This is one I thought at first to be too niche for a proper trope, but now I see it cropping in plenty of places.
As usual, if you think of a better name or of any improvement to the description, please offer them.
The Ball of Light Transformation is a peculiar form of a Voluntary Shapeshifting
, where a character becomes not another creature but a flying orb, mote, speck, flame or tiny star made of light. Size, color and brightness can vary.
Such a form is often invulnerable, light being immaterial, or at the very least very hard to hit thanks to its small size and mobility. Some can even goes through walls, or slip through tiny spaces. Although many will just use this form as an alternate mean of Flight
This is a power commonly associated with fairies and similar creatures. Can be a variant of Elemental Shapeshifter
, with light substituted to other elements.
Contrasting with this transformation as a standard power, it can also be a one-time event when a character is metamorphosed, resurrected, ascended to a higher plane of existence
or other life-changing event.
The popularity of this trope in film or live-action TV can be linked to it being a very easy special effect.
Compare with Energy Beings
and Ghost Lights
, for things that have this shape permanently.
Films -- Animation
Films -- Live-Action
- The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio first appears as a bright light that looks like a star before taking the form of a beautiful woman. Then she departs in the same way.
- Legend. The fairy Oona can change into a small ball of light and fly around. She does so in Darkness' dungeon to escape a prison cell and obtain the key to the cell.
- The hero of Space Sheriff Gavan can transform into a blue ball of light to fly around at his enemies. He once met an opponent with a similar power, and they tussled for a while in the air as blue and red balls of light, respectively.
- From Power Rangers S.P.D., Sam/SPD Omega Ranger can turn into a ball of light from time travel... changing his body into light energy, or somesuch.
- In Charmed this is an ability of the Whitelighters, called orbing, and their primary means of transportation. Although the "ball" shape is probably based on episode budget, because it isn't used every time. Their transformation looks more like Star Trek teleportation.
- Babylon 5. "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars" has an individual who's watching the events of the episode do this to reveal that he's in the future, and that humanity has evolved into Energy Beings much like the Vorlons before them.
- In Stargate SG-1 and the rest of the Stargate Verse, people who Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence take the form not of a ball of light, but of a luminous blob with waving tendrils, sometimes dubbed a "light jellyfish". Ascended Ancients can then take this form at will, but they're pretty much Energy Beings all the time by this point.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The boggart is the immature form of a will-o'-wisp. It is a Shape Shifter that can change its form between that of a small demihuman/humanoid and that of a will-o'-wisp (ball of light).
- The Coure Eladrins, fairy-like outsiders from the Chaotic Good planes, can take the shape of an incorporeal ball of light at will. They can also change the amount of light shed, and thus stay discreet if need be.
- The Tulanis, another variety of Eladrin, can also turn into an incorporeal sphere of rainbow-hued light.
- In BIONICLE, Umbra has this ability and uses it offensively.
- Mega Man Zero: Cyber Elves are beings of data that is contained in floating balls of light. The previous hero Mega Man X, now becoming a cyber-elf himself, can take on either this form or a holographic version of himself.
- Seen in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when Link uses the Ocarina to warp to the various temples. The Sages also seem to be able to do this as well.