Sucking-In Lines

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When a powerful spell, weapon, or device is about to fire, it often gives several seconds of warning by dramatically sucking in glowing lines or orbs. Sometimes it is actually gathering and condensing energy from the environment, but not always. A Wave Motion Gun or Combined Energy Attack will almost always do this. Usually it's "thrown" at a target when it's Blasting Time.

When a character or object starts to suck in lines, you can be sure it's about to do something massively destructive.

In video games, a weapon often continues Sucking-In Lines even when the weapon has reached its maximum power level.

This is a Sub-Trope of Power Glows. Usually not related to Speed Stripes, but is thematically similar. Often paired with Throat Light.

Examples of Sucking-In Lines include:

Anime and Manga

  • In s-CRY-ed, after Kazuma gets an upgrade to his Alter Power, his Alter receives a circular opening on the back of it's hand that can open and draw in Alter Power to fuel his subsequent Shell Bullet attack.
  • One of the first examples is in Space Battleship Yamato, where the long charging time of the Wave Motion Gun is accompanied by both sucking in lines and a pitch-changing charging sound.
  • The first time Ryoko manifests her energy sword in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, numerous glowing dots first appear in the air around her and Tenchi, which then streak into her hand to become the blade.
    • Zinv's ultimate attack in Parallel Trouble Adventure Dual consists of sucking in lines, then blowing everything up. Probably justified, since the big attack consists of using Zinv's gravity manipulation abilities to make a micro-black hole, absorb, and then redirect energy weapons.
  • Raising Heart does this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha whenever Nanoha does one of her more impressive attacks, such as Starlight Breaker. (Which does gather and condense energy from the environment. It's All There in the Manual and outright stated in The Movie.)
  • The moves Solar Beam, Hyper Beam, and Roar of Time (pictured above) in the Pokémon Anime. In the games, Explosion also does this.
  • The Emerald Ri Maajon in Simoun does this.
  • While most Ki Attacks in Dragonball Z don't do this (since they come from the character), the Spirit Bomb does.
    • Interestingly, Kamehamehas preformed by goku as a child (Both in DB and DBGT, and respective video games) show this relatively often.
    • Broly also does this for most of his energy attacks.
  • Ryu's Ha-Do in the Street Fighter II Anime.
  • Digimon does this frequently. Notably, War Greymon does not do this though he really is taking in energy from the environment around him. Dynasmon, on the other hand, does this briefly before doing his Dragon's Roar/Dragon Thrower (with his voice, it's hard to tell) and sure enough, he is absorbing energy from around him. The manifestation of the attack depends on what he sucked in to generate it.
  • The Hollow/Arrancar Cero attack in Bleach has small bits of energy collect into a sphere before they fire it. More noticably, the Quincy Final Form and the Bount (in the anime) can break down the surrounding matter, convert it into lines and absorb it.
    • And the lines sucked into cero vary from user to user. Ulquiorra uses simple lines and circle before it fires, Ichigo's is tri-focused and the lines are curved, Grimmjow's Gran Rei Cero has jagged lines...
    • Averted with Starrk who can instantly fire cero.
  • In Naruto Shippuden, Four-Tails Naruto performs an attack where he creates chakra "bubbles", condenses them into a tiny black orb, then swallows it to unleash an insanely powerful laser (powerful enough to injure the Nigh Invulnerable Big Bad after disintegrating three thought-to-be-invincible barriers in its path).
    • This is later named the Bijuudama (literally, Tailed-Beast Ball), and is revealed to be a standard-issue attack amongst Tailed Beasts and (in certain conditions) their Hosts.
  • Several spells in Slayers do this, notably Lina's signature spell, the Dragon Slave. The Giga Slave also does this when cast through the Sword of Light.
  • The Wing Gundam's Buster Rifle does this when it fires fully-powered shots; in a potential Lampshade Hanging, background info claims that it ionizes the particles in the area, captures them, and then condenses them into superheated plasma to produce a maelstrom of energy.
  • In Kaze no Stigma just about any large-scale magical attack forces the mages to draw in little appropriately coloured orbs of light.
  • Synchro Cannons in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
  • Charging up Magical Arrows in Mahou Sensei Negima apparently has this effect. Jack Rakan mentally compliments Negi on his skill in pulling them together.
  • Averted in Blame with his Gravity Beam Emitter, which is curious, considering an average shot from it can cause a 70 kilometer beam on lowest setting...
  • Sailor Uranus in Sailor Moon has an attack called 'World Shaking' which sucks in lines of power from all around her while she assumes a pose that lets us know that it is Blasting Time.
  • Many of Inuyasha's Sword Beam attacks do this just before vaporizing somebody.
    • Miroku's Wind Tunnel will do this every time he uncovers it. Subverted because it really is sucking in everything around it.


  • The Death Ray "Hammer" in Independence Day uses a blurry variant of the lines. Ironically, it's first mistaken as a sign of communication, leading to many very surprised deaths.
  • In the film version of Mortal Kombat, Sub-Zero sucks in particles to charge his freezing powers.
  • The Tanaka Alien from the live action adaptation of Gantz does this, but it's only really visible once.
  • Iron Sky has a laser weapon that does that before discharging on a Nazi ship and instantly destroying it.


  • The flameweavers (fire wizards) of David Farland's Runelords book series do this quite literally - to work their magic, they draw various forms of energy (mostly heat) out of their immediate environment, feeding off of nearby fires and other sources of heat. They can even draw in sunlight, darkening and chilling the immediate area as they pull "ropes" of light into their hands to create fireballs and other spells.

Live-Action TV

  • Power Rangers. Precedes pretty much anything that could be considered a Finishing Move.
  • The end of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer features a statue of a demon that has the power to destroy the world if certain magic conditions are met. They are, and the demon opens his mouth to... suck the world into Hell, I guess... and a fake-looking swirly-line effect starts coming out of his mouth, which isn't so much scary as... round.

Video Games

  • The titular ship of the R-Type series of Shoot'Em Ups does this when charging up its Wave gun.
  • Chrono Trigger, characters casting lightning magic draw in sparks before releasing it; as well, Lucca's Flare spell pulls in balls of red energy before it detonates.
  • Used in many different attacks in the Disgaea series, and in both styles.
  • In the last level of Elite Beat Agents, the Rhombulan mothership sucks in lines before it releases the petrification ray.
  • The various protagonists of the Mega Man games use the "sucking in orbs" variant to charge up their blasters.
    • Special mention is due here to the Mega Man Battle Network games - in the later ones, under certain conditions, you can charge up either your normal arm-cannon (which sucks in lines) or your current battle chip (which sucks in orbs).
    • The original Mega Man only does this in ''Mega Man 8, Mega Man and Bass, Power Battles and Power Fighters, where he sucks in lines. In 4 to 6 he just flashes colors, and in 7 he flashes while particles rise off him.
  • All cruise engines in Freelancer do this. Funny, considering that cruise engines aren't a weapon, but a way for all ships in the game to get to places really quickly, or as a means of escaping a battle.
  • In Mass Effect 2, the Thannix Cannon (the weapons upgrade for the Normandy SR-2, do this during the attack on the Collector cruiser that destroyed the original Normandy.
  • The Yamato Cannon on the Terran Battlecruiser in StarCraft also uses the "sucking in orbs" variant. Possibly due to the fact that the Yamato Cannon uses a magnetic field to contain and focus a nuclear blast which may attract particulate matter and- Oh, I give up...
  • In Skies of Arcadia, both the Harpoon Cannon and Moonstone Cannon have sucking in lines, the former despite the fact that the Harpoon Cannon is a literal giant harpoon on the front of the Little Jack.
  • Samus Aran in Metroid Prime uses the straight lines version to charge up her arm cannon; some beams also keep sucking in lines while fully charged.
    • So does Mother Brain in Super Metroid, before she unleashes her supercharged draining beam of death.
  • The BFG-9000 in Doom 3, but in the first two games all you get is a large, expanding glow and ominous noise coming from the muzzle before the big death ball comes out.
  • Same for the Bryar Blaster Pistol in Jedi Outcast.
  • Many of the more powerful attacks in The Legend of Zelda series do this, even sucking the light out of the surrounding scene in later titles (both villains and heroes).
    • A couple of quick examples: in the N64 games, charging a spin attack made one's sword suck in glowy lines and dots of stuff. In many games, dodongos and other related beasties would suck in lines of air before launching a fiery attack - a handy cue for you to show said dodongos why they dislike smoke.
  • Most Final Fantasy games use either some variation of this or a reversal thereof when a spell or a Summon effect fires. A few of the newer ones, like Final Fantasy XI, will use the straight, inward version while a caster is preparing a spell and then some sort of flashier, outward-directed effect when the spell goes off.
    • Not to mention the Flare spell, which does this in nearly every game it's in.
  • Also evident in cutscenes. The Sister Ray, once mounted on Midgar and converted to use Mako shells in Final Fantasy VII, creates an accretion disk as it charges up, then sucks in straight lines of power a split-second before firing.
    • Some monsters and summons do that to, such as Bahamut (and his ultimate form too).
  • Halo 2's Scarab Tank draws in energy as it charges up its main gun. Note that the Scarabs in Halo 3 do not.
    • Also, the Power Drainer of Halo 3. It works like an EMP by draining in all the nearby energy until it explodes.
  • Thunder Cross from Sexy Parodius has a charge laser weapon which sucks energy spheres inward before discharging.
  • Anyone with a ranged special attack in Street Fighter, but most notably Ryu. Shinku... HADOKEN!
    • In Street Fighter III, his Denjin Hadoken sucks in lightning (because it strikes with electricity).
  • The Egg Carrier's Egg Cannon did this in Sonic Adventure. Of course, all it did was knock a wing off a plane...
  • There is also the Eclipse Cannon from Sonic Adventure 2, which did this when Robotnik tested it on the moon and blew it in half...
  • The Galdon in Star Fox Adventures sort of subverts this by making him do this before... thrusting its head forward a short ways. Not nearly as dangerous as its breathing of fireballs, and the period of apparent intake of energy is actually when it's vulnerable to Fire Blasts.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004's Leviathan's primary weapon (when deployed) sucks in lines nearly the width of the screen before unleashing death. Also from 2003 onward, the Impact Hammer was replaced with the Shield Gun. When used in its destructive mode, it sucks in sparks as it charges.
  • The Wave Motion Guns in Free Space 2 suck in particles while charging up.
  • Every Special Power in Legend of Mana sucks in lines before firing, during which the character is stationary and thankfully invulnerable. That's whether the Special Power involves summoning a black hole, or doing a trio of combat rolls and slashes. Golems and Magic Instruments also suck in lines for some powers, but usually only when it makes sense or is a giant laser.
  • The Wave Motion Cannon in Bungie's Oni does this right before every shot.
  • The Nexus Ray psych in The World Ends With You.
  • In the Pokémon games, several moves depict this event, such as Solar Beam, Sky Attack (more-so its console animations), Shock Wave, Hidden Power, Superpower, Fusion Flare, Fusion Bolt, and Stockpile (more evident when followed up by Spit Up). The move Charge resembles this as well, but its not an actual attack in itself - rather, it prepares the user for a twofold boost in power of the Electric-type move used on the next turn.
  • Rayquaza sucks in lines for its beam attack in its appearance as a boss in Super Smash Brothers Brawl.
  • In We Build Stuff's 3rd Party Portal The Flash Game: Map Pack there are portions of the map where you have to cross a microwave field, and before it charges (to warn you to clear it, because if you're in the field when it's operating, you die instantly) it gives off a charging noise. The field shows sparks going across it, then when it goes dormant, the sparks stop, but the field gives off a charge noise just before it starts again.
  • Charged attacks in Gotcha Force
  • The strider in Half-Life 2 sucks in light when charging its singularity cannon: Whatever is behind it appears distorted right before it fires.
    • This Troper always assumed that the blurry background was caused by the weapon distorting gravity (thus causing light to bend around the shot).
  • The Sentinel in Iji does this when it's charing up its Nuke weapon. It becomes piss-easy to kick it into the electropods, however, because all available energy is being redirected from every other system just to charge the Nuke.
    • Also, to a lesser extent, enemy nanoweapons such as the rocket launcher.
  • The boss of Area 6 in Starfox 64 had a planet-busting, sherbet-colored Wave Motion Gun that it would telegraph by sucking in orbs... from space.
  • Raven in Tales of Vesperia does this during his Mystic Arte, Blast Heart.
  • G-Darius' Wave Motion Guns do this whilst charging to a small degree. These are the sort of WMG that puts other WMGs to shame, too!
  • In Red Alert I and II, the Tesla Coil "accumulates" electricity in its top before it fires.
  • Proto Omega's UMN Phase Transfer Cannon demonstrates this trait before it fires in the Xenosaga series, as does KOS-MOS's X-Buster
  • The final attack used by Suika in the Fighting Game spin-offs of Touhou starts with this. Even the lines themselves can damage you.
  • In Phantasy Star Online, performing a heavy attack causes lines of energy to be drawn to your weapon, with various other effects (including balls of energy) for special attacks.
  • Most enemies' charged attacks in Battle Clash and its sequel do this.
  • Both Berserker Asura's Energy balls and Chakravartin's massive Faster Then Light Lasers from Asura's Wrath do this before firing. The Brahmastra does this while charging it's laser attack, as well.

Web Comics

  • In Adventures of Fifine the eponymous heroine is seen performing the trope at the bottom of this page before releasing her Tornado Fist on the next.
    • Her father, Master Beserk was previously seen doing a TF without the SIL.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The advanced firebending technique of shooting lightning requires the user to slowly gather energy from their surroundings, manifesting as streams of electricity trailing from their fingertips for several seconds (except for Ozai, who is skilled enough to do it in the blink of an eye).

Real Life

  • If you're body-surfing in shoulder deep water, and suddenly find yourself in knee deep water? You're about to get ploughed by a sneaker wave.