Classical elements in popular culture
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
Classical elements have been frequently used in pop culture in genres such as fantasy, literature,[page needed] film, humor, television, video games, comic books, toys and music.[page needed]
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 or Chinese 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, or something else altogether. Light and/or shadow/darkness are also often portrayed as elements in addition to the classical four or in place of any of them.
The classical elements and their use in literary history have served as the subject of various published books. In How Artists See The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Colleen Carroll examines "how the four elements have been depicted in works of art from different time periods and places."[page needed] 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."[page needed] According to Publishers Weekly, in Earth, Fire, Water, Air, Mary Hoffman and Jane Ray collect "snippets of factual information, myths, stories, poems and musings in this fascinating volume about the four classic elements."[page needed]
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, featuring as the end boss in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon. The film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation features Elder gods based on the four elements.
Pokémon has 18 elements that go beyond fire, water, earth and air. Those elements are known as types. They have weaknesses and strengths (e.g. fire is weak against water but is strong against grass (not a classic element)).
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.
In the animated TV series Adventure Time, there are four main elements: ice, fire, candy, and slime. Firstly introduced in the Evergreen episode, then more explored in the season 7 episode Elemental and in the Elements miniseries. These four elements began to exist since the beginning of the evolution in the planet, presented in special individuals from the prehistoric age to the Land of Ooo times, where the characters; Patience St Pim; Flame Princess; Princess Bubblegum; and Slime Princess, are the actual incarnations of the ancient elementals. It was revealed in this miniseries that there was a secret fifth element – lumps – which Lumpy Space Princess is the incarnation of.
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, Earthbending, Firebending 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 instead having the fifth bending element be spirit. 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.
Waterbending is a martial arts-based ability that 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.
Earthbending is a martial arts-based ability that 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. Toph discovers how to use earthbending to easily control and manipulate metal by focusing on its earthen impurities, and teaches this technique to other earthbenders, including her daughters Lin and Suyin.
Firebending is a martial arts-based ability that controls and manipulates the element of fire. 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).
Airbending is a martial arts-based ability that 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.
Spiritbending does not have a martial arts equivalent as it is rarely used. This style controls the spirit or chi of others, making them capable of removing bending from another. This bending style is only able to be used by the avatar, the master of all elements, and isn't used for fighting like the other elements.
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 fourth element, air. The second season of “Legend of Korra” is named after the fifth element spirits.
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
A line of construction toys from Lego. In its storyline, the main characters – the Toa – are warrior-like beings (usually depicted as a team of six) who each represent and possess the ability to create, manipulate and absorb an element, namely one of the six "primary" elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Ice and Stone. Toa and other beings of less common "secondary" elements are later introduced, these include Light, Shadow, Gravity, Sonics (referring to sound), Lightning, Iron, the Green (referring to plant life), Plasma, Magnetism and Psionics (referring to mental abilities). The Toa's counterparts – the villager-like Matoran and their Turaga elders – possess innate or weaker elemental abilities, while all of them live as tribes in environments associated with their respective elements. Many other species in their universe also possess elemental powers. In a later storyline featuring a different society, the characters of the Agori villagers and Glatorian warriors do not have elemental abilities, but live in tribes associated with the elements of Fire, Water, Jungle, Ice, Rock, Sand, Iron and Earth. In a reboot of the story, the primary elements of Fire, Water, Earth, Ice and Stone are retained, however, Air has been replaced with Jungle, which now encompasses both wind and plant-based powers.
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) works 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 birdlife, while Gi (Water) is a student of marine biology and has skills in water sports. The fifth element is named "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).
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).
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 all the gemstones, they were turned over to Queen Mine-a of Lireo for safekeeping. Later, the four daughters of Queen Mine-a became the keepers of these gemstones.
In the comic book series Fantastic Four, each of the four characters have powers that 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 Final Fantasy role-playing video games frequently feature the four Greek elements as major natural forces, with each element often being associated with a crystal that serves as the nexus of its presence in the world. In installments starring Warriors of Light as protagonists, each Warrior is generally associated with one of these four elements. Less frequently, Final Fantasy also associates each of the four Greek elements with a character trait; wind is associated with an adventuresome spirit, water with devotion, fire with courage, and earth with hope.
The elements of light and darkness also frequently feature prominently in Final Fantasy. Crystals in the Final Fantasy series are generally associated with light in addition to their individual Greek elements, but some installments feature a set of dark counterparts to the elemental crystals, as well.
In addition to the Greek elements, Final Fantasy also prominently features ice and lightning, which form a separate trinity of elements most commonly found in the magic spells Fire, Thunder, and Blizzard. Certain creatures in the Final Fantasy series will also come in fire-, ice-, and lightning-themed variants in certain installments.
An enchanted forest to the north is the home of four elemental spirits. Bruni the magical salamander is the fire spirit, Gale is the air spirit in the form of a tornado, a group of rock giants are the Earth spirits, and the legendary Nokk is the water spirit. The main character of the film, Elsa, represents the fifth spirit.
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 video game Genshin Impact, there are seven elements of nature in the world of Teyvat: Anemo (wind), Geo (rock), Electro (thunder), Dendro (grass), Hydro (water), Pyro (fire), and Cryo (ice). A major component of Genshin Impact's combat system revolves around the various reactions between these elements.
The seven nations of Teyvat worship gods known as Archons (or The Seven, collectively), each of whom is associated with a particular element and ideal:
- Mondstadt's Anemo Archon: Barbatos, the God of Freedom
- Liyue's Geo Archon: Morax (Rex Lapis), the God of Contracts
- Inazuma's Electro Archon: Beelzebul (Raiden Shogun), the God of Eternity
- Sumeru's Dendro Archon: Lesser Lord Kusanali, the God of Wisdom
- Fontaine's Hydro Archon: the God of Justice
- Natlan's Pyro Archon: Murata, the God of War
- Snezhnaya's Cryo Archon: The Tsaritsa
Most of the game's playable characters are able to use their elemental abilities through magical items known as Visions. Genshin Impact's otherworldly protagonist, the Traveler, is an exception; as he or she is able to control the elements without the need for a Vision. Similarly, the Archons themselves each possess an intrinsic Gnosis that is analogous to a Vision; while members of the antagonistic Fatui organization developed Delusions as tools for elemental manipulation, sometimes even secondary to their own Visions or innate elemental powers; as is the case with the Eleven Harbingers.
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.
Keeper of the Lost Cities
In the Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger, elves may possess the ability to control the elements, such as Frosters (cryokinetics), Gusters (aerokinetics), Hydrokinetics, and Pyrokinetics. Those who manifested any of these abilities struggled to maintain control of these highly volatile forces of nature. Due to the potential danger presented by fire, Pyrokinesis was banned. Also, some specialized shades can control Shadowflux, one of two secret elements (the other being Quintessence).
The original thirteen members of Organization XIII each have a designated element that 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 respectively. The range of elements used by the group is later extended 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, who was the youngest member who can control light, while 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 that 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, 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 TV series Masters of Spinjitzu focuses on four ninjas, each wielding one of the four elements and possessing personalities that mirror them.
- Cole (the Black Ninja of Earth), whose abilities include super-strength, terrakinesis and invulnerability, is portrayed as the team's leader and muscle who shows no fear.
- Kai (the Red Ninja of Fire), whose abilities include flight and pyrokinesis, is somewhat hotheaded, violent and impulsive, but cares fiercely for his friends.
- Jay (the Blue Ninja of Lightning), whose abilities include flight, teleportation, and electrokinesis, is the team's chatty and fast-talking jokester.
- Finally, Zane (the White Ninja of Ice), whose primary ability is cryokinesis, is intelligent, serious, and calm.
During the first season, main character Lloyd Garmadon joins the team (and eventually becomes their new leader) as the Green Ninja, the Master of all Four Elements; in addition to gaining the other ninja's powers, he can also fire green energy blasts. In Season 2, he acquires Golden Power, which grants him nigh omnipotence, but has a majority of it stripped by the Overlord. Upon dividing the rest of his power among the four ninja, Lloyd is left with his green energy.
Season 4 reveals that there are several other elemental powers out there, including Metal, Gravity, Nature (specifically Plant-Life), Smoke, Sound, Form, Poison (also known as Toxicity), Light, Shadow, Speed, Mind, Water, and Amber (the ability to absorb or replicate other elemental powers).
In Season 5, the Element of Wind is introduced, and the current Master of Water is revealed to be Kai's sister Nya. 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 also Jay's girlfriend, she can erode Cole's hard exterior to reveal his soft side, and she shares interests with Zane.
In the seventh season, the Element of Time is introduced and serves as the story's 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 MMORPG Ragnarok Online characters, monsters and magic skills maybe be of one of 10 elements: Neutral, Fire, Earth, Wind, Water, Poison, Holy, Shadow, Ghost or Undead.
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 Guardians characters in the Sailor Moon manga 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 that 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 "underworld 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 Underworld. 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 that 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 rock, fire, sky, and water.
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/snow (White), and light/the sun (MagiShine/the Solaris Knight). In Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, 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 dramatically. 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 Italian comic book series and its later cartoon series W.I.T.C.H. is centered on five girls who receive magical powers to fight evil in fantasy worlds parallel to their own, with each girl, now a "guardian", being able to produce one of the four classical elements from nothing as well as control, manipulate and mentally communicate with it. A fifth element, Quintessence, is later revealed to be the element controlled by the fifth guardian and is described as "the stuff of life". As such, Quintessence manifests in the form of lightning that contains pure life energy that can create sentience in inanimate objects.
Wizard101 is an RPG for PC. All attacks and defenses are based on some traditional elements as well as other additional elements. The practitioner of each element has a different general play style. Fire Wizards (Pyromancers) focus on spells that deal damage over time; Storm Wizards (Diviners) have spells that have high damage, but low accuracy, while also having low health; Ice Wizards (Thaumaturges) focus on damage absorption and defense, having the highest health; Life Wizards (Theurgists) are healers, with their spells having the highest unchanged accuracy; Myth Wizards (Conjurers) mainly summon other beings to help them in battle; Death Wizards (Necromancers) have spells that not only damage enemies, but also heal themselves; Balance Wizards (Sorcerers) are unspecialized, focusing on buffing themselves or others.
- Heslewood, Juliet; Lydbury, Jane (1985). Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192781079.
- Pachal, Peter (January 30, 2008). "See the MacBook Earth, Water and Fire". Syfy. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
- Dupont, Don; Hiller, Brian (2005). Earth, Water, Fire, Air: A Suite for Voices, Narrator and Orff Instruments. Heritage Music. ISBN 9780934017602.
- Carroll, Colleen (1999). How Artists See The Elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water (1st Library ed.). Abbeville Publishing Group. ISBN 9780789204769.
- Hadley, Eric; Hadley, Tessa (1985). Legends of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521263115.
- Hoffman, Mary; Ray, Jane (1995). Earth, Fire, Water, Air (1st American ed.). Dutton Children's Books. ISBN 9780525454205.
- Gibson, Tyler. "Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997)". ChristianAnswers.Net. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
- Pirani, Niyaz (2007-10-15). "Thrice gets in touch with its elements on its new project". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
- Wolk, Douglas (July 1, 2008). Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean. Da Capo Press. p. 96. ISBN 9780786721573. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
- Mayaux, Philippe; Bordaz, Jean-Pierre (2007). Philippe Mayaux: à mort l'infini. Éditions du Centre Pompidou. ISBN 9782844263308. Retrieved April 30, 2020.