations. The only one really seen is in regulating body temperature, typically keeping warm in winter. Externally, it's most commonly used to shoot fireballs at the enemy, set fires, or to craft heat-related items. Chilling and freezing things is also an application of firecraft. Emotionally, firecraft can be used to generate anger, raise passions, or cause fear and panic.
    • Air is associated with intellect. It is said that air furies are fickle with short attention spans, and thus only those with great concentration can master them. Internally, air can be drawn upon for incredible speed and reactions. Externally, the most common application is flight. Proper manipulation of air can also be used to create a magnifying glass for far-seeing, or with enough strength, a veil to conceal from sight. One rarely used application is simply to draw the air out of an opponent's lungs, asphyxiating them.
    • Wood is associated with almost all vegetable matter, including leaves, grass, hay, ferns and the like. Woodcrafters are great scouts and trackers, and phenomenal archers. Being able to directly manipulate the wood of their arrows grants them extreme levels of accuracy. They can draw vegetable matter over themselves in veil, using it to manipulate shadows into concealing themselves. With enough strength, they can animate trees into entangling foes.
  • Nearly the entire basis of magic in David Farland's Runelords series of fantasy novels. Air and fire are usually treated as the "bad" elements, since they're chaotic and inspire chaos and madness in their wielders (and fire inspires its wielders to be destructive, because they can draw strength from other fires), while earth and water are the "good" elements, since both are considered stable and even nurturing. The hero of the first part of the series was the powerful Earth King, fighting to avert The End of the World as We Know It at the hands of Fire and Air worshipers.
    • The second series is much less black-and-white. The Earth King's son is a fire mage; the son's challenges lie as much in controlling his rampant power as in fighting evil. We find out that Fire has powers that can be used for good, including doing one thing that nobody has ever been known to do with Earth powers: kill a Locus.
  • In Orson Scott Card's The Tales of Alvin Maker you have torches (fire), doodlebugs (earth), Making and Unmaking, as well as the Indians' Song of the Green. There are also references to earth-fire-air-water... unusually, water is the one considered to be inherently destructive.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series obviously uses this trope. Each book is a re-writing of a traditional Fairy Tale with the involvement of Elemental Powers.
  • Wurts's The Cycle of Fire Trilogy has particularly powerful elemental magic. The Stormwarden, who uses only air and water, can create a storm fierce enough to melt rock through sheer friction. The Firelord, who uses only earth and fire, kills the Big Bad with a explosion hotter than the heart of a star.
  • August Derleth tried to retroactively impose an elemental theme on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, matching up Cthulhu with Water and Shub-Niggurath with Earth, etc. It never worked too well. Just to point out the most obvious flaw: Water was, In Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu, one of Cthulhu's only weaknesses, as being submerged kept him in hibernation and hindered his ability to inspire fear in the minds of mankind.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, the titular protagonist is a magic-user whose abilities are connected to sunlight. This is described as an unusual elemental affinity that falls somewhere between air and fire. It is explained that in this book's universe, being a magic-user associated with a certain element gives you resistance to anything that element opposes or neutralizes. For example, a magic-user affiliated with Water would make a good firefighter, and a mage associated with Sun would make a good vampire hunter.
  • In Cate Tiernan's Balefire quartet, Clio and Petra have fire as "their" element. They assume that Clio's twin Thais does too, until a series of disastrous magical events show that her element is water.
  • In the anthology Wandering Djinn, not only do we have our protagonist Malik who's a djinn, and classically associated with fire, but also meets up with a marid, which is based on water, and a kamaitachi, who traditionally could be seen as air-types.
  • Benjamin in Breaking Dawn can manipulate earth, air, fire and water - his ability is unique in that it involves physical manipulation, while all other vampire talents affect the mind.
  • This is how most of the magic in the Farsala Trilogy works- Kavi's is a possible exception, as he has the ability to speak to metal.
  • Elements are central to the plot of the Russian novel Seven Elements of Creation by Irina Krupenikova. In the novel, each of the seven elements chooses one of the seven heroes to be its agents in order to fight those who would destroy all of Creation. The young space pilot Danila Timokhin becomes the agent of Life; Père, a wisp-like creature that befriended Danila as a boy, is chosen by Air; Yulia Strizh, a female gunner, is favored by Water; an interdimentional Intermediary named Seraphima Kaliada is selected by Cosmos (or Void); twins Greg and Gor (usually simply called Greg-Gor, as they have one consciousness) become agents of Fire; his/their brother Olivul Ber-Ross, the White Knight, is chosen by Earth; his cousin Donai Dierbrook (Yulia's brother), initially the heroes' antagonist, changes his title from the Black Knight to the Red Knight and takes up the cause of Death (Death is not inherently evil; it is merely a necessary counterpart to Life). These seven fly around in an interdimentional ship, the Winged Wolf.
  • In the novel Salamander, magic is divided along elemental axes. It's noted, however, that one can also divide magic along functional (weaving, shaping, refining, tempering) or humorous (hot, cold, wet, dry) axes.
  • The Chronicles of the Emerged World have the Eight Lands each representing an element, and in each land there's a hidden sanctuary keeping the sacred Stones needed for the Talisman of Powers. Said elements and lands are Water (teal), Sea (blue), Sun/Light (yellow), Days/Time (grey), Night/Darkness (black), Fire (red), Stone (brown) and Wind (white).
  • In Septimus Heap, while not being necessary, some Magyk can work like Elemental Powers. For example, Safety Curtains and the Revive spells used by Marcia Overstrand in Magyk and Darke are Air-related powers and require breath control.
  • Wizards in The Witch Watch can invoke the 'primal forces of nature.' Normally fire, but wind and rain have been known to occur too and there are rumours of wizards commanding even lightning.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Soulcasting is a form of magic that allows turning one substance into another (vaguely resembling Alchemy from Fullmetal Alchemist), and is based around ten elements:,,,,,[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] and.[13]


Live Action TV[edit | hide]


MMORPG[edit | hide]

  • In World of Warcraft the Shaman class can create elemental "totems" that produce various effects; Earth totems tend to give defensive buffs, Fire ones are usually offensive, Water ones provide healing/restoration effects and Air ones provide a variety of support effects such as acting like a lightning rod for enemy spells. And let's not forget the fact that they can shoot lightning (and lava) from their hands.
    • The game is unique in that air and earth count as the same element (nature). It also features Shadow, Arcane (magic) and Holy (which, unlike the other five, has no resistance stat).
    • Story-wise, the Warcraft universe contains universal self-aware spirits for each element. The fifth element, and the strongest of all, is life Wild.
    • Note that there doesn't seem to be any connection to the elemental spirits that Shamans get their power from and the damage types ingame; which are the above mentioned Nature, Shadow, Arcane and Holy, plus Fire, Frost and physical damage. Nature in particular seems to be a 'dump' category, including air and earth, but also poisons.
    • The schools of magic damage simply don't correspond to anything in particular. Arcane damage is pure magical energy used almost exclusively by cerebral mages, which warps reality in large concentrations - but focused moonlight, a gift from the moon goddess, is also Arcane. Fire from demons is a completely different thing from fire from elemental forces or a chemical combusion reaction, but it's all Fire damage. Frost damage is dealt by all water elementals everywhere, even on tropical islands. Some earth elementals (that is, with a certain animated rock model) deal Nature damage and some deal Fire damage, if they're found in places where volcanic forces are strong, and somewhere there are probably some that deal physical damage. In addition to some earth elementals, Nature damage also comes from lightning, poison, plant elementals and wildlife-associated spells.
    • Of course, every spell is connected to an element and most classes have at least two elements used regularly. Exception being the Warrior, who doesn't use anything at all, the Rogue who has poisons and the Paladin who relies solely on Holy spells.
  • Elementalists in Guild Wars. They have five spell attributes: Fire, Earth, Air (Most of which are Lightning), Water (Most of which are Ice), and their Primary Attribute, Energy Storage, which gives them a large Energy (mana) pool. It has one offensive spell, Energy Blast, which does more damage based on how much Energy you currently have. Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors isn't invoked much, mainly against some monsters with an obvious elemental bent.
    • Mesmers can also perhaps be called in here, invoking a strange mix of Heart and Mind, collectively designated Chaos, and they excel at making life for other people miserable by turning their own powers against them, sabotaging those powers, and attacking the very essence of the enemy.
    • Rangers also feature a series of Nature Rituals, tying them into Life, and Ritualists use Spirit as their main power source, with some ties to Life.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, there are the five elements of Hot, Cold, Spooky, Stench, and Sleaze, with rare occurrences of Bad Spelling and Shadow (the former used by creatures parodying the Internet like Flaming Trolls and Spam Witches, the latter used, appropriately, by your Shadow)
  • The MMORPG Ragnarok Online has 9 elements. Earth, Fire , Wind (most of it is lightning), Water ( almost everything of it is ice), Ghost , Holy , Undead , Dark , Poison. There's also neutral. First five are used by Mages, holy by Priest and Crusaders, Poison is utilized by Assasins. Dark and Undead is used by monsters. The game involves Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors and elemental levels, from 1 to 4. The higher the elemental level the more important its elemental weaknesses and strenghts. A Water1 monster is highly resistant to fire attacks, but a Water4 is invulnerable to them.
  • City of Heroes has multiple powersets for using many elements for ranged and melee attacks, defensive armors, controls, and buffs and debuffs. Elements available include Fire, Wind (Storm), Electricity, Ice, Darkness, Energy, and one of the few heroic examples of Radiation, used by one unambiguously heroic character.
  • In RuneScape, the basic spell book divides up offensive spells into wind, water, earth and fire attacks. The Ancient spellbook on the other hand uses smoke, shadow, blood, ice and miasma spells.
  • Rift has six elemental planes that are all trying to invade the world of Telara. To wit, Life, Death, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, each and every one of them opening the titular rifts and each and every one of them hating all the others. Fun times, everybody!
  • In addition to all the elements that both Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable feature, Adventure Quest Worlds throws in a new tenth elemental in the form of Chaos, which is represented by purple Chaos tentacles and a purple eye. Chaos has the power to chaorrupt (short for chaos corrupt) objects and beings, sapping them of their sanity and giving them the power to chaorrupt others. It is controlled by the Big Bad, Drakath, and his 13 Lords of Chaos.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Spice Girls (after Geri Halliwell Left) in their music videos Holler and Let Love Lead The Way represents the four elements each.
  • KPop boyband EXO bestowed elemental powers to members D.O., Chanyeol, Se Hun, Su Ho, Chen, Xiumin, Baek Hyun, Lay (More on the Life side), and Tao as part of the group's ongoing "story" (The powers for the rest of the 12-member group may not be considered elemental).


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In east-Asian tactics, there's the concept of the Furinkazan: Wind, Forest, Fire, Mountain; the idea that success requires superior mobility ("Be as swift as the wind"), superiority in intelligence ("As silent as the Forest"), superior firepower at the point of attack ("As fierce as Fire"), and superior will ("As unmoving as the Mountain").
  • The classical elements are actually Fridge Brilliance when compared to the four basic organic elements that also happen to be some of the most abundant in the universe: hydrogen (1), carbon (6), nitrogen (7), and oxygen (8). All four are rock forming elements (earth), water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, nitrogen and oxygen together make up 98% of Earth's atmosphere (air), and hydrogen and hydrocarbons are combustible when exposed to oxygen (fire). All four of these actual elements can combine to make the classical elements.
    • The four states of matter (solid, liquid, gas and plasma) is also mentioned in this. The obviousness of it is that earth is primarily solid; water, while it possesses the first three states depending on the temperature, is liquid; air is gas; and fire is charged up gas, or plasma.
      • Does that mean "aether" corresponds to Einstein-Bose Condensate?


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Elemental Powers as a whole is one of the spheres of magic Mages can learn in the Mage: The Ascension and Mage: The Awakening.
    • Notably, in Mage: The Awakening, there's the collection of legacies known as the Elemental Masteries, which allow a mage to develop powers based on a specific element. The five best known Masteries are Void, Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, with rumors of various others.
      • Most notable in that they are focused around controlling both the physical and conceptual element (Tamers of Fire can control fire and inspire willpower for instance, or Tamers of Water can control water and heal).
    • In Changeling: The Dreaming, two races of changelings have elemental themes. However, they are not standard player characters and come across as exotic and alien to the Kithain, the more mainstream fae. The Western elements are represented by the Inanimae. They include the Solimonds (Fire; revolutionaries), Ondines (Water; watchers), Perosemes (Air; travellers), Glomes (Earth/Rock; soldiers), Kuberas (Earth/Plants; hedonists), and Mannikins (Anything human-shaped; enigmatic to Inanimae and Kithain alike). The Eastern Elements are represented by the Kamuii, the noble caste of Hsien (Asian Changelings; the commoners are Animorphs. The Kamuii consist of the Chu-ih-yu (Metal; Knights Templar), Chu Jung (Fire; strategists), Hou-chi (Wood; healers), Komuko (Earth; Balanced), and Suijen (Water; jerkasses).
    • The New World of Darkness version, Changeling: The Lost, has the 'Elemental' Seeming as standard, which comes in the usual fire, water, earth, air and so on, but also covers most Changelings who took on a physical aspect of Arcadia. They get a buy-in with the Contracts of Elements (which allow for control over a specific element) and Communion (which allow for communication and influence with a specific element); they can buy up the classical elements, but could also buy power over Wood, Metal, Ice, Electricity, Glass, even Shadow or Light if you've got a permissive enough Storyteller.
    • Promethean: The Created has the five types of Prometheans themed after the Elements (and the humors). Wretched are Fire, Tammuz are Earth, Osirans are Water, Galateids are Air, and Ulgans are 'Spirit'. Then there's the real odd man out; the Zeka are radiation.
    • Geist: The Sin Eaters has four elemental Keys: Grave-Dirt (Earth), Cold Wind (Air), Pyre-Flame (Fire), and Tear-Stained (Water). They don't really fit in with the death theme at first, until you realize they correspond with such funerary practices as the traditional burial, the Zoroastrian tradition of leaving a corpse for carrion birds to consume, cremation, and burial at sea.
  • Magic the Gathering is rooted in this trope, using five "colors" as its elements, and "tapping" natural elements to produce appropriately-colored mana. It's got a somewhat different elemental division, though: White (holy magic), Black (shadow and death magic), Blue (illusion magic), Red (raw power magic), and Green (nature magic). These could be seen to correspond to Light, Dark, Water, Fire, and Earth, sort of, but not exactly. Most decks are built around a pairing of color types.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Earlier editions of D&D, elaborated further in 2nd Edition's Planescape setting, were a lot more complicated.[16] First you had the four (classic) elemental planes, then two energy planes (Positive, or "life" energy, and Negative, or "death"/"unlife" energy) which aren't elements proper. Paraelemental planes occurred where the elemental planes crossed over each other ("magma" between earth and fire, for example), and quasielemental planes where the elemental planes crossed with the energy planes—Fire + Positive = Radiance (plane of pure, blinding light of all colors), Air + Positive = Lightning (infinite storm), Air + Negative = Vacuum (the vast absence of air and most other things). So a quasielement touches energy, base element, 2 quasielements and two base's paraelements, and a paraelement touches 2 base elements and their 4 quasielements. Some fans went further and created planes to "fill in the gaps" between the paraelemental planes and the energy planes.
      • Each of the four elemental planes also has a native race of genies: the djinn (Air), efreet (Fire), marid (Water) and dao (Earth). There's also a fifth race, the jann, which are native to the mortal world and are composed of all four elements.
      • And Ravenloft has tainted Elementals born out of the corrupting influence of the Dark Powers: Pyre (fire) Grave (Earth) Blood (Water) and Mist (Air) elementals.
    • Third Edition did this too...they just put a lot less emphasis on it, since Planescape was largely a discontinued setting.
      • Other elementals exist in different supplements, such as taint elementals in Heroes Of Horror.
      • Each element also had an energy type associated with it. Fire had fire damage (duh), water had cold, air had lightning, and earth had acid. Then, there was poor, lonely sonic damage...
      • The Elemental Savant Prestige Class selects any one of these four to focus on, creating a truer example than mages with access to all of the above.
    • 4th edition replaced all the Elemental Planes and Limbo with something called the Elemental Chaos. Each Elemental Plane was devoted to a single element, but Limbo had mixtures of all the elements. The Elemental Chaos combines not only the features of these planes, but their inhabitants (Elementals from the Elemental Planes; slaadi and githzerai from Limbo).
  • Exalted divvies up the Dragon-Blooded by the five elemental Aspects of Creation (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Wood). The Aspect of a particular Dragon-Blooded determines their favored attributes (such as Craft for Earth, Sail for Water, Thrown for Air, etc.), and one Charm (Elemental Bolt) lets them produce a blast attack of their particular element.
    • Various planes of reality in Exalted all possess certain elements that dominate the makeup of that place. Autochthonia has the peculiar elements of Crystal, Lightning, Metal, Oil, Steam and Smoke, all with corresponding elementals and mechanical dragons (The Lesser Elemental Dragon of Smoke is lovingly titled The Shogun of Genocide). The Underworld has the ghostly elements of Blood, Bone, Prayer, Pyreflame and Void.[17] Malfeas has Vitriol—and that's it. It kind of sucks to live there.
  • In the Savage Worlds setting 50 Fathoms, magic is based on elemental mastery. Much like Avatar: The Last Airbender, most mages posess mastery over only one of the four clasical elements. However, player characters can buy dominion over each element, leading up to buying the 'Elemental Mastery' edge, with which your mage can sucessfully balance all four elements.
  • The Dark Eye has six elements: Water, Fire, Air, Ore, Humus, and Ice. Ore is the "dead" part of the more common element Earth: Anything from sand to gemstones and refined metals, and one aspect is gravity; the opposite of air. Humus is the "living" part, from fertile topsoil to plants and animals, and associated with growth. Its opposite Ice includes cold and darkness, and is also associated with logic. The magic system is not limited to elemental spells, but any magic user specialising in elemental magic must chose one element as their main one, which makes spells based on it easier to learn, gives a slight bonus in negotiations with elementals, etc. There are corresponding penalties when dealing with the opposite element.

Toys[edit | hide]

  • Most characters in Bionicle have an element associated with them. The main ones that the various heroes wield are Fire, Ice, Water, Air, Stone, and Earth; while the Big Bads have Shadow and the Sixth Ranger has Light. Time and Life are considered Infinity Plus One Elements; no person wields those elements naturally and the relics with those powers (one each) are dangerous to use. Occasionally some other elements are mentioned, from not-so-unusual ones like Lightning, Iron, and Plant Life; to offbeat ones like Sonics (sound), Magnetism, Gravity, Plasma, and Psionics (Psychic Powers). On top of that, some characters' powers like Acid and Vacuum are considered quasi-elements, mostly due to being part of a group whose other members use actual elements.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Pokémon has seventeen types: Bug, Dark, Dragon, Electric, Fighting, Fire, Flying, Ghost, Grass, Ground, Ice, Normal, Poison, Psychic, Rock, Steel, and Water. To make it even more complicated, a Pokémon can either have one of those types, or have two types and get the Weaknesses and Resistances of both.
    • And Shadow! Technically it is the only element that is a temporary one as well as potential for Pokémon to have a third possible "type", but in certain circles, it still counts as a type in and of itself. The same may also apply to ??? but only if one wants to count this not-so-legal type.
      • The ??? type officially doesn't exist as of Generation V. Curse is officially a Ghost-type move from this point.
  • The Japanese-themed RPG Legend of the Five Rings, which places great significance in the Five Elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Void) - all spellcasters in that system work by controlling one of the four (other than Void).
    • Void doesn't have a set spell list; instead it gives 'Void Points' which power special abilities.'
      • Void does so have a spell list. It's just that shugenja who can handle void spells are rare (the secrets of the art are really closely-guarded Phoenix clan secrets).
  • The sun Goddess Amaterasu in Okami eventually gains Elemental powers over the Sun, Moon, Wind, Water, Wood, Thunder, Ice, and Fire.
  • Quest for Glory uses the four traditional elements, with a fifth one needed for life... Pizza. In the words of Dr Cranium "Would you want to live in a world without Pizza?" We cannot fault his logic. The Pizza thing became a recurring joke in the last two games. So much that the fanmade VGA remake of the second game (where the player must defeat 4 elementals) includes a Pizza Elemental as a Bonus Boss.
  • The Magical Vacation series really stretches the definition of what counts as "Elemental Powers", with characters having powers over Sound, Beauty, Poison, Bug, Beast, Machinery, and Love along with the more traditional ones.
  • Black Magic in Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts is usually based around Elemental Powers, with Thunder, Blizzard, and Fire being common Black Magic spells. Less commonly, Holy, Dark, Wind, Earth, and Water are also mixed in.
    • Which are often the domain of Blue Mages or other casters not directly connected to the classic classes. White Mages often get Holy, though.
    • "Gravity" is a class of spells which deals percentage-based damage but is generally not directly associated with an element (unless it's associated with Darkness, in which case it takes off an extra fraction of damage to those weak against it). There are also countless "non-elemental" spells like Flare and Ultima.
    • In Final Fantasy I, the last boss Chaos has the powers of the four elemental fiends at his command, and thus uses the powerful elemental spells Blaze, Tsunami, Tornado and Earthquake. This is echoed in Dissidia Final Fantasy, where Chaos' original form Garland has said spells as well. What's more, Garland's Swiss Army Weapon has four alternate forms, each symbolising an element, and he uses said form to launch that element's attack.
  • Bloodline Champions has quite a few. The Guardian's powers seem to be of the holy nature, especially with them being a Church Militant. The Inhibitor is a Church Militant as well, but their powers seem to have an arcane theme and appearance to them. The Glutton's magic is stated to be earth magic. The Stalker's powers aren't stated within their background, but has a darkness look and naming to it. The Seeker can use fire, ice and lightning on their arrows with an ultimate in the past that was called Elemental Fusion (later changed to a different ultimate called Marksmanship). The Harbinger has darkness powers. The Thorn has twisted plants to use them as abilities. The Herald of Insight is a Time Master. The Psychopomp's powers are of soul and spirit. While not mentioned in their background, the Nomad has wind powers. ]]Exactly What It Says on the Tin The Igniter]] burns stuff. The Astronomer seems to be able to Light'Em Up, but subverts it - their abilities are actually due to their scientific tools.
  • Diablo II only uses Fire, Cold and Lightning. Fire deal the most consistent damage, ice is generally useful due to it's incapacitating properties while lightning has the potentially highest but also the potentially lowest damage. Sorceresses have a separate skill tree for each though lightning contains some strange choices as well, like teleportation (fire only has one that increases mana regeneration). All three elements have separate resistance values; poison (mastered by Necromancers) does as well but in terms of gameplay mechanics, it's not considered to be elemental damage. Also, in terms of gameplay mechanics, elemental and magical damage are considered two separate things ie. magical immunity won't block elemental attacks and vice versa.
    • Some monsters have the "Spectral Hit" attribute that gives each of their attacks random elemental damage. Additionally, some are elementally enchanted, giving them increased resistance to that particular element as well as special powers:
      • Fire: fire damage with each attack, explodes when killed.
      • Cold: cold damage with each attack, casts a Frost Nova when killed.
      • Lightning: lightning damage with each attack, casts Charged Bolt when hit. Unpatched versions can combine this with Multi-Shot, creating a Game Breaker combo.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, Organization XIII members have their own "attribute". Most of the time, they use elemental attacks based on their attribute. Axel controls fire, Demyx controls water, Xaldin controls wind, etc. Others just use their attribute as a source of power (Saïx), or visual motifs (Marluxia). Or it's just very tangentially related to their fighting style (Luxord's timer is the extent of his time attribute). In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, these elements are extended to Heartless enemies as well, and each one is given a status effect.
      • Nothingness: Xemnas. Can null your defense in 358/2 Days.
      • Space: Xigbar. Can "shoe-glue" you in 358/2 Days, preventing you from jumping.
      • Wind: Xaldin. Can "air-toss" you, making you fall to the ground if you're in the air.
      • Ice: Vexen. Can freeze you in 358/2 Days.
      • Earth: Lexaeus. Can halve your health in 358/2 Days.
      • Illusion: Zexion. Can "flip-foot" you in 358/2 Days, reversing your controls.
      • Moon: Saïx. Can silence you in 358/2 Days, preventing you from casting magic.
      • Fire: Axel. Can ignite you in 358/2 Days, making you lose small amounts of health at intervals.
      • Water: Demyx. Can damage-drain you, healing the enemy if you get hit by their water attack.
      • Time: Luxord. Can rewind your defense in 358/2 Days, setting your defense back to what it was at level 1.
      • Flowers: Marluxia. Can blind you in 358/2 Days, making you miss enemies much more often.
      • Lightning: Larxene. Can shock you in 358/2 Days.
      • Light: Roxas and Xion. Can zap your radar in 358/2 Days, messing with your minimap.
  • This is subverted completely in Super Robot Wars, especially the Masou Kishin portion of the series. They are not called The Lord of Elementals for nothing at all, though personality-wise, not everyone is matching.
  • Mega Man 1 had Bomb Man, Elec Man, Ice Man, and Fire Man.
  • In Genji Dawn of a Samurai there are four basic elements which can be use both by the player and the enemies and each of them has a status effect and color: Fire (Red, set ablaze), Ice (Blue, freeze), Lightning (Yellow, paralyze) and Poison (Purple, intoxicate).
  • Golden Sun: nearly all of the major characters are "Adepts" with elemental powers, and the player gets one party member (and towards the end of the second game, two) for each element. It also tends to follow the Personality Powers connotations, with (for example) Ivan (Air, which includes lightning attacks here) being quiet and thoughtful, most Fire Adepts tending to be brash and aggressive, water (and ice too) characters being more even and level-headed, and of course Isaac (and Felix) (Earth) being Heroic Mime. The game categorizes all the magic as one of these four elements, with one exception, even when there's not much of a link between the spell and the element (i.e. stat-in/decreasing spells and some of the puzzle-solving ones). None of the other elements get used, actually.
  • Spells in The Elder Scrolls series have elemental damage, and also lots of side-effects (that don't really have element-association) like Silence, Dispel or Burden.
  • The Wizardry series divides magic into six spheres: fire (which also includes lightning and light), water (which includes ice), air (which is mostly known for poison), earth (featuring lots of acid and life), mental (exactly what it sounds like), and "magic" (a mix of holy light and more esoteric arcane spells such as magic screen and magic missile).
  • And let's not forget the Seiken Densetsu series, better known in English as the Mana games, where the world's magic is governed by eight elemental spirits: Gnome (earth), Undine (water), Sylphid/Jinn (wind), Salamander (fire), Lumina (light), Shade (darkness), Luna or Aura (the moon or gold, respectively), and Dryad (wood/Mana).
  • Baten Kaitos has six elements, which oppose each other in pairs. The pairs are Fire and Water, Light and Darkness, and Wind and Chronos (a.k.a. Time).
  • Chrono Trigger has the four elements of Fire, Water, Lightning, and Shadow. Interestingly, even though Robo's laser attacks are all based on technology instead of magic, they are considered "Shadow".
    • This makes more sense in the remake, where Lightning and Shadow are clarified to be Light/Purity and Shadow/Impurity. Hence, an imperfect energy attack generated by techonology by a being without the ability to cast magic naturally is quite impure. Lightning is just the traditional manafestation of the divine in many cultures.
  • Brutal Legend, set in a Heavy Metal world, features an appropriate selection of four elements: Metal, Noise, Blood, and Fire (which are actually the four elements that made up Ormagöden before his death). Although "magic" attacks in the game are not directly associated with them, they all fall into one element in one way or another.
  • Touhou's Patchouli Knowledge has power over the five Chinese elements.
    • Not only that, but she's known as the "one-week wizard" for a reason - along with the five oriental elements, she can control solar and lunar power as well (each element she controls corresponds to a day of the week in the Japanese calendar) - she can even combine multiple elements for her attacks, up to the five-element "Philosopher's Stone."
  • Dinosaur King divides certain types of dinosaurs along elemental lines. In order of opposition, carnosaurs are fire, smaller theropods are wind, large ornithopods are grass, stegosaurs, nodosaurs, and ankylosaurs are earth, ceratopsians are lightning, and sauropods and spinosaurs are water. There is also Secret, which has no definite dinosaur type and no elemental weakness. Dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles obtained through move cards are usually neutral, though there are exceptions.
  • In Legacy of Kain series, both Raziel (and Kain in Defiance) can obtain elemental power ups for the Reaver. Raziel started with the Spectral/Material reaver and could gain: Darkness, Light, Fire, Air, Water and Earth. Discarded Reavers include the Sound Reaver, the Stone Reaver, the Sunlight Reaver and the Ariel Reaver.
  • The later games in the Wizardry series, from Bane of the Cosmic Forge onward, use six spheres of magic-fire (also folding in light and general energy), water (including ice), air (involving lots of poison, oddly enough), earth (including acid and wild/nature), mind (lots of weird/limited use spells, but also some directly offensive ones), and magic (which also includes holy/light). Mages mostly specialize in fire and water, alchemists in earth and air, psionics in mind, and priests in magic, but all spellcasters pick up an array of spells from all spheres.
  • In the first Tales of Symphonia game, there are eight temples for the eight elements, Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Lightning, Ice, Darkness, and Light. Spellcasting characters can use spells from each element except for darkness, which for some reason doesn't have spells other than one of Sheena's summons late in the game. In the second Tales of Symphonia game, each character is assigned a different element.
  • While the Castlevania series generally shies away from this, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon uses as the basis for their magic system ten elements, represented by cards:
    • Salamander: Fire
    • Serpent: Water and Ice combined
    • Mandragoras: Plant
    • Golem: Earth
    • Cockatrice: Stone
    • Manticore: Poison
    • Griffin: Wind
    • Thunderbird: Lightning
    • Unicorn: Light
    • Black Dog: Dark
      • While some enemy varieties(ie. demons) have representatives for a few of these elements, the Armor enemies have (at least) one for each.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de has a system based off both the Five Elements and the Eight Trigrams.[18] The eight characters in the party fit into the Eight Trigrams concept (to the point of it being used in the manga/anime to track down one of them), and their powers are also tied to it, yet the Combination Attacks utilise the Five Elements version (with wood, metal and earth assigned to two characters each—and two of them aren't even tied to the same holy beast).
  • Visions & Voices has five elements: Cold, Fire, Shock, Necrotic, and Radiant. Five of the playable characters specialize in one element, and one character can switch between light and dark skillsets.
  • All over the place in Arcana Heart, with each of the Arcana representing a particular element - fire, water, earth, wind, lightning, and yes...even "heart" (it's more dangerous than it sounds...TakeOurWordForIt). Each of the girls has their particular preference, but the player can use whatever Arcana they want when selecting a character.
  • In The Witcher the classical elements are used in full force by mages (for example, Azar Javed is a fire mage, who attacks with fire, and summons a monster from the planes of fire.). Mad Scientist Kalkstein however mentions he has a theory that is effectively a basic description of atoms.
    • Wizards in Witcher's world call upon the elements for mana points magical power they use for spells. Water is easiest to channel, requiring but to find a ley line, so it's the one taught to wizardry students. Earth requires much strength to get magic from it, while Air is technically difficult. Fire offers great power that is easy to reach, but also is a poster child for With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.
  • Summoner has two sets for the two sets of rings you collect, the first are the four demons: Machival (Dark), Luminar (Light), Titus (Earth) and Pyrul (Fire), the second set are the four dragons, who also have elements.
  • Light Crusader has Air, Fire, Earth and Water. You can mix the elements to create unique spells like Needlecrack.
  • The four Classical elements form the basis of Quest 64's magic system.
  • Disgaea has three elements: Fire, Ice, and Wind. All units resist one element and is weak to another. There's a fourth element called Star, which is the neutral element. Nothing is weak against it, and nothing resists it.
  • Elemental War of Magic - Fire, ice, air and earth. Not to mention life and death. (Or potentially ruin instead of death.)
  • Fall From Heaven includes most of the above elements in its mana types.
  • In the Onimusha series, there are several weapons related to elements and magics. In total we had:
  • Master of Magic is halfway between here and there. It got 5 types of magic, but in the sense of "Resist Elements" spell and suchlike elemental damage is caused by Chaos (fire bolt, lightning bolt) and Nature (ice bolt, call lightning) magic. Summoneble elementals are Air (in Sorcery), Earth (in Nature) and Fire (in Chaos) -- Water is absent.
  • In Ultima VIII: Pagan, much of the plot involves the Avatar learning magical powers related to three of the four elements, only to later defeat the gods responsible for them. You don't get to acquire any water-based powers, since the mastery of that element seems to be an inborn talent of a particular royal family. However, the player can optionally learn Thaumaturgy, a branch of magic particular to a fifth element, Aether.
  • Paladin's Quest: There are 8 Elements: Fire, Sky, Light, Spirit, Heart, Air, Earth, Water. All spells (except nine) are made by combining two elements together. Example: Fire + Spirit is "Fire G", or "Fire Group". When leaning a new Spirit (element), you suddenly get a batch of new spells. The last, is the ultimate spell only the Hero can learn, because only the Hero ever gets access to the Fire spirit, as there are no Fire or Earth Spirit teachers. The Hero only gets Earth through a scripted dungeon-and-boss.
  • In Samurai Warriors series there were different elements, each with a determinated power and effect. It affects weapons, but also some characters are more incline to determinated elements than others. Furthermore, some characters have elemental attacks involving Light, Water and Sound.
  • The Elemental class in Twilight Heroes has powers and skills themed on the four classical elements.
  • Like the Samurai Warriors example above, Sengoku Basara too used elements, (though, mind you, they were referred to the characters, not their weapons). They have:
    • Fire: Burns the opponent dealing damage over time.
    • Lightning: Stun the enemy.
    • Wind: Draw the enemies closer and deals them damage.
    • Ice: Freeze the opponents.
    • Darkness: Drain the healthbar of the enemies.
    • Light: Break any defense.
  • Persona2 uses a lot of different elements, reflected in the different families of spells; Agi, Bufu, Zio, Garu, Hama, Mudo, Tera and Magna, Aqua, Frei, and Megido, Zan and Gry.
    • The Persona series uses six different elements and up to three classifications of physical attack: slash, pierce, smash (or just Physical), fire, ice, wind, lightning, light and dark. There's also a final element, Almighty, which is generally powerful and costly, but cannot be resisted. However, the inverse is also true: no enemies are weak to it, and in the 3rd and 4th games, where hitting weaknesses gives you extra attacks, Almighty is sometimes not as good as the elements.
  • The main enemies of the first Zoids Saga game are called the Four Heavenly Kings, and their first Zoids correspond to the four "heavenly creatures" associated with them - a blue dragon (dinosaur), red bird (well, dragon), white tiger and black tortoise. There's also some subtle Theme Naming happening, based on the corresponding elements: Blood Keel = wood, Flam Vogel = fire, Gale Tusk = metal (+ wind), and Opis Kerone = water (Opis was a water spirit in Greek mythology).
  • The old Psygnosis RPG Hexx: Heresy of the Wizard has Earth, Chaos, Dragon (fire), and Night. The game lets you pick from sixteen characters—one for each element for each of the four classes. Character alignment affects what spells you can learn.
  • Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable feature eight elements in general: Earth/Nature, Fire, Wind, Water, Energy (Thunder), Ice, Light, and Darkness. Dragon Fable's main storyline also revolves around eight elemental orbs, each one with one of those respective elements. It also throws in a ninth element, called Void, which is drawn from a magical realm of the same name.
  • Super Mario Bros.: Several depending on the game and the power up, but fairly consistently in the spinoffs the characters tend to perfer
  • Dragon Age II elements aren't considered polar opposites, but allied. Learning Fire and Ice together, or Earth and Lightning (a more spectacular manifestation of Air) improves mastery of both. There's also the Spirit element, and the Force school amplifies the side effects of all elements (Fire burns, Ice freezes, Earth knocks down and Lightning stuns.)
  • Kirby, depending on what enemy he copies, can control a ton of different elements: There are the standard ones, like Stone, Iron/Sword/Spear/Cutter (for Metal), Leaf, Water/Bubble, Ice/Freeze, Fire/Burning, Tornado/Wing (for Wind), and Animal, but then there are weirder ones, like Needle, Magic (which is stage magic), Fighter/Suplex, UFO, Laser/Beam, Ghost, Ball, Mini...
    • A complete list can be found Here.
  • In EarthBound, you can use thunder, fire, stars, ice, and light (in the form of PK Flash). PK Rockin, Ness' signature move, sounds like it's control over Sound.
  • World of Warcraft. Storm, Earth, and Fire! Heed my call!
  • Septerra Core. The spell cards provide these.
  • Dungeons of Dredmor, given its very silly place on the Sliding Scale of Seriousness Versus Silliness, has some rather odd damage types, though even its normal elements are oddly named:
    • Conflagratory: Fire. The entire Promethean Magic school focuses on spells to burn everything, though this isn't always a good thing.
    • Hyperborean: Ice.
    • Voltaic: Lightning. Often found with Viking Wizardry, courtesy of Thor.
    • Toxic: Self-explanatory, and one of Fleshsmithing's two main ways of hurting things.
    • Righteous: Sometimes Light, sometimes Holy. Astrology uses a lot of it, as does demonology, at first.
    • Necromantic: Self-explanatory. Necronomiconomics loves this damage type, and you'll be facing it a lot.
    • Acidic: Self-explanatory
    • Putrefying: The other part of Fleshsmithing's damage output, rots the flesh off the target. Often found with, but otherwise unrelated to, necromantic damage.
    • Transmutative: Attacks like turning chunks of your opponent into gold coins or just plain re-arranging their atoms. Combines elements of radiation and Pure Energy. Mathemagic loves this one, and it's common among magical staves as well.
    • Aethereal: Magic from the stars, one of the primary damage types dealt by Astrology.
    • Asphyxiative: Anything you risk choking to death on.
    • Existential: Sort-of psychic, sort of darkness, and rarely seen outside of Emomancy.
  • Anvil of Dawn has seven schools of magic: the usual four, plus Lightning, Flesh, and Void.
  • The Dragon Quest series have most of the basic elements but the hero is associated with lightning. In fact, only the hero and the hero class can learn lightning magic.
  • The Elder Scrolls uses the Greek four, plus light. Relmyna Verenim in Shivering Isles believes she's found a sixth element, flesh.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • All mages in What's Shakin' can use all forms of magic, however each one excels in only one school. For instance, Coffin excels at fire magic, Pai at spirit/summoning, and Ell at holy/light.
  • Subverted in Order of the Stick when Redcloak summons Titanium and Chlorine elementals (and probably others) to attack Azure City, remarking that he actually got a passing grade in chemistry, and that fire is not even an element, but a chemical reaction.

They're not called reactionals, you know!

  • In Angel Moxie, Alex's magical ability is centered around the magical elements. The 6 magical elements are Water, Fire, Earth, Lightning, Pearl, and Shadow. Every lesser demon is aligned with a particular element, and as Alex slays demons of an element, she gains more power to cast spells of that element.
  • In the webcomic Slightly Damned, angels, demons, and mortals are attuned to the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. In addtion, Angels can use Holy magic, while demons can use Dark magic. It should also be noted that angels are generally better at spells than demons, and demons better at them than mortals.
  • A webcomic example: Magic in the world of Bideogamu is divided into eight elements, each with a patron Seraph: Light, Shadow, Fire, Water, Wind, Earth/Nature, Ice, and Lightning. Furthermore, each person in Bideogamu has an affinity for one of the eight, although Light and Shadow are very rare.
  • In the Web comic Harkovast there are fourteen (count em) magical elements! They are Fire, Ice, Water, Earth, Metal, Mind, Nature, Technology, Dark, Light, Life, Death, Thunder and Water. Every race that appears is gifted with the magic of two of these elements, each race receiving a different combination. The combination they get determines both the special powers and often aspects of the culture of that race.
  • In Panthera, each of the teens gains an elemental power while in panther form. Jason becomes the lion of earth, Kira the tiger of fire, Fletcher the leopard of Air, and Taylor the jaguar of water.
  • Butterfly from Collar 6 has recently revealed her power to use fire.
  • Bob and George They even wonder where fire is, for symmetry.
  • Spontaneous Combustion has Flat Man, who seems to have more to do with element control than being flat
  • John from Homestuck averts the common presentation of Air users as lacking raw power. He can make planetwide hurricanes with little difficulty and is creative enough to turn a tornado into a planetary drill.
    • Actually, Homestuck is all about this. There's not much of an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, but there are Heroes of Time, Breath, Doom, Blood, Heart, Space, Mind, Light, Void, Rage, Hope, Life, and gog knows what else.
  • An antagonist in Sarab also averts air users lacking raw power. He seems to have the most raw power of anyone shown so far.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The heroes of Broken Saints, do not actually have control over the elements, they are simply associated with them as representations of certain virtues.
    • Oran > Faith > Fire
    • Kamimura > Will > Earth
    • Raimi > Awareness > Air
      • (alternatively, "Awareness" in promotional material is replaced by "Hope" to represent Raimi)
    • Shandala > Lover > Water
  • Several of the superpowered teenagers at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe have elemental powers. Riptide has control over water. Fireball and Phoenixfire have fire-based powers. Imperious has the ability to cast lightning bolts, and super strength.
    • Imperious likely also has wind/air-based powers, due to being Zeus.
  • Dominion and Duchy, oddly for a Space Opera has at least six Elemental Manifestations. There is Luxianne, Manifestation of Light, Duister, Manifestation of Darkness, Dante, Manifestation of Twilight (which is apparently a specific type of energy), Lord Anarchy, Manifestation of Chaos, Lady Libra, Manifestation of Order and Malaenda, Manifestation of Neutrality and Balance. None of them seem to be evil.
  • The Anicopter's elements are Fire, Water, Wind, Wood, and I CAN COMMUNICATE WITH BATS. The elements are little related to their posessors (Bat communication is the power of Robot Ant), and Fire is apparently weak to Wood.
  • Several characters from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have elemental powers:
    • Earthquake, Ouros, Cairn, Zemletryasenie (Russian for "Earthquake"), and Creag all control rock and stone.
    • Inferna, Hotshot, Diablo, Incendie (French for "Blaze"), Mondfeur (German for "Moonfire"), Ulkataranara (Hindi for "Comet Man"), Matahari Merah (who uses no Code Name), Firebird, Plamya (Russian for "Flame"), Salamander, Sunfire, Wildfire, Ifrit, The Confessor, Morningstar, Komet, Molotov, Inferno, Fuoco Bianco ("White Fire", in Italian), Pumpkin Jack, Tourmeline, Pyro, Dragon, and Red Devil all generate or control fire.
    • Cyclone, Breeze, Twister, Cloud Dragon, Shu, Gale, Vetra, Venta, Kamikaze, and Turbo all control the air and generate wind.
    • Volnoryezka ("Wave Rider" in Russian), Cascade, and Maelstrom have water powers.
    • Dark Wind has powers over smoke, haze, and mist.
    • Gaea's Children are an entire team of eco-terrorist supervillains with Elemental Powers: Flame controls fire, Mountain has earth- and stone-related powers, River controls water, and Wind controls the air.
    • The Four Winds are a supervillain team who all have control over a different aspect of the weather: Flurry has wind and cold powers; Hurricane has wind and water powers; Sirocco has wind and heat powers; and Tornado has wind and speed powers.
    • John Colbert, a student at the Hyperion Academy called "Centigrade", not only generates fire, but generates ice as well.
    • Dust Devil has control over both wind and sand.
    • Typhoon has "storm powers" that give him control over wind, electricity, and water.
  • Nearly everyone in Trinton Chronicles from hero, villian, to every-day-citzens has one of the above abilities or more then one in some cases. Magic is treated like science as it is learnable by all and everyone uses it in everyday life.
  • Chaos Fighters is rife with this. Without counting the Power Levels, there are around 23 elements including Non-Elemental, which is counted as one. Their weakness depends on the nature of the elemental attacks/spells and the caster. This is not even count the sub-elements under non-elemental, such as subatomic particles and their antimatter counterparts and photons.
  • In the web novels of Trinton Chronicles it seems like everyone has one form of elemental based powers.
  • A work in progress, Elemental uses these (Duh.) Attributes include...
    • Lightning-Powerful, yet fast fading.
    • Water-Versatility.
    • Fire-Destructive and unpredictable.
    • Earth-Wise, but unwilling to change.
    • Air-Persistence and loyal.
    • Ice-Loss of Sanity.
    • Mind-Underhanded and Manipulative.
  • In Elcenia, kyma can learn elemental kamai, which allows them control over all four classical elements—earth, air, water, and fire. This is in contrast to magic native to Elcenia, where a mage can only control one type of elemental magic, and has to "die" by it first. For instance, someone with the ability to become a water mage would have to drown, but would be alive afterwards.
  • In the hybrid webcomic/browser game Demon Thesis, the four main characters find themselves suddenly gifted with Elemental Powers after a mysterious Manipulative Bastard entity from another dimension reaches into our world and starts creating chaos. They get almost exactly the classic western elements, except that Sam's powers are over ice instead of water.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Metalocalypse has only one element-- Metal.
  • Shendu's family of demons from Jackie Chan Adventures all were responsible for an elemental power: Fire, Earth, Lightning, Sky, Wind, Mountain, Moon, and Water. Once the demons were sealed away for good their powers remained, leaving them vunerable for other people to take, as in the case with Season 5 where seemingly everyone had a crack at an elemental power before they were all taken by the Big Bad.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers - Kwame (Earth), Wheeler (Fire), Linka (Wind), Gi (Water), Ma-Ti (Heart) And when their powers combine... well, you know the rest.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has the Bending Arts, Pictured above.
    • Note that the Avatar cycle goes in the same order as the elements are called out on Captain Planet, corresponding with the ancient Greek order: Air (warm and wet) to Water (cold and wet) to Earth (cold and dry) to Fire (hot and dry) to Air...
    • One unique theme is the presence of the titular Avatar- a reincarnated figure who can (with training and time) harness the powers of all four elements, and serves more or less as the resident Superhero. It also has not only the cast but entire nations themed around the elements- the Fire Nation, the Water Tribes, the Air Nomads and the Earth Kingdom. A certain percentage of people born within those countries tend to manifest their signature elemental power, with no known exceptions besides the Avatar.
      • There is also Pure Energy in the form of chi, which is seen or implied to have abilities related to the Spirit World, locating things far away, seeing the future, and reading auras. It is also the basis of Bending (manipulating chi within one's body via muscle or breath control), and the ability to invoke the Avatar State at will (via opening one's chakras). In the Grand Finale, another discipline of Bending, called Energybending, is revealed. It is an ancient style said to predate the Bending of the elements (and the incarnation of the Avatar) and was used by beings to manipulate the energy within themselves. Bending the energy of another is shown to be capable of bestowing knowledge and removing the ability to Bend, at the risk of having one's own spirit overwhelmed by the target.
    • Each of the Bending styles also has a higher level that only the greatest benders can reach, including Lightningbending (fire), Bloodbending (water) and Metalbending (earth). Air is the only element with no super variant shown.
      • Which can be seen as Fridge Horror: if there was a super variant of airbending, it would have been lost with the genocide of the Air Nomads.
    • There are also a few odd clans with their own takes on bending, like swampbenders and sandbenders.
      • For clarification: those are not separate elements, but specific disciplines of waterbending and earthbending developed by some tribes to better suit the areas they live in (swamps and deserts, respectively).
  • The Legend of Korra, the Sequel Series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, follows all the same rules as the original show, listed above. The new Avatar is Korra, the Reincarnation of Aang and a member of the Southern Water Tribe.
    • Metalbending has become more widespread, and an entire police force of metalbenders keeps order in Republic City.
  • Xiaolin Showdown - Notable for the leader of the kids, Raimundo, being aligned with Air, while the show's lead Omi uses Water, and The Chick, Kimiko, uses Fire. Clay, though, is played straight for using Earth.
  • WITCH - Will (Energy/Heart), Irma (Water), Taranee (Fire), Cornelia (Earth/Plants) and Hay Lin (Air). The show is notable for subverting the personalities usually attached to the elements. Taranee Cook, the fire-user, is shy and softspoken whereas Cornelia Hale, the earth-user, is spoiled, brutally honest and sometimes kind of a bitch.
    • Actually justified in the comic book: Cornelia got Earth power because she was the most grounded, as declared by Yan Lin when she gave the protagonists their powers, while Taranee is noted many times as being the one you can't piss off, as provoking her is like pouring napalm on fire (as Cedric cried at Elyon after the latter did just that and Taranee started melting the building. There WAS a reason if Cedric told her to leave Taranee alone for all the issue while Taranee was their prisoner...).
  • Winx Club - Bloom (Fire), Stella (Light), Musa (Sound), Flora (Earth/Air), Tecna (Metal), Layla (Water/Plasma) and Roxy (Animals).
  • Many of the aliens in the Ben10 series have these kind of powers. Most notably however is in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben obtains the forms of five aliens who each possess one of these: Water, Fire, Wind, Earth, and Lightning.
  • Scooby Doo and the Witch's Ghost already Fails Religious Studies Forever in its portrayal of Wicca, but just to make sure, at the end the Hex Girls sing a song naming the elements as "Earth, Wind, Fire, Air". Yes, it rhymes, yes it scans, but...what happened to Water?
    • Hello, they're witches. They don't work well with Water.
  • Gormiti The Lords Of Nature Has four kids with the power of Air, Earth, Water and Forest, with the fifth being Light.
  • Ninjago The four ninja have the powers of Fire (Kai), Earth (Cole), Electricity (Jay), and Ice (Zane)
  1. Of all the nations, the armies of the ununoctium-benders are probably the least intimidating. The xenon-benders come close, but their flickery signs are at least effective for propoganda.
  2. And was treated as nothing special, being defeated by Magma with the latter's user claiming his element is superior.
  3. Actually mud, but the fruit's name is Numa Numa no Mi(Swamp Swamp Fruit) and its powers are referred to as such complete with a Hammerspace secondary ability.
  4. (air and clear gases)
  5. (opaque gases, smoke, fog, etc.)
  6. (fire)
  7. (crystal)
  8. (plant matter)
  9. (any non-oil liquid, but apparently blood is easiest)
  10. (oil)
  11. (metal)
  12. (rock and bone)
  13. (flesh)
  14. Red also sometimes used Lightning.
  15. They also use cards with different elements that correspond to their own: Thunder (Red and Pink's Comprethunder card and Black and Yellow's Sparquake card), Wood/Forest (Black and Yellow's Roplant card), and Ice (Blue's Istop and Knight's Freezedrive cards). During their team-up with the Shinkengers, Red uses Fire (the Kaentornado card).
  16. and we liked it that way!
  17. In-character, these are only theoretical as the Underworld doesn't actually have a physical substance...
  18. specifically, the "Later Heaven" order