Light'Em Up

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Take me away upon a plateau
Far far away from fears and shadow
Strengthen my heart in times of sorrow
Light the way to bright tomorrows"

Globus, Take Me Away

"Light our way!"

Yuna casting Holy, Final Fantasy X

Want to show how good and just your hero is? Then just use this counterpart to Casting a Shadow: Light! This frequently involves healing and divine powers, although this can mean literal light as well. This may overlap with Holy Hand Grenade if the powers in question are used to attack. Like most other types of elemental manipulation, the laws of physics give way to Rule of Cool.

Light has many similarities to fire, producing both illumination and heat. Thematically, however, fire is often presented as a primal or destructive force, whereas light is a protective force that literally illuminates the darkness. In some cases, light and fire overlap and sometimes intersects with electricity as well. All three of these powers may also possess qualities of purification or total destruction, depending on the work in question. See also The Power of the Sun, as, in fiction, a solar power is occasionally a mixture of the powers of fire and light.

The Hero is likely to use this, and if so, is likely to be a saint. The hero is likely to learn this from the Big Good or the Obi Wan, who will be the master of this. Alternately, a work may instead use Light Is Not Good, in which case, this may be used by the villain. In that case, similar to how The Sacred Darkness illustrates a way to portray Casting a Shadow in a pure and holy fashion, a villainous or "corrupt" form of light may involve such lovely things as light so bright that it burns out the victim's eyes, causes his flesh to be brutally melted off, etc.

A Sub-Trope of Elemental Powers. Usually trumps darkness, though the reverse is also possible. Or both, even. For double the fun, see Yin-Yang Bomb. See also The Power of the Sun, which may or may not be related to this, depending on the setting.

Compare Holy Hand Grenade: attacking with goodness and Frickin' Laser Beams: laser guns.

Examples of Light'Em Up include:

Anime and Manga

  • D.N.Angel features Dark's opposite who, in his very first appearance, uses what looks to be light-based magic. While having white wings. And glowing blond hair. Yet he is, by no definition of the word, good.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho also has Divine Energy, whose primary signature is the golden glow that surrounds a user while channeling it.
  • Admiral Kizaru from One Piece is a light Logia, which means he can turn into light to avoid damage, as well as using it offensively in the form of giant ass building destroying lasers.

Kizaru: Have you ever been kicked at the speed of light?

  • In the Mai-HiME manga, Haruka is given control over light with her Element and CHILD, Koumokuten.
  • The closest to genuine light powers exhibited in Fullmetal Alchemist (not counting Father's acquired solar powers when he literally ate God) are the ones shown by Solf J. Kimblee, the psychopathic, Ax Crazy Red Lotus Alchemist. His powers are explosions of intense, white light generated by the energy of combining the symbols he has tatooed on his hands, one standing for the Sun, fire, and gold and another standing for the Moon, water, and silver. In practice, it's more like throwing around magnesium on fire than firing lasers, but works just as lethally.
    • Arguably, alchemy as a whole is a form of this, as transmutation generates light in the process.
    • In the 2003 anime version, Hohenheim was able to transmute light, creating Hard Light things.
  • Leo, the Stellar Spirit of Fairy Tail, has this as his main power. Makes sense, since the Zodiac Leo is linked with the Sun.
  • Sunny Milk, from the Touhou official manga Eastern and Little Nature Deity, has the ability to control the refraction of light. Of course, being a Fairy, this is used mostly as a cloaking device in her trio's pranks.
  • The Light Card in Cardcaptor Sakura. She is a counter to her girlfriend (and/or twin) the Dark Card, and must be sealed along with her Foil.
  • Kei in Prétear is the knight of light. Also, Himeno, when she Prets with him, becomes, of course, Light Pretear. Her weapon is called Light Chackram.
  • In Yes! Pretty Cure 5, Cure Lemonade controls the power of light.

Comic Books

  • Tangent Comics' version of The Flash used light as her power.
  • The Ray from the DC Comics universe can, according to The Other Wiki, absorb, store, and process light and use the energy to fly and create bursts of light. The Terrills were also capable of manipulating external light, allowing them to create illusions and even solid light constructs, and to render themselves invisible.
  • Dr. Light from the DC Comics can manipulate light, originally thanks to a suit he stole, but afterwards, said ability became natural to his body. Mind you, while there is a good Dr.Light (a japanese female scientist) in the DC Comics, the original one was the ultimate form of Light Is Not Good, afterwards turning into a rapist.
  • Another DC villain with light powers was Rainbow Raider, an enemy of the Flash. His powers focused mostly on manipulating light to form rainbows.
  • Although Ms. Marvel was not able to do it at first, after she was experimented on by the Brood, she became capable of absorbing energy and projecting it, as well. Nowadays, being able to use photon blasts is one of Carol's signature powers. Her Spear Counterpart, the original Captain Marvel, was always capable of doing it.
  • The second Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau, generates and turns into light as her main power.
  • Northstar and his twin, Aurora, from X-Men and Alpha Flight are capable of flight and superspeed, and originally, if they came into contact with each other, they could generate bursts of light. Since then, their powers have been revamped so that the two are capable of doing so individually.
  • Also, Dazzler of the X-Men is able to convert sound into light for various purposes, including Frickin' Laser Beams, holographic images, and blinding flashes of light.
  • Tandy Bowen (Dagger of Cloak and Dagger) is capable of creating daggers made of light for offensive purposes and can even purge addictions from people. Dagger also uses these light daggers to satiate her partner Cloak's hunger for light when he uses his Teleport Cloak.
  • Runaways gives us the light-powered Majesdanians, who look exactly like humans when powered-down (or when they're wearing a certain type of metal), but look like rainbows in their natural state.
  • The whole Green Lantern franchise is more or less based on this, with various factions being able to manipulate light of different colours of the emotional spectrum.

Fan Works

  • The Magic Knight, dwarven, noble protagonist in Dragon Age: The Crown of Thorns. While he is a Guile Hero, he fulfills the necessary good/heroic requisites. The fact that he can cast a white battle aura which can get bright enough to illuminate corridors perfectly is just a side effect of the fact that he can never really control the tear in the Veil he has anchored in his body, with said light being just extra magical power that automatically takes the shape of the Spirit of Honor, the DN's not-spirit-advisor, when he uses magic to perform extra-badass feats.
  • Thanks to a light spell he learned early on, Paul in With Strings Attached can make part or all of his body glow via his hair, teeth, and nails. This proves to be extremely useful and is the power he uses the most after his invulnerability. Once, in a rage, he generated some kind of laser blast from his fingernails. When at high strength, he can pump extra power into the light, to the point where he literally explodes.


  • The Lord of the Rings - this seems to be Gandalf's main attribute.[1] He can conjure a shield of light, enhance the sunrise to disrupt the Uruk-hai, and use white light to drive away the Nazgul.


  • Sam from the Gone (novel) series seems to have the power of light. When not using it offensively, he can use it to provide light. Bette was also able to make her hands glow, until Orc killed her.
  • Kendra, from Fablehaven, glows - blindingly - to most mythical creatures, after becoming Fairykind in the third book. She also takes possession of a talisman of light, which casts a large umbrella of light around her and her friends as they go to do what they do best - fight evil.
  • In the second arc of The Saga of the Noble Dead, the sage Wynn wields a magical staff that generates sunlight, which is capable of destroying the undead.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, only good guys can cast the light spell. It is not very powerful, but very useful for establishing yourself.
  • Harry Potter gives us the Patronus Charm. Used to great effect in the movies. As well as the Lumos charm and subsequent derivations.

Live Action TV

  • Kamen Rider Agito's Shining Form, as the name suggests.
  • Kamen Rider OOO's Lion Medal allows him to shine a blinding light.
  • Lexa Pierce of Mutant X manipulates light to blind her foes, generate lasers, and even become invisible.

Tabletop Games

  • Most good Clerics and Paladins in Dungeons & Dragons live and breathe this trope, and the game also has spells such as Searing Light, Sunbeam, and Sunburst, as well as the various Prismatic spells.
  • In Nomine has the Celestial Song of Light, which creates a supernatural laser beam.
  • Mutants and Masterminds, being comic books incarnate, has Light Control as a power, and it has plenty of sub-powers available.
  • The Light Wizards of Warhammer Fantasy Battle Fantasy use, live by, and ARE this trope. Their Light-related magic has many purposes: Daemon Fighting, Healing of the Soul and Body, and Illumination of the Mind and Darkness.
  • Exalted - the Solar Exalted, unsurprisingly, have a fair bit of light imagery - they glow like the sun when they exert themselves and have plenty of other light-based tricks. Their Hellish mirrors, the Green Sun princes, have access to a few effects based on the Green Sun of Hell.
  • Many (or possibly all, depending on how loosely you define this trope) White spells in Magic: The Gathering fall into this.
    • Red also has a few spells that involve using light beams, such as the iconic Cleansing Beam. Like most Red spells, they are extremely agressive in nature, their purpose being to burn the enemies. White, of course, still has similar spells, but they usually erase the victim completly instead of simply burning it alive.


  • The Light element in Bionicle, including Takanuva, Toa Of Light.

Video Games

  • Angels and Lumen Sages in Bayonetta.
  • Chrono Trigger - Crono has Heaven-elemental powers in the original Japanese version and Light-elemental in the DS version.[2]
  • Warcraft has Holy Light, which heals the living and hurts the undead.
  • World of Warcraft has both paladins and priests, who can use Holy spells to both heal allies and damage opponents. Discipline priests can actually heal people by smiting their enemies. Officially, this isn't always drawn from light - for example, Tauren paladins draw their power from the sun, while night elf priests draw it from the moon. Visually, though, it always looks like light, and several races do draw it from the Holy Light.
  • In Okami Amaterasu can make the sun appear in the sky and change night to day. She is, after all, the sun goddess. She is also weakened during the eclipse at the end of the game.
  • Neverwinter Nights has the 'Divine' damage type, which is manifested on weapons as a yellow-white glow as opposed to normal red-orange flames for Fire. Curiously, evil characters are just as likely to get weapons that deal Divine damage.
  • Tales (series):
  • Golden Sun has a sword whose special attack consists of striking the enemy with rays of light (complete with Lens Flare).
  • Pokémon, surprisingly, does not have a specific "light" typing in its wide-ranging Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors System. However, it does have a few moves that are based around weaponizing light:
    • The Normal-type Flash is used to blind the opponent/light up dark passages in the field.
    • Lots of Electric-type moves also have lots of flashing effects. Even Thunder, which is actually more lightning.
    • Solarbeam, a Grass-type move. And it's more efficient with Sunny Day, a Fire-type move.
    • Flash Cannon, one of the very few Special Steel-typed attacks in the series.
    • The Psychic-type would probably be a stand-in for light.
  • The Legend of Zelda series since Ocarina of Time has light arrows as a requirement to defeat the Final Boss. They provided by Zelda in both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess.
  • Fire Emblem has Light, Dark, and Elemental magic.
  • In EarthBound, Ness has access to PSI Flash, which emits a bright flash of light that may One-Hit Kill enemies. Lucas can learn it in Mother 3, but it's less effective.
  • Cindel in Jay's Journey, though her skills overlap with Holy Hand Grenade.
  • Wisp magic in the World of Mana series is light-elemental. It also includes healing.
  • Chrono Cross had the White element, which included light beams, as well as heavenly objects such as comets.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Mildred, the final boss in Arcana Heart's story mode, uses light-based attacks (as well as light-based versions of everyone else's Arcana).
  • Lyla in Visions & Voices. The Wanderer can switch between light and dark skills using a skill called "Reverse Polarity", as well.
  • Yfus and Santes in The Reconstruction use Divine spells, only a few of which are Holy Hand Grenades. Tehgonan can also manipulate literal light.
  • Expel/light spells from the Shin Megami Tensei series, which are One-Hit Kill attacks.
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, several characters have Light based attacks, such as Sora, King Mickey, Queen Minnie, Roxas, Xion, and Ventus.
  • One character in each Shadow Hearts game wields the Light-element. In the first game, it's the love interest; in the second game, it's the main character's cousin; and in the third's a Highly Visible McNinja.
  • Alan Wake doesn't have any magic, but because his enemies are darkness, a flashlight works just as well, especially when combined with a revolver, hunting rifle, or shotgun. Of course, the most powerful weapons are either flashbangs (acting like grenades in most other games) or a Flare Gun (which is the in-game equivalent of a rocket launcher).
  • Mega Man - Flash Man and Bright Man. Their weapons don't actually control light, though, instead settling on stopping time. Meanwhile, Gemini Man uses Hard Light and Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Lux (who actually says this trope) and Leona from League of Legends both use light - Leona uses sunlight specifically, while Lux uses light in general. Both have an emphasis on protecting their allies and hindering enemies, although they do it in different ways.
  • In Onimusha 3 and 4, the Light element appears. In the third, it's linked to the Tenso swords and consist in an extremely fast, multiple slashing attack. In the sequel, Light magic releases a stunning flash of light followed by a Beam Spam attack.
  • Several characters from Sengoku Basara have the Light element. However, its only effect is to automatically break the enemy's guard or, in the third game, stun enemies.
    • Worth noting that many of the characters who wield this power are far from good.
  • Light is one of the elements from The Legend of Dragoon. The users are Shana and Miranda. Furthermore, only a tiny number of monsters have this element.
  • Lao from Bujingai Swordmaster can cast two light-related spells, the Ryuuseiken (Meteor Strike), which is a volley of light arrows, and the Tenseiken (Heavenly Star Strike), which is the Up to Eleven version combined with Death From Above.
  • City of Heroes gives us the Legacy Chain, a law-minded group of mystics who give low-level villains trouble by shooting them with light.
  • Dominions uses the path of astral magic, which is described as raw, unrefined magic derived from the celestial bodies.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, Neon, Strobe, Spectrum, Photon, Allustria, Fireworks, Peter Pan, Solar, Sunspot, Eclipse (who can also manipulate darkness), Dagger, Tinkerbell, Independence, Blue, Rave, Rainbow, Senhora Luz Solar, North Star, Shining Dawn, Brightstar, Eclat ("Burst" in French), Iris, Ushas, Moonshadow (who, like Eclipse, can also manipulate darkness), Tecza ("Rainbow" in Polish), Prezma ("Prism" in Russian), Ion, and Radian can all generate, control, and manipulate light in various ways.
  • In Today I Die, the protagonist uses light to progress through the story.
  • Neopets' elemental system includes light - light-based weapons, Light faeries, etc.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Beacon can blast sunlight from his hands. He's on a team that hunt creatures of the night.
    • Also, Prism, who may be known more for his healing powers, but who can also fire energy blasts and is definitely solar-powered. Well, he is the avatar of Apollo...

Western Animation

  • Stella from Winx Club gets her powers from the Sun and the Moon, and her attacks consist of casting beams of light.
  • Teen Titans - Doctor Light. Actually manages to be more powerful than the Teen Titans themselves during his debut episode, except for Raven, who traumatizes him to the point that, by merely showing up, she defeats him instantly.
  • Almost all Unicorn characters in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic have demonstrated the capacity of generating light with their horns at some point. Special points go to Twilight Sparkle (when her friends embody the Elements of Harmony). The god-princesses (known in fanon as alicorns) Celestia and Luna command the Sun and the Moon respectively, so they most likely have this power as well, potentially considerably magnified.

Real Life

  • Several police departments and many, otherwise unarmed, private security carry maglites instead of or in addition to traditional batons. While far more innocuous than the baton, which has come to symbolize police brutality, they are very solid clubs with the handy ability to blind attackers (In addition to the obvious feature of making stuff visible in the dark). It is also commonly recommended as a defensive weapon for anyone unable to carry a firearm, as all but the most openly despotic regime will be unable to arrest someone simply for carrying a flashlight.
  1. more than in the books
  2. Although they're Lightning-elemental in the English version for SNES.