Classical elements in popular culture
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Tattva – Mahābhūta, Panchikarana
Wŭ Xíng (五行)
Classical elements have been frequently used in pop culture in genres such as fantasy, literature, film, humor, television, video games, comic books, toys and even music. Typically a character or characters are linked to one or more of the four classical elements (air, water, earth and fire) common to most ancient philosophies (particularly the Greek, Hindu, Buddhist and Japanese traditions), either through special powers granted, ability to mimic the element, or other means. Sometimes a fifth element is included, such as aether (also known as Quintessence), void, as was the case in the movie The Fifth Element, something else altogether. The sixth and final element is called Nether related to death and the dark which is the opposing force of Aether/Quintessence itself which are about life and light. This actually makes up a total six elements of nature-Water, Fire, Earth, Air, Quintessence/Aether, and Nether- though mostly only the four elements are used or shown.
- 1 Receptions
- 2 Notable examples
- 2.1 AdventureQuest
- 2.2 The Alchemy Index
- 2.3 Angels & Demons
- 2.4 Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra
- 2.5 Beast King GoLion/Voltron
- 2.6 Bionicle
- 2.7 Captain Planet
- 2.8 Castle Crashers
- 2.9 Challengers of the Unknown
- 2.10 Digimon
- 2.11 Dungeons & Dragons
- 2.12 Earth, Wind & Fire
- 2.13 Elemental Assassin
- 2.14 Encantadia
- 2.15 Fantastic Four
- 2.16 Ghost
- 2.17 Harry Potter
- 2.18 Heroes of Might and Magic III
- 2.19 Jackie Chan Adventures
- 2.20 Kingdom Hearts
- 2.21 Mastodon
- 2.22 Magic the Gathering
- 2.23 Max Steel
- 2.24 Naruto
- 2.25 Ninjago
- 2.26 Nowhere Boys
- 2.27 Ronin Warriors
- 2.28 Sailor Moon
- 2.29 Slugterra
- 2.30 Star Trek: The Next Generation
- 2.31 Super Sentai/Power Rangers
- 2.32 SwordQuest
- 2.33 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003-series)
- 2.34 Tenkai Knights
- 2.35 Xiaolin Showdown
- 2.36 W.I.T.C.H.
- 2.37 Wizard101
- 3 References
The classical elements and their use in literary history have served as the subject of various published books. In The Elements: Earth Ice Fire Water (How Artists See), Colleen Carroll examines "how the four elements have been depicted in works of art from different time periods and places." In Legends of Earth,Ice,Fire and Water, Eric Hadley and Tessa Hadley provide a "collection of myths and legends from different parts of the world about the four basic elements without which life would not be possible." According to Publishers Weekly, in Earth, Fire, Water, Ice, Mary Hoffman and Jane Ray collect "snippets of factual information, myths, stories, poems and musings in this fascinating volume about the four classic elements."
The reception of the classical elements by scholars and mainstream critics varies considerably, largely depending on the medium and/or use of the classical elements. For example, the classical elements have served as significant plot elements in the various Mortal Kombat fictional universes. Blaze, a fire elemental, appears in multiple Mortal Kombat games, including as the end boss in the most recent game. The film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation features Elder Gods based on the four elements, which are mentioned chastisingly in Christian reviews.
In AdventureQuest, there are 8 elements which are Fire, Wind, Earth, Ice, Water, Energy, Light, and Darkness which are stated to be in a constant struggle and each ruled by a "elemental lord" with each element being able to do differing amounts of damage to a character or monster. A base guide to this would be that a being made from ice would be usually weak to fire.
The Alchemy Index
The Alchemy Index is Thrice's fifth studio recording, a four-disc concept album that was split between two releases, the first in October 2007 and the second in April 2008. The band originally planned to release four discs at once, each disc with six tracks representing one of the four classical elements: Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.
Recorded in guitarist Teppei Teranishi's house in Orange, "Alchemy" is full of experimentation. Inspired by Radiohead, Botch, Pelican and ISIS among others, Thrice has produced an effort that can be blisteringly heavy and melodically serene, as evidenced by the sludgy baritone guitar work of "Fire" and the sampled drums, synthesizers and piano on "Water." Kensrue said "Earth," recorded to sound as if the listener was in the room where it was being played, features acoustic guitars, upright bass, banjos, piano, tambourine and some horns. Air, the singer said, is the most dynamic and ties the other three records together.
The final song on each disc is written in the form of a sonnet, depicting the relationship of man with each of the particular elements. Each of these songs is in iambic pentameter, with a concluding rhyming couplet. These final couplets also contain the same vocal melody and chord progression as each other, although they are in different keys. The Artwork for the Album was designed by Dustin Kensrue.
Angels & Demons
In Dan Brown's thriller novel Angels & Demons, the antagonist kidnaps four cardinals on the night of conclave and brands them with the ambigrammatic words "Earth," "Air," "Fire," and "Water." He then kills each cardinal using a method based on their respective elements; Cardinal Ebner, who was branded with the word "Earth," suffocates by having dirt shoved down his throat. Cardinal Lamasse (Air) dies from having both of his lungs punctured. Cardinal Guidera (Fire) is burned alive, and Cardinal Baggia (Water) drowns in the Fountain of the Four Rivers. Then, the Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca is branded with the Illuminati Diamond—a diamond shape made of the words for the aforementioned elements (also ambigrammatic). It is later revealed that he had done this to himself.
These brandings and murders also appear in the film adaptation of Angels & Demons, except Cardinal Baggia does not die; he is instead rescued from drowning and in the end becomes the new Pope. Also, the fifth brand in the film is not the elemental Illuminati Diamond, but rather the papal symbol of two crossed keys.
Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra
In the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series, there are only four mystical martial arts which allows certain people called "benders" to freely have control and manipulation of the four elements through real-life martial arts tradition: Waterbending, Firebending, Earthbending, and Airbending. These are more based on the elemental structure of the Western and/or the Japanese elements, without a style based around Aether/Void. However, there is some overlap of elements as Blood, Lightning, Plants, and Metal are all uniquely special sub-abilities of the other four main elements.
Airbending is a martial arts-based ability which controls and manipulates the element of Air. It is primarily based around the real martial arts of Bagua Zhang. Airbending focuses on evading and avoiding attacks.
Earthbending is a martial arts-based ability which controls and manipulates the element of Earth. It is primarily based around the real martial arts of Hung Ga, however there are exceptions like Toph who uses the Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. However, it is likely different due to the fact Toph has learned her Earthbending from the Badger-moles (Natural animal benders, and mentioned in the show as the first earthbenders). Unlike Airbending, Earthbending is based around withstanding attacks and holding one's ground. At least one character, Toph, can use earthbending to easily control and manipulate metal by focusing on its earthen impurities.
Firebending is a martial arts-based ability which controls and manipulates fire, flame and heat. It is primarily based on Northern Shaolin, here primarily the Northern Shaolin Style. A specialized form of Firebending can be used to control and manipulate lightning. This is done by dividing the yin from the yang of the electricity, like splitting positive and negative charges. The charge tries to merge again, much like a lightning bolt moves from one charged object to another (Like a positively charged cloud to the negatively charged ground or vice versa).
Waterbending is a martial arts-based ability which controls and manipulates the element of water. It is primarily based on T'ai chi. Firebending opposes Waterbending, as the former prefers to attack first and hard until a weakness is found while the latter waits for the opponent to attack first and then redirects their strike. Whereas the other styles appear incapable of controlling and manipulating the various forms and phase of their native element, waterbenders can alter the phase of water, controlling and manipulating water in its solid (ice, snow, hail), liquid (pure water) and gaseous forms (mist, steam, clouds, fog,and water vapor), or even take liquid water from the air, plants, animals, or even humans. Some are even capable of controlling and manipulating others (by way of the rare and sinister ability of bloodbending) under the light of a full moon, when waterbenders are at their strongest and full potential. This is done by controlling the bodily fluids inside another's living body and thus controlling them to do the waterbender's bidding like a puppet.
Each season, or book, of Avatar: The Last Airbender is named after one of the classical elements: water, earth, and fire respectively. The first season of the Legend of Korra corresponds to the final element, air.
Beast King GoLion/Voltron
Within Beast King GoLion (and its American counterpart Voltron), the Lions are each powered by a different element of the Wu Xing:
- the Black Lion - Metal
- the Red Lion - Fire
- the Green Lion - Wood
- the Blue Lion - Water
- the Yellow Lion - Earth
"Bionicle", a toy line from LEGO with a story, has as main elements, controlled by the Toa, the main warriors and protectors of the Bionicle universe, Fire, represented with red, Water, represented in blue, Air represented in green, Ice represented in white, Stone represented in brown, tan and yellow, and Earth represented in black. Throughout the later story lines, more elements have been introduced, such as Light, Shadow, Sonics (referring to sound), iron (meaning all metals), Plant life, Plasma, and more abstract elements such as Magnetism, Gravity and Psionics (referring to mental abilities). In the 2009 and 2010 story lines, the desert world of Bara Magna also has several tribes centered on similar elements. In the 2015 reboot of the theme, the original six elements are used, albeit with jungle (referencing to wind and plants) replacing air.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers, an animated series from the early 1990s, is about five teenagers, each with a magic ring that controls an element. When their powers combine, they create a superhero named Captain Planet, who uses the power of all of the elements.
Each Planeteer's personality (and sometimes, appearance) reflects their element. The level headed, brown skinned Kwame (Earth) functions as the leader, and holds the group together. Growing up in an African village, he knows much about the land and plant life. Wheeler (Fire), who has red hair and is more temperamental and impulsive, acts as the team's fighting spirit. Linka (Wind) has a passion for bird life, while Gi (Water) is a student of marine biology and has skills in water sports. The fifth element is named as "Heart", and Ma-Ti's ring controls it. Ma-Ti, in tune with wildlife, becomes empathic with both animals and people, and can communicate telepathically with his teammates. Whereas the other Planeteers give Captain Planet his powers, Ma-Ti's ring creates his persona.
The Red Knight represents Lightning. The Blue Knight represents Ice. The Green Knight represents Poison. The Orange Knight represents Fire.
Challengers of the Unknown
In the comic book series Challengers of the Unknown, each of the four original members of the team represent one of the Greek elements. Ace Morgan is a pilot (air), redheaded Red Ryan is a daredevil (fire), Prof Haley is a deep-sea explorer (water), and Rocky Davis is wrestler (earth). While the symbolic relationship between the individuals and elements can be seen, it never really played a strong role in the development of the characters' personalities, which took many twists and turns unrelated to any archetypes.
The eponymous creatures in Digimon often have attacks and characteristics that relate to an element. This theme was perhaps most emphasized in the fourth season, when the Ten Legendary Warriors were based on elements of fire, light, ice, wind, thunder, earth, water, steel, wood and darkness.
The second and third seasons introduced the Digimon Sovereigns, which are based on the Wu Xing animals. For unknown reasons, Qinglongmon's element was water and Xuanwumon's was wood, whereas in Wu Xing tradition, the reverse is true.
Dungeons & Dragons
In the Dungeons & Dragons family of role-playing games, the idea of the Greek elements are used as the symbolic building blocks of reality; the four Elemental Planes form a metaphorical ring around the "Prime Material Plane" that contains all the "everyday" game settings (Faerun, Greyhawk, et cetera). In all editions of the game there is the addition of a Positive (Creative/Constructive) Energy Plane "above" the Elemental and Prime planes, as well as a Negative (Destructive/Necromantic) Energy Plane "below" them. In the more complex cosmos of the 2nd Edition and beyond there are other planes where the six major elemental planes adjoin each other. The Paraelemental Planes manifested where the elemental planes overlap - Fire and Earth become Magma, Earth and Water form Ooze, Water and Air are joined as Ice, and Air and Fire unite as Smoke (the opposing pairs of Fire/Water and Earth/Air do not touch). The Quasielemental Planes were formed where the Positive or Negative Planes bordered the elemental planes; they express either the abundance or intensification of the element's nature, or its destruction or absence. The positive Quasielemental expressions of Earth, Water, Air and Fire are Minerals, Steam, Lightning and Radiance, respectively; their negative counterparts are Dust, Salt, Vacuum and Ash.
Earth, Wind & Fire
The popular R&B musical group Earth, Wind & Fire is so named because founder Maurice White's sign was Sagittarius, whose primary elemental quality is Fire (hot & dry), but whose north and south seasonal qualities are Earth (cold & dry), and Air (hot & wet); (hence, the omission of water).
In Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, the four "primary elements" are Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. To be considered a true elemental, one must be able to manipulate one of these substances. Despite this,there are other, rarer elements derived from the primary four: Metal (derived from Stone), Electricity (derived from Air), Water (derived from Ice), and Acid (derived from Fire). The rarest elemental of all, however, is one who is gifted in multiple elements, like series protagonist Gin Blanco (Stone and Ice).
Main article: Brilyante (Encantadia)
The Brilyantes are fictional gemstones in the Filipino fantasy television series Encantadia as well as its 2016 requel. They are the elemental gems that holds the balance in Encantadia. Each gem manifests the classical elements: aether, fire, air, water, and earth. The tranquility and future of Encantadia rests on these gemstones. In both series, each Brilyante are being carefully kept by each kingdom in Encantadia. The kingdom of fairies, Lireo, in the east of Encantadia, is the keeper of Brilyante ng Hangin (Gemstone of Air). Adamya, the kingdom of elves in the south is the keeper of Brilyante ng Tubig (Gemstone of Water). Sapiro, the northern kingdom of valiant warriors and healers, kept the Brilyante ng Lupa (Gemstone of Earth). Hathoria, the kingdom of proud and violent blacksmiths and orcs in the west, is the keeper the Brilyante ng Apoy (Gemstone of Fire). But after the Hathoria attempted to seize the all the gemstones, they are turned-over to Queen Mine-a of Lireo for safekeeping. Later, the four daughters of Queen Mine-a became the keeper of these gemstones.
In the comic book series Fantastic Four, each of the four characters have powers which relate to the Greek elements. The two most obvious links are the Human Torch (whose fire control power is best expressed through the image of him as a burning man) and the Thing (who resembles a living being of rock and stone). Mister Fantastic, while not having water-based powers, does have a fluid form. The Invisible Woman's powers of invisibility and force fields evoke the unseen forces of wind and air. This is especially true in Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602, where the Invisible Woman is both permanently invisible and weightless.
It should also be mentioned the two obvious elemental personalities (the Human Torch and the Thing) tend to have personality traits people tend to associate with their own elements. Johnny the human Torch is extremely hot-headed and impulsive, with a brash personality, contrast this to Ben the Thing who is more sullen, dependable and strong.
Perhaps the closest character to embodying Water in the Fantastic Four is their companion (and sometimes rival) Namor the Sub-Mariner, who becomes invincible when underwater, can breathe both above and below the surface, and rules Atlantis.
The Swedish heavy metal band Ghost assign elemental symbols to each of the masked instrumentalists, known collectively as The Nameless Ghouls. They are:
- Fire: Lead Guitar
- Water: Bass Guitar
- Air: Keyboards
- Earth: Drums
- Aether (or Quintessence): Rhythm Guitar
In the Harry Potter series, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where most of the books' plots are set, is divided into four houses: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Each of the four houses corresponds roughly to one of the classical Greek elements. Ravenclaw's high tower and representative symbol of the eagle correspond to the element of air. Hufflepuff, whose symbol is the badger, corresponds to earth, and their common room is located under the school. The fluid snake symbol of Slytherin corresponds to water, and their common room is located directly under the lake. The symbol of Gryffindor is the lion, exemplifying bravery, quick temper, and boldness, symbolized by fire.
Heroes of Might and Magic III
In Heroes of Might and Magic III, magic spells and skills were divided into schools of magic with each school corresponding to a classical element. Representative spells include
- Implosion, Meteor Shower and Slow from the school of Earth Magic
- Armageddon, Inferno and Curse from the school of Fire Magic
- Frost Ring, Clone and Heal from the school of Water Magic
- Chain Lightning, Counter Strike and Haste from the school of Air Magic
Progression in proficiency (Basic -> Advanced -> Expert) in magic skill increases some aspect of the spells cast in the corresponding school of magic (e.g. higher damage, increased effect, longer duration, lower mana cost etc.).
Jackie Chan Adventures
In the KidsWB series, Jackie Chan Adventures, eight of Jackie's enemies were Chinese demons who derived their magical abilities from eight elemental forces of nature: Wind, Water, the Moon, Sky, Mountain, Thunder, Earth, and Fire.
The original thirteen members of Organization XIII each have a designated element which they control. The first four named members to appear in the series Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories: Axel, Larxene, Vexen, and Marluxia, control the series' standard four magic elements of fire, thunder, ice, and flower (in a death-attribute counterpart to the Cure spell) respectively. The range of elements used by the group is later expanded to include more traditional elements such as earth (Lexaeus), water (Demyx), and wind (Xaldin), cosmic elements like space (Xigbar) and time (Luxord), as well as more eclectic elements such as moon (Saïx) and illusion (Zexion). Even the principal forces in the series' universe are present with Roxas, the youngest member who controls light and Xemnas, the group's leader who controls nothingness. Each of these elements is represented in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days by a negative status ailment that is resisted by the element's respective member (e.g. the flower-elemental "blind" status effect, which is resisted by Marluxia).
The classical elements air, earth and water are also represented by the trio of Sora, Riku and Kairi, through the kanji for their names, and especially the trio of Ventus, Terra and Aqua, who represent their respective element through their names, their starting weapons and several of their special abilities.
Each of the first four albums by the heavy metal band Mastodon is based on one of the classical elements: Remission is based on fire, Leviathan is based on water, Blood Mountain is based on earth, and Crack the Skye is based on aether. There is no album based on air, as the band dropped this concept with their fifth album The Hunter.
Magic the Gathering
In Magic the Gathering, a card game, there are 5 magic colors, based on both Western and Eastern elemental traditions; White: aether (quintessence), Blue: air and water, Black: nether, Red: earth and fire, and Green: wood.
In the 2013 reboot of Max Steel, there are four lizard-like creatures known as elementors. Each elementor is taken from one of the four classical elements and have appearances and powers based on their respective elements: The earth elementor is made of rock, has geokinesis and can repair itself, the fire elementor is made of flaming lava rock, has pyrokinesis and is faster than the others, the water elementor is liquid and has hydrokinesis and the air elementor is made of clouds and wind and is the most powerful (having flight and aerokinesis). The four of them can combine into a single, four-armed being with the combined powers of all of them. In Season 2, a fifth, Metal elementor is added and is the strongest and smartest of the group. It has magnetic powers similar to Magneto and can liquify/solidify itself.
In the manga and anime series Naruto, ninjas use the ability of Chakra (mixing of mental energy and physical energy to create a supernatural force of pure life energy, manna, chakra, chi, Quintessence, Aether) to perform jutsu (ninja techniques which allow the use of superpowers or martial arts). As depicted in the series, Chakra has elemental aspects, with the five elements' comparative strengths and abilities resembling the creative/destructive cycle of the Chinese elements. The cycle goes from Air to Lightning to Earth, and Water to Fire before returning to Air/Wind again which each element much, much stronger than the one after it.
In the world of Naruto, there are certain people who can mix elemental aspect into new elemental jutsu. So far, expressions of this shown are ice, wood, lava, storm, boil, dust, heat, explosion and magnetism. The ice mixes water and wind, wood mixes water and earth, lava mixes earth and fire, storm mixes water and lightning, boil mixes fire and water, dust mixes earth, wind and fire. There are also elements unique to the anime and movie medium, among them crystal, darkness, steel and swift. This is similar to the building block idea of Dungeons and Dragons, which also links with ideas of primitive man that all things are made up of classical element.
Within the series, some countries are named after the elements (like the "Land of Fire" where Naruto lives). There are also five strong and powerful ninja villages who exhibit dominance over the smaller villages, each of which is based on the five elements above. Each holds a leader ninja who is the only one to take the name of shadow (Kage).
In the Lego Ninjago theme the land of Ninjago was created by four elemental weapons, The Scythe of Quakes, the Nunchucks of Lightning, the Shurikens of Ice and the Sword of Fire. The main series focuses on four ninjas, each with one of the four elements in them. (and personalities mirroring them). Cole (Black ninja of Earth) has super-strength, terrakinesis and invulnerability, is portrayed as Team leader and has no fear, Kai (Red ninja of Fire) has flight and pyrokinesis and is somewhat hotheaded, Jay (Blue ninja of Lightning) has flight, teleportation, electrokinesis and is the chatty, fast-talking brains (and jokester) of the group and Zane (White ninja of Ice) has cryokinesis and is intelligent, serious and calm. During the first season of the show, the main character Lloyd Garmadon joins the team as the Green Ninja (Master of all four elements and Energy) and gains the powers of the other four ninjas, along with the ability to fire green energy blasts from his hands and in season 2, he is able to create golden energy constructs similar to Green Lantern. In season four, it is revealed that the ninja are not the only ones with elemental powers and that there are other elements: metal, gravity, nature (referencing to plants), smoke, sound, form, poison/toxicity, light, shadow, speed, mind, water and amber (the ability to absorb or replicate other elemental powers), along with the element of wind being introduced in season five. Also in season 5, it is revealed that Kai's sister Nya (the sole female member of the team) is the master of Water. Coincidentally, Nya's relationships with the original four ninjas corresponds to how water reacts with their particular elements: she is able to quench Kai's hot temper, she is Jay's girlfriend, she can erode Cole's hard exterior to reveal his soft side, and she shares interests with Zane. Later on in the seventh season, the element of Time is introduced and serves as a primary focus.
In the teen adventure series Nowhere Boys, the four main characters each represent an element-—Felix with the power of fire, Andy with the power of water, Sam with the power of air and Jake with the power of earth. Felix later discovers that his younger brother, Oscar is the missing fifth element needed for them to return to their own universe. That element is spirit.
In the anime series Ronin Warriors, all of the heroes and villains are representative of different concepts of virtue as well as the classical elements (in the case of the series' heroes) or seasons (in the case of the villains).
Most of the Sailor Senshi characters in the Sailor Moon anime metaseries have elemental powers, some being inspired by Chinese elements (the Wu Xing) and some by Roman mythology. These are derived from the Japanese names given to their planets; even in civilian form, each superheroine has a surname which reflects her planet and her tremendously powerful Sailor powers.
Four of the Sailor Senshi (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus) have elemental abilities based directly on their planets: Mercury for water, ice, and fog, Mars for fire, flame and heat, Jupiter for lightning, rocks, and plants, and Venus for metal and light. They also take inspiration from Greek mythology, especially Jupiter (lightning) and Venus (love). The other set of four (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Saturn) also have powers based on their planet names, but since the first three were not known from antiquity, their names derive from the Western names and therefore from Roman myth (resulting in "sky king," "sea king," and "land king" respectively). Sailor Uranus uses the forces of the air and wind, Sailor Neptune uses the forces of the sea and ocean, and Sailor Pluto is the Guardian of Space-Time and the Land. Sailor Saturn's element is given as earth, which corresponds to mythological harvest symbolism and to her vastly dark powers over death and destruction, and rebirth. The main character, Sailor Moon, along with the younger Sailor Chibi Moon, use elemental powers of pure moonlight.
In the 2012 television series Slugterra, there are creatures described as slugs, which originated from 5 elemental slugs, representing the elements of Earth, Fire, Air, Water and Energy. The various species of slugs are classified into these elements, or even subcategories of them. Earth is categorised into Earth, Metal and Plant; Air is categorised into Air and Toxic; Water is categorised into Water and Ice and Energy is categorised into Light, Psychic and Electricity. Fire is the only element without sub-categories. Additionally when slugs are corrupted into "ghouls" (slugs which have been mutated by the life-sucking "dark water", they are categorised into "Shadow". If any of the original elemental slugs are corrupted, it will spread to all the slugs its element originated. The only cure is to reform the ghouled elementals and fire them simultaneously.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Thine Own Self", Data is stranded on a pre-industrial planet where the inhabitants are still taught that the elements consist of sky, fire, rock, water, and lightning.
Super Sentai/Power Rangers
Several teams of Super Sentai and Power Rangers have used the classical elements thematically, with each Ranger having powers related to one element.
Normally, the Red Ranger represents fire, and the Blue Ranger water. For example, the Red Turbo Ranger and the Red Lightspeed Ranger have had Zords based on fire trucks, while the Blue Aquitian Ranger had a water-based attack. Gosei Sentai Dairanger drew heavily from Chinese mythology, and five of the Mythical Qi Beasts correspond to the Wu Xing. In Seijuu Sentai Gingaman and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, the five Rangers represented fire (Red), water (Blue), wind (Green), lightning (Yellow) and flora (Pink), with earth (the Black Knight/the Magna Defender) added later.
The elements in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger are air (Red), earth (Yellow), water (Blue), with Kuwaga and Kabuto both wielding the power of lightning. The last two became the Thunder Rangers in Power Rangers Ninja Storm, sharing the element thunder, with the Green Samurai Ranger being a non-elemental (his power was dubbed "Green Samurai Power"). The elemental theme was here used more extensively than in previous series, and the Rangers’ attacks and fighting styles often reflect it. In Mahou Sentai Magiranger and Power Rangers Mystic Force, MagiRed (the Red Ranger) and Wolzard (the Wolf Warrior) share the element fire. The other Rangers have powers based on thunder (Yellow), water (Blue), air (Pink), earth (Green), ice (White), and light/the sun (MagiShine/the Solaris Knight). In Power Rangers: Samurai and its follow up season Super Samurai, the five rangers each represent the classical elements, albeit with forest in place of aether: fire (red), water (blue), sky (pink), earth (yellow) and forest (green). The Red Ranger has also shown use of lightning. Later on when the gold ranger is added, he harnesses the element of light.
The use of elements is not restricted to the protagonists. In Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo-V, the demons Zylpheeza, Drop, Cobolda and Venus (Diabolico, Impus, Loki and Vypra in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue) each represent one of the four elements. In both versions, all monsters are affiliated with one of them, and relate to the same element.
Atari's 1982–1983 SwordQuest video game series were four video games with each title representing one of the four classical elements. They were released in order from least-to-most important, in life's necessities, concerning the classical elements. The fourth and final game was never released.
- SwordQuest: EarthWorld
- SwordQuest: FireWorld
- SwordQuest: WaterWorld
- SwordQuest: AirWorld
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003-series)
In the 2003-series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Shredder has control over five mystical beings referred to as the Mystic Ninja. Each of the Mystic ninjas represent and have control over one of the basic elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Wind and Metal. The Mystic Ninja serve as guards to the Shredders throne room. They are held under the Shredders control with a mystic amulet known as the Heart of Tengu. The Mystics are later set free when they manage to have the amulet destroyed, and it is revealed that they are, in truth, heralds of and ancient Tengu demon known as the Original Shredder. The heralds are later destroyed by the Turtles and their allies.
In episode 27 of Tenkai Knights, the heroes known as Bravenwolf, Tributon, Valorn and Lydendor received new forms and powers based on the elements of fire, ice, earth and lightning.
In the KidsWB series, Xiaolin Showdown, the four main characters were monk children of the four elements: Omi (water), Raimundo (wind), Kimiko (fire), Clay (earth). In the first season, the call out their element and their fighting skill is increased dramactically. In the second season, they're able to bring their element into a physical form performing a fighting stance. For example, Omi's Tsunami Strike where he spins his entire body to allow water to fly everywhere. In the third season, the monks are promoted to Wudai Warriors. The promotion apparently unlocked their ability to bring the elements into physical form, but they can control them without any limitations.
The base of the show revolves around collecting mystical items called Shen Gong Wu on which some of them are able to conjure elements.
The Disney cartoon series WITCH is centered on five girls who receive magical powers to fight evil in fantasy worlds parallel to their own, and each power is based on an element, with the corresponding "guardian" being able to produce said element from nothing, control and manipulate it or mentally communicate with it. The fifth element, in this story, is the Heart of Candracar, an immensely strong and powerful magical mystical crystal amulet that grants the girls their powers and greatly increases them to much greater power-levels, which is worn by Will, the leader of the group. In the second season it is revealed that the fifth element is actually Quintessence which is described as "the very lifeblood substance or essence of life itself" and is Will's own elemental ability. As such Quintessence manifests as whitish-blue lightning that contains pure life energy within to literally "make things come alive."
Wizard101 is a RPG for PC. All Attacks and defenses are based on some traditional elements as well as other additional elements. Fire, Ice, Storm, Life, Death, Myth and Balance.
- Juliet Heslewood, Jane Lydbury, Hugh Marshall, Tamara Capellaro, and Alison McNeill, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water (Oxford University Press, USA, 1989).
- See the MacBook Earth, Water and Fire
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