Elemental Shapeshifter

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Hydro-Man, Hydro-Man, does whatever a hydro can...



An Elemental Shapeshifter is a Shapeshifting character who can turn into one of the Elements of Nature (typically air, earth, water, and fire, though this might vary according to the work). Depending on the story or situation, the character might be able to only partially change part of himself into the element involved, and may or may not retain his original shape after the change.

Often invokes Elemental Baggage. A subtrope of Elemental Powers and Shapeshifting. Super Smoke (the ability to turn into air/smoke) and Ride the Lightning are subtropes of this.

May overlap with An Ice Person, Making a Splash, Made of Air, Taken for Granite, Wreathed in Flames, and Dishing Out Dirt. Also see Elemental Embodiment.

Examples of Elemental Shapeshifter include:

Anime and Manga

  • In One Piece, the Logia Devil Fruit users are essentially this.
  • In Magic Knight Rayearth, Hikaru was able to become almost completely covered with fire.
  • Juvia from Fairy Tail can transform her body in water.
    • Also, Gajeel can turn his limbs into iron weapons.
  • Like Juvia, Suigetsu from Naruto can also transform his body into water.
    • Kabuto spliced Suigetsu's DNA, enabling him to use a variation of this ability.
    • There's also Kakuzu, who can turn his skin into metal, and Konan, who can turn her entire body into paper.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, Negi has Raiten Taisou and Raiten Sousou, and Homura can transform into a fire spirit. Recently revealed Quintum, the Averruncus of Wind has an ability similar to Negi's transformation.
  • Levia from Princess Lucia does this primarily to travel through water systems.

Comic Books

  • The Human Torch, most notably Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four.
  • Spider-Man villain Hydro Man can transform all or part of his body into water.
    • Similarly, Sandman has the ability to change his body into sand.
  • Then there's the Golden Age super-hero Hydroman, created by Bill Everett for Eastern Color Printing. He could transform any part of his body into water and control its form and movement.
  • Bill Willingham's Elementals had Fathom, who could shoot, control, turn into, or breathe water.
    • The Top Cow comic Fathom is about a race of beings with similar powers.
  • The DCU villainess New Wave can transform her body into any form of water, including steam and acid rain.
  • The X-Men have a decent number:
    • Magma can transform into magma and rocks.
    • The original X-Man Iceman originally could only cover his body with snow or ice, but he eventually learned to turn his entire body into organic ice.
    • Colossus can turn into metal.
    • Dust can turn herself into a sandstorm.
    • Rockslide and Onyxx are big guys made of rocks.
    • Husk can turn into any solid substance, though alternate versions had her able to become liquid as well.
  • Stone Boy of the Legion of Super Heroes is a Substitute Legionnaire who can turn into an immobile statue. However, he manages to use this power effectively anyway.
  • Variation: The Avengers villain The Absorbing Man can absorb the properties of various materials just by touching them.
  • Volcana, who originated in Secret Wars then became the Molecule Man's girlfriend originally only had a fire form, but then gained a rock form and an ash form which was remarkably like sand.
  • Cinder from Titans: Villains for Hire has the ability to transform her body into flame, and has enough control to only transform certain parts. In a somewhat infamous moment, she's introduced in the comic setting a child molester on fire with her vagina.
  • One-story Superboy guest character Fluid Man used "a formula of his own creation" to grant himself this "truly bizarre" power.
  • The Batman villain Clayface is a walking mountain of mud, and can use his powers for shapeshifting or brute strength. He's one of the few recurring villains Batman admits to being no physical match for. Amusingly, Poison Ivy once defeated him by planting a tree in his body.

Fan Works

  • In Keepers of the Elements, the Keepers have this ability, as they can all turn into their Element.
  • John in With Strings Attached can turn himself into water, except it traumatizes him to do so, and he changes back as soon as possible. What sort of control he has over himself and water during this time is unknown.


  • The Amos Daragon books also feature this, as the main character is able to become water. At one point a maid unknowingly washed the floor with him.

Live-Action TV

  • An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Sabrina struggling with trying to learn this technique; it finally clicks for her by the end of the episode in a moment of anger and frustration, and she easily turns into fire, air, water, and earth.

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons and Dragons.
    • Genies. Djinni can change into gaseous form and Marids can change into liquid form.
    • Elemental Grues. Harginn can change into fire and Varrdig can change into water.
    • High level druids can shapeshift into elementals instead of animals.
  • Elementals in Changeling: The Lost get access to a Contract that allows them to control an element (surprisingly enough). The highest clause of the Contract allows them to transmute into said element, with certain benefits—insubstantial elements (such as fire, air, and lightning) can only be harmed by certain kinds of damage, whereas substantial elements (such as stone or metal) grant heavy armor and physical bonuses.
    • Its predecessor, Changeling: The Dreaming, includes the Inanimae, a race of fae born from inanimate objects, whose kiths and powers are based on the elements.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, the Gangrel's Protean discipline includes turning into earth and mist.

Video Games

  • In Kameo: Elements of Power, several of Kameo's elemental warrior forms fall under this trope, most notably Rubble (a pile of sentient magnetic rocks) and 40 Below (an ice-man).
  • In Super Mario Bros.. 3, Mario could turn into a statue with the Tanooki suit. It turned him invincible, and he could kill nearly anything by falling on it.
  • Warcraft 3's Pandaran's "Storm, Earth, and Fire" ability splits the hero into three different beings, each themed after the particular element.
  • Arceus in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl can change its element to any of the seventeen types in the game. Granted, Arceus is the god of the Pokémon world...
    • Also, some Pokemon in all the games, such as Vaporeon and Grimer and Muk, can learn Acid Armor, in which the user melts in order to raise it's defense.
  • Toxic Seahorse in Mega Man X 3 can turn into acid. How a robot does this is anyone's guess.
    • Similarly, Heatman in Mega Man 2 also becomes a blazing fireball as he charges you.

Web Original

  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Vulnapyezdka ("Wave Rider" in Russian) can turn into water.
  • There was an SCP Foundation that could do this with all five (wind and lightning being separate) before it was destroyed.

Western Animation

  • Wonder Twin Zan from Superfriends could transform into various forms of water and ice.
  • In Hanna Barbera's The Impossibles, Fluid Man could change into regular water or vaporize himself into a cloud or a storm.
  • In the finale of WITCH, the Guardians learn how to transform into each of their respective elements of earth, air, fire, water and lightning. Unfortunately they almost lose themselves to the process and are nearly unable to change back.